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Aaaand 2015 is almost over. Wut? I say this every year without fail, but where has the time gone? And what on earth have I done with it? Well, quite a bit, actually.

2015 was a year of change for me. I moved into a new house with new people, I visited new places, and I have new projects to tackle at university. On the whole, I've been the calmest and happiest I've been for a very long time, and I hope that continues in 2016.

Some Highlights

  • Passing my second year of uni with a 1st, and coming top of my Writing Non-Fiction class
  • Volunteering at Cancer Research
  • Work experience at Buzz Magazine
  • Going to Parklife Festival in Manchester
  • Exploring Wales with my family
  • Spending quality time with my friends over the summer
  • Moving into a new student house, and being happy there

Lessons Learned

  • If you can survive going to the toilet in a portaloo at a festival, you can survive anything the world throws at you. You got this.
  • LUSH Dream Cream is an excellent treatment for beard burn.
  • Good company can cure a multitude of ills. Likewise, being around negative people saps your energy and makes everything feel worse than it is. It's okay to walk away from the negativity.
  • I love coffee, but coffee does not love me. It may leave me buzzing, energized, and bouncing off the walls, but it also makes me feel shaky and sick. No more frappucinos for me.
  • It's more than okay to take some time out if you need to.

New Years Resolutions 2015  How Did I Do?
I make resolutions every year, but whether I stick to them or not is another matter entirely. I always end up forgetting what they were about halfway though the year in February so it's an interesting surprise when I look back at them  I went through the same thing last year.

Focus on the things that are important to me
I think I did that, on the whole. Perhaps with a little bit of a slump in the summer, but it's easy to get stuck in a rut when you have five months off.

Speak up
Meh. I'm improving all the time, but there are still days when I'd rather sit quietly and go unnoticed. Which is natural, I guess, but I think half of the battle is pushing through those barriers. One to work on. I tried, at the very least. 

Get more work experience
Done, and done better than I dreamed of. I had an amazing week at Buzz Magazine and I also learned a hell of a lot at Media Wales. Sending those emails is always nerve-wracking but I'm glad I put myself out there because I've had some wonderful opportunities. 

Get stronger
Hmmm, I'd say if anything I'm actually weaker than I was at the start of the year. The stress of going into third year has meant that I've had to prioritize, and time in the library is currently more important than time spent working out. But I'm trying to get in a couple of workouts per week, so I'm not letting myself feel too guilty. The gym will always be there, whereas I've only got a few months left at uni.

Quite a mixed bag, but I think I've done alright! Do you ever make resolutions? Do you keep them? Let me know in the comments, and have a happy New Year!

2015 — Highlights, Lessons Learned, and a Look Back at My New Year's Resolutions


Aaaand 2015 is almost over. Wut? I say this every year without fail, but where has the time gone? And what on earth have I done with it? Well, quite a bit, actually.

2015 was a year of change for me. I moved into a new house with new people, I visited new places, and I have new projects to tackle at university. On the whole, I've been the calmest and happiest I've been for a very long time, and I hope that continues in 2016.

Some Highlights

  • Passing my second year of uni with a 1st, and coming top of my Writing Non-Fiction class
  • Volunteering at Cancer Research
  • Work experience at Buzz Magazine
  • Going to Parklife Festival in Manchester
  • Exploring Wales with my family
  • Spending quality time with my friends over the summer
  • Moving into a new student house, and being happy there

Lessons Learned

  • If you can survive going to the toilet in a portaloo at a festival, you can survive anything the world throws at you. You got this.
  • LUSH Dream Cream is an excellent treatment for beard burn.
  • Good company can cure a multitude of ills. Likewise, being around negative people saps your energy and makes everything feel worse than it is. It's okay to walk away from the negativity.
  • I love coffee, but coffee does not love me. It may leave me buzzing, energized, and bouncing off the walls, but it also makes me feel shaky and sick. No more frappucinos for me.
  • It's more than okay to take some time out if you need to.

New Years Resolutions 2015  How Did I Do?
I make resolutions every year, but whether I stick to them or not is another matter entirely. I always end up forgetting what they were about halfway though the year in February so it's an interesting surprise when I look back at them  I went through the same thing last year.

Focus on the things that are important to me
I think I did that, on the whole. Perhaps with a little bit of a slump in the summer, but it's easy to get stuck in a rut when you have five months off.

Speak up
Meh. I'm improving all the time, but there are still days when I'd rather sit quietly and go unnoticed. Which is natural, I guess, but I think half of the battle is pushing through those barriers. One to work on. I tried, at the very least. 

Get more work experience
Done, and done better than I dreamed of. I had an amazing week at Buzz Magazine and I also learned a hell of a lot at Media Wales. Sending those emails is always nerve-wracking but I'm glad I put myself out there because I've had some wonderful opportunities. 

Get stronger
Hmmm, I'd say if anything I'm actually weaker than I was at the start of the year. The stress of going into third year has meant that I've had to prioritize, and time in the library is currently more important than time spent working out. But I'm trying to get in a couple of workouts per week, so I'm not letting myself feel too guilty. The gym will always be there, whereas I've only got a few months left at uni.

Quite a mixed bag, but I think I've done alright! Do you ever make resolutions? Do you keep them? Let me know in the comments, and have a happy New Year!
Hello everyone, how are you all? Did you have a good Christmas? Mine was quite relaxed; we sat and chatted, ate a tonne of food, played card games, and then watched the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special (so glad Harry won, his dancing was stunning!)

I also had a mini Christmas with my friends on the 23rd, which involved Monopoly, Cards Against Humanity, Love Actually, Secret Santa presents, a candy cane hunt, and more Chinese food than four people could ever want or need. I had a lovely couple of days and it's definitely left me feeling recharged after a busy term at uni. But before we move on to 2016, it's time for Part 2 of my Products of the Year series. This time I'll be looking at hand cream, hair products, and make-up.

If you missed Part 1 you can catch up here.)

Products of the year (hands and hair)

Products of the Year — Part 2

Hello everyone, how are you all? Did you have a good Christmas? Mine was quite relaxed; we sat and chatted, ate a tonne of food, played card games, and then watched the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special (so glad Harry won, his dancing was stunning!)

I also had a mini Christmas with my friends on the 23rd, which involved Monopoly, Cards Against Humanity, Love Actually, Secret Santa presents, a candy cane hunt, and more Chinese food than four people could ever want or need. I had a lovely couple of days and it's definitely left me feeling recharged after a busy term at uni. But before we move on to 2016, it's time for Part 2 of my Products of the Year series. This time I'll be looking at hand cream, hair products, and make-up.

If you missed Part 1 you can catch up here.)

Products of the year (hands and hair)

Hello everyone, how are you?

It's very nearly Christmas, so I thought I'd share the love with a list of some of my most-read and most-loved blogs.

One of the best things about blogging, in my opinion, is chatting to everyone on Twitter and leaving comments for people. It's a whole community and I know if I've been having a shit day then I can log on and be cheered up almost instantly.

The ladies below write wonderful posts and are all absolute babes to boot  I hope you find some new favourites (that is if you're not following them already!)


Liza Tait-Bailey

Liza writes about life and her posts always make me think. I can be nodding along in agreement one minute, and learning more about something I've never experienced the next (Liza currently lives in Abu Dhabi). It's the kind of blog you can pore over for hours, and I love that.

Have a nose: The Success of a Small Impact

Lovely Witches

I always get excited when I find another cruelty-free blog, and Lovely Witches has quickly become one of my go-to reads. I look forward to Gemima's reviews, and I also really enjoy her interviews with other cruelty-free bloggers. If you're interested in going cruelty-free then her blog is a must  there's plenty of information if you're not sure where to start.


Plant Basic

Steph writes about cruelty-free beauty  I love her honest, in-depth reviews  and she also posts her thoughts about life and shares snippets of her day. She recently went vegan, which is interesting to hear about, and I've started making a list of her delicious recipes to try (like these pumpkin cinnamon spice buns, which I intend to attempt before the holidays are over).


Bethany Georgina

Beth's posts never fail to entertain me and there's a really nice variety of content. Beauty, blogging, life, lists  basically all of my favourite things. It's the kind of blog you read and instantly relate to, but most importantly, enjoy.

Have a nose: How to Get Your Creative Mojo Back

Phases of Robyn

The way Robyn dresses is everything, and I now check Nobody's Child on a regular basis, like some kind of addict. There's a wonderful undercurrent of humour in all of Robyn's posts, and I love how chatty she is. You also need to stalk her on Instagram.


