Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The best Christmas Lip

Isn’t Christmas make up the best? Glitter, golds and, best of all, festive reds. I really love this time of year and when it’s cold outside, I will happily sit down at my dressing table and spent ages on a full face of make-up. Red lips are kind of my thing. I tend not to go a single day without some kind of lip coverage but if I could only choose one colour for the rest of my life!? Hands down its red. It makes me feel more like me. I’ve blabbed on about lipstick love in lots of other posts but honestly I own a TON of reds in my collection. I’ve narrowed it down to three I think are the perfect shade of red for Christmas day.

I know everyone has their own preferences, but to me, the Christmas lip is a deep but bright, matte shade of red. I prefer to go for heavy gold, glittery eyes so I tend to avoid shimmer shades on the lips to avoid looking like a disco ball face.

The left is my first ever MAC purchase of ‘Russian Red’. This shade is so gorgeous and I’m so happy I picked it. It can be a little out of control to apply, so it’s a good idea to pick up a liner. I use a cheap Barry M one and it matches perfectly. This one is super Matte which makes it a little longer lasting than the others but it can be a quite drying on the lips so I recommend applying a bit of balm before this. 

The next, I got from spending all of my money at Clinique on lots of Christmas presents. It’s called 'Crimson' and it comes in the cutest packaging all covered in a pattern of lips. As it came as part of a set, I have no idea how much it costs to buy, but Clinique lipsticks are usually around £16. Again it’s a strong bright red and completely matte. It’s slightly smaller than an average lipstick in width, making it really easy to apply.

Last is from my ever growing Topshop lipstick collection (which I go into full details about here). I love these and at £8 they are really affordable and the cheapest in this post. This shade is called ‘Hazard’ and is one of my all-time favourites for all year round. The wear ability is quite good, but if you’re going to eat your Christmas dinner or smooch under the mistletoe, you will have to top it up!.

As for me, I’m really not sure which one I’m going to wear on Christmas day. Maybe Santa will get me a new one to try out! 

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

A lazy little guide to saving for your first house

A year ago graduated from Uni and now I’ve just moved into my first house. Lots of people are in the same situation as me and I’ve learnt a lot that might be helpful. However, property talk is boring and saving sucks. Everyone loves a good home haul filled with copper pieces that you’re lusting after but you can’t keep buying homeware if you don’t have a home right? I love getting spendy and, until recently, my property knowledge consisted of old episodes of ‘location location location’. As it turns out, living with my parents is a real drag so I got serious about saving hard and smart too (round of applause please for being super mature and grown up). My generation are the lucky bunch who left school at the start of the recession and have been dubbed by the media as unlikely to be able to buy a house and have children in a lifetime. I’m shunning those labels and I thought that quite a few of you out there might be in the same boat as me. This post is a collection of top things I have learnt in the last few months and hopefully it’s less boring than your average property chat!

How much do you actually need?

If you don’t know this, work it out right now! Getting a mortgage is a tricky pickle and knowing exactly how much you need will help you to take real steps towards a home of your own. Firstly you need to swot up on property prices in your area and the type of property you are looking at. Next you need to work out how much you will actually be able to borrow. Banks can help you with this, many banking websites have their own calculators which will tell you how much they would be willing to lend based on your income etc. The last figure you need is how much you actually have to put away each month. Money Saving Expert has a great calculator the helps you work out what you need to save in an easy idiot proof way.

Where can you save money?

Instead of working four jobs to speed up the process, comb your way through your statements and see where you’re getting spendy. Delete your shopping apps and your one click ordering and give yourself spending limits (don’t hate me, you know it’s the only way). If a house is your biggest priority, here is where you need to get brutal. Do you really use that £40 a month gym membership or did you sign up because of the poster girl? Do you need to go for drinks twice a week? Is £50 a month on makeup a little excessive? Cut it all out for a little while and you will reap the rewards. For example cutting a four times a week Starbucks habit to a once a week saves me £9.90 a week, which is £39.60 a month, which is £475.20 a year. That doesn’t include any sneaky bakery items either, and trust me there are quite a few unaccounted for brownies in there!

What’s out there to help?

Surprisingly, a lot. Living in the UK gives you access to real help as a first time buyer and utilising this could save you a lot of money. Disclaimer on this section: this is a brief overview of what is out there that you might be able to use, you wont be eligible for everything and I recommend you do a lot of research into each one before choosing to go ahead!

