Saturday, 31 December 2016

BEAUTY | Get Ready With Me, Party Edition

Boux Avenue Eddie Teddy Cape

I can't, I won't, believe that it is January tomorrow. 

This post was supposed to be up like well over a week ago, to fit into the 'party season' but ummmmmm life?! Instead, I've had a wonderful Christmas break, and I'm feeling so much more motivated to get up and GO. 

Also, who says we can't party at ALL times of year? Because we definitely can. 

A birthday coming up? PARTY

A friend getting married? PARTY

Getting a promotion? PARTY

Simply because it's a Friday night? PARTY 

I think I actually prefer the 'getting ready' time instead of the ACTUAL party, like a lot of people I love getting dressed up, and it's nice to feel 'pretty' instead of mooching around the house in my lazy wear.  

Boux Avenue Eddie Teddy Cape
Boux Avenue Evelyn Knit Mules

I'm quite messy, so getting changed into my outfit for the night is the LAST thing I do. You just know that I am going to spill something down myself! I like to get SUPER cosy whilst I get ready, although, it usually makes me not want to leave the house at all! Jeans digging into my belly? No thank you. The Boux Avenue Eddie Teddy Cape* (£40.00) is my current absolute OBSESSION. I have it in medium/large so it is nicely oversized, and unbelievably soft and comfortable. Also, just look at the hood. I pair this with my Boux Avenue Evelyn Knit Mules* (£16.00) because you gotta' keep those tootsies warm, it is very chilly at the moment!

Funkin Cocktails

I don't know about you. But I like to have a drink nearby when I get ready for a party. Yes, an alcoholic one. I find it improves my make-up applying techniques, especially eye-liner because let me tell you, I am FLIPPING awful at applying it, and no you are not having a photo of me doing it. Funkin' Cocktails* are the EASY way to make drinks, with lots of yummy flavours.

Now we have a drink in hand, LET'S GET READY, SHALL WE? 

Make Up Flat Lay
Get Ready With Me

I begin by prepping my skin, with the Soap & Glory, One Heck of a Blot Primer (£10.00) To be honest, I am still not entirely sure what a primer does to my skin. I have what you call 'normal' skin, BUT WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN. I'm not dry, nor am I oily, so I don't really notice primer making much of a difference for the longevity of my make-up, but the big boys say you should use it. So I do. 

I then go in with the concealer, pretty much all over my face, because clearly, I am not a make-up artist. PLEASE JUST GIVE ME FLAWLESS SKIN. I'm not claiming to even be a LITTLE bit good at doing make-up, I have honestly no clue what I am doing. I just do the techniques the way I like to, why do people get so bitchy on the internet about 'how' people do their make-up, if YOU'RE happy with the end finish, why should it matter what anyone else thinks? I am absolutely LOVING the Urban Decay Naked Concealer* (£17.50) It's a really thick consistency making it a super high coverage concealer, however still really blend-able. I have the lightest possible shade and find it really makes my eyes POP. Also, I am using the Crown Brush C436 Mini Duo Fibre Blender* and it is one of my favourite brushes EVER and a bargain! A randomly priced bargain at that though... WHY £7.94

Get Ready With Me

I'd like to give an award to ANYONE who can apply make-up without pulling funny faces. Since I slathered so much concealer all over my face I felt I didn't need a foundation THIS time, but I usually use the MAC Studio Fix Fluid in NW13 (£22.00) It is a really great matte foundation, with a wide range of colours - including pale shades! I fixed my base with the Soap & Glory, One Heck of a Blot Powder (£12.00) I don't really have a lot to say about it, it's a powder. It works. 

For me, 2016 was the year of the HIGHLIGHT. I don't know why I use a matte foundation to then cover my face in highlight, but I do. Ahhh, you're beginning to realise what I meant when I said I DO NOT KNOW WHAT I AM DOING. theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer Luminizer (£17.50) is the DREAM champagne shimmery highlight shade. I pop it on my cheekbones, the bridge of my nose, my cupids bow, above my eyebrows, basically all over my face, what can I say, I want to be a glitter ball in my next life. I usually use it for an eyeshadow too, because lazy. 

My holy grail blush is NARS Orgasm (£23.00) because it simply gives you a gorgeous glowing flush.... kinda like an... you get it. The pan itself looks quite shimmery, but it doesn't show glittery on the skin, it just makes you look really happy and healthy. One of my best purchases of 2016, by far. 

Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette

It's EYE TIME. When I think of parties... I think of SMOKY EYES. This of course meant, it was time to get out the beloved Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette (£38.50) I fully intended to *attempt* a wonderfully smoky eye. But how the flip do you do it? 

I literally have no idea. 

Get Ready With Me

In the end, I applied 'High' all over my lids, and tried to use 'Slanted' in my crease, but that failed and made me look like I had been punched, so I gave up. I used 'Armor' to define my eye shape under my waterline. It turns out, the minimal eyeshadow worked out for the best, because I only just remembered that my dress of choice is rather snazzy and needed a less 'in your face' look. 

Get Ready With Me

Let's completely ignore my pathetic excuse of winged liner, because quite frankly it is awful. I believe I evened it out later on. This lip colour is one of my FAVOURITES and is one that people always ask about. It surprises people when I say it is from the Tanya Burr Cosmetics range - an absolute bargain! I chose the shade Martha Moo (£5.99) and although it says on Feel Unique it is a lip gloss, it is definitely not! It is more of a liquid matte, and I love it. 

