Sunday, 23 July 2017

5 Happy Things

I've felt so inspired today... it honestly feels so good to finally get properly back into my groove. Sara Louisa is back with a BAM!

Over the past few years I've written a lot of '5 Happy Things' posts. Today I had the chance to look back over a few of the posts that I've published for Sara Louisa xo and honestly, my favourite posts to read were these ones. While they're not always super personal, these posts take me back to a different time and remind me of all the different reasons I have to be well and truly happy with my life. I'm going to leave a few links below of some of my favourite previous posts... if you like today's post I hope you will enjoy reading these ones too.

If you read the last post I uploaded, you'll know that I recently went to TRNSMT festival. There, I got to see Clean Cut Kid; the Liverpudlian indie band which -through music- have helped me get through a somewhat complicated break up (aren't all break-ups difficult?), and thus have quickly become one of my favourite bands of all time. But only recently I discovered something about this band that brought them even closer to my heart... Of the four-piece, two are married; Mike and Evelyn Hall- which is significant because one of my favourite songs by them is called (and obviously about) Evelyn. And I thought it couldn't get any cuter... until I found out that their whole album Felt is based around Mike and Evelyn's relationship

Parks and Walks
The weather today has been officially dubbed as 'cloudy with patchy bursts of sunshine' but I beg to differ. My close friend Katie and I went on a  really lovely walk down a park where she lives, and the sun shone the whole way. It was so great to just be able to do something as simple as walking, and talking away just like we used to all the time at school. I really need to do things like this more often.

A few years ago, I started watching Reign; a TV show that is a sort of modern account of the life of Mary Queen of Scotts. It sounds a bit dull, but it really isn't. I watched the first season way back then, and then stopped- but then the other week I saw it was on netflix. I have since binge watched it right up to the end... and yes, I cried a fuckload when it was finished. 

Mum, Dad and my little brother Daniel have went off to travel Belgium, France and Italy -without me- leaving me in the house completely alone for just over a month... and while I am moving out soon, I'm not going to be living alone. I've really not enjoyed being completely alone in the house at night, so because of the way my shifts have worked out, I've been able to book bus tickets to Liverpool to see my grandparents, cousins, auntie and uncle. And it comes at perfect timing- my cousin is having a baby shower during my stay! I absolutely cannot wait to see all the cute baby things!

St Judes & Light
Tomorrow is my work night out, and the love Island finale... and I'm not going to be missing either. I only really started watching Love Island because one of the girls at work recommended it to me, and a group of us have a facebook chat called 'After-Aftersun', with the beautiful Alex as the icon. He is gorgeous, isn't he? We found out that there's a bar in Glasgow -St Judes- which will be streaming the finale, so about 10 of us have booked seats to watch it, and pre-drink together before we go to Light, where our work night out will be!

What have you been happy about lately?

Adios, xo

Sunday, 16 July 2017

A Week For Myself

So... I vented quite a lot in my last post. (Sorry, not sorry) I promise this isn't just going to be another rant.

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to spend three days with my best friend in the whole world, in one of the best places, surrounded by what was certainly then the best atmosphere I had ever been surrounded by.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I went to TRNSMT.

For those of you who aren't in the UK, or perhaps just aren't really into the whole indie/indie-rock music scene, TRNSMT is a three-day music festival that took place in Glasgow Green. It was kind-of known as the replacement for T In The Park, I guess.

I had booked it off as soon as I got my job- it was well and truly the highlight of my life. Check out my instagram (@Saralouisaxo) if you want to snoop and see what I was wearing, who I went to see ect.

I booked the Friday-Sunday off, as well as the Monday so that I would have some time to recover after a busy, tiring, and partly boozy weekend. But when I got my shifts in, I found out that the week after TRNSMT I wasn't due to work until Friday.

Of course, my initial reaction was shit, how am I going to have enough money to survive?!

But I don't move out for another month, so I still have a few more pay-days until I have to pay my first month of rent.