Help to buy ISA is a code word for free money. The government will genuinely give you money when you save for a house. No this is not a trick. After you save £1,600 you will be eligible to receive a payment to help you towards a deposit. There is a sliding scale but the maximum they can give you is £3,000 once you save £12,000. That’s £3,000 for free and in my book that is the easiest money ever. These are widely available throughout banks so do your research and make sure you are getting the most you can out of it. The only downside is there is usually a minimum of two years where you can't get to the money. We wanted to buy in under two years so we decided not to use these, but I have heard some great things and it is free money!

A Help to Buy equity loan is available for new build homes. You only need a 5% deposit, you’ll be given 20% towards the home and then you only need a 75% mortgage to top it up. It has to be a new house, it has to be your first house, and you have to be planning on living there, not renting it out or anything. If you’re living in London they can help you even more with this scheme so look into your options. Again I haven’t done this so please research your socks off before entering into it as my knowledge on this is limited.

Shared Ownership has become a popular way to get on the property ladder without waiting for years of savings. It’s also how we bought our first house. It basically means you would own a share of the property and live in the residence whilst paying rent to the owner of the other share, which is most commonly the Housing Association. This crops up with new builds and can mean you only need half the deposit of owning the full property and can borrow half as much through a mortgage. They also often allow 5% deposits so you can buy a house with a much smaller deposit than usually required. The other major benefit is Staircasing, this allows you to buy more and more of the property as your situation improves meaning you can staircase your way to owning the full share of the house. The negative of shared ownership is that is works on a first come, first serve basis meaning it’s a race to buy. It took us months to even get to the point where we were in the top ten. Everything happens for a reason but you have to be quick to get in on these. Research new build sites in your area and be ready to pounce. It's not for everyone but it's the only way we were able to buy. 

Next steps

Get to know a mortgage broker. They will break down all of the estimated fees for you and trust me there are a lot of these! This might be a reality check if you have only saved as much as your deposit requires. Make sure you understand exactly who you are paying, how much you’re paying and what it is for. The last thing you need is to pay more than you have to. Keep the broker on hand as you start your property search and they will be able to complete faster if they have all of your up to date details. You should never pay a fee for this service so avoid anyone that is trying to charge you.

A little note from me…

One thing is for sure being a first time buyer gives you a lot of options and power. It’s a long slog but it will be worth it in the end when you are sitting in your brand new home surrounded by stylish copper pieces (or you know, boxes!). A lot of us feel your pain here especially if you are living with your folks, just try and stay positive. You got this! 

Friday, 21 October 2016

Taking time for me

Busy doesn’t begin to cover it. I know I do it to myself. I live in a cycle of work, friends, family, training, blogging, back to work. It doesn’t end and I kind of love it. The problem is that sometimes it drains me! I’ve been taking on so much recently that it’s left me feeling a bit run down. I could sleep all weekend but I always have weekend plans. It’s really important to me to put my all into everything but sometimes I just crash. I’ve been trying recently to find little things for myself that I can do to keep my head in a good place. It’s hard for me to justify it with myself but its self-care at the end of the day and everyone need a little break sometimes.

Going for a walk

I bloody love running which I know makes some of you like ‘EW’ but I really honestly do. The thing about running though is that its high cardio the whole time. I don't really jog, I just run! When I’m feeling exhausted, running can be a bit crap. I still really enjoy the process of moving forwards and getting somewhere so I’ve started walking in the woods to clear my head. It’s still exercise, but slow and patient exercise. It’s nice to be outside in the cold air surrounded by trees. It gives me time to just think things through and be quiet and by myself.

Reading magazines

A book is kind of a big commitment because books are like Pringles for me. Once I start, I can’t stop. Magazines are like the predecessor for blogs but it’s nice sometimes to turn the pages on something real. Reading blogs also means I’m still looking at a screen connected to the internet and it’s easy to slip back into ‘Getting stuff done’ mode. I really like Cosmopolitan, I don’t agree with all of their articles but they do switch up their content a lot to keep it up to date. I’ve also started reading Blogosphere magazine because it feels like productive procrastinating!

Painting my nails

This is the thing I never have time for but it instantly makes me feel far more put together. I really enjoy it, especially playing with darker colours in the winter.  I’ve started trialing the Rimmel Super Gel polishes. Their Gel topcoat is supposed to make it last longer, I think it does, but my pole and hoop studio is where nail polish goes to die. However, I cannot afford to get them done in shellac every week so I’m going to keep making time for it. Being just a little bit more made up makes me feel ready to take on the day. 

