Turning 25 & What I Got For My Birthday

A couple of days ago I turned the grand old age of 25! TWENTY FIVE. I was absolutely spoilt rotten! I received such generous gifts from my boyfriend, family and friends (which are all pictured in this post) and I cannot thank them all enough. They all made my weekend truly special.

After a very short 3 and a half hours at work, I was whisked home to get changed and spruce myself up before my boyfriend treated me to the most amazing lunch at Albert's. We both decided to book half a day off work as it was a Friday and we thought it would be nice to make the weekend just that little bit longer. The food in Albert's was absolutely delicious! I would highly recommend going there if you're in the South Manchester area. After lunch, we decided to go and see the new Lego Batman  movie at the cinema, which we both found hilarious. If you're a fan of the original Lego Movie then this will be right up your street - it's such a guilty pleasure of ours! We then finished the day off by getting home and popping on our comfy clothes before cracking open a bottle of Prosecco. Perfect.

I was surprisingly excited to be turning just that little bit older and it feels kinda cool to know that i'll now be classed as "in my mid twenties". It's strangely empowering and I feel like I can officially be more adult now. I just feel that when you're on the latter side of 25 you're still sorta treated like a child. That being said, on the day of my birthday I kinda just sat there for a few minutes and thought to myself... how the heck did I get that old all of a sudden? I feel like these past few years have literally flown by.

Do you remember when you used to be little, and the days and the years seemed so long. How when you envisioned what you would be doing in your mid twenties it was like your whole life would have fallen in to place by now? A bit like Jenna Rink in 13 Going on 30 - dreaming about being older and having your shit together. You were going to be married, have kids, a house... strangely, it was the norm to think like that. I was talking about this with my friend Lauren - we thought it was funny how things seemed to have slowed down in this modern age as to how we thought life would be. We aren't all rushing to get that "happy ending" - we're living in the moment, exploring, making memories and changing the perception of the idealistic life. For some people that might mean settling down and having children in their twenties and for others it might mean travelling the world and partying till you're 40. It's a blessing that we have the freedom to choose what we want to do and to revel in it rather than be pressurised into an old-fashioned way of life.

It's funny to think that when I was 13, I was adamant that I'd have a house, a child and a husband by now. Don't get me wrong, I'd like all of that in the near future but to be honest, at this very moment in time I still feel too young. I'm living my life and I'm enjoying it - taking each day as it comes and not rushing into things but waiting and working towards them happening naturally. I'm getting there, just not as fast as 13-year-old me had planned. So here's to being 25 and not having all of your shit together, but at least some of it.

Things to consider when re-launching your blog

I re-launched my blog last month after a considerable amount of time off. I was waiting for the "right moment" to jump back into the sea of the blogging world. I did try and attempt (on several occasions) to start blogging again and I had a few random spells where I thought "yeah I can do this again, I'm ready". Truth be told, I wasn't. It just didn't feel as much fun as when I started blogging back in the day. I had so much time to blog then, I was basically blogging full-time alongside my University course and I was so wrapped up in it, I absolutely loved blogging - it was my life. Unfortunately, it all got a bit too much when I finished University and had to start working full-time. Even though I had worked part-time throughout University, going full-time was a bigger life change than I had envisioned. I knew it would be hard 'becoming an adult' but I didn't anticipate some of the hurdles I would have to jump. In hindsight, I am so glad I made the most of University, cause boy oh boy being a grown up can be a challenge.

I decided to take a super long (longer than intended) break from blogging and completely settled into the next chapter of adulthood. I missed blogging but I just didn't have the time or energy for it. Now I'm settled, I'm slowly but surely easing my way back into the swing of things. I've decided that in order to ease myself back into it, I'm not going to force myself to blog and I'm not putting any immense pressure on myself by trying to create content too regularly for the sake of it. I don't wan't to fall at the first hurdle again. I'm intending to blog at least once a week but I'm definitely hoping that soon enough I will be able to blog more regularly.

I thought I'd share a list of things that I considered when I decided that I wanted to start blogging again. I thought it may be helpful if you're in a similar position to me and need some inspiration to get stuck back in! 

Name Change

I thought what better way for a fresh start than with a brand spanking new blog name? I knew that this would have a slight negative impact - my DA has completely dropped after building it up for so many years, I had to rename all of my social channels and I'm trying to build up my social status again. I did worry that people would have lost interest in my blog, but I had to put all at the back of my mind - I didn't want to blog as Bonjour Belle anymore, I wanted it to be more me, so I took the gamble.

New Theme

My second thought after renaming my blog, was to give it a good old face lift! I just thought that with a fresh and clear theme, it would be easier for people to use and navigate my blog. I wanted something clean and simple. I came across Maria Gall and fell in love with this design - I just knew it was the one. 

Improve Photography

One of the main goals I have for my blog is to improve the photography. In my opinion, a good image is one of the main things that grabs someones attention to read the post, so if the quality of your images are good, then the more likely people are to click through. I currently take my pictures using the Canon 1100D and although this camera is great and is doing the job just fine for now, I would like to up my game and invest in a better camera in the near future. I currently have my eyes set on the Olympus Pen E-PL8 - I have seen so many bloggers use this camera and the quality of their photographs is amazing. I would also like to create more interesting images by investing in blog props - I currently have a few saved items in my eBay watch list!


Another thing that I'd like to improve on is socialising and engaging with other bloggers and readers. I think it's important to interact with people who share similar interests to you, and to appreciate people who take time out of their day to read your blog, or like your Instagram photo and engage with your Tweet. I'm also going to start engaging with more blogs that I read too. I'm constantly reading through them but I don't always make an effort to comment on a post *slaps wrist*. I've decided that from now on I'm going to make a conscious effort to do this. Every post I read I will write a comment on. Even just one comment can make someones day, cause it would make mine!