Now it's Thursday and I've almost had a week off of work, and boy am I glad that I have.

Don't get me wrong- this isn't an 'I hate my job' type of post... I really don't; my job isn't anything extraordinary, but I do love it. I work as a waitress in TGI Fridays, and it's honestly the most fun job I've ever had. Everyone there is so, so lovely- and when people say we work like a team, they mean it. Everyone has eachothers back, and they mean it.

But just because I love my job, doesn't go to say I don't love having some down-time.

In the past when I've had time off, I've always ended up spending all my money on going out to town, going on days out, or meeting up with friends- all things which I absolutely LOVE- but this time I just stayed in the house.

On Monday I hung out with my friends before they departed to Hong Kong, and did a bit of housework. On Tuesday I made a home-cooked meal for the first time in forever, and had my friend over to watch Love Island with me. On Wednesday the weather was beautiful so I actually got to spend the day outside sunbathing, and then went on a walk with another friend before we came home to watch Love Island- YES I adore Love Island. And today, I'm just doing some housework and deciding what movie I should watch... I really love movies like Dear John- any suggestions?

It's just been so good for me to be able to do whatever the heck I want- no strings attached.

What do you do when you've got some time for yourself?

Adios, xo

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

I Want To Go To The Beach

Today, my friend Nikki flew back home to Hong Kong. My Mum, Dad, and brother drove from Germany -through Switzerland- to France. Another friend is having the time of his life in Magaluf... And another is spending time with her family while in Barcelona. 

I'm in my kitchen eating tomato and bacon pasta and watching Dear John.

And don't get me wrong, Dear John is one hell of a movie... it's just that I'd rather be in a beautiful resort on an exotic island, drinking some fancy fruity cocktail as I lounge by the pool in my Love-Island-worthy bikini. I'd rather be eating pasta in a proper Italian restaurant, thank you very much. Yes Mum, Dad, I'm jealous.

I'm getting sick of going on instagram and seeing my friends stories showing beautiful scenes of their holidays. Some of us still have work, you know!

In fact, I am so in need of some kind of getaway that my google search history has pretty much been taken over by searches like "Cheap Beach Holiday", or "Affordable Student Holidays". It's even gotten to the point where I started looking up holidays in the UK; glamping near Brighton anyone?

Sadly, this year I'm just not going to have a summer filled with pretty bikinis, beaches and booze- although I'll probably still have some booze, let's be honest. And as my Mum keeps reminding me, I did at least manage to fund myself a week away to Greater London last month, where I got to finally explore the capital, and spend time with much loved & missed family and friends. Next week I've even got four days off to visit family in Liverpool! Lucky me... Megabus, here I come!

But although I've got a bit of the 'lack of a holiday' blues, I need to remember that this is all for a reason. In a little more than a month, I move out to my swanky little city-centre flat, and I'm sure I'll need all the money I can get to make sure my transition to total self-sufficiency is as smooth as possible.

I've eaten all of my pasta now. Dear John is almost finished, and for the first time in the past few weeks the sun has actually come out. Don't get too excited though, there's still plenty of clouds in the sky; this is Scotland, not Mallorca, after all. I think I might go for a walk later, if it's still nice out. 

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

You Don't Have To Feel Bad About Rejecting Him/Her

One thing I've had to learn the tough way, is that rejection hurts everyone involved; but that sometimes... it's necessary.

I've been on both sides of the firing line, and I'm sure a lot of you reading this post will be able to relate. From experience, I know that being turned down can be one of the most difficult things you can face. It can cause you to question your worth and who you are as a person... But being on the other side can be just as painful; as you see someone you inevitably care for struggle because of a decision you have made. The immense guilt and empathy you experience can at times make the decision to reject or knock someone back, one of the hardest. 

Through it all though, it is so important to stay true to yourself.

I recently went through a relatively eventful break up, with enough ups and downs to fill up a full season in a Netflix drama. Being 'recently' single, I've realised how tough it is when you're knocked back by someone you care about.