Organising photos

Printed photos make me so happy and, since I got my Instax Mini, I have tons of them. I’ve started a scrapbook for adventure photos that I am slowly filling up. It includes little tickets and things that I’ve saved from our trips. I think eventually it will be the ultimate coffee table book but for now it’s a project. I spend so much time panicking about now and the future that I forget to reflect on all of the amazing things I’ve already done. I would 100% recommend this for anyone that wants to focus on gratitude and self-care. It’s really rewarding to see all of your memories in one place. 

It's okay to do things alone just because you want to. It can be really hard to hold everyone else up sometimes, taking care of me helps me take care of them. Also I hope you enjoyed these photos of me balancing like a fool on a tree!

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Lush Christmas event

I would love to be a mermaid but I’m a terrible swimmer so the next best thing is spending aaaages in the bath. Lush is a wonderful company that facilitate my excuses to have lots of baths. I’m a huge Lushie, especially for anything remotely gimmicky or holiday themed. I was lucky enough to go along to the blogger event at the Basingstoke store to chat about all of the new lovely festive products. Spoiler alert – I bought stuff! A huge thank you to Kimmey, Katy, Louise and Sophie from the store for talking through all the products and having us at your store. Also thanks to Jenny from South East Blog Circle for setting the whole thing up.

Christmas Soap is a wonderful thing, I will be buying some for my new bathroom because its very hard to make a bathroom festive, but I think this is the way forward. The standout soap at the event was 'Snowcastle'. Elsa could be hiding out somewhere in here! The soap, as a whole, really is a thing of beauty, but also probably pretty unpractical to use. It’s a sweet, marzipan kind of scent with Almond and Rose. Another new one int he soap range is the 'Santa's Postbox' Soap inspired by children posting their letters to Santa. Its made up of orange, bergamot and satsuma juice which makes up a bright, fresh fragrance. 

Some of our festive favourites have returned including one of my all time most loved bubble bars - 'Candy Mountain'. Its sweet vanilla scent is just amazing, and I love anything that is pink and sparkly. Another sweet scented bath treat is the 'Star Dust' bath bomb. Its a striking white star shape smelling of vanilla and rosewood. They kindly let us sample some of the bombs and we spent a fair amount of time watching colours melt and swirl away in the bowls at the store. It was very zen, and my inner yogi was very happy. 

We talked through lots of bath bombs but I was really impressed with the on-a-stick style reusable Bubble Bars that are new for Christmas. You simply stir them around your bath or run them under the tap and then put it away until next time. Back this year is ‘The Magic of Christmas’ which smells exactly like my parent’s house does over the holidays. It shares its scent with the ‘Cinders’ bath bomb and is decorated very traditionally festive including a cinnamon stick. Brand new this season is ‘Santasaurus’, one of my new favourite Lush launches ever. It’s like Godzilla became Santa but smells really good. The scent is the same as the ‘Honey I washed the kids’ and as it contains no actual Honey, it’s completely Vegan. The last wand style Bubble Bar is from the Queen Bee of Lush ‘Snow Fairy’ and it’s her scented ‘Magic Wand’. This should really need no introduction, Snow Fairy is the most raved about Christmas product at Lush and one I will be buying year on year.

Sleepy is product I really regret not purchasing. I never believe in scents that can make you feel tired but I swear I breathed this in and felt instantly relaxed. It’s an all over body lotion to apply before bed full of lavender and oatmeal. I may have to go back and get it because I never sleep well in the changing of seasons and it makes getting up int he dark mornings oh so hard. 

'The Christmas Penguin' is yet another new bubble bar and hits all of the adorableness I desire from Lush Christmas products. Its another citrus scented product which includes lemon oil and orange flower. I do think they should have named him but he will make a lovely gift for lots of penguin fans. 

Snow Fairy is back again in a new form: Fairy Dust Dusting Powder. This magical stuff goes on after you moisturise, leaving your skin matte once again and covered in shimmer. This is one for die hard Snow Fairy fans and those of us who apply too much moisturiser (Guilty!). 

The gift section this year has really stepped up. Lots of the boxed styles look just like traditional Christmas gifts that you would expect to find under the perfect tree. I’m really envious of their wrapping skills, I wish they would all come over and help me come December. They have these adorable tin bears too which I think look great and include 'Butter bear' which is one of my favourites. The 12 days of Christmas set has also returned this year which would make a great advent calendar for anyone not going down the beauty route this year.

