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

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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.

Tuesday 29th August

Growing is hard. Growing means you have to look deep inside yourself and confront the bits that you despise. Growing is noticing how some things will always wind you up and trying to find the strength from deep down inside you to not react as you would always react.

At Twenty Seven years old, I can happily hold my hands up and admit everything that I love about myself, but for some reason I cannot muster the courage to admit and change the things I am not in love with. My mind has convulsed that ‘It’s just the way I am”.

I am far more comfortable with knowing that I can pick myself back up if I hit rock bottom again, than striving for anything above average. I’m scared to succeed.

Depression taught me to fear the negative thoughts inside my head, that if I start to think bad things then surely I’m spiralling downwards. To stay on the upwards peak, to appreciate all things good and abolish all things negative.

So, why is it that knowing I still have negative tendencies when it comes to change, can I not shake them away with a dose of positivity? Why do I dwell in the depths of despair. Waste my own time in worrying about all the things that could go wrong instead of bathing in all that could go right?

Thursday 17th August

Hey Lovelies,

I hope you are all doing well.

I started this little section of my blog with the intention of writing down a few more specific and personal aspects of my daily life. General thoughts, feelings and aspirations as it were. I know a lot of you will love reading this and I know that I will enjoy writing without having to edit out the limitations a fashion and beauty blogger has in front of them.

Today is 17th August 2017, my best friends birthday! I’m currently sat in a gym cafe, waiting for my boyfriend to finish his set so we can go food shopping. Something that I haven’t mentioned on my Instagram account is that we have both taken a plunge and dived into vegetarianism. We’re about a week in so far and have been really enjoying meal times again. Furthermore, its actually given us an excuse to get out the cookbooks so we don’t eat the same three vegetables over and over again!

We’re currently working out way through the new Fearne Cotton  Eat, Cook, Love“” book which is incredible. I happen to be a long time lover of Fearne, I have her older cookbook “Cook Happy, Cook Healthy” and her book “Happy” on my bookshelf. Her being a vegetarian has only increased the level of yumminess some of the dishes have. I also think she has an amazing style and it is something that has heavily influenced my own fashion choices.

I bought myself a dairy last night along with my gorgeous yellow jumper so I can now start to map out my day to day. I know that this is going to be really beneficial, as much as I would love to say with hand on heart that I am a spontaneous person. I know it isn’t true. I LOVE order, structure, routine, habit… Maybe that’s why I’m so critical of myself and find it so hard to start new things. Well, no more! From this point onwards, with my diary at my side, I shall conquer the world.

A few things I am planning to schedule into my day to day are as follows:

Exercise Daily
Swim once a week
Read one book a fortnight
Learn a new language (German, to start with)
One random act of kindness a month
Practise guitar
Practise vlogging. (To eventually turn into Vlog weekly)
Practise Yoga
Meditate every morning/night

Obviously, this list will probably grow to 5 times the size but for now, I’m happy to admit and convict myself to these things. Now all I need to do is look at my free time and slot them in.

I’ve listed all the items mentioned in this post below, so you can check them out for yourself.

Until next time,

VickiAmaya

xo