What's Made Me Happy This Month? | March 2015

Monday, 30 March 2015

1. Sharing the blogger love. Technically, this happened near the end of last month, but I'd already finished February's  post by then so I thought I'd give it the attention it deserves today instead! When Katie from K NEL wrote about Topshop's Gloss Inks, I was interested to see what they'd be like. When she offered to send me one of them (which she wasn't using) I jumped at the chance to try one out for myself. What I didn't expect to find on my doormat was the gloss ink and an incredibly thoughtful card, all wrapped up in pink, metallic paper. It arrived at a time when I'd been stressing out quite a lot, so it was just what I needed to read  thank you Katie!  I'd really recommend taking a look at her blog, she's an absolute babe.

2. Finding a third year house. I haven't really been happy in the house I currently live in, so when I learnt that I could do something about it I jumped at the chance. Decent student housing is hard to find, and some of the places I viewed were absolute shitholes, so I was extremely lucky to find a room in the house I've signed up for. It wasn't absolutely essential for the property to have wood floors, white walls, or a bathtub, but that's what I've got, and you know what that means — I can use more Lush bath bombs! Oh, the excitement. 

3. Launching this year's creative writing anthology. I've been a member of the society which puts together my university's creative writing anthology since I started studying, and last year I was voted in as Co-Head Editor. A lot of work goes into advertising for submissions, reading through them and deciding what we want to go in the book, editing each piece, setting out the book for printing, and then organising a launch party, where we sell copies of it. Luckily, the launch (mostly) went to plan and it was a great way to celebrate everyone's contributions.

4. Being interviewed on Exposure Radio. When Luke from Exposure Radio contacted me on Twitter to ask if I'd be free for an interview about my blog, I immediately said yes. I've been researching the possibility of doing an MA in Magazine Journalism so my head was in that kind of space, and it didn't really click that it'd be radio until Luke said he needed to script the show, at which point I got very nervous. But I went along and ended up really enjoying the experience  the hosts made me feel at ease, and it was interesting to see all the behind the scenes stuff. Thank you for having me guys!  

5. A spontaneous night out. I plan everything, and it really stresses me out if things aren't organised. But sometimes it's good to break out from your routine, and that's exactly what I did at the start of the month. After getting a last minute invite, Giulia and I only had an hour to get ready before we headed off to the SU for a night of drinking and dancing like loons. The best part? No hangover the next day.

6. Catching up with old friends. Last week I went to a mini-reunion with some of my uni friends who graduated last year (university goes so fast) and it was the funniest night I've had in a long time  my stomach still hurt the day afterwards because I'd been laughing so hard. We played Cards Against Humanity, ate tonnes of Doritos and cake (oh, the cake! Four layers of sponge  peach, raspberry, blueberry, and pineapple  with sweets in the middle. Amazing.) and drank cocktails, one of which was ultimately christened the Taff's Well Iced Tea.     

So, that was March, and I can't believe we're a quarter of the way through the year already! I adore Winter clothes and make up but I won't lie, I'm looking forward to Spring and some warmer weather (come on Wales, please can we have some sunshine?)  

Are you looking forward to Spring? What's made you happy this month? Let me know in the comments!

NOTD #14 | Barry M Speedy Quick Dry Nail Paint in Pole Position

Friday, 27 March 2015

Barry M Speedy Quick Dry Nail Paint in Pole Position

Barry M Speedy Quick Dry Nail Paint in Pole Position (on nails)

I know this post is a little bit contradictory — only a few weeks ago I was going on about how much I love muted shades of nail polish. And I do, don't get me wrong: when in doubt, I go for a nude.

But guys, have you seen this shade?! Pole Position is the most perfect pistachio green, and it just screams spring. It applies evenly, and is opaque after two coats. It genuinely does dry quickly, too, which makes the whole manicure process a lot less hassle than it can be if you're pressed for time.

It would be silly of me to talk about this polish without mentioning the wider brush. Thank you, Barry M! I'd love to be one of those people who can paint the perfect manicure, but I'm not  I'm clumsy and the paint always goes all over the sides of my nails or smudges on to my cuticles. The wider brush means that I can pretty much cover my nails in one stroke, and consequently I have less clearing up to do.

Finally, the staying power is excellent. I wore this for four days before I removed it and during that time I had exactly one chip. One. Barry M have created a keeper.

Have you tried any of the Quick Dry Nail Paints? What's your favourite shade? Let me know in the comments!

Review | Boots Eyelash Curlers

Monday, 23 March 2015

L-R: No mascara; mascara/no eyelash curlers; mascara/eyelash curlers. I used one coat of Urban Decay's Perversion Mascara.

I'd be the first to say that eyelash curlers are an essential in my make up routine, they make such a difference to your lashes and give you that wide awake look, even on the sleepiest of mornings. However, I'm also reluctant to spend an absolute fortune for a pair of them. So, when I found this sleek, black pair in Boots for only £4.50, I was delighted. A good find, right?

