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Since when was it ok to be a bitch?


We've all done it. Sat in a coffee shop with your mum. Having cocktails with the girls. Chatting over lunch with your office bestie.

'Did you see so and so? She's put on so much weight. And did you hear so and so spilt up with her boyfriend?'

We all love to gossip. In fact, I feel like it is often what the female race talk about when men are busy chatting about football, golf and whatever men talk about when they go to the pub for a pint. There's a huge difference between gossip - something very surface level, and being a bitch. 

To me, bitching is when a person won't shut up about something or someone. It's a continual whining in my ear. Whether you are annoyed about someone or something, jealous, upset... think about your words. It's so easy to spill someone else's things they've confided in you or say something in bad temper - but does this say more of you than the person you are bitching about? 

It's something I have felt so strongly about this year. I was sick of listening to people around me bitch about situations or people that I started calling them out. 'That's mean"... I've said it so many times this year. But more than that, I have tried to be a reminder to people that they can solve their own problems. I have a saying - 'Only moan about things you don't have the ability to change'. My own mother quotes it back to me when I get annoyed about trivial things. And this is true of bitching - where is it getting you? The other person will either not know you are annoyed or be upset that you've broken their confidence. 

I've really made a stand to call bitching out moving forward. It's not nice and it's not mature. Part of it makes me so uncomfortable as someone who was bullied at school - the playground tones of bitching always take be back there.

It's hard to confront someone who is a serial bitcher. But if you are realising that their negative words are affecting you, maybe it's time you thought about standing up. You'll either fall into their trap and repeat their negative words or you can speak up & tell them you don't appreciate their comments. It's hard to trust someone who constantly speaks ill of others and often, it's not that they is a bad person but rather that they have become so engrossed in the circle of bitching that they can't get out. Use your own influence to be a positive voice to help them resolve their issues or to see that their bitching actually won't make them feel any better about the situation.

What's your thoughts? Let me know at @GemmaLEBond

26



Photo by Brendan Gallagher. Makeup by Jack Thompson. 

I don't know where the past year has gone to. As I write this post, I'm almost at my 26th birthday. I love my birthday - it's the one chance I get to have everyone I love around me and I totally milk it. I'll forever be a 4 day birthday sort of person!

I always love to reflect on the last year before I move into a new one. I don't measure my life in calendar years but rather the years of my life. Every year on  my birthday I make a new album on Facebook with whatever I got up to. So as I close the book on 25, I wanted to think about some big life lessons I've learned this year.

Start saving earlier
I just purchased my first house. Admittedly, at 25 it's still young but I know in my heart I could have been a home owner sooner if I stopped lunchtime trips to Zara! Saving is a hard concept to get round to especially if you work really hard to make your money - you feel entitled to treats. However, get into the habit of doing it when you start working. It pays off to see the 'SOLD' sign go up on your first home!

Don't give up
I feel like 25 was a challenging year in a different way. My relationships have certainly changed with people around me. I think in our society we often place emphasis on the fact we as 'young independent women' are able to walk away from things and not have to put up with bad behaviour. However, sometimes you know in your heart in someone or something is worth fighting for. I have a new appreciation and admiration of my own patience after this year. 

Laugher heals everything
Any picture that I like of myself from this year is of me laughing - double chin and all! I look my best I feel when I am laughing and learned this year, that though very sad times, there's very little that laughing can't fix. Laugh loud and laugh often.

I am so excited to be 26 and on the wrong side of my 20s. Your 20s are hard - it's all about navigating your life and making big decisions that will impact those around you as much as yourself. Who knows what I will be writing this time next year. 

3 beauty hacks that have changed my life


There's a few beauty treatments that I've fallen in love with in 2017. In fact, they are things I wish I had been doing for the last decade as they are so life changing! I highly recommend these time saving beauty hacks that have made my beauty routine a little bit easier!

1. Olaplex is life
I used to be an avid fan of keratin blowdries that would last 8 - 12 weeks. That was until I met Olaplex. The treatment can be added to your colour or as a bolt on to your blow dry. It helps to heal broken bonds making your hair smoother and softer. I find that getting an Olaplex blow-dry once a month keeps my hair in great condition. It makes my hair more manageable and easier to dry at home. I've had my recent Olaplex blow-dry at Peter Maud on the Old Holywood Road. Ask for Tyler - he's a hoot! 

2. Laser hair removal
I've talked at length about my laser hair removal with Beyond Skin here. I wish I would have done it years ago. I started getting my bikini done and now have moved on to under arm. Although bikini has been amazing (especially for going on holiday!), under arm has been a game changer. Not having to think about it if you are wearing a sleeveless top has been incredible! Plus, no little bumps or lumps from shaving! 

