A Few Nights In London

Hi guys! Just over a week ago I had a very last minute trip to London. While I was away, I kept taking pictures of everything, as every detail seemed to have its own beauty and charm. I think this is a perfect time of year to visit London, because it was chilly and everywhere was lit up with gorgeous twinkling lights, it was almost surreal.

So now that I’m back home, and have been looking back over my pictures, I thought I’d share them with you. Continue reading “A Few Nights In London”

Can Happiness Be Measured?

Today I decided to talk about something that interests me quite a lot, and that’s happiness. It’s a really interesting emotion to explore and evaluate, so please indulge me for today while I have a bit of a delve into whether or not we can measure it!

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When it comes to 2 millions years, we all consider that an incredibly long time, but in fact, when it comes to Evolution, 2 million years really is no time at all. In 2 million years, the human brain has nearly tripled in size, from the 1 ¼lb brain of our ancestors, Homo Habilis, to the nearly 3lb brain that we all posses today.

With this growth of our brains, the structure of our brains altered too, leading to the development of what is now referred to as the ‘prefrontal cortex’. The ‘prefrontal cortex’ is the area of the brain that determines decision making and holds our ability to essentially, ‘experience things, without experiencing them’. As Dan Gilbert explains in his talk with TED, “The Surprising Science Of Happiness”, an example of this function can be explained through why Ben and Jerry’s don’t have liver-and-onion ice cream. “It’s not because they whipped some up, tried it and went, ‘Yuck.’ It’s because, without leaving your armchair, you can simulate that flavour and say ‘yuck’ before you make it.” The prefrontal cortex goes through most major changes during the ‘teen’ and pubescent years, which heavily contributes towards why teenagers tend to make impulsive and irrational decisions.

Naturally, with this development in the brain, we also developed problems with it. As we have grown and developed, we’ve discovered something known as ‘Impact bias’. This is the tendency for this ‘experience’ simulator, to work badly. Over time, we have internalised the idea that many situations that contain 2 differing outcomes, have a typically ‘good’ outcome, and a typically ‘bad’ or ‘undesirable’ outcome. From covert field studies, to overt lab studies, we have found that examples such as winning or losing an election, gaining or losing a romantic partner, passing or not passing a test, etc, have far less impact, less intensity, and a much shorter duration than we expect them to have on our happiness and lives. A further example of this is when people were questioned whether or not they’d be happier with winning the lottery, or becoming a paraplegic.

Naturally of course, all people that were asked, answered that they’d rather win the lottery. This is because we naturally assume that we’d be far happier with that outcome. But the truth is, that a year after experiencing one of these life changing events, either winning the lottery, or becoming a paraplegic, both groups of people rated their levels of happiness as exactly the same. This is the ‘impact bias’ in full swing.

A recent study carried out by Kubler-Ross led to the ‘Kubler-Ross Change Curve’. This chart demonstrates how major life traumas effect people, and it suggests that if the event occurred more than 3 months ago, with a few exceptions, it had no impact on an individuals day-to-day happiness.

So how are we going through such life changing events, but merely 3 months later, almost completely unaffected by it? We are able to do so, because happiness can be synthesized. Sir Thomas Brown wrote in 1642, “I am the happiest man alive. I have that in me that can convert poverty to riches, adversity to prosperity. I am more invulnerable than Achilles; fortune hath not one place to hit me.”  Human beings have something that we refer to as a ‘psychological immune system’, a system of cognitive processes, largely non-conscious cognitive processes, that help us change our views of the world, so that we can feel better about the world in which we find ourselves; and, like Sir Thomas, we all have this machine.

Before getting into this machine, and how we synthesise happiness, we must first understand the difference between ‘synthetic’ and ‘natural’ happiness. Natural happiness is what we feel when we get what we wanted, and synthetic happiness is what we make when we don’t get what we wanted. However, in our society, we seem to have a strong belief that synthetic happiness is of an inferior kind.