Well, no, actually. They say you get what you pay for, and while I don't always believe this is always true (you can find some wonderful budget brands on the high street), it's certainly applicable in this case. These barely made a difference to my lashes, as you can see from the photographs below.

I don't want my quest to save money becoming one big lesson in irony, with me spending a fortune trying to find the cheapest, most effective pair of eyelashes curlers. So, fellow beauty lovers, please help me out: what are the best low-cost eyelash curlers you know of?

Have you ever been disappointed by a budget product? Do you believe that you get what you pay for? Let me know in the comments! 

Thoughts and Musings | Turning 21

Friday, 20 March 2015


When I was about eleven, twenty one seemed like such a grown up age. I thought that by the time I reached it, I'd be in the first few years of what was sure to be a glittering career, I'd have met the man of my dreams, and I'd be living in a small but beautifully-furnished flat that I could call my own. Ha! There's something so adorable and yet so infuriating about my naivety back then. I want to go back in time and shake some sense into eleven-year-old Beth.

Here's the reality: I'm living in a freezing rented house that's literally falling apart. I'm single (although I think that's a good thing; I'm happy the way things are and I'm way too busy to throw myself into a relationship). And I'm desperately trying to figure out how the hell I'll be able to work as a writer when I leave university, and actually earn enough from it to be able to afford food and shelter. Last month, it all got so much that I ended up ordering an enormous Dominos and eating it all in a duvet fort I'd made myself, while watching old episodes of Dance Moms (I love you, Chloe Lukasiak!)

So, the reality of twenty one is not as glamorous as I once hoped it would be. But there are perks. I'm in my second year of university, and enjoying the student bubble. Because my degree is creative, Creative & Professional Writing to be precise, I don't have many contact hours. I know some people would hate that, but I like that my time is my own. I've made myself a routine that I try to stick to, and I just want my writing skills to keep improving  I've already learned more than I ever imagined I would.

I've also been making a conscious effort to stay in touch with my friends, which has led to a couple of weekends away in cities I probably wouldn't have visited otherwise. Last year I went to Manchester and spent the whole time eating and drinking cocktails (they're £2 in The Font — I love the Mudslide  or you can splash a bit more cash and visit The Alchemist. So good) and at the end of January I went to Bristol. Beautiful architecture, cheesy dance music, and an excellent food market, not to mention the company of one of my close friends, made for a lovely day and night away. Would I have the freedom to do that if I was working 9-5 at the moment? I doubt it.

And you know, it's okay that everything isn't always okay. Things happen, life happens, and sometimes the best thing to do is just take a break from it all. Everyone needs time in the duvet fort occasionally.

Did you ever have unrealistic expectations about what your life would be like when you were a child? How do you feel about birthdays? Let me know in the comments!

My Make Up Habits | An Interview with Giulia

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Time for the second edition of My Make Up Habits! This time I'm talking to Giulia, one of my housemates at uni. It's weird, last year we barely saw each other but this year we've become a lot closer, and I'm very happy about that. Recently we went shopping for beauty products, so when we stopped for lunch (sushi!) I hit her with the usual questions. Read on to find out about the worst moisturiser ever, why waterproof mascara can be a nightmare, and how to get the prettiest eyelashes.

Beth: What make up do you wear on a daily basis?
Giulia: Right, erm, mascara, eyebrow pencil, lip salve, foundation, and blusher, and that's about it. Oh, I sometimes use corrector under my eyes!

B: Do you have a skincare routine?

G: No. I just use moisturiser, and I use micellar water to remove my make up. Sometimes I rinse my face with warm water.

B: What's your favourite skincare product?

G: Clinique's Moisture Surge, I like the gel texture. It's the best thing for my skin, I think.  

B: What do you wear on special occasions?

G: Everything I said before, but I add eyeshadow or eyeliner. And lipstick. I use a nude one from e.l.f. Or, I have a light blue eyeliner with glitter.

B: Do you have a signature scent?

G: I used to, it was Jimmy Choo.

B: Which products, if any, do you never use? And what's the worst product you have used?

G: I don't use soap, and I don't use a scrub  I can't be bothered. I used L'oreal face moisturiser when I was younger, when I was thirteen, but I may have been allergic to it, coz it made all my skin dry up. I couldn't smile — it was that bad. I had to go to the doctor's for that. [Ouch!]

B: Any beauty regrets?

G: I used to have a Rimmel mascara, and if I think about that now, it's not good mascara. I used to wear the waterproof one, and when I used to wash it off it wouldn't budge, so my eyelashes would stick together. Worst make up ever.

B: Finally, do you have any tips or tricks?

