Wednesday, 29 June 2016

My month started in the library (I work best in libraries), on the job hunt. I've been ghosted three times already but I've heard that's par for the course so I'm not letting myself get too hung up about it. No one ever teaches you how to deal with all this though. We had a wonderful careers service at my university (shoutout to you, Rhiannon) but someone could have held workshops about looking for work and all that other important life stuff  budgeting, setting up a direct debit, dealing with taxes  while we were still in school. Not once have I been asked to colour in a map of the UK* but I could have used some advice on looking after my finances, you know?

*Actually, this is sort of a lie. My Welsh housemate Llion once made Harry and I label a map of Wales to see if we knew anything about it and then we made him do the same with a map of England. I beat them both *smiles smugly*

I've had snippets of work here and there  doing the food for match day at the local cricket club and working as a poll clerk for the referendum  and I've been doing my best to keep busy. Staying at home all day, for me, is a recipe for madness.

I'm trying to see the positive side of living with my parents  I can see all my friends from home on a much more regular basis, I can spend time with my family, and since I'm not earning, I don't have to pay rent at the moment (although I have been helping out round the house and cooking dinner, Mumma needs a break when she's been at work all day).

I watched... Good Swan, Bad Swan: Dancing Swan Lake (a documentary about the dual role of Odette/Odile in the ballet Swan Lake) and Mock The Week. SO HAPPY IT'S BACK.

I read... Lost at Sea by Jon Ronson. Why has Jon Ronson's writing not been in my life until now? He's frickin hilarious and his articles are so interesting, unlike anything I've read before. He really gets involved with the people he's writing about, whether they're Deal or No Deal contestants or members of a cult; I believe this is called gonzo journalism? Whatever it is, I love it, and I've just bought The Psychopath Test to read next.

I listened to... Into You by Ariana Grande (LOVE HER), Don't Stop by Fleetwood Mac, and FKA Twigs' cover of Elastic Heart.

I bought... some new bedding, because it doesn't look like I'll be moving out any time soon and it's amazing how much better a pretty new duvet cover can make you feel.

Product of the Month... The Tropic Organic Elixir. A face oil that works wonders to hydrate and soften the skin. I can't get enough.

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

New In From Superdrug's Vitamin E Range

Monday, 27 June 2016

Hello everyone, how are you all? I'll be honest, I'm still feeling bruised from the results of Britain's EU Referendum. I've seen a lot of people complaining that their social media timelines are filled with political tweets/statuses and claiming that we all need to shut up about it, and while I can appreciate that we need to get on with things, I also think that it's wonderful so many people care. If you follow me on Twitter then you may have already noticed me retweeting fellow Remain supporters a lot on Friday. I was heartbroken to see that so many people were feeling as shocked, scared, and sad as I was, so big love to you all. 

That has nothing to do with today's post, which is about one of my favourite things (cruelty-free skincare) but I couldn't let it slide by without comment; it's too huge. 

Anyway. To the good stuff! I've championed Superdrug's own brand products for a while now and I'm always looking for new things of theirs to try. The Vitamin E range is a particular favourite but since I've mainly stuck with the moisturisers (for both face and body) I thought it was time I branched out a bit. I admit, a cleanser and a balm aren't exactly adventurous but these particular products are new to me, and that was good enough. 

I've heard many a good thing about the Superdrug Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser, said to be a dupe for the cult classic Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish. And while I don't love it quite as much as I love C&P, the Hot Cloth Cleanser is certainly a good high street substitute. It removes make-up reasonably well, has that creamy texture that feels so comforting on the skin, and is gentle and and softening to boot.   

Superdrug Vitamin E Super Balm, £3.99 for 16g
A thick balm that melts on contact with skin and is super-hydrating on lips. I also like to use it on my cuticles when I can be bothered, and on the dry, flaky skin I get on my elbows and knees. The skin on my hands also gets really sore so I use it to soothe any flare-ups on my knuckles and in between my thumb and finger, and so far it's worked a treat. My one complaint is that the balm has the odd solid lump in and these don't melt so easily, but they're easy enough to avoid because you can see them in the pot. I'd still prefer something smoother but Super Balm is a product I'm more than happy to use.