What Josie Did Next

I've been following Josie's blog pretty much since I started blogging myself, and I've loved it from the beginning. Josie has cystic fibrosis and she writes about it in a very human way (as opposed to a science-based perspective). I've learnt so much about cystic fibrosis, but I never feel like I'm being lectured; it's matter of fact and it's real. Josie also posts about fashion (love her sense of style!), beauty, books  there really is something for everyone.


Jasmin Charlotte

Fun, chatty posts about life, and incredibly useful tech advice  pretty much everything I've learnt about SEO has been from Jasmin. She also goes on tonnes of really fun adventures, both in London and beyond, and I always look forward to seeing what she's been up to.


Cliona Hill

Sometimes I find fashion blogs to be a bit out of reach, but Cliona dresses in a way which is both stylish and attainable, and she looks (and is) utterly lovely.

Have a nose: Christmas Shopping

Life & Loves

The perfect mix of lifestyle, advice for students, and recipes (a whole post dedicated to different ways to make mac 'n' cheese? Yes please). Chloe happens to study in my hometown, too, so I like seeing what she's been up to while she's there.


Life Outside London

Michelle has an amazing way of writing exactly what I'm thinking but much more eloquently, especially when it comes to current affairs  I find myself agreeing with everything she says. You want a blog with wonderful writing? Look no further. (Plus, her dogs are the cutest.)


That's all from me until Monday. Whether you're celebrating Christmas or just enjoying some well-deserved time off, I hope you all have a wonderful time! And do let me know about your favourite blogs in the comments.

10 Blogs I've Loved This Year

Hello everyone, how are you?

It's very nearly Christmas, so I thought I'd share the love with a list of some of my most-read and most-loved blogs.

One of the best things about blogging, in my opinion, is chatting to everyone on Twitter and leaving comments for people. It's a whole community and I know if I've been having a shit day then I can log on and be cheered up almost instantly.

The ladies below write wonderful posts and are all absolute babes to boot  I hope you find some new favourites (that is if you're not following them already!)


Liza Tait-Bailey

Liza writes about life and her posts always make me think. I can be nodding along in agreement one minute, and learning more about something I've never experienced the next (Liza currently lives in Abu Dhabi). It's the kind of blog you can pore over for hours, and I love that.

Have a nose: The Success of a Small Impact

Lovely Witches

I always get excited when I find another cruelty-free blog, and Lovely Witches has quickly become one of my go-to reads. I look forward to Gemima's reviews, and I also really enjoy her interviews with other cruelty-free bloggers. If you're interested in going cruelty-free then her blog is a must  there's plenty of information if you're not sure where to start.


Plant Basic

Steph writes about cruelty-free beauty  I love her honest, in-depth reviews  and she also posts her thoughts about life and shares snippets of her day. She recently went vegan, which is interesting to hear about, and I've started making a list of her delicious recipes to try (like these pumpkin cinnamon spice buns, which I intend to attempt before the holidays are over).


Bethany Georgina

Beth's posts never fail to entertain me and there's a really nice variety of content. Beauty, blogging, life, lists  basically all of my favourite things. It's the kind of blog you read and instantly relate to, but most importantly, enjoy.

Have a nose: How to Get Your Creative Mojo Back

Phases of Robyn

The way Robyn dresses is everything, and I now check Nobody's Child on a regular basis, like some kind of addict. There's a wonderful undercurrent of humour in all of Robyn's posts, and I love how chatty she is. You also need to stalk her on Instagram.


What Josie Did Next

I've been following Josie's blog pretty much since I started blogging myself, and I've loved it from the beginning. Josie has cystic fibrosis and she writes about it in a very human way (as opposed to a science-based perspective). I've learnt so much about cystic fibrosis, but I never feel like I'm being lectured; it's matter of fact and it's real. Josie also posts about fashion (love her sense of style!), beauty, books  there really is something for everyone.


Jasmin Charlotte

Fun, chatty posts about life, and incredibly useful tech advice  pretty much everything I've learnt about SEO has been from Jasmin. She also goes on tonnes of really fun adventures, both in London and beyond, and I always look forward to seeing what she's been up to.


Cliona Hill

Sometimes I find fashion blogs to be a bit out of reach, but Cliona dresses in a way which is both stylish and attainable, and she looks (and is) utterly lovely.

Have a nose: Christmas Shopping

Life & Loves

The perfect mix of lifestyle, advice for students, and recipes (a whole post dedicated to different ways to make mac 'n' cheese? Yes please). Chloe happens to study in my hometown, too, so I like seeing what she's been up to while she's there.


Life Outside London

Michelle has an amazing way of writing exactly what I'm thinking but much more eloquently, especially when it comes to current affairs  I find myself agreeing with everything she says. You want a blog with wonderful writing? Look no further. (Plus, her dogs are the cutest.)


That's all from me until Monday. Whether you're celebrating Christmas or just enjoying some well-deserved time off, I hope you all have a wonderful time! And do let me know about your favourite blogs in the comments.

Hello everyone! How are you all? Maybe it's a bit early to be doing a round-up, since Christmas hasn't even happened yet (four days!) but I thought I'd get going with a Products of the Year series all the same. The original post was so long that I've split it in two  try as I might, I couldn't narrow it down to a list of five (or even ten) favourites; I've found too many gems this year. This is Part 1 (stating the obvious, good writing there, Beth...) and Part 2 will be up next week. Enjoy!

Products of the Year — Part 1


Hello everyone! How are you all? Maybe it's a bit early to be doing a round-up, since Christmas hasn't even happened yet (four days!) but I thought I'd get going with a Products of the Year series all the same. The original post was so long that I've split it in two  try as I might, I couldn't narrow it down to a list of five (or even ten) favourites; I've found too many gems this year. This is Part 1 (stating the obvious, good writing there, Beth...) and Part 2 will be up next week. Enjoy!


Hello! How are you all? I've flung myself into the Christmas holidays the best way I know how  by going out for food, and seeing everyone from home so that we can catch up. My week has basically consisted of eating, with the odd bit of Christmas shopping and writing thrown in for good measure. I've been so busy over the past term that I don't want to put too much pressure on myself to get work done over the festive period  I'll get off to a better start in the new year if I actually let myself have a break.   

The topic for the #bbloggers chat a few weeks ago was 'pamper nights', and I soon discovered that I wasn't the only one who doesn't normally have the time for a full-on spa evening, as lovely as they are. But I do like to spend my Sunday evenings looking after my skin and painting my nails, when I can, so I guess that's a pamper night of sorts? It's just my normal skincare routine with a face mask thrown in, but it feels like I'm doing something for myself, and that's enough to help me de-stress.   

The Sunday Night Beauty Routine



Hello! How are you all? I've flung myself into the Christmas holidays the best way I know how  by going out for food, and seeing everyone from home so that we can catch up. My week has basically consisted of eating, with the odd bit of Christmas shopping and writing thrown in for good measure. I've been so busy over the past term that I don't want to put too much pressure on myself to get work done over the festive period  I'll get off to a better start in the new year if I actually let myself have a break.   

The topic for the #bbloggers chat a few weeks ago was 'pamper nights', and I soon discovered that I wasn't the only one who doesn't normally have the time for a full-on spa evening, as lovely as they are. But I do like to spend my Sunday evenings looking after my skin and painting my nails, when I can, so I guess that's a pamper night of sorts? It's just my normal skincare routine with a face mask thrown in, but it feels like I'm doing something for myself, and that's enough to help me de-stress.   

It all started with a face mask. Over Autumn, I noticed the same product popping up in blog posts, over and over again: the Aura Manuka Honey Mask by Antipodes. I was curious for two reasons. One, because I'd never heard of Antipodes before. And two, because the Aura mask is supposed to be very good at calming down spots. After reading a few more reviews, all positive, I finally caved, and thus my love affair with Antipodes began.

Cruelty-Free Brand of the Month: Antipodes


It all started with a face mask. Over Autumn, I noticed the same product popping up in blog posts, over and over again: the Aura Manuka Honey Mask by Antipodes. I was curious for two reasons. One, because I'd never heard of Antipodes before. And two, because the Aura mask is supposed to be very good at calming down spots. After reading a few more reviews, all positive, I finally caved, and thus my love affair with Antipodes began.
Hello everyone! How are you all? I got home for Christmas last Friday and I'm so happy to be back. I ended up meeting my brother in London and we caught the train home together, then our parents met us on the platform which was just the loveliest thing. Proper Christmassy, actually.

It's been a while since I've done a post like this, so I thought I'd give you all a peek at what's inside my everyday make-up bag at the moment. Putting on my face almost (almost!) makes early starts bearable; it just gives me a moment to sit and breathe before I get going with my day.

Base products (December 2015)

In My Make-Up Bag: December 2015

Hello everyone! How are you all? I got home for Christmas last Friday and I'm so happy to be back. I ended up meeting my brother in London and we caught the train home together, then our parents met us on the platform which was just the loveliest thing. Proper Christmassy, actually.

