Everyday Essentials You Should Keep In Your Handbag AFTER You Clear It Out

17 November 2017

 I was about to start typing "ever since I was around fourteen and discovered 'What's In My Bag' videos on YouTube I've loved knowing what others tote around with them", but come to think of it, I've enjoyed a little nosey ever since I was a little girl. The endless fascination I had with my mum's dressing table led to shamelessly asking my auntie if she'd let me rifle through her makeup bag aged seven, and that interest in what other women deem worthy of never leaving the house without has never changed.

There's something so therapeutic about the simple act of emptying out your handbag, isn't there? Old crumpled receipts and empty mint imperial wrappers get chucked, bright coral summer lipsticks are banished in favour of an autumnal berry and you can actually pay for your car parking without dumping the entire contents of your bag onto the passenger seat in search of that last elusive quid. If you'd like to know which everyday essentials remained in my Charlotte Elizabeth 'The Grey Bloomsbury' (which is being discontinued FYI, be quick if you want one!) after it underwent The Big Clear-Out, read on...

As a beauty enthusiast, at least a few products are never far away and first up is a concealer that's both high-coverage, non-drying and easily-blendable, as I'm not always organised enough to remember a brush so fingers have to suffice and carrying separate formulations for dark circles and blemishes is a no-no. Thanks bareMinerals bareSkin Serum Concealer (I use the shade 'Fair' in winter) for being totally faff-free! 

Secondly, I do tend to get a little bit antsy if I don't have lip balm to hand as it's an absolute staple in my daily routine and it's no fun to be stuck with dry, chapped lips without relief, especially at this extra chilly year of year! Licking your lips feels like it's doing something but actually dries them out more, so make sure you've got something like the new Lypsyl Soft Touch Mirror Compact with you - this ticks so many boxes for me as it's packed full of moisturising ingredients like shea and cocoa butter, vitamin E and aloe vera, it has SPF15 and comes in the cutest little easy-open handbag-sized compact with a generous 9g of product and a handy mirror to top it all off! The scent of Original reminds me of childhood (I know I'm not the only one who got sent to school with one of those iconic blue tubes in their coat pocket or pencil case!) although it's actually described as "a warm oriental fragrance with top notes of orange and lemon and white florals". My favourite is Luxurious Vanilla which smells like velvety caramel and leaves my lips super nourished, and you can also choose from juicy Zingy Mandarin and floral Fresh Orange Blossom.

If you know me even a smidgen you'll know I'm a lip product gal through and through, and one I bang on about all the time (with good reason) is the Tanya Burr Cosmetics lipstick in 'Pink Cocoa' which is an expensive-looking tawny pinky brown that suits every occasion at any time of year. Check out 'Big Kiss' for a flattering and easy-to-wear deep berry red!

Other beauty essentials include a glass nail file to smooth pesky jagged edges on the go, a mini hair brush to sort out the mess the wind/rain has made and a perfume sample. I'm currently properly, PROPERLY obsessed with Glossier 'You' (you get a free sample with every order, get 10% off with this link: http://bff.glossier.com/gH3Zm) as it's the most sultry, warm and cosy scent. The Zoella Beauty Snowella We're On A Roll set also has three very different fragrances in rollerball form which is perfect for your handbag.

As for life-y bits and bobs, I never go anywhere without my Luxemono Spectra Card Case as it holds everything I need (debit card, driving license, Nando's card etc - you know, the essentials) along with an extremely useful zip compartment for train tickets and loose change, and you can also get it personalised with whatever you like... mine, really originally, says MEG. A portable charger is my handbag's best friend as I'm constantly draining my phone battery what with all of the emails and Instagram-scrolling and Spotify-listening, and even though my eyesight isn't awful I always make sure I've got my glasses in case I decide to catch a movie or I'm driving (car/house keys come along for the journey too, obvs).

Chuck in some period supplies (I'm currently using Veeda as their tampons and pads are made of 100% natural cotton and they have an eco-friendly focus), some Merci Handy sanitiser and a good hand protectant like the Jurlique Rose Hand Cream, and you're good to go out into the world with an extremely tidy handbag and everything you could need!

