Flo la vita

Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle

Any other blogger can relate when I say that my inbox is full of sh*t.
I mean, yes, there are some amazing pitches from amazing brands, but they are definitely outweighed by the brands who just don't do their research. And of course, those 'Insta boost' emails from people claiming to send you free followers if you pay them £30. No thank you.

On an average day my inbox will look a little something like this: a pitch to review hair growth pills, someone offering to send me free weight-loss coffee, about five people claiming they can help me grow my Instagram following if I pay them £30, a 'start-up' blogger asking me to publish their writing on my blog, a watch brand who wants to work with me but insists that I pay £150 for the watch, someone wants to send me their re-make of aqua beads, and another wants to send me a face mask that (apparently) will get rid of 'bum chins' (are you suggesting I have a 'bum chin'?).

It's just a HUGE waste of everybody's time

It seems so simple: do your research so you know who you're pitching to.
You wouldn't go into any old restaurant and order a Pizza if you didn't know if they served it, would you? For all you know you could be standing in a Sushi bar asking for a pizza and well, looking like a bit of a dick. It's no different when pitching to bloggers.
I can't tell you how many weird pitches I've gotten in the past four years. I mean, if you'd looked at my blog just once you would know full well that no, I don't want you're re-make of aqua beads.

You're being a little rude

Although it's not massively offensive, it is just a little rude to pitch any old crap to a blogger. Especially as so many of us do this as a job.
Not only is it a little rude, it makes your company look bad because you clearly don't care that much.

If you could actually tell me what you want me to do then that would be helpful...

As much as I love working with brands who give me a lot of creative control in how I share sponsored and advertorial content with my followers, I do need some sort of guide lines.

I've come across a lot of brands who aren't very clear at all in their pitches and will often just say something like "Hey we want to work with you". But, that doesn't tell me very much, what are we doing? Are you sending me something, inviting me to an event...? Sometimes you just never know and in the end the email gets deleted.

But on the rare occasion that you send me a crappy pitch but I still like the look of your brand I might ask for some more information. But for god sake, when I do please don't just copy and paste your pitch email again...

Actually find out my name

I know, I know a lot of brands do send the same email to a lot of bloggers and yes, I know that often lots of bloggers are involved in the same campaigns. And I mean, just think of the poor PR girl if she had to send a separate email to every single person...

But, if you are just emailing me then please use my name. It just makes it more direct, and personal. Very often I don't reply if someone doesn't use my name because I know it's been sent around to so many people, but If it's addressed to me by name then I'll always give you some sort of answer.

Today is the 15th. That means that four years ago today I started this blog (ummm... what?!). It's a bit mind-boggling to think that I've been doing this for four year, that seems like such a long time.
But, with doing it for quite a while a lot has changed in my life. Simple things like getting older and maturing, but I honestly think that having this blog has sped up that process for me.

My confidence has changed quite drastically since putting myself our there and exposing myself to the online world. I'm still quite a shy person, although it really depends on the situation I'm in, but since starting Flo la vita, or Liliieee as it was called back then (how do you even pronounce that?!) my confidence has gotten a lot better, and I think thats down to this blog and the fact that it's been my own space to be completely myself with.

Personal style
And I'm not just talking about my fashion sense... I'm talking my taste in everything.
My photography style, my fashion sense and not to mention my writing style. I think that since starting a blog I've seen so many different interior styles, photography styles, writing styles all of which have influenced my personal taste in absolutely everything.

My opinions
Speaking of, blogging has introduced me to so many people with so many different opinions. If I hadn't started this blog I don't think I would have taken an interest in people like Emma Gannon, Dolly Alderton and Grace F Victory. People like them who are so open about their thoughts on such interesting, yet serious topics have really pushed me to formulate my own opinions. And it's not even as simple as my thinking 'so do I agree with this or do I not agree with this?' it's just a natural thing that happens from listening to their podcasts and seeing what they have to say on social media. I've always been such an opinionated person and I'm never shy to tell someone what I think (when it's called for, of course) but I genuinely think that people like them who are so open online have helped me form even stronger opinions on topics that I probably wouldn't have formulated opinions on, or even known that they existed. We all know that I am an open book and feel no shame when telling a period story that could be a little TMI, but Emma Gannon especially has made me see that we should never be embarrassed to talk about something that matters to us, no matter how taboo its been made to be, and I've definitely down just that. 

