Why I finally decided to start Uspire (pronounced You-spire!)

Those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are usually the ones who do,” – Steve Jobs.

Those who know me will know that for years I’ve had this notion of wanting to change the world. It’s funny because when you tell people that, they kind of roll their eyes and give a sort of sympathetic smile – all that did was make me more determined!

I remember at least ten years ago sitting in my dad’s flat talking about starting up a positive news outlet. Around this time I’d also had conversations with my brother about how the world could be a much better place if people were to do more acts of kindness for one another.

These conversations came and went over the years, but life runs away with you, and before you know it so much time has passed.

The turning point for me was my first ever solo trip abroad. Before my first adventure in Australia back in November 2017, I was career driven and focused on climbing the corporate ladder but then it all changed.

At the beginning of that year I had my heart broken and this, combined with my daughter turning 18-years-old, prompted me to do something for myself. Something crazy and out there! So whilst having never travelled anywhere alone before, I decided to book a month away on my own to explore the wonder that is Australia!

This trip started the change within me. It showed me that I was so much braver than I thought. It taught me in real time experiences that everything is a state of mind. And every time I overcame a fear of some sort, I felt empowered, I felt free and suddenly life was – and could be – so much bigger.

After returning home I felt a disconnect to my life in London. In the sense that the ‘work, sleep, repeat’ cycle didn’t feel like it was enough for me anymore. So much so, that I considered leaving my corporate job, taking a backpack and exploring the world for a year.

I decided to think on this and make sure I wasn’t just experiencing holiday blues, and to compensate I booked a longer solo trip at the end of 2018 travelling Thailand, Laos, Australia and Bali. I wanted to see how I felt after this trip.

In the lead up to that trip, I continued to feel like I wasn’t getting enough from life. Not only did I want to explore more of the world, but I wanted to do something that made a difference somehow. My two ideas started to come back to me, and in December of that year, after teaching english to kids and volunteering in an orphanage in Laos, I sat on a beach in Australia and sketched out the user interface and functionality of my upcoming app.

Yes the app was going to come first! I had my plan, I’d started the action, I was on the move! 2019 passed with the app in progress and I started thinking more about the idea for a positive news site.

In February of this year, I went back to Australia (yes I’ve fallen in love with the place, there’s no denying it!) and again, having my mind cleared of life’s stresses, my creative side was ignited and I wrote fifteen stories that I thought would be a start to the site. The stories weren’t good, I’m not a writer, I’ve been in IT for nearly 20 years!

But whilst I wasn’t there in terms of skill, I was completely there in terms of mind and I called upon my wonderful sister who has been in the media industry for years. Along with her and the input of her amazing best friend, we launched Uspire on April 29th.

I realised that by freeing my mind from the stresses of everyday life and filling my head with good content, whether that be books (I’m a complete book worm!), motivational videos, various entrepreneur documentaries and meditation methods that worked for me (running, tai chi and now piano), I was able to ignite this creative side in me that I never knew I had.

I appreciate not everyone can jet off to a beautiful setting and find their zen but they can certainly have some say over what goes into their mind, and in turn, affects their behaviour. My aim for the site and the app is to make people feel good, that’s it, because I believe that which you feel yourself to be, you are.

It’s not been easy, I’ve had to overcome the terror barrier so many times. I’ve worked a LOT over the last two years, I’ve got things wrong, made many mistakes, have had to accept and re-adjust to changing plans (the app didn’t come first!) and had to push through the fear of failure. The main thing that has and continues to drive me is that I don’t want to look back on my life when I’m old and grey and wonder what might have happened had I tried.

The response to Uspire has overwhelmed me, I never thought we’d reach as many visitors across the globe as we do on a daily basis. When I think about people reading the features and even if just for a moment, feeling positive and inspired, then I have already succeeded.

Wedding picture goes viral in hunt for duo as cyclist captures only photo of ceremony

With the wedding industry being big bucks for flowers, food, and open bars (and that’s before you even get to the dress), many of us spend a small fortunate just to say, ‘I do’.

