Opening Up Online: The Concept Of Vulnerability

I was 13 years old when I created my first blog.

In the dim light of my messy teenage bedroom – with its scribbled-on walls and clothes strewn across the floor – I logged onto Blogger, designed a pink-themed homepage and started typing away. However, it wasn’t long before the desire to publish my thoughts online was trumped by the ever-growing fear that someone I knew IRL would actually find them. I loved writing about myself and my opinions but only if I could remain anonymous to the people who came across them. That pink-themed ode to my tween idols, favourite fashion trends and travel photos soon got scrapped.

I hadn’t given up on blogging though. In fact I would spend the next eight or so years trying to build up the courage to publish a website that had my name and face attached to it. Thankfully this summer – happily holed away in that same bedroom with its now bright blue walls and clothes *still* strewn across the floor – I finally grew those blogging-balls and did just that.

To share or not to share?

If I’m totally honest, sitting down to draft up a blog still fills me with anxiety. Not only have I dedicated time, energy and dolla $$ to this little corner of the internet but I have AcTiVeLy PrOmOtEd it across my social media for everyone I know to find and see (😱). However, this time around that anxiety is outweighed by the unadulterated joy I get from talking about the things I love and learn, owning my own little online space and connecting with people whom I would never have had the opportunity to had I not created Joie de Velvet.

It’s still early days in my blogging journey but something I struggle with, and probably will continue to for a while to come, is being wholeheartedly open. I think at the root of this is that good ol’ disconcerting concept of ~vulnerability~. I’ve written about how to maintain curly hair and the benefits of exfoliating skin brushes, but I don’t think I’ve shown much more than a glimpse into the ups and downs of a typical 22 year-old’s life – the trials and tribulations of a woman who still thinks of herself as a girl, who has no idea what she’s doing, why she’s doing it or where she’s going to go. Don’t get me wrong – writing about beauty products and the latest fashion trends is something I could do, and really really want to do, for the rest of my life. But I enjoy connecting with people too, both in person and through words on a screen, and I think this is done most successfully when one’s writing contains little pieces of the writer.

Being vulnerable doesn't have to be as scary as it sounds

When I started building Joie de Velvet back in September, I intended for it to become a sort-of portal for fashion advice and style inspiration, with some beauty / lifestyle / travel tidbits thrown in occasionally too. This isn’t a plan I intend to stray far from but if I am to make this blog an authentic representation of me as a person – which is something I both need and want to do ☺️ – then things have gotta change!


My fear of opening up and appearing at all vulnerable to anyone other than my nearest and dearest (and even that is a feat in itself) will have to be actively smushed down, little by little, with each post I hit ‘Publish’ on. But by vulnerable, I don’t mean regurgitating the raw contents of my brain – I’m neither interesting enough nor have the desire to do that. just mean there needs to be a bit more colour, a bit more personality, a bit more of me intertwined in the things I write about. I think surrendering these psychological blog-barriers (is this a thing? I’m making it a thing) will also help me feel closer to my blog in general (we’ve been drifting apart lately and are need of a bit of a relationship revamp).

I’m determined to make my mark on the blogging world an authentic one, however big or tiny it may be. Not just for those who stumble across my monthly musings, but also for my 13 year-old self who wished she had grown some blogging-balls a lot sooner.

Baby Ellie, we got this 💪

Self-Care Sundays

Hiya lovelies 👋

Can you believe we’re only four weeks away from Christmas?! This final quarter of the year has flown by so quickly; Xmas 2016 still only feels like a couple of months ago! 

The weather has become (a lot) chillier, so I’ve been transitioning from denim skirts and Bardot tops to layers (and layers, and layers…) of jumpers and long-sleeved tees and thick socks. The gloves and scarves have come out of hiding, and now it’s out of the question to leave the house without the thickest coat I can find! 🙅 

The past few weeks have been a bit busier and more tiring than usual, so I was looking forward to spending some time with the doggo, catching up on lost sleep (daytime naps FTW) and doing some blogging.

Now that weekdays are taken up by that employment jazz and week-evenings are spent eating / netflix-bingeing / sleeping, my dedicated pamper time has had to be confined to a couple of hours on Sunday afternoons.

As a natural introvert I love spending time alone each day to reconnect and rebalance. Today’s post is going to be about the routines and habits I’m trying to practice every week with the aim of boosting those happy vibes and reducing any anxieties or stresses that have followed me into the weekend.



Candles and fairy lights ain’t just for romantic evenings with your boyf/girlf, and treating yourself well is just as important as treating others well. Don’t save candle-lit rooms and boxes of chocolates just for loved ones – you deserve a night of pampering too. 


