Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Things I learnt at University

This is both a post on things I learnt and advice. Everyone said it would be a massive learning experience, but I never knew how much it would be until I experienced it. A lot of these things I probably should have known already but hey ho, we progress at different rates.

Freeze bread - if you don't make sandwiches all the time, then bread will last a long time in the freezer, use the defrost button on the toaster.

Teachers expect participation - do whatever you need to do to be alert for class, go to bed early, drink coffee, if you aren't alert in class you won't remember anything, and you will come to write your essays and think 'did they even cover this?' yes, they did, you just weren't paying attention.

Wine goes off - Who knew? If it tastes sour, its off. 2 - 3 days is about right. Also, if you're sharing space with others who like wine, get everyone to chip in for a box of wine, cheaper and you get much more for your money.

Start Student Finance application early or you will regret it.

Watch your drink on a night out, everyone may seem friendly but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be careful. If you suddenly feel more drunk than you should be/hallucinate/ can't speak or move, tell your friends, tell the bar staff too, particularly if you are alone.

The only way to do an essay on time (to a good standard) is to start early - you have to trick yourself into thinking the deadline is closer than it is, preferably 2 days closer. If you don't there will be a lot of late nights and close calls.

Men are pigs just kidding, but if you're the type that likes to go out then you'll invariably meet a lot of seedy guys at clubs and the student bar. Don't feel bad rejecting them, if you're not feeling it then its not happening, and they'll have to deal with that.

Don't drink heavily if you have class the next day because guess what, you're going to wake up feeling like shit, and you won't go to class.

Do the reading but not all of it, especially if you're on a Literature course because there will be a lot of reading. Read most of the books, missing the odd one won't hurt (unless you're aiming for a first) Pick your essay title as early as possible and focus on the reading for that.

Plan your essays this sounds like an obvious one but I still feel the need to say it. The planning is often the hardest part, get the plan out of the way on one day, start the essay the next day and finish it the day after. Leave time to proof read. Leave time to print it at the library if you don't have a printer.

Soak in the knowledge you are paying an extortionate amount of money to be in those classes, do the extra reading (sometimes) ask your teachers lots of questions. Don't be afraid to say 'I don't understand'.

Don't waste money - if you have a student loan, you need to keep reminding yourself that its not your money. Its a loan, that you will be paying back until you're 50, so spend it wisely. Occasional blow outs are fine, expected. If it gets the point where you can't eat its budget creating time.

You will meet good people, and bad - meeting like minded people is inevitable, not all of those will be 'good' people. Some will take advantage of you, be rude, pretentious, and have delusions of grandeur. You learn a lot about people at university.

It actually is about finding yourself which would sound ridiculous to me, pre-university. But since graduating I realized that it was the perfect environment to think more about who you are, what your values are, the things you're willing to accept and the things you shouldn't.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Top 7 at the drugstore

The drugstore (as Americans call it) is filled to the brim with holy grail status items, you don't have to spend a lot to get quality make-up and skin care products. When I buy something to put on my face, its because I've put a shed load of research into it. I trawl the internet for reviews, read the ingredients, and when I can, test out things in store. So here I've compiled a list of the best, most affordable products available on the high street.

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish - from £15.50 Boots

One I've been testing out for a few months now, and I'm surprised it hasn't made into a favorites post yet. This goes on as a thick cream, it feels refreshing, as you rub this into dry skin it turns into a thick balm, which you then wipe away with a hot flannel. After each use my skin feels soft, nourished and hydrated. Its suitable for all skin types but particularity most beneficial to combination and oily skins because it packs a massive moisture punch but doesn't leave any residue, helping to keep the balance. A little expensive for the drugstore but a worthy investment.

Bourjois Velvet Rouge Edition liquid lipsticks - 8.99 Superdrug and Boots

When I want a matte red lip color  with staying power and a silk like finish, I more often than not go for one of these lipsticks. They are comfortable on the lips unlike most other matte lipsticks, and once it sets give the softest looking matte finish, One coat is enough for opaque, long lasting, highly pigmented color that really does have 24 hour hold, as it claims. There is a strange, chemical smell to it but this wears away after a few minutes. These more than rival its pricier equivalent (the Hourglass rouge liquid lipsticks - £23) I wouldn't say its completely anti-transfer, but I'm willing to forgive that. Bravo Bourjois.