Whilst I was at the store I picked up my main squeeze: Snow Fairy Shower Gel. I also went for the Santasaurus Bubble Bar I spoke about above and I bought a little Pip the Penguin gift for my lovely penguin loving friend. The store where kind enough to gift us a few goodies alongside our purchases to test out. I received a little chunk of yellow 'Igloo' soap that smells amazing. Very fruity and sweet. The girls explained that it’s delivered to the store in pieces and then they build it into its namesake within the store. It’s inspired by Turkish Delight which really comes across in both scent and appearance. The bag included four sample sizes including Rose Jam, Lord of Misrule, Bubbly (which smells like prosecco!) shower gels and the new Snow Fairy Body conditioner which I can’t wait to try out. Peeping Santa was also hiding in my bag and is an incredible sweet strawberry scented Bubble Bar. Lastly, I received the ‘Shoot for the Stars’ bath bomb which is honey and orange scented. This was the first to go in the bath and it makes a beautiful bright blue, sparkly bath water. 

I could keep writing for pages on all of their amazing products. There were only one or two products in the whole range I wasn't too excited about, so all in all it's a great festive launch. I'm so happy that Snow Fairy is back in my life. What is your favourite Lush product? 

*This post contains gifted samples but all opinions are my own 

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Missguided Payday Wish List

Its PAYDAY Hooray! Well it is for me anyway, for you it's probably here or up and coming. Either way, what better way to celebrate than getting a little spendy online? Missguided are slaying it recently so I decided to head over there and find my faves. As you can see I’ve dived straight into grey’s and pink’s which is actually the theme for my new living room at the house. Apparently I’m determined to dress in coordination with our furniture so I can blend in chameleon style. I'm also really feeling the oxblood shades that have come in now that its autumn, its a very flattering colour and breaks up all of the black and grey that I wear. I would quite like to get some of these chunky style heels for Autumn too. I've been seeing them everywhere recently and I'm into it. These first fluffy ones are my favourite, its very 'Clueless', cher would be proud. 


Sunday, 18 September 2016

Starting a serious relationship in your Teens

I’ve never been on Tinder, in fact barely anyone even had a smart phone when I met my soulmate; we were all still walking around with Nokia’s. I’ve never gone home with someone I met at a club because I was only seventeen when I became tied down. People always ask me how I’ve managed to stay with someone for so long or why I got with someone so young and missed out on so much. Really, truly, honestly, I don’t think I’ve missed out on anything. I didn’t expect to meet the love of my life at seventeen but I did and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

A little unexpected

Dom and I have lived in the same town all our lives and even went to the same infant school. Despite having over 100 mutual friends on Facebook at the time, we never officially met until I started working at the local cinema where Dom was my new colleague. We always joke that we didn’t meet until he was ready for me. Lots have people told us we were too young to start seeing each other so seriously but to be honest, we didn’t see it coming. I was going off to Uni in Bournemouth and Dom was staying here in Surrey. We both thought it would fizzle out over the summer but we just got stronger and became inseparable.

Difficult at times 

I’m not going to lie in this post and say that falling in love forever at seventeen is ideal, because it isn’t. Ironically, it’s not the things people ask us about that have been hard. We were so young and didn’t see it coming. We have changed so much as people in the last six years which is something neither one of us anticipated. At times we have grown further apart, we don’t have a ton in common anyway and it’s mattered more as we’ve grown up. I think sometimes I’m not the person he fell in love with and we were either going to grow our relationship together or fall apart. Unconditional is not optional and I love him more all the time, even as he changes.

It was hard in the beginning because we didn’t know how to treat each other. We hadn’t learnt much from past relationships because we’d barely had any. For me I was bossy and stubborn and could be really hard on him. With him it was learning the boundaries when it came to other people. We learnt to be loyal to each other and kind and caring. We really have seen the worst in each other and at times been bloody awful. We learnt all of our relationship lessons together, and mostly learnt them the hard way. I think this is escalated because we made mistakes together but all relationships go through hard times regardless of age. 

After leaving Uni, we realised we didn’t envision the same future. I wanted to go travelling and be free and Dom wanted to buy a house and settle into a career. These are the kind of things you discuss when you start a relationship in your twenties or thirties but as kids we just never considered it. It’s taken a lot of compromise and conversations to create a future we can both be happy with and I’m not going to lie, it’s been hard sometimes. The difference is that we choose to be together and make each other happy.

The greatest part of my life

On the flip side, our love has been absolutely everything to me. Dom has changed my entire life. He makes me stronger and more confident. I’m so excited to tell him things and share my life with him. He has been there for me through all of the really awful times but also all of the greatest times in my life. We both did Uni together and graduated! We both finished college together. We’ve had six years of birthdays and anniversaries and holidays and family days. We’ve taken care of each other on sick days (snaps for Dom for being so nice when I had glandular fever for weeks) and we've literally been there for every big or small thing since our only problem was being too young for the local nightclub.