It's been a while since I've done a post like this, so I thought I'd give you all a peek at what's inside my everyday make-up bag at the moment. Putting on my face almost (almost!) makes early starts bearable; it just gives me a moment to sit and breathe before I get going with my day.

Base products (December 2015)

I've mentioned my love of berry lips many a time but something I haven't talked about so much is the sheer joy that bronze and gold make-up bring to my life.

Barry M Eyeliner, Nars Illuminator, elf Mineral Eyeshadow


Gold and Bronze EVERYTHING

I've mentioned my love of berry lips many a time but something I haven't talked about so much is the sheer joy that bronze and gold make-up bring to my life.

Barry M Eyeliner, Nars Illuminator, elf Mineral Eyeshadow


LUSH Candy Mountain

Hello everyone, how are you all? I've just about recovered from my timed assignment last week (task set on 9am on Day 1, must be complete and handed in on Day 2, just as stressful as it sounds) and Christmas shopping on Saturday (Cardiff was heaaaving). Now that's out of the way all I can think about is going home for the holidays. Five days, people, five days! 

The Seven Deadly Sins of Beauty is a tag, and I found a draft for it in my documents when I was having a clear-out a while back. I must have forgotten to add it to my blog schedule originally (oops) but better late than never, right? I can't remember whose blog I found it on originally, but thank you, whoever you may be! 

The Seven Deadly Sins of Beauty

LUSH Candy Mountain

Hello everyone, how are you all? I've just about recovered from my timed assignment last week (task set on 9am on Day 1, must be complete and handed in on Day 2, just as stressful as it sounds) and Christmas shopping on Saturday (Cardiff was heaaaving). Now that's out of the way all I can think about is going home for the holidays. Five days, people, five days! 

The Seven Deadly Sins of Beauty is a tag, and I found a draft for it in my documents when I was having a clear-out a while back. I must have forgotten to add it to my blog schedule originally (oops) but better late than never, right? I can't remember whose blog I found it on originally, but thank you, whoever you may be! 

Yes To Blueberries Hydrating Body Wash

Treats For the Evening, with Yes To Blueberries and Lush

Yes To Blueberries Hydrating Body Wash
Wales can be pretty damn beautiful at this time of year. This was the first day of November, and the sun was out all day. Pity it didn't stay that way!
November was a ridiculously rainy month, but I tried not to let that get in the way of anything (although I did discover that my boots aren't actually waterproof...). I've spent most of my time trying to get my coursework written, and then either collapsing at home in front of the TV, or collapsing in the pub. Crazy student life, right?  

What's Made Me Happy This Month? November 2015

Wales can be pretty damn beautiful at this time of year. This was the first day of November, and the sun was out all day. Pity it didn't stay that way!
November was a ridiculously rainy month, but I tried not to let that get in the way of anything (although I did discover that my boots aren't actually waterproof...). I've spent most of my time trying to get my coursework written, and then either collapsing at home in front of the TV, or collapsing in the pub. Crazy student life, right?  
Barry M Bold Waterproof Eyeliners
Barry M Bold Waterproof Eyeliners. They cost a mere £3.99 each!

I don't know about you, but there's something about winter that just makes me want to use more of a heavy hand when it comes to make-up. I don't mean that I start to cake it all on. It's more that putting a bit more effort in when it comes to make-up makes me feel happier when the weather outside is cold and miserable. There's something about a polished base, bold brows, defined eyes, and dark lips that can make an ordinary day or night seem that bit more special.

I'm also more likely to experiment with colour, and that's where these Bold Waterproof Eyeliners by Barry M come in. As much as I adore and rely on black, black, and more black, it's also fun to go out of my comfort zone and try something new. (Although the Bold Black liner is great  a true black rather than a wishy-washy dark grey.)

Barry M Bold Waterproof Eyeliner

Barry M Bold Waterproof Eyeliners
Barry M Bold Waterproof Eyeliners. They cost a mere £3.99 each!

I don't know about you, but there's something about winter that just makes me want to use more of a heavy hand when it comes to make-up. I don't mean that I start to cake it all on. It's more that putting a bit more effort in when it comes to make-up makes me feel happier when the weather outside is cold and miserable. There's something about a polished base, bold brows, defined eyes, and dark lips that can make an ordinary day or night seem that bit more special.

I'm also more likely to experiment with colour, and that's where these Bold Waterproof Eyeliners by Barry M come in. As much as I adore and rely on black, black, and more black, it's also fun to go out of my comfort zone and try something new. (Although the Bold Black liner is great  a true black rather than a wishy-washy dark grey.)

Hello everyone! I hope you're well?

It's time once again for Cruelty-Free Brand of the Month, and today I'm talking all things Weleda. I'll admit, before I started spending a lot (a lot) of time browsing websites like Naturisimo, I'd only really heard of Weleda in passing, and it was always the same product that was mentioned: Skin Food.

When I finally took the plunge and bought something from Weleda, though, it was the Gentle Cleansing Milk that caught my eye, simply because that's what I needed at the time. It was a purchase made out of necessity, rather than curiosity, and little did I know that I'd find a new favourite brand... 

Cruelty-Free Brand of the Month: Weleda


Hello everyone! I hope you're well?

It's time once again for Cruelty-Free Brand of the Month, and today I'm talking all things Weleda. I'll admit, before I started spending a lot (a lot) of time browsing websites like Naturisimo, I'd only really heard of Weleda in passing, and it was always the same product that was mentioned: Skin Food.

When I finally took the plunge and bought something from Weleda, though, it was the Gentle Cleansing Milk that caught my eye, simply because that's what I needed at the time. It was a purchase made out of necessity, rather than curiosity, and little did I know that I'd find a new favourite brand... 
Naturisimo Samples


Hello everyone! How are you all? I'm gonna be honest: I'd planned to have a really productive week, but it all fell by the wayside by the end of Wednesday and I just couldn't get much written. Writer's block is a thing, people, and it's shit. I had an amazing dissertation class on Friday morning though  we talked about stupid boys being stupid, and then cried over poetry. I swear it's just a therapy session in disguise.

Anyway. I bought a few things from Naturisimo a while back, and jumped at the chance to get some extra samples with my order. All of them are from cruelty-free brands I haven't really tried before, so I thought I'd do an un-boxing post (although I admit that I couldn't wait to try the hand cream before I wrote this). Let me know if you'd like me to review anything. 

Naturisimo Treats For Hands, Skin, and Hair

Naturisimo Samples


Hello everyone! How are you all? I'm gonna be honest: I'd planned to have a really productive week, but it all fell by the wayside by the end of Wednesday and I just couldn't get much written. Writer's block is a thing, people, and it's shit. I had an amazing dissertation class on Friday morning though  we talked about stupid boys being stupid, and then cried over poetry. I swear it's just a therapy session in disguise.

Anyway. I bought a few things from Naturisimo a while back, and jumped at the chance to get some extra samples with my order. All of them are from cruelty-free brands I haven't really tried before, so I thought I'd do an un-boxing post (although I admit that I couldn't wait to try the hand cream before I wrote this). Let me know if you'd like me to review anything. 

My hair always frizzes up (well, more than usual) and gets extra dry when the weather turns, so recently I've been taking extra care of it. I'm trying to keep things simple, and I've been avoiding heat styling as well (it only makes things worse, I find, especially in Wales where my hair gets extra parched). Three products in particular have been stand-out for me, so I thought I'd tell you why.

3 Vegan Products to Help Combat Dry Hair


My hair always frizzes up (well, more than usual) and gets extra dry when the weather turns, so recently I've been taking extra care of it. I'm trying to keep things simple, and I've been avoiding heat styling as well (it only makes things worse, I find, especially in Wales where my hair gets extra parched). Three products in particular have been stand-out for me, so I thought I'd tell you why.

People's reactions are very mixed when they find out I do a creative writing degree.

There are those who think it's the coolest thing ever, those who are surprised a degree like that even exists and wonder what the hell I'm going to do with it, and those who are very confused as to what it is I actually do. So I thought I'd do a Day In The Life kinda post to shed a bit of light.

(There are also some very rude people who assume that just because I'm not setting myself up for a specific job that my degree is a waste of time. But I've learned a tonne from my course and I don't regret enrolling at all.)


8:00am

Alarm goes off. Groan. Yawn. Stretch. Try and summon energy required to leave bed, which is getting more cosy by the second.

8:07am

Climb out of bed and curse. Shove hair in top knot, grab clothes and flannel, and head downstairs for shower.

8:10am

Shower time (heeeey Snow Fairy). Impress myself by remembering to use body cream after.

