viernes, 20 de febrero de 2015

5 things my mum has taught me

I'm sure it's not escaped anyone's attention that today is Mothers' Day and it has me thinking about just how lucky I am that I have a mother who plays such a prominent role in my life. I thought that today I'd share 5 things my mum has taught me.

1: You have to make your own mistakes.
My mum has let me make mistakes for myself for as long as I can remember. This used to majorly frustrate me, like why did she let me wear shorts, tights and knee high stripey socks for an entire year of my life? Why didn't she share her insight on the long, intertwining and very complex relationships she's watched me struggle through for most of my teenage life? The answer is, she's always been there to pick up the pieces when I feel ready to admit I've made a mistake and I need help, she's just given me the chance to make the mistake in order to learn from it.

2: It will all fit together in time.
When, this year, I ended up drifting into my second gap year with absolutely no clue what to do with my life, it came up in conversation with my mum. Wasn't she worried about me? Wasn't she worried that I might never find my way and my entire life will be spent waitressing in minimum wage jobs? Her answer was simply no, that she knew enough about me to know I would never settle and I would find my own way in time. Sometimes, that's all you need; the reassurance that someone out there knows you're right on the verge of finding your path.

3: It's okay to change your mind.
My mum taught me this from a really early age, and it's one of the lessons from her that I remember vividly. She has never once complained when she's had to make excuses for me and pick me up from countless sleepovers because I thought I could handle it and hated it, nor when she had to drive for an hour to pick me up from a music festival because I felt horrendous and I cried for three hours, nor when I've changed my mind and backed out at last minute. She taught me I don't have to please other people, and sometimes you have to go with your instinct.

4: It doesn't matter what people think.
I know this is a majorly cheesy one, but to put this into context I am the younger sibling and my older brother? A trainee dentist who grabbed three A's at A Level and managed a gap year where he actually did something life affirming and productive. One of the things my mum always does is brag about me just as much as Marc, and when I told her about how down it makes me feel that sometimes people act as though I will never be as good as him, she brushed it off because she knows I will be, just in my own way. It's probably one of the most important lessons I've learned.

5: How to be a good mum.
Everyone's mother has taught them this on one level or another. Sometimes I wonder what I will be like as a mum, or whether I will be any good but the fact is; my mum showed me so much love and if I can do the same back to a child of mine? I will feel like I've done well by them.

What important lessons have you learned from your mum?

domingo, 15 de febrero de 2015

20 Things I learned before turning 20

Some of you might know that midway through last month I turned twenty. Although it might not seem like a milestone, not being a teenager any more has really got me thinking and so I thought I'd make a list of twenty things I learned in the years before I turned the big two oh.

1: Take photographs. Take photographs of everything, take photographs of yourself looking pretty, take photographs of yourself looking disgusting, take photographs with your friends and on your own. Document your whole life in picture, trust me, you'll thank yourself for it.

2: Write everything down. Keep a diary, write stories based on true fact. Literally nothing will be funnier than looking back on what a twenty year old you had to say when you are thirty, I guarantee it.

3: Take risks. Get drunk, stay out late on work nights, go on adventures. The times you will remember most fondly will be when you did the things you know you shouldn't have done.

4: Love more. Love your parents, love your siblings, love strangers you meet in bars. Open yourself up and find reasons to fall in love with people. Better to get to adulthood having loved to much than to have spent most of your most significant years lonely.

5: F*ck the diet. Eat cake. Eat cake all the time, every day if you want, it's someone's birthday somewhere. Don't know anyone who has a birthday today? It's Matt's birthday. Don't know a Matt? Who cares. Somewhere in the world there is a Matt, it's his birthday and you are disrespecting him by turning down cake.

6: Stay friends with those who matter. Jib off anyone detrimental to your life, regardless of the history you have with them. I can almost 100% guarantee that if someone says "We'll be best friends forever" in high school, they'll mysteriously go missing when you need them. Find the people that never had to say anything, they were just there, no questions asked.

7: Fall in love with whoever. Kiss girls, kiss boys, kiss girls and boys. Don't be so stuck in your ways. You might fall in love with a girl one day, and it might be the great romance you've been looking for. Give yourself a chance, widen your horizons.

