Heroine In Heels is a top 10 London lifestyle blog aimed at the modern day woman. Covering things to do in London, restaurant reviews, hotels as well as where to go in the world when you want to escape London

Heroine In Heels is a top 10 London lifestyle blog aimed at the modern day woman. Covering things to do in London, restaurant reviews, hotels as well as where to go in the world when you want to escape London

We are coming into Christmas season, which means one thing. Christmas parties. It’s the time of year when I start to update my wardrobe. Add in a few key pieces; things I’m going to wear over and over again- and not just the festive period. Yet, I can’t say I’m a casual girl. I love anything a little bit different. Maybe some lace, some embellishment or silk? Yet, I have to admit, after I’ve worn them they usually languish at the bottom of my wash bin (much to the chagrin of my other half). I cannot be bothered to take clothes to get them dry cleaned. It’s hassle and frankly super expensive.   

Now that the John Lewis Christmas advert has dropped, is it acceptable to start posting about Christmas? I think so. Christmas is about enjoying the little things; snuggling up under a blanket, watching cheesy movies and enjoying little treats. At Christmas I always want to bake. Mince pies, cookies, cakes- it reminds me of my childhood. It’s a fun activity anyone can do and it’s something you can do together too. Which is why I’m sharing with you my Christmas Bauble chocolate chip biscuit recipe.

Ah Black Friday. That strange American tradition, that has become a worldwide phenomenon. If you;ve been hiding under a rock for years, then let me surmise. Black Friday is when retails across the board offer huge discounts. It’s always the day after Thanksgiving, and is seen as the beginning of the Christmas period for retailers. Why Black Friday? Because it is their most profitable, and traditionally seen as the period for a shop going from “In the red” to “In the black”.

So if you are thinking of getting those presents bought, why not now? And because I’m a total babe *eye roll* I’ve rounded up the best of the sales. Enjoy.

Body confidence and learning to love myself

Trying to find the words to convey what I want to say in this post is quite tough. I have so much to say on this topic, but making myself articulate is something I struggle with a lot.

Me, my body and self-esteem are not exactly the best of friends. I have struggled with body dysmorphia for a long time. In fact, and this is a huge leap for me to say, but I am a recovered Anorexic. That is also a post I plan to write about in more detail soon, but currently haven’t quite found the confidence. But just to be able to say those little words out loud is a huge step, and one that I want to put out there and tell you as for me its part of who I am, and to know I am more than it now, and having the confidence to talk about it, is what makes me stronger.

So let’s talk about body confidence. 

It’s something that every woman, old, young, thin or large, will understand. The ability to feel confidence in our own skin is one of the most crucial things as it is the foundation for so many of our other qualities, whether we want to admit or not. We can be the cleverest woman, successful in our careers, an awesome human being, but when the world puts so much emphasis on our bodies, it ends up becoming something we internally judge ourselves on, even though the two should not be linked.

Women have been battling with our bodies since the dawn of time (OK not really, but it feels that way). Right from the sexist 60s ads that told women the only things they need to do are look thin and please their husbands, to the pressures of magazines saying look which celebrity put on some pounds this week. Social media has gotten a lot of flak for perpetuating the cycle of self-loathing, and I do agree it fuels the fire, but I believe social media is not the start of the fire itself. My hatred for my own body started way before social media was a thing. OK we had Facebook (I’m not that old), but Twitter and Instagram were just a twinkle in a Silicon Valley nerd’s eye.

For me, body confidence was/is intrinsically linked to my self-worth and ability to love myself. My true downfall is that I compare myself to others and I care what others think of me. I’d look in the mirror and I wouldn’t see all the great things I had going for me. Everything I had ever done, ever achieved or even things I loved about myself would just be wiped away, and all I’d see were lumps and bumps and things I hated. I hate my breasts, they are big, but flat and long. I hate my thighs for the way they wobble when I walk. I hate my ass as it’s covered in cellulite. I hate my stomach as it sticks out.

I hate myself.

And that was the view I had of myself. I hated my body, and I hated myself.