Not to sound totally in love with myself, but on the flipside? I've also recently realised that being single means getting quite a bit of attention from the opposite gender. Sometimes that can be sweet and endearing, and it's definitely a bit of an ego boost. But I've had a few 'yikes' experiences too.

And the 'yikes' experiences have taught me that there are times that you just have to suck it up and tell it how it is; even if that means hurting someone- temporarily. When you reject somebody, often all you get to be a part of is their initial response; be it shock, surprise, hurt, or loneliness. And that can be really hard.

But what you have to remember is that the story doesn't end there.

That person you just rejected will go on to meet a whole host of different people. They will experience life in a way that they wouldn't have if you had just rolled with things, letting them believe whatever feeling they had were mutual. By knocking the other person back, you are really slingshotting them forward.

You don't always get to be a part of that person's recovery.

The majority of times that I've rejected others, I've only been around to see them hurt. But that doesn't mean that they don't pick themselves up after time. All it means is that I was a page in their story; a lesson well learned; an experience that will make it all the more special when they finally meet the one.

Friday, 23 June 2017

What's so Bad About Being a Stay-At-Home Mum?

So last week I published a lovely little post where I asked the question; "Where do you stand on feminism?". I had so much fun exploring the topic of feminism, and really airing my thoughts on the topic, particularly with reference to relationships (Yes, I've caught the Love Island bug)... and it was so exciting to see the post attract so much attention. It's ended up being one of my most-viewed posts in the last few months, and I'm so glad that it has.

But reading through the comments, I came across something that really made me question my beliefs with regards to the feminist movement. So I want to have a little chat with you today about this comment.

So first off, yes girl it is so so important to bring attention to the inequalities among men and women. As I said in last weeks post, guys do generally have better access to a better quality of living... and that needs to be discussed in order for it to be properly addressed and amended. That's not what I had the 'issue' with.

But is the fact that "We still do way more housework than men" really a problem?

The way I see it, is that the perception that housework is a womans job and responsibility, is a problem. Women doing housework, is not a problem. I believe that the difficulties faced by women trying to succeed in their career because they have 'obligations' in the household are problems. But I do not believe that it is a problem for women (or men) if they don't want to pursue a professional working life and would prefer to be stay-at-home parents who make the meals and clean the house from top to bottom every day.

"Feminism, at its core, advocates freedom of choice"

I don't want to step on anyone's toes, or sound like an 'angry, ranting feminist'... but #futureisfemale is the kind of saying that spurs on the Johnnys' of the world who think that feminism "believes in almost inequality". Can I just point out, that if you are an advocate for women-on-top then you are not a feminist; but a misandrist. So really, when Johnny Mitchell from Love Island said that 'real feminists' believe in preferential treatment of women at the expense of men, he was really just getting mixed up with feminists and misandrists. Fact.

Feminism is not discriminatory, and it doesn't advocate a slope towards any one gender. I really cannot stress enough that it is about equality for all. And a huge part of equality is choice. I am a strong believer that feminism, at its core, advocates freedom of choice for everyone... and that's why I had such an issue with the comment complaining that women do more housework than men.

My Dad works full time in the IT industry, and my Mum is currently a full time primary school assistant. But when my brother and I were younger, my Mum decided to be a stay-at-home Mum, and she looked after my brother and I. She did -and still does- most of the housework, looked after two children, and every now and then she would sell her own paintings online. 

Misogynists would argue that my Mum should never have got a job, and that she should have stayed where she belonged- in the house serving my Dad... and that when I should never have gone to university, and instead should have stayed at home and helped my Mum until I was lucky enough to find a man.

Misandrists would argue that my Dad treated my Mum so unfairly by forcing her to stay at home and be a slave to the house and family- and that instead my Mum should have broke free and become the high achieving woman that she was born to be. That she was better than this life, and better than my Dad.