ONTO BROWS. Benefit Ka-Brow* (£18.50) is the first time I have used a 'dip style' brow product, rather than a pencil, I thought it was going to be really hard to use, but if I can do it, you can sure do it too. This product is flippin' amazing, long lasting, great shade range, and fills your brows out really naturally. Mascara of choice, as always is Benefit's Roller Lash (£19.50) I just can't seem to find any mascara that curves and lengthens my lashes like this one, even though I know a lot of people don't get on with it. It can clump rather easily, so it is best to just stick to minimal coats.

Boux Avenue Bra Solutions

My outfit of choice is this lovely Warehouse Sequin Flappy Dress (SALE: £25.00) I paid full price, you jammies. I usually think of sequin outfits as EW ITCHY EW but the lining of this dress is a dream, it is SO soft and the dress itself is a really nice fit. I'd buy a size smaller than you usually would, for this one, simply because I felt it was rather big when I tried it on in my usual size, and hey, doesn't that make you feel good too! 

Because of the unique 'cut out' detailing at the top of the dress, I was umming and ahhing what to do with the boobies. Not so much an inconvenience to go braless, but I also didn't want my straps to be on show TOO much. This is where Boux Avenue save the day. They have a wide range of solutions for all your dress woes. 

Low V-Neck dress? Worried about a nip slip? Use the secret tape*

Worried that it might get a bit 'nippy'? Use the petals

For this particular dress, I used the strapless bra* along with the clear straps, with my boob size being 36D, I find I prefer the extra support with the straps, but it is totally up to you. I only tend to use a fully strapless bra, if I am wearing a strapless outfit. 


Get Ready With Me
Get Ready With Me

A squirt of perfume, and I'm ready to go party the night away! I've recently had my hair CHOPPED by the lovely Kersha from BB's Hair Design in Barnsley. I've never had a hairdresser spend so much time and attention on making sure my cut was perfect. I usually feel like hairdressers want to get you in and out, especially when you are just getting a cut and blow dry - but she really took her time, and I love my new hair. 

Hope you all have a Happy New Year, and I will see you NEXT YEAR on Very Berry Cosmo, let's make 2017 a good one! Don't forget to use 'BERRY20' for 20% off all full price Boux Avenue items!

Like what you see? Let's be social media friends! 

I am on Facebook! Please support my page and give me a like! xoxo
*this post contains affiliate links, and is in collaboration with Boux Avenue, however all views are my own*

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

LIFESTYLE | Obsessive 'C' Disorder

Obsessive Christmas Disorder

Another day, another chance to correct mental health misconceptions. 

If you're a regular reader or follower of Very Berry Cosmo, I'm sure you probably know what OCD stands for. If you aren't sure what it stands for - that's okay! A simple Google search is all it takes. The first three results clearly come back with something called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Okay, brilliant. Google isn't misinforming the nation. So why am I STILL seeing ridiculous versions of OCD. It's like people seem to think that they can chuck any word beginning with C and call it an obsessive disorder. Literally, ANY WORD.

For all them cat ladies - Obsessive Cats Disorder

For all them make-up hoarders - Obsessive Cosmetics Disorder

For people who can't stop eating cheese - Obsessive Cheese Disorder

For those who just can't stop pedaling - Obsessive Cycling Disorder

& the one that inspired me to write today's post.....

Obsessive Christmas Disorder

Obsessive Christmas Disorder 

I love cats, cosmetics, cheese, cycling and Christmas just as much as the next person does. But why does a serious illness need to be included in this? People are like oh it's just banter. Well, sorry to be blunt, but it wouldn't be banter if cancer was involved. It's just not funny. 

I've been seeing a certain Telegraph article sweeping around social media, and thankfully a lot of people are calling it out. With the headline 'I have Obsessive Christmas Disorder - and it's the greatest gift of all' - I haven't read all of the article because I refuse to register, to read that tripe, but the title says it all really. 

So you LIKE Christmas? So you're really ORGANISED this Christmas? So you're PARTICULAR about your tree decorations? Those qualities are not a serious illness. Don't mock it. 

I find I have to explain to a lot of people that just because you REALLY REALLY REALLY like something, it doesn't mean you have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. You simply just really like something, and most likely have an addictive personality. Flippin eck' I wish my serious, 
debilitating illness caused me that much JOY! 

Obsessive Christmas Disorder

"I am so OCD about this"

The term 'I am so OCD about this' gets used a little bit too loosely, likewise with 'I am so depressed' and I've been seeing it used a lot this festive period. I completely understand why people say it. If I remember correctly, I very much used to say it myself. I accept that people need to be educated about it, but I will not tolerate ignorance. 

I am not going to tell people off for saying it, nor am I going to tell anyone what to say. But I am just going to give you a little bit of information to think about, and I do hope you will consider not using the term in the wrong context in the future.

It doesn't offend me when people say it, but I do always sit there like realllyyyyy, are you actually so OCD though? I find it more uncomfortable than anything, particularly when I am in a group of people and someone says it. More often than not, SOMEONE within the group knows my feelings about using OCD like an adjective, and I can FEEL them looking at me, to see my reaction. 

