BY LAURA CRANSTON

WHY GOOD FRIENDS ARE CRUCIAL AT THE AGES OF 18-21


OUTFIT

JEANS / PRIMARK
SWEATSHIRT / PULL & BEAR
JACKET / H&M (NOT ONLINE)
TRAINERS / GUCCI 
SUNGLASSES / PRIMARK

Grab yourself a cuppa, its a long one! 

When I think back to how I used to be and how I am now, I am super proud of who I am as a person. I pride myself as being honest, friendly & funny. But I never used to be. At school I was quite and shy until I really knew someone, I wouldn’t go first at anything & I certainly wasn’t confident. Now, I’m loud (good thing or bad thing?), I’m brutally honest, I love my own company & I’m super confident. I put this all down to the type of people I surrounded myself with around the ages of 18-21 which are the MOST IMPORTANT ages of your life. They shape who you are, where your life is heading to & what qualities you will have for the rest of your life. 

Growing up, I had one best friend which we done everything together. If she wasn’t going, I wasn’t either. She was confident so I didn’t need to be. She’d go first at everything so I always followed. I was happy with that but its not a good quality and this soon changed which I’m so glad of.
We fell out around the ages of 15, like major fell out. Yes, obvs it was over a boy. What argument isn’t over a boy at that age?! Our relationship wasn’t ever the same after that which MADE me make new friends. I kinda got taken under the wings of the type of girls I didn’t want to hang around with but at that age you cant be picky with friends because it was seen to be a loser if you had no friends so I went along with these new girls. One of them was a billy bullshitter. I knew I HAD to bin her off asap as I cant stand people who bullshit for the shits and giggles and to make her look popular. CYA. 
Next it was a loud but popular girl, she was funny, outgoing & very pushy. I actually really liked her because she brought me out of my shell a little bit. She laughed at my jokes which made me think I was funny so I stuck with her for a bit. Then I realised she was a little bit of a wrong one and I wasn’t afraid to bin people if I knew they were wrong for me. One good thing I’m glad of! 

So then it was about the age of 16/17 I was kind of friendless. I had friends but not people I wanted to hang around with all of the time so out I went again looking for new people. ( I wasn’t that much of a freak I didn’t actually go searching in the playground for people to become my new friend haha!) 
This is when I realised I preferred boys to girls because they were SO much easier to get on with. They didn’t go in a mood if you spoke to THE ENEMY, they just took the piss and thats what I’m good at. But obviously girls take this the wrong way, they see you laughing and joking on with the lads and they think - she’s a slag. No, mate they’re just better crack than you. 

Fast forward a few years and I became a part of a bit group of girls, I dunno how but I rather liked having a big group, it meant if one pissed you off you had other people to still hang out with. It was good because we were all different type of people, we all had different traits. One was posh but so lovely - she’s the girl who always had parties because her house was big enough. Another was the girl that everyone takes the piss out of but she doesn’t mind because it’s always funny (theres always one of these in every friendship groups!), a girl who was like me & took the piss out of everything - the laughing fits we used to have went on for days, I could honestly just look at her and we would burst out laughing & this is the type of girl you need! Then there was the drama queen (eye roll), the sporty girl who got on with EVERYONE, the girl who was so blunt and honest, the girl who everyone fancied, the moody girl & then just the normal girls who didn’t add anything to the group. FYI I am still friends with most of these and they’re my best friends and have been ever since. Obvs binned the drama queen because at this age who needs drama?! Some of them just fizzled out but the most important ones I kept! 
If you find a friend who you like their qualities then keep a hold of them, if they’re not qualities you want in a friend then bin them! 


So then I left school and went to college. I feel like this is when I feel like it happens the most because you’re growing up & these qualities that people bring out in you are the ones that shape you. 

