Monday, 30 May 2016

So first of all, this happened! I'd already had a retweet earlier in the day and was thrilled with that alone, so I was over the moon when I saw Rosie had taken the time to read and share my post about her make-up line (which is awesome, btw).

May saw what feels like one of the biggest changes that I've ever been through: I left university for good. Saying goodbye to my housemates was a wrench (there were tears)  especially Giulia, who I'd lived with for three years. I'm sure I'll see my closest uni friends again, but are we ever going to be living in the same town, five minutes away from each other or in the same house? No. Gutted isn't even the word.

It's not all gloomy though; we made sure we had a lot of fun before we parted. I've explored south Wales, spent one final night dancing like a loon in the student union, had a few barbeques (including one on my favourite beach, Rest Bay at Porthcawl) and more than a few meals out, and just generally enjoyed myself before starting to focus on job applications. I've had a couple of interviews already but June will be the month I really get serious about it. Onwards and upwards.

I watched... This fascinating and hilarious conversation between Lena Dunham and Jennifer Saunders, and this video of Joe Santagato and his family playing Watch Ya Mouth, the BEST. GAME. EVER. Also, I finally saw the film version of The Phantom of the Opera. Basically, the Phantom is a manipulative murderer who obsesses over a sixteen year-old, but he's played by Gerard Butler, who is beautiful and somehow makes a frilly shirt look manly, so I ended up feeling confused to say the least. Have any of you seen it? Thoughts? And what about the theatre show?

I read... Dorothy Koomson's new book, When I Was Invisible, which I picked up on a whim and finished in mere days. Koomson's fiction always has such gritty, emotional storylines and she really gets into the heads of her characters, so I'm never disappointed. One to read while curled up on the sofa in the evening.

I listened to... Cheap Thrills by Sia, DOA by Foo Fighters, and Nothing's Gonna Hurt You Baby by Cigarettes After Sex.

I bought... A couple of bits for my holiday (I'm hoping to do a post once I've got a bit more  my wardrobe is severely lacking in summer clothes) and a pair of shoes with an actual heel. A tiny one, but still. Stay tuned to see if I actually make it out of the house with them on.

Product of the Month: Rosie For Autograph Cream Blush in English Rose Flush

How was May for you? Let me know in the comments!

5 Things I've Learnt From House-Sharing With Guys

Monday, 23 May 2016

I am very much one of the boys when it comes to socialising  not on purpose, I just always seem to end up being part of a group of lads, whereas I tend to know and see my female friends individually. (I hate the whole 'I prefer boys because there's so much drama with girls!' thing though, because it just enforces the stereotype that girls are bitchy. I'm not buying it; people do not slot neatly into categories like that and I think it's quite sexist to paint all females as gossipy hens. And breathe.) Anyway, Giulia and I have been sharing a house with two guys this year, and while I thought I knew a little bit about the male species, my eyes have been opened somewhat. As always, I've chosen to present my findings in a list.

1. They REALLY don't get the whole periods thing.
You know when they separate the boys from the girls in school, and give girls the period talk and say whatever they say to the boys? I think that everyone should hear about everything. I've tried explaining how painful periods can be and how much of an impact it can have on your everyday life, but it turns out that 'Sometimes there are clots' is a real conversation killer. That's probably TMI, to be fair, but it can't be healthy for men to clam up at the slightest mention of anything to do with periods when menstruation is perfectly natural. (Even a simple 'Why are you so hungry?' 'My period's due' makes some guys uncomfortable, which is ridiculous.)

2. They love a good natter.
All those stupid jokes about how you know which seagull is female because it's the one squawking (*rolls eyes*) are bullshit, I tell you, absolute bullshit. Talking is a human thing, not a female one, and I've had many a wonderful conversation with the lads. We've discussed all kinds of things, sometimes for hours at a time, and we've never been stuck for words. We also often disagree, but that's life, right?