8:20am

Cleanse face. Get dressed (all black everything and a tartan scarf). Wash hands. Put lenses in. Moisturise. Feel slightly less zombie-like.

8:32am

Cupboard is bare so just toast and butter for breakfast. Dream of my usual meal: banana mug cake, which is a lot healthier than it sounds, topped with Greek yogurt, fruit, and seeds.

8:46am

Apply make-up. Today's face includes Lily Lolo Mineral Foundation in Porcelain, Seventeen's Brow Kit, and NARS Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl. (NARS has since become a non-cruelty-free brand after deciding to do business in China).

9:12am

Pack bag, then catch up with unread blog posts and sort my own schedule. I finish the review I've been working on and plan the next couple of weeks; I always feel better when I've got ideas written down. The lack of good lighting is pissing me off a bit though  I haven't been able to take any decent photos for a while.

10:20am

Leave house to walk to uni. The valleys are hidden by mist, so I listen to Adele's new song and imagine I'm in a film. (We all do that, right?)

10:30am

Dissertation tutorial. I'm doing a biographical project about my mum's childhood, so I chat to my tutor about it to try and get some ideas going.

My mum comes from a very poor, working class background, and apparently the kind of experiences I've been unearthing would generally be associated with the north of England, not the south east.

I end up trying to teach my tutor (who's a Scouser) how to do a Kentish accent  plenty of missing vowels and a 'w' instead of an 'l' in words like 'puddle' ('puddawl'). He doesn't quite get it, but then I can't do a Scouse accent for the life of me.

11:02am

Off to the library I go. I'm starving already, so I eat my hummus, pitta bread and tomatoes before settling down to get some work done. I'm in the mood to plan, rather than write, so I map out my project for Writing Culture and Society, and finalise the pieces I'm workshopping in Writing For Children on Thursday (more about workshopping in a sec).

1:00pm

Writing Culture and Society workshop. In a creative writing workshop, members of the class submit their work, a copy of which is then given to everyone. We read through and annotate what we like and what we think could be improved, and then the writer reads it aloud. Afterwards, everyone gives feedback, makes suggestions, and answers any questions the writer might have.

At the start of my degree everyone was really shy, but people are a lot more talkative now we're in third year, and although I find workshops intimidating, I also look forward to hearing what everybody has to say. Generally, the atmosphere is really supportive.

3:00pm

Back in the library. I always leave workshops leaving motivated to get work done, so I get going with one of the autobiographical pieces I've been writing  I'm hoping to finish the first full draft soon.

[Update: It's finished! I'm hoping to get it looked at today.]

5:16pm

I get home and then head straight back out again to go food shopping with my housemates (yay adult life). Living with people who have cars has made life much easier because it means I can go to Aldi and stock up on cheap essentials, although I do prefer to get fresh produce from the Tesco next door.

We always end up singing in the car, and today's journey is the greatest because we break out the early noughties cheese. Who remembers One Love by Blue? Tuuuuune.

6:46pm

Back home, I start cooking dinner  tonight's food is pasta and roast vegetables. There are some days when I love trying out new recipes. There are some days when I love trying out new recipes, and some days when I want something quick and easy, and I'm definitely feeling the latter today. Most of the time my housemates and I make our own food, but occasionally one of us will cook for everyone else.

7:33pm

Quick Skype with the fam and then we head off to the pub for a bit. Everyone has too much to do to go on a mad one, but it's good to sit and chat after a day of getting shit done.

10:34pm

Home. I take off my make-up, put on my favourite face oil (Rosehip Oil by Pai) and go to bed all greased up, reading Hope in a Ballet Shoe and whatever magazine is lying around before I go to sleep.

So there you go  well done if you've made it this far.

Because of my schedule, every day is different, but chances are I will spend a lot of time locked away in the library in an attempt to get something written.

I don't have many contact hours, but then no one can sit us down in a room and say, 'Write something'  you have to get off your arse and put the time in. (That said, we did have a group writing session in one of my classes recently and it was good; everyone fed off each other's energy.)

How do you spend your uni days? Is there such a thing as an average day for you? Let me know in the comments.

The 16 Stages Of... The Day Of A Third Year Creative Writing Student

People's reactions are very mixed when they find out I do a creative writing degree.

There are those who think it's the coolest thing ever, those who are surprised a degree like that even exists and wonder what the hell I'm going to do with it, and those who are very confused as to what it is I actually do. So I thought I'd do a Day In The Life kinda post to shed a bit of light.

(There are also some very rude people who assume that just because I'm not setting myself up for a specific job that my degree is a waste of time. But I've learned a tonne from my course and I don't regret enrolling at all.)


8:00am

Alarm goes off. Groan. Yawn. Stretch. Try and summon energy required to leave bed, which is getting more cosy by the second.

8:07am

Climb out of bed and curse. Shove hair in top knot, grab clothes and flannel, and head downstairs for shower.

8:10am

Shower time (heeeey Snow Fairy). Impress myself by remembering to use body cream after.

8:20am

Cleanse face. Get dressed (all black everything and a tartan scarf). Wash hands. Put lenses in. Moisturise. Feel slightly less zombie-like.

8:32am

Cupboard is bare so just toast and butter for breakfast. Dream of my usual meal: banana mug cake, which is a lot healthier than it sounds, topped with Greek yogurt, fruit, and seeds.

8:46am

Apply make-up. Today's face includes Lily Lolo Mineral Foundation in Porcelain, Seventeen's Brow Kit, and NARS Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl. (NARS has since become a non-cruelty-free brand after deciding to do business in China).

9:12am

Pack bag, then catch up with unread blog posts and sort my own schedule. I finish the review I've been working on and plan the next couple of weeks; I always feel better when I've got ideas written down. The lack of good lighting is pissing me off a bit though  I haven't been able to take any decent photos for a while.

10:20am

Leave house to walk to uni. The valleys are hidden by mist, so I listen to Adele's new song and imagine I'm in a film. (We all do that, right?)

10:30am

Dissertation tutorial. I'm doing a biographical project about my mum's childhood, so I chat to my tutor about it to try and get some ideas going.

My mum comes from a very poor, working class background, and apparently the kind of experiences I've been unearthing would generally be associated with the north of England, not the south east.

I end up trying to teach my tutor (who's a Scouser) how to do a Kentish accent  plenty of missing vowels and a 'w' instead of an 'l' in words like 'puddle' ('puddawl'). He doesn't quite get it, but then I can't do a Scouse accent for the life of me.

11:02am

Off to the library I go. I'm starving already, so I eat my hummus, pitta bread and tomatoes before settling down to get some work done. I'm in the mood to plan, rather than write, so I map out my project for Writing Culture and Society, and finalise the pieces I'm workshopping in Writing For Children on Thursday (more about workshopping in a sec).

1:00pm

Writing Culture and Society workshop. In a creative writing workshop, members of the class submit their work, a copy of which is then given to everyone. We read through and annotate what we like and what we think could be improved, and then the writer reads it aloud. Afterwards, everyone gives feedback, makes suggestions, and answers any questions the writer might have.

At the start of my degree everyone was really shy, but people are a lot more talkative now we're in third year, and although I find workshops intimidating, I also look forward to hearing what everybody has to say. Generally, the atmosphere is really supportive.

3:00pm

Back in the library. I always leave workshops leaving motivated to get work done, so I get going with one of the autobiographical pieces I've been writing  I'm hoping to finish the first full draft soon.

[Update: It's finished! I'm hoping to get it looked at today.]

5:16pm

I get home and then head straight back out again to go food shopping with my housemates (yay adult life). Living with people who have cars has made life much easier because it means I can go to Aldi and stock up on cheap essentials, although I do prefer to get fresh produce from the Tesco next door.

We always end up singing in the car, and today's journey is the greatest because we break out the early noughties cheese. Who remembers One Love by Blue? Tuuuuune.

6:46pm

Back home, I start cooking dinner  tonight's food is pasta and roast vegetables. There are some days when I love trying out new recipes. There are some days when I love trying out new recipes, and some days when I want something quick and easy, and I'm definitely feeling the latter today. Most of the time my housemates and I make our own food, but occasionally one of us will cook for everyone else.

7:33pm

Quick Skype with the fam and then we head off to the pub for a bit. Everyone has too much to do to go on a mad one, but it's good to sit and chat after a day of getting shit done.

10:34pm

Home. I take off my make-up, put on my favourite face oil (Rosehip Oil by Pai) and go to bed all greased up, reading Hope in a Ballet Shoe and whatever magazine is lying around before I go to sleep.

So there you go  well done if you've made it this far.

Because of my schedule, every day is different, but chances are I will spend a lot of time locked away in the library in an attempt to get something written.

