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If there's one thing I've always struggled with, it's finding suitable luggage to travel with - particularly bags. Admittedly I am quite fussy; but these days it proves difficult to get something that is durable, aesthetically pleasing AND good value for money. Never fear though, The Haze Shop has finally solved all my bag-related problems.

The brand itself is very urban and up-to-date, this intrigued me since I wouldn't consider myself the most stylish person when it comes to street-wear. Nonetheless, all the products were so detailed and beautifully designed I couldn't help but want to give them a go.

The bag I've been using is the Haze Shakra Backpack. It must be said that the second I opened this, I was genuinely shocked at both the attention to detail and quality of the bag - I don't know what exactly I was expecting but this went above and beyond all expectations. The bag, made from premium neoprene, is most certainly durable so perfect for carrying heavy items - this could be great for someone at school/university or someone who likes to carry a laptop. Neoprene is also known for its great waterproof properties, once again adding to the durability and practicality of this bag. From my experience, it's rare to find something so durable and practical at the expense of style.

As I mentioned before, the attention to detail on this bag is one of the things that really amazed me. Not only due to the intricate embroidery on the front but also the embossed-style print over the bag's surface - for me, this really makes the bag and sets it apart from any other you might find. The detail doesn't even stop on the outside, the inside features a number of cleverly constructed compartments for maximum organisation and once again, practicality.

I've genuinely been so impressed by Haze as a brand and can't wait to see what new products they create in the future, I know I'll probably love them. I'll leave links to Haze and their social media below so feel free to check them out!

Wesbite: https://hazeshop.co.uk/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thehazeshop
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/haze_shop
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/THEHAZESHOP/


Elle x

* This post is in collaboration with The Haze Shop. As always, all opinions remain my own!

Weird thing for a blogger to bring up you might think? True. The longer I've been blogging, the deeper my knowledge of affiliate marketing has become and as obvious as it has become that it is extremely important in today's fashion industry, it's led me to question to what extent it's negative.

Affiliate marketing is undoubtedly a key component in driving today's consumer culture. You see something on Instagram, you want it. You see something on TV, you want it. From influencers to TV stars, there's no end to who can be involved in affiliate marketing, if they have an audience thats all that matters. Affiliate marketing has been around for ages but in recent years its spiralled and grown significantly in popularity. Take this years season of Love Island - all the islanders were wearing Missguided and every item was cleverly linked on the Love Island app. This is great for the consumer in terms of ease of purchase, there's no need to hunt around for specific items online when theres a compiled list right in front of you. Equally, this is great for brands as it drives sales. But, at what point does this become dangerous?

We hear about pressure throughout the media to look and behave in a certain way and usually this boils down to physical appearance but people don't seem to have such an issue with glossy magazines that are filled with more clothing adverts than actual articles, huge clothing campaigns on underground station posters, on the side of buses or marketing through sponsorship's such as Missguided on Love Island. Feeling like you have to look a certain way has a great deal to do with apparel as well as physical appearance and the increase in public figures promoting certain fashion trends can lead people to ditch their own choices and try relentlessly to fit in with others. Trends of course, change rapidly and this constant need to keep up with them undoubtedly causes people to indulge in new purchases while throwing away perfectly good items of clothing.

As well as affiliate marketing often enforcing an image onto people, it can be argued that it sometimes excludes those who re-wear clothes altogether. In my previous post, I talked about the wonders of 21 Buttons (an app where you can make commission through posting outfits), but use of this app further highlighted for me how problematic affiliate marketing can be when it comes to 'throw away' fashion. For example, I personally re-wear clothes for YEARS until I well and truly fall out of love with them or they've been worn so much they've pretty much bitten the dust. There's been many times I've gone to post an outfit and realised I can't tag particular items of clothing because I've had them for over 2 months (sometimes even 2 weeks - yes, it's that bad) because brands discontinue products so quickly these days.