3. They're pretty relaxed about food.
I'd like to think my attitude towards food is healthier than it has been in the past and it's partly because my housemates are so chilled about what they eat. It's not that they don't care about looking after themselves, but whereas I sometimes suffer from post-Dominos guilt, they don't worry about it  if you eat well most of the time, why stress about the odd treat? It's good for the soul.

4. They're not complete slobs.
Another gender stereotype. None of us in my house are neat-freaks by any means but we do all like to keep everything clean and reasonably tidy. Sure, I've seen some terrible student houses which have made me shudder in disgust (my brother's, for instance) but I've also seen a lot of exceptions to the rule. Probably best not to tar everyone with the same brush.

5. They can be utterly lovely.
Okay, so I already knew this, but I didn't quite realise just how happy I would be living in this house. When I got the news about my nan's death in January and all I wanted to do was comfort eat, we drove into Cardiff and got emergency burgers and cheese fries. When I've arrived at the train station after dark, they've met me there to make sure I don't have to walk home alone. When I'm having a bad day (and when I'm having a good day tbh) they make me laugh until my stomach hurts. I'm going to miss them enormously.

What did you learn from your housemates at uni? Let me know in the comments!

What's In My Bathroom? The Honest Version

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Yes To Products

I love being nosy and seeing what other people keep in their bathrooms so I decided it was about time I wrote my own post. This isn't a highlight reel, this is literally every single product that I've got stashed away  everyday things, occasional things, and products I just can't be bothered to clear away. I don't think there's anything wrong with posting an edited version of what you use  hell, I do it myself  but we're all guilty of hoarding and I thought it'd be fun to see how much I'd accumulated since I moved here last September.

Yes To have become one of my favourite cruelty-free high street brands  you get a lot of product for your money and their products are sold in most Boots stores, so they're easy to find. Yes To Coconut Ultra Moisture Conditioner, £5.99, smells absolutely gorgeous, first and foremost, and it also really nourishes the hair without weighing it down, which is important when your ends are fine like mine. I've used it every other day for I don't know how many months now and I'm only just running out, so I can't recommend this stuff enough. I normally shower in the morning but if it's later on in the day I'll use the Yes To Blueberries Ultra Hydrating Body Wash, £4.99, which contains lavender but doesn't contain sulphates and is therefore very gentle on the skin.

Green People, Soap and Glory, Lush, Maple Holistics

Of course, I couldn't just stop with one shower gel. Soap & Glory Rich & Foamous Body Wash, £6.50, tends to be my go-to in the mornings  it has the same warm, sugary, waffle scent as The Breakfast Scrub - but I also like a little bit of  LUSH Snow Fairy when I need a pick-me-up (another uber-sweet scent, although this one is more like candyfloss).

When it comes to shampoo I tend to use it every other day and alternate between two: Green People Daily Aloe Shampoo, £12, and Maple Holistics Winter Blend Shampoo. I adore the scent of the Maple Holistics shampoo, which contains five different types of mint, but I think my hair has got used to it because lately it hasn't been keeping my hair clean for very long. The Green People shampoo perhaps leaves hair less silky but it does give a nice, clean, swishy feel and its effects last longer, so I'm leaning towards that at the moment.

Neal's Yard, Lee Stafford, Lush, Superdrug

I'll be honest, I never use this Neal's Yard Remedies Rosemary and Cedarwood Hair Treatment (v), £6.50, and I should probably pass it on to someone who would. The thing with it is, yes, it does work, but it takes an absolute age to wash out of the hair and even then you're still left with residue on occasions, no matter how much time you spend rinsing. The Lee Stafford Coco Loco Coconut Mask, £6.99, on the other hand, is a dream to use, rinsing out with minimal fuss, and much like the Yes To conditioner it hydrates the hair and smells incredible. Body lotion-wise, I tend to grab either LUSH Dream Cream (v), £6.25, or Superdrug Vitamin E Body Cream (v) [just seen]. Both are lovely; the Superdrug cream is thicker in texture but I'd say Dream Cream is more soothing if your skin is having a bit of a nightmare.

