Kitty and the City

A few weeks ago, Kitty (the babe) invited me out for some food and sunny hangs in London. I did actually have plans with my cat that day. However, he said we should start seeing other people because I’m suffocating him. With that, I donned my London comfies and headed out to the train station!

If you’re not from London, the sheer mention of spending a day there is like being told that the all you can eat buffet extends to desserts. It’s just magical, you can always find something fun and exciting to do! The sun was beaming down on us which made the day feel even more perfect.

We met in Southwark and headed to a restaurant called Tibits for the launch of their new summer menu. Kitty is a lifestyle and fashion blogger who finds the best vegan and gluten free eats in cities around the UK so, I trusted her judgement. I can also never, ever turn down free food!

After a quick speech from the chefs about the inspiration behind the new menu. We were asked to sample EVERYTHING and give an honest opinion (Thanks Kitty). All the dishes are Vegetarian and most are also Vegan which Is brilliant. It’s SO important for restaurants (and chains) to acknowledge the intolorences and choices of others nowadays.

I went a little bit crazy but it was totally worth every extra pound I put on.

As mentioned, Kitty is Vegan and GF but as you can see, there was no shortage of food for her to sample!

Kudos to you, Tibits!

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My Plate

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Kitty’s Plate

 

Spoiler Alert – I  will be running back ASAP with my boyfriend!

The interior was also pretty incredible. I was blown away by the cuteness of the bathroom which had a big industrial vibe. There were succulents everywhere, an indoor/outdoor courtyard area and window seating for those that love to watch the world go by (guilty). Did I mention the succulents? I’m such a sucker for plants so I was in my element!

VickiAmaya

After filling our stomachs, we headed through southwark to get some ‘Gram photos and then onto Tate Modern to kill a little time and because I’ve never been before. The Bruce Nauman exhibition was pretty incredible and insane all in one go. We also took some awesome photos for the ‘Gram while we were here too. I am such a sucker for a good museum and the Tate Modern is definitely one to revisit when I have a few hours to spare.

VickiAmayaVickiAmayaVickiAmaya

Side Note: I REALLY want to visit the London Transport Museum and The British War Museum too!

We finished off the day with an unexpected wander through Borough Market. If you’ve never been, I really really do recommend it even if it’s just a sweeping visit! After grabbing some GF cake for my homegirl and a fruit smoothie each we sat down to enjoy the last bit of sunshine that the day had for us.

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How To Get Your Blogger Mojo Back

VickiAmaya

Hello Lovelies,

How are you?

For those of you that didn’t realise, I’ve been on a little break recently.

As a Blogger and Instagrammer, my life used to revolve around creating content that I wanted you to love. However, I wasn’t creating content that I loved. I was constantly comparing myself to others. Constantly stressed, anxious and unhappy. Spending hours flicking through photos, assessing blogs and profiles to try and find out why certain people were so popular. I would check my Instagram account about 50 times a day, liking hundreds of photos, leaving comments and obsessing over analytics.

 On the 13th February 2018, I stopped posting content on my Instagram and blog. I finally let myself breathe.

Today I want to talk to you in depth about Blogging, Instagramming and how to beat the Blogger Overload that I’ve heard so many people talk about.

“Blogger Overload”

Constantly talking, thinking, viewing and creating for your social media channels with no downtime.

Before I dive head first into how to fix this dastardly dilemma, I feel like I should first explain what happened that tipped me over the edge.

I’d been thinking and feeling that my content wasn’t up to my usual standards. The theme wasn’t as white as I wanted it, the pictures weren’t coming out as I’d hoped. They didn’t look anything like the popular photos that have hundreds of thousands of likes. The outfits weren’t good enough. My figure needed to be tucked here, there and my skin smoothed out. One of those truly crummy moments where everything can and was scrutinised…

We needed a photo to post that evening as we hadn’t been out that day to take any. I was setting up my lighting to take a mirror shot when, I dropped the bulb and it shattered into a thousand tiny pieces. I stood looking at the little specks of white frosted glass for what felt like a lifetime and then the tears started to pour.