This is only going to carry on. When I’m 80 I can turn to Dom and say: ‘remember that time when…?’ and he will know because he has always been there. There’s a film where the girl asks the guy what he would do with a time machine and he says: ‘I would have found you sooner and loved you longer’ and I get that. I’m just happy that I get to wake up and love him every day. He has only ever made my life more than what it is, why would I ever regret being with him even if it started so soon in my life?

There have most definitely been difficulties with being in a serious relationship in my teens but overall it’s just like any relationship. At what age are you able to fall in love according to society? None of us ever choose it or know when it’s coming. I’m in a happy healthy relationship and I love our story. Sorry for the soppy, loved up blogging, back to regular content next! 

Friday, 9 September 2016

Life Lately

It’s occurred to me that I don’t often write about me and whats happening when actually, that’s the kind of thing I like to read. Diary style blog posts are my favourite and it’s very cathartic to write this way, almost like I’m writing a letter to an old friend to catch them up on my latest and greatest. It’s been an absolutely mad couple of months, I haven’t been able to spend nearly as much time on here as I would like but things are going well in other places, and life sometimes gets in the way.  

Dom and I celebrated our six year anniversary at the end of last month. I can't believe how quickly time goes but in the same thought, everything changes in a year. He is the best thing that has ever happened to me and anniversaries are my favourite days. We so rarely get to be just us so I treasure any time I get with him. We stayed in an amazing Wagon in the woods that I wrote about here. Then, as a surprise, I took Dom to walk over the O2 with Up at the O2. He wasn't too impressed as I've been joking for years that he might be secretly afraid of heights! It rained all day which is why I look all gross and messy. Also the jumpsuits are massive and do NOT make me look cute. It stopped raining just long enough for us to make our way up and over and head off to the Blues Kitchen for some well-deserved cocktails with a side of meat coma. Frozen raspberry margaritas are amazing for an end of summer drink fyi.

I've stepped up my training with Aerial Hoop and I now have more bruises than ever. I had a few weeks in a row where I really struggled and I felt like I was getting behind the othe
rs. After feeling a bit mopey I decided that the only way to get better at something was to do it and then practise loads. I doubled my classes and now have a few new tricks under my belt. I tend to post little snippets of routines on Instagram if you are curious. It's a great way for me to track my progress and see how far I have come. I still have so far to go but it makes me so happy to be up there. 

We are still waiting to see if we have been accepted for our house. It's literally one of the most stressful and heart breaking things I have ever done. I am clearly not ready for adult life and all of this serious business about interest rates and 'making a plan'. Instead I've been shopping for homeware and wishing on anything that moves. Since seeing the house nearly finished, I’m completely attached and have already planned the next few years of my life living there, naturally. We have got to the point now where we kind of stalk the house, we just go there to have a peek and see where it’s at. Terribly pathetic I know.

So that’s me. Drinking margarita’s, hanging upside down, still madly in love and stalking a building. Just your average twenty-something right? Right!? 

Friday, 2 September 2016

The Wagon in the Woods

AirBnB is a bloody wonderful thing. It has lead to so many unique places opening for guests seeking something a little bit different. Who wants to pay £100 to stay in a Travel Lodge when there are so many new and exciting places to go all over the world? I’m the kind of person that keeps lengthy wish lists on AirBnB designed to fuel my wanderlust and hopefully one day lead to new and exciting adventures.

Dom and I have now been together since we were 17, that’s six years! We still celebrate our anniversary, even though we aren’t married, because it’s kind of a big deal. To celebrate, we wanted to stay somewhere away from it all. Somewhere that was peaceful but not too far away as we were heading into London the next day. Living with my parents is hard and as our house isn’t finished yet, so getting anything resembling alone time is few and far between. I just wanted it to be the two of us, if only for one day.

When it came to booking somewhere special, the Wagon in the woods was an obvious choice. It was still in the back of my mind as something I had seen and I easily found it deep into my wish list. Since I started writing this, I've also found out that there's a post over on Little Winter too! It is a hand built wooden wagon in Meadstead with a beautiful glass window taking over the entire back wall. It looks out onto a huge grassy field full of cows that love to come and say hi. Waking up to Cows was a new experience but us city girls have to go country sometimes. The window is so big in fact that when we went to bed we could still see all of the stars shining in the sky outside.

One of the highlights is the incredible outdoor hot tub. Again it was hand built and looks out over the field. What was really was amazing is that the design means it is naturally heated by a chimney system. The log fire is it the back and lets heat into the water depending on how much wood you burn. Be careful though, Dom went in a bit heavy handed with the fire and we couldn’t get back in it in the evening as it was scalding! (Also, let me be the first to say it: I'm literally so pale in this photo, I'm like a vampire, I really need some sun).