Obsessive Christmas Disorder

'I'm a bit OCD about my Christmas tree, I can't let my husband put the tree up, I have to do it, because he doesn't do it right. I can't have two of the same bauble next to each other, because it looks silly' = NOT OCD 

'OMG I love Christmas SO SO SO SO MUCH. I'm so ahead of schedule this year! I wrote all my Christmas cards well over a month ago, and I had all my presents ready earlier this year, in August. I LIVE for Christmas and prepare for it all year! It is the happiest time of year, and I am a little bit OCD about getting it all perfect' = NOT OCD

'I HATE putting up the Christmas tree. It makes me feel extremely anxious. My OCD ruins this time of year for me. Shall I put the star on top of the tree this year, or the angel? If you put the star on the tree your parents will become seriously ill in 2017, they could die. It would be all your fault. Best go for the angel then... except I can't find it... WHERE IS IT. WHERE IS IT. My parents are going to die. They are going to die. It will be all my fault. Okay... breathe, breathe, breathe, it's okay, I will just go without. 

OH no wait, didn't Aunt Betty once say that it is really unlucky to not have anything on the top of your Christmas tree? Oh drat, I can't remember. Must check. Must check. What do I do?' = THIS IS OCD

'Okay. You are not going to let your nasty OCD take over your mind today. You are going to have a wonderful time, with all of your family. You haven't seen some of them in ages! You just have to get through preparing and cooking the dinner. YOU HAVE GOT THIS. Did you just put bleach in the cranberry sauce? Are you trying to poison people? Must make it again to be sure. Pay REAL attention this time' = THIS IS OCD

Can you see the difference? The misconception that people think that we ENJOY our compulsions. If you enjoy acting out your particular rituals - you do not have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It is pure terror. 
You don't know whether you can trust your own mind. It isn't about a bauble not looking 'right'. 

Apologies if this seemed like a really angry rant, but I am rather passionate about this subject! 'I am so OCD about this' gets used so much that when I finally brave and share my thoughts and tell people that I suffer with the condition, they are like 'oh so you are really tidy then and like things in order' NO. I could quite literally face palm myself when people say this to me. 

I hope you learnt something new, and please share this post on social mediaI would love to spread lots of OCD awareness - It is a truly horrible thing to suffer with, and I wouldn't wish the condition on my worst enemy. At all. 

Like what you see? Let's be social media friends! 

I am on Facebook! Please support my page and give me a like! xoxo

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

LIFESTYLE | HP Is Here, To Let Your Memories Live Forever

HP Sprocket Inkless Printer
This is a paid for advertorial by HP

A photograph can take you back in time, letting your memories live forever.

I often find myself flicking back through my old photos on Facebook, reminiscing on certain times in my life. I love that it's almost like stepping INSIDE the photograph, and being in that moment again. This process can either make me really happy, or really sad. Friendships may have fizzled out, relationships may have ended, family members may have passed, but I personally feel sometimes, it is nice to look back and think, I was really happy there. 

(Sometimes is underlined because we all have that pain in the arse ex, the face we never ever ever ever want to see again. Those photos were totally chucked on a fire like years ago)

I'm trying to live my life in the present more and more, each and everyday, and not dwell too much on the past, or even the 'unknown' future. Thinking about the past and future, is where I'd say I struggle with my OCD diagnosis the most. When I think of the past, I look back and I can't help but think, WHERE DID IT ALL GO WRONG?! I never used to constantly worry about dying or catching illnesses, why and where did this change? Why can't I be as happy and care-free as I was in that photograph again? 

HP Sprocket Inkless Printer

However, saying all that, I think documenting your past is a really important process in life. Seeing how you change and develop as a person. In the movies, girl brings boy back to her place, family gets the baby albums out, yes it's mega cringe, and yes they try and make it as awkward as they can. But I'd be very sad if my dad HADN'T documented that time of my life. I find it really interesting to see what I looked like back then, after all I can't remember it! Same goes for when I'm older, I know I will want to look back on my twenties, show the grandkids and all that. 

Now, let's talk about the MUST-have gadget for this, the HP Sprocket*

Yes, it's rose-gold and white, blogger heaven, I know. Yes it is beautiful, stylish and compact. But aesthetics aside, this little gadget is INKless and absolutely flipping amazing - my current addiction. I've always been drawn to Polaroid cameras, I love the INSTANT feel of them. You can take a photo and seconds later it will be in your hand, to keep. You can pop it in a scrapbook, on your wall or on your fridge. No more going into Boots to have your photos developed, or logging onto photo printing websites and having to wait a few days, INSTANT PRINTS.

Have any of you ever used a Polaroid camera and tried to group-selfie with it? DISASTER. 
Beth's thumb is in front of the lens, Emma's blinking, poor Amy, bless her' isn't in the shot at all. 

This doesn't happen when you use the HP Sprocket.

HP Sprocket Inkless Printer

It is like having a Polaroid camera, except you get to CHOOSE which photos you would like to print, directly through the App. No more dodgy selfie shots! This means you can be 100% happy with what comes out, no wasting paper! The printer connects to your device through a Bluetooth connection. It prints photos from Instagram, Facebook, Flickr or simply your camera roll. It is quick, hassle free, and I get rather excited each time a new photo comes out!

Did you say it was INKLESS?

Yes, you heard me correctly. You don't need ink cartridges, which I think is BRILLIANT, because I hate buying ink. 1) It is SO expensive. 2) You always run out of a certain colour first, never all at the same time, and it is just a FAFF. 3) You begin to restrict your creativity... OH NO THAT PHOTO HAS LOADS OF BLUE IN THE BACKGROUND. Can't print that, it will take up all the blue ink!

Don't ask me how it works, some magical unicorn behind the scenes work I'm sure. But no, seriously, it's to do with the 'ZINK' Zero Ink technology, so in basic terms, the paper is magical. To use this device all you need to do is pay for the paper, and for £10 you get 20 sheets, making it 50p a print, which I personally think is rather decent! (the paper has a sticky back too for even further ease)

Is the print quality any good?