I don't have many contact hours, but then no one can sit us down in a room and say, 'Write something'  you have to get off your arse and put the time in. (That said, we did have a group writing session in one of my classes recently and it was good; everyone fed off each other's energy.)

How do you spend your uni days? Is there such a thing as an average day for you? Let me know in the comments.

My affair with Lily Lolo is relatively new, but I can assure you that the love is all-too real. I first tried their products in September, and I've been singing their praises ever since. My entire base, bar one under-eye concealer, is now Lily Lolo, and it's mainly because my sensitive, spotty skin responds well to it  everything is just so breathable. Here's what I've been wearing on a daily basis: 

The Lily Lolo Base


My affair with Lily Lolo is relatively new, but I can assure you that the love is all-too real. I first tried their products in September, and I've been singing their praises ever since. My entire base, bar one under-eye concealer, is now Lily Lolo, and it's mainly because my sensitive, spotty skin responds well to it  everything is just so breathable. Here's what I've been wearing on a daily basis: 
LUSH Shoot For The Stars

(Just sorting out this post ready to be published and I'd love to say the stars/sky theme was planned... but I've only just noticed it. As you were.)

I have no self control when it comes to LUSH. There, I said it: I am a full-blown addict. I should have known better, really, than to walk into the store to buy only one thing; it's impossible to leave without a bag of treats. But I reviewed them all for you, because I'm nice like that.

Lush Bath Bombs — Twilight, Intergalactic, and Shoot For The Stars

LUSH Shoot For The Stars

(Just sorting out this post ready to be published and I'd love to say the stars/sky theme was planned... but I've only just noticed it. As you were.)

I have no self control when it comes to LUSH. There, I said it: I am a full-blown addict. I should have known better, really, than to walk into the store to buy only one thing; it's impossible to leave without a bag of treats. But I reviewed them all for you, because I'm nice like that.
Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask
Never mind the mask itself, how gorgeous is this packaging? *swoons*

I don't know what the hell is going on with my skin right now. I got my usual deadline-induced bout of acne in April, and then instead of fading once uni was over for the year, it just stuck around. For months, I was convinced that all I needed was a healthier diet and a gentler skincare routine, but I have both those things and there hasn't been much improvement until recently.

The Antipodes Mask That's Saving My Skin

Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask
Never mind the mask itself, how gorgeous is this packaging? *swoons*

I don't know what the hell is going on with my skin right now. I got my usual deadline-induced bout of acne in April, and then instead of fading once uni was over for the year, it just stuck around. For months, I was convinced that all I needed was a healthier diet and a gentler skincare routine, but I have both those things and there hasn't been much improvement until recently.
Last month I spent a week doing work experience in a newsroom, and it was something of an eye-opener.

I don't really have a career path in mind to pursue when I graduate, I just know I want to be able to write non-fiction in one form or another. Local journalism, however, is not the one. The hours are long, it's stressful, and, with a couple of exceptions, you can't be creative in the way I like to be.

That said, the week was by no means a waste. First of all, I have a clearer idea of what I want (and don't want) from post-grad life. And second, I noticed you could apply the way journalists approach their news website to running a blog.

Here are three things I learnt.


The lesson:

They monitor how many views and shares each story is getting, and if they're not as high as expected, they look at the story again to work out why.

How to apply this to blogging:

I tend to judge the success of a post by how much I enjoyed writing it and whether people chose to comment on it. But it's still interesting to see what gets the most clicks, and it can help you to plan future posts if you know what works.

I go to Google Analytics, then scroll down to Behaviour. You can find out how many views each page has by clicking on Site Content and then All Pages.

The lesson:

They spend time planning everything for the site each day  what goes up and at what time. Imagine every blogger is contributing to a monster blog, with lots of posts going live at once  it's scheduling on steroids.

How to apply this to blogging:

This is different for everyone, but personally I find having a schedule really helpful, especially when I'm busy.

I post twice a week because it's regular and manageable (it used to be three until uni got busier). I plan out my posts for the month, colour-coding them to see if I'm being too repetitive, and then I tick each post off once it's been scheduled.

Everyone likes to organise things different, but I guess what I'm trying to say is that having some kind of plan works wonders for stress levels.

The lesson:

Journalists are always working. There were people in the office when I arrived in the morning, and there were people still going when I left at half five. News stories don't stop for anyone.

How to How not to apply this to blogging:

Unlike the news, blogging can stop if you need to take a breather. A break can do the world of good, and loyal readers will always be there when you come back.

I want to devote a good amount of time to my blog, but I also want to prioritize my degree and have some time to relax, otherwise I'll just burn out. Others might juggle their blog with a full-time/part-time job and/or a family (I salute you in all cases). Hell, I'm sure every person on this planet is trying to find a happy medium for everything in their life. It ain't easy.

What have you learned from work experience/internships/your job? Did any of those lessons apply to blogging? Let me know in the comments.

3 Things I Learned From Working In A Newsroom and How to Apply Them to Blogging

Last month I spent a week doing work experience in a newsroom, and it was something of an eye-opener.

I don't really have a career path in mind to pursue when I graduate, I just know I want to be able to write non-fiction in one form or another. Local journalism, however, is not the one. The hours are long, it's stressful, and, with a couple of exceptions, you can't be creative in the way I like to be.

That said, the week was by no means a waste. First of all, I have a clearer idea of what I want (and don't want) from post-grad life. And second, I noticed you could apply the way journalists approach their news website to running a blog.

Here are three things I learnt.


The lesson:

They monitor how many views and shares each story is getting, and if they're not as high as expected, they look at the story again to work out why.

How to apply this to blogging:

I tend to judge the success of a post by how much I enjoyed writing it and whether people chose to comment on it. But it's still interesting to see what gets the most clicks, and it can help you to plan future posts if you know what works.

I go to Google Analytics, then scroll down to Behaviour. You can find out how many views each page has by clicking on Site Content and then All Pages.

The lesson:

They spend time planning everything for the site each day  what goes up and at what time. Imagine every blogger is contributing to a monster blog, with lots of posts going live at once  it's scheduling on steroids.

How to apply this to blogging:

This is different for everyone, but personally I find having a schedule really helpful, especially when I'm busy.

I post twice a week because it's regular and manageable (it used to be three until uni got busier). I plan out my posts for the month, colour-coding them to see if I'm being too repetitive, and then I tick each post off once it's been scheduled.

Everyone likes to organise things different, but I guess what I'm trying to say is that having some kind of plan works wonders for stress levels.

The lesson:

Journalists are always working. There were people in the office when I arrived in the morning, and there were people still going when I left at half five. News stories don't stop for anyone.

How to How not to apply this to blogging:

Unlike the news, blogging can stop if you need to take a breather. A break can do the world of good, and loyal readers will always be there when you come back.

I want to devote a good amount of time to my blog, but I also want to prioritize my degree and have some time to relax, otherwise I'll just burn out. Others might juggle their blog with a full-time/part-time job and/or a family (I salute you in all cases). Hell, I'm sure every person on this planet is trying to find a happy medium for everything in their life. It ain't easy.

What have you learned from work experience/internships/your job? Did any of those lessons apply to blogging? Let me know in the comments.
LUSH Sparkly Pumpkin

Damn, it got cold in October! The scarves are out, the heating's on, and I've been looking up recipes for soup (salad is the last lunch you want when it's chilly). I've had a tonne of work to do for university, not to mention a week of working office hours like a proper adult, and frankly, I'm shattered. But despite that, I've always had a soft spot for this time of year, and there have been plenty of lovely moments in October.

What's Made Me Happy This Month? October 2015

LUSH Sparkly Pumpkin

Damn, it got cold in October! The scarves are out, the heating's on, and I've been looking up recipes for soup (salad is the last lunch you want when it's chilly). I've had a tonne of work to do for university, not to mention a week of working office hours like a proper adult, and frankly, I'm shattered. But despite that, I've always had a soft spot for this time of year, and there have been plenty of lovely moments in October.

I'd wager that I feel the cold more than your average twenty-something; it certainly shows. The skin on my hands gets cracked, my lips get sore, and I find myself reaching for moisturisers which are a lot, lot richer than my usual staples.

Winter products may be very functional, but they are by no means boring, so I thought I'd share some of my favourites with you.

Winter Essentials

Heat Holders Wool Socks*

I never really accept any kind of clothing to review, but I had to make an exception for these because a) they're fluffy socks, b) they fit with the theme of this post, and c) my feet get absolutely freezing in winter, so anything that can help is worth a go.

Heat Holders are apparently eight times warmer than regular cotton socks, too, and while I have no way of measuring that, I can confirm they've been keeping my feet cost during the cold Welsh nights. I thought the wool was going to be itchy, but the lining is soft and fluffy  these are the most comfortable socks I've ever worn.

