Friday, 21 April 2017

EVERY DAY

Moving across the country has proven to be a surprisingly emotional event.
After the dust had settled and my brain began to defrost from the all-consuming thoughts of moving, job transferring, settling in and navigating my way around a new area the reality of everything and everyone I've left in Yorkshire likes to slam me out of nowhere from time-to-time.

image from weheartit
Whilst I have no regrets about coming to Lancashire there are times when I get homesick beyond belief and not a day goes by where I don't miss my family and friends.
Wednesday brought the first lot of bad news I've had to bear since moving; my auntie lost her fight with cancer. I couldn't feel further from my family and the hugs I'm craving from them inspired the following that I'd like to share for any of you who may be going through a tough time...

Appreciate every heartbeat and take no breath for granted.
Tell your special ones just how much you love them and hug them tightly every time you can.
Treat the fragility of life with the utmost respect.
Never waste a moment.
Never give yourself a reason to wish you had one more chance.
Take every opportunity you have with the people who live inside your heart.
Always make sure to live, laugh and love as fully as you can...
...every single day.

Monday, 10 April 2017

SPRING/SUMMER STAPLES 2017: THE WISHLIST

Spring has sprung and it’s time to put the big coats and fluffy knitwear away for another six months, which can mean only one thing: a spring/summer wishlist!
I’m feeling quite girly right now, which is pretty clearly reflected in the items I’ve chosen for this season’s list, so feel free to have a look at what I’m currently coveting…

ZOEANNA ROSE WRAP FRONT MIDI DRESS: Pretty Little Thing Shape Range, £25
I generally don’t believe in love at first sight, but this dress has put paid to that because look at it. I’m going to be back in Yorkshire for Easter weekend and this has got such Girls’ Night Out vibes it is tempting me a whole lot.

The fact it’s velvet gives the dress a little more of an edge and the colour is a perfect hue that’ll see it through Easter, weddings, Christenings and so many more occasions that’ll this dress will be taken from a good night out to a surprising wardrobe staple.

NUDE FAUX SUEDE POINTED HEELS: F&F at Tesco, £15
I’m not much of a heels girl, but I tried these on a few weeks back and they are so comfortable. For just £15 they’re a real bargain and have the kind of heel that fits the ‘just the right height’ bracket.

Like the dress these are shoes that can be worn for any occasion and will go with any look or style due to their neutral colouring and simple design.
I’m more about spending my money on investment pieces lately and these shoes certainly fit the bill, with the rewear value being superb for the price.



GREY FREE RN FLYKNIT 2017: Nike Junior, £70
One of the perks of having small feet is being able to buy trainers from the kids’ section which really appeals to my style-for-less outlook. I’m able to go back to the gym after being out of action with a heel fracture for the past three weeks and I’m on the lookout for some new trainers due to my current New Balance being a little worse for wear.

The colour and texture of these Nikes is beautiful and fits with the athleisure aesthetic that I’m secretly a growing fan of! On style alone they’re appealing enough, but for just £70 – compared with the £105 for the adult version – they are truly irresistible.

JEMIMA FLORAL APPLIQUE BODYSUIT: NaaNaa, £24.99
Applique is everywhere right now and it’s a trend I’m really digging, with this bodysuit being one of the prettiest ways of wearing the trend I’ve seen so far. It’s cute and flirty, edging into slightly naughtier territory, and the ways to wear it are endless; with shorts for a day in the city, under a fitted midi skirt for date night, on its own for a trip to the beach or even with some high-waisted jeans if there’s a chill in the air.

The sewn roses are a great way to jazz up an outfit and, being the kind of girl who’s not the biggest lover of accessories, that’s just one more positive towards an applique bodysuit.

SWIFT CHUNKY CATEYE SUNGLASSES:
Topshop, £18
I love a cateye shape for any type of specs and pairing that with leopard print made them hit this list with no second thought. They’re an exaggerated version of a classic style and I’m a sucker for sunglasses that are oversized.

For just £18 they’re on the bargainous side of the price scale and are an OTT statement set of sunnies that will inject frivolity into the carefree seasons ahead. I feel like I’m a lot more chilled out recently, much more open to new experiences and a lot more ready to make the most of life and this pair of sunglasses speaks to my emerging more happy-go-lucky side!

I find it harder to pick things for the warmer seasons than I do for the colder ones - hey, I like it chilly OK?! - but I think these five pieces will see me through a bunch of occasions and give my wardrobe a bit of an update without breaking the bank.

x

Friday, 7 April 2017

KAT VON D vs MAKEUP REVOLUTION

And so the storm rages on...
The battle of Dupes vs Copies is always bubbling under the surface of the beauty world, with a re-ignition coming from Kat von D against Makeup Revolution a couple of weeks ago. Kat initially expressed her unhappiness via Instagram, then went on to upload a video to YouTube where she discussed the reasons around why she’s upset at the MUR palette.



Kat Von D YouTube Video: Dupes vs Rip-Offs

Kat discusses why she thinks it’s unfair, sharing thoughts about how the situation is frustrating to her. She also talks about brands treating other brands with "kindness and thoughtfulness", though that’s completely at odds with her hashtag '#lazyfucks' that she branded MUR with over on Instagram…
Kat shows us ongoing artwork and her vault of sketches detailing the creative process for KVD Beauty products, continually emphasising her attention to detail and the amount of effort she puts into her brand. There’s also a glimpse of a huge makeup collection in her kitchen with Kat explaining that she tests every product before approval.