But one couple turned their back on splashing the cash, with a humble wedding on Brooklyn Bridge that involved precisely, err, three people – including them.

The loved-up duo didn’t even hire a snapper, with their nuptials nearly going uncaptured.

However, thanks to one local cyclist, Nevona Friedman, she stumbled across the bride and groom against the backdrop of the setting sun and took a cheeky photo.

Unsure whether or not to approach them, Nevona left the star-crossed lovers to their big (or rather, small) moment and went on her way.

Yet with her image of the ceremony proving to be such a stunning shot, she decided to shared it on social media in a bid to find the couple with a plea: “If you were getting married on the Brooklyn Bridge this evening, I’ve got some photos for you!”

Remarkably, one of her Facebook friends recognised the bride and helped them connect.

Nevona discovered that she had inadvertently become a witness at Nikolina Kovalenko and Stefan Ponova’s wedding, who met a year ago while travelling in South America.

Chatting to the Hindustan Times, Nikolina revealed that she felt an “incredible connection” to Stefan when the pair first laid eyes on each other.

She explained: “We met when Stefan invited me to dance, we immediately felt an incredible connection, and we were dancing and chatting through the evening.

“Next morning, I had an early bus to go to another Colombian town. I said, half-jokingly, that if we want to continue the conversation, he could meet at the bus station and join me. I wasn’t sure if he would, but when I got to the terminal, Stefan was already there.

“Our first date was a 10-hour long bus ride on one of the worst roads in Colombia, and we talked the entire time.”

While the bus ride could have just been a quirky story for the memory banks, taking into account Nikolina was just starting her backpacking while Stefan was ready to go home after two years on the road, he decided to stay with her and travel in Ecuador together.

They have since explored various parts of the world, with artist and self-confessed “hopeless optimist” Nikolina finally deciding to settle in New York long-term with Stefan.

It was due to the global pandemic enforcing social distancing across the world, that they then decided to seize the moment of a small and modest wedding on the bridge.  

Looks like Romeo and Juliet may just have been outshone!

Meet the woman who will change the way you think about your boobs forever…

Bigger, smaller, rounder, lighter, heavier, whatever we don’t have, we usually want. But one woman says she can make any female fall head over heels with their boobs.

Katie Weir, aka ‘The Bra Whisperer’, has fitted a whopping 4,000 women in her career and believes that just one decent fitting can improve both confidence and mental health.

She is a strong advocate that lingerie is the foundation to every outfit, with it being the first thing we put on in the morning and therefore setting the tone for the rest of the day.

Speaking exclusively to Uspire, Katie explained how wearing the right size bra can be a huge step on the journey of self-love and also shows respect for one’s own body.

Katie said: “We often neglect our boobs, just deal with them and eventually resent our bodies which to me is so sad. All of this can feel a lot happier with a great-fitting bra.

“I think the main issue is that women haven’t been taught a whole lot about bra-fitting from a young age, and so we look up to our mothers to learn, and if they haven’t been educated this information doesn’t get passed down.

“So, I am here to educate in the most fun and vibrant way to women of all ages, sizes, and backgrounds as to how they can feel amazing and build a positive relationship with their bust through the power of a perfectly-fitted bra.”

Katie discovered her true calling at the grand old age of 16, when she dreamed of having her own lingerie shop one day. Fast-forward a decade, and the queen of undies now boasts clients such as Freya, Curvy Kate, Aerie, Wacoal and Reckless Wolf on her CV.

Today, Katie is now the proud owner of her brand Weir Wonderful Fit, whose mission is to not only lift busts, but also the confidence and spirits of every woman on her books.

Katie continued: “My company is the ultimate in educating women about body confidence, positivity and why they should invest in their bras and boobs.

“A lot of women buy cheaper, ill-fitting bras, but I am a real believer of investing in a great quality bra which does an amazing job and will last a lot longer.”

Katie also helps women beat the pain that often comes hand-in-hand with a generous cleavage as the right bra ensures that boobs are supported and consequently reduces neck and back pain – and even headaches – due to the firm band that should sit snugly.

