Mini Sephora haul/review

Uhoh, I’m straying into beauty posts….

I recently went to Italy (blog post about that coming soon!) and stumbled across an old favourite of mine – Sephora.  They closed all their UK branches a fair few years ago (booooo!) and I haven’t been in one since! I managed not to spend too much, but here’s what I did pick up while I was there…

Instant Refreshing Toner*

I’m a bit obsessed with the smell of this, and it seems to be keeping my skin bright, whilst getting the last bits off my makeup. I was a bit disappointed to find the bottle I bought came without a little spray, which was replaced by a slightly impractical pump, but hey – the stuff’s good! Plus, it’s parabens free. What more could I want?

Star rating: ****

Smart liner

I am rubbish at doing my eyeliner, but the shape of this makes it much easier to get an even line. Plus, it stays on for most of the day!Top marks, Sephora!

Star rating: *****

Nano Eyeliner in 08 – Iced Brown

My least favourite purchase – I love the colour of it when it’s on, and it does seem to last but it just doesn’t go on smoothly or easily, making it harder to get an even line on both eyes.  I haven’t tried blending it out yet though, so perhaps that will improve things!

Star rating: ***

Contour Eye Pencil 12h Wear in 31 – Purple Stilettos

From my least favourite to my favourite – this went on really smoothly, and the colour is bright as a bold line and blends out nicely for a more subtle, smoky effect. Unfortunately I managed to drop this one, so the pencil itself is broken inside, but it’s working for now!

Star rating: *****

Oil Infusion Color & Care in 04 – Tangerine Fizz

A very close second favourite is this lip gloss – it’s a little bit gloopy, so I’ve only been using a tiny bit each time, but it’s a lovely orangey colour which is perfect for my skin tone at this time of year. I also love the test tube shaped bottle it comes in (which is the main reason why I bought it, if I’m honest!)

Star rating: ****

I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for Sephora to make a return to the UK.  One day….

Until next time!

L x

*This toner seems to have vanished from Sephora’s website…here’s hoping it hasn’t been discontinued!

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On Body Confidence

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In the last couple of years, there’s been a big increase in the number of articles and posts I’ve seen about body confidence….and before I go any further, I just want to make it clear that this is A Very Good Thing.  Of course we should be promoting body confidence, and of course we should all love the way we look! But as for the whole “take off all your clothes and look at your beautiful self in the mirror” school of thought?  Nah mate, I’d rather not.

You see, I have  one little gripe about this whole “body confidence/love yourself whatever you look like” movement that’s happening.

“Don’t be silly, you look fine”

“Yes, but chocolate’s so tasty!”

“Why? Eat some cake!”

“Why are you torturing yourself with that healthy stuff?”

“Are you still on that stupid diet?”

“Here, have some more cake.  Have the cake. EAT THE CAKE.  Why won’t you eat the cake?”

All the above are things that have been said to me at one point or another when I’ve mentioned to a friend that I’m trying to eat more healthily, or want to lose a bit of weight  (or, 2 stone of weight!).  And ok, the last one was said to me by a particularly persistent (and slightly creepy) person from my past after I’d already eaten some damn cake and didn’t want to eat any more  (don’t get me started), but at what point did it become acceptable to make someone feel embarrassed for not being confident about how they look?

Ok, the “you look fine” are often said with the best of intentions – and don’ get me wrong, I can take a copliment when it’s handed to me (in a very British “oh no, really, no” kind of way, of course!).  But to me, a more helpful response would be “oh, ok. Fair enough” or “whoops, I’d better put the chocolate away!” – or even just the simple question “why?”.

And…why?  Well, other than the obvious answer of “I’d like to be able to fit into more clothes” and “I’d quite like to be able to run for the train without being completely out of breath”, the answer is simple. To improve my body confidence.

In aroundabout way, I guess what I’m saying is this.

Body confidence to me isn’t necesarilly about loving how you already look.  It’s about figuring out what you already like about yourself, and what you’d like to improve.  And no-one should feel ashamed for saying they dont’ like how they look – that’s absolutely fine.

Personally? I don’t hate the way I look. There are parts of me that I’m super confident about – and other parts that I’d quite like to work on and improve.

Self-improvement is one of the most valuable lessons to learn – it’s how we evolve, how we change and ultimately, how we become better people.

Until next time!

L x

Going Sugar Free

As I mentioned briefly in my January & February Throwback, I am a self-confessed chocoholic and it’s something that’s been hovering around me like one of those annoying floaty little flies for years. But my issues don’t just extend to chocolate, it seems to be all things sweet and sugary.