College brought me closer to a girl who I really like & she’s actually the reason why I don’t do small talk. You know the type of chat that goes like “hiya how are you, yeah great thanks, what you been up to today, the weathers nice isn’t it” blah de blah. I don’t really care how you are because I only say hiya to you but I don’t really like you. She was a very awkward kind of person but she was great. I am also very awkward in that situation because I literally don’t speak because I don’t say small talk so it just silent. Whats more awkward, I don’t know but thats just me now.

Then I went to uni & this is when my school friends started to fizzle out, I realised that I didn’t need the moody friend because who can even deal with people that are still moody at the ages of 19. GOD not me. 

This is when I met the girl that has probably changed me the most. She is the type of girl that you wouldn’t ever put me with because she is so loud and confident and I wasn’t at the time. Her qualities that I enjoyed the most were that she’s so loyal. If you cross her once then thats it. Trust me - we fell out (Adams fault) and it took me ALL OF SUMMER to win her over. Honestly I had to bloody send her cards and text her all the time to say I was sorry, I actually made the effort because she was a friend I wanted in my life. 
She was hilarious, but she didn’t realise it. She can make me laugh without even trying. This is where my funny side came out. She made me funny because she was just so funny. If you know me then you know that I cry laugh every single time I laugh, like I mean cry when I laugh and I stopped wearing mascara around her because she made me laugh so much. She was loud - like I mean really loud I could legit hear her through the walls. This made me more outspoken, more willing to get my voice heard. 
She was confident - always so confident with however she spoke to. Confident singing at the top of her voice even if she couldn’t sing. GET SOMEONE WHO TEACHES YOU TO SING LOUD AND NOT GIVE A SHIT.
FYI I wouldn’t DARE sing out loud when I was younger because everyone told me I cant sing, I don’t give a flying fuck if I wanna sing I’m gonna sing bitch.
She was also very honest. If something didn’t look good, she’d say. We clashed heads so much because we were both so honest that we would bicker all the time & our other friends used to laugh because we were so alike.
Anyway enough about this girl but yeah find someone like this. 

Uni friends are friends for life. They’ll always be there for you because you went through the best time, the toughest time & the craziest times together. There was friends that I thought were wrong for me at that time because I know they weren’t in the best place & it would have been lethal to stay friends so we parted but I still speak to her now because she’s in a better place and I am in a stronger place. 
Then a girl who I still love to death because she’s so not confident that I made it my mission to get her to be because she has a heart of gold and she just needs to be tougher. 

Moved back home which by now I was shaped into my new self. My new confident self. Now it was the time that this big friendship group started to whittle down even more. Because we were at the age where we knew we could choose who we hung around with, people stopped associating themselves with people they couldn’t be arsed with. Like the drama queen, the one who caused drama wherever we went, the one who you had to be careful with what you said incase you stepped on eggshells. I realised she was toxic & I didn’t need that friendship in my life so deleted off FB (which is the ultimate goodbye) I felt so much better!!! 


So now, I’m in the place where I can rely on my best friends because I know they’re good for me, we add something to each others lives ( I bring beauty products & brutal honesty). We have all gained each others trust over the years we’ve known each other. When you’re older and you have your own life, its hard to keep that friendship alive because you start to not have time for each other. Everyone works different hours, everyones got their own commitments but in the end the only thing that matters is that no matter how long we don’t see each other for, when we do, its like we’ve never been apart. I mean one of us lives in NZ for gods sake and group chats keep us together. 

But the whole point of this blog post is to make you aware that the people you surround yourself with around the crucial ages of 18-21 are going to rub off on you, so if you have a toxic friendship, bin it. You can always get that friendship back when you’re both more secure people. But to those that don’t bring anything to your life other than grief then wash that person right outta that hair. It feels good. Also to those younger girls who are maybe stuck with the wrong crowd, have some balls and make some new friends, your future is in your hands so take control and shape your life by choosing the people you have in your life. 


Laura x

WHY I NEVER ATTEND BLOGGERS EVENTS




Bloggers events used to be so exciting & I would be so buzzing when I had an event to attend to. But I feel like thats all changed.