She revealed: “A lot of women go wrong by wearing back bands that are too loose and cup sizes that are too small, again it is all about education and learning that your band lifts your boobs and not our straps!

“When we wear a great-fitting bra it takes the weight off our shoulders quite literally, which leads to better posture not to mention a lengthened torso and a new-found waist.

“All of these factors will lead to a higher self-confidence as well as being able to have a lingerie wardrobe of bras which fit great and look fab under clothing, that can then allow you to wear fashion styles and shapes you never thought possible.”

While the end-goal sounds empowering, and Katie’s passion is infectious, what happens if a woman struggles with her body so much, she is uncomfortable getting undressed?

Katie’s philosophy is simple: “Actual YOLO!”

She explained: “We have one body. We have one life. So, nurture your body, respect it, speak to yourself the way you would speak to others when looking in the mirror.

“Wear the bikini! Don’t go a minute worrying what others think about what you wear, it is all about how you feel and if you feel fabulous – you will only project this to the world.

“If you have parts of your body that you just don’t love, work on them, be kind to them and show acceptance. You will soon realise they aren’t such a bother to you anymore.

“Equally, you can follow stylists and women of your body shape and size on Instagram who are positive influences as they too can help offer light into your life.”

This said, Katie has her eyes wide open when it comes to the media and lingerie industry, saying they could both do more to improve women’s outlook on diverse bodies.

She added: “First off, the media need to stop using headlines such as ‘Busty display’, ‘huge DDs’, and ‘flaunts her curves’ – every time I see such words, I get annoyed.

“Curvy women aren’t flaunting, showing off, or displaying our bodies for the approval of others. We are simply wearing clothing which flatters our body shape. And yes, ladies, the curvier, the tighter, show off what your mama gave you.

“But I just wish that curves and the female body in general would not be a sexual object.

“I do think the world is becoming more woke to bodies, we see new levels of diversity in campaigns, but we all need to understand that one body is never better than another, we are equally as beautiful, and our weight or shape does not define us.”

Katie concluded by saying that she wants young girls to be educated on their boobs and bodies with bra-fittings at school so that females grow up unapologetic of their size.

She said: “We need to know that our bodies are normal, we need to know how to fit a bra as this would minimise so many issues during puberty.

“I was forever berated for my school shirt not doing up, my school skirt being too short even though I just had a growth spurt, and I would hand-in a sick note to PE as I knew the boys would laugh at my ever-growing, unsupported boobs.

“Seriously, sports bras in schools are a major thing for me, I want every girl to wear a perfectly-fitted sports bra as I think feeling supported and less conscious about our bodies will only increase girls’ passion and positive attitude towards sports.”

We’re not sure about you, but we feel uplifted (pardon the pun) just listening to Katie.

So, to say goodbye to four boobs, nip slips and general discomfort, visit The Bra Whisperer.

London paradise as King’s Cross transforms into hub of food, fitness, and art

Back in yesteryear, King’s Cross was merely a transport hub where people scurried past each other to catch trains to their next destination.

Jump forward to today, and it has become a unique community of locals and tourists.

So, if you’re looking for some social distancing activities and don’t know where to turn, look no further than this London hotspot.

Just a stone’s throw from the station, you will find markets, alfresco dining, street artists, live music, fitness activities, and even space for the kids to play.

The food options are aplenty, with the choice to eat inside or out. You can also grab a takeaway to picnic by the canal and watch the world go by.

Adding colour to the grass seating is the Lollypop Lounge, a fabulously decadent art installation of oversized ice-lollies that appears to be melting onto the ground.

If looking at sweet treats isn’t enough, you can indulge in one too at Ruby Violet.

Their range of frozen delights is just up the road at Tufnell Park, offering a delectable range of flavours and organic products.

For fitness junkies, there are outdoor workouts from The Fore and FRAME studios, both promising to energise with high-intensity classes that focus on movement and breathing.

To keep the kids active too, a summer holiday camp offering a multitude of sports and activities – including football, dodgeball, as well as arts, crafts and drama – is available thanks to the King’s Cross Academy joining forces with Bloomsbury Football.