We synthesise happiness, yet we still believe happiness is a thing to be found, or a destination to be ‘reached’. Examples of people showing signs of ‘synthesising’ happiness typically occur when people seem to be ‘stuck’ or ‘trapped’ in situations. An example of this could be a woman that embarks on a date with a man who hasn’t shaved, and picks his nose, is unlikely to see the man again, but take the exact same situation, but the couple are married, and the woman deems the man ‘loveable’ and focusses on his better aspects and traits. This is because the woman is synthesising happiness by making the best of her situation and options.

A further example of a person synthesising happiness is that of Moreese Bickham. Bickham was jailed for 37 years in a Louisiana State Penitentiary for a crime he didn’t commit. But was  released for good behaviour halfway through his sentence. However, after his release, Bickham was quoted as saying, “I don’t have one minute’s regret. It was a glorious experience.” This is a prime example of synthesising happiness. Bickham has looked back on his experiences, and actively chosen to take the good from it. Ultimately using the word ‘glorious’, which is commonly a word we reserve for something greater than ourselves, such as a religious experience.

So how does all of this relate to happiness and whether or not it can be measured? As Dr Dan Siegel was quoted, “Well-being, of course, is a very subjective and individual experience.” Some argue that happiness cannot possibly be measured, at least not objectively because none of the obvious behaviours can be linked to happiness in a reliable manner. Even an outgoing and friendly appearance, which is so frequently observed among happy people, can be put on as a mask by those who are unhappy. Furthermore, as Michael Blastland said, “Your well-being may not be improved by the same things as mine, the fact that you like to get stoned isn’t going to see cannabis in Tesco.” Objectivity is not being influenced by personal feelings or opinions in representing facts; but that’s exactly what happiness is, and how it is effected.

Ultimately, it can be argued that happiness can indeed be measured, because it’s already happening, right now. Since 2010, The ONS have, as a result of governmental request, been including happiness and well-being questions in their surveys, meaning that we have self-assessed data from the past 5 years detailing our happiness and well-being levels. In the year 2014/5, we as a nation rated our ‘Life Satisfaction’ as 28.8%, up 2% from the year 2013/4. Since we have this data, therefore, surely it must be possible to measure happiness, right?

You might ask yourself, “Why does it even matter? Happiness is surely an individual and unique experience to everyone.” And well, you’d be right. As soon as the reasoning behind why the government wanted The ONS to collect information on our ‘happiness’ and ‘well-being’ levels was investigated, their motives are obviously deeper than just wanting a happier nation. Our government, naturally, want to improve our country’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) which is the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period. And it was believed that by monitoring and attempting to improve our GNH (Gross National Happiness), our GDP would increase as a consequence of that.

A further reason as to why we need to be measuring happiness is to ensure we understand ourselves on a deeper level. An example of this could be that happy people are simply more likely to want to get married, and therefore we have the cause and effect the wrong way around. Whereas we falsely attribute happiness to people that are married.

Ultimately, we can all agree that yes, happiness can be measured. This is because I can ask any one of you, on a daily basis, to rate your happiness, and you’d be quite capable of doing so. However, we are only able to rate and measure our own happiness, because we exclusively have access to our, and only our own, unique data, and we can draw conclusions from that. But because we don’t have many control variables, we can’t necessarily compare our data, so the conclusions can only exist as unique and independent data.


This post really does run the risk of being a tldr, so if you made it this far, I’d like to really thank you for taking the time to read this post in its entirety, it means a great deal to me, and this is a topic that I really enjoy writing about.

I thought it’d be fun to cover a much more in-depth and deeper topic, because I very rarely delve into topics that deeply interest me, I feel like I’d stagnated into just pushing out content about generic and predictable things, and doing different things like this is something I’d like to start doing more.

Do you believe that happiness can be measured and compared? Let me know in the comments!

 

100 POSTS PAMPER NIGHT GIVEAWAY

Hey guys! As some of you may have noticed, my last blog post was my 100th one on this blog! I did not see this coming back when I started this blog at the beginning of the year, but I’m really glad that I’ve stuck with it, for so many reasons.

Getting to know so many amazing and diverse people, and being given an insane amount of opportunities, I can see myself now blogging well into my 1,000,000th post.