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If my stress levels are particularly haywire, I’ll add a couple of drops of essential oils to the bath water, play soft acoustic tunes and just float for half an hour or so. During my work experience at a mental health clinic I learnt about the power of grounding and how effective scents are at rebalancing emotions. Lavender can be particularly good – hopefully a blog post will be up about this soon! ☺️


I used to be a terrible hoarder – I’d keep every magazine, every pair of ripped tights, every broken picture frame and crinkled photo. My room usually looked like the aftermath of a hurricane.

I’ve worked hard to break that crappy habit and nowadays prefer a much more minimalist lifestyle (oh, how vogue). Clean surfaces, colour-coordinated bookcases, walls reserved for pop-art canvases rather than ripped-out zine pages… *drool*

A tidy space means a tidy mind

A tidy space = a tidy mind

There’s something so satisfying about a clean, ordered bedroom, made even more special with a bunch of fresh flowers and burning incense.


Whether it be creating blog content for work or scribbling in a journal, I looove writing and have done for as long as I can remember. I’ve kept diaries since I was about 10 years old – the early books are hilarious(ly embarassing) – and I’ve always used journalling as a form of ‘soft therapy’ when life gets stressful.

If my brain can’t switch off and I feel a little wired, getting all the thoughts jotted down on pages of a notebook can feel like a relief.

It’s fun to read back on times that made you happy, or when things were tough and you came out at the other end having learnt how to deal with a new type of situation.

Writing gratitude lists are also great for times when you feel a little lost or empty. Reminding yourself of all the lovely things around you, which you might not always see or take much notice of, can give you a new perspective and lease on life.



While I might be a lazy gal at heart and have zero desire to ever join a gym or dedicate time to strenuous exercise nowadays, I’m learning to love a good walk.

As well as long dog walks across the countryside every weekend, I’m starting to enjoy the short journeys to and from the tube station each morning and evening, and trying to make the most of my lunch breaks by taking mini tours of the area.


The music I listen to as I ramble around can really influence the mood I will be in afterwards. Sometimes there are days when you just need to wallow in your bad mood with those sloooowww saaaadddd songs. Other days, a couple of fast-beat motivational tunes are all I need to get me going for a workday or a night out. Choose the right playlist and you can feel like you’re in a movie – I looove that weird feeling of detachment from reality.



Just like sounds / smells / images / etc. can trigger crummy thoughts or memories, they can trigger happy ones too! Dedicating time to figuring out what those things are is important – the things to perhaps avoid, and the things to have around you in your space to keep you feeling sweeeet.

Simply seeing a candle flickering on my desk when I’m working on something a bit tedious at home makes me feel more at ease. The sound of crunching leaves under my feet when I’m walking the pup. The smell of a perfume that reminds me of someone I love. Putting on a warm sweater that’s fresh off the radiator.

Holding onto the little things that trigger those lovely feelings of warmth and/or nostalgia helps bad moods and stress pass quicker. 


So, when you’re next feeling rough or run-down, try running the bath, surrounding yourself with things that make you smile, taking a walk and jotting down any funny or annoying thoughts that are whirring around in your head. Establish a pampering routine to engage in at least once a week that helps lift you out of negative moods and return you to your happy place✨.



October Favourites

I think it’s really important to reflect on what you’re grateful for and to express this gratitude on a regular basis. This could be by writing down a list of things that you’re appreciative of, meditating on it when you’ve got a few spare moments in the evening, or simply thanking someone for being a beautiful presence in your life!

I’ve tried to make “gratitude journalling” a habit and it’s slowly been changing my mindset – everything is precious and easily lost; it’s so important to appreciate what you have when you have it.

Life becomes that bit more magical when you reflect on how lucky you are to have the simple things – people that love you, a roof over your head, food on the table. Beyond these essentials are the materialistic luxuries – lots of outfits one can pick from in the morning, a camera-donning 4G smartphone, or maybe a velvety chocolate cake that waits for you after dinner.

This post is dedicated to those materialistic luxuries – the things we don’t need, but can love immensely all the same! Society puts so much emphasis on the importance of valuing relationships and experiences over materialistic things, but I don’t think it’s bad to admit how happy certain objects can make you feel. It’s all about balance! 

This October I’ve been creating a little collection of the fashion / beauty / lifestyle-related bits ‘n bobs that I’ve been particularly loving & appreciating over the past 4 weeks – read on to find out what and where! 🍁🎃🍂



RAPID Chunky Ankle Boots by ASOS

I love a chunky boot – they can toughen-up a girly floral dress, or complement skinny black jeans and a bomber jacket.

I had been on the hunt for some not-too-clumpy black boots for months before I came across this pair from ASOS at the start of summer. At just £30, I had to have ‘em!

These booties are well-made and easy to incorporate into almost any outfit. They’re going to be perfect when the autumn weather gets chillier and the regular rainfalls return.

