31 October 2015

Body Confidence is for Life, Not Just for Summer

As soon as March hits, bringing with it a wave of no-longer-freezing weather, we start to see the campaigns encouraging us to ladies to “get bikini body ready” and the suchlike. Although this year we’ve seen a fair amount of backlash to this notion (just check out the feminist campaign against the advertisements on the Tube this year!), nobody’s saying enough about the emotional and physical impact of this media stimulus when summer has ended. Why should we be encouraged only to change our bodies during the summer months? Why is no one reminding us that body confidence is about what you feel about your body, rather than some bloke eyeing you up on the beach? What do we do if we feel disappointed that we haven’t lived up to these “expectations” imposed upon us as Autumn descends?
Well, for starters, we need to abandon this idea of “bettering ourselves” for summer, just so that we think we can look better in those short shorts. Instead, why don’t we campaign to simply feel good in our own skin, which is something that is important to us all year round? Nobody likes feeling any amount of self-hate, which is why this is so important. The reason why I chose these pictures is to remind myself that the girl in all of the photos is the same person, they just simply highlight different aspects of her. I need to accept my good with my bad and follow my own advice about encouraging body confidence. So, here are my tips on how to start your own campaign for body positivity:
1.)    Set aside a fortnightly pamper night for you and your friends and/or family. This is the perfect opportunity to give yourself an extra little bit of TLC and make yourself feel special. Roll out the facemasks, hairmasks and nail polishes and sit down for a good ol’ session of Gossip Girl.
2.)   Wear pretty underwear. It doesn’t have to be expensive – even Primark does a really elegant range these days – and it definitely doesn’t have to be for any man in your life. Wear something that makes you feel sexy and confident, because you know when you look in the mirror at the end of the day (or night) you haven’t spent all day in those out of shape pants you bought years ago and haven’t yet gotten rid of, but instead are wearing something that makes you proud of you!
3.)   Style yourself however you want. Let’s face it, even when the media isn’t trying to tell us what to wear, our parents, communities and even friends are. So what if you want to dye your hair pastel pink and get a lip ring? Or like to snuggle up in warm woolly ponchos in the Autumn? If you like it, wear it – don’t be somebody else’s mannequin.
Finally, take all of my advice with a pinch of salt. These are just things that I find really work, but we’re all different. Just remember that simply because summer is over does not mean that you’ve somehow “failed” if you haven’t changed yourself “enough” – you are who you are, and once you learn to respect that, everything will change around you and you won’t have to. 

What do you think?

29 October 2015

Last Minute Tips 'n' Tricks | Halloween Witch Makeup

Dark and sultry is my favourite kind of makeup at halloween, so I whipped together a really quick witch-y / vampire-y makeup look. 

I started with a base of L'oreal's True Match foundation in Rose Gold and set it with Makeup Revolution's pressed powder in porcelain soft pink. This gave me a nice, pale cover to work as a contrast to dark lips and eyes.

For my eyes I started off with my Makeup Revolution Ultra Flawless eye shadow palette. I used the lightest white shade for a base, followed by a dark purple and smudged out by a lighter shade. Then I applied my black Maybelline gel eyeliner and Rimmel Wonder'full mascara to frame my eyes. 

Finally, I applied my KIKO Passionately Fire Red lipstick and created a mottled effect over it with a small eyeshadow brush and some black eyeshadow.

What look are you going for this Halloween?

27 October 2015

Give me the Heebie Jeebies | LUSH Halloween

Any excuse to buy LUSH products ensures that I'm there queuing I'm at the door (or adding items to my online basket) ASAP. So, this year I decided to check out their Halloween range and purchased Heebie Jeebie, which contains the Nightwing shower jelly and Lord of Misrule shower gel. And yes, I may have been swayed by the cute bat grin and the fact that the detachable wings could make my rabbit look super cute. 
I'm not going to lie, I had a firm favourite out of the two: Lord of Misrule. Not only did it have a scent that was intangibly halloween-y, but it totally made me feel like Elphaba by leaving a green tint on my skin before I washed it off. I found Nightwing on the other hand ... difficult ... to use. Not only am I super clumsy, but I'd never tried a shower jelly before and I found it almost impossible to keep a grip on! However, I love the fact that the jelly keeps it's shape in the tub!
Are you spicing up your skincare purchases this Autumn?

25 October 2015

Halloween Decor | Orange is the New Black

Everybody loves a little bit of festive decoration (unless you're some kind of year-long festive Scrooge!), so I've compiled a collation of my favourite decor items this year.

Yankee Candles are pretty much the best decorative item in my house - they're so interchangeable, perfect as gifts and transform the entire scent and atmosphere of my home. I decided to order candy corn, witches brew and their spider web votive holder to make my home that little bit more spooky. 

I made my first foray into halloween baking this year as well - with the help of a much more artistically inclined housemate for the decorations on top! A Tiger store has just opened in my home town and I think I've fallen a tiny bit in love. I managed to grab these awesome cupcake holders, flags and fake spiders for a teensy price. Plus, a tube of orange and black gel food colouring made a perfect topping for these red velvet cupcakes!