Naturally, I can't think of a solution to this problem since obviously I know shops can't keep the same products forever, and I'm absolutely not opposed to using 21 Buttons or any other affiliate marketing (as you can tell from blog) because I feel like they're useful, they're current and they're part of the ever-changing fashion industry. However, it has to be said that use of both techniques has really led me to question whether what I'm doing, as a blogger, is detrimental to both the environment and the fashion industry. The faster fashion becomes, the more damage is being done to the environment and the more the sweatshop industry is going to continue to grow. Both of these things are awful and while affiliate marketing can be great, I feel more should be done to combat these issues so that affiliate marketing has less of a detrimental effect. Affiliate marketing definitely has not caused problems such as these, but it can't be denied it has contributed to the maintenance of them. Is it time we questioned the ethics of fashion blogging?

Elle

Haven't heard of 21 Buttons? Neither had I until fairly recently. It's something I kept seeing crop up all over the place but never really explored until a few months ago. To put it in short, 21 Buttons is a fashion app which allows you to post your own looks and individually tag where each item is from. This is great for finding your own inspo as you can save looks and items to then purchase yourself - I find myself doing this far too often! Equally though, people can also do this with your looks and each time one of your tagged items is purchased, you earn a percentage of commission. This can then be transferred to your bank account whenever it reaches the minimum amount of £10. See below:


My top 5 tips for earning money on 21 buttons are fairly simple.

1) If you're wearing an item of clothing that is old and not on sale any more, try to tag a similar item you can find and mention that you've found an alternative

2) Make your photos as high quality as you possibly can - 21 buttons works like a shop, the higher quality your photos, the more likely you are to make a sale

3) Interact with other users, like photos, save other looks and make sure you stay active to make your page more discoverable

4) Find the correct audiences - the majority of people don't have thousands of pounds to splash on a bag, low cost items tend to make more sales. If you're thinking of posting luxury items, make sure you find a luxury audience or tag cheaper alternatives too

5) Stick to a theme. When I first started my 21 buttons page I didn't have a theme, I created one for fun and it turns out it majorly increased the engagement I'm getting from my posts. It seems people these days love a theme!

It can take a while to build up to a point where you can earn comission but this aside, the app is really fun. I love just scrolling through people's looks and editing themed photos of my own to share and any commission that happens to be earned is just a bonus for having fun! I'd recommend this app to anyone but it's particularly great for bloggers since you can use this in conjunction with your blog and to help spread your posts to wider audiences.

Do any of you guys also love using 21 buttons?

Elle x | www.21buttons.com/eleanormaryjane

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I've really been enjoying editorial style fashion posts recently - they're some of my favourite to read since they're not content heavy and I love looking at people's photos. They're also some of my favourite to produce since I absolutely love photo editing. Something I've been seeing a lot online recently are satin garments, particularly shirts. So many people style them so effortlessly and I decided to give it a try.

Personally, I found Pretty Little Thing had the greatest selection of satin shirts to choose from and at a fairly decent price too. From my experience, I can say the shirts a pretty long and definitely give an over-sized look - this might be partly due to how vertically challenged I am but I can see them still being fairly long on other people too (just something to note). In terms of the actual shirt, I really like it. I don't think I personally pull off the satin look well but it's definitely something that I love on other people - like I say, I've seen countless people wearing shirts like this recently.

Though this post isn't about nails, I just want to shout out Elegant Touch too. I've recently been trying their 'Barely There' nail multipack since getting acrylics is often quite damaging and more expensive (don't get me wrong I still love acrylics) - these are plain and can be painted which I find particularly great since I get bored of colours so easily. I've linked these down below if anyone happens to be interested!

Elle

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Leopard print has been a popular fashion choice for years but this summer, animal prints seem to have made their great comeback and stolen the spotlight (and our hearts) once again. From Victoria Beckham to Claire Waight-Keller, a multitude of designers have hopped back on the animal print bandwagon and given it a 2018 refresh - much to my bank balance's dismay. Everywhere you look, store shelves are lined with leopard print, snake print, zebra print - I've even spotted cow print on the horizon. For me, no high street store does bold animal prints quite like Topshop and so while browsing their newest animal themed picks, I decided to compile some of my favourites into a post. Personally, I love reading these because it saves me raking through tonnes upon tonnes of clothes online, so I hope you find this helpful too. Bring on the prints.