What are your handbag essentials? Do let me know what kind of 'handbag size' person you are also - I always used to carry a huge tote with everything plus the kitchen sink in it, whereas now I go for a smaller version and focus on the essentials. Fun fact: my mum brought me a cup of tea five minutes ago and when I said I was writing about lip balm she replied, "ooh I do love Lypsyl, I've always got one of them in my pocket, I used to buy multipacks for you and your brother to take to school as well!"

Less Stress And More Productivity In Five Easy Steps

14 September 2017

A feeling (an unwelcome, this-ain't-fun feeling) I get on pretty much a daily basis is that my mind is overloaded with 'things', of an important nature and an unimportant nature and everything else in between. I have a thousand thoughts a minute, to the point where I wonder if the person sitting next to me on the tube can physically hear the cogs whirring round inside my brain. And I wouldn't be surprised if you can relate, too - we live in a fast-paced society where everyone's REALLY, REALLY BUSY and sometimes it's just... a bit much.

The other day, I properly thought about the fact that I never do just one thing at one time. You might be thinking, "yeah that's this pretty common thing called multi-tasking Meg, people have been doing it for quite a while", but I mean more in the sense that I genuinely can't make it through 30 minutes of Gavin & Stacey without also being on my phone for a good three-quarters of the episode. It's 10pm and I've worked all day and I should be winding down and it's my time to chill but there I am: arranging meetings with PRs, refreshing Instagram, replying to DMs from viewers, pausing the program to listen to a WhatsApp voice note, checking my emails. Goodbye chuckling away at Bryn and Nessa, hello insomnia and the realisation that I've trained myself to constantly be doing something.

It's like I've started viewing relaxing as a 'waste of time' wherein I could be doing something, which is totally untrue because everyone needs their downtime. Maybe it's that I follow an endless amount of absolute girl-bosses who seem to be on their grind 24/7, maybe it's a decreased attention span (thanks a lot, Vine) or maybe it's knowing that my chronic illness means I have to make up for lost time wherever possible, but what I do know to be true is that self-care is super important.

With that being said, I've been taking 'steps to stop simultaneously slogging' (say that five times fast) and you know what? My mind feels clearer, a weight has been lifted and I've actually gotten more done, not less. Hope this helps any fellow overthinkers out there who's brain has too many tabs open!

1. Remove distractions so even if you're tempted, you're kinda forced to just... not. Let me follow up that crappy explanation with an example: if your phone is an entirely different room, when your mind inevitably starts to wander when you're meant to concentrating and you automatically reach for it, guess what, it ain't in arms reach any longer! It means I actually crack on with the blog post I've been meaning to write rather than check the #cheesewheel hashtag on Instagram instead, therefore increasing productivity and decreasing my intense cheese cravings. "One cannot scroll if the device on which thou scrolls upon is absent" - Meg Says, 2017.

2. Don't begin a new task until you've started and completed an existing oneThis tip is the one I've found most helpful because I'm a real floozy when it comes to my to-do list - I'll be halfway through editing a vlog for my second channel then my brain will ping! me ten times in a row with other chores that need doing and before I know it I've abandoned said vlog in an attempt to do ten entirely different things, all at once of course. Pick a job, give it your all so you know you've done it properly and to the best of your ability, tick it off, pick a new job, repeat. I've also found that this method reduces human error too, e.g. failing to attach your invoice in a solely 'just sending my invoice over' email AND signing off with 'Best wishes, Meh' due to flying through your inbox/simultaneous slogging. 

3. Break up your day in whichever way you find best. Personally I like a good hour by hour system, so in the morning when I'm finalising my to-do list for the day I'll add timings next to the tasks - e.g. where I'd normally write 'do emails', I now write 'do emails (9-10am)'. It can seem incredibly tedious to have your whole day planned out, but I've gotten busier lately and need my days to be as productive as possible. I even sometimes set an alarm on my phone, and find this stops me from absentmindedly opening another tab (usually Tyler Oakley's Tumblr) because there's just something about a time limit that stops faffing!