This is the question that most people seem to ask me, which is totally understandable because after all, that is what you are paying for. Firstly, I will let you answer that yourself with the photos shown below.  They are Jordan's and all taken on his SLR.

HP Sprocket Inkless Printer

With all printing facilities, the quality of the print is dependant on the quality of the photograph itself. I can easily tell the difference between prints from my Olympus Pen, and my iPhone 6. In some cases I even used images using my Instagram stories, FORWARD FACING CAMERA in the dark, which is terrible quality, but still printed out rather well. It all depends on the images YOU are using.

In some cases I find that the darker photos don't turn out as good as the bright ones, but in some cases they work better. To be honest it is all about trial and error in the beginning. I'm still learning which photos turn out better than others, and then editing my future photos accordingly to suit the printers abilities. You soon pick this up.

The photographs themselves are only 2 by 3 inches, perfect for scrapbooking. They are rather small and I feel that the printing quality is MORE than enough for them. I am seriously very impressed with it. 

How did you add the frames, and text to the image? 

Through the app of course! The app you use to print the photos has all sorts of different features to play around with. The editor features filters, similarly to apps such as Instagram and VSCO, I personally like playing around with the black and white ones. 

HP Sprocket Inkless Printer

IT'S TIME TO GET CREATIVE. You can add text, stickers, and frames to your photos and make them your own. There are all sorts of frames, FUN AND FUNKY ONES including Santa - where you end up inside his BEARD, which I just think is hilarious. There are crazy colourful ones and more rustic wooden ones, plus the standard white border, which I happen to LOVE. There is something for everyone.

HP Sprocket Inkless Printer

The stickers are also super cute, and can totally change your images. You want to wear a tiara? YOU PUT THAT TIARA STICKER ON YOUR HEAD GIRL. I personally love the Christmassy ones, and the cat ears, it is very fun. 

HP Sprocket Inkless Printer

Hope you enjoyed this post lovelies! I bet you're now lusting after this amazing little gadget aren't you? If you have super organised family and friends, it might be a little bit too late to subtly *hint* that you would like one for Christmas, but it worth a try! Play on the fact that it will benefit THEM too. Because it does, Jordan flipping loves the Sprocket and is already creating a scrapbook of all his favourite photographs. If you are receiving money as a gift this year, I would certainly recommend this as an investment. I hear people using them for keepsakes at weddings, big family get togethers and drunken parties. Whatever the occasion, it's a fun product that everyone is sure to love. 

Learn more about the Sprocket over on the HP Store here. Happy Memory Building!

Like what you see? Let's be social media friends! 

I am on Facebook! Please support my page and give me a like! xoxo
*This post is sponsored by HP, however all thoughts and opinions are my own*

Monday, 28 November 2016

CHRISTMAS | Gift Shopping Made Easy, With Debenhams

Oasis Francine Parka Coat, Debenhams

Department stores are amazing. You can literally buy ANYTHING from them. 

(you can't buy everything from them, but you sure can get a lot of things)

From sofas... to kitchenware.. to lipsticks.. to clothes.. to luggage.. and to cameras, you can be sure that Debenhams has got your back. If you're anything like me, you haven't even thought about Christmas shopping AT all - to those people who completed their shopping in like August, this post isn't for you, unless, yano, you are preparing for Christmas TWENTY FLIPPING 17'

I always leave my shopping until the last minute, and I don't even know why I do it. It happens every single year, and each year I always say 'next year I will start earlier' but we all know how that story ends. The thing is, I'm not very good at deciding what to buy people, and it is becoming harder each and every year. I find that when it comes to buying someone a present... if they REALLY really want something, they WILL have purchased it themselves already.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

LIFESTYLE | Look After Your Boobies

Looking after your boobies, with Breast Cancer Care

I love raising awareness. 

Last month, was all about Breast Cancer Awareness and my bae's at Boux Avenue set up a partnership with Breast Cancer Care, which was AMAZING of them. They donated £1 to BCC for every bra fitting during October! They also matched all donations given by customers. I was supposed to get this post up in October, to be in line with this, but I had a little think...

Awareness days, weeks, and months are brilliant. But I can't help but feel once it hits midnight of said date (in this case, 1st November) people are just a bit like, RIGHT THAT IS IT FOR THIS YEAR, CYA NEXT OCTOBER. That is something that I am not a fan of. For that reason, I wanted this post to go up this month instead, let's KEEP people talking about Breast Cancer. 


Tuesday, 8 November 2016

BLOGGING | FORGET About The Page Views

Engagement VS VIews

I don't have a media kit. 

Having a media kit seems to be the 'in thing' at the moment, and bloggers almost feel like they are rubbish if they don't have one. I see the benefits of having one, I do, they just have never been for me. For those who aren't sure what a media kit is, it's like a nicely designed document that includes some of the brands you have worked with, alongside all of your blog stats, such as followers, views, users, etc. Treat it as a kind of blog CV. 

Engagement VS VIews

They sound pretty great huh?... and I bet you are all wondering why the flip' I don't have one. It's simple. My life is happier when I don't have all the numbers whizzing around my head. 

Monday, 24 October 2016

LIFESTYLE | VeryBerryCosmo Turns TWO!


Hello lovelies!

As you can see from the title... TODAY IS VERY BERRY COSMO'S SECOND BIRTHDAY! Please insert all of the birthday and celebratory emojis here please.... 