Where can you buy them?

The Heat Holders website, at £11.99 a pair.

Superdrug Intensive Vitamin E All Over Body Cream (v)

The extra-strength version of one of my favourite body creams has been a godsend. It feels exactly the same as its sibling - thick, non-greasy, quick to sink in - but the moisturising effects last for that little bit longer, and that can make all the difference. The tub is huge, so it'll last you for ages; not bad for £3.49!

Where can you buy it?

The Superdrug website

Weleda Almond Sensitive Skin Hand Cream (v)

My hands get terribly cracked and sore when it's cold outside. The cream is gorgeous - it has a light, silky texture, but don't let that fool you, because it leaves skin soft and smooth.

Best of all, it doesn't take forever to sink in, which means you can use it whenever you like and then go about your day. Plus, it smells of marzipan, so it's more than suited to the winter season.

Where can you buy it?

From Naturisimo, or the Weleda website

Soap & Glory The Scrub of Your Life Smoothing Body Scrub

I love a good body scrub, but I tend to want something a little less abrasive in winter. The Scrub of Your Life isn't as gritty as Flake Away or The Breakfast Scrub, but it still does its job admirably, buffing skin gentle to get rid of flakes. I've yet to find anything from Soap & Glory's bath and shower range I don't like; they can do it all.

Where can you buy it?

From the Boots website

Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Red Dahlia

A good lip balm is essential no matter what the weather, but I especially love this one because it leaves a lovely berry tint, and if berry shades aren't wintery then I don't know what is.

The balm itself is very soothing for cracked lips and feels very moisturising. Low-maintenance lip care at its finest.

Where can you buy it?

From the Boots website

Lush Snow Fairy Shower Gel (v)

To the shock and horror of, well, most of you, I hadn't actually tried Snow Fairy until recently. And what a mistake that was. I bloody love it. It smells of cough syrup and cupcakes and doesn't strip the skin of moisture  I plan to buy a bigger bottle before it's too late. Dreamy.

Where can you buy it?

The Lush website (during the Christmas season)

What do you reach for in winter? Do you feel the cold as much as I do? Let me know in the comments.

(v) = vegan

Winter Essentials

I'd wager that I feel the cold more than your average twenty-something; it certainly shows. The skin on my hands gets cracked, my lips get sore, and I find myself reaching for moisturisers which are a lot, lot richer than my usual staples.

Winter products may be very functional, but they are by no means boring, so I thought I'd share some of my favourites with you.

Winter Essentials

Heat Holders Wool Socks*

I never really accept any kind of clothing to review, but I had to make an exception for these because a) they're fluffy socks, b) they fit with the theme of this post, and c) my feet get absolutely freezing in winter, so anything that can help is worth a go.

Heat Holders are apparently eight times warmer than regular cotton socks, too, and while I have no way of measuring that, I can confirm they've been keeping my feet cost during the cold Welsh nights. I thought the wool was going to be itchy, but the lining is soft and fluffy  these are the most comfortable socks I've ever worn.

Where can you buy them?

The Heat Holders website, at £11.99 a pair.

Superdrug Intensive Vitamin E All Over Body Cream (v)

The extra-strength version of one of my favourite body creams has been a godsend. It feels exactly the same as its sibling - thick, non-greasy, quick to sink in - but the moisturising effects last for that little bit longer, and that can make all the difference. The tub is huge, so it'll last you for ages; not bad for £3.49!

Where can you buy it?

The Superdrug website

Weleda Almond Sensitive Skin Hand Cream (v)

My hands get terribly cracked and sore when it's cold outside. The cream is gorgeous - it has a light, silky texture, but don't let that fool you, because it leaves skin soft and smooth.

Best of all, it doesn't take forever to sink in, which means you can use it whenever you like and then go about your day. Plus, it smells of marzipan, so it's more than suited to the winter season.

Where can you buy it?

From Naturisimo, or the Weleda website

Soap & Glory The Scrub of Your Life Smoothing Body Scrub

I love a good body scrub, but I tend to want something a little less abrasive in winter. The Scrub of Your Life isn't as gritty as Flake Away or The Breakfast Scrub, but it still does its job admirably, buffing skin gentle to get rid of flakes. I've yet to find anything from Soap & Glory's bath and shower range I don't like; they can do it all.

Where can you buy it?

From the Boots website

Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Red Dahlia

A good lip balm is essential no matter what the weather, but I especially love this one because it leaves a lovely berry tint, and if berry shades aren't wintery then I don't know what is.

The balm itself is very soothing for cracked lips and feels very moisturising. Low-maintenance lip care at its finest.

Where can you buy it?

From the Boots website

Lush Snow Fairy Shower Gel (v)

To the shock and horror of, well, most of you, I hadn't actually tried Snow Fairy until recently. And what a mistake that was. I bloody love it. It smells of cough syrup and cupcakes and doesn't strip the skin of moisture  I plan to buy a bigger bottle before it's too late. Dreamy.

Where can you buy it?

The Lush website (during the Christmas season)

What do you reach for in winter? Do you feel the cold as much as I do? Let me know in the comments.

(v) = vegan
Barry M Gelly Nail Paint in Black Pistachio, Mustard, and Chilli

Generally, I don't really follow trends that closely, I just pick and choose what I like, but all of that goes out of the window at this time of year. The berries, the camel colours, the copper... and also less-raved about shades like these.

I found Barry M's Gelly Nail Paints to be a little hit and miss when they were first released, but they've most certainly perfected the formula by now because all of these apply very smoothly (as long as you don't get too much paint on the brush). Boots had a 3-for-2 offer on recently (it might still be going) so I picked up three shades: Black Pistachio, Mustard, and Chilli

Autumn Nail Polish Shades By Barry M

Barry M Gelly Nail Paint in Black Pistachio, Mustard, and Chilli

Generally, I don't really follow trends that closely, I just pick and choose what I like, but all of that goes out of the window at this time of year. The berries, the camel colours, the copper... and also less-raved about shades like these.

I found Barry M's Gelly Nail Paints to be a little hit and miss when they were first released, but they've most certainly perfected the formula by now because all of these apply very smoothly (as long as you don't get too much paint on the brush). Boots had a 3-for-2 offer on recently (it might still be going) so I picked up three shades: Black Pistachio, Mustard, and Chilli


After all the stress of last week's post about feeling the pressure, I thought I'd start the week with something a little more positive, and the little things list was born. It is by no means exhaustive, I just let my mind ramble and these are the fifteen things that I thought of first. Enjoy!

15 Little Things That Make Me Happy


After all the stress of last week's post about feeling the pressure, I thought I'd start the week with something a little more positive, and the little things list was born. It is by no means exhaustive, I just let my mind ramble and these are the fifteen things that I thought of first. Enjoy!
Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Red Dahlia; Sleek True Colour Lipstick in Dare; GOSH Velvet Touch Lipstick in Matt Plum

I'm quiet and baby-faced, and I use nonsense words when talking to dogs I come across in the street, but berry lips make me feel like I'm absolutely ruthless. I've said this many a time, especially on Twitter, but I'm gonna reiterate anyway: berry lips make me feel like I have my shit together. Make-up doesn't just transform you on the outside; it also has an effect on your state of mind, and I love that.

The Berry Lips are Back

Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Red Dahlia; Sleek True Colour Lipstick in Dare; GOSH Velvet Touch Lipstick in Matt Plum

I'm quiet and baby-faced, and I use nonsense words when talking to dogs I come across in the street, but berry lips make me feel like I'm absolutely ruthless. I've said this many a time, especially on Twitter, but I'm gonna reiterate anyway: berry lips make me feel like I have my shit together. Make-up doesn't just transform you on the outside; it also has an effect on your state of mind, and I love that.
I picked this photo because there are few things that intimidate me more than a blank page (or screen!)
By pressure, I mean the pressure I put on myself. The things that I feel like I should be doing, and therefore fret about when I don't get them done, or don't do enough of them. This list includes, but is not limited to:

Pressure

I picked this photo because there are few things that intimidate me more than a blank page (or screen!)
By pressure, I mean the pressure I put on myself. The things that I feel like I should be doing, and therefore fret about when I don't get them done, or don't do enough of them. This list includes, but is not limited to:

I first became familiar with Neal's Yard Remedies when I picked up their hand creams as magazine freebies. I love their hand creams, but I'd never really considered looking into any of their other ranges until recently. This, I quickly discovered, was a damn shame, because Neal's Yard make some excellent products. Curious? Here's what I've been loving.