But feminists would stay no, it's about choice. Who you choose to be, what kind of lifestyle you choose to leave- it's all down to you, regardless of your gender. I believe in a world where people have the freedom to pursue any path they choose- and that world is core in the feminist movement.

Adios, xo

Monday, 19 June 2017

Moving Out for the First Time

I really wanted to write an "announcement" post to broadcast the fact that I'm going to be moving out in two months, but I already told you guys back in the 5 Happy Things post that I published last month. So rather than unveiling my plans to move in to a flat with two uni friends this coming August, I'm going to give you a little insight into everything that's gone on since I last updated you about this crazy, exciting adventure! 

Doing anything for the first time is daunting. Not necessarily because what you're doing is scary, but sometimes just because you don't have the previous experience to know what to expect. That's how I feel about moving out. There's so much to organise; all the paperwork that needs to be filed away, signed and sorted; all the furniture that needs to be bought, refurbished and stored... not to mention the flatmates.

I've not even moved out yet, and I've already learned a lesson or two about moving out. One thing I've had to learn the hard way is that you need to be able to fully rely on your (future) flatmates. Because if you can't rely on them, how can you rely on them to pay rent? My flatshare is set up in a way that if one person fails to pay their full rent, then the other two flat members are liable for that money. So it's super important that I can trust the people I'm moving out with.

The people part of moving out has been the craziest.

I remember the first time I lay eyes on the flat. Myself and my two friends Lois and Maria fell in love with it instantly. That day, the three of us talked about how we all felt like we had this emotional attachment to the flat- and how perfect it seemed for us three. We were all so excited, that after months of looking for a flat we had finally found the one- and it was in our price range as well. Within days we had contacted the letting agency and put down the deposit. 

Everything was falling into place.

Fast forward a few weeks, and I was away in Northampton visiting childhood friends when I checked Facebook to see that one of the girls I was moving out with had sent a huge paragraph on our flatshare group chat...She wasn't moving out with us anymore. 

She had talked to her parents, and they had told her not to move out, because she was already in a position where she lived in a great location in the city center, and didn't have to pay rent because her parents owned her flat. 

Fair enough.

We knew someone who was looking for a flat, and managed to get in contact with her straight away. Within hours we got it all sorted out- no hard feelings, we had a new flatmate and everything was going great again... until the other original flatmate sent her own paragraph explaining how she couldn't move out just yet. How she wasn't ready, and how she'd miss her family too much.

Whew. Fair. Enough.

I flew into a state of frenzy, messaging everyone who was anyone. Putting up instagram and snapchat stories begging anyone who was still looking to move out to get in contact with me. And thankfully I got a good few responses, with about three people seriously considering it.

We've got it all sorted out now (for now) and hopefully will be able to start organising who's bringing what into the flat in the next two months. I'm still just as excited to move into the flat as I was when I first walked into the hallway; even though I won't be moving out with the people I thought I would. It's still going to be a massive, crazy adventure. 

I want to keep you guys updated on my whole experience of moving out for the first time, and share any useful posts that I've read- so you might find that over the next few months the main focus will be on home-y stuff. I hope that's alright!!

Adios xo

Where do you stand on Feminism?

"I could never go out with someone who's not a feminist"

I started watching Love Island for the first time last week... it's pretty much impossible to avoid. Everyone at work is talking about this sensational TV show that seems to have the nation hooked. There's so much anticipation over who'll couple up with who, and which couple will outlast everyone else... I love it!

I never really thought that Love Island would be something that I would genuinely get in to watching, and enjoy watching, but I sincerely have.

Despite everyone at work constantly chatting about who Chris has snogged/what happened at the recoupling etc, and Zoe Sugg saying she really enjoyed watching the show; what actually got me watching it in the first place was the clips all over Twitter of Camilla and Johnny's fall-out over feminism.