The side zip adds detail and a touch of colour; I love pairing these boots with an all-black outfit and silver accessories.

Short Skirt by H&M

IMG_3140.jpgThere seems to be a black-and-silver theme emerging here 😂

This faux suede black zip skirt from H&M is really versatile and comfortable – I’ve been incorporating it into so many outfits this month!

It’s usually pretty difficult for me to find skirts that fit properly around my waist and my thighs, but this mini has a great A-line cut and fits well.

I like pairing this skirt with big cosy jumpers or an oversized graphic tee tucked in.


Tea Tree Anti-Imperfection Daily Solution by The Body Shop

Tea tree oil is an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, making it a great ingredient to use in acne-combatting skincare products or for treating minor infections.

One of the most appealing uses of tea tree oil for me is its ability to dry up and get rid of spots. While The Body Shop also sell a more concentrated tea tree oil dipper that you put directly onto spots, their Anti-Imperfection Daily Solution can be applied to the whole face – you only need a couple of drops so this decently-sized bottle will last ages.

This solution has been a great addition to my skincare routine; I apply it all over my face and neck every night after cleansing my skin with Garnier Micellar Water. I then finish off with lots of moisturiser – recently I’ve been reaching for this one from La Roche-Posay.

Make-Up Cover by Dermacol

I’ve had Dermacol on my radar for a couple of years now, but have always hesitated about purchasing their products. The brand markets their makeup to the stage and theatre industry, which to me means that it’s probably heavier and more dramatic than your average everyday cosmetics. But after trying out one of their foundations, I regret hesitating for so long…

After another acne flare-up, and with the first day at my new job looming, I purchased Dermacol’s high-coverage Make-Up Cover foundation in the hopes that it would hide the redness around my spots and make my skin look less blotchy.

To my amazement, it did this and more – it evened out my complexion, made the pores on my nose look smaller and even gave me a subtle glow.

This foundation is infamous for being pretty thick but I didn’t find it any more so than the Kat Von D Lock-It Foundation. It didn’t leave my skin feeling sticky or heavy, and it lasted for the majority of the day without reapplication.

I’m now really keen to try out some more of Dermacol’s products!

Hoola Lite by Benefit Cosmetics

I have naturally very pale skin – whenever I’m picking out a powder or foundation, I know to go straight to the lightest shade to find my colour! Finding a contour or bronzer than doesn’t look orange or muddy can be a struggle – drugstore brands often don’t cater well to the palest / darkest skin tones.

Last summer I purchased a mini version of the Benefit Cosmetics Hoola bronzer but was worried it would be too dark on my washed-out complexion – and I was right. I loved the texture and wear of the product but it was definitely too orange. I felt really bummed about the lack of other shades.

So, when Benefit came out with Hoola Lite earlier this year I ran to the nearest Boots counter in the first week of its launch to test it out, and I wasn’t disappointed.

This shade is perfect, with cool undertones that complement my skin colour and freckles. It can be used as a contour colour or an all-over bronzer to get that sun-kissed glow. It lasts for hours before the need to reapply and smells beautiful.

It’s also very pigmented; you only need to tap your brush into it to pick up lots product so it will last ages.



These three wonderful little books have been on my bedside table for months – and not because I haven’t gotten round to picking them up but because I keep reading them over and over!

If you’re looking for some inspiration, The Art of Creative Thinking by Rod Judkins will get your cogs whirring and ignite your creative flame again.

The Yellow World by Albert Espinosa is beautiful and thought-provoking. Diagnosed with cancer at the age of 14 and losing his leg, a lung and a section of his liver over the course of his ten-year battle with the disease, Albert creates the Yellow World. This world is based on a number of discoveries that are revealed across the pages of his book – inspirational and amusing lessons that can help us reconnect with reality and cope with our ever-changing world. I highly, highly recommend.

The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down is written by ‘mega-monk’ Haemin Sunim. It’s full of inspiring advice, life stories, anecdotes and beautiful illustrations. It’s an easy book to read, and perfect to pick up when you’re in need of a pick-me-up.

Despite living in London my whole life, I’ve only managed to visit Notting Hill a handful of times. This weekend, I journeyed to North West London with one of my lovely pals from uni for a candy-coloured adventure.

Notting Hill is perhaps best known for Portobello Market – a haven of stalls selling cool vintage items that you never knew you needed, food from around the world, and clothes with a sentimental history. It’s also gained a reputation for being home to many beautifully coloured houses. Pink and blue and mint green and yellow houses are dotted along streets all over the area – it’s an Instagrammer’s heaven 😍

I hope you liked delving into my little collection of October favourites – I’d love to hear about what you’ve been enjoying this month too!