There is also the Handyside playground for the little ones, with swings and slides galore.

If you’d prefer to hang out as a family together, then check out Battle Bridge Busk which involves street musicians performances every Tuesday afternoon from 4.30pm-7pm.

You can also jump into the virtual pools at Granary Square and play the giant word search game or try the 2D maze.

Of course, there is always the iconic Regent’s Canal to explore too; an 8.5mile stretch of water where you’re guaranteed to spy colourful boat float by.

To take your pick, have a look at the impressive options here: King’s Cross.

Brazilian influencer uses platform to save the planet: ‘Let’s look after our home’

Influencers often get a bad rap for being self-indulgent when it comes to social media, but one well-known figure has decided to use his platform to raise awareness of a very important cause.

Israel Cassol, 38, has spent Plastic Free July highlighting the worldwide issue of plastic waste and how it is destroying our planet with his 98,000 followers on Instagram.

Israel, who is originally from Brazil, lives in London with his husband Rupert and their pooch Toby, and was keen to bring attention to the issue in the Capital – in particular, the River Thames.

In June, Israel decided to visit London’s famous river near his home in Chelsea after noticing a huge amount of face masks and gloves washed up on the bank during one of his morning runs.

RELATED: SEE INCREDIBLE T-SHIRTS MADE ENTIRELY FROM PLASTIC LITTER

Speaking to Uspire, he explained: “I asked my husband if we could go to the River Thames and check if what I had seen was really true. We went the next day at low tide to collect some of the rubbish, with black plastic bin bags and gloves.

“I was so shocked at what I saw. This was right on my doorstep and I had never noticed before. I decided to call attention to the world on my social media about the dangers of people just throwing away the masks and gloves, and polluting rivers and then the seas.”

“I want to use my public image to raise awareness about this huge issue that our planet faces. I hope to continue to raise awareness throughout the year, not just in July.”

Of course sometimes it feels like a major effort to recycle properly but Israel revealed that everyone can start by making small changes every day.

“People need to start at home, reducing their use of plastic where they can but above all making sure that any plastic used can be recycled,” he said.

“At my home, I try to recycle every piece of plastic we can. We use metal straws instead of plastic and always take re-useable bags when we go out shopping. I also take the time to look at the back of each product I buy to see if it’s ethically sourced and whether or not the packaging is fully recyclable.

“But in an ideal world, we really need local governments and councils to have a consistent plan for the best long term solution.”

When asked how important he thinks it is for everyone to do their bit, Israel continued: “Extremely, it’s our home! Every single person on this planet should play their part to help our planet survive for the next generation and beyond.

“Don’t have the attitude: ‘If I don’t recycle this it’s not going to be the end of the world’, because even if half of the population have that mindset, we’d be in serious trouble. Every single person is accountable, don’t just assume others will make up for it. We do not have a Planet B. Let’s look after our home which is this planet.”

Teen amputee who made prosthetic arm from Lego helicopter stars in new documentary

We are officially in awe of the amazing David Aguilar, a regular teenager who has created a prosthetic arm made entirely from Lego.

The 19-year-old, born without a right forearm due to a rare genetic condition, has outshone PHD students and surgeons the world over with his innovative creation.

Using a Lego helicopter set, David crafted the robotic limb to such high quality that it can be used to mimic a hand and pick up objects.

His story has gone on to inspire people from across the globe, with David now the star of his own documentary entitled Mr Hand Solo.

The film is currently for sale through the Spanish distributor Filmax so that larger platforms or television stations can acquire it to broadcast it to the general public.

Speaking exclusively to Uspire, David said he produced it with production company IMMINENT Produccions and Arlong Productions, who distribute Filmax movies.

David explained: “The original song for the credits was written by my father, Ferrán Aguilar, and is incredibly beautiful. It’s called OH LEGO.

“My father instilled in me a love for music and I compose and produce my electronic songs, my song Two Days Ago plays as my story starts to go global in the film.”

David had nothing but praise for his dad, saying Ferrán went above and beyond to help adapt the INOKIM electric scooter which David now uses to go to university.