3. Double exfoliation
By double exfoliation I mean both exfoliating with two products but also doing this 2-3 times a week. I've always exfoliated my skin but usually only once a week. After a chat with a skincare expert, I realised I could get better results by using the products more. Not all products are suitable for using a few times a week but my much loved The Body Shop Vitamin C microdermabrasion is perfect for this. I also like to acid tone with Alpha H Liquid Gold. I've tried others but always come back to my beloved Alpha H! It is the only thing that helps me to get rid of spots and reduce scars. 

Tell me your beauty hacks over on Twitter @GemmaLEBond

Exploring ahead of ABC Style Week















*In association with Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council*

I'm so excited to be a part of ABC Style Week! I will be holding a workshop in Portadown Town Hall on Wednesday 11th October at 7pm. My workshop is called 'Get Styled, Get Body Confident'. Tickets are only£5 and can be purchased from: https://getstyledgetbodyconfident.eventbrite.co.uk/ 

Ahead of my workshop, I visited Lurgan and Portadown to check out what they had to offer in terms of fashion. I knew Lurgan quite well after a visit many years ago & numerous return visits to Alana Interiors (it's seriously worth the drive!).

We started out in Lurgan at Perfect Day - a bridal store. My mum recently got engaged so I am going to a bridesmaid next year. I tried on some styles to see what she might like - I absolutely loved the fit of the navy style I tried on. They have lots of great formal wear as well as bridal choices. We headed on up the town to The Curiosity Tea Room - they also sell cute scarves and bags. I loved the designer inspired fringe number! We also called into new beauty salon Pin Up - I spotted someone getting their nails done and they looked great. Their wall murals are perfect for selfies! Elegance Boutique also had amazing items - I wanted to bring the green sparkly bomber jacket home with me! We of course had to pop up to my favourite, Alana Interiors for a Mars Bar scone and a nosey around their clothes & gift section. I adore the brand Kate Loxton - they have gorgeous candles and clutch bags with cute sayings, making them perfect for presents! We also nipped to the gorgeous Chantilly Lace for more bridal goodness - I spotted the sweetest little flower girl dress. We also went to Jack in the Box which was so nostalgic for me as my grandmother was an avid knitter when I was a little girl. 

We then drove over to Portadown. I love the girls from The Bottom Drawer - a lovely sister duo with a great eye for gorgeous things. They sell great brands in terms of clothes and have lovely gift options. In the same street as them, Sitara Morgan has stunning shoes from brands such as Moda in Pelle and Marian (a fab Spanish brand). I took a shine to a pair of pony skin leopard heels! Not leaving out the men in our lives, Statement Menswear has fab gift options for the Christmas season as well as some of the nicest suits I've ever seen - definitely one to consider if you are getting married!

I cannot wait for my event in Portadown - I hope to see some of you there!

Why the Aviva Community Fund 2017 can make a difference






In association with Aviva Community Fund 2017

I love the ethos of community. It one of the very reasons I stared my blog - I love the people of Belfast and how we support one and another. Given this, I was delighted to go and see a group that benefited from the Aviva Community Fund last year. I visited the team at Girl Guiding Ulster at their home in Lorne Estate in County Down. The estate is magnificent - with walking trails, archery, abseiling and accommodation, it’s a little hidden gem just off the main Belfast to Bangor carriageway. I met their managing executive, Claire at the estate to hear why Girl Guiding Ulster decided to submit for funding and hear how small things can make a big difference to local community groups.


The team at Girl Guiding Ulster benefited hugely from receiving £5,000 in funding which enabled them to buy Resusci Anne dolls  dolls to teach both adults and children much needed CPR skills. This is an investment that not only will help the girls to reach their first aid badge but give them skills for life that could save someone when they are extremely poorly. 

I am delighted to be partnering with the Aviva Community Fund to encourage local groups here in Northern Ireland to apply for funding. Whether you are a local football team, mental health charity or a school that needs a new library, the Aviva Fund is open to all sorts of projects to. 

Aviva is offering four funding levels, from up to £1,000 to up to £25,000 To apply for funding, just tell Aviva how your project will make a positive change in one of these categories: 
• Health and wellbeing 
• Skills for life 
• Community support 
• Inclusivity 

You need votes to get your project to the finals, so start rallying friends, family and neighbours now! 

However, Aviva knows how much work it can take for volunteers in smaller projects to pull their entries together and rally voters. 

Most smaller projects ask for funding up to £1,000, so to recognise all their hard work, Aviva will automatically give the first 200 projects to reach 1,000 votes in this funding level the funding they ask for. If you’re one of the lucky 200 projects, Aviva will let you know. If you’re not one of those 200 projects, you’re still in with a chance of winning your funding. See terms and conditions to find out more. 

To get involved, submit a project or vote visit http://www.aviva.co.uk/community-fund. Entries opened on 12th September, closing dates for entries on 10th October 2017.