Cruelty-Free Brand of the Month: Neal's Yard Remedies


I first became familiar with Neal's Yard Remedies when I picked up their hand creams as magazine freebies. I love their hand creams, but I'd never really considered looking into any of their other ranges until recently. This, I quickly discovered, was a damn shame, because Neal's Yard make some excellent products. Curious? Here's what I've been loving.
Umberto Giannini Curl Friends

My hair is a bit of  a contradiction: fine but wavy (with the odd most-definitely curly section thrown in), it hangs somewhere between straight and not. Products designed for curly hair are usually too heavy for me, but products made for fine hair don't always calm the frizz I'm prone to getting. This means I'm often in a bit of a hair dilemma, with no idea what to use.

#GetYourCurlsOut with Umberto Giannini

Umberto Giannini Curl Friends

My hair is a bit of  a contradiction: fine but wavy (with the odd most-definitely curly section thrown in), it hangs somewhere between straight and not. Products designed for curly hair are usually too heavy for me, but products made for fine hair don't always calm the frizz I'm prone to getting. This means I'm often in a bit of a hair dilemma, with no idea what to use.

We're taking a trip back in time to my teenage years today  hence the clock. (I couldn't find any stock photos of smushed lipstick and there was no way I was ruining one of my own.) My experiments with make-up have definitely helped me to (slowly) learn what works and what doesn't, and I pick up new tips all the time. It was, and still is, a trial and error approach, and I will be eternally grateful that I went through my early teens before social media became the huge thing it is today. Since there are no photos (none I'd be willing to share, anyway!) I made a list instead. Here are my beauty mistakes.

8 Beauty Mistakes I Definitely Made


We're taking a trip back in time to my teenage years today  hence the clock. (I couldn't find any stock photos of smushed lipstick and there was no way I was ruining one of my own.) My experiments with make-up have definitely helped me to (slowly) learn what works and what doesn't, and I pick up new tips all the time. It was, and still is, a trial and error approach, and I will be eternally grateful that I went through my early teens before social media became the huge thing it is today. Since there are no photos (none I'd be willing to share, anyway!) I made a list instead. Here are my beauty mistakes.


I found my favourite undereye concealer months ago, but I've had less luck when it comes to a concealer for blemishes. When you suffer from breakouts, this can be a problem. When you only buy cruelty-free products, this can also be a problem, because you can't just pick up any old thing while you're shopping  you have to research it first. Oh, and I'm incredibly pale, so unless I go high end the chances of finding a decent shade match are slim. But I can't afford to buy high end base products on a regular basis. My mission? To find a decent, spot-covering concealer that's a) cruelty-free, b) pale, and c) affordable enough for me to make part of my everyday make up routine. 

(In case you're wondering just how pale I am, I wear the shade Siberia in NARS Sheer Glow Foundation, and I use their Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly under my eyes.)

Cruelty-Free Concealer


Makeup Revolution Matte Effect Cover & Conceal in 01 Fairest
Formula/packaging: Solid concealer in twist-up stick form.
Shade match: Good. On the yellower side, but I find this tends to cover redness more so it doesn't bother me too much.
Spot coverage: I'd say medium; it can be built up to full if you apply it in light layers but this looks cakey.
Texture/blending: Takes some effort to work it into the skin; for this reason, I tend to use my fingers to apply it because the heat helps with blending.
Longevity: Not the greatest  I usually need to reapply at lunchtime.
Price: £1
Where can you buy it? [discontinued as of 2018]
Conclusion: Not amazing, but not too bad for a mere £1. Will do in an emergency.

GOSH Click 'n' Conceal in Anti-Redness 4
Formula/packaging: Green liquid corrector in a pen. You click the end to release more product, and use the built-in brush to apply it.
Spot coverage: It's a fine line with this one. Apply too much and you just look like you're sick; apply too little and it doesn't make a difference. Proceed cautiously.
Texture/blending: Thin liquid, very easy to blend. Again, don't use too much, or you'll end up with it all over your face instead of just over your blemishes.
Longevity: It stays put once it's been set with all your other base products. Works particularly well with mineral foundation.
Price: £6.99
Where can you buy it? Superdrug
Conclusion: This isn't something I'd have the patience to use every day because of how careful you have to be with application, but it does make a difference to the redness of blemishes. I'll be saving it for important occasions and nights out.

GOSH Click 'n' Conceal in Light 1

Formula/packaging: Liquid concealer in a pen. You click the end to release more product, and use the built-in brush to apply it.
Shade match: Not amazing, but not too bad  it's a bit more peachy in tone than the other offerings here.
Spot coverage: Light, but because the liquid is so thin you can build it up  carefully. Like the Anti-Redness Concealer, it's best to use a tiny bit of this at a time.
Texture/blending: Thin liquid, easy to blend.
Longevity: Can just about survive a crazy night out.
Price: £6.99
Where can you buy it? Superdrug
Conclusion: It's good, and I can make it work, but I wouldn't repurchase because the shade match isn't quite what I wanted. If they made this in a slightly lighter shade I would buy it again, so this might be worth looking at if your skintone is a bit warmer than mine.


Lily Lolo Mineral Concealer in Blondie (v)
Formula/packaging: Mineral powder in a pot with a sifter. The lid is the usual matte black shade with the Lily Lolo logo on, which makes it look way more expensive than it actually is.
Shade match: Perfect! This is very pale  Chantilly pale  and doesn't leave tell-tale marks on my skin like some darker concealers do.
Spot coverage: Ranges from sheer to medium, depending on how much you build up the layers. It's best to work lightly and then add more if you need it.
Texture/blending: Blends in well over mineral foundation and spots, not so well under the eyes (I found it sat in fine lines). Apply it with a fluffy concealer brush for the most natural-looking result.
Longevity: It can make it through the day with maybe one touch-up needed. It's not a product I'd use on the go, though, because I'd probably end up spilling the powder everywhere.
Price: £8.49
Where can you buy it? The Lily Lolo website
Conclusion: Good if you want natural coverage and a product that feels light on skin. The pot is quite big so it should last a long time, even with daily use.

Hmmm, this is quite a mixed bag. None of these blew me away, but all of them managed to get the job done one way or another. The Lily Lolo concealer definitely wins in terms of shade match, but the GOSH concealer stayed put for longer, so I'd probably reach for that on a busy day. If somebody could make a concealer that's pale and long-lasting (and under £10) that would be wonderful! Anyone?

What's your favourite concealer to use? Or are you still searching? Have you tried any of these? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan

Looking for a Cruelty-Free Concealer


I found my favourite undereye concealer months ago, but I've had less luck when it comes to a concealer for blemishes. When you suffer from breakouts, this can be a problem. When you only buy cruelty-free products, this can also be a problem, because you can't just pick up any old thing while you're shopping  you have to research it first. Oh, and I'm incredibly pale, so unless I go high end the chances of finding a decent shade match are slim. But I can't afford to buy high end base products on a regular basis. My mission? To find a decent, spot-covering concealer that's a) cruelty-free, b) pale, and c) affordable enough for me to make part of my everyday make up routine. 

(In case you're wondering just how pale I am, I wear the shade Siberia in NARS Sheer Glow Foundation, and I use their Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly under my eyes.)

Cruelty-Free Concealer


Makeup Revolution Matte Effect Cover & Conceal in 01 Fairest
Formula/packaging: Solid concealer in twist-up stick form.
Shade match: Good. On the yellower side, but I find this tends to cover redness more so it doesn't bother me too much.
Spot coverage: I'd say medium; it can be built up to full if you apply it in light layers but this looks cakey.
Texture/blending: Takes some effort to work it into the skin; for this reason, I tend to use my fingers to apply it because the heat helps with blending.
Longevity: Not the greatest  I usually need to reapply at lunchtime.
Price: £1
Where can you buy it? [discontinued as of 2018]
Conclusion: Not amazing, but not too bad for a mere £1. Will do in an emergency.

GOSH Click 'n' Conceal in Anti-Redness 4
Formula/packaging: Green liquid corrector in a pen. You click the end to release more product, and use the built-in brush to apply it.
Spot coverage: It's a fine line with this one. Apply too much and you just look like you're sick; apply too little and it doesn't make a difference. Proceed cautiously.
Texture/blending: Thin liquid, very easy to blend. Again, don't use too much, or you'll end up with it all over your face instead of just over your blemishes.
Longevity: It stays put once it's been set with all your other base products. Works particularly well with mineral foundation.
Price: £6.99
Where can you buy it? Superdrug
Conclusion: This isn't something I'd have the patience to use every day because of how careful you have to be with application, but it does make a difference to the redness of blemishes. I'll be saving it for important occasions and nights out.