My writing style
Four years ago I wasn't a terrible writer but I certainly wasn't great. Reading back some of my older posts is cringe-worthy and if I'm honest I'm glad I've deleted so many of them, but there are a couple remaining ready for you to read...

Then-   a section of my proper corn AD post

When i was looking through the box and found this flavour, i was so happy. Before i recieved the bundle of popcorn from Propercorn i had no idea that you could get coconut and vanilla flavoured popcorn! I didn't know if it was going to taste nice but it was honestly amazing. I think its definately my favourite out of all of the flavours. 
To be honest i think this is the best popcorn i have ever had!

Thank you so much to Proper corn for sending me all this amazing popcorn, its honestly so yummy!

You should all go and buy some of this as its honestly the best popcorn i have ever had, Its so worth going out especially to buy one!

Now-  a section of my '4 things an Instagram detox taught me' blog post

Before taking a lengthy break from the Instagram world, this was something I was quite confused about. Typically, when you think of a blogger you think of the brand collaborations and the press trips and the 'glamourous' lifestyle they lead. Heck, I change my outfit in the McDonald's toilets when I'm out shooting, but that's beside the point.

Throughout my Instagram break I did ask myself many times if I would be able to carry on my blog in the same way without Instagram. And the answer is yes, because I'm not blogging as an influencer, I'm blogging as me.

I feel like people talk a lot on social media about toxic relationships. And in so many different forms and perspectives. It could be an angry tweet about your ex, a whole blog post about how your ex best friend is a bitch, or in this case 'what a toxic friendship taught me about being a good friend'. 

I think lots of the things put online about toxic friendships and relationships come from quite an angry, upset point of view. And that is completely fine because hey, if you've been put down constantly by someone you see as a friend or partner then you have every right to be pissed off. But looking at topics like toxic relationships through social media never gives you much idea of an outcome for whoever has dealt with it apart from those who's confidence has been hugely knocked. 
And believe it or not, being victim to a toxic friendship doesn't always come out too badly in the long run. I'm all aware of the fact that I sound just a bit crazy saying this, but please, hear me out...

My experience of a toxic friendship started in Primary school and lasted eight years. My primary school class was full of very confident, louder characters. My 'best friend' was someone who was largely looked up to, but was constantly manipulative, intimidating and would without a doubt be bitching about you behind you back when you weren't there, and it all came out of her own sadness. Deep down I think most of the girls in the class knew this, but god forbid anyone got on the wrong side of her. 
Towards the last few years of primary school I was the only friend she had left, everyone else decided they didn't want to put up with her anymore. The question everyone reading this will probably be asking themselves right now is why didn't I leave? And to be honest I've asked myself that too. But those American, high school, 'mean girls' style movies are no exaggeration when you see the different social groups they have. You've got the jocks, the popular girls, emo's, nerds...
Primary school is only a little different in the sense that there's even less choice. You've got two sides, popular and unpopular. And to make life easier for myself I chose to be friends with this girl because she was popular and I'd probably have more problems at that time if I chose to sit in a circle and read Harry Potter with those who were deemed 'unpopular'. This is why I was trapped in a manipulative friendship. Because I was too worried about what I'd look like to other people. 

