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Monday, 1 February 2016

My ICEBAR London Experience - #BloggersBelowZero

A few months back, I signed up to the LDN Meetup Mailing List in the hopes that I could start attending more blog events on a regular basis. For a while, nothing came up that I could actually attend, but one day, a very exciting email landed in my inbox. A group of bloggers had the chance to head to the ICEBAR in London for a night of networking and cocktails in what is perhaps the most unique bar in London. With it being in January, I figured it was the perfect way to kickstart my blogging year and start saying "yes" to things that make me a little bit uncomfortable and a little bit excited!

Last Monday the time had finally arrived and it was time to hop on the London train and make my way down to the ICEBAR. It's conveniently located between Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus tube stations so it'd be a great location to hit after a great day of shopping. Upon arrival I was warmly greeted by the door staff, who handed me a little wristband that would determine my slot in the actual ICEBAR itself and an "ICEBAR Icebreaker" question on a slip of paper. My challenge for the night was to find someone who was Welsh. Spoiler alert: I failed! 

After dropping my coat off in the free cloakroom, I headed to the bar and was presented with a "Suicide Blonde" cocktail containing vodka, prosecco, lime and elderflower. It was not at all like something I would usually choose but it sure was delicious and went down very nicely. After hovering around awkwardly in true Emily fashion for a few minutes, the lovely Sam invited me over to come chat with her and a group of other bloggers including Emily, Jade and Dani. We bloggers were left to socialise and chat to each other for a bit, all while being treated to further drinks and delicious little canapes. 

After we'd had ample time to get to know each other, we were invited into a nice spacious room with lots of seats where Tom, the ICEBAR's head of marketing, gave us a great chat all about the bar. What I liked best about this was his passion for bloggers. He had true respect for what we do and he received some well deserved applause for this. It was a pleasure meeting him! We were also treated to a chat with Molly from Phoenix magazine, a really beautiful publication.

At last, it was time to head into the actual ICE bar part of the ICEBAR. Just before entering, we were given nice insulated capes with fur lined hoods and gloves attached. I was super impressed by these - I'd been fussing about what to wear for weeks before and had opted for a sleeveless dress in the end. Despite this, I didn't really feel the cold at all! Those capes are good. In the ICEBAR, which contains amazing ice sculptures carved into ice imported all the way from Sweden, we were generously gifted another cocktail, this time served in a glass made from, you guessed it, ice! I opted for the Whole Lotta Rosie, containing Four Roses Bourbon, Cherry Liqueur, Pineapple Juice, Lemon Juice, Sugar Syrup and Angostura Bitter and I have no regrets, it was seriously one of the nicest things I have ever drunk.

Each year, the ICEBAR changes themes and at the time of our visit, the theme was London Rocks. This meant the bar was full of rock n roll related designs and giant ice skulls while great rock classics were played. Even the cocktails had that rock n roll theme and I really loved it.

With prices starting at just £13.50 including your first ice cocktail, this is a seriously well priced attraction in the heart of London. I'm truly grateful for my experience here and I had a fabulous night. Many thanks to Lauren and the ICEBAR for organising this fantastic evening, I can't wait to go back! 

Have you ever been to ICEBAR London?

The following photographs were kindly provided by RDA Images. My experience at ICEBAR London was provided completely free of charge in return for a review, but all my thoughts and feelings are honest and mine, as usual! 

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Monday, 11 January 2016

Letting Go Of "The Life That Could Have Been"

So, this is 2016.

I'm single. I live 200 miles away from my family. I have no love for the town or flat I live in. I love my job, but it's a two and a half hour commute away that costs a lot more money than I have. I have injured my foot and knees so I can't get around very easily and Swindon's one saving grace, it's roller derby team, is off limits to me. I haven't really set any real goals and there's tumbleweed rolling across my blog.

So this is 2016. 

Ever since the day I left university in June 2012, staring out the back window of the car with tears in my eyes as I left Aberystwyth, it feels like my life has been a long, slow, painful roll downhill. I had my heart set on a particular career path with a particular company and learnt the hard way that even the best laid plans can go awry. 