The thing that really made it special was the detail that was so clearly put into the place. There was a secret bathtub under the floor that let you look out onto the field whilst pampering yourself. It seems so small inside the Wagon at first but everything tucks away so easily it’s like four rooms in one. The mini kitchen is fully stocked with tea, coffee, milk, marshmallows to roast on the fire and even Wagon Wheels! Ralph thought of everything, there is a map of local restaurants, firewood, blankets and bubble bath. I couldn’t believe that he had put so much care into building something that was so magical almost entirely by himself, but I am so pleased he did.

I would highly recommend the Wagon in the woods. It was absolutely beautiful and I would stay there again in a heartbeat. It’s always nice to have such a friendly host but it also helps if the place you stay is peaceful and perfect. I really couldn’t have asked for more. 

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Go-to Palettes

Palettes are a bit of a weakness of mine. Even with so many choices around I find myself constantly reaching for the same palettes again and again. Even with Autumn coming, we are still getting that last little bit of summer sun and I find myself picking more colourful looks alongside the everyday basics. Despite the constant churn of the beauty industry to make more eye shadows, my favourite still seem to be the old classics. These are my current go-to palettes I use on a daily basis.

Stila - In the Light

I know this is so 2012 but this palette is so wearable and pretty. I might be stuck in the past but it has shades that you don’t come across with other palettes. The slightly orangey colours are my favourite but the whole thing is wearable with brown and nudes apart from the one very toned down blue shade. Even the liner that comes inside is a winner, it’s not my favourite but if you are out and about it will give you your wings when needed. All round thumbs up from me. Stila have been selling these off pretty cheap as of late too so don’t be afraid to go with an old cult favourite.

Urban Decay - Naked

Urban Decay is like the Prom Queen of palettes. You envy her, you want to be her friend, and she is bloody beautiful. The original Naked palette is the one. If it aint broke don’t fix it right? Almost everyone had this palette but it’s designed to be wearable. The colours come in coordinating sets so you can find a base, crease and highlight in seconds. A quick stroll on Pinterest will show you just how many looks you can get from just this palette alone. I like to pair ‘Toasted’ and ‘Hustle’ together. I’ve also found ‘Sidecar’ to be a really versatile shade to pair with others and ‘Sin’ is a great inner corner highlight.

Too Faced - Chocolate Bar

Too Faced make some of the best quality eyeshadows I’ve ever experienced. They also love a good gimmick and to be honest so do I! I begged my boyfriend to get me the PB&J palette and when it sold out he picked this one instead. I must say I am not a fan of the chocolate scent of the palette, especially when getting ready in the morning, but I can’t fault it in any other way. ‘Black Forest Truffle’ is a really fun colour to play with, but be warned if you aren’t a fan of shimmer shades! ‘Marzipan’ is also so beautiful and brightening, I can’t stop myself. What I really like about this particular palette is the two highlight shades they include. They are great for a quick brow bone sculpt! 

Sleek iDivine - A New Day

Sleek palettes are amazing and at £8 a pop I have a fair few. ‘A New Day’ is my favourite to reach for because there are a few more matte shades. My favourite combo is the two matte Taupe / Purple shades which create colour without it being over the top. I think this is a limited edition palette but they are always bringing out new ones which often contain similar copycat shades.

Kiko Colour Fever - 101

Okay, so not quite a palette but this is my travel make up go-to. It’s the perfect eye look in one. I know some people are put off by red and deep pink eye shades but this mix gives you a look that is more pretty less pink eye. Again its really affordable and such good quality. The packaging itself is really durable, I can vouch for this as it spends its life being thrown in my bag! The colour isn't as pigmented as the others but it is very build-able and allows you to go for a more subtle shade if desired. 

So those are my favourites to reach for. I’d really like to switch things up a bit more this Winter and go for a few edgier looks but something tells me the Naked palette isn’t going anywhere!

I would love some suggestions, what is your favourite go-to palette?

Monday, 15 August 2016

Star Wars made me a Feminist

Let’s rewind to my childhood. Crimping your hair was all the range, everyone had a Tamagotchi and I was just old enough for the second wave of Star Wars fandom to take hold. I remember watching the original films on VCR and going to the cinema to see the prequel trilogy with my parents. Fast forward to now, and the movie franchise I grew up with is becoming popular again. It’s always been my thing to be honest, even back when it was really really uncool. Growing up, I had an R2D2 backpack with legs longer than mine. I put my hair in cinnamon buns. I played lightsabres with my sister. It was a big part of my world and now I can see how it affected me back then. I am probably biased because I love the films (I'll even watch Episode 1) but they forced me to look at being a girl as a good thing.   