Another lovely experience with Superdrug  I'm already thinking about what to try next! At the moment I've got my eyes on the In Shower Moisturiser and Dual Phase Cleansing Oil (I do love a good face oil).

Have you tried either of these? What's your favourite product from the Vitamin E range? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan

How Much Is My Face Worth?

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

I've seen this kind of post a lot round the blogosphere recently (these ones by Kat and Emily are particular favourites!) and it didn't take long for me to start wondering how much my own face was worth. It's strange  I've never really given it much thought before, and I think that's because if I do think about how much something costs, I just think of that individual item (and whether it was worth the money!)

The make-up I use on a daily basis varies but these are the products I tend to reach for when I want to look polished with minimal effort  cream formulas are so much easier to blend. (I can just hear my mum screeching 'This is minimal?!' but yeah, for me it is, Mumma).

Stocking Up On Cruelty-Free Basics

Monday, 20 June 2016

Kiko Lip Liner, GOSH Eyebrow Pencil, GOSH Concealer, Superdrug Eyelash Curler

And by basics, I mean make-up basics; the kind of things I reach for on a daily basis. It's funny though  my definition of basic probably isn't the same as yours (although I find that fellow beauty addicts are more likely to have things in common) and it certainly isn't the same as my mother's, for example. I shudder at the thought of leaving the house without wearing eyebrow pencil, whereas for her it's all about the eyeshadow and mascara. Anyway, as usual I ran out of everything at the same time so a trip to town was in order. Here are my thoughts on the products I picked up.

Beauty Basics (swatches)

Kiko Automatic Precision Lip Liner in 505 Red, £5.90
Okay, so I know red lip liner isn't an essential for a lot of people, but it is for me. This is the perfect match for theBalm's Meet Matte Hughes Liquid Lipstick in Loyal, my go-to red at the moment, and it only costs £5.90. The pencil glides on without being too soft and once there it stays put, helping to define the lips and, I've noticed, increase the wear-time of the lipstick you apply over the top. It has a sharpener and a blender at the other end, too, so you really do get value for money. There's just one thing  I haven't been able to wrench the cap off the blender yet! (I'll keep trying.)

GOSH Eyebrow Pencil in Brown, £5.49
Not quite the shade for me; Brown is a little too light. Unfortunately the only other shades available are Grey Brown, which is even lighter, and Soft Black, which is too dark for my hair and too harsh next to my skin. I do like that it comes with a spoolie on the other end though  they are invaluable for brushing out brows and distributing product evenly  and the pencil itself is firm without dragging. All in all, the GOSH Eyebrow Pencil is not one to discount, but do check the samples more thoroughly than I did before buying.

GOSH Click 'n' Conceal in Light, £6.99
After a bit of a lukewarm start with Click 'n' Conceal I've found what it truly excels at: covering my undereye circles. It's peachy enough to hide any blue tones but also light enough to blend in with my extremely pale skin. The coverage isn't quite as full as that of the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer but it still makes a noticeable, my skin but better kind of difference and that's all I need right now.

Superdrug Eyelash Curler, £1.99
I do love the effect eyelash curlers have  who can resist having such a wide-awake flutter?  but I also don't want to spend a fortune on them. Fortunately the Superdrug Eyelash Curler costs a mere £1.99 and really squeezes the eyelashes (without breaking them, I hasten to add!), creating a pretty curl that lasts. Bargain.

What beauty bits have you bought recently? And what are the basics you can't live without? Let me know in the comments!

Tropic Travel Essentials — What Am I Taking With Me?