2014 was supposed to be the year all that changed. I was supposed to start a brand new career, in a brand new town, move in with my boyfriend. It was meant to be my happily ever after. I got the brand new career, but my relationship fell apart and I ended up moving house a grand total of four times.

So this is 2016.

My life after graduation hasn't been at all what I expected. My life was supposed to look so very, very different. Part of me is still clinging to The Life That Should Have Been. I'm still harbouring hope that my move down south wasn't for nothing, that I could still have that perfect relationship, perfect house, perfect life. 

But really, I need to move on. It's time to start mourning The Life That Could Have Been. 

I've spent entirely too long making decisions based on my feelings for my ex-boyfriend and that has left me in rather a tricky situation. Not to mention, Emily Jane Garthwaite is a total stranger to me. I've got very little sense of self or who I am any more. This makes it incredibly difficult to set goals and targets for the year ahead. It makes it incredibly hard for me to see 2016 as the brand new start and fantastic opportunity it really is. 

So this IS 2016!

Deep down, I know there is one thing I truly want and that is to be better. This year I really want to focus on me. At first that will be learning who I am on my own, rather than as one half of a unit. Once I've got that down, I'll know what it is I want from life and I'll be able to start setting goals and building some structure back into my life. 

One thing I've never quite managed to lose sight of, is this blog. I've had a lot of hobbies in my lifetime, but none have stuck with me the way that blogging has, I truly love it. Unfortunately, it tends to get neglected but I'm hoping that at some point during 2016, I'll have regained enough control again to build it into the space I always wanted it to be. That being said, while my mind is still all over the place, I imagine my blog will be all over the place too. I hope as I gain more clarity and insight into who I am as a person again, my blog will also become a place of clarity and insight. 

So this is it, my first post of 2016. 

I wrote this more for myself than anyone else, but if anyone does have any advice on learning who you are and how to love who you are, I will welcome you with open arms. It's nice to have a nice, public cathartic vent every now and then. 

Happy New Year. 

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Thursday, 17 December 2015

Different Ways To Style A Little Black Dress Featuring Luxemme

With festive season already upon us, many of us have seen an increase in our social lives! Now, I don't know about you, but it'd be great to have a different dress for every occasion, but that's just not financially viable. Enter the little black dress. This wardrobe staple is popular for a reason: it's an absolute classic, there's a style to suit everyone, and, if you get a little creative, you can make it look like you're wearing a different outfit every time.

The LBD I'm showing off today is a gorgeous number from a brand I was recently introduced to called Luxemme.* Luxemme is an online luxury clothing store with a gorgeous range of high quality items, including some very special limited edition pieces. I was particularly drawn to the Anita High Neck Swing Dress because I don't have any dresses in this style already and the simplicity of it means there are a lot of options for styling it.

Wear it as it is 

As the Little Black Dress is such a classic, you can simply throw it on and go!

Change up the headwear 

One of my favourite ways to change the look and feel of an outfit is to add some hair accessories. Because a LBD can run the risk of looking plain, adding a giant floral crown or a sparkly glitter head band (both these pictured are from Prairie Charms) can really bring the outfit to life and is perfect for party season.

Add a kimono 
A year or two I went mad for kimonos and added a fair few to my wardrobe, three of which I still love and wear today. As I particularly like floral ones, they work really well with a LBD because there's no clash of prints. Kimonos can also add a much needed splash of colour to an outfit.

Wear a contrasting necklace
Jewellery is probably one of the easiest ways to change up a well loved outfit. Of all the ways I've showcased this dress today, I think perhaps I like this silver heart necklace the best. It's so simple and adds just enough sparkle for a sophisticated night time outfit.

Don't forget the makeup!
Of course, nothing really finishes off a killer Little Black Dress like some killer makeup! I'm very, very partial to my eyeliner flicks and purple mascara at the moment.

How do you wear your LBD?