There have been countless articles which proclaim that chocolate is “more addictive than cocaine” or other similar statements.  And whilst I can’t confirm whether that’s true or not, I do know one thing.  Sugar’s damn addictive,  and I need to STAY AWAY.  Over the last few years, I’ve gone on health kicks – giving up all things sugary in one go (and becoming moody as hell in the process!), juice detoxes  (lost lots of weight, felt amazing but didn’t/couldn’t keep up the next few weeks of clean eating)…and inevitably giving up and finding myself at the bottom of a packet of haribo.

Not good.

So, over the next few months, I’m trying to cut refined sugar out of my diet and replace it with healthier things.  Hopefully I’ll try some new recipes on the way, and perhaps even review them on here.  Anything to keep myself motivated!

As phase 1, I’ve been setting myself small goals of giving things up. Starting with chocolate. I pretty much decided to do this on a whim, and was surprised at how easy it was to smash my 10, 25 and 45 day targets! Baby steps…bur 70’s my next goal. I want to keep a track of my process on this blog, partly as a self-motivational tool and partly as a motivation for anyone else who happens to stumble across this. Next to tackle are the sweets and the sugary drinks. Goodbye caramel macchiatos, goodbye diet coke. I probably won’t miss you as much as I think I will!

Until next time!

L x

Taking a moment. (TW: mental health issues)

Oh my goodness.  In the grand scheme of twitter, 700+ retweets isn’t that many.  In the grand scheme of my twitter…that’s pretty bloomin’ viral.

I have never written a post with a trigger warning before.  I don’t even know if that’s how you trigger warning a post (please tell me if it’s not, I’m still learning!) but I just felt like I had to…say something.

I posted this tweet yesterday, and I was absolutely overwhelmed with the response:

The obvious answer is that it’s already taken too many, and there’s so much I could add to the conversation – and want to add to the conversation…but I want to take my time to construct that post.   It’s a very difficult subject, and one that I don’t want to approach recklessly.

So, for now I’ll leave a video that someone sent me in response to that tweet, and a few numbers that might be helpful to someone should they stumble upon this post.  I really, really hope it does.  As Faye said, it’s time to talk.

Samaritans:  08457 90 90 90
Mind: 0300 123 3393  and lots of helpful info at http://www.mind.org.uk/
Childline: 0800 1111

January & February throwback

Back on New Year’s Eve, I posted about my lack of New Year’s Resolutions – apart from that the resolution to keep track of everything that I”m proud of, month by month so that I can look back on it at the end of 2015.

Some bloggers write “monthly favourites” posts – this is my take on it.

January

This month I read…

– The Drowning of Arthur Braxton.  Much darker than my usual choice of book, but it had been recommended to me by a few friends, so I thought I’d give it a go.  I really loved it & was pleasantly surprised!

This month I listened to…

– First Aid Kit. Lots and lots of First Aid Kit. I went to see them live in this month too, and they most definitely did not disappoint!

This month I watched…

– Pretty Little Liars. I’ve been absolutely hooked on this since I saw a trailer for it, and I’ve been binge watching it for the past couple of months!

This month I am most proud of…

– Completing a jewellery course- 4 full Sundays in the back of a little local bead shop. I’ll do a full post about this with a few pictures once I’ve got my mess of a desk sorted.

And my favourite things of the month…

These two candles. I’ve never really bought myself scented candles before, but now I don’t know how I could not have one burning when I’m making jewellery, or watching Netflix!

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Lily Flame candle – Fairy Dust
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Muji – Winter Berry & Black Tea

February

This month I read…

– Grace’s Guide book. I’ve been dipping in and out of this all month, but haven’t had a huge amount of time! It’s a great read, and has been keeping me amused on the odd train journey or lunch breakwhen I have a moment to myself!

This month I listened to…

– Katzenjammer. I’ve liked them for a while, but have only listened to a few of their songs more than a few times. However, I tend to listen to Radio 2 on weekend mornings (I know, I know!) and they’ve been playing their new single, “Lady Grey” a LOT. Needless to say, I’m hooked!

This month I watched…

– Pretty Little Liars. Still. I-just-need-to-know-who-a-is-and-then-I’ll-be-happy.

This month I am most proud of…

– Starting my journey to being that little bit healthier. I may not have had time to go to the gym, but I’ve gone 20 days without chocolate. Not a huge amount of time, I know -but for a self-confessed chocollic like me, it’s a big step!