*images from topshop.com

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The sun is shining, its 30 degrees in Hertfordshire, and here I present to you *drumroll please*, some denim jeans. Classic Elle. It goes without saying that I struggle fashion-wise in any weather that isn't trouser friendly - skirts and shorts just aren't really my thing although, this heatwave has made me start to embrace them. While the common thing is to wear bright colours in summer, it doesn't hurt to tone it down now and then (even if you do give yourself minor heat stroke), and so the other day I shoved on a load of basics and called it a day. This was the result.

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In attempt to make my blog more fashion based (fashion is what I enjoy creating posts about the most) I thought I'd start including more OOTD (outfit of the day) posts on here. One week today marks 1 whole year since I visited New York city, the place of my dreams. It was here I visited a flea market in Dumbo, Brooklyn and this morning I was left reminiscing of the rails of beautiful vintage clothes. While there, I purchased this striped blouse and so, to fill my heart with New York dreams once again, I decided to build an outfit around it. Sadly, I'm not the most photogenic of people when other people try and snap shots of me so after many attempts, I'm being a bad blogger and posting a mirror selfie (gotta keep it real round here).

What I like about this top is the 60s feel it has with the super high neckline, it's something I feel is timeless and can't see myself ever selling/getting rid of. After all, this shirt carries so many memories from my trip it really does feel like more than just a piece of clothing to me.

I decided to add some colour to what was a somewhat monochrome look but still keep it muted, if you know me you'll know it's rare I wear bright colours - I don't know what it is but I just really love neutral looks. These trousers are from Zara and no longer in stock but almost identical ones can be found here.

In terms of shoes, I always seem to be chucking on these wedge sliders from New Look,  they're plain and simple but just so comfy and they seem to go with so many of my outfits. They really are just an
easy choice in this hot weather. These can be found on my 21 buttons page.

Elle

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Ever since last Christmas, I've had an ever-growing love for NUXE as a brand. After receiving a cracker with a selection of their mini's as well as a few bits in my advent calendar, it didn't take me very long to realise how good their products were making my skin look and feel. On a recent trip to Cannes I decided to take the plunge and purchase some of their full size products (that I hadn't previously tried) and see if I got on with those too.

It's worth me mentioning I have a pretty normal skin type, my skin doesn't tend to get oily and it only really gets slightly dry in winter so while these may work for me, they may or may not be for everyone. In terms of my skin, I get the odd spot here and there but other than that it's pretty clear (I have plenty of other shitty genes that make up for it) - my main problem is slight blemishes around my jaw/cheek area.

The first product I chose was the Micellar cleansing oil with rose petals as I'd recently run out of my Clarins Instant eye makeup remover.  It must be said, the Clarins remover is my all time favourite, it's oil based so melts makeup off your face and it's something I've re-purchased time and time again. That being said, I noticed this NUXE cleanser was cheaper, appeared to do the same thing and was also oil based. I can say, despite being oil based cleansers, they do different things and I love them equally but prefer them for different areas of my face.

The NUXE oil suggests rubbing the oil over your face using your fingers (not a cotton pad) which I must admit, is a bit of an alien experience and feels slightly wrong at first. That being said, it literally removes skin makeup completely in one wash and leaves the skin feeling softer than I can even describe. Sometimes I find scrubbing your makeup off with cleansers to be quite tough on the skin but this whole process feels really delicate and good for the skin. This product claims to work on the entire face (eyes included) but if I'm completely honest, while it works brilliantly on the face, I don't find it to work particularly well on eyes. It does remove the makeup but it leaves the eyes blurry and watery which, as you can imagine, isn't the most pleasant experience. As well as this, despite the product suggesting not to, using a cotton pad definitely works better on the eyes - removing mascara with your bare fingers is a really odd experience.

This cleansing oil has really helped to clear my skin and remove blemishes to the point where I don't even feel the need to wear foundation anymore - something which is so nice in summer because there's nothing more unpleasant than slapping a full face on in this heat.