* This dress was provided to me free of charge by Luxemme in return for an honest review. Please read my full disclaimer policy here.
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Friday, 4 December 2015

Operation Supervixen: November Update + December Goals

Operation Supervixen is my own personal transformation programme. In June 2015, I decided I was utterly fed up of being miserable, unwell and feeling like I wasn't reaching my full potential in life. To combat this, I decided I was going to radically transform my diet, maintain an exercise routine and centre my leisure activities around personal development. To keep me accountable and help others in the process, I started Operation Supervixen.

Hello everyone. It's that time of the month again where I update you all on my progress with my monthly health and wellness goals and set some new ones for the month ahead. Unfortunately, it's going to be a quick one today as I didn't achieve a single goal I set for November. Yep, not a single one. I took a packed lunch to work once, I had four takeaways, I did one day of a cleanse, I didn't go to roller derby at all, I didn't workout at weekends at all, and I blogged three times in my week off and them stopped for over a week again.


I'm not even going to bother setting any goals for December.

I'm not ready to go into specifics just yet but at the beginning of November, my life was turned upside down yet again. I've got a lot of tough decisions to make and a lot of readjusting to do. It might be quite some time before my life settles down again. In this environment, it is really damn hard to make resolutions and stick to them. Really damn hard

For now, I need to focus on healing and figure out how to listen to my intuition again so I can resolve the situation I have found myself in. I am aiming to make December a month of true self care.

In case you too are going through a difficult time at the moment, here are the 10 steps I am taking this month to try and nurse myself back to better mental health:

1. I will try my best to get more sleep
2. I will try my best to listen to my inner voice and focus on the things I truly want
3. I will try my best to listen to my body and give it the nutrition it needs
4. I will try my best to give myself a little treat for getting through each day
5. I will try my best to stop chastising myself for not meeting the ridiculously high expectations I place on my self
6. I will try my best to avoid activities that make me feel worse rather than better
7. I will try my best to be loving and caring to those around me even though I often don't feel loving and caring
8. I will try my best to look after myself 
9. I will try my best to think about my future and set some longer term goals when I start to feel better again
10. I will try my best to express my emotions in a healthy way rather than bottling them all up or raging on social media

I'm sure if I follow the above advice, I will be feeling much better in no time. I wish you all a lovely December! 

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Thursday, 3 December 2015

The Vixen Thinks: Does Plus Size Promote Obesity?

The Vixen Thinks is an almost weekly feature on this blog. Posts vary in topic, I'll talk about anything I have an opinion on! From blogging to relationships to feminism and anything beyond. If there's anything you'd like me to write about, feel free to get in touch: emily@theglittervixen.com! Thank you!

A few weeks (months maybe, been planning this post for far too long) ago, I was exposed to the idea that the rise in availability of plus size clothing promotes obesity. That is, by stocking clothes intended for larger people, clothing companies were saying "hey everyone, obesity is acceptable, it's desirable!"

What an absolutely outrageous idea! I could say, no, plus size does not "promote" obesity, and be done with it, but this is a blog post, so let's get into why I think there are absolutely no downsides to the increasing number of plus sizes ranges available and why the idea of promoting obesity is flawed at best.

Traditionally, the term plus size actually simply referred to clothing that wasn't made to fit a typical tall and skinny model. So yeah, clothing designed to fit the vast majority of us reading this - I'm pretty sure none of my readers are supermodels! With this definition in mind, all high street clothing retailers sell plus size clothing! How on earth can stocking UK size 8 clothing be a promotion of obesity? Oh yeah, it isn't.

Of course, this argument over simplifies things. Nowadays, plus size refers to sizes typically above those most commonly found readily available on the high street. I've seen some plus size ranges start around the UK size 16 mark, but my (limited) research suggests that more often, plus size is 18+.

The truth is, many people who require plus size clothing are fat, or, shock horror, OBESE.

The thing is, you cannot tell how healthy someone is simply by looking at them. I will repeat that: you cannot measure someone's health simply by looking at them. Just as there are super slim people who actually eat the recommended number of calories each day and get a healthy, balanced diet, there are also fat people who eat the recommended number of calories each day and get a healthy, balanced diet.

