When You Graduate and Your Career Becomes Everyone's Business

Monday, 24 October 2016

I've noticed a definite shift in people's attitudes since I graduated from university.

Things are all exciting when you're getting results and going to your ceremony, but once the cap and gown have been returned and the photos have been shared it's back to reality, and it can be grim.

No, actually  scrap that. Other people sticking their noses in can be grim.

When Your Career Becomes Everyone's Business

Some people are interested and supportive and sweet, and I love them for it. Others have strong opinions about what's best for you, no matter how little they know you, and they aren't afraid to share them. Those people can do one.

Well-meaning advice and suggestions are welcome; judgement is not.

A lot of the judgement seems to stem from the fact that my first role in the workplace post-uni is an internship, not a job. The concept of an internship baffles a lot of people, particularly those of an older generation, but I felt like it was the right thing for me.

Post-uni, I decided I wanted experience at a digital marketing agency so I could work on a variety of different projects. I wanted to work as some kind of content writer. I wanted to work in London. My internship gives me the opportunity to do all of those things and I'm learning a lot, without the commitment of a permanent role, which makes it less daunting. I'm discovering what I want and what I don't want from my career.

In short: It's valuable experience that I'm very grateful to be getting.

For some people, this is not enough. They think I should already have a substantial salary, a job role they've heard of, and that I should have moved out of my parents' house (like I wouldn't have if I could!). But these things aren't easy to get, especially when you're only just starting out. And the roots we choose to go down in life aren't as set in stone as they used to be.

I have so many options and I need to think about what's right for me.

Of course, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks  if they disapprove of the decisions I make then that's their problem, not mine. You can never please everyone and I try to remember that when things start to get to me. But I really needed to vent about this, and maybe there are other graduates out there experiencing the same thing?

In an ideal world I'd cheerily be able to tell anyone who looks down their nose to fuck off and mind their own business, but I can't (and won't) because I'd rather be polite than confrontational. So how would you/did you deal with this type of situation? And can you relate to it? Let me know in the comments!
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Two Vegan Halloween Buys from LUSH

Sunday, 23 October 2016

My favourite thing about Halloween is definitely buying LUSH products.

Halloween has never been a holiday I've loved, particularly. At uni it meant throwing on a pair of cat ears and scrawling whiskers on myself before going out to make the most of the cheap drink offers.

Now I'm working, going out out on Halloween is not an option and I fully intend on having a soak in the bath with a bubble bar.

LUSH Boo Bath Melt

Boo (v), £3.50 

I couldn't wait to use Boo after I bought it; I had such high hopes. And it's lovely. I always get excited when I find a LUSH bath product that contains cocoa butter, which is the main ingredient of this bath melt, because it really works to soften the skin.

The scents are subtle and gorgeous too  bergamot, geranium, ginger, sandalwood, mandarin... all in the form of oils for extra moisturisation. Grab yourself a Boo (or two!) before they're gone.

Sparkly Pumpkin (v), £3.95 

Of all the bath products I tried last autumn, Sparkly Pumpkin is the one that stuck in my mind so I was thrilled when I found out LUSH were bringing it back! Normally I'm not into any of the glitter (or lustre, as they call it) that LUSH seem to be putting into more and more of their bath products, but I'm happy to make an exception for this.

Sparkly Pumpkin is a bubble bar  you simply break off a chunk and crumble it underneath the hot tap to create lots of lovely bubbles. Juniper, lime, and grapefruit combine to create a refreshing citrus-y scent with a little bit of warmth, which makes it ideal for pretty much any kind of day. I'll be using mine in the evenings when I need to wind down after work.

Have you tried any of the LUSH Halloween products? What would you recommend? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan
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A Month Without Meat and Dairy (Sort Of)

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Four weeks ago I told you all how I'd decided to cut meat and dairy out of my diet, so today's post is an update on how that's going and everything I've learned so far.

I can't remember the actual date I started and in hindsight I kinda regret not making a note of it, but my feelings were (and are) that I didn't wanna pile too much pressure on myself. I think this approach is working well so far!

Tucking into bruschetta-inspired tomatoes on wholemeal sourdough toast. It was absolutely delicious but I stank of garlic for the rest of the day!