It’s been a very long, painful and dangerous road to get to where I am today. There are days when I look in the mirror and want to cry. My heart sinks when I see what I look like. But on the whole, I am much stronger today than I have ever been. I feel like I’ve sunk so low in the past that the only way to go forward now is to climb on out and open myself to critics and be Ok with not being perfect and have the confidence to say, actually, my body is damn fucking awesome.

Body confidence and learning to love myself
Body confidence and learning to love myself
Body confidence photoshoot

Which is why I did this shoot.

I was so damn nervous putting these up, but for me they tell a story.

See I was inspired by Megs from Wonderful—You, after seeing her do a body confidence shoot by Alex Cameron (who by the way is THE most talented photographer ever). Megs is my blogging hero and I saw how beautiful she looked in the photos. Not because of how hot she looked (although she is stunning) but because the photos showed confidence, power and said, this is me and I love me.

I did this way back in I think March time, as I was just about finally happy with myself and starting to feel OK with how I am, and so I wanted a way to show that and give me the confidence I wanted. I remember emailing Alex being like, can I book one of your shoots? Thinking that I’d be rejected for not being good enough to be her subject. But no, the whole point of these shoots is about body confidence in everyday women. It’s not a lingerie shoot, I’m not trying to be sexy. God help me if I did, it’s to show that I am happy in my own skin and don’t feel the need to hide it out of fear of rejection.

And you know what? I came away feeling empowered. I mean heck, I just striped in front of a woman I had never met before!

Body confidence photoshoot

I don’t want to look in the mirror and hate myself anymore. I don’t want to look at someone else and think, why don’t I look like that? I want to proud of what I have achieved, proud of the woman I have become, and be happy with myself and the life that I have. Why should I pin all my hopes and dreams and confidence to achieve on what my body looks like? 

I am more than my body.

I want us all to be brave enough to stand in the mirror and say I love you. Pick a part of your body that you love, no matter what it is, it could be your arms, your legs, God even your on fleek eyebrows, and say:

"I love that part of my body and I love me"

Winter is coming. Que a whole season of that phrase being used, but also a whole season of us eating and hiding it all under copious layers. It’s going to be awesome, which is why I bring you a new foodie spot in Marylebone; Picture restaurant, because who doesn’t love food? 

Being a full time blogger is seen as the ultimate goal. When you can finally live comfortably off your blog earnings, be able to pay rent, bills and still have money left over each month is what I feel most bloggers are striving for. Those who achieved that- high five!- it's an amazing achievement and I salute you. But what about us who are not full time bloggers? It doesn’t mean we don’t put any less effort into out blogs, but sometimes it just isn’t a viable option. I’ve read a good few posts recently about the realities of full time blogging, so I thought I’d offer another side. The realities of having a full time job and being a blogger, and what it’s really like. Hopefully it’ll be interesting to see, a little tongue in cheek, but also if I can pass on maybe some tips to lighten the load a little, then even better.

The reality is you never stop working.

If you start work at 8 or 9am, by the time you’ve got ready and travelled into your office, there really isn’t any time in the morning to do any blog work. Any sort of blog work will have to wait to lunch time- if you get one. So really blog work starts once you’ve got home after working 8 or more hours. When I worked in banking I wouldn’t get home till 9pm, but luckily now I work in Cloud Computing and I leave pretty much at 5, meaning I get home by 6pm. However as soon as I get home, it’s time to start job number 2; the blog. My home computer gets fired up and it’s time to respond to all the emails that have poured in, edit photos, write blog posts and catch up on social media. I’ll usually go to bed around midnight and then it starts all over again. I actually haven’t owned a TV in my entire adult life and to be honest I’m not sure when I’d watch it. I feel like I’m constantly working and you find that you end up working in the car, on the tube, I’ve even been known to send a sneaky few emails from the bath when I’ve remembered something!

You have to turn down many opportunities. 