When I first started going they used to be fun and exciting meeting new people and working with people who actually knew what it was all about.
Bloggers events are a way to invite bloggers together in their store to introduce them to a new brand or new product. But now I feel like were being used.

Most bloggers charge per blog post if they're sponsored especially if its a subject you wouldn't write yourself. So when a bloggers event is created to get a blog post out of all the attended bloggers is just a bit of a piss take if i'm being truly honest, which you all know I am. A blog post, on an event only bloggers can attend. Excuse me, where is the logic in that?
Or maybe they can get the same treatment which may be a 5 min arm massage and OMG you also get a free one day sample. THE LUXURY.
Honestly, this was expected (even though the invite didn't state - must blog about event) after an event which was legit having a 5 min shoulder massage.
"I went to this amazing event last night which you cant come to but you can get a complimentary 5 min massage that isn't even worth the time because it does nothing but cause you to want to spend £60 on an actual massage, but hey, it was the best bloggers event I've been to"...Hmmm.
I want to actually bring things to you guys that I think are worth it & things that I would be happy spending my own money on.


This all stems down to brands/stores/people being a bit clueless about bloggers. They jump on the band wagon because they know that bloggers are the best form of advertising but they don't really know why or how to go about it.
Realistically, a local bloggers event only works if its to launch a new product which then all bloggers get said product to try. With the hope they might fall in love with this product, which in turn they may pass on to their following.
I honestly don't think local bloggers events can work because its not going to make people shop in that store because chances are, the brands that have these bloggers events are ones people know of anyway. The only bloggers events that work are PR events for brands that gather bloggers to showcase their new product or to introduce a new brand.


Thats one reason.
Another reason is other bloggers.

I love how the blogger community rave about being a community and always being so friendly and accommodating, but I've been made to feel nothing but awkward at bloggers events. Its always the same cliques who don't even say hello even though they pretend they're your bezzies on social media, or those who say hello but don't follow you. The worse times I've had is when I actually spoke quite a lot to said person and then one event they didn't speak to me & unfollowed me on social media because of no reason. I put it down to jealousy which I'm cool with babes but don't be too faced and think i'm gonna speak to you again. CYA.

Obviously theres some really lovely people that I've met before but they're far and few between.

I'd love to hear your experience on blogger events?

Laura xox

HOW TO GET THAT NATURAL GLOW WITH MAC COSMETICS


MAC Cosmetics has that whole stereotype of being 'cakey'. When you grow up, you're either a MAC girl or not. I wasn't and I didn't start buying and using MAC until a few years ago. It all started with lipsticks because lets face it, MAC lipsticks are just the bomb.

So what I want to bring to you today is how to get dewy glowing skin thats not cakey. We're trying to come away from that whole stereotype because theres more to this brand that that stereotype.

First off were starting with their famous 'strobe cream'  which comes in different colours depending on what kind of glow you want. I love this in the shade Peachlite because it gives off that natural but a bit bronzed glow. I love to wear this under my foundation but also on top just a tiny bit on top of your foundation just dabbed on your cheekbones and under your eyes (strange place but honestly it gives off this natural glow)




Next up is their Pro Longer Concealer which has just came into my life in the last 2 weeks and OH MY GOD. I have been searching for the perfect concealer that covers my dark circles but also lasts all day. THIS IS THE ONE.


Honestly its blood amazing and lasts all day which is what was lacking in all my other concealers. I wear shade 25 and its the perfect shade for me. But again, its not 'cakey' its just really good at concealing.



 Last but not least is one of their new releases - Prep & Prime Fix +

They come in new scents and the scent that I have is coconut which is so nice and refreshing which smells amazing. But the reason as to why Fix + is so amazing is that its good for prepping the skin to make it nice and soft which is good base for your foundation but its also good at fixing your makeup to make it look hydrated and that finished look.

Hence the name..