G: The less mascara you use, the better your eyelashes look. If I wanted to look natural, I would just use a tiny little bit. It's better to build it up in thin layers. [I can vouch for this, she has the most amazing, fluttery lashes.]

Both Giulia and my mum have had allergic reactions to products, and it's got me wondering: what's the worst product you've ever used? Let me know in the comments, and if there are any questions you think I should ask my interviewees then please feel free to make suggestions! 

The next installment of My Make Up Habits will be posted in May.

A Lipstick I Love | Wild About Beauty Nutrilips in Violet

Friday, 13 March 2015

Sometimes, you come across a product that quickly becomes a staple in your make up bag. Wild About Beauty's Nutrilips Lipstick in Violet is one such item.

It's the perfect, everyday pink — seriously, it goes with nearly everything. I like wearing it with neutral eyes (a little bit of matte eyeshadow paired with some coffee-coloured liner) but it looks good with something more dramatic too. It's a great choice if you're in a rush but still need to look polished, as it gives lips a lovely, healthy sheen.  

But the best thing about Nutrilips is how moisturising it is: it almost feels like a lip balm. In all honesty, sometimes I forget that I'm wearing it after a while, just because it feels so comfortable. Its staying power is not the best — you need to reapply after eating — but I can forgive this because of how much I love everything else.

Have you tried any products by Wild About Beauty? Whats your go-to lipstick? Let me know in the comments!  

First Impressions | COLAB Dry Shampoo in Paris

Monday, 9 March 2015

There was a lot of buzz about COLAB when it was first being sold in Superdrug and I finally gave in to the temptation. I picked up the Paris version, which is said to have a floral fragrance.

I'll be honest, I'm not really a big user of dry shampoo. Batiste has never really done it for me — I really like the scent of the cherry version, but that's it. It always made my hair greasier than it was before, and the white residue was a pain in the arse if you didn't brush it out properly.

But there's none of that with this; it's clear, and you can't see it, even in dark hair like mine. It creates some impressive volume, and minimises grease too. I absolutely adore the scent. It reminds me of men's aftershave, in a good way, and it lasts for quite a while. I kinda want a room spray with this fragrance, anyone with me? 

I bought the 50ml travel-size version, which costs £1.99, but I really want to get the full-size version when this runs out. At £3.49 for 200ml, you can't really go wrong!

Have you tried anything from COLAB? Which scent is your favourite? Let me know in the comments!

Top 5 | Cruelty Free High Street Brands

Monday, 2 March 2015

Clockwise from top left: Lush Ultabland Facial Cleanser (product); Barry M Gelly Nail Paint in Rose Hip; Makeup Revolution Essential Mattes 2 Palette; Botanics Ultra Calm Night Cream; e.l.f. Mineral Eyeshadow in Celebrity; Lush Ultrabland Facial Cleanser (packaging)

It's been a whole a year since I decided to only buy beauty products if they were cruelty free. It's been... interesting, and it's not always easy. Sometimes I feel left out, particularly when non-cruelty free brands bring out new products and everyone in the blogosphere is raving about them, but that feeling passes, and half the time it's something I probably wouldn't have bought anyway. It's a small price to pay for making an effort to live by my belief that animals should not be tested on for the sake of making cosmetics.

I thought I'd celebrate this milestone by listing some of my favourite cruelty free brands, so here are my top five:

1. Lush. Oh, Lush. My love for you is real and pure, and goes all the way to the bottom of my soul. Flowery language aside, I am as enamoured with Lush as I've ever been. They've never failed me, their staff are always incredibly friendly and know what they're talking about, and I love their cruelty free policy and their commitment to being environmentally friendly. They're also clear about whether their products are suitable for vegetarians and vegans. They at the higher end of the high street scale but I just had to include them.

2. e.l.f. Good quality cosmetics for a low, low price. They make mineral foundation that's actually pale enough for me, impressive for a budget brand, and their double-ended lip liners are amazing. I would also recommend the brushes. If you're ever in the Cardiff area then it's well worth popping into the store, the girls are absolutely lovely.

3. Barry M. They consistently manage to attract all of our attentions with their new nail polish collections, and they're committed to fighting animal testing. They are so celebrated for their nail products, but this year my aim is to try more of their range — the lipsticks and the eyeshadow palettes in particular.

4. Makeup Revolution. A recent discovery, and another excellent budget brand. I have both their Essential Mattes palettes and they're wonderful; I'm sorted for life (not that that will stop me trying more).

5. Boots Botanics. Affordable, readily available skincare with a whole range of options. Last year I started using their All Bright Cleansing Toner as an alternative to exfoliator, and it's made such a difference to the texture of my skin. This year, I tried their Ultra Nourishing Night Cream after my skin got flaky over winter, and I'm happy to report that it's another wonderful product — so moisturising.

What do you think of these brands? Can you think of any more cruelty free companies I should seek out? Let me know in the comments!
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