And my favourite things of the month…

– The “Happy Goals” app. I’ve had it on my phone for a while, but it’s been dormant until now! I use it as a tally of my chocolate-free days (I’m on target for 25!) and I’lll besetting myself new targets and challenges soon too. I want to set targets for reading, films and…perhaps blog posts and video posts over the next year!

Until next month!

L x

On regrets.

The thing about life is that with every passing day, week, month and year, you can accumulate knowledge and experiences that pave the way to where you end up next. The only problem is the people you meet and the things you see can easily lead you to wondering if could have turned out a different way.

7 and a half years ago (urk), I followed my heart to music college. At the time it was exactly what I wanted to do, but a few years later, that couldn’t have been further from the truth. And now, the further I get into the blogosphere and the….vlogosphere (!?), the more I wish I had started this when I was 18. But who’s to say that if I’d done that then, I would be where I am now? For all I know, I could have tens of thousands of hits or followers…or I could have decided that it wasn’t for me.

I always used to say I had no regrets – for a while that changed. But recently I’ve come full circle and realised that my 18 year old self was right all along.

Regrets are pointless – all they do is hold us back. It’s far better, and far more enjoyable to live in the moment. It’s never “too late” – we’re never “too old” to try something different or learn something new.

So, next time you think “I should have done this a year ago” then follow that up with “…but better late than never.”

Never mind the resolutions | My 2014.

It’s that time of year when every blogger and vlogger puts up their new years’ resolutions – but I kind of did that in my last post.  You know, the one where I said “LET’S DO THIS!!!” and promptly….didn’t post again for over a month.  Whoops.  At this stage, my blog runs the risk of becoming an endless list of “things I’m definitely going to do….one day…soon…” – a pattern that I think lots of us find ourselves in.

We always spend the last days of one year and the first days of the next thinking about what we’re going to do, but we rarely think about what we’ve actually done, the things we’ve achieved and the things we’re proud of.  So here’s my list – a few highlights from my past year that I’m proud of.  Perhaps it’s slightly self-indulgent, but sometimes we need to pat ourselves on the back! So here goes…

In February, I went back to my old school for a careers evening – I sat behind my own little table with my name label and talked to an endless stream of 15-16 year olds about my career so far, my university qualifications and everything else in between. And yes, I had a lot of “Do you know Danisnotonfire?” and “Have you ever met Jack and Finn?”  (incidentally, the answers are ‘yes, he’s very tall’ and ‘once, briefly’) but amongst those, there were lots of girls (and a couple of boys) who genuinely wanted to hear what I had to say. I half-joked afterwards that it was the most popular I’d ever been within those walls!

I joined a gym and realised I actually enjoy exercising in my lunch break at work. I bought myself a corset and a Vivienne of Holloway dress – two things that have been on my wish list for quite some time now.

I’ve made a fantastic group of friends, been to loads of really exciting events and even organised a few myself (including a party for ChannelFlip’s YouTubers at the Harry Potter Studio Tour for Halloween!) Going round the studios after hours followed by some overly-energetic dancing to the cheesiest music possible is definitely one of the high points of my year.

#Twinmas was a project I worked on with my v.good friends Niki and Sammy and Lizzy – we spent days (and evenings) getting everything together – a live audience, a full set, live G+ hangout…the list goes on and on. It was a massive success, and something we’re all very proud of.

I’ve kickstarted my creativity again – with this blog, and with my YouTube channel – yes, only two videos so far, but it’s a start. And I’ve even got my violin out again.  My friend Luke even gave me the world’s nicest shout-out in the fabulous TenEighty magazine’s “YouTuber Picks”. You can go and read that here if you really want to…

And as for a massive “I was there” moment? I spent a day getting a few people organised to be in opening shots of this year’s YouTube Rewind. And then, on a very quiet Friday afternoon, I popped out of the office and went along to that video shoot to see how it was all going. The video itself has had 75 million views so far, and to say I was even a tiny part of that is huge. I even managed to (accidentally) make it into the official behind the scenes video  (top marks if you can spot me. Hint – I’m wearing yellow!), and of course a few of my friends’ own vlogs from the day too. Whoops?

Above all, I’ve come to realise that life is what you make of it – I could make excuses for weeks, months, years…you get the idea. But ultimately, if I want to do something then all I need to do is make a start.

So here’s my one New Years’ Resolution:  keep a note of (at least) one thing from each month that I’m really proud of. And then, on the 31st December 2015, I’ll post my own personal “rewind”.

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope you have had a fabulous 2014, and I hope that 2015 is even better.

L xx