Was I  actually, really sobbing over a broken light bulb? Yes, I really was…

The broken lightbulb meant that I couldn’t upload a new photo that evening. I would have to do a re-upload and I was vastly running out of photos I even liked enough to feature again.

Adam ran up the stairs, saw my tear stained face, the glass on the floor and ushered me out of the way. I took five ginormous breaths and tried to compose myself. How could I not have any photos to upload? What kind of person was I? I’m a fraud Instagrammer. I’m not even a good Blogger. (Seriously?!…). All thoughts of self doubt and loathing that would have never even hovered in my mind not two years prior.

It was then that I realised I needed to stop. To take a break and re-evaluate what I’m trying to do with my accounts. I needed to get back in touch with the reason I got into this in the first place and why I love doing it. The reason I call myself a Blogger and Instagrammer!

It’s all about the little steps!

One of the first things I stopped doing was checking my social media apps every day. The Vicki before this cataclysmic event would have been scrolling through her feed constantly to make sure she liked EVERY photo from her followers list (You’re all welcome btw 😂). Instead, I have been going on, replying to a few messages from friends and then closing the app off again. I feel like this has really helped to clarify that my life does not depend on social media. After all, I am a fully functioning member of the non cyber world too! *I also just realised that I’m older than the internet, wow…*

Another tactic I adopted to combat this feeling of unworthiness was to unfollow any person that I was consistently comparing myself too (harsh but true). That way, I didn’t have the conscious or subconscious thoughts of not being good enough when seeing their posts! Whilst I can target the feelings of jealousy and envy without unfollowing people, it felt good to admit defeat with this one. I’ve never been a jealous person, so I find it helpful to understand the aspect of others successes that unsettles me. Something which I can continue to research and work on!

Another great stress reliever was to unfollow ANY brand that didn’t genuinely inspire my fashion choices. I mean, why follow any brand that doesn’t inspire you? There is no obligation to follow a brand just because they followed you. Follow them because you genuinely love what they do, otherwise its just clogging up your feed.

My purchasing habits were the next thing that needed to change. Where before, I would try to find things that I felt my beautiful followers would love and appreciate. I’m now buying things that I love and genuinely want to wear! The whole reason my account grew to such a following is because I was sharing my own style. Somewhere along the way and unfortunately so, my purpose got lost and the likes became more important than my style. Whilst my page exists to inspire and support every one that follows it. I also want to create an income for me through it so I can build my little empire of empowerment. If you want to learn more about that, click here to read my “All About Me” post! (Paragraph 12 for the lazy people here!)

Okay, Don’t use Social Media, unfollow some stuff and only buy shit you love…  what else?

I’m very glad you asked! Once you’ve spent a few days back in reality where social justice warriors can’t throw keys at you and where cats are just balls of fluff you’ll probably start to feel a little more inspired . After all, you’ve not been bombarded with ugly bulky trainers (sneakers), coffee body scrubs, an a line skirt and slogan tee on the streets of London or that fucking pink cake shop (sorry blogger friends).

Use that inspiration as a basis. Get some magazines and go old school with them, cut them up and make outfits you love. Get onto Pinterest and make some clothing boards! Go back to the high street and try on different styles that you love! Once you feel you’ve really tackled the drought and your creativity is flowing, go back into your wardrobe and start rocking your style again. At least, that’s what I did and I’ve been having the time of my life! I understand that this bit is specific to fashion bloggers, but you can apply it in every area of life.

If you’re constantly surrounding yourself with stale information or marketing ploys, how can you possibly feel inspired? Creativity comes from within. You can TOTALLY take inspiration from others, but go your own way with that inspiration otherwise you’ll just be another opinion with an internet connection…

VickiAmaya

x

This New Year – A Revival

Vicki Amaya

Two Thousand and Eighteen

A new year, a new start. Three hundred and sixty five opportunities to learn and grow. I enter at the age of twenty eight, with gratitude, knowledge and love. I’m not sure why, but I have such a euphoric buzz about it. Everywhere I look it seems that people are calling 2018, the best year ever! Weirder still, for once – I believe it will be.