8: See more places. As soon as you're old enough, travel. Travel England, travel Europe, travel the world. I can almost guarantee some of the best times with friends will be in train stations in the crappest towns when you've missed a connection.

9: Pursue what you love. Love dance? Be a dancer. There's a job for everyone, do what you love and it will eventually pay off. Don't be a doctor if you hate blood. In fact, unless you're proper passionate about it don't be a doctor at all because uni fees are crippling and it's a proper long course.

10: Take a crappy job. In Mcdonald's if you have to. It's not about the money (although that's a bonus), it's about how close you get to be to the people that pull you through. You will make genuine friends much faster in a rubbish job, in my experience.

11: Sleep Late. Go to sleep at 4am, get up at 4pm. These are the golden hours. Trust me, you can watch an entire 47 minute episode of Pretty Little Liars in 27 minutes at 3:30am in the morning if you want it hard enough.

12: Take public transport. Take the bus, take the train, put your headphones in but don't put any music on. Listen to people, listen to gossip, fall in love with boys you'll see for ten minutes on one morning a week. It might seem grim, but it can honestly be the best feeling.

13: Wear Heels. All the time. Even when it isn't acceptable, wear your glittery, horrendously high heels if you want to wear them. It's nearly impossible to feel down about yourself when wearing glittery heels.

14: Buy the dress. How many dresses have you put off buying because you can't think of an occasion? Buy the dress and then find the occasion, a good dress is a good dress, whether you have a reason to buy it or not.

15: Smile more. Nobody falls in love with grumpy strangers in the street. Wear a smile that will make boys want to write poetry about you. Only, you know, make sure you don't look too creepy when you're smiling at everything. Potentially practise in the mirror first.

16: Read. Read books, read stories you loved as a kid, read fashion magazines. Read everything, know random facts to bring up at dinner parties. The more you read, the more likely people will be to make you part of their pub quiz team.

17: Get piercings. Get random bits of metal stuck through your body for absolutely no reason at all. Get the weirdest ones the piercer offers, they'll always start a conversation if nothing else. Get a piercing in your forearm, for instance, people always have questions about that.

18: Go and see bands. Bands you like, bands you don't like, bands you've never even heard of. Get drunk, dance, get sweaty, get covered in beer. I've never have a bad night at a gig, regardless of the band I've been to see.

19: Believe in yourself. Believe you know what you're doing, believe in what you have to say, believe even if you know damn well that you're wrong. Say what you have to say with pride, and be self assured about it. If nothing else, it will be hilarious.

20: Appreciate. Appreciate everything. Appreciate yourself, your friends, the money you have, the life you have, the food you have to eat and the water you have to drink. Appreciate every little bit because it all happens for a reason!

What have you learned that you wish you could pass along to other people? What do you think of my twenty things?

jueves, 12 de febrero de 2015

Bleach london super cool colours in "The Big Pink"

When I came back I noticed that one post on my blog was considerably more popular than the others, and that was my review of Bleach London's "Rose" hair colour. I consistently rocked the bubblegum pink Avril Lavigne coloured tips over the Christmas period, but eventually the novelty wore off and I stopped colouring them, but not before I'd picked up a couple more bottles of the Bleach dyes in a few darker colours.

I've tried "Bruised Violet" in the last few weeks and I much preferred the dark tint, plus it lasted considerably longer than "Rose" (which some of you may also recall left me majorly frustrated at how uneven it was even on my bleach tinted hair.) Now, however, is the turn of "The Big Pink".

In the bottle, this is considerably darker than "Rose" but also looks closer to purple than pink. I might have been put off by this, having read some of the reviews of the blue tinted variations of these dyes, however having tried "Bruised Violet" I was pretty confident that this wouldn't stain my hair. This looked like it was going to be really dark, but it actually came out a really vibrant pink colour and (much to my delight) it was actually pretty even. I left it on for slightly longer than suggested, naughty, but it actually seems to have developed better after half an hour.