How are you decorating for halloween this year? 

22 October 2015

100th Post GIVEAWAY | MAC, The Body Shop and Benefit

I recently reached my 100th blogpost and realised - what better way to celebrate than a giveaway of some really pretty awesome stuff?! 
So, these are some of my winter essentials to make you and your home feel and smell great. Enter below to be in a chance of winning:
- The Body Shop's Honey Bronze Bronzing Powder
- The Body Shop's Oils of Life Intensely Revitalising Bi-Phase Essence Lotion
- The Body Shop's Vanilla & Tonka Bean Scented Candle
- A M.A.C Lipstick (colour of your choice)
- Benefit Cosmetic's b.right Radiant Skincare Kit

a Rafflecopter giveaway

19 October 2015

No More Loneliness | Raising Awareness with Sunrise

We all know how awful it can be to feel lonely, yet it must be so much worse to feel lonely and either less mobile, or more isolated than us young'uns would be. So, I teamed up with Sunrise Senior Living to create a meal to raise awareness for the often crippling loneliness that elderly people feel. I invited my dearest grandmother to come along so that I could make her a meal, courtesy of Sunrise and the recipes they sent me, and play some games with her.

I'm not going to lie, I was pretty nervous. My grandma is basically the master chef of our entire family and I wanted to make something to finally prove that I'm basically an adult and totally capable of cooking things for myself. So, I went with a goat's cheese and roasted cherry tomato salad (one of my own recipes which you can find here) for a starter, and Sunrise's beef bourgignon recipe. I have to say, I was pretty impressed with myself. Despite the bottom of my pan looking a little cinder-y, the main itself was delicious, and I've definitely saved the handy recipe card it came on for future use.

When Sunrise first contacted me, I was given a choice of potential games that they could send for us to play. After we'd eaten our meal together I got my whole household (well, the three of us plus Grandma) together, so that we could all play some card games. I am so glad to say that grandma absolutely loved this - though maybe that was the wine from the meal talking?! The entire day gave us a chance to spend some quality time together, as well as for her to learn some new card games and finally get out of the house. As we lost my grandfather earlier this year, it's become even more important that as a family we spend time together, so Sunrise provided me with a perfect opportunity to do exactly that.

Finally, I challenge you to do what I did: spend some time with a neighbour, friend or relative who is elderly: cook them a meal of something they wouldn't eat everyday and take the opportunity to listen to their woes and joys this Autumn.  

16 October 2015

Halloween Snacks | Spook Me

We all love a bit of festive cooking right? I've prepared this uber quick recipes for you guys to get in the spirit of things towards the end of the month!

Jelly-filled Oranges

Jelly sachet (flavour of your choice)

Create and set the jelly.
Slice the top off of the orange.
Using a knife/fork/spoon/your fingers to scoop the insides of the orange out.
Carve an image of your choice in the skin of the orange.
Cut the jelly up into cubes and fill the orange up with it!

Oat and Honey "Scab" Cookies

I used the recipe from my Great British Bake Off book, featured here, as a base. My hatred for cinnamon led me to leave this out however, and I replaced the dried fruit with mixed red berries.

To create the topping I warmed up 100g of frozen blueberries in the microwave and then mashed them. I spooned the warm gooey mixture over the cookies. 

What are you cooking up this halloween?

13 October 2015

Cleanse Me | Algimud Active Seaweed Mask

Recently I haven't quite been keeping off of the dairy, despite my lactose intolerance (understatement of the year!), so my skin is in a pretty dire state. Urgent TLC was needed and came in the form of this purifying, cleansing dead sea spa mask. Now, I'm not going to lie, this was possibly the weirdest facemask I've ever tried, and I try a LOT. 

For starters, it originated as a powder, and I had to mix the actual mask myself. There was enough in the pack for two applications, so me and my sister both underwent this experiment. Then. there was the application itself: you smeared this slightly lumpy, very gooey mixture onto your face with a wooden stick the pack provided. Finally, there was the drying process. Have you ever played with putty? Or, alternatively, had your teeth tested for braces at an orthodontists with some weird mouth putty? Either way, its texture was exactly like that. I sort of felt as though I was trying out some special effects makeup and dressing up as some kind of obscene creature, especially when the drips of facemask dried and oozed off of my face.

All in all it was a hilarious experience, perfect for a girls night in, and left my skin feeling utterly cleansed and soft for days.

9 October 2015

Make Me Smell Pretty | Treets Cosmetics

Mango is pretty glorious is any form in my opinion, so when I came across this range in Holland and Barratt my little eyes lit up. Treets' products are all pH neutral , paraben, colorant and silicone free, and smell beautiful - what's not to love?! 

The body lotion is incredibly light on the skin, so blends in easily in both winter and summer.This was definitely my favourite out of the two. Although the shower gel also smells divine, it doesn't foam as much as would be ideal. However, knowing that this is because it contains no nasties does help a great deal to make this seem like less of an issue!

Have you tried any of this range?