Lets Recap – 2017

At the start of 2017, I felt hopeful. There were dreams of a better life, dreams of big change and a glimmer of optimism. I had been working for an Alarm Installation and maintenance company for a little over 12 months and felt stable (for the most part). Gone was the pressure of learning how to do the job. Forgotten was the mid-year melt down of ’16. I was ready to start anew and refreshed from the Christmas break. I could go to work every day of the week, for 52 weeks of the year. No longer did I need to have time off for anxiety or depression. It was gone.

I had made two promises to myself for 2017. The first was to play more guitar and the second was to go on holiday. Fairly easy on the ol’ resolutions list, I’ll admit. Yet, these were big accomplishments for me. Never have I felt able to complete or achieve anything of note. A stable income was foreign to me. I had always needed money to pay my way. Had always needed a job to survive. Why would I spend money on a holiday, when it was needed to pay rent and bills?

Though, I felt If I wanted to see changes, I had to make changes. With a swift decision and a box of peroxide, my hair was transformed from dull blonde to bright yellow, then silver. A small decision that shaped my life for the better (As you all know)!

As January passed by, I decided to take my Instagram account and Blog more seriously. I started uploading pictures five days a week and on the 11th February 2017 my little Instagram account hit 1000 followers! Around the same time, one of my photos hit 2000 likes.

“The Highs Are So High”

In May I made the brash and ballsy decision to quit my full time, stable 9-5 job and go it alone. Diving straight into the world of the budding bloggers and Instagram influencers. Whilst, I cannot regret the decision to leave forks (just kidding, I’m not Bella Swan) the longest job role i’d ever had. Looking back, I know I could have handled the actual leaving aspect a lot more gracefully.

I think I left prematurely and without a plan but my god, I was determined as hell to make this work. One of the problems that comes with entrepreneurial endeavours is that there isn’t a step by step guide. There may have been thousands of blog posts, infographs and YouTube videos explaining how to “become a successful blogger”, but very few give the actual breakdown. The nitty, gritty need to know information.

Though I hustled, I girl bossed, I pushed through the doubt, worry and fear of failure… I was still making no money. (Side note- I’m still not)

Penniless and fearing debt, I applied for a part time role in a fashion store called Allsaints. With my wage halved but my free time overflowing I felt renewed and slightly relieved.

August brought an opportunity to backpack through Germany and Austria. My Partner, My Mum and My Nan all put forward a small loan to fund my tour. Not that I have many holidays to compare it to, but it was one of the most beautiful and liberating trips I have experienced. If you’re looking for a place to spend a few days, please visit Berchtesgaden and Salzburg.

“The Lows Are Killing Me”

In early October the cracks started to show. Although I had more free time, it came in the form of one day on and one day off work. Also, I had pulled my back muscles just prior to my backpacking adventure and two shifts back at work, I did it again. This meant having some time off to recover, which is where the negativity bias that once ruled my every move started to creep back in. Resentment for the job, physical pain and a lack of direction left me putting a mountain of unnecessary pressure on myself. Could I really quit another job just because I don’t like the hours? Were the staff really that mean to me? Was I playing out my old habit of job hopping yet again?

After many tears, a drive into the middle of the woods and an emotional chat with my manager, I took some time out to figure out my mind. I wrote a blog post about this time called An Anxiety Catch Up (Diary Post).

I returned to work in early November. The deal was I would work a four week notice period or if they could find a replacement sooner, I could leave. Although relieved, the same uncertainty of my previous abandoning ship encounter wouldn’t drown. With an equal medium for me and my manager, I asked if I could reduce my hours in order to get three consecutive days off. We both agreed that this would be better than quitting and since then it’s been a pleasure to work there.

Praise to the positive – a reflection.

If there is anything I have learnt from 2017, it’s that even the smallest indulgence of negativity can disrupt the entire infrastructure of your life. One throw away comment can shape your outlook, change your mood, thoughts and feelings all for the worse. The remainder of last year was spent focusing solely on positivity. Embracing the good in people, helping others as much as I could, reaching out to more people and giving without a want to receive.

In return, I got perfect clarity for the remainder of that year.