Maxfactor Cream Puff Blush - £8.99 Superdrug and Boots

These blushes are one part rosy/bronze color, two parts highlighter. They are very pigmented so don't go crazy, one swipe of the powder brush is enough. They have a pearly finish, giving a natural and pretty glow. I look healthier with this blush on, that's a weird statement but go test it and you'll see what I mean. If you're a fan of the Hourglass ambient lighting blushes - at an eye watering £28 - the Maxfactor blushes are a brilliant and affordable alternative.

GOSH velvet touch prime and set powder - £9.99 Superdrug

This stuff is truly amazing! I've never seen a primer in the form of a powder before, so I was skeptical as hell. But, this is the best oil controlling product I have ever used. Big claim, but its true. I put this powder on under my make-up and wasn't oily for the next 6 hours. I usually get really shiny around the 2/3 hour mark, but with this on even after 6 hours I only had a slight sheen to my skin. It feels strange at first, putting on a powder before your foundation, but I'm already used to it. It provides a smooth, yet matte base for make-up and also works well to make whatever you put on top last better too. I can't believe its so cheap, I would honestly pay double for this.

Essie nail polishes - £7.99 Boots

Essie is the best nail polish on the high street for a few reasons. They have an insane amount of colors (over 300) going from the palest pink to the deepest wine red, and everywhere in between. There are different finishes including matte, glitter and metallic. They last well on the nails, about 4 or 5 days before slight chipping (depending on the base coat used) and the brand is always coming out with limited edition colors and artist collaborations. In their entire collection there is a perfect shade for everyone, several perfect shades in fact.

Maybelline color drama lipsticks - £4.99 Boots

Another dreamy matte offering from the drugstore, this time in the form of a lip crayon from Maybelline. These lipsticks have less staying power (around 10 hours) but this is still pretty impressive, and are worth re-applying should you be out for 10+ hrs, you party animal you. It glides on smoothly, as it contains castor seed oil and shea butter, and are highly pigmented. I like that they are in a crayon form because it means you can get a more precise application around the cupids bow. They have 9 colors, the majority of which are flattering on all skin tones. They are similar to the Nars velvet matte lip pencils  only less drying, and in fewer shades.

La Roche Possay Effaclar Duo Plus - £15.50 at Boots (but usually cheaper online at Feel Unique)

I'm about to purchase my third tube of this serum, I've never stuck with a single skin care item for this long, ever. This won't keep away hormonal spots (very few things do) but it does prevent spots by unclogging pores, it contains glycerin which helps to promote moisture and linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that helps skin regeneration, making things very soft and smooth. On oily and combination skins, it provides a smooth and matte base for make-up, for very oily skins, you could use this alone, but for more combination skins this serum can be used before a moisturizer. This also claims to fade dark marks but I haven't noticed any improvements there, if it doesn't work in that area I don't even care, that's how much I love this product.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Weekly Inspirations


The Soloist

I'd forgotten what an incrediable film this is. Really a work of art in the way it shows human understanding, homelessness, compassion, friendship and mental illness. I didn't know it was based on a true story until now, which makes the story all the more powerful. I wasn't even a big fan of Robert Downey Jr or Jamie Foxx before seeing the film, but their performances were so good that after seeing it I searched for all the films they'd ever made, and watched them. If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor and see it, see it several times.


I can't stop listening to old and unreleased Lana Del Rey songs, her sound was so different back then, when she was known as Lizzy Grant. 'Disco' is my favorite song to listen to with headphones in, super loud, while scrolling through Tumblr with my coffee in the morning.

Around the web:

This video came out around Valentines day, super cute.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

February Favorites

I am obsessed with the First Aid Beauty facial radiance pads! the 60 cotton pads are soaked in a gentle acid, after cleansing you wipe it all over your face and then go on to serum and moisturizer. I've noticed a massive difference in my skin. When I get spots I buff the pad over my blemishes and see them almost disappear by morning. The texture of my skin is smoother, softer and I can't remember the last time I got a spot that got the chance to come to a head. Amazing stuff.