Everyone deserves access to clothing that fits them comfortably.

Should fat people who eat healthily really be penalised because there are actually people in this world who believe that by making clothing for fat people, we are condoning obesity? Of course not, what a ridiculous idea!

But what about fat people who don't healthily?

Well, this is where I need to repeat myself:

Everyone deserves access to clothing that fits them comfortably.

I know this may come as a surprise to some people but the lifestyle another person chooses to lead is NONE of your business. It is literally none of your business whether someone chooses to eat healthily, or chooses to regularly indulge in junk food instead.

By making clothes that fit people of all shapes and sizes, shops aren't screaming "HEY LIVE OFF CHEESEBURGERS IT'S FINE!" They're saying "OK, the vast majority of the UK isn't 6 feet tall and a dress size 6, so maybe the clothing we sell should reflect that."

I know, I know, you're probably moaning about the health risks associated with obesity and crying out about the "strain on the NHS" it causes. But here's the kicker - being skinny doesn't automatically make you immune to disease. Not everyone who falls on the larger side of scale is a walking ill-health timebomb. Again, you can't tell how healthy someone is just by looking at them.

There are other things that can cause severe health problems. Alcohol is a big one. Misuse of that drug places strain on the NHS, but I've never seen someone with a pint in their hand get the kind of abuse I've seen a fat person receive. Not even smokers get as much abuse as the plus size community, and smoking in my opinion is one of the worst, because it's not just your health it affects, it's that of those around you too.

It is time to move beyond the idea that the way someone looks is any of our business. It's time to move beyond the idea that you can tell how healthy someone is just by looking at them. It's time to celebrate that we're all different shapes and sizes and we should be encouraging clothing retailers to reflect this!

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Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Arbonne Christmas Collection 2015

Arbonne Products are sold entirely through a network of Independent Consultants. I am an Independent Consultant. If this review interests you and you decide to make a purchase, please visit http://emilygarthwaite.arbonne.com or use consultant ID 441132670. Although I am building a business with Arbonne, my opinions of these products are entirely my own and 100% honest. I could never build a business with a company I didn't wholeheartedly believe in. To read more about Arbonne, click here.

Hello everyone! It's that exciting time of year again where I reveal the Arbonne Christmas Collection to you all! Admittedly this collection has actually been available since around October so I am little late but if you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll be well aware my blogging habits have been rather sporadic this year. At this point in time it looks like most of the products are still available so I'm taking the better late than never approach. 

This year's collection is much smaller than in previous years as Arbonne has decided to take a simpler, more classic approach to the festive range of products. At first I was a little disappointed to hear it had been downsized and things like the giant Pure Vibrance shampoo and conditioner wouldn't be making a reappearance but as it happens, this smaller collection of products is absolutely gorgeous and very sophisticated. I love the delicate, slightly metallic packaging with gold and green accents, it's absolutely beautiful. I was in absolute awe when I opened the packaging and the products inside don't disappoint either. 

The Pineapple Papaya Gift Set contains a lovely lip balm, shower gel and body lotion in, you guessed it, a pleasant pineapple-papaya scent and taste in the lip balm. I cannot get over how delicious this set is. I've been using the lip balm daily and besides tasting great, it really smooths over my lips and makes them feel soft and hydrated.

Of all this year's Festive products, this was the one I was most excited about. This little Lip Therapy Set contains a lip salve and lip smoother. I've adored the Lush lip scrubs for years and I've been secretly wishing Arbonne would release one and now my wish has been granted! I didn't think anything could smell and taste nicer than the Pineapple Papaya lip balm but this does. It's so amazing

The amazing Arbonne Baby Care set in cute miniature sizes. The perfect gift for someone who is expecting or already has a newborn. These products are super, super gentle and great for young children. Even if you're not a mummy, the Nappy Cream is one of my must have products. Other people swear by it for a number of reasons but my personal favourite use is for blisters on my feet. It soothes broken skin on my feet and heals it up in no time. Fantastic! 