OF COURSE I had to make something tasty to mark the occasion, plus I figured it should probably have berries in too... above is the VERY BERRY CHEESECAKE! It is white chocolate flavour, with a lovely jammy raspberry centre, coated in lots of berries and strawberry sauce. Jordan helped me make it last night, and it was super easy and super fun! We used this BBC Good Food Recipe because it had lots of fabulous ratings. We used Lotus Caramelised Biscoff Biscuits instead of the Amaretti Biscuits, this was just personal preference, although in hindsight I wish we went for a chunkier biscuit! IT'S THE BEST BIT!


You can't even see the base in the images but there is one! Promise... even if it is teeny, pretty sure it is the richest, sweetest, really bad for your diet... kind of dessert. THE BEST KIND. For someone who is the clumsiest little bean ever, and not overly brilliant in the kitchen department... I think I did pretty well!


Anyway, let's put the cake down.. just for a minute. Let's have a chat. I feel I have been a little bit hard on myself lately. I'm so disappointed in the fact that this will only be my 21st blog post of the entire 2016. I always just sit here like GIRLLLL what have you been doing. People tell me I'm doing so well, but to me, it doesn't feel like I am doing well at all. I feel I don't deserve the kind words. I feel lazy. I feel irrelevant in the blogging world. I feel unmotivated. Why do people care about what I have to say?

But today was different. I went to sit down and write this post and I wasn't entirely sure what to write about to be honest. I had a little flick back at Very Berry's first birthday for a bit of inspo, and I realised HOW much has happened since my last blog birthday. A BLOODY LOT. 


Since October 2015 I have achieved and conquered so many fabulous things. I've had happy times, and I've had a few of the saddest moments of my life.

Let's rewind a year or so shall we? This starts off quite sad, but it brightens up, PROMISE. 

This time last year I was in the first semester of my final year at University. I don't completely remember how I was this time last year... however I do know that it was not good and I have probably tried my hardest to block it out of my mind entirely.

In December I took my first *proper* step towards combatting my OCD. I began taking my anti-depressant medication, fluoxetine, and whilst beginning this made me feel really ill for a good few months as well as many sleepless nights, I haven't looked back since. It has changed my life.

In January, my whole world seemed to crumble. I lost someone in my life that meant the world to me. He was my rock at University and for some reason he decided he could just let me go... I will never understand why. I'd just got back to Uni after several really big deadlines over Christmas. It was time to start my dissertation and final project, and BOOM, he decided to drop that corker on me didn't he?

March was a month where things started looking up! It was my birthday month, and I also met Jordan, at a time where I wasn't sure if I could trust a boy with my heart again. Having a relationship whilst having a mental illness can be really really difficult, and I wasn't sure if I was going to cope with someone brand new, especially when my mind would spiral at the thought of cleanliness in *intimate* situations. It turned out that Jordan was the best thing that could ever happen to me, he really understands my thoughts. He works with food and really understands food hygiene - YAY


April was a HUGE milestone for me on the blog / life in general front. I handed in my dissertation - YESSSSS and one of my biggest blogging brand partnerships began, Penguin. I managed to secure work experience within the publicity & marketing department of Penguin General for two weeks, working on a variety of blogger outreach projects and other general work experiency STUFF. Whilst I was there I tried to network as much as I could and gain professional relationships, I still talk to Steph & Julia on a weekly basis and they are incredibly supportive. Plus I get to read books that aren't even out yet, and run giveaways for you all, and thats pretty cool <3 

I try to get as many people as I can involved with Penguin because I know what it is like to start from scratch, and I want to make it accessible for all bloggers to work with amazing brands, you have to start somewhere!

May was all about finalising off all University deadlines, particularly my Goodbye OCD Stigma project, something that is very close to my heart. I tried to include this on my blogging social media accounts as much as I could because breaking mental health stigmas is a HUGE part of Very berry Cosmo. My OCD story video and book received an overwhelming amount of comments, all very positive! People always tell me how I've inspired them to talk more about their mental health journeys, or to even take that big step to the doctors to go and get themselves help. I love this.

We WILL get our message out there!

In July I graduated from the University of Leeds with a SHINY SHINY 2.1 in Graphic & Communication Design, something that I NEVER thought would ever happen. University was tough, so so so so flipping tough. I shed so many tears over those 4 years, thinking I would never make it until the end. I had so many *I need to drop out right now* moments, but I am a fighter and I didn't give up. ALOT happened during final year, break ups, a lovely friend passed away, battling against my worrisome mind / nasty compulsions and I tried to carry on blogging alongside it all as much as I could. I guess you could say it's not surprising that I have blogged so little? 

I'm all about quality over quantity though, and if I'm not in the right frame of mind to write a blog post, I won't make myself.... even if it means zero posts for weeks. 

August was quite a slow moving month. I had been looking forward to graduating SO much, that I kind of forgot what I was going to be doing once I had finished University. Job-hunting, job-hunting, job-hunting, began to be my priority. I also started to brave it and ask for payments for blog posts - BABY STEPS!! I've always been too anxious to ask for money, but all they can do is say no, and I work DAMN hard on all of the content I produce.

I must say, September was a BOUXtiful month. Yes, that is right, another big brand partnership began - I became a brand ambassador for one of my favourite companies, Boux Avenue! This was one of my biggest blogging achievements to date - for some reason little ol' me was selected to promote the most BEAUTIFUL pieces of nightwear and lingerie alongside some pretty amazing fashionistas! Whenever I feel low, I think of times like this. I must be doing SOMETHING in the blogging community right. 