December

On the 13th December, I celebrated my twenty eighth birthday. I was taken for afternoon tea at Ting restaurant located within The Shard. Looking out at the bustling city below whilst sipping a flute of ten year old champagne I came to realise that I’m doing just fine with this living malarkey. Whilst it may have taken others a lot less time to figure this out, for me it is such an achievement to feel it at all. Not to dampen the tone of this post but there is a reality in which I do not exist past the point of 22.

The remaining hours that encapsulated 2017 were filled with my partner and his family. As couples, we watched films in separate rooms then joined to see in the start of the best year ever. We drank champagne (A new celebratory drink of Adam and I), we watched the hootenanny and we relished every hand tick until Big Ben rang out twelve strikes.

The New Year

Which brings us nicely back to this new year. There can be no doubt that I am still a student to the ways of the world. I still have much to learn and experience. However, I feel that I’m able to just crack on and get this year underway without any of the stress and doubt that last year brought. I haven’t made any promises to myself this year. I don’t feel that I need to set myself to targets and achievements. Instead, I have decided that this is the year that my life changes for the better, the year that everything I ever dreamed of comes true.

If you know me now, you know that I am one determined mother-lover. Watch this space lovelies, the times they are a changing’ and they’re changing me.

As always,

All My Love

VickiAmaya.

xx

Repairing my Bleach Damaged Hair

Okay, Five easy peasy steps to fix up your Damaged Hair.

My hair is turning twenty eight in a few days and what better way can I celebrate that by detailing how I transformed it back to its former (thicker, shinier and less shit) glory. I have been a shampoo and conditioner shuffler for a very long time! I tend to buy the moisturising or the damage repair types. All of which have done very little to actually repair my damaged hair. They would make it smell great and feel silky, but a day later it would be frizzy, dry at the ends and greasy at the root. A thing of real nightmares.

So, I went on a hunt to try and find out EXACTLY what my damaged hair needed. I do want it to survive another year of colourants and heat styling. I came across this blog post that detailed how to find out what your hair is lacking. After testing, I found that my beloved locks were deficient of Keratin. I set about trying to find a budget friendly concoction that contained such a beautiful protein. This proved a struggle and I had almost given up. That was until about two weeks ago, when I stumbled upon a magic formula that has been developed by actual unicorns! My hair has not been so strong, shiny and smooth in YEARS. 

I owe it all to these two little pots of goodness: the BlondMe Keratin Bonding Mask and the BlondMe Keratin Bonding Potion.

Seriously, I used to wake up and my hair would be matted together at the ends (True signs of damaged hair!). When I washed it previously, if I skipped conditioned I could not get a brush through it. It was horrendous.

Okay, Give me the Method, Vicki!

Step 1 – Wash your hair. I’ve been using baby shampoo on mine since I bought the unicorn potion so you can try that if you like.

Step 2 – Towel dry the shit out of it. Or, just dab at it lightly either will do.

Step 3 – Apply the first of your magic elixir (Bonding Potion). Start at the root and pull it right the way to your ends. I used quite a lot on my hair as I wanted to feel the full effect straight away. If you’re like me and you need almost instant effectiveness, then pump the nozzle about five/six times.

Step 4 – Scoop a generous dollop of the Bonding Mask into your hands and work it through from root to ends. Then, leave it to work its tomfoolery for around five minutes.

Step 5 – Rinse off until the water runs clear and voila! You can now resume your normal hair routine with the knowledge that when dry, your hair is going to look and feel amazing.

Bonus Step – I had a little sample pack of the Garnier Ultimate Blends – The Sleek Restorer Mask, from a magazine and as an extra special treat for my hair I put a tiny amount in my ends before drying and again after the smooth out the frizzy bits.

And… How is it now?

I’ve used this treatment (as above) three times now and the difference to my hair is phenominal. It’s so good that I’m not even conditioning it in-between uses anymore. I’m finding less hair breakage when brushing too and it has a lot more volume and shine.

I hope this post is beneficial to all of you damaged hair lovelies out there. As much as I want this process to work for you, please check the above blog post to find out exactly what your own hair needs.

