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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.

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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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