We are now in the age where the preconceptions about feminism are changing. It’s stopped being so much of a dirty word. More and more women are understanding that it simply means equality rather than the image of angry hordes of man hating women someone conjured up way back when. I will proudly declare myself as a feminist because I believe that no one should be held back purely because they were born a certain gender. I was raised by strong parents and a Dad that still believes I can do anything. I've got my granny brain on saying that kids these days are raised up in a more relaxed world but honestly, back in the 90’s it never came up that I should be career focused. People still asked me questions about my future husband rather than my aspirations in life. There are lots of reasons I’ve grown up with this mind set but I maintain that Star Wars made me a mini Feminist.

I recognise that I’m placing a lot of importance on what is essentially a film franchise but it had a huge effect on my thought process as a child. I’m sure that there are lots of other strong women on the big screen that have had this effect on younger ladies but Star Wars was my turning point. I'm more than just a fan. Padme, Leia, and most recently Rey, are all strong and independent women who hold their own in their respective films. If you've seen the Rouge One trailer you'll notice it follows the same trend. Star Wars shows women as main characters and counterparts. The women come to the rescue, or come up with the plan or save themselves. I can’t thank them enough for helping me realise that I could be my own hero and save my own day. 

It does go both ways, there are instances in the films where gender roles are more traditional for example the lack of female Jedi. However, this was over ruled in my young mind by the fact that the women were leaders, with great ideas, queens and princesses with voices that made a difference. Being young and impressionable, I grew up believing I could do what I wanted and say what I thought just because it was worth saying. This might not have been the case if my role model wasn't kicking intergalactic butt. 

In a time where women in films needed saving, Star Wars broke the cycle. I remember thinking that I didn’t need a hero or a prince because I would save the day. Little girls deserve to grow up thinking that they are the main star, they are strong, and they aren’t at a disadvantage because of gender. Whatever it is that starts that thought process doesn't matter, for me it was Star Wars and I am so grateful.

May the Force be with you!

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

101 in 1001 Update #1

I've been busy trying to get my shizz together in life and achieve something. You may have seen my original 101 in 1001 list and after a couple of months, I have actually managed to tick a few things off. It was my aim to keep doing updates through the 1001 days, but if I keep working at it this slowly I may have to get my act together! 

11. Be a bridesmaid for one of my favourite people 

I was a Bridesmaid and it was the most magical day. I can’t explain how lovely it is to see two people you love, and who love each other, get married. Having never been a bridesmaid before I didn’t know what to expect. Apparently the answer was lots of happy tears. I’ve never seen anyone look as beautiful as the bride did in her wedding dress and I was simply honoured to be allowed to be a part of it. Also I would now like to be a professional Bridesmaid so I can wear pretty dresses and go to weddings all the time. Hit me up if you need one.

54. Try a Pole Fitness Class

Not just one try after all, I’m on week eight! I can go upside down which is all I really wanted to accomplish. It turns out its pretty addictive and I’ve started going regularly once or twice a week on top of aerial hoop. This means my weekly bruises have doubled but my upper body strength is improving and it makes me really happy. It's very different to how people perceive it and it can be really challenging. I would recommend trying it to anyone because it is so much fun. 

55. Complete the Pretty Muddy course for Cancer Research

I did this with two of my friends and it turned out to be surprisingly easy. There were so many people that the wait for each obstacle was quite long. This meant we did hardly any running! I’ve signed up to take part in a Tough Mudder in September because I am apparently crazy so that should be more of a challenge. Please excuse my ugly mug in the photo, I'd been up working an event the night before and felt horrific. This is the ultimate no make up selfie. I wish I got more mud on my face...

70. Go to Innocent Unplugged

I unplugged in May and it was amazing! I will most definitely be going back again next year. I'm a huge fan of Innocent Smoothies on a regular day but they put  on this amazing festival and now I love them even more. I wrote about everything you need to know here. 

92. Graffiti Something

I actually managed to do this at the Unplugged festival. They had a giant spray paint wall for free style graffiti. I got involved and painted my hideous mark. I don’t think I am going to a street artist or anything but it is another one off the list and it was pretty fun.

47 & 50. Films and Book update

I wanted to do 50 books and 250 films. I’m starting to think that was a little bit optimistic and I seem to just be watching TV! I will do two line reviews for them each in case anyone is curious about a new book or movie. 