Giving up meat has been easy

At the start I thought I would miss pepperoni pizza, pulled pork, and chucking chicken into my pesto pasta. But actually, I haven't really found myself wanting to eat meat much at all. I very nearly caved when I went to Honest Burger with my colleagues (even my head of department, who's pescatarian, admitted that their burgers were worth slipping up for) but my friend Rachel, who's vegan, told me to 'Think of the face' when I'm tempted, and it works. So I had the veggie burger instead and you know what? It was lush.

Giving up dairy? Not so much

I'm finding dairy so difficult to cut out  it's everywhere! So rather than imposing a blanket ban, I'm taking one food at a time and finding an alternative (I'll be compiling a post about substitutes once I've build up a good list of them). Sacla make a dairy-free pesto which tastes exactly the same as their regular one, so that was easy, and since I've found dairy-free butter and coconut milk I've been working on a recipe for vegan cheese sauce.

Dealing with cravings can be tricky

Normally I crave savoury foods like nachos with salsa and houmous with crackers, so they're easy to cope with. But the other day I really, really wanted some chocolate  proper milk chocolate  and nothing else would do. I'll admit, I eventually caved and bought a bar of Lindt Lindor, but I also asked my fellow #cfbloggers what they do when the cravings strike. The conclusion? I need to stock up on Vego bars, dark chocolate, Booja Booja ice cream, and mango sorbet. I'm also planning to subscribe to The Vegan Kind's monthly box to see what else I might like.

I haven't found a vegan cheese I like yet...

Lots of you recommended Violife so I bought a block, but it didn't taste good when I tried to make cheese on toast  in fact, it tasted like plastic. I haven't tried it straight out of the fridge yet (my first experience has put me off a bit) but I haven't given up hope that I can find a dairy-free cheese I love.

... but Sainsbury's have released some vegan Gary

Yep, Sainsbury's have a whole range of vegan cheese, including my favourite of all-time, Wensleydale with cranberries. I have a feeling this is going to make Christmas a hell of a lot easier.

How did you cope when you first gave up meat and dairy? Do you have any dairy-free snack suggestions? Let me know in the comments!
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A Hair Detox

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Sometimes my hair is the bane of my life.

A little overdramatic, maybe, but it never does what I want it to do and despite my best efforts, it insists on frizzing up at every opportunity.

The solution, I've decided, is to stop fighting it. My hair will never be sleek and silky, but I can do a wavy, mussed-up bed-head reasonably well.

I'm also trying to take better care of my hair by reducing the amount of heat-styling I do (not always easy in winter, admittedly) and treating it with good quality products. I want products that contain lots of natural ingredients and won't make my hair dry out (or go the other way and make it look like a greaseball).

Enter LUSH.

The Scalp Treatment: Roots, from £10.75 for 225g

I'll be honest, I wasn't even looking for this, but I got chatting to the assistant at the till and upon hearing about my hair woes, she insisted I try a sample of Root she was convinced I'd love it. And I do!

Roots is a treatment which you apply to your scalp and the roots of your hair and leave for twenty minutes. It contains three different types of mint (peppermint, spearmint, and a mint infusion), extra virgin olive oil, honey, and nettle. I find it very soothing on the scalp and although its formula is quite thick, it doesn't weigh my hair down or leave greasy patches. If anything, I've had fewer problems with greasy hair since I started using this.

The key to washing Roots out, I've found, is to apply shampoo and then wet the hair, so that the treatment has already been loosened up a bit when you start to rinse it out.

The scent is a blend of neroli, grapefruit, and sweet orange oil but the mint really comes through, too, which is refreshing. Definitely buying the full-size version!

The Shampoo: Big (v), from £6.75 for 100g

The ultimate detox shampoo. Big is a bit too drying for everyday use, but used once or twice a week (depending on how often you wash your hair) it works a treat at getting all the gunk out of your hair  especially useful if you're working in a big, polluted city.

Key ingredients include sea salt and sea water for volume, coconut oil and seaweed for softness, and lemon and lime for shine. Sounds too good to be true, but I've found that Big really does bring out all those qualities in my hair.

This is also the only shampoo containing SLS that has never caused any irritation for me.

You only need a tiny bit and the pot is huge, so I expect I'll be using Big (and loving it) for a long, long time.

The Moisturiser: R&B (v), from £11.95 for 100g

I tried a small sample of this ages ago and I finally, finally got myself a full-size pot!