Pixi, Lush, Tropic, Trilogy

On to skincare! Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser, £18, and Pixi Glow Tonic, £18, are a wonderful combination, smoothing skin and leaving it brighter (the hype is all-too real with these). I couldn't not mention LUSH Ultrabland, £7.50, my all-time favourite cleanser and make-up remover of choice. It has a thick, oily texture and breaks down all make-up with ease  mascara, liner, lip stain, you name it. 

I always like to use an oil in the evening, and I'm currently reaching for this cute little sample of the Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil (v), £12.50. Rosehip oil just really agrees with my skin, leaving it soft, hydrated, and calm without making any blemishes worse. The Tropic Organic Elixir* (v), £30, is a mixture of oils, including rosehip, and has the same effect on my skin, although I'd say my skin is less dry in the morning when I've used the Trilogy oil.

What do you keep in your bathroom? Are you a hoarder like me? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan

7 Things I'm Going To Miss About Living In Wales

Monday, 16 May 2016

Henryhd Falls
Henrhyd Falls

I knew I would have to leave my university town eventually, but it was easy enough to put it out of my head when it was months and months away. But it's the middle of May, and that means I move back home in a week. The idea of living in Wales never really entered my head when I was planning to get a degree because I didn't expect to like the university, and yet here I am, having spent three years here. I thought it was about time I paid tribute (in the form of a list, of course!) So, what will I miss about Wales?

Living with my friends. My third-year housemates are hilarious. I've lost count of the occasions when we've been doubled over laughing at something or other and although I hope that one day I'll be sharing a house with people who are equally lovely, this is the end of an era.

The people. I don't know whether this is just because I grew up South East England, but I was taken aback by how chatty everyone is when I first came here (the people back home are perfectly polite, I hasten to add, just less likely to strike up a conversation). From the Asda delivery man to the kind Welsh ladies in my local Starbucks, most of the people I've encountered  not just those who work in retail  have been easygoing, friendly, and very very funny.

The accents. One of my favourite things about coming back to Wales after a few weeks away is hearing the accent again. While I'm used to it now, the novelty hasn't completely worn off  it still makes me smile and somehow it makes things ten times funnier.

The view from my window. All I have to do is look outside and there are hills right there. It's so different to the suburban village I grew up in; on a clear day it almost looks like someone has hung a painting up in the sky.

The view from the top of the view. We drove up to the top of the hills recently and went on a little adventure, and it was one of the happiest afternoons I think I've had (you can see for miles). We also went to Henrhyd Falls last Friday, which is the cave they used to double as the entrance to the Bat Cave in The Dark Knight Rises. It's beautiful there, so I'd definitely recommend a trip if you get the chance. The rocks at the bottom are wobbly and some of the ledges are narrow, so I'd recommend wearing sturdy shoes.

Cardiff. What a city. Chippy Lane, the castle, the Millennium Stadium (yeah yeah yeah, I know it's the Principality Stadium now, but no one calls it that), Bute Park, City Hall, Live Lounge... I could go on and on (and on...) about how much I love Cardiff. It has so much character and there's so much going on there. By far one of my favourite places to be.

The love of rugby. The passion just isn't the same in England, and that's a damn shame. Rugby in Wales is life. True, I get a lot of stick for supporting England, but the atmosphere on game day is like nothing I've experienced before.

What was your favourite thing about where you went to university? Let me know in the comments!

Rosie For Autograph — Vegan and Leaping Bunny Approved

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Rosie For Autograph make-up

Rosie For Autograph Blush in English Rose Flush

Rosie For Autograph make-up swatches

I wasn't sure whether I was even going to be able to buy anything from Rosie For Autograph, the make-up line Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has done in collaboration with Marks and Spencer, so I was absolutely ecstatic when I found out that the range was cruelty-free, vegan, and approved by the Leaping Bunny. So many celebrity brands or endorsements are for companies that test on animals so it's lovely to know Rosie cares  not every cruelty-free brand is Leaping Bunny approved, after all, so it shows some thought has gone into it. Big love to you, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley♥. 