Speaking about his love of Lego, the Andorra native – a small country between France and Spain of just 74,000 inhabitants – explained he has been a big fan of the interlocking plastic bricks toy ever since he was a kid.

On his YouTube channel – also named Hand Solo after Star Wars character Han Solo – he said: “I thought I could build a hand with a Lego helicopter, and it is now a hand.

“When I extend the arm, the hand opens, and when I close it, the hand closes.”

Using a dial system which tightens around his amputated arm, David does not require a strap across his shoulders for the Lego structure as it grips at the point of contact.

David, who studies bioengineering at university, is now on a mission to create affordable prosthetics for those who need them.

Prices currently vary, with the average false limb costing approximately £5,000.

However, in the US, this price would simply cover the cost of a cosmetic arm, with a functional prosthetic that ends in a split hook nearing $10k (£8k) and an advanced myoelectric arm controlled by muscle movements reaching up to $100k (£80k).

David is now on the fourth model of his prosthetic, with each version more versatile than the one previously, and has named it MK in tribute to the Iron Man suit markings.

The entrepreneur-in-the-making also wants to encourage kids to play with Lego as it helped his wellbeing by “developing my mind” so he can now imagine things mentally.

David added: “Lego helped me realise a dream I had when I was a child, having two hands. Lego forever.”

What a champ!

How sleeping under the stars in beauty spots is the future of holidays

Once upon a time, sleeping in a tent involved soggy or sweaty material collapsing on your head come rain or shine, and using Port-a-loos where you had to hold your nose to go in.

Yet camping experiences have evolved to become the new holiday dream.

Thanks to glamping, whereby flushable toilets are on offer alongside tents you can actually stand-up in which often have regular beds inside, the future of vacays is here.

In a social distancing world, whereby the hospitality sector is struggling to keep people apart while still provide a positive ambiance, the glamping industry is blooming.

[Credit: Martin Robles]

Due to the global pandemic continuing to impact travel – most recently, UK holidaymakers visiting Spain have been hit with a two-week quarantine order when they return home – glamping sites have seen a huge spike in bookings of up to 45%.

Gone are the days when you need to start a fire or set up your own accommodation, now tourists arrive to beauty hotspots to little homes in the forest where there is an array of amenities on offer that range from plug sockets to stoves and even sofas.

Hipcamp – an American company known as the Airbnb for campsites – say their objective is to welcome people who don’t currently feel safe outside by showing that glamping is “a great way to make an easy transition into your first outdoor experience”.

[Credit: Ali Kazal]

They also state that glamping is a sustainable option for those invested in environment because less waste is generated than with hotels or traditional car camping.

Founder and CEO, Alyssa Ravasio, explained: “If we want future generations to care more about the outdoors and to really help restructure our society, we need a lot more people excited about the land.

“A lot of our hosts are using the income they earn on HipCamp to protect and restore their habitat. We have those who are replanting their forests or restoring their watershed.”

Similarly, tents or yurts are usually created with sustainable materials, such as wood, while heating facilities have a minimal effect on the environment, such as log burners.

Staycations also involve less travelling than going abroad, meaning the absence of flights reduces emissions released into the atmosphere that damage the ozone layer.

So, if you’re feeling adventurous and want to take a holiday while maintaining social distancing and caring for the environment, take a peek below for some inspo.

1) From public parks to private land Stateside: visit Hipcamp.

2) For the best sites in the UK, France and Europe, visit Cool Camping.

3) To have an escape to the British countryside, visit Canopy & Stars.

4) To let sleeping under the stars become a reality, visit Bubble Iceland.

5) If unsure, have a gander on trusty Booking.com’s glamping page.

No more rough sleepers! Country wipes out homelessness with wellbeing approach

Imagine a world where people did not have to resort to sleeping on the streets.

Sounds like fiction, right? Wrong.

One country has achieved this, thanks to an innovative scheme that has involved successive governments taking the baton from each other for the last 30 years.

It is due to those in power working together that Finland has conquered homelessness.