The second product I decided to try from the range was the Gentle Toning Lotion. Toning is something I've never really been bothered with until very recently and now I have a bit of an obsession. You'd think someone who's main skincare issue is their skin tone would immediately think to use toner but no, not Elle. Toning was something I only did when I was doing a full on PAMPER (you know those days) but since using this, I've been doing it literally every day. Not only does this remove any extra makeup residue that the cleanser missed, it also works brilliantly with the NUXE oil cleanser since it also removes the oil residue - being left looking sweaty and oily ain't the one! This lotion is so soft and I genuinely believe it's the reason my skin has become so clear recently, I've found it's not even a short term after-use effect too, it's really helped my skin long term.

In conclusion, not only do I love both of these products individually, I feel they work particularly well as a duo. I'd be interested to see how they work with other products but for now, I'm really loving them together.

Elle

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(me - trying to demonstrate I don't hide who I am anymore lol)

If you're a blogger I suspect (like me) you've had moments of wanting to hide your blog be that from family, friends, peers or work colleagues. I've had my blog for 5 years now and it's something I've kept very on the down-low up until extremely recently - I've always reffered to this as blogging fear or blogging embarrassment. Don't get me wrong, I've always loved blogging and been proud of this outlet I've created but naturally, it's not something everybody understands. For some reason, there's something ~awkward~ about putting yourself out there on the internet in ways that are less common and conventional than the regular social media outlets (I know some YouTubers express this too, especially in scenarios like vlogging in public).

Back when I was in lower school (I was more open about it in sixth form) I'm sure there were people that knew about my blog - after all, it's pretty hard to hide something completely but still, barely anybody knew the URL. Not only this, before my blog became 'ELLE MARY JANE' it came under two different titles which didn't have my name in - this obviously made it more anonymous and easier to hide. As I got more and more into blogging I wanted this space to be somewhere where I didn't have to remain anonymous - there's nothing wrong with this but there's something more trusting about reading opinions/reviews when you can match them to a name and face and I kind of wanted to develop my blog into an extension of my own personality.

Blogging 'embarrassment' was something I had to get over and here's how I did it:

1) Be 100% Yourself. When I decided to make my blog more public, one of the things I had to do was try and eradicate all the cringe. Some of my posts I read and thought, yeah that's alright I wouldn't be embarrassed if someone read that, and others, well, consider them deleted. Way back in 2013 when I started blogging, I feel as though I hadn't really found my blogging style and my online identity and this was really reflected in my blog posts - really cringe, really 'wannnabe' blogger, really un-engaging. If I'm totally honest, I only found my feet in creating the content that I want to around last year, but doing this has made me proud of what I create and want to share it instead of hiding it.

2) Create content that you LIKE. The bottom line here is that if YOU don't like your content, you won't have confidence that anybody else will - thus leading to embarrassment. Don't put your work down - if somebody compliments a post or your blog in general don't be like 'oh thank you but its awful' - this used to be me. If you really and genuinely like your own content, there will for sure be somebody else who does.

3) Invest in your blog. People see invest and instantly think money, but this doesn't have to be the case. Personally, I've invested a lot more time into my blog than money - money does help in terms of buying domain names, templates, hosting and what not but those things aren't necessities to begin with. If you're just starting out or you're unhappy with your blog, invest some time into it. Spend time making it look how you would love it to look (this doesn't have to cost money), spend time creating content you love (cheeky plug for point 2) and hopefully these investments will bring you to a point where you are proud to show off your blog. You can't expect to create a blog in a day and be completely happy with it - blogging is a constant learning curve and you'll chop and change bits as you go!

4) Stop caring what other people think. I know this is significantly easier said than done but changing your outlook on how other people see you can bring you more confidence without even taking into account the points above. If someone wants to worry about and judge what you're doing, they're clearly too bored or unsatisfied in their own life. Don't like it? Don't read it. If you can maintain this attitude and just keep doing what you want, it makes things a whole lot easier. This attitude might come straight away for some people, but if it doesn't, just keep going for it.