This is an old Arbonne Christmas favourite and I was super glad to see the foot scrub in particular has decided to show up again this year. The minty scent is very seasonally appropriate and there are few treats on this earth that I appreciate more than a good foot scrub.

Another repeat from last year's collection. This will take pride of place in my bathroom so both me and any guests I might have can have minty fresh hands.

These are released every year in different scents and this year's don't disappoint. This is a truly nourishing hand cream, a real treat for your hands. 

Every year my favourite part of the Arbonne Christmas Collection is the limited edition makeup. I will be doing a full post about these products, so watch this space. 

Another product I was particularly excited about this year. So many Festive gift sets fail to include shower gel in favour of body lotion. I rarely use body lotion and use shower gel 1/2 times a day. So, this gift set is something I will actually enjoy and get the full use of. All the scents are gorgeous and I can't wait to use them properly. If they're anything like other Arbonne shower gels, they will leave skin feeling and smelling great.

So there we have it, the Arbonne 2015 Holiday Collection. What has been your favourite Christmas Collection this year? 

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Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Are You Ready To Have The Best Year Of Your Life?

Are you ready to make 2016 the best year of your life? 


In 2012, I was browsing a forum I used to visit frequently when I noticed a friend refer to her "Goddess Guidebook" - intrigued, I Googled the term and that's when I discovered the wonder that is Leonie Dawson. Leonie's main mission in life is to help women grow shining businesses and lead shining lives. To do this, every year, she releases workbooks to help people achieve their dreams. The workbooks have gone through many incarnations, from the Goddess Guidebook, to the Shining Biz and Life Workbooks they are today. 

So, in early 2013, I purchased my first Leonie Dawson Workbook - "Create Your Incredible Year 2013" I think it was called - and I haven't look back since! At the time, I was feeling very, very lost having graduated university and my graduate plan had gone very, very wrong. These workbooks helped me focus my intentions and gain some clarity about what my next steps could be. I am so eternally grateful to have found them. 

This year's workbooks have been particularly exciting. What started out as a humble e-book has now turned into a fantastic range of physical products you can love and cherish forever. The Business and Life workbooks are now separate entities so if you're not a biz owner and aren't planning to be, you can simply buy the Life workbook on it's own. Alongside the workbooks, there is now a 2016 Diary/Planner, each book comes with an A2 Wall Planner and there was even a gorgeous To Do List pad which has now sadly sold out. Of course, if you're digitally inclined the workbooks are still available in PDF format as well. 

This year, both the Life and Biz workbooks are twice the size they were last year and they've been divided into chapters so you can easily focus on the areas you know you need to focus on. Oh yes, these already insanely useful resources just got even better. I actually ordered my workbook bundle way back in July when they were on sale and they have now finally arrived. It was well worth the wait, they are everything I expected and more. 

Great lives don't happen by accident, they have to be created. If, like me, you have a loud and chaotic mind, getting your hopes and dreams down on paper in a structured manner really is the key to creating and reaching solid goals. I've yet to find a resource I like as much as these workbooks. 
“The 2016 Create Your Shining Year Biz & Life workbooks and brand spankin’ new weekly planner are incredibly popular & useful tools to help you plan out & make happen your most incredible year in life or business (or both!).
Over the last seven years, thousands of women have used these goals workbooks with the most amazing results. It’s the best planning tool available to help you make your year your most exceptional yet!
Used by entrepreneurs, artists, mamas, creatives, coaches, teachers and women of all ages, the Creating Your Shining Year workbooks + daily planner are filled with powerful worksheets to help you create your amazing new year.”
If you really want to transform your life in 2016, I also recommend checking out Leonie Dawson's Shining Biz and Life Academy too!

I wish you all the very best 2016!

PS: Some of you lovely readers purchased the workbooks last year using my affiliate links - THANK YOU! I am eternally grateful and I hope you found them as useful a resource as I did xx

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