In the space of a four minute clip, I gained so much respect for a young woman who I knew virtually nothing about. All I knew was damn, that's a girl who'll stand up for what she believes even if it makes her vulnerable and puts her at a disadvantage. That's a girl I can look up to.

I can honestly say that I could never go out with someone who's not a feminist. I have before, and I never will again. There's nothing tricky or complicated about believing that men and women should have equal rights. It's not a 'difference of opinions'.

"If you are completely fine with the fact that guys have more opportunities and less harassment than girls, then you're not a feminist"

Guys -in general- have easier access to a better quality of life than girls do, because of generation after generation of stigmatism and inequality. That's the truth; what you do with that information defines whether you're a feminist or not. If you are completely fine with the fact that guys have more opportunities and less harassment than girls, then you're not a feminist. But if you're not okay with that, and you believe that men and women should have a level playing field, then you tick the box for 'feminist'. It's as simple as that.

So how could I, a self-respecting young woman, go out with a guy that believes he's entitled to a better life than me just because of the sexual organ he hides under his pants? It would be daft, and self-depreciating at the most shallow level.

I'm just going to leave it at that- I don't really have much else to say. 

Adios, xo

Monday, 12 June 2017

Life Last Week

This week has had its ups and downs- much like any other week. In many ways, this week is no different than any other... but there are some aspects of my life that have changed forever.

For starters, I voted for the first time ever. As an eighteen year old living in Scotland, I have had the opportunity to vote three times in total, but it has taken until last Thursday for me to exercise my right as a young person in the democratic country I live in.

And yeah, I voted for the SNP's.

I voted for free education, for healthcare for all (not just the rich), and for job security. I voted against division with regards to race and religion- be it European or Muslim; or both. I voted for a strong female leader who shows compassion, and who looks to the people when making a decision. And while I say 'each to their own', to me it's clear that the SNP party is the only party which delivers on all of these core ideals. So that's who I voted for.

This week I also got a very exciting message from Sophia Von Porat, who heads Swedish Vegan subscription box VegoBox, asking me about the prices I could offer should she order 130 of my vegan 'Scrub n' Kiss' lip scrubs. 

While we sadly weren't able to come to an agreement, it was so encouraging to know that people are actually interested in my lip scrubs... Being totally honest with you guys, I've slowly been giving up hope. What started as an exciting new venture, has slowly crept to the back of my mind. 

I hope that I will be able to build up my etsy store, and that the Scrub n' Kiss lip scrubs will kick off soon, but I understand that sometimes things don't go quite as planned. Still, I haven't given up just yet!

In other news, I found out that my friend is recording a few demos with his band in about a fortnight! I've never heard him play in his band- but I know just how talented he is, and I honestly couldn't be more excited to hear these demos as they begin to share their music with the world. You can bet that as soon as they get some stuff online that I'll be sharing like crazy.

I had a bit of down time on Sunday, as I had the day off to spend time with my Dad- who was back from Belgium for the weekend. The struggles of having a job in hospitality when my Dad's only back for a weekend once every fortnight means that I often don't get time off to spend with him- weekends are the busiest times for me in TGI Friday's! But it was really lovely to be able to hang out with my family for the first time in what feels like forever.

Getting to spend quality time with family will always trump anything else.

We went on a drive, played uno, my Mum and I watched Poldark (Can I just OH MY GOODNESS... anyone else who watched last nights episode will understand, damn it gets better every time!), and then we all headed up to bed for a nice early night. I've missed being able to just hang out.

Anyways, I'm going to love you and leave you for now. I hope you all had as good a week as I have- and that this week will be just as bright.

If you can, please support me by buying or sharing my vegan lip scrubs.
You can find my etsy page by following the link here.

Adios xo

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Why I'm going VEGAN with my MAKEUP

Eight months ago, my makeup collection primarily consisted of products from MAC, NYX, Bobbi Brown and Makeup Revolution; and to some extent it still does. Only eight months ago, I turned a blind eye to issues like animal cruelty in the beauty/makeup domain... until I talked to Lois Hanna.