5) Enjoy what you're doing For smaller bloggers (like me) it's not uncommon to get snide remarks or looked down on because you don't have 30k Instagram followers or your own Boohoo collection. Don't let this scare you away from celebrating and sharing your blog content - nobody should be embarrassed about their blog. The amount of traffic you drive and the amount of #spons you have (or haven't) done is no indication of the quality of your content, your blog as a whole or you as a person. Don't let that embarrass you, keep doing what you love and things like traffic will increase naturally.

I hope some of these tips help - I know these are things I've come to realise over the last couple of years. Keep creating, keep sharing!

Elle

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We've all seen it, we've all heard it - apps like Instagram often only show the best snippets of people's lives (unless you have a 'Finsta', of course),  though this has been widely accepted by the majority of people, at what point does this become fake? Is it fake at all?

For some reason, I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I go through phases of frequent posting on social media, as well as times where I delete my social apps altogether in attempt to clear my mind and focus on more important things. More often than not, this is when I'm going through a more down or difficult time and want to focus on whats going on in my own life rather than other people's. Despite this, obviously there are periods where we aren't going through the best of times and frequently turn to social media for distraction, entertainment, or an outlet share our thoughts and feelings. Personally, I try (where possible) to minimize sharing negative things but for me, and many others, this varies between apps - it's rare to see someone share something negative about their life on Instagram but more common on Twitter.

There's been times I've been to beautiful places or taken photos that I instantly want to share however, in the midst of these things, still suffered with personal problems such as anxiety. Yes, I did do what I'm posting and yes I did enjoy it - to some extent - but what a photo doesn't capture is the true extent of somebody's life. You can see a pretty sunset, you can see smiling people but you have no idea what they were feeling at that particular moment - part of the reason it is so important to not take everything on the internet literally. I'm not sure my point makes complete sense, but have you ever not wanted to post a photo because you don't want people to think you're having a brilliant time when you're not? I don't want people to think 'wow her life looks good' when that's not how I feel! Obviously it doesn't have to be something as extreme as anxiety, you could've been having a bad week and posted a photo of brunch that captured one good hour of it. But to me, sometimes it feels wrong to paint a positive picture online when it doesn't reflect real life.

Though this is the case for me, this may not have crossed some people's minds. It's just left me wondering, at what point does posting on social media become fake? Should we be brutally honest about our lives or is that TMI? Is it okay that people see ourselves differently to how we actually are because of the ideal version of us we show online? I know that for some people, having people view their ideal self might make life easier and increase their confidence but naturally, that isn't the case for everyone and especially not me!

All this being said, there really is a line when it comes to social media, not only do you not want to portray a life that you don't have but you also don't want to be a negative nelly all the time, after all, what you post can affect other people as well as yourself and moping around on Twitter will hardly make you feel any better! It seems there somehow needs to be middle ground that encompasses the perfection of social media lives and the imperfections of real life. I'd be interested to know if anybody else feels this sometimes, that your social media accounts don't necessarily reflect you?

Elle



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If it hasn't become obvious by now, mental health awareness is something I am infinitely passionate about. Admittedly, what started out as a fashion and beauty blog has become somewhat centred around health and lifestyle and while I try to keep my post themes under a specific umbrella, I've been aching to branch out for a while. There's so much I have to say regarding mental health (anxiety in particular) that I've just never really got round to expressing. As I've mentioned in previous posts, I've had experience with anxiety that predominantly started around 2016. Back then I found it hard to connect with the thousands of threads found online, most were from adults who's experiences and coping mechanisms were naturally, different from that of female teen. For that reason, I wanted to compile a post full of different resources and methods which I have either tried or found helpful in the hope it helps somebody else, stuck in the midst of online threads.

Before I continue it is worth mentioning that I am no professional and these resources are only being reccomended from my own personal experience and therefore should not be taken as medical advice!