So, as a thanks to all of you lovely people who take time out of your day to read, like, comment and subscribe, I thought I’d give you an experience that I really endorse. A pamper night.

backgrounderThat’s right. I’m giving away the ultimate pamper night in for you guys! This treat includes:


Azure Vitamin E Woven Face Mask

Beautilicious Sugar Coated Candy Apple Foot Soak

M&S Coconut Body Scrub

Nivea Creme Moisturiser

Zoella Kissy Missy Lip Balm

Body Shop Rose Gift Set

Paperchase Fox Stickers

Roam Earrings

Aztec-Inspired Ring


 I chose to add some cute stickers, a ring and earrings just to really treat you to an additional few cutesy items.

If you are interested in entering this giveaway, you can do so by following me here, either through WordPress, Bloglovin’ or the email sign-up form.

You can also be entered by following me on Twitter or Instagram. You can also drop a comment on any blog post, including this one. Or you can tweet about this giveaway!

ENTER BY CLICKING HERE


I hope you guys are excited for this giveaway, be sure to drop me a comment if you are! If you’re not after a pamper giveaway like this, be sure to share or link it to someone else that might be!

Thank you all again so much for reading and following my blog. I’m insanely grateful to you all. ヽ(^。^)丿

20 Things I’ve Learned In 20 Years

Hey guys! I don’t know if you knew this, (jk we all know I put a countdown in my sidebar, we all knew it was happening) but on the 24th of October, it was my 20th birthday! So naturally, with all of my accumulated wisdom over these vast 20 years, I thought today I’d share with you guys 20 of my top things that I’ve learned in the past 20 years.20 Things I've Learned In 20 Years

  1. Say yes to opportunities as often as you can, you won’t believe how much it’ll change your life and general outlook.
  2. Wear clothes that make you feel amazing, regardless of what anyone thinks or what you think they’ll think. Your confidence will shine through.
  3. You need bad times. Withouth these, there would be no contrast to the upliftingly insane great times.
  4. Remember number 3 when it’s one of those days. Think how much better things now have the opportunity to get.
  5. Life really does speed up. My brother explained to me that this is because the ratio changes as we get older. For example, when you’re 20, that year is 1/20th of your life, but when you’re 10, it’s only 1/10th. This might make little sense, but seriously, life speeds up.
  6. Walk. Whenever you can.
  7. Ask questions. You’d rather feel nervous for a second, and then worry-free because you have your questions answered, than stressed because you don’t know what’s happening or expected of you.
  8. Forgive, forget, move on. It’s so much better for you mind, health and stress lines!
  9. Celebrate. Celebrate occasions, events, achievements, people. Just freaking celebrate everything.
  10. Say yes to yas. This really links into number 9, but I’ve found that you feel so much better in yourself if you say yas to other people. If someone is wearing something outrageously fabulous, say YAAAAAS GURL. If someone overcomes adversity, say YAAAAAS. Out loud, or in your head, it’ll give you a great mentality.
  11. Having a bath with a bubble bar, a body scrub, face mask, then skincare routine and a mani/pedi is at least a fortnightly thing.
  12. “We’re all fighting hard battles, so you’ve gotta be kind.” Remember that everyone has their own life, and you might only know what’s on the very surface. Be kind, and understanding.
  13. The world isn’t against you.  People are nice. Nothing is ever the end of the world.
  14. Don’t ever tell yourself no, or “I can’t”.
  15. Talk to your siblings. No one has a closer personal experience of your life than they do.
  16. Accept that there are things that you cannot control. Once you accept this, life will become so much simpler.
  17. Nothing is permanent. Not one thing. There is no one thing that is sacred, everything is subject to change and disappear. Appreciate the now.
  18. Love. Keep your heart open. Adopt, live, give, and just love.
  19. Heartache really is healed by the sea. Time and the sea, helps towards healing everything.
  20. Don’t allow people to change your own perspective. If you think you’re good at something, but someone else doesn’t, it doesn’t help you in any way to adopt what they think. As David Foster Wallace puts it, “You’ll worry less about what people think about you when you realize how seldom they do” Quite simply, we’re all so concerned with ourselves, and what other people think of us, that we are all too busy to actually think about other people.

I hope you guys enjoyed this post! Let me know if you did in the comments below, also feel free to drop any lessons you’ve learned there too, it’s always lovely to share experiences.