My friends and I were a few weeks into university, still getting to know each-other, when I suggested we all go to get our makeup done together at MAC in House of Frasers before we all went on our night out. Everyone seemed pretty keen, and we got into a frantically excited conversation about makeup. I told them of my extensive collection of MAC products, and how I would probably never wear anything other than my MAC Pro Longwear foundation on a night out. 

That's when Lois chimed in to tell us how she has not, does not, and will never buy any products from MAC. In my surprise I questioned her, curious to know why would anyone be so against such a brilliant high end cosmetic brand. Her response was a comment about how MAC carried a reputation of disgusting, inhumane treatment of animals.

Sure- their products are beautiful, long lasting, and highly pigmented... but at what cost?

The next day I went home to do a bit of my own research, and was shocked to find out that my favourite makeup brand had been caught up in scandal after scandal with regards to animal cruelty, testing, and use of animals in their actual products. MAC -as well as many other makeup tycoons- claimed to be 'cruelty free', but below the surface was a culture of paying third-party companies to carry out some horrific procedures on animals.

Every time you spend money on a product by a brand that endorses animal cruelty, you are essentially funding those experiments. It's kind of like the opposite of products where a percentage of the profits go to charity. 

Now, makeup is expensive as heck- and I don't exactly go for the cheaper, more 'affordable' brands when it comes to splashing cash on products that are going to end up on my face. So I can't promise you that I'm never going to wear makeup that doesn't submit cruel treatment on animals. I have a couple hundred pounds worth of makeup stored away, most of which I use every day.

I do, however, pledge to discontinue purchasing makeup products from brands which are unethical and immoral. In order to do this in a truly effective way, I've concluded that from now on, I'm going to be super picky about the products I spend my hard-earned cash on. 

For me, the only way I know for certain that the products I buy are completely ethical is by going vegan... but just with my makeup (for now).

Vegan makeup brands not only promise to abstain from animal cruelty, not using any animal products whatsoever, and being totally against animal testing; they often use recycled/recyclable materials for packaging... AND campaign for animal rights. If you're struggling to think of examples, just think of Lush.

I've listed a couple of vegan brands I've got my eye on in a draft post... I'm not sure if I'll post it or if I'll just keep it to myself just yet, but I'll let you know! For now, just remember that my 'Scrub n' Kiss' Lip Scrubs are 100% vegan... so do please pop over to my etsy and support me.

 I do hope this post encourages you to look into the brands you're supporting.

Adios xo

Sunday, 4 June 2017

My High Hopes for June

Happy June, friends! I hope you all had a great month full of fun and laughter! 

Summer is in full swing (even though the weather isn't always reflective of it) and I'm absolutely loving it. Winter is the hardest season for me- apart from always getting a bloody cold/flu, I also have to give myself an extra bit of TLC in order to take care of myself while my mental health takes a slump due to seasonal affective disorder. I've done really well this year, and I'm really proud of myself for how well I've coped- but I am certainly glad that that period is over and done with. 

Summer is all about spending time with your friends, having a laugh, and living life to the full. When someone mentions "summer" I think of holidays, beaches, and barbeques. I think about the times I spent holidaying in Poland with my family, going on shopping sprees, and late night outings to see the stars. 

This month, I have a lot to do and a lot to look forward to.

I hope to maintain my passion for life and my wide, wide smile. I am an all-round genuinely happy person... it's just kinda who I am; an integral part of what makes me, well, me. I want to leap into April with a grin on my face, and sprinkles of joy left behind in a trace wherever I go. 

I hope that people will say "that Sara lass, she a person with an abundance of positivity", and I hope that will reflect on the encounters I have with everyone I cross paths with this month. I not only want to be happy- I want to create happiness. Wouldn't it be a wonderful thing if I could bring a sprinkle of joy to at least one person a day? That would be 30 beautiful, joyous encounters this month alone. 

I also hope to work hard and put my all into every little detail.