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Tropic Organic Elixir; Tropic Tamanu Rescue Healing Balm

It's just over a month until I head off on my holidays and my thoughts have turned to packing. We're only taking hand luggage with us and since I'm terrible at packing light (especially when it comes to beauty products) I'm having to think long and hard about what I need to take with me. I've spent the last couple of months testing out Tropic's Travel Essentials* (v), £32, so my skincare will be sorted at the very least. The Travel Essentials come in a cute little bag with magnetic closure and you also get a Bamboo Cloth to use with the cleanser. There are five products in total: a cleanser, a toner, a moisturiser, a face oil, and a balm.

I get very excited when I have the chance to try out a new (new to me, at least) cruelty-free brand. I think there's an assumption that going cruelty-free massively limits your options and while it does mean that you can't just buy whatever you feel like from Boots anymore, there are plenty of wonderful brands out there that don't test on animals or sell in China  you just have to do a little Googling to find them.

As it turns out, when Tropic contacted me a few months back I realised I had heard of them: Tropic is the skincare brand created by Susan Ma, who was once a contestant on The Apprentice (bloody love The Apprentice). It started out with a body scrub that Ma made in her kitchen in 2004; fast-forward twelve years and the line features all kinds of products, including skincare, bodycare and make-up. When they got in touch with me I was very impressed to learn that Tropic is cruelty-free, vegan, and Leaping Bunny certified  exactly the kind of thing I like to share with you all on this blog.

Tropic Travel Essentials

Smoothing Cleanser Complexion Purifier (v) (£16 for 120ml)
The scent of the Smoothing Cleanser is very similar to that of Liz Earle's Cleanse & Polish, as is the creamy texture. I'd say this is a little more subtle though and consequently it's much more gentle on the eyes when used to remove make-up. It leaves my skin feeling clean but not stripped of moisture and it's light enough to use in both the morning and the evening; basically, it does everything I like a cleanser to do.

Will I take it with me? Yes.
Would I buy the full-size version? Yes.

Vitamin Toner Pore Refining Mist (v) (£14 for 120ml)
The Vitamin Toner is nice enough and it certainly leaves my skin feeling refreshed, but I wouldn't say it was essential. Generally I like toners to either be spot-busting or exfoliating and while this doesn't aggravate my skin, I haven't noticed a positive difference either. It's going to be wonderful for cooling me down on the plane, though.

Will I take it with me? Yes.
Would I buy the full-size version? No.

Skin Revive Nourishing Cream Concentrate (v) (£22 for 50ml)
A light but moisturising cream that sinks in quickly and always leaves my skin feeling comfortable. It's lovely and I've really enjoyed using it, but it doesn't do anything that my usual (£2.99) day cream doesn't.

Will I take it with me? Yes.
Would I buy the full-size version? No. I begrudge paying anything over a fiver for a daily moisturiser, tbh.

Organic Elixir Age-Defying Facial Oil (v) (£30 for 50ml)
Okay, so I know 22 is too young to be thinking about anti-ageing but in this instance I don't care; I frickin love this stuff. It smells a teeny bit like marzipan, softens my skin, and doesn't irritate any spots. In fact, recently I switched to using my day cream at night because I want to save what remains of this for my holiday. This coincided with my acne flaring up again and as soon as I switched back to the oil, my skin calmed right down. Just goes to show how good plant oils can be for oily, blemished skin like mine!

Will I take it with me? Yes.
Would I buy the full-size version? Possibly. £30 for 50ml is a bit much but oils do tend to last for months and months, so I imagine the cost-per-use would work out quite reasonably.

Tamanu Rescue Healing Balm (v) (£8 for 10ml)
It can take forever to squeeze the product out of this tube when the weather is cold but it's so worth the wait. The Tamanu Rescue Healing Balm is thick, non-sticky, and dries matte so it's ideal for wearing underneath lipstick (especially liquid ones, which have a tendency to cling to dry patches). The tube is small enough to carry in the dinkiest of bags and you only need a tiny bit so I imagine this will last me aaaaages. A keeper for sure.

Will I take it with me? Yes.
Would I buy the full-size version? Hell yeah.