Sadly, one of the hardest things is that your time is not fully your own. I’ve definitely noticed a trend for more and more events and opportunities to be on in the day time now. Where it used to be dinners, it’s now brunch. And I get it, more bloggers do do it full time, and if it means the PRs can do their events during the day rather than out of hours then it makes sense. But as a “out of hours blogger” I guess you could call me, it means so many things come into my inbox and I have to turn down. I’m limited by 25 days holiday, so you have to choose wise what you spend it on, plus, I’m actually contracting so if I take a day off, I loose my days wage. Which if I’m not being paid… but paying bloggers for their work is a whole other blog post. Trust me, when you see an amazing email entitled would you like to come to Thailand and you have to say no because practicality wise you need to earn that week’s wage to pay for your rent, really is a killer. The realities of adulthood eh?

You become amazing at multitasking

Some people work very well compartmentalising things, and working in silo chunks. For me that just doesn’t work. I juggle multiple things at once. I’ll flit between blog emails to work emails in the evening, switching from corporate tone to a chattier one. 

I probably could do things a better way to be honest with you and I’m certainly not saying the way I do it is the correct way. I seem to do many things at once, often eating whilst working, whilst dipping in and out of a book or even in a morning, eating and doing my makeup at once! I tend to not have a lot of time in the morning for breakfast as I start at 8am and it takes me an hour to get to work, and then an hour to get ready in the morning… and to be honest I’d rather have the sleep. I do know that eating something in the morning is important though. Which is why I’ve been popping a packet of belVita Breakfast biscuits in my bag. Now I’m not saying that biscuits should replace your scrambled eggs and green smoothies, but if you are someone who goes without breakfast, then they are perfect to get a little boost of energy from to get you through the morning. belVita are made from five wholegrains, they are a great source of fibre and vitamins B6, magnesium and iron too. I personally throw a packet in my bag for the tube or to eat at my desk. Or if I do pop open my laptop in the morning, I tend to eat at it too. 

Any object becomes your prop.

I guess this really applies to all bloggers, no matter if it’s your job, semi job, or just a hobby, but when you are short of time, unusual objects became props.

This weekend I knew I wasn’t doing much this week in terms of events as I had quite a lot of blog posts to write already so I like to clear my after work schedule every so often to make sure I have enough time to do the actual work. So this being the case, this weekend just gone I needed to shoot photos for the coming weeks Instagram post. I was fully busy Saturday with house things (I’m also in the process of house hunting too) so Sunday was my only day. I was trying to think up shoots, and when an idea came, I had a limited amount of time to get it done before the sun is gone and then it’s Monday and I’ve lost natural lighting. I’d love to be able to pop to the shops and go buy this prop and that, but nope, sometimes you just have to grab any item that will work. This shot here? Not really a table…

It’s a kitchen tray balanced on top of a 4 pack of toilet roll. Classy.

Weekends become the most productive for the blog

If you work full time and blog, then you’ll know that weekend become prime blogging time. Especially now that it’s dark outside of the 9-5, the only time you can shoot photos is during the weekend. It becomes a mad rush to cram in as many shoots in as possible, and then heaven forbid it starts to rain! Don’t get me started! When your friend calls and says do you want to go to lunch, you counter it with, can we go for dinner? #savethesunlight

Some people don’t see you as a serious blogger

I had a heard a few remarks over the last year from bloggers and brands/ PRs alike that allude to opinion that if you aren’t doing it full time, then you mustn’t be “big enough” (that term to describe bloggers rattles me no end). This simply isn’t the case. Now I’m not saying I’m a huge blogger, but for example I was doing the blog for a few months full time over summer and now am not as my circumstances changed. My boyfriend moved out of our flat, so immediately my rent doubled, and yes I don't make enough from the blog to cover my central London flat. But it certainly doesn't change the value of my blog or my readers. I put a huge amount of effort into my blog and social media channels, working every hour I can to fit both in. I have had one case in the past where someone didn't want to pay me for a a very standard sponsored blog post, because it wasn't my job. No. Just no.

If you are doing your blog full time then high five girl! It's a fantastic achievement, and I love seeing the blogging community grow and achieve. But if you are doing it along side a full time job, high five you too! It's tough, but hopefully you can see how much it's worth it. 

This post was sponsored by belVita. Whilst this is sponsored, I wasn't asked to write about being a blogger with a job, I had complete freedom to write about what I wanted. As always all views, words and images are my own.