How To Optimise Your Blog Photos

I think it’s pretty safe to assume that we all start out in the blogging world, because we’re passionate about it. We love to create, and we love it even more when other people love what we have created.

But it can be a little disheartening if you are avidly creating and developing ideas, if your content is never seen. Therefore we all quickly start to learn little tips and tricks for correctly tagging and sharing our posts, in order to get them in front of the right people. So today, I thought I’d share with you guys, my tips for how to optimise your blog images, so that you are using every available tool for showcasing your blog/online space in the best possible way.How To Optimise Your Blog Photos

Starting out with optimising your images can be as simple as correctly naming your file. For example, the image above is related to this post, “How To Optimise Your Blog Photos”, therefore that’s what I named this file after I transferred it onto my computer, and before uploading it to this post. I know this sounds really useless and obvious, but think of just how many images you take directly from your camera and upload to your blog, without thinking about it. It’s as simple as this, I want people to find this post when looking for tips on how to improve optimisation on their blog photos, therefore that’s what I named the image, so when it’s searched for, this post will appear.

No one ever searches for “IMG_567” or “FPEBDWR”. Your file names must be relevant and useful.

Secondly, there is also ‘Alternative Text’. Alternative text is separate from the file name, and it essentially identifies what the picture is. It’s the text that shows up on screen when a picture doesn’t load properly. This essentially tells whoever is searching for a specific keyword, what is in the image. So if you take a picture of a Lush Bubble Bar, you’ll want to add Lush and Bubble Bar to the alternative text tags.

And lastly, keep file sizes small. People don’t like to be waiting 3 minutes for an image to load. Most will wait roughly 15 seconds before getting tired of waiting and moving on, and that’s not what you want. You want people to love your content and want to return regularly, not click on a link once and never return because your image loaded bar by bar.


That’s it! I hope this post helped some of my fellow blogging buddies out, be sure to let me know if it did! Also, if you’re a seasoned professional in the world of blogging, please do leave any tips you’ve acquired on this (or any similar topic) in the comments, as I’m sure we’d all love to share as much advice as possible.

5 Reasons To Start Blogging

This topic is very often openly talked about by many bloggers, but all to often they approach it in an angry, and judging way. This is because some think that there are ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ reasons to start up a blog. Whether you’re getting into it for ‘freebies’ or followers, the reality is; there is no right and wrong when it comes to blogging. Obviously if you intend on starting up a blog purely for freebies, your heart won’t be in it, and writing will feel like a chore, and your blog won’t really showcase your passion. And of course the reality is that no one is ever given freebies in the beginning. You need to build an audience that trusts you, before any companies want you to showcase their products. Though we can’t argue that receiving things from companies isn’t an amazing thing, but you do have to care about what you’re writing, otherwise companies will see that, and not work with you.

So today I am taking you guys through some of the reasons I personally started blogging, and some reasons that might just push someone that is currently holding back from clicking that ‘sign up’ button.

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You’ll see everything differently | When you first start out, you’ll start seeing little photo and writing opportunities in everything you do and see. This builds up the excitement that you have when you start out, as everything is an opportunity that you can share.

Try new things | Your newly found ‘blogger-glasses’ will not only lead you to see the blogging opportunities in your everyday life occurrences, but you’ll also be more driven to try new things, be that new experiences or simply new products. All leading you to find what best suits you.

Pride | Once you’ve established your layout, and you’re a few posts in, you’ll have a really rewarding pride of what you’ve already accomplished. You’ll be cheesily telling everyone to check out and share your blog.

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Meet new people | Whether attending blogger events, or simply discovering fellow bloggers online and getting to know each other, you can be meeting new people everyday through tags and other blogging platforms such as bloglovin’.

New skills | Depending on how you put your posts together, you will develop and sharpen your skills in many areas. Personally I take my images, so I have learned how to best set up a shot, and I plan ahead exactly how I’d like my images to look, but if you take your images from the internet, you’ll learn the best platforms to collect your images. I’ve also found passions in editing and rediscovered my love for writing.


There are some of the reasons I started blogging, let me know in the comments what pushed you to start up your blog, or what’s keeping you from doing so.