I'm sure I wasn't the only one who started swooning when they first saw the range. Everything looks beautiful (that rose gold!) and I struggled to decide what I wanted to get my hands on. In the end I kept it simple, and went for the Gel Eyeliner in I'm a Fox Star, and the Cream Blush in English Rose Flush. As you can see, I couldn't resist trying them both out before photographing them, and I'm not sorry in the slightest.

Gel Eyeliner in I'm a Fox Star (v), £12.50
I rarely buy eyeliner pencils but a swatch of this encouraged me to try it, and I'm glad I did, since it glides on with ease. Best of all, it stays put  even on the dreaded waterline. I'm a Fox Star is a little more red-toned than I would normally go for but I actually quite like it; it's a nice alternative to black but still quite classic looking. I've been wearing it smudged all around my eyes (it a subtle way, I hasten to add, not panda eyes style) but it also looks really pretty on the waterline if you're wearing eyeshadow. I daresay I'll be buying another shade soon!

Cream Blush in English Rose Flush (v), £14
I'll admit, I got a bit carried away the first time I used this and ended up looking like an absolute clown; this blush is very pigmented. Fortunately it blends into skin with minimal fuss, and a sweep of face powder soon sorted my mistake. English Rose Flush is such a stunning shade  not a statement or anything but just so, so pretty. I've been reaching for it nearly every day because it goes with anything and lasts for hours on the skin. In fact, this may be the best blush I've ever used.

Have you bought anything from Rosie For Autograph? What should I try next? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan

Current Cruelty-Free Skincare Routine (For Acne-Prone Combination Skin)

Monday, 9 May 2016

Skincare routine (morning)

I've talked about my skin a fair bit on here now, so many of you will be aware of my struggles with adult acne. It's taken a while for my complexion to clear up, and although a healthier diet (with way less cheese, *sobs*) and a prescription treatment from the doctor have played a huge part in that, I also think that switching up my skincare routine has helped enormously. I feel like I've finally figured out what works for me (I may have said this before, but I mean it this time, I swear!) I still have the odd blemish but things are so much better, so I thought I'd share what I've been using.


I start with Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser, £18. Oddly silky for a product that has 'mud' in the title, this cleanser leaves my skin looking brighter and feeling smoother without that horrible tight feeling. I pat my face dry with tissue, and follow with Kiko Eyes Rescue (which appears to have been discontinued because I can't find it on the Kiko website at all. It's a decent enough eye cream, I guess, but it's not something I would have rushed out to repurchase).

I moisturise with Superdrug Vitamin E Day Cream (v), which only costs £2.99 for a decent-sized tub, is often on offer, and lasts forever. The same can be said of a lot of products in the Vitamin E range so it's definitely worth checking out, especially since everything is Leaping Bunny approved and suitable for vegans. This particular cream is moisturising but not too heavy for the morning, which means my oily forehead and dry chin take to it equally well, and it won't irritate inflamed skin.

Once that sinks in I prep my face with Kiko City Filter Sunscreen SPF 50 Primer, £12.90. This is especially important because the Pixi cleanser contains AHAs, which increase the skin's sensitivity to sunlight. I normally faff around with my hair while the primer settles on my face and then I get going with the day's make-up.

Skincare routine (evening)

A day without make-up is a rare thing for me so double cleansing is essential. If you're a regular reader then you'll know by now that my number one favourite skincare product is LUSH Ultrabland Facial Cleanser, from £7.50 for 45g. It is hands down the best cleanser I've found for removing make-up, melting everything away, and it's very gentle on sore skin. Like a lot of balms, it's quite oily but in my experience it doesn't make oily patches worse.