Have you ever had a break from blogging? How did you get back into the swing of things?

Too Faced Melted Lipsticks

If there's one thing I look for when buying a new lipstick, it's a strong pigmented colour. I always think that if I'm going to wear a lipstick, I want it to be noticeable and I definitely prefer to wear a bold colour on my lips rather than a stain or subtle gloss. I've wanted to try the Too Faced Melted Lipsticks for a while now as I'd heard such good things about them. After doing a bit of research, I opted to try out their mini size lipsticks, and found this set which offered a few different shades at an affordable price of only £22. I popped the set on my Christmas list and was lucky enough to receive it from my parents.

Despite each of the shades being absolutely stunning, the one thing I would advise is that if you're choosing a shade online or in-store, do not base your colour choice on the packaging (obviously if the tube is pink then the shade inside isn't going to be purple or brown) but I would say that the packaging of the lipsticks isn’t a true representative of the exact shade that's inside. The set offers four different shades; Chocolate HoneyFigChihuahua and Lady Balls.

The application of the product is a dream. The lipsticks glide onto your lips so perfectly, and at first although they appear quite glossy, they develop into a lovely matte finish. The pigmentation in each of the shades is incredible too, you only need one application to achieve full coverage with a good amount and pop of colour - it basically comes out of the tube opaque. I would also consider these lipsticks to be very long lasting, I did have to top up after eating out, however the colour hadn't completely disappeared, it just appeared to be more subtle. You can easily reapply the product though without it building up or looking too cakey, which is a big thumbs up - especially with matte finishes.

Have you ever tried a Too Faced Melted Lisptick? What were your thoughts?

My Little Box: January

I was never a big fan of monthly subscription boxes. After reading the constant love/hate battle that people seem to have with them on social media, I was never fully convinced that it was worth it. I mean, for the same price (or even less) I can binge watch It's Always Sunny on Netflix, or treat myself to a naughty takeaway on Deliveroo. Personally, I couldn't justify spending a tenner that could've gone into my savings, just for a box of random samples. You usually get a single full size product but still, I couldn't seem to draw myself into them. I signed up to Carmine a good few years back - I'm talking 6 years ago, as I thought I'd try a lesser known box. Even then I was left completely disappointed with it. I mean, the excitement of receiving a surprise gift each month sounded like a nice excuse, but it was only after I'd unboxed it and laid it out that I felt slightly let down. I remember thinking, "Oh, is that it?" and I just didn't feel like taking the gamble again.

It wasn't until an old work colleague started receiving a monthly subscription box to work - My Little Box and I was pleasantly surprised by it. Luckily, I received a subscription to My Little Box for Christmas, however even when that runs out, I'm definitely going to re-subscribe myself.

My Little Box is different to other subscription boxes that I've seen on the market. They create their own products, and even include bits like stationary, fashion pieces, jewelry and home ware, among many other goodies! They also include illustrations and a glossy mini-mag each month. Rather than just throwing in a few samples, My Little Box seems a bit more special and unique. Each box has a theme, and each gift inside is a part of that.

This month I received

A weekly planner (Timeless Planner) 
 Hydrating body cream from the My Little Beauty range 
○ Hand cream from the My Little Beauty range 
 Natural toothpaste by Merci Handy
 Hair mask shot by Garnier
○ Scarf
A handy pouch to store my bits and pieces!

The products that you receive are honestly such good quality and I do believe that they're worth the £14.95 monthly subscription fee. They obviously put a lot of care and attention into each box, even down to the packaging which was a large re-usable pouch decorated with an inspirational quote.

You can view their website here. Have you ever received a My Little Box? What were your thoughts?

A Fresh Start: 2017

It's been a while since I've poured my self a cup of tea and sat down to write. I feel like it's been a long time coming, I just haven't been in the right frame of mind to sit down and write a blog post, nor have I honestly felt ready or brave enough to start writing again.

I think I just sort of put my blog on a back burner until I felt the time was *right*. I am completely happy with my life right now. I have a loving family and the most incredible boyfriend. We live in a lovely flat in the South of Manchester together and I've never been so genuinely happy. I'm besotted. Everything is going absolutely swimmingly and I guess I've just been living in the moment and soaking it all up. With that being said, there's always been that one thought sitting at the back of my mind, and that's how much I've missed blogging.

I guess, realistically, I would've been able to find the time to blog - I just decided to use that energy elsewhere. I feel as though I would've been forcing myself to write, or trying too hard to "get it right". The blogging world is evolving and growing so fast that I felt I needed to catch up with it first. I didn't feel like my blog posts would cut it if I'd written and produced them halfheartedly - which I tried on a couple of occasions, but they ended up being redrafted days later. Don't get me wrong, I'm always reading blogs, and I spend a lot of my time still catching up with my favourite YouTube channels. I've just sorta kept myself on the sidelines for a while until I felt ready to jump back in.

I felt that it was only right to mature my blog slightly so I dropped the Belle and replaced it with my name. I feel like it's more me (that's probably a stupidly obvious thing to say seeing as it's my name but you get what I mean...) I didn't want to try and get all experimental because a) that blog name is probably already taken and b) i'll probably end up wanting to change it yet again in the future - queue my old Hotmail E-mail xbaybeexstephx... I know right. 

I'm not sure what my blog is going to evolve into but I'm super excited to get my teeth stuck back into it. I started Bonjour Belle way back in 2012, so I guess it would be silly to give up on it really! I've already started drafting a couple of new blog posts, so stay tuned! If you've managed to get this far please feel free to share your links below, I'd love to add some new blogs to my reading list!