The situation escalated from petty comments to full-on manipulation and I've only recently come to realise just quite how unhappy I was. My 'tween' stage from about 8-11 was horrible and I'd have the biggest meltdowns, a large part of this was because I'd spent so much of my life from the age of four to the age of twelve in a very toxic friendship. The situation carried on until the the beginning of my second year at secondary school and only when I went and spoke to a girl I knew from primary school about everything did I ~finally~ make some new friends and escape the toxic friendship I'd previously been in. 
Making the first move in developing a new friendship was definitely nerve wracking, especially as I'd never really had a long-term 'friendship' outside of my toxic one. But it was so simple and I quickly hit it off with the girls who I am best friends with now. Thinking about it, I'm actually very lucky to have found the right people on my first try at making friends.

So, going back to my point that not every toxic friendship ends badly, I actually made some of my best friends once I'd cut the toxic friendship out of my life. I made a so many genuine friendships out of the situation, which I am incredibly proud of.

If I've learnt anything at all from being in a toxic friendship for such a long time it's that being a good friend is the best thing you can be and that I will never let anyone intimidate me in that way again.
And although I would have preferred not to have been caught up in that kind of a friendship, everything has a bright side and mine is that (corny as it sounds) I'm stronger now and more able to spot a toxic friendship before it becomes dangerous. And honestly, I think that because I had a bit of a crappy time when I was younger I've dealt with lots of situations that have happened prior to that with a much better perspective.

Back then I probably wouldn’t have been able to identify what a good friend and a bad friend really were, without stating the obvious. Now I know that a friend is someone who cares about your feelings and wellbeing, is honest with you and if you’ve upset them will actually talk things through with you, will apologise when they’ve done wrong, and wouldn’t talk trash about you even if you’d had a falling out. This is everything I didn’t have as a young child, so I really appreciate my close-knit girl group and all their qualities as I lacked them so much when I was younger. 

I also think that from my experiences in the past I am quick to notice when I’ve said or done something mean to someone unintentionally, purely because I am so scared to be like the girl I was ‘friends’ with and I would never want to treat someone anything like the way she treated people. Because a friend is not someone who will manipulate you, make mean comments, and publicly embarrass you for their own entertainment. That’s just a bully. 

As a blogger, I share a lot of my personal life online. From a quick Insta snap, to a story or a blog post it's all very easy and accessible to anyone. Believe it or not, it was only a couple of weeks ago that I seriously considered how much of my life I share online. Sure, there are simple things like I wouldn't post photos of my friends and family because they didn't sign up for this and their privacy is important. Or basic knowledge like 'don't post your address online' for obvious reasons.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned in a blog post that I was getting a puppy and the comments on that post were full with people saying "Aww that's so cute! Can't wait to see the photos!" Of course they were, that's what you'd expect if you just told potentially 35,000 people that you were buying a dog. But, something made me take a step back and I wasn't sure if I wanted to share photos of Dylan online, because it just seemed so personal. I wasn't upset that there were so many people who are essentially strangers to me assuming that they would get a look at my puppy. It just made me think about how much I'm sharing and how much I'm comfortable sharing.

Turns out, I'm comfortable sharing quite a lot. I'm naturally a very open and honest person, I'm definitely the friend in my friendship group who will tell everyone everything no matter how TMI it may be.

When thinking about things like this I have to remind myself that I did sign up for this and I made the decision to share my life with total strangers through the form of a blog. But, people change their minds and that is okay.

However, where do we draw the line between sharing and over sharing? And do we even have to draw that line at all?

Thinking of it from my follower's perspective, it's nice to get to know someone, even if you don't see their whole life. But what I want to steer clear of is sharing a sugar-coated version of events because that's not helpful for anyone. I don't want people to think I have a 'perfect' life and people don't want to see a 'perfect' life because what is 'perfect' anyway?

With social media it is SO easy to assume that someone has it all planned out, and this is because so many bloggers share their highlights reel. And how can you blame them? If you're having a shitty day you're not going to quickly take a selfie for Instagram are you? Some things need to be kept private.