New books

The Versions of Us - It took me ages to get into this book and then I found it quite sad. Its a very real book and portrays relationships in an honest way but leaves you feeling quite empty a the end. 

Pretty Girls - Bloody terrifying and fairly horrifying too. Its creepy and intense and keeps you guessing. If you like horror mysteries then go forth, it was quite a shock to me. 

New Films

Suicide Squad - Despite rubbish reviews, I really liked it! Harley Quinn is my comic queen anyway and Margot Robbie played her well. The storyline was weak but I think they are building ahead to something bigger. Worth watching and making up your own mind.

The Purge: Election Year - It's basically the second film with extra people and weird face masks. Not a good movie. 

Hush - An easy Netflix find. Interesting thriller but lacked a clear story or characters. Fine for a lazy night in, wouldn't have paid to see it. 

So that's where I am so far. 5 goals down 996 to go! 

Thursday, 4 August 2016

How to have more fun as a blogger

There has been a lot of negativity up and about in our blogging world recently. Everyone seems to be feeling a bit uninspired. We're all a bit tired of the same old, tired of the bitchy parts and often just tired of blogging. As someone who deleted my whole blog and came back anyway, I feel like I have a bit of experience in this negative space. We all get a bit put down sometimes and life gets in the way. I think there are a few ways we can make it fun again. I LOVE blogging and leaving it behind for a bit has only made me more obsessed with it now. I enjoy not just blogging but writing and I don’t think I would ever give it up. Now that I'm back in the swing of it, I've come up with a few ways to keep it fun as chase away the negativity. 

Forget the numbers

Unless you are in the small percentage of blogger that are able to do this full time, (in which case Well Done!!), it’s probably not your main source of income. Yes be driven and have goals, but obsessing over Instagram followers and page views is going to suck the fun out of it. Yes you can work on promotion to help boost your numbers but aside from that, there isn’t much you can do about it any way so why stress? It really shouldn't be a numbers driven thing. Blogging is about words, leave the maths at home. 

Stop comparing yourself

So maybe you aren’t Zoella just yet and you didn’t get that invite to that super amazing blogger party that other people did. That’s totally fine! That’s doesn’t mean that you can’t blog or that what you’re doing isn’t the start of something amazing for you. Nobody starts blogging with 1 million followers and all the latest beauty launches arriving at their door. I think one of the major keys to being happier as a blogger is simply to stop comparing yourself. You are amazing, a creator and completely unique. Whoever you are, as a blogger you should be proud of what you’re creating. Whatever other people are doing doesn’t make you any more or any less.

Embrace the community and share the love

We are an amazingly supportive group of guys and gals. Spreading some love will come back at you tenfold and make you appreciate being a part of such a wonderful community. Join in on Twitter chats, blogger meet ups and just spread some lovely comments to join in. Being a part of Jemma’s Girl Gang is so rewarding and everyone is so supportive, I really feel it adds to why I love being a blogger. 

Blog your interests

Forget those posts that you think will grow traffic or the ones you think are just ‘blogger’ type posts. You will enjoy blogging so much more if you write about your passions. Even if it doesn’t fit in your niche, your love for your interests will come across naturally and so much more genuine. I think placing too many restrictions on writing will stunt your creativity and ultimately, your happiness.

Remember why you started

There must have been a main reason you sat down at your computer and made this happen. Focus on why you wanted to do this in the first place. Maybe you have lost sight of what you had hoped to achieve. If you still love it then focus on that!

People loved blogging long before it became a viable career option. Let’s all have bit more fun with it and enjoy being creators. 

Monday, 1 August 2016

Pinterest Inspired Homeware Wish List

In case you haven't heard me blab on about it enough already, I'm moving house! This means I spend hours of my life scrolling the internet for dreamy home ware pieces that fit my Pinterest board and are basically #HomeGoals. As it turns out, lots of blog readers are big time homeware addicts so I thought it might be helpful to share my favourite finds on here too. In case you can't tell, my heart is drawn to geometric shapes and gold and rose gold shades. I'm also feeling the slogan trend right now as I love typography pieces in the home and my style has always been a bit quirky. Also I am aware I included two cake stands but I bake a lot and these things are totally essential right?

Marble Cake Stand // Door Matt // Wall Clock // Awesome Mugs // Geometric Table //  Clock // Kitchen Storage Jars // Pattern Vase // Terrarium // Slogan Pillow // Dino Cake Stand // White Table // Letter Pillow // Letter Industrial Light // Metallic Cafetiere // Floor Lamp // Trinket Dish // Ladder Shelves // 'Hello' Ornament
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