Have you ever tried Tropic products before? What do you take on holiday with you? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan

The 18 Stages Of... The British Bank Holiday BBQ

Monday, 13 June 2016

Italian Red Wine

Oh, the humble BBQ — a staple of summertime in Britain. Supermarket magazines would have you believe that these BBQs take place over long, sunny afternoons, with a variety of meats being served and homemade picnic food on the side. But let's face it: we all buy some decent looking burgers and sausages (with some veggie alternatives, if that's your thing), some rolls, and that plastic-looking cheese that comes wrapped in clear film, dig out a half-empty bottle of ketchup from the cupboard, and eat inside because it's raining. Occasionally someone will suggest staying outside and you will sit there, hoodie zipped up, hunched over a disappointing sausage (steady on) until some brave soul politely points to 'those evil clouds' and you all head in, secretly relieved.

Sound familiar?

5:35pm: Check tomorrow's weather report, which predicts we will have glorious sunny spells, with cloudier skies on Monday.

8:30am: Wake up and look out of the window to see grey clouds and fog.

9:30am: Discover the pollen count is still out in full force after being struck by a rather alarming sneezing fit.

9:34am: Shove antihistamines down throat and hope for best.

9:45am: Shower and attempt to get dressed  — what does one wear when we are predicted to have all types of weather? Go for layers.

10:30am: Start putting make-up on, paying extra attention to concealing bright pink nose. Consider red lipstick before remembering what happened last time (all on the chin and none on the lips. Sexy). Opt for muted coral instead.

12:04pm: Set off for Auntie Sue's. Mum sings. My brother and I wish we were as deaf as Dad.

12:54pm: Arrive at Auntie Sue's. She's put most of the food in the oven ('Don't want food poisoning,' she says, and quite right) but we stubbornly continue to refer to this gathering as a BBQ anyway.

1:03pm: Auntie Sue shows us the Christmas wreaths and reindeers she's been making. In May. We all admire them, except Auntie Sandy, who watches from a distance and apologises for having 'sausagey fingers'.

1:22pm: Uncle Dickie opens the Italian wine Giulia gave us. I don't even like wine, to be honest, but this is gorgeous: smooth, full-bodied, and sophisticated. Even Mum approves ("'ere, Sue, get yer gob round this!")

1:51pm: Lunch is served. On the menu? Burgers and sausages, plus buns, cheese, and onions to go with them, chicken, roasted veg, potatoes, and, rather randomly, onion bhajis. Not complaining — I'm not a curry person but I do love all the extras.

2:12pm: Finish eating and sit back in our garden chairs, satisfied.

'Do you want a coffee, Mike?' asks Auntie Sue. Uncle Mike looks delighted.

'Ooh, yes please, Sue,' he replies eagerly.

'Off you go then, put the kettle on!'

Uncle Mike does not look so delighted anymore.

3pm: Sit down to watch the opening ten minutes of the rugby.

3:41pm: Finish watching the first half, having not moved for forty minutes. Bombarded with 'Who are you supporting?', even though I no longer live in Wales, I've never supported Wales anyway, and we don't have any Welsh ancestry.

3:52pm: Accidentally set off a Mexican wave of yawning.

4:20pm: Customary quiz about my future plans occurs and I make the mistake of telling them all how stressful job hunting is.

'You'll go grey at thirty,' Mum says.

'You went grey because you had kids. I don't want kids; I shall have dogs.'

'Oh, no,' says Uncle Dickie's mum, Anne, 'you need to have children. Otherwise you'll grow old and be alone.'

'I have people, I won't be alone.'

'Yes you will.'


4:21pm: Sit there contemplating the pros and cons of a life in solitude until Uncle Dickie says, 'Mother, four of your five children live abroad!'

5:46pm: Arrive home clutching leftovers in one hand and an empty wine bottle in the other. Collapse on sofa.