& here we are! This year has sure had its ups and its downs. I've met so many wonderful faces this year at various events all around the country. Bloggers Ball, Blogger Tiki Party, Bloggers Blog Awards, The Alchemist, Wren Kitchens, all sorts - the list is endless!

I guess what this post is trying to say is.... even on those days where you FEEL rubbish and life seems very still and not an awful lot is going on for you, you just need to take a step back. Have a think of all the GOOD and positive things that have happened, you will probably surprise yourself, it is so easy to forget about all sorts of brilliant achievements and get yourself swept under.

I just want to say, thank you so much for all of your amazing, wonderful, kind messages, there is NO WAY I would have continued this life adventure without you all. Your support means the world. I wonder where we will go this year? I'M EXCITED. Hope you are too. 

Like what you see? Let's be social media friends! 

I am on Facebook! Please support my page and give me a like! xoxo

Sunday, 16 October 2016

LIFESTYLE | Mental Health & Employment

Mental Health and Employment

Hello lovelies!

It's been a big week for the 'mental health' scene on the Internet. Monday was World Mental Health Day, and it was great to see all of the positive energy surrounding this, all the tweets of illustrations, the story shares... simply everything was portrayed in a good light. Encouraging people to talk, find support, and not to be embarrassed about their thoughts. This is great, but I do agree that it shouldn't only be 'one day a year' where this happens. 

It was also OCD Awareness Week, which holds a truly special place in my heart. Unless you are a new reader of Very Berry Cosmo, I am also certain you all know how passionate I am about breaking the stigma of OCD, and educating as many people as I can about the disorder. Weeks like this are BRILLIANT because as a community we can all come together and spread the word. Little ol' me can't make a huge impact, but everyone TOGETHER sure as hell can. 

People still don't know what OCD is, they think all sufferers are all 'super clean FREAKS' and that we go round cleaning all day and everyday, swabbing everything to see the germ count, and that we ENJOY doing these behaviours, which is simply not the case. 

If you enjoy cleaning, you don't have OCD. You simply like cleaning. 

If you enjoy everything in order, colour coding all your spreadsheets, you don't have OCD. You simply like being organised.  

I can tell you now, us OCD sufferers do not enjoy our compulsions. We like them because they provide us a sense of relief... for a short amount of time. But then we have to do the compulsion again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again... you get the picture., it get's tiring. We do not 'enjoy' doing them, we have to do them. We will be completely anxious the entire time we act them out, the sheer terror we feel is not enjoyment at all.

I was interview by a local newspaper this week, take a look at the article here!

Mental Health and Employment

Anyway, let's get into the main point of the blog post shall we? flip I love to babble don't I. As most of you know, I completed my degree in July earlier this year. These days I am pretty much lounging around the house in my pyjamas trying my HARDEST to get myself a design graduate job. It is so much harder than I ever thought it would be. 

A family member said to be me the other day.... do you think you're having less luck on the job front because you make it publicly aware that you suffer with OCD? and I sat there for a moment and had a think.

Mental Health and Employment

I will be honest, it is something that has crossed my mind briefly, in the beginning I wanted to write an anonymous mental health blog, but it turns out that just didn't work out. About a year and half ago I began to open up about my experience with nasty thoughts on this blog. The feedback I received was amazing, people said I was inspiring, refreshing, and educating people a lot about an illness that has so many misconceptions in the media. 

During our conversation it was asked whether or not I would consider removing all my blog posts mentioning my battle with OCD... just until I managed to secure a job...

The answer was no. 

I'm not going to remove them. I try to not let the label OCD define me, but at the end of the day it IS a part of me and I am really not ashamed about it - I have helped out SO many people coming to terms with their own minds! If I'm completely honest, if an employer DID feel this way, I really wouldn't want to work for an organisation that had those values anyway.  

Mental Health and Employment

In my last couple of jobs I didn't utter a word to anyone in the offices about my mental health, and I also didn't tell them about my blog. It made it really really hard for me, and made me feel even worse because I felt completely alone in the workplace. It was also when my mind was at an all time low.  

I was going to therapy at 7am on Monday mornings, a therapy technique that was known to make you feel really drowsy. It also MADE you remember thoughts that were particularly uncomfortable, because that was the point of it, bringing out thoughts and feelings that you may have repressed. Mondays at work were hard, I was seriously tired and seriously worried, with no-one in the office to turn to. I guess that is kinda why I started writing my thoughts on Very Berry Cosmo in the first place. 

From then on, I promised myself that I would be open about my mental health with my next employer, right from the application process. I haven't been all over my application like... I HAVE OCD,  I SOMETIMES HAVE REALLY NASTY THOUGHTS. I tend to not even mention it in the equal opportunities section, because personally I don't feel that having OCD makes me disabled, or any less capable of an amazing career. I have simply linked my blog in my application, if they see it, they see it. If they don't, they don't. Obviously I also talk about my OCD design project in my interviews too - so they find out there... I am just being honest. I want to be employed for ME and for ALL of me. 

Flowers Wentworth Castle Gardens

Then it gets to the point of... SO WHAT if I have a mental illness. It doesn't make me any less capable. Yes, I might have the odd blip every so often, but who doesn't? I honestly, truly think that everybody in the world will have some experience of mental health problems in their life. Whether it is themselves directly, or a family member, problems with the mind are far more common than people realise. It doesn't make you crazy. 