GOSH Click 'n' Conceal in Light 1

Formula/packaging: Liquid concealer in a pen. You click the end to release more product, and use the built-in brush to apply it.
Shade match: Not amazing, but not too bad  it's a bit more peachy in tone than the other offerings here.
Spot coverage: Light, but because the liquid is so thin you can build it up  carefully. Like the Anti-Redness Concealer, it's best to use a tiny bit of this at a time.
Texture/blending: Thin liquid, easy to blend.
Longevity: Can just about survive a crazy night out.
Price: £6.99
Where can you buy it? Superdrug
Conclusion: It's good, and I can make it work, but I wouldn't repurchase because the shade match isn't quite what I wanted. If they made this in a slightly lighter shade I would buy it again, so this might be worth looking at if your skintone is a bit warmer than mine.


Lily Lolo Mineral Concealer in Blondie (v)
Formula/packaging: Mineral powder in a pot with a sifter. The lid is the usual matte black shade with the Lily Lolo logo on, which makes it look way more expensive than it actually is.
Shade match: Perfect! This is very pale  Chantilly pale  and doesn't leave tell-tale marks on my skin like some darker concealers do.
Spot coverage: Ranges from sheer to medium, depending on how much you build up the layers. It's best to work lightly and then add more if you need it.
Texture/blending: Blends in well over mineral foundation and spots, not so well under the eyes (I found it sat in fine lines). Apply it with a fluffy concealer brush for the most natural-looking result.
Longevity: It can make it through the day with maybe one touch-up needed. It's not a product I'd use on the go, though, because I'd probably end up spilling the powder everywhere.
Price: £8.49
Where can you buy it? The Lily Lolo website
Conclusion: Good if you want natural coverage and a product that feels light on skin. The pot is quite big so it should last a long time, even with daily use.

Hmmm, this is quite a mixed bag. None of these blew me away, but all of them managed to get the job done one way or another. The Lily Lolo concealer definitely wins in terms of shade match, but the GOSH concealer stayed put for longer, so I'd probably reach for that on a busy day. If somebody could make a concealer that's pale and long-lasting (and under £10) that would be wonderful! Anyone?

What's your favourite concealer to use? Or are you still searching? Have you tried any of these? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan

I've said previously that I don't want to make too many changes to my skincare routine, but my skin always needs that extra something at this time of year. I've added two products: Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil, and Dirty Works Perfecting Eye Cream.

Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil

Skincare: New In For Winter


I've said previously that I don't want to make too many changes to my skincare routine, but my skin always needs that extra something at this time of year. I've added two products: Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil, and Dirty Works Perfecting Eye Cream.

Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil

September has very much been a month of two halves.

During the first half, I spent most of the time sorting out the last of my uni stuff and spending as much time with friends and family as possible.

The latter half has been spent settling into my new student house and catching up with everyone from uni, as well as meeting and getting to know my new housemates. I've also been enjoying being able to wear all my autumn sweaters (and shopping for more...)

The Kent Wheel

What's made me happy this month?


Cards Against Humanity...

Hilarious, and also incredibly rude. I can tell you from experience that it's not a game to play with family members (unless you want your mother to suggest your special talent is 'foreskin') but with friends? Grab a few drinks and get stuck in.

... and other games

In the middle of September we had our annual get-together at my friend Julian's farm, and ended up playing giant Snakes and Ladders, Cluedo (I won!), Trivial Pursuit, and a card game which I can't remember the name of, but which involves a doctor, a detective, and the mafia. It was a lovely way to end the summer break before everyone continues with university and job hunting.

Fancy food at The Hop and Huffkin

My brother and I both headed to university this month (me for my third and final year, him for his first), so my parents decided to treat us to a meal at The Hop and Huffkin, a restaurant in Sandwich. It's a little more pricey than my usual haunts but damn, the food is delicious.

We shared the chorizo, spinach and cheddar scotch eggs to start and they were amazing  crispy on the outside and melt-in-the-mouth inside. I will never be able to eat a supermarket scotch egg again. My main course was pork belly, which was really tender and came topped with crackling, dauphinoise potatoes and some sweet baby carrots, all served with cider jus.

The Kent Wheel

The University of Kent turns fifty this year, so they've stuck a big ferris wheel on campus and anyone can come along and take a ride. My cousin Georgia was down for a visit (she's Australian but currently working in England) and we thought it would be a fun thing to do. Luckily the weather was ideal, and the views from the top were lovely.

The outdoor cinema

Giulia and I went to watch Back to the Future at an outdoor cinema in the grounds of Cardiff Castle, and it was so much fun. We got wood-fired pizza, then sat down on our blanket to watch the film. I hadn't seen it before, which is unusual because Back to the Future is such a classic. Thankfully the Welsh weather held out and we didn't have any rain!

Being back at university

I have a clean house (that's not falling down like the last one), great friends, and I can't wait to get stuck into my writing projects.

These blog posts:



How has September been for you? What's made you happy this month? Let me know in the comments.

What's Made Me Happy This Month? September 2015

September has very much been a month of two halves.

During the first half, I spent most of the time sorting out the last of my uni stuff and spending as much time with friends and family as possible.

The latter half has been spent settling into my new student house and catching up with everyone from uni, as well as meeting and getting to know my new housemates. I've also been enjoying being able to wear all my autumn sweaters (and shopping for more...)

The Kent Wheel

What's made me happy this month?


Cards Against Humanity...

Hilarious, and also incredibly rude. I can tell you from experience that it's not a game to play with family members (unless you want your mother to suggest your special talent is 'foreskin') but with friends? Grab a few drinks and get stuck in.

... and other games

In the middle of September we had our annual get-together at my friend Julian's farm, and ended up playing giant Snakes and Ladders, Cluedo (I won!), Trivial Pursuit, and a card game which I can't remember the name of, but which involves a doctor, a detective, and the mafia. It was a lovely way to end the summer break before everyone continues with university and job hunting.

Fancy food at The Hop and Huffkin

My brother and I both headed to university this month (me for my third and final year, him for his first), so my parents decided to treat us to a meal at The Hop and Huffkin, a restaurant in Sandwich. It's a little more pricey than my usual haunts but damn, the food is delicious.

We shared the chorizo, spinach and cheddar scotch eggs to start and they were amazing  crispy on the outside and melt-in-the-mouth inside. I will never be able to eat a supermarket scotch egg again. My main course was pork belly, which was really tender and came topped with crackling, dauphinoise potatoes and some sweet baby carrots, all served with cider jus.

The Kent Wheel

The University of Kent turns fifty this year, so they've stuck a big ferris wheel on campus and anyone can come along and take a ride. My cousin Georgia was down for a visit (she's Australian but currently working in England) and we thought it would be a fun thing to do. Luckily the weather was ideal, and the views from the top were lovely.

The outdoor cinema

Giulia and I went to watch Back to the Future at an outdoor cinema in the grounds of Cardiff Castle, and it was so much fun. We got wood-fired pizza, then sat down on our blanket to watch the film. I hadn't seen it before, which is unusual because Back to the Future is such a classic. Thankfully the Welsh weather held out and we didn't have any rain!

Being back at university

I have a clean house (that's not falling down like the last one), great friends, and I can't wait to get stuck into my writing projects.

These blog posts:



How has September been for you? What's made you happy this month? Let me know in the comments.

Before we get into the bulk of today's post, I have a confession to make. I had originally planned a post about Superdrug's cruelty-free false eyelashes, but after buying two packs and failing to apply the lashes successfully, I had to admit defeat. That's right: I've lost my ability to apply false eyelashes.

Anyway. In all the fuss of packing and re-packing and travelling back to uni, I forgot to bring my ultimate holy grail product back to university with me. I'm talking, of course, about the Ultrabland cleanser by LUSH, and when I realised I'd left it behind I nearly wept.

Shopping My Stash: A Mousse, An Eyeshadow Palette, and a Lifesaving Cleanser


Before we get into the bulk of today's post, I have a confession to make. I had originally planned a post about Superdrug's cruelty-free false eyelashes, but after buying two packs and failing to apply the lashes successfully, I had to admit defeat. That's right: I've lost my ability to apply false eyelashes.

Anyway. In all the fuss of packing and re-packing and travelling back to uni, I forgot to bring my ultimate holy grail product back to university with me. I'm talking, of course, about the Ultrabland cleanser by LUSH, and when I realised I'd left it behind I nearly wept.

Shop My Favourites


Beth, 23, South East England. I'm a writer with a love of books, lipstick, and the Oxford comma. I love beauty and I also love animals, so I only buy, use, and feature products from cruelty-free brands. (Seriously though, I am the person who stops to fuss over every dog she sees.) You can also expect posts about vegan/vegetarian food, and plenty of musings about life as a 20-something. Want to get in touch? Email me at beth.toasty@gmail.com

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