Obsession by Calvin Klein was on offer at Superdrug recently, I smelt it and instantly put it in my basket. I'm terrible at describing scents, but I'll try. It smells like spice, vanilla and orange. Its mostly the spice and vanilla that come out. It wears much better on the skin than clothes, and one spray will last 4 - 6 hours. Its the longest wearing perfume I own and even when I'm not wearing it, I like to take the bottle out and just smell it. Damn it, I should have gotten two while they were on offer.

Another divine smelling product, I got this hand cream in a Burt Bee's set, and was surprised at how well it moisturizes, I use it as a night hand cream as its very thick and leaves a filmy residue for a while before it sinks in. It smells strongly of marzipan, I hate the taste of marzipan but the scent is lovely.

I got the RollerLash mascara as a sample in a magazine. I haven't tried many things from Benefit so I didn't expect much, This mascara is, not kidding, the best mascara I've ever used. The brush has many spikes and is slightly curved so it fits the lash line perfectly. It separates and lengthens lashes, it doesn't give volume so if you have sparse lashes this might not be the one for you, but if you naturally have tiny lashes but lots of them, this would be an amazing mascara to try. I'm definitely purchasing the full size when this one runs out.

This new release from Macfactor is so similar to the Hourglass ambiant lighting blushes, it gives a pretty flush of color with a sheen, it works as both blush and highlighter. I've been wearing the gorgeous berries shade all month, its fast replaced my much loved MAC blush in Razin, I didn't think any blush could replace it but its finally happened. Well done Maxfactor.

Work is becoming more hectic by the day and I come home exhausted most of the time. I was never really into baths before but now I consider them almost a necessity for relaxing. I bought several bath bombs in Lush  recently. Dragons egg, Butterball and The comforter. Dragons egg is a ball of shimmer and rich spices. It turns the water a strange yellow color with bursts of gold shimmer and rose petals. Butterball isn't all that exciting in terms of scent and color, but it has nibs of cocoa butter which leaves skin soft post bath, and the comforter is the only one I've tried before. It smells like Ribena and turns the water a beautiful shade of purple.

As my dark circles get darker I hunt for new concealers. This one by sleek is a thick cream formula that covers anything. It does take quite a lot of finger tap blending but its worth it for the coverage it gives. You do need to make sure skin is moisturized before application because it such a dry finish and you don't want it to crease in the under eye area. It isn't amazingly illuminating as the name would suggest but it does definitely brighten the skin and acts as a natural highlight.

The Real Techniques brushes by Sam and Nicola Chapman are incredible particularly for their price point. My favorite is the buffing brush which I use for liquid foundation and the multi task brush because its the perfect size for face powder. The bristles are synthetic but still very soft, they wash well and I haven't had any shedding from them.

I got the famous Naked Palette by Urban Decay and was blown away by the quality and diversity. All the colors are amazing, particularly Buck which is a my eyelids but better shade, and Half Baked, a light, shimmery gold. The palette is a mixture of mattes, shimmers and glitters. The shadows are buttery soft, super blendable and there isn't a bad color in the bunch. It also comes with a generous sample of the Urban Decay primer potion. The eye brush it comes with is terrible, throw it away. Other than the brush, this is the perfect neutral eyes palette, and I can see why its so hyped in the beauty world.

This day moisturizer by Neals Yard sinks in so fast that you have to rub it into one section of the face at a time. It does smell faintly of berries which is nice and hydrates intensely, without leaving any residue. Leaving a great base for make-up. Its so light that I know It'll be much more appreciated in Summer, but even now when my skin is dehydrated, it gets the job done. Its probably not enough for dry skins, but for oily and combination skins its ideal.

The nail polish I've been wearing all month, in fact, for months now is this one by Loreal in Magenta 504. Its a very dark, yet bright purple? okay that made no sense but trust me its a really nice color. They last a decent time before chipping, about four days. Its one of those colors that wouldn't look out of place in Summer or Winter, not that I wear nail polishes according to how season appropriate they are anyway.

A beginners guide to fitness

I get asked a lot of fitness related questions, how do I find motivation to get in the gym? What exercises are best for weight loss? I...