My 5 favourite Instagram accounts

Social media can be a bit of a mixed blessing when you’re ill. While it can help you feel more connected to the world when you’re stuck at home, before you know it you can find yourself checking various platforms constantly, which can be incredibly draining. When I noticed myself falling into this trap a few months ago I decided to re-evaluate – to think about what was enriching my life, and what was using up energy without a good return. For me Twitter was a definite drain, particularly around the time of the US elections. Having never been much of a Facebook user I had gradually started checking it more and more, but as a passive consumer and almost a compulsive thing, rather than using it to interact. Your analysis of pros and cons for the social media you use may come out differently, but these are the two I decided to drop cold turkey, and deleted the apps from my phone.

The one social media platform that I have stuck with has been Instagram. I know there is some controversy over the impact it can have on self-esteem, but I really like the visual aspect combined with the stories element and find it gives me input on all sorts of different levels. I did have a good old prune of the people I was following, partly to give me a more concise list so I wasn’t spending endless hours scrolling, but also to minimise food photos (I still follow some accounts that post food but far fewer, as they’re not so great when you have major nausea), get rid of brands that were basically just advertising (even if I loved their products), and in some cases people I didn’t know who were pregnant or had new babies and posted a lot about it (just a bit too hard when you’re coming to terms with losing your own fertility, although it wasn’t a blanket policy towards anyone with kids – ultimately you have to look after yourself and go with what works for you).

instagrammersThere are lots of accounts out there that I love, but I thought I’d share my current top 5 with you, each of which add a little bit to my life each day:

  1. Bodyposipanda is so full of light, love and positivity, I dare you not to fall in love with her. She’s on a mission to spread body positivity, which includes some beautifully joyful and liberating videos of her dancing in her underwear, alongside regular doses of common sense. Her mermaid hair has also given me ideas for wig goals.
  2. Inky.diary is a self-taught illustrator who posts the cutest little ink drawings of animals. Irresistible.
  3. Libertylndngirl is run by writer Sasha Wilkins. She is a former fashion editor turned blogger who posts delicious photos of flowers, food, London life, world travels and a very adorable miniature dachshund called Lettice. I also highly recommend her blog, which I have been reading for years. She posts on such a lovely variety of topics and has a beautiful clear and engaging writing style, it provides such a window onto the world and into a different life.
  4. Carolinehirons is quite simply the queen of beauty blogging. If you’re at all interested in skincare you need her blog in your life, and her Instagram is full of photos of her daily routines, mini reviews, and her two gorgeous kittens. She is intelligent, knowledgeable and tells it like it is.
  5. Bymariandrew is an American writer and  illustrator who posts wonderful, thoughtful and thought-provoking drawings with concepts and captions that I frequently find resonate with me.

Which social media platforms enrich your life, and which do you find drain you? Who are your Instagram faves?


My 5 favourite tips from Look Good, Feel Better

A couple of weeks ago I attended a Look Good, Feel Better workshop held at the hospital where I go for treatment. Look Good, Feel Better is an international cancer support charity that offers free workshops throughout the UK and in countries around the world. They aim to support peoples’ confidence and offer tips and advice on coping with issues such as skin changes, eyebrow and eyelash loss. You also get a bag of free products to use during the workshop and take home, donated by various companies in the beauty industry.

The workshop I went to was run by a fantastic make-up artist called Brian, along with a team of local make-up artists and beauty therapists who volunteered their time to help run the session. It was such a relaxed and positive atmosphere, so if you’re thinking about going to one yourself I would say go for it.

Some of the most useful tips for me were:

  1. Be generous with skincare products to avoid dragging the skin when it’s sensitive.
  2. Hydration, hydration, hydration – your skin can get really dehydrated during treatment, so use products that will hydrate the skin. (Beauty journalist Sali Hughes has a great video explaining skin dehydration here. Although personally I prefer to use more ‘natural’ products than some she recommends, I find her tip to look for products containing the hydrating ingredients hyaluronic acid and/or glycerin really useful).
  3. Avoid using products too near the eyes, especially if you’ve lost your eyelashes (they help keep things out of your eyes!). Eye cream goes on the orbital bone, not right under the eyes – it will naturally move up a bit to where it’s needed once you apply it. Tap in gently using the ring fingers, then press your fingers either side of the nose and gentle swipe outwards to help encourage fluid drainage and reduce puffiness.
  4. Eyeliner can help define the eyes if you’ve lost your eyelashes, but don’t put eyeliner in the water line during treatment to minimise infection risk.
  5. Eyebrows – they guide you through drawing them on in the session, using three points on the brow bone. One of the other attendees also mentioned you can get templates from Amazon and Boots to help guide you with shape. I received a Lancome Sourcils Tint eyebrow pen in my goodie bag which has been great as once it sets it doesn’t rub off, but unfortunately it seems they don’t make them any more.

And one more bonus tip: although I’ve not experienced ‘peach fuzz’ on the face due to treatment, Brian advised using a sponge to dab powder on the face rather than a brush to avoid highlighting the hairs. Good to know!

To find out more about Look Good, Feel Better, watch make-up tutorials, and see if there’s a workshop near you check out their website here.