I've struggled to make sure that my online space is how I want it to be: a good balance of the highs and the lows. It's difficult because as a blogger there is a pressure to be relatable, which I guess is fair enough from the follower's point of view.
I think when you're starting out at blogging it's easier to seem relatable because there are no press releases being mailed to your house and you aren't being invited to events (although, if you are then congrats!). But once things start to take off a bit you will have to share some products with your audience because in most cases you're being payed to and this can drive people away. The amount of girls who have told me they've gotten dm's from different followers telling them they're unfollowing because they're 'not relatable enough' anymore is sad. I mean, were still the same, were just earning some money for the work we're putting into this!

From the point of view of both a blogger and follower, I love to see people online being honest and sharing both their high's and their lows. Hannah Gale's brutally honest Instagram stories are the reason I follow her.

So, do blogger's have a duty to be relatable? I think no.

Share as much or as little as you want online, as long as you're comfortable with what you're putting out there then that's all that matters. And if someone thinks you're not relatable enough then let them unfollow because if they don't enjoy your content then why would you want them following you anyway?
As someone who frequently breaks out in spots, I think its fair to say that I've panick-googled 'how to get clear skin' more times than I can count. Now matter how many different sites, blogs or youtube videos I've looked at, none have offered me a quick fix.
It's a pain in the arse and I feel like I'm constantly in search of an answer that, as annoying as it is, will never be given to me.

So, one day when I had a major breakout I decided to quit the googling and actually do what my mum had told me to do every single time I'd had a meltdown about my spots.
Drink water
It's what every single person will tell you to do to get rid of spots, and I hate to be cliche but its true.
It's not a quick fix, but honestly there is no quick route to clear skin, it's something you actually have to work at.
But, in all seriousness water is the best way to do it, it flushes out all the dirt and nasty bits that have been lingering bellow the surface of your skin, and although this will most likely result in a minor break out, remember that you're simply flushing it all out and it will be gone in no time at all.

Lately I've been drinking two litres of water every day, I've found it really helpful to keep my water in a two litre bottle so that I can easily keep track of how much I've drunk. I'm not gonna lie, sometimes carrying around a two litre bottle can be a little inconvenient... or very inconvenient but it's well worth it. I've also been recording how much water I've been drinking daily on the Flo period tracking app, so, not only are you giving yourself that little bit more motivation, you're also helping yourself to see how your body changes at that time of the month.

Stripping back the skincare
When I get a couple more spots the usual, the first thing I want to do is indulge in a rather lengthly skincare routine. However, I've quickly come to realise that the less products I use on my skin, the better my skin looks.
I personally find that a simpler skincare routine, three possibly four steps involved, benefits my skin far more than a skincare routine using every product under the sun.
There are the simple things that we all need to do for our skin, for example, cleansing and moisturising and then there are the things that aren't essential, which if used too often will simply dry out our skin.
I've stripped my skincare routine back to a thorough cleanse, followed by moisturiser and finished with a spot cream. Although, I do sometimes use a face mask and I will often use an overnight mask.
Switching up the skincare
Speaking of skincare, it may be time that you switch up what products you're using?
If you're like me and hate to try anything new when it comes to beauty, you've probably been using that same cleanser for four years now. But, that just means you're skin could have gotten used to it and it isn't all that affective anymore.

I recently changed my cleanser from the 'Simple spotless skin triple action face wash' to an Olay one. And although I didn't do this with the idea of changing my skincare in mind (I was just being my usual money saving self and looking for the cheapest on in Superdrug) it was a great thing that the Olay cleanser was 20p cheaper than the Simple one.

Ditching make-up
When you wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and notice that there is yet another brand new spot on your face it is so easy to deal with the situation by plastering it in foundation.
However, a while ago when I broke out the day before my holiday (yep, there was no holiday glow on this occasion) one of my friends responded to my annoyance at these spots by telling me to 'lay off the foundation for a couple of days'. I did and it really helped.
So much so that I don't even wear make-up anymore, just a touch of mascara. It's a nerve wracking experience at first and of course you will feel just a little naked when going bare faced in public, but in time you won't even have anything you feel you 'need' to cover because you're skin has been able to breath thanks to the lack of make-up, and now everything looking fresh.

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