I've found the lasting power of these dyes can vary even when you use the same dye twice, but I'd say shampooing twice I'd expect this to last about four washes before most traces are gone. All in all, this is one of the better Bleach dyes I've used, not bad for a fiver!

Have you used Bleach London dyes? What was your experience?

martes, 10 de febrero de 2015

Smashbox blemish control primer

Hands up everybody with bad skin. Don't get me wrong, I'm lucky I know compared to some people, but spots get us all down from time to time. In passing, I mentioned this to the Smashbox representative who matched me to my Liquid Halo foundation and she sent me away with a little tub of this beauty; Smashbox blemish control primer.

Now, if you follow me on twitter then you might recall the massive bitch fit (for want of a better term) that I threw when I got my Liquid Halo home only to find that they'd given me shade 3 when I am clearly a shade 1. Fast forward to taking it back to the store to swap it where the girl kindly gave me yet another very, very full tub of this primer as an apology. Now I'd like to say that it was love at first use but... it wasn't. I used it a couple of times (and my skin actually did clear up), then no doubt moved onto something newer and shinier because the remaining tub of this got thrown to the bottom of the drawer never to be seen again.

When I was cleaning out my drawers a couple of weeks ago I found this again and, after about a week of use, I noticed my skin was considerably better. Even though I haven't finished the final tester tub yet (a little bit goes a long, long way), I popped out to buy myself a full tube, and got a gorgeous sample sized mascara free. The first thing I feel like it's important to say is that the primer definitely isn't that vile green colour, I'm pretty sure that's just a ploy to help differentiate between the different primers that Smashbox sell. The second thing is that this is a really unusual texture in comparison to the primers that I'm used to. Instead of being a rich, almost gel like texture it's quite thin; but this actually lends itself to the product because it means you need to use very little and it doesn't feel heavy on the skin.

This isn't cheap at £28 a tube, but in my experience it's claims are actually a little on the safe side. It claims that in two weeks skin will be visibly clearer but I feel quite confident in saying it didn't even take that long to notice a difference. The effectiveness of the spot treatment made me dubious about how effective it would be as a primer, but I've been pleasantly surprised to find my make-up staying put throughout most (but still not quite all!) of an eight hour work shift, and it doesn't make my skin feel greasy or shiny like some other primers that I've used in the past.

Not the cheapest primer on the block, but in my opinion well worth the money (consider it an investment) and guaranteed to last a fair amount of time. 

Have you tried Smashbox primers? Would you consider buying Blemish Control?

lunes, 9 de febrero de 2015

Max factor all day flawless liquid foundation

If you read my haul post this week you'll know that, although this Summer I lived by Nars Sheer Glow, I've found recently it just wasn't really cooperating with Winter. For some reason, a change in my skin was making Sheer Glow look cakey and patchy and, whereas in Summer I had looked delightfully glowy, in Winter I look just... sweaty. So, after scouring the counters in my local Debenhams with nothing catching my eyes, I made a brave choice... It's time to go back high street. Cue forty minutes using my own hands and Bek's to test the lightest shade every liquid foundation had to offer. I wasn't too fussy, I was looking for two things; 1. I didn't want it to look orange on and 2: I didn't want it to sink into my skin. Luckily, Max Factor's Face Finity All Day Flawless 3 in 1 Liquid Foundation (a bit of a mouthful, I know) in Light Ivory, fitted both of my requirements.

The look of this, it's sweet little glass bottle with the brand on the front is every bit as nice as Nars Sheer Glow, in my opinion, with the added bonus of having a pump that I didn't have to pay an arm and a leg for. There are a couple of things that I knew I'd love about this foundation before it even touched my skin, the first one: 3 in 1. This is a foundation, primer and concealer all in one, bonus! The second one: SPF 20, it's always good to know someone's looking out for my skin.