I then use the Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser as the second-cleanse, before wiping my face with a cotton-pad's worth of Pixi Glow Tonic, £18. This is the only toner I've ever remembered to use day-in day-out, and it most definitely lives up to the considerable hype surrounding it  like the Glow Mud Cleanser, it makes skin smoother and brighter.

I apply Kiko Eyes Rescue again, and then pat a drop or two of the Tropic Organic Elixir* (v), £30 , into my skin. I had been using the Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil (v), £22, but I ran out recently; the Tropic treatment arrived at a good time! If you get oily patches like me then the thought of using an oil can be a bit daunting, but my skin has been a lot happier since I started using oils in the evening. This particular one is lovely and light, leaves my skin nourished and hydrated, doesn't upset any blemishes, and actually smells a teeny bit like marzipan? I'm not sure why, because the ingredients are kiwi seed oil, plum kernel oil, rosehip oil (), moringa oil, jojoba oil, pomegranate seed oil, and Vitamin E  no almonds in sight! Any ideas what it might be?

What have you been using on your skin recently? Any recommendations? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan

Trying to Create Cheekbones — The Struggle

Monday, 2 May 2016

Nyx Wonderstick

Nyx Wonderstick Contour

Nyx Wonderstick Highlight

Happy Bank Holiday, everyone! Someone please tell me  how is it May already? How? It feels like the first third of this year has gone by with a snap of my fingers and it's scaring me. Is this only going to get worse as I get older? I have a feeling the answer is yes.

Today I'm talking contouring, but not from the perspective of someone who knows what they're doing (this is not the place to be if you're looking for a tutorial). Contouring has always fascinated me and terrified me in equal measure. There's no denying that it can shape and sculpt a face, but it also takes a deft hand to pull it off  you've gotta put the product in the right places (cue a hurried search for a diagram on Pinterest) and you've gotta blend, unless you like the stripy look.

All of this sounds like a lot of effort for everyday make-up, but rewind a few months and I decided that I was finally going to take the plunge and teach myself how to contour. I blame it on one too many evenings spent stalking people on Instagram. Normally it's the brows and the eyeshadow blending skills that grab me most but I guess I was paying attention to all the cut-glass cheekbones, too, because I found myself on Feel Unique, searching for (and buying) the NYX Wonderstick in Light, £10.

NYX Wonderstick is double-ended, with an ashy brown contour shade at one end and a non-shimmery highlighter at the other. I like that you get both products in one, since it saves you having to buy two separate sticks (meaning more room for extra make-up, #priorities). I also like that NYX have made four different shades, instead of offering a solitary generic mud colour that suits no one, meaning those of us with ghostly pale skin are actually catered for.

Anyway, I started with by drawing a line underneath my cheekbones with the darker shade. They're there, I think, but I also have little chubby cheeks (it's the baby face  the reason I still get ID'd at 22). Then I definied my jawline and the sides of my nose, and, finally, the part that scares me most  my forehead. How beauty vloggers can pull this off without looking like they've smeared mud on themselves is beyond me. To give Wonderstick its due, the contour shade does blend really well, without disappearing into the skin completely, and it tends to stay put without smudging.

The highlighter I'm not so excited by. It's not bad, exactly, but it doesn't last as long as the conotur and if anything, I actually find it to be too pale (I know, I know, make up your mind, Beth!) It's more of a white shade than a cream one and I don't think this looks particularly natural on my skin. However, it's illuminating as opposed to sparkly and I think this is a lot less intimidating if you're just starting to use highlighter  think glow rather than shimmer.

All in all, as fun as it is to faff around sculpting my face, it's too much work to be an everyday thing right now. You need good lighting and time to blend, things I don't always have, and I can't decide if I actually like the effect it has on my chubby little cheeks (it looks a bit like I'm in denial of their existence). I will, of course, remain in awe of anyone who can contour and pull it off  all the respect to you, lovely ladies and gents.

How do you feel about contouring? Are you into it, or over it? Let me know in the comments!
Designed By Hello Manhattan