[Credit: Tom Parsons]

Over in the UK, our Prime Ministers tend to have short spells in Office, meaning they look to mark their legacy in the present rather than looking ahead at the future of big issues.

Consequently, the number of people sleeping rough in the UK has multiplied since 2010.

In contrast, Finland – a northern European nation bordering Sweden, Norway and Russia – introduced a ‘Housing First’ principle, which dates back to 2007.

[Credit: Tapia Haaja]

The initiative’s primary objective is to give people who become homeless a home of their own as soon as possible.

RELATED: NEW VILLAGE TO END HOMELESSNESS FOR VETERANS

Along with a roof over their head, the support programme for an individual may include help to tackle an addiction, the option to learn a new skill, or training and education.

[Credit: Steve Knutson]

This wellbeing approach not only offers an immediate solution but looks at long-term goals to keep people off the street and encourage them to reach their full potential.

The knock-on effect then means lower crime rates and the number of drug users.

Meanwhile, the UK only grant a permanent home to someone after a homeless person has been through the hostel or temporary accommodation system first which prolongs the process of an individual feeling settled and being able to give back to society.

Finnish native Thomas Salmi, who became homeless at 18 when he had to leave his orphanage, spent three years on the streets of Finland’s capital Helsinki.

[Credit: Tapio Haaja]

Speaking to BBC, he said: “When you lose everything, it really doesn’t matter. You’re thinking about suicide, am I going to die? Is it safe?

“It is cold, especially in the middle of winter [temperatures can drop to -7C°]. If you’re sleeping outside, you might die.”

Thomas, now 24, credits the Finnish homeless policies with saving his life, as he now has an apartment at a large complex run by the Helsinki Deaconess Institute [HDI].

The HDI have also turned his life around by helping to wean him off heavy drinking.

Boris Johnson, take note!

See incredible T-shirts made entirely from plastic litter dropped by people in mountains

For those old enough to remember the scratch and sniff T-shirts of the 80s/90s, they’ve just been outshone by a new item of clothing.

An incredible range of T-shirts have now hit the shelves, made entirely of plastic, in a move that spells huge change for how we currently recycle.

It is believed that a whopping 91% of plastic is not being recycled, with a report from December 2018 revealing just how significant the issue is.

With plastic taking more than 400 years to degrade, most of it still exists in some form. And of the 8.3billion metric tons that has been produced, only 9% has been recycled with the majority accumulating in landfills or finding its way into the natural environment.

Now, a limited edition has been crafted from single-use plastic collected in the Alps.

This means, litter dumped on the mountains across Europe has been collected and reused to create this innovative and environmentally-friendly attire.

The mastermind of The North Face, a US-based outdoor clothing company, the T-shirts form the Recover Tee range of their new Bottle Source Collection.

This collection has seen a staggering 18,000kgs of plastic bottles collected from waste streams in the Alps, which has since been transformed into long and short sleeve tops.

The North Face pride themselves on not just making clothes for recreational use, but “enabling exploration through safeguarding our epic wilderness”.

Consequently, they hope that their latest mission will raise awareness of the volume of rubbish left on the mountains and limit the damage caused in the future.

The T-shirts also fly in the face of fast fashion, which is swiftly becoming a hot topic.

In particular, fast fashion – whereby cheap clothes are produced quickly to copy the catwalk trends – poses a huge threat to the environment as vast quantities of toxic textile dyes pollute clean water globally and impact local agriculture.

The unisex pieces are available in classic white with either a blue, pink or green logo.

With each item created, The North Face will donate €1 to the Summit Foundation – an organisation that supports the clean-up programmes in the Alps to protect wild places.

To grab your T and help save the planet, visit: The North Face.

Au natural! Public reveal how lockdown has forced beauty habits to shift

Makeup, check. Nails, check. Hair, check. The Holy Grail of getting ready for a night out.

Only, there haven’t really been so many nights out lately. And these days, that trilogy looks a little more like au natural with pyjamas and bedhead.

Yet with salons flinging their doors wide open again after four months of lockdown, the beauty industry is hungry for business from clients old and new.