So its that all rounder product that you need in your makeup bag but also your handbag because its the perfect pick me up when you've got to be somewhere after work or your face is looking dull and dry at work. Especially good for those who have dry skin and when foundation tends to dry out your skin even more, which is me! I always end up with a dry chin which is the outcome of working in aircon so this is perfect for keeping that dewy look.





So these are my top 3 MAC cosmetics products to get that natural (ish) glow with no 'cake' at all. I get complimented so much that my skin looks amazing but honestly its just faked with these products!

Hope you like my recommendations.. What are you fav MAC products?

Laura xox



HOW TO BE A BLOGGER OUTSIDE OF LONDON


Being a blogger outside of London is hard. Don't get me wrong, I get frustrated with getting all these invites to these wonderful blogger events that could lead to amazing jobs and meeting loads of amazing bloggers. Because lets face it. Bloggers events anywhere else just aren't the same.

More brands are wanting to meet up to have coffee and a chat about how you could work together but again, thats in London. I live in Newcastle, I ain't gonna get a 3 hour train for a 1 hour meeting.
Although I have made a pact to visit London more I just can't visit just for a meeting.

London is full of posh instagrammable cafe's and locations which are perfect for photo shoots with other bloggers which make the perfect photo shoot. Whereas where I live, are basic cafe's with no one around who understands blogging.

So, how do you become a blogger outside of London?


1 - Find your own locations that suit your style.

I have been know to wander the streets of a certain town just to find certain locations where 'it will do'. Search on instagram your town to see if anyone tags a photogenic location & always keep your eyes open when you're out and about because you may just spot one good wall or one pretty street thats perfect for that OOTD. Most of my shoots are done on top of a shopping centre car park!

2 - Find someone who will be your photographer

You may not know this, but my Mam is my photographer. My dad used to be but he drew the line when I asked him to take a photograph of me in the middle of our estate and he was dead embarrassed haha. I also use my friends when I'm out with them. They may not understand but try to have the right setup and lighting before you get them to take it so it cuts out 'oh that doesn't work take another one'. Because people can get frustrated easily but we know if its right or not. I have had to train my Mam & boyfriend when they take my images because I know the shot I want but I cant control what they do so its been a lot of bossy shoots where I'm shouting 'wrong angle, you're too close, you've chopped my head off' etc. So stick with it and they will get there! Now, its my Mam telling me right we need close ups, change pose etc haha!
If you have nobody then search for a photography student who is studying because chances are they will need experience and it could work both ways.

3 - Just do you.

Simples. Living in a certain area doesn't define you as a blogger nor will it stop you. So carry on doing what you love and you will get to where you want no matter what your postcode is.


Laura xox


SKINCARE // DOES IT PAY TO SPEND MORE ON SKINCARE? //


Skincare - you're either not bothered & still use face wipes or you're obsessed.

I've been obsessed ever since I was younger when my Mam use to ground me if I used face wipes & I just didn't get it at all. Like surely they're not that bad?! Well thanks Mam, thats some advice I've listened to (I didn't listen to: don't shave your legs or pluck your eyebrows though)

However, despite the good advice from Mother Hen about not using face wipes I still ended up with bad acne from 17-24. I've only just got it under control and learnt what to use and what not to use so my skin still isn't the best as I'm still a girl with hormones and scars.

If you want to watch my acne youtube video where I talk all about my acne journey then click here 



Ever since I came back from uni when I was about 22 because lets face it, I didn't have enough money to put the heating on so I wasn't going to spend it on skincare was I?! So it was only 4 years ago that I started taking skincare serious but I still had really bad acne so I had to tackle that first. So numerous acne tablets later ( 3 years on) and when I had more money to spend I started branching out.

I always remember growing up thinking that No7 was a good skincare brand (its not stay away) so when I received my first Elemis gift for Christmas I was over the moon and couldn't wait to try it. My love for Elemis started when I had a facial at a spa once and I fell in love with the products because they smelt insane but my skin also looked insane.