R&B is just the most joyful hair product I've ever tried in my life  it smells of Christmas (yep, I said the C word). If you have thick, dry, coarse hair you can use it as a treatment, and if you have fine, dry hair like me you can apply a little bit to the ends for a moisture hit and some subtle definition.

A word of warning: You only need a tiny bit, otherwise your ends will go from looking defined to stringy. But don't let this put you off trying it! The oat milk, avocado, coconut oil, and jojoba oil all go a long way to helping your hair feel a little more alive.

What do you use when your hair needs a detox? Have you tried any of these before? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan
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I Swapped My Flannel for a Konjac Sponge

Monday, 10 October 2016

I've tried tonnes of different skincare products over the years but I've rarely switched up the method I use to wash off my cleanser.

Until now, that is.

For a while I was a slave to the muslin cloth, then I switched to a regular flannel and never looked back (I love the exfoliation).

But even so, I couldn't resist trying out this Bamboo Charcoal Face Sponge* from the Konjac Sponge Company.

Bamboo Charcoal Face Sponge

I have spot-prone combination skin with plenty of oiliness on the T-zone, so the bamboo version was ideal. According to the Konjac Sponge Company, bamboo charcoal contains minerals that 'enhance absorptive ability', a rather eloquent way of saying that they help to mop up excess oil.

Bamboo charcoal helps to fight bacteria (which can cause acne) but it shouldn't upset sensitive skin  thankfully I didn't notice any irritation while I was using the sponge. 

The sponge itself is 100% natural, made from konjac, and free from colours and additives. It's biodegradable, so you don't have to worry about its effect on the environment once you're done.

This is probably my favourite thing about the Konjac Sponge Company; I'm always very impressed when a company takes environmental issues into account as well as animal rights (often the two go hand-in-hand).

I did worry about the sourcing of the bamboo (gotta take care of the pandas!) but since it's grass it grows at a fast rate and the company assure their customers that it's sustainable.  

How to Use a Konjac Sponge

  • Wash the sponge thoroughly, making sure it has fully absorbed the water.
  • Gently massage the face in a circular motion (you can add a little cleanser if you want a deeper clean).


  • It's easy to use.
  • You don't always need a cleanser.
  • You don't have to remember to chuck your flannels in the wash.
  • There are different versions for different skin types.
  • It costs £8.99, so it won't break the bank.
  • It lasts for several months.


  • It doesn't mix well with my acne cream in the mornings.
  • I was never sure if my skin was completely clean, especially at night.
  • The sponge doesn't dry out fully and I'm at work during the day, so I can't turn it over to ensure both sides get an equal amount of air.
  • It doesn't work very well with balm cleansers (the balm clogs up the holes).

I love the idea of a konjac sponge in theory but in practice it just didn't suit me  Ultrabland and my acne cream have to take priority.

Have you ever tried a konjac sponge before? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!
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3 Ways I'm Updating My Content

Sunday, 9 October 2016

It's time to mix things up.

I bloody love beauty and I've learnt to be completely unapologetic about that love, but I'd just like there to be a little more variety on this blog now, especially since a lot has changed for me in 2016.

Basically, I want Toasty to reflect what's going on in my life a bit more, so there are three main topics I'll be blogging about from now on.

Updating My Blog Content

1. Cruelty-Free Beauty

There'll still be a tonne of cruelty-free beauty, with the usual honest opinions about products for every budget. I've been leaning more towards high end recently but I'd like to include more high street options again, although it can be quite difficult to think outside the box! I'll do my best and let you know what I find. 

2. 20-Something Life

I'm hoping to write more posts about life as a newly-graduated 20-something because, well, I'm a newly-graduated 20-something sticking my nose out into the real world for the first time, and it's scary. And yet there's so much possibility out there that sometimes I forget to be nervous (only sometimes though!) Sharing my experiences will hopefully make them less daunting  chances are someone else will be going through the same thing.

3. Food

Finally, there'll be some food posts. I recently made the decision to cut meat and dairy out of my diet and I'd like to document the process, sharing recipes and What I Ate in a Day posts with you. I'm going to be figuring out how to make meat-free, dairy-free versions of my favourites, too, so I'll let you know whether or not they're a success.

That sums it all up, I think! Is there anything you'd like to see on the blog? And what do you do when your blog needs a refresh? Let me know in the comments!
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