However, it seems that being locked inside has had a profound impact on people, with many former beauty addicts now rejecting their rituals to adopt a more carefree attitude.

At Uspire, we spoke to members of the public to find out just how the outlook on their aesthetics has changed and why…

Emma Jones, 31

“I would always wear makeup to work and continued to get ready ‘properly’ for work for weeks but that all stopped! I never wear make-up in the day now and I feel I look like a clown if I have it on. It’s so bizarre.

“Nails I usually have long and always a mad design, so having unpainted stubs was never going to be okay. I painted my own, badly, and used press-on nails just to lift my mood.

“I got my partner to dye my hair and he even removed and refitted my hair extensions with a YouTube tutorial and a pair of pliers.

“My desire for make-up has completely changed. Now, my foundation is saved for if I’m going somewhere nice. I don’t think I’d ever give myself anything more than eyebrows ever again when I go into office. And glad of it. I also leave my hair to dry naturally now and wash it once a week. It looks nicer and feels healthier for it.

“But nails, FORGET IT!!! I’ll keep spending on them every three weeks. I felt like a new woman when I bounded out of the salon after getting them done. But it did make me realise how much maintenance they are and I’m not sure I want to go back to that life.”

Amy Nicholas, 25

“Personally, I have never been one to get beauty and hair treatments done regularly, so not being able to go to a salon over the last few months hasn’t affected me too much, but I have always used makeup as a bit of comfort blanket.

“Due to the lockdown and lack of social events, I have rarely worn makeup and embraced the natural look instead, which actually improved my confidence and I no longer feel the need to cover up the freckles on my face or ‘put my face on’ every time I leave the house.

“I guess the pandemic has wanted me to adopt a more natural look or at least appreciate my own natural beauty and to be confident in my own skin before the use of makeup.”

Jack Hardwick, 27

“I didn’t do too much grooming before lockdown, though I was a gym bunny. My fitness has actually increased over the last few months as I have been running up to 10k daily, plus I have been using a workout app.

“But on the days I didn’t leave the flat, I have not bothered with the usual deodorant and my attitude to how I look is a lot more relaxed.

“Fake tans were always my weakness, though I’ve not needed them due to the heatwave. With a cheeky bit of tanning oil, maybe I will stick with the more natural way now.

“That said, I did buy a light ring for my phone to take better selfies with so maybe it’s more about finding a compromise.”

Jack Wetherill, 27

“Before lockdown, I never left the house without my hair styled, brows on and a tan. But with being stuck inside I completely stopped as there was no need.

“Eventually, I began craving little bits of normality again so started my Thursday night tan routine, doing my hair and brows, just to feel a bit of the life I had before lockdown.

“I also completely overhauled my skincare routine, so hopefully once all of this is over I’ll be glowing for the gods!”

Alice-Rose Perry, 23

“During lockdown, I have had a yin-and-yang experience with my perception of beauty and my evolving routine. Not wearing makeup for prolonged periods has left so much room for skincare, and I’m nailing a good routine now.

“I don’t know if I could adjust to a lifestyle that doesn’t allow me to slather on a fresh batch of SPF every two hours (and I don’t think I could ditch the foundation for good when back to office life).

“However, the time spent barefaced or staring at myself on screen during Zoom calls (and maybe a little too much social media) has left me scrutinising myself like never before.

“It’s been a great exercise in reasoning with that inner self-critic, because does anyone really care if I have a double chin when I look down at my webcam?”

Katie Weir, 31

“My attitude to beauty has changed quite a bit during the last few months, because I now pay more attention to my skin.

“I spend at least ten minutes making sure all of my make-up is off instead of a quick splash of make up remover before bed after the long commute! So that’s definitely been a positive!

“All my life I have suffered with acne, spots and scars – a never ending cycle of trying to find the right products, pills, potions to give me the confidence to not wear make-up all day, everyday!

“I recently invested in BeGlow and my skin is GLOWING in just a week, even my scars seem less red! I’ll see how it goes, but for now I am HAPPY and here I am in all my bare face beauty!”