The first products I got were: day cream, papaya enzyme peel and pro collagen night cream 



I fell in love after the first week of using the night cream because my skin felt so soft. If you have seen my Acne Journey video then you will know that I have been drying my face out since I was 17 years old because I thought my skin doesn't need anymore moisture if its creating spots. So since I was using a night cream I started to notice a massive difference to the way my foundation went on & was less flakey.

But after using the whole lot of the night cream & day cream I was HOOKED. I knew I had been skimping on skincare and you could tell by my skin so when a really good product came along it drank it up like there was no tomorrow.
Ever since I haven't used cheap skincare & I truly believe my skin is so much better for it. I have wished for better skin since I was younger & I would use anything so if you're like me, then its important to invest in your skin.

It will thank you for it, I promise.

So now, 2 years on i'm still obsessed with Elemis because it is one of the best skincare brands for moisture & keeping your skin plump. My fav products are:
- Pro Collagen Oxygenating Night cream 
- Pro Collagen Marine Cream
- Superfood Facial Oil
- Peptide4 Night Recovery Cream oil
- Pro Collagen Marine Oil
- Frangipani Monoi body cream
- Pro Collagen Cleansing Balm


So if theres one tip that I give you about skincare, its to invest in good products and brands. They're more expensive for a reason because they have better ingredients that are good for your skin. Plus they last longer & you'll notice a difference!

Whats your favourite skincare brand?

Laura xox





WHY WE NEED BRANDS JUST AS MUCH AS THEY NEED US // FEAT INSTAGRAM ALGORITHM


When I first started blogging and using instagram back in 2014 I don't wanna say it was easy, but it was certainly easier than it is today. My instagram growth was so quick within the first year that people used to say, how did you grow so quick.

My secret?

Brands. 





Within the first year of blogging and instagramming, I'd been regrammed by Primark about 5 times which boosted my following loads! Then I'd won a competition with Benefit which got regrammed by their instagram and I was featured on their blog. Then I'd won a competition with Superdrug which was again regrammed by their instagram and I was featured on their emails.

Back then, brands LOVED to repost your images because they loved the content you created for them.
They weren't scared of it ruining their feed because they knew if they regrammed and reposted your images then they would have more people creating images for the chance to get featured on their instagram.

The reason I'm still stuck on 18k when I have been doing it for 4 years is because brands are not bothered anymore. They're unappreciative of the work that you carry out and produce for them that they don't even bother liking the image never mind reposting it.



I know they pay people to create content for them but their support is what helps us grow which in turn makes us produce more imagery for that brand.

The reason why I love creating content for Benefit is - because they actually repost different people! You have the same brands reposting the SAME influencers work over and over and its just getting a bit boring now.

Yeah, they're good at what they do but howay there's more of us out there that create to the same level if not better.
Brands need to support the people that are supporting them (without payment may I add) because its like for like ( not literally, were not back in 2k14)

We support you, you support us.




Because with this whole instagram algorithm, we all need to support one another.

I honestly cant remember the last time a brand reposted my image apart from Benefit. So hats off to Benefit for keeping it real!

To all those that don't bother supporting the people that create content for them, and keep using the same creators over and over. Well, screw you.

Whilst I'm on the subject of being reposted - this whole #yestopshop - is not okay.
They're asking you to basically have your image and they don't even have to credit you even if they use it for media use. So I never reply with yes, I always say yes if they credit me but I never reply with their hashtag because that means you're signed a contract basically.

I'd also just like to mention one blogger who has been bringing smaller bloggers to her viewers attention which create such a stir for that smaller blogger because you can get thousands of new followers just off that one mention. Lydia Elise Millen has started to use her channel where she has 691k followers for a good cause of something that won't cost her anything but it has major effects on the blogger that she mentions. She's basically mentions a blogger that she has been liking lately and sending all of her followers to this smaller blogger which in turn sends lots of new work etc. So hats off & I certainly think more bigger bloggers should do the same to show their appreciation for people who follow and support them.

Another super honest post guys but you all seem to like these personal posts.

Laura xox




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