Have you ever seen the meme that says 'Where do you see yourself in ten years time?' and the reply is just a photo of a woman pushing a pram full of really cute dogs? That's gonna be me, sorry, Anne! Actually, I'm not sorry; it's entirely my choice.

What are your bank holiday traditions? Let me know in the comments!

Neglected Products — What Should Stay and What Should Go?

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Neglected Cruelty-Free Products

When you're a beauty junkie I suppose it's inevitable that you'll end up with a stash of products you no longer use. I so badly want to have a minimal make-up bag but I am a hoarder, pure and simple. Occasionally though, I go through a phase where I feel the need to get rid of everything at an alarming rate, normally at the start and end of the academic year (although I won't have that from now on, hello grad life). This year was no exception so I thought I'd share some of the products I unearthed and finally make a decision — should they stay or should they go?

Neal's Yard Bee Lovely Body Lotion, £21.50
I think this tube was a free sample with a magazine? It's nice enough but there's something about the smell that means I reach for other products more. I don't know what it is, because the scent isn't particularly unpleasant or anything; it's just not really my thing. But the lotion does leave my skin feeling soft so I think I'd be foolish to throw it away, especially since I always seem to run out of all my full-size body lotions at once.
Stay or Go

NARS Illuminator in Orgasm, £23
This was a freebie with a NARS order last year and I've only used it as a highlighter so far, which doesn't really work when your skin is as pale as mine (the Orgasm shade is quite warm). However, when I looked at the website to find the link and price for this post I read that you can also wear it over or under foundation, or mix it with your base to create a dewy look, so I think it's worth experimenting before I call it a day.
Stay or Go

Neal's Yard Remedies Rosemary and Cedarwood Hair Treatment (v), £6.50
I had high hopes for this treatment but it's just too much for my fine hair to take, even when I use it sparingly. It also takes forever to wash out, even with multiple shampoos, and who has the time for that? Those of you with thicker hair might get along much better with it though.
Stay or Go

Makeup Revolution Matte Concealer Stick in 02 Fair, £1
I've discovered that this concealer doesn't really do much, no matter how much I layer it on, and you can only put on so much before it starts getting cakey. Fortunately I've found a solid Kiko concealer that's a much better shade match (the Makeup Revolution one is quite yellow toned) so I have no need for this anymore.
Stay or Go

Barry M Lip Paint in Pale Nude, £4.49
Although I told myself I would I just haven't been reaching for this lip paint — it's a little too pale for me and I think it washes me out unless I've done quite heavy eye make-up. Most of the time I just use a little bit of cream eyeshadow and some mascara and therefore opt for a slightly brighter lip. I love you, Barry M, but Pale Nude just doesn't suit me.
Stay or Go

Have you had a clear out recently? Do you keep things minimal or are you a massive hoarder like me? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan

Note: Although NARS was a cruelty-free brand at the time of writing, they have since decided to sell their products in China as of June 2017 and therefore are no longer cruelty-free.

10 Things Pale People Hear All The Time In Summer

Monday, 6 June 2016

In Spain a few years ago. No idea what I'm doing in the pool, just loving life I guess! Whatever floats your boat, Past Me

It's that time of year again when people start making the odd comment about my (admittedly very white) skin. If you've read the title of this post and you're also incredibly pale like me, then it's likely you know exactly what those comments can be and are shaking your head as you think of them.

I'll explain: I'm talking about comments that are meant as advice or jokes (or just tumble out of people's mouths without them thinking) but are actually pretty rude/annoying/narrow-minded, even if the speaker doesn't intend to be any of those things. A rather large amount of people are incredulous at the fact I'm happy with my natural skin colour, something which is irritating on the surface but also kinda sad when you think about it a bit more  are we really that conditioned to think that not having a tan is a travesty?

(One thing I want to make very clear is this: my problem is not with pale people  or any people, for that matter  who use tanning products. My favourite thing about beauty is the choice it offers us, so if you wanna get your tan on then by all means go for it. My problem is with those who seem to have an issue with the fact I don't want to tan and am quite happy being pale.)