4. Change your environment whenever possible! I know you may be reading this and thinking, 'that's easy for you to say, you're a blogger with no set hours and the ability to work anywhere you like', but I'm not a central-London dweller who's surrounded by inspiration and interesting people all day - I live out in the countryside (nobody will even deliver takeaways here) with zero transport and sometimes working from home can get really lonely and lead to feelings of isolation. Recently I got my own car - vlog here - and even just the thought of being able to drive to a little café to write in rather than sitting on my sofa lifted my spirits. A change is as good as a rest as they say, and it can be a little change also - decluttering the drawers in your desk, finding a new place to get lunch, chatting with a colleague you haven't met before in the break-room or adding a print to the wall of your office.

5. Chill out, and I mean properly chill out - forget being half in relaxation-mode and half in job-mode, why do either if you're only giving fifty per cent to each? We're talking one hundred per cent relaxation, people! My favourite way to do this is have a bath in the evening as it signals the end of my day and gives me the chance to properly unwind before hitting the day. At the moment I'm loving the Zoella Beauty Sweet Inspirations range, in particular the Bath Milk for frothy bubbles and the Sugar Dip for silky water, and I also pop my laptop on top of the toilet seat to watch some Netflix. Slightly risky, but I've dropped too many books into the water to count and if I don't have something to do, I'd twiddle my thumbs for about two minutes before hopping out to watch Riverdale in bed.

Meditation is another thing I'd highly recommend as you can do it anytime anywhere and it's amazing at centring you in the moment (slightly pretentious turn of phrase I know, but it's the best way I can describe how it makes me feel!) when everything around you feels rushed and you just need to like, chill for a sec.* Check out Andrew Johnson in the App Store or the book Calm - both have helped me hugely and are perfect for beginners. Happy relaxing!

*If you know what film this is from, please be my best friend for ever and ever.

Jumper | Rings | Cushion | Throw | Zoella Lifestyle
Photos by Megan Duffield Photography

Three Slogan Sweatshirts You Need In Your Life Right Now

31 August 2017

Haven't slogan t-shirts and sweatshirts just made SUCH a comeback recently? They never really went away, but I guess we were pretty preoccupied with those iconic Topshop embroidered swallow Fred Perry-esque tees (who remembers pairing one of those badboys with a huge Primark pearl necklace for their Bebo profile pic) and then it was all about the plain and simple cropped until the slogan took centre stage again.

With everything from Gucci-inspired washed logo numbers to retro vintage pieces, we've got the ability to emblazon our chests with an unlimited amount of words through which you can say as much or as little as you'd like. You can let the world know that you're a feminist (and that everyone else should be, too), that you're a true 90s kid or remind yourself that you're much more worthy than you often realise.

The first of the bunch comes from good old New Look courtesy of their millennial pink Actually I Can jumper which immediately makes me think of that amazingly inspirational scene in Legally Blonde where Elle has completely had enough of everyone underestimating her and 'Watch Me Shine' by Joanna Pacitti plays. You can find it herehere and here and I pinky promise there's just something about that motivational quote that makes you think, 'you know what... yeah, I actually can', and it's quite the gamechanger.

Never having been to New York City (I know right, call yourself a blogger, Meg) I can't say I 100% relate to this slogan in the same way I relate to the 'gal needs a kick up the bum to realise she's not totally awful at everything she does' way I do to the first jumper, but I love everything from the soft colour to the relaxed shape to the casual hem to the silvery-lilac embroidery of the lettering. Find it at Topshop here, and pair it with equally casual high-waisted jeans like the ASOS Farleigh and an 80s-inspired matching jacket like this one.

This jumper spoke loudly as 'sisterhood' to me isn't just about my close-knit group of gal pals, it's about supporting anyone and everyone that you believe in; it's about drag queens you admire and your best friend who happens to be a lesbian and underrated bloggers who don't get the opportunities they deserve because of their skin colour or their weight. It reminds me that we're all in this together and that you rise by lifting others.