 

VickiAmaya

x

An Anxiety Catch Up (Diary Post)

Hey Lovelies, these past few weeks have been a bit strange for me. I’ve been dealing with a lot of stress, worry and anxiety and I want to tell you some of the things I’ve learnt as they can help you too!

As you know, I’ve been making some big changes in my life the past few months; this is to counter the unhappiness and lack of fulfilment that has plagued me for years. The journey has been a whirlwind but I’m happy to finally share my experiences.

I left full time employment in May of this year and since then I have been working part time at Allsaints and spending the rest of my time doing the following:

• Running my Blog
• Researching and scheduling my Instagram posts
• Drafting and finalising blog posts
• Trialling new ways to combat bad habits
• Maintaining existing friendships
• Working out where my anxiety stems from
• Researching new trends
• Taking photos for Instagram
• Addressing and implementing new life strategy
• Worrying
• Constantly battling negative thoughts about myself

All of that is without adding basic self care like eating three meals a day, exercising and sleeping seven hours each night. Furthermore, it definitely doesn’t include trying to think of ways to make my millions, conjure interesting blog posts and spend time with my boyfriend. The odds were stacking against me and something had to give – and it did.

I got myself a note from the doctor and have taken a few weeks off work to recalibrate my frazzled brain. The days that followed have been a rollercoaster of emotions but I feel like I’m getting to grips with life again. I have a reclaimed my ability to complete items on my to-do list. And most importantly, I’ve been taking these small, easy steps to refocus my brain.

• Eating three meals a day
• Drinking plenty water
• Showering daily
• Brushing my teeth (twice daily)

Believe me, I know that sounds gross and obvious but in my bad patch I used to spend all day in bed doing nothing for weeks on end. I feel that going back to basics has really helped to stabilise my mind. It’s crazy how we will overlook the necessities of simple self care to try and get everything else completed. The problem I had was focusing too much on my big goals and as a result, the idea of doing them all had shocked me to paralysis.

 

To stay level, from this point onwards I’m going to focus on doing small actions every day and build from there. Honestly, if all you can manage in a day is to eat three meals, drink enough water and not cry then that’s an accomplishment to be proud of!

 

One of the reasons I started back at the beginning with treating anxiety is because it was recommended for me. Mel Robbins is the best selling author of “Stop Saying You’re Fine:” and “The 5 Second Rule”. I first found Mel when her “How to stop screwing yourself over ” Ted talk video popped into my suggested feed and I followed her on Instagram for daily doses of inspiration.

 

Just recently, Mel posted a story on Instagram asking people to send problems they have been struggling to overcome. I sent my own (after a few revisions) and was fortunate enough to get a response from the lady herself! I mean, come on… Mel Fricking Robbins, Best Selling Author, Most Booked female motivational speaker and an absolute babe actually replied to my message! Mel then asked if she could record an answer to my question for a video. It has been uploaded onto her YouTube channel so that it can help others too! Be warned though, she is very to the point and direct with her words. (You can click here to watch it)

 

Receiving a personalised message like this was an incredible boost for me. This was massively significant, as I have been such an admirer of Mel and her work for such a long time. That said, I had greatly underestimated the power of taking action and the message definitely gave me the kick I needed.

With all of that said and done, let’s talk about the elephant in the room, shall we?

“Vicki, I thought you said that depression and anxiety doesn’t affect you anymore!”

Weeelllll, it doesn’t. At least it doesn’t bother me the way it used to. I’m over sitting on the floor all day, rocking back and forth and thinking of all the problems I had. Now, I’ve learnt what my mind and body need to do to reset – and I honour that, instead of fighting against it. Not to get too scientific but it is our brains job to protect us from harm. It stems from our primitive beginnings and having to survive a much harsher world than the one we live in today. The important part is to find a harmonious balance and healthy relationship with this part of the mind so that we can grow with it instead of fighting against it.

So, here’s to the little steps. The small actions in the right direction that have slowly built me back up to level foundations.

If any of you are interested in a more in-depth article regarding any of the points raised, please drop me a comment and I will be happy to delve into it for you.