Oh my God, you're so white!
Really? I'd never noticed. Thank you, kind sir, for enlightening me. I will move forwards with a weight lifted from my shoulders.

Seriously, though, I can't believe how white you are.
It's a pretty standard thing when you've got ancestry like mine. Please stop staring at me like I'm a car crash.

Your legs are blinding me!
Don't look/wear sunglasses/you are clearly not being blinded.

Aren't you gonna use fake tan?
Nah, I'm good.

Fake tan would make such a difference on you, you need to try some!
I'm sure it would, but I don't want it to use it.

You know, you can get gradual tan if you're worried about looking orange.
I can't be bothered to use it. Also, I'm happy the way I am, ta.

Can I hold my arm next to yours?
Sure, go ahead. I'm sorry you need to use me to boost your fragile ego.

Doesn't being so pale bother you?

I could never walk around looking like that.
You don't have to?

A little bit of colour would do you good, you know.
That's what make-up is for. I don't put Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks on my wishlists for nothing, you know.

A little bit of a sarky post but damn, it feels good to get that off my chest. Moral of the story? You do you  as long as you're happy then you're sorted.

Have you ever experienced comments like these before? And how do you feel about tanning? Let me know in the comments! 

5 Everyday Favourites

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

5 Everyday Favourites

GOSH Rebel Eyes Mascara; Charlotte Tilbury Bitch Perfect Lipstick

Superdrug Vitamin E Moisturiser; Tropic Skincare Tamanu Rescue Healing Balm

We all have those products we reach for again and again  the ones we'd be gutted if we lost. Like a lot of beauty junkies I use many different products every day but these are the ones I've been going back to. Normally I struggle to narrow it down when I do these types of posts (I'm a hoarder if there ever was one!) but in this instance I knew exactly what I would feature as soon as I had the idea. True love, everyone, true love.

LUSH Ultrabland Facial Cleanser, from £7.50 for 45g
My all-time favourite make-up remover and a product I will recommend again and again. Regular readers know the drill all too well by now, but for those who are curious: Ultrabland is a thick, oily balm which melts on the skin and removes the most stubbornly-applied make-up. I always use it as my first cleanse in the evening, and I've been through pot after pot (after pot after pot...)

Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G. Lipstick in Bitch Perfect, £23
The only lipstick I've ever bought more than one of, and a staple in my make-up bag. It's a beautiful pink with a hint of nude and a hint of coral and it sits comfortably on the lips, no dryness in sight. Bitch Perfect brightens up my pale complexion rather nicely but I think it would look stunning on a variety of skintones  it's that kind of shade.

Tropic Tamanu Rescue Healing Balm (v), £8 for 10ml
A new discovery. I've been on the hunt for something to replace Nuxe Reve de Miel even since I found out that Nuxe sell their products in China (and therefore can't be considered cruelty-free) and I think I've finally found it. The Tamanu Rescue Healing Balm is thick, so thick in fact that it's a little bit of a struggle to squeeze it out of the tube sometimes, but you only need a tiny bit and it sinks in quickly. It's matte, not shiny, which is something I prefer in a balm (generally I don't really go for gloss) and this means it sits really well underneath lipstick.

GOSH Rebel Eyes Mascara in Black, £8.99
My current favourite mascara, Rebel Eyes does everything I want a mascara to do  it separates lashes, it's easy to build, it adds length and volume  and it has a wonderful, curvy brush to boot. GOSH get a lot of love for their lipsticks but I think they're an all-round brand, and their mascaras tend to really stand out for me.

Superdrug Vitamin E Day Cream (v), £2.99 for 100ml
My daily moisturiser. I've sung its praises on Toasty before, so I won't go on, but it's an ideal cream for the morning because it gives skin much-needed moisture, sinking in quickly so you can get on with applying your make-up.

What products do you reach for on a daily basis? Have you tried any of these? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan
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