1) "AT LAST A LIFE - Anxiety And Panic Free" By Paul David

This book, written by Paul David outlines Paul's own personal experiences of anxiety and the key to him overcoming it completely. The book informs the reader of all the ins and outs of anxiety, allowing them to gain a complete understanding of what they are experiencing - which itself helps as not understanding what is happening to you or why makes it difficult to deal with. Paul's book carries a strong message that anxiety is not something you should try to 'solve' or 'get rid of' since it is this which reinforces it, and this book outlines excellent ways in which you can continue with life even when anxiousness is present.

https://anxietynomore.co.uk/the_book/


2)  Dr Purves - Youtube and Website

While Dr Purves offers courses that you have to pay for (I haven't tried any of these), his site offer an email subscription service where tips, advice and blog posts get sent directly to your inbox. I found this particularly useful reading as they didn't get sent too frequently and often were just a light and motivating read. As well as this, there are youtube videos which are helpful to watch, most of which just offer advice and techniques for managing anxiety. These may work for you or they may not but it can be helpful to try new methods.

http://drpurves.com/category/anxiety/

https://www.youtube.com/user/TheMoodControl

3) Apps

There are countless apps available for smartphones for various different things: helpful quotes, guided meditation, relaxing background noise, you name it and they've got it. Some of these are admittedly quite naff but having (probably) used almost every single one, there are 2 that I thoroughly reccomend:





4) A Tip!

Something I myself (and many others) use to cope with pretty much anything is music. Music is so wonderful and so powerful and one thing I have found that really helps is the radio. Sometimes when you're anxious or have low mood it can feel quite surreal and lonely - like you're kind of in your mind alone. For me, sometimes listening to my own music on Spotify increased this and listening to the radio brought me back into reality, knowing there were thousands of other people zoning into the same thing as me and hearing the news or an entertaining voice just really helps! Its simple things like this that can make a difference.

5) Another Tip TBH

Though this may not be a realistic approach for everyone, for me this made a HUGE difference in my life and that is cutting out caffeine. At this point coffee lovers everywhere are hating me I'm sure but as a coffee-lover myself I can confirm that decaf coffee isn't THAT bad! Caffeine is notorious for inducing axniety-like symptoms and while some people can drink cups and cups and not be affected, for me even one caused havoc so I cut it out completely. You may drink coffee or caffeinated drinks and have never noticed this before so watch out next time you do and see if you notice anything, if so, reducing caffeine intake may help.

6) Pukka Herbs - Wholistic Ashwagandha



It was only recently I discovered Ashwaganda - a natural herb that promotes good cognitive function. I was put off by how pricey it was but after reading not a single negative review I brought it as a one-off, I have since repurchased it as it made such a difference for me. I found while taking this supplement that my thoughts were a lot less clogged, my outlook was more positive and my nervous system was all round more relaxed. I have always personally been against using medication to treat my anxiety (just a personal choice) and so herbal supplements seemed like a good alternative. One positive of herbal remedy's is that generally there aren't side effects due to them being natural. Ashwagandha isn't something that ever came up throughout 2 entire years of trying to research anxiety so I'm sure many people aren't aware of its benefits - I wish I had discovered it sooner!

While this isn't everything I was going to post, I don't want to bombard anyone with too much choice so I'll likely do a sequel to this post in the near future. I hope for now that these are useful to even at least one person :) Do let me know in the comments or on twitter (@ellemaryjane) if there is anything you find useful too!

Elle
Image from The Telegraph

The passing of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej in October of last year (2016) sent the country of Thailand into a year long period of mourning. Accompanying this deeply sad time was a sudden increase in the demand for black and white clothing which unsurprisingly had a significant impact on the Thai fashion industry. While Black is the colour of mourning in Thailand, white is the colour of purity.

As demand for black and white clothes went up, demand for anything straying from this decreased rapidly and brands had to act quickly. Designers, buyers and marketers to name only a few involved in the industry had to adapt the products they were making and selling before profits were lost. While brands were suffering, street traders and other cheap clothing retailers where thriving as their low cost products were financially accessable for those who had to unexpectedly change their wardrobe.

Wearing anything that wasn't black or white was considered disrespectful by the people of Thailand however, this was not just limited to clothing. As you can imagine, shop windows had to be altered and so as well as those involved in fashion production, those involved in visual merchandising and marketing had to accomodate these changes too.

Though a deeply saddening situation, it is interesting to see how everday life and cultures affect the clothes we wear and how we sell products. This particular occurence highlights just how fast paced the fashion industry is and how rapidly it can be changed.