Four Types Of Friend We All Need In Our Lives

2 August 2017

- Sponsored Content - 

If you stopped a stranger on the street and asked, "in life, what are the three most important aspects to you?" I'd bet my bottom dollar that most, if not all, would include 'my friends' in that list. True, proper friendship is one of those invaluable cling-onto-it-with-all-your-might things that can bring endless happiness and we simply cannot live without. There's a reason why we hold it dear, continuously re-watch ten seasons of a program that's solely about the close bond between six NYC-dwellers and display the affinity with our BFF to the world proudly on our wrists. I've always loved the idea of friendship bracelets since I was little - that one person who gets to wear the 'best' to your 'friend' on two halves of a loveheart broken down the middle who's your absolute ride or die (yep, even in Year Two).

Years later now that I'm a proper official adult (my recent Netflix history of Matilda followed by Jumanji then Spy Kids might tell you differently but I'm 23, pinky promise) I still adore the notion of friendship bracelets, but no longer have just one best pal like I did in primary school. Links Of London have come to my aid in a fabulous way on this one with the reinterpretation of their iconic Sweetie Collection, of which the Sweetie Sterling Silver Charm Bracelet is my favourite. The signature bracelet itself is so classic, timeless and universal that it's the perfect friendship bracelet for everyone in your girl gang, and the genius part comes into play with the personalisation aspect as each individual can express themselves by adding charms that reflect their personality.

Having a circle of amazing friends rather than one solitary BFF is a wonderful thing as you gain something unique from each of them, and I love how there's a Links Of London charm that represents everyone. Here's four kinds of friend that you absolutely need by your side!

The Gryffindor - everyone needs that friend who's moral compass is on point and has your back no matter what. They're fiercely loyal and that's why they mean so much to you - your alliance with each other is unbreakable and their courage helps you to live more boldly and bravely, too. Whether it's being the final pair getting cheesy chips at the end of the evening or helping one another through tough times when everything else seems to be falling apart, you know you can turn to them. They're a true good egg and inspire you to be just as fab of a friend to them in return! As for charms, they'd love the Compass, Globe or Birdcage.

The Hufflepuff - whenever you think of them you can't help but smile and think, 'GOOD TIMES'. The most genuine and friendly person you'll ever meet, a laugh is never far away with this feel-good buddy and it's always a my-tummy-hurts-and-I-might-wee-a-little-bit laugh and all! With the patience of a saint and a naturally positive disposition, their sunny attitude can brighten the darkest day and you're constantly inspired by their dedication to being as hardworking, dependable and kind as possible. Why not treat them to a charm? They deserve a ButtercupBee or Beehive.

The Ravenclaw - is there anyone better at giving advice than this wise owl?! Whether you're thinking of changing career paths, you've broken up with your boyfriend or you're having trouble deciding on your degree choice, they're the first pal you turn to in a crisis because they're always there with a shoulder to cry on and the most top notch logical advice ever. They're impossibly clever and sharp meaning their sarcastic humour and witty one-liners have you cracking up non-stop and it's a real pleasure to be friends with someone so creative and original. The Feather, Moon and Key charms are right up their street.

The Slytherin - a born leader, we can all benefit from having a friend as ambitious and independent as this. "A bit of spinach from your salad is stuck in your teeth", "the little black dress, definitely", "you're way too good for him, babe" - they tell it like it is without any sugar-coating which is often exactly what you need and you know you can rely on them for an 100% honest opinion. You admire their strong work ethic, their ability to be assertive and confident in any situation and the way they're truly themselves - whether everyone else likes it or not! Their perfect charms? The Evil Eye, Snake and Locket.

All unique and special in an endless amount of ways, we love each of our friends dearly and let's face it - where would we be without 'em? Answer: miserably crying into our pizza because we a) feel pretty darn lonely, and b) we know that our mates would let us swap a slice of ours for a slice of theirs and more pizza options = a happier life.

P.S. check out my beautiful blogging pals Ellie, Sabrina and Jess!

This post is sponsored by Links Of London. All opinions and words are 100% my own and honest. No affiliate links have been used. For more information, please see my disclaimer here