I feel I am one of the most reliable, hard-working people within the workplace. I rarely take days off and I put my all into any project thrown my way. During my placement year I only took one day off, it turns out I was sent home from the office at around 10am because I was really suffering from the flu. But that is the point, I STILL went in, even though I felt awful. 

I NEED to work. Working makes me feel better. Working means I have less time to mope about and overthink EVERYTHING. It provides a distraction for my anxieties. I hope employers realise this.

Flowers Wentworth Castle Gardens

Whenever I talk about my OCD design project in interviews, I try to reassure them that I am doing pretty well. Because I am. If I was stood in the interviewees shoes I guess I would be rather freaked. Hearing a little girl talking about how horrible it is to have OCD.. so I try to calm them as much as I can and say that I genuinely am doing okay these days, but it is sadly not always the case for all sufferers.

My anti-depressant medication is AMAAAAZING and has totally changed my life. I rarely act out on my compulsions at all these days. I find I am experiencing more depressed symptoms these days, but I feel that is simply because I am sitting around all day and rarely leave the house.

On Sunday, Jordan and I and his dad and step-mum went for a lovely national trust walk around Wentworth Castle, in Barnsley. I remember feeling so content, surrounded by beautiful scenery, (the photos in this blog post show this) amazing company - and all around amazing day. I had one blip in the public toilet, but then I have to remember SO many people don't like public toilets.

Life is getting better. I am getting better. I am very capable. 

Flowers Wentworth Castle Gardens

Hope you found this post interesting! I would be rather intrigued to hear your thoughts and opinions on this topic. Do you think work-places judge the equal opportunities section of job applications? ... even though they say they 100% don't! Let me know in the comments!

I just want to say, I certainly do worry that my mental health status IS having an impact on my job hunt initially, but I have had interviews at about 11 companies. From general feedback, I have interviewed well - there has just always been another candidate in the process with more appropriate skills for the role. Who knows?

All photos in this post were taken and edited by my lovely boyfriend, Jordan. He is extremely talented at photographing architecture and *things* but I am training (hehe) him to take portraiture photos, who knows - it could be his new hobby! Do give him a follow on his Instagram because his shots and compositions are brilliant, and deserve so much more love! Plus... he's the reason my mental health has dramatically improved, so why wouldn't you love him for that? 
Like what you see? Let's be social media friends! 

I am on Facebook! Please support my page and give me a like! xoxo

Friday, 30 September 2016

FASHION | Boux Avenue... It's Not Just For Underwear

Boux Avenue Casey Check Shirt

Hello lovelies!

I guess I should say Happy September....... even though, we all know it is October tomorrow. Opps. I haven't been around too much over here on Very Berry Cosmo lately, but I have still been very much active over on my social media channels, as you all probably know! I like to remain connected and in the loop with all my favourite strawbs somehow. I have been focusing more on job hunting and my health lately, since I have been having all sorts of bodily problems.. yay... but you could say I am BACK? 

Very Berry is going back to posting regularly, can I get a woop woop? 

I'm sat here writing and I'm rather giddy... I'M BLOGGING. I'M BLOGGING. I'M BLOGGING, and all for a brilliant reason. Unless you have been under a rock lately you will know that I am now a Boux Avenue Brand Ambassador, which is so flipping amazing, because it is a brand that I have loved for a long long long long time. As you guys all probably know, let's face it, I am not exactly the most 'fashionable little bean' - I like clothes, yeah, I like dressing up in something new for a party or something and feeling really pretty, but I wouldn't exactly say I am a style goddess. Plus factor in the fact I have gone up around 2-3 dress sizes lately, I wouldn't say I am the most 'body confident' I have ever been. But a really lovely pair of underwear can TOTALLY CHANGE THAT. Which is what I love about Boux.

You want 20% off Boux products.... don't you? 

Let's start with the bit you're interested in, you're not exactly going to say no to the above are you? Well, it is your lucky day because I have a super duper lovely 20% off code for all my strawbs. 

Simply use 'BERRY20' to save 20% off all full-priced items at Boux, aren't I lovely? Now it is time to tempt you... 

Boux Avenue Sofia Balconette Bra
Sofia Floral Balconette Bra* (£30) and Sofia Floral High Waisted Briefs* (£17) 

Boux Avenue Lucie Lace Triangle Bra
Lucie Lace Triangle Bra* (£20)

Boux sure do sell some BEAUTIFUL pieces of lingerie, for all sorts of occasions. I am usually drawn to the really girly pieces such as the Sofia Floral Balconette Bra* (£30) above. I remember seeing Lucy Meck model it, and I was like I HAVE TO HAVE IT. To finish the set off, I picked up the High Waisted Briefs* (£17) because they were SO flattering. I'm not overly confident about my tummy at the moment, it sticks out a little too much for my liking and these are PERFECT for that. It covers and distracts, the added details focus in on your natural curves - LOVE these. 

The Lucie Triangle Bra* (£20) is also a seriously gorgeous piece, the lace is subtle, sexy and feminine. You can grab this one in all sorts of lovely colours, such as blue, coral, or red, but you can never go wrong with a black set. I personally think this set suits smaller boobs better because it doesn't have under-wiring, but it makes it SUPER COMFY. 

Lingerie is what Boux is mainly known for, but it isn't all they sell, they aren't a one trick pony. *sassy finger clicks*

Now guys. Don't laugh whilst I attempt to be a fashion blogger...

Boux Avenue Casey Check Shirt
Boux Avenue Casey Check Shirt
Boux Avenue Casey Check Shirt* (£26)

This time of year is EXCITING. For a number of reasons... beginning new years at college/university and of course, it is approaching Christmas. (Yes I just said the C word, soz) I hope you are all lovely and settled, whether you are a fresher, second year, final year student - YIKES I FEEL YA, or beginning any other new adventures.