As I mentioned above, this foundation makes the bold claim of being a foundation, primer and concealer all in one, I'll be honest though, I wouldn't go that far. Although I have to say I have been wearing this without a primer and I've been seriously impressed, unless your blemishes are super pale (and whose are?) you're definitely going to need at least some concealer under this. I've found I need three pumps of this at most to cover my entire face and blend down into my neck, which is a tiny amount when you look at how big the bottle is. It glides on nicely and leaves my skin feeling soft to the touch (which is always nice, even if people don't often go round stroking your cheeks). I wouldn't say Face Finity is quite as high coverage as Sheer Glow, maybe Medium/Full at best in my experience, but that's quite pleasant as it feels much lighter on and doesn't look as cakey even with my skin in a bad condition. The result is a sweet, dewey glow, not too much but not creepy doll matte either. I got this in the lightest colour my Superdrug had to offer which is Light Ivory, you can see the swatch compared to Nars Mont Blanc in the swatch below, but blended onto my skin it's definitely a paler, softer pink toned shade than Mont Blanc.

Left: Face Finity in Light Ivory // Right: Sheer Glow in Mont Blanc

All in all, I like this foundation a lot more than I imagined I would, especially for a high street brand. I'll definitely be sticking with it through winter, and with an £11.99 price tag, I might be swapping it out for Sheer Glow year round if it's still working for me by the time Spring arrives! My one pet peeve though? Get an opaque lid sorted, Max Factor, I don't want to see a gungey transparent one a few weeks into use!

Have you ever tried Face Finity? What was your experience of it?

domingo, 8 de febrero de 2015

Topshop sale picks

As January gets well under way, the sales draw closer and closer to an end. For any of you that haven't quite managed to pick up a few significant pieces, I have my top three Topshop sale picks.

Although not a conventional choice, The Camouflage Cigarette Trousers are probably one of my top sale picks from Topshop at the moment. I don't know what it is about Camo print that sends me back to my childhood, but I immediately fell in love with these and the subtle patterning on them. Paired with a leather jacket, heeled boots and a sheer white top, these would be great for both evening and daytime wear.

I never, ever have an appropriately sized bag. All of the bags I own are completely huge, great for when I need to pack my entire make up bag, my scarf, gloves and snacks for the day when I'm headed out shopping, but not so great when I need a bag just for my phone and purse when I'm headed on a night out. This little crossbody bag is just the right size for that, and completely gorgeous. The colour is subtle enough for every day use but also bright enough to add a pop of colour to any outfit.

This necklace is the most expensive of my three picks, but in my eyes it's definitely justified. This is meant to be the focus of an outfit, and I have tons of plain black dresses that I can give a new lease of life by adding this alone. This is gorgeous in gold and red, but the silver and blue is just as beautiful. A lovely pick.

Have you bought anything in the Topshop sale? What are your picks?

Benefit Brow Zings

I recently popped to my local Benefit counter looking to try Rockateur (which is amazing, by the way. Although a little too dark for me, I look slightly like a drag queen) but instead ended up walking out with the most amazingly filled in eyebrows I've ever had, and the kit to recreate them at home. That's right, I took the plunge and bought all twenty three pound's worth of Benefit's Brow Zings in Light.

First, how sweet is the packaging! The outside of this is black, blazoned with the product name, inside is a handy little mirror, two brushes for application and the sweetest set of mini tweezers with benefit engraved onto the handle. Every little detail has been taken care of in this kit, and you're definitely getting what you pay for. The kit is sturdy and compact and it's nice how neat it is, easy to throw together, add to your make-up bag and not have to worry about leaving anything you might need for an eyebrow emergency at home.

LEFT PHOTO: Left: Swatch done with hard angled brush - Right: Swatch done with blending brush // RIGHT PHOTO: Top: Wax and powder Middle: Just Powder Bottom: Just Wax

The kit comes with the two brushes needed to create the perfect sculpted eyebrow, one hard angled brush and one blending brush. The hard angled brush is perfect to create, as you might imagine, harsh lines and to arch the eyebrow neatly, whereas the blending brush allows for feathering the colour through the eyebrows to soften the look. One of the nice things about Brow Zings is that although the wax and powder can be used together, you can use just one or the other to get your eyebrows as dark or as light as you want them.

My one criticism of Brow Zings would be this is the light kit and it still errs towards being brunette, which is realistically probably too dark for my hair colour. It would be nice to see a more blonde kit, following in the steps of Soap and Glory's Archery.

Have you tried Brow Zings? How did it compare to other eyebrow products you use?