ANYWAY. University was HARD work, much harder than I could have ever imagined. You will have times where you'll laugh more than you ever have before. You will have times where you'll cry more than you ever have before, and that is okay.

Boux Avenue Casey Check Shirt

You will have times where you just will not want to get out of bed, but your mind is going crazy because you have so so so much work to do, so much so, that it doesn't even feel a little bit possible.

I must admit, it feels rather nice being on the other side, but you WILL get there. Those times where you feel you can't get through it, you CAN and you WILL. But in case you need some extra persuasion... I thought I would give you a few University tips to help you out in those 'I CAN'T DO IT, CAN SOMEONE BRING ME ALL THE SNACKS IN THE WORLD' times.

Boux Avenue White Chiffon Scent
Boux Avenue White Chiffon Candle* (£10) and White Chiffon Room Spray* (£10)

1) TALK TO PEOPLE. Whether they are your course mates, flat mates, University tutors, ANYONE, go talk to that person on the bus if you really want to, just don't bottle it all up - you are only going to explode at one point. The chances are, they are likely feeling the same kind of stresses as you.

2) Invest in comfortable lounge wear. I had very little contact time at University, which meant most of the time I was at home stressing over x essay, y design.... you get me. You just want to be as COMFORTABLE as possible, I found myself literally only buying lounge wear throughout my University years, simply because that was essentially my 'uniform' for that year.

The Casey Check Shirt* (£26 worn above) is PERFECT for this, it is so so soft, and is flattering in all the right places... yano, in case you bump into your crush in the hallway, although I wouldn't suggest mingling with your housemates.... it is always awkward! Although I can't talk... I was in a 3 year relationship with my housemate! DON'T DO IT. If check shirts don't tickle your pickle, there are other beautiful designs such as the Tranquility Stripe Shirt (£26)

Pair your lovely shirt with some COSY SOCKS* (£5) - cosy socks are honestly the BEST. That soft feeling surrounding your toes when you wiggle them. University is tough, and probably the first time you are *really* independent and away from your family, if anything can make you warm and cosy, it is worth buying.

3) Don't be so hard on yourself. You ARE allowed time off. It's so easy to get yourself down and swept under all of your work. Deadlines Deadlines Deadlines Deadlines, disgusting word huh? It's easy to forget that you are only human, there is only so much you can do. The more pressure you put on yourself the more likely you are to buckle and burn.

Have time for yourself, go outside, see people, have a lovely soak in the bath. Be structured, set yourself a REALISTIC plan, have certain slots reserved each day to concentrate on the things that make YOU happy, and make you... well, you. You can't be expected to work... ALL of the time.

4) However, when you do sit down to work... DO IT. Thats kind of how having your own time off works. I was SO bad at this... and I still am, but lately I have been trying to put my ALL into projects instead of half arsing them. Yes I do love watching Gilmore Girls whilst doing tasks because it makes them seem less tedious, but they end up taking SO much longer. Open the task and just DO it. Set up a nice cosy atmosphere, MUSIC, soft clothes, all the snacks within arms reach, light candles around the room... whatever it takes for you to DO your work. Don't tell your landlord that I told you to light candles though, because that is naughty. 

My current favourite candle is the White Chiffon Scented Candle* (£10)... YES Boux do, do candles! and this scent is so lovely and fresh. If you have ever ordered anything from Boux, you will know they pop lots of lovely scented petals in your parcel and they are the White Chiffon scent. It is BEAUT.

5) USE STUDENT DISCOUNT. If these tips don't help you get through your student woes.... don't forget there are some AMAZING perks about being a student, with discounts being a BIG BIG one. There are all sorts of lovely Boux Avenue Student Events happening all across the country over the next couple of weeks, so I hope there is one near you to enjoy:

Cardiff St Davids - 4th October, 3-11pm
Cabot Circus, Bristol - 4th October, 6-9pm
Hull - 4th October, 6-9pm
Trafford Centre, Manchester - 4th October, 3-10pm
Guildford - 4th October, 3-8.30pm
Merry Hill - 4th October, 3-10pm
Belfast - 4th October, 3-9pm
Kingston - 4th October, 6.30-9pm
Brighton - 5th October, 6.30-10pm
Lakeside - 5th October, 3-10pm
White City, Westfield - 5th October, All Day
Intu Chapelfield Norwich - 6th October, 5-9pm
Bluewater - 6th October, 3-9pm
Oxford Street - 6th October, All Day
Southampton - 6th October, 6-10pm
Bullring, Birmingham - 13th October, 4-10pm
Bath - 13th October, 6.30-9.30pm

At these events you will receive 20% off full-priced items, and also a FREE limited edition goodie bag when you spend £50, which means it is well worth a visit! Find all events here:

Hope you enjoyed this post lovelies! Don't forget to use my 20% off code 'BERRY20' whenever you are next shopping at BA, because you NEED NEED NEED those items, there isn't any time for guilt around here! Do send me snaps of what items you pick up or what you are lusting over, I would love to see them! Good luck with the start of your new term! See you soon strawbs!
Like what you see? Let's be social media friends! 

I am on Facebook! Please support my page and give me a like! xoxo
*This post is in collaboration with Boux Avenue, however all thoughts and opinions are my own* 

© Very Berry Cosmo - UK Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | All rights reserved.
Blog Design Handcrafted by pipdig