There’s no doubt that Kat’s an amazing artist who puts her heart and soul into her brand, but - and there's always a but – there’s one area where it’s obvious that she’s getting it all wrong: pricing.
Quite boldly Kat states that cost "doesn't matter" and she believes that people "should understand there's a certain price to pay for quality", attempting to justify her position by comparing KVD Beauty to existing brands and placing hers on the lower end of the luxe spectrum.
While this may be true it's a very sweeping statement to make and, to me, it shows her to be pretty tone deaf. That very argument puts Kat in danger of alienating consumers who may not be able to afford her brand, as well as those who can afford it but don’t like the ‘woe is me’ trope from the rich, out-of-touch owner of the brand.

This whole thing has made me question how in touch Kat is with the world in which she operates. Sure KVD Beauty is sold within a certain pricepoint, whilst MUR is within a completely different one, but they all come under the umbrella of makeup. It seems Kat is failing to understand that people buying MUR's £8 offering (yes, that's a £40 difference) are spending 'only' £8 for a reason; because they want to trial a palette to see if they’ll get wear out of a higher-value brand; because they can't get hold of KVD Beauty easily; because they can't afford to spend £48 on one palette but still want a little bit of makeup to make them feel good about themselves.


Image from Kat's Instagram
To make a YouTube video about packaging and pre-testing is all well and good, but Kat’s MUR hissy fit is irrelevant to both of those points. KVD Beauty and MUR exist in different markets and, whilst Kat’s frustrations aren’t entirely unfounded, I think she’s lashed out very quickly and very publicly without much forethought than ‘THEY STOLE MY PALETTE’.
Ultimately I think Kat’s reaction comes over as snobby with a sprinkle of brand-shaming on top for good measure. I also think her outburst has been enough to make a dent in her consumers’ perceptions, with more comments on social media appearing to lambast her than support her.
Of course this isn’t the beginning of the demise of KVD Beauty. Of course MUR aren’t about to become the biggest and most successful brand du jour. Of course the world will continue to spin and of course there are many more important things to be worried about, but it’s an interesting topic all the same.

I’m curious to know what you guys think about Kat’s outburst and whether it’s affected your propensity to buy her brand. Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

SUPERDRUG TEA TREE CLEANSERS

When it comes to trying new products I think it's only fair to give them a decent trial before deciding whether I like them or not. In an effort to branch out and not get stuck in the rut of buying/using the same things, I recently decided to try Superdrug's Tea Tree Facial Wash and their Tea Tree Exfoliating Cream Wash. Since buying them a couple of weeks ago I've used one or both of them every day and I'm pretty pleased with how they're working with my skin.



The Facial Wash is as straight forward as it sounds; it's a lovely thick green gel that I like to get frothy on my hands before massaging it into my face and cleaning off with a regular cotton flannel. A little is enough to get a good cleanse and I've found that a grape-sized blob is the perfect amount for me to use.
I haven't used the Exfoliating Cream Wash as often - only around four times in the past fortnight - but so far it's proving itself on keeping any dry patches at bay. As with the Facial Wash I use a grape-sized amount, smother it into my hands, massage into my face and finish with the flannel. The combination of the cream and crushed walnut shells (no microbeads here!) feels like a real treat and leaves my skin feeling deeply cleansed yet moisturised.

I'm so impressed with these cleansers and am particularly impressed with how good they are in terms of value-for-money. My skin feels smoother, looks clearer and appears to be a lot brighter, plus the tea tree makes for a truly refreshing wash.
I'm keen to try more from this range, particularly the micellar water and the heavier duty exfoliating face scrub, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for more more tee tree-related updates!

Friday, 24 March 2017

EXPERIENCE 2017!

After the total exasperation that was 2016 I vowed to make 2017 different for all the right reasons. Almost four months in I'm having an experience-led year that's proving to be absolutely brilliant. Take a seat and come with me to have a look through the main experiences I'm looking forward to the most this year...


1. I Am Gym Bunny
So that heading is a little optimistic but what's a plan without some hope?! I promised myself back in Yorkshire that I'd rejoin a gym and it's shaping up to be one of the best decisions I've made for a while.
My main focus for attending the gym is weight loss, but there are so many other benefits coming from regular workouts that I almost feel like a completely new person. I've met new friends, I have heaps more energy and the positive impact that taking regular exercise is having on my mental health is incredible! As my fitness is improving so is my confidence and I'm looking forward to seeing how far ahead I'll be by the end of the year.

2. Hostess With the Mostest
One of the downsides of moving cross-country is missing family and friends BUT this gives me the opportunity to host their holidays! I love making my close ones happy so I'm looking forward to planning days out, finding lovely places to eat and making sure they all have an excellent time.
It's an exciting challenge to find activities to fit different people; for example, my parents are coming in early May so we'll take a trip to Fairhaven Lake, enjoy a St Annes beach visit and take a trip up to Cleveleys with food coming from local pubs. On the flip side a couple of friends our own age are coming in July and their visit will likely entail Blackpool's Pleasure Beach and Sandcastle Waterpark, some shopping in Manchester and hopefully a visit for some scrummy V Rev food.

3. Enjoy Live Music
Few things in life are better than live gigs and I have a few lined up for the rest of the year, plus there's a few more on my wishlist. Currently planned are Slam Dunk Festival at the end of May, and Mayday Parade and UK Slam Fest, which are both in September. Slam Dunk and Mayday Parade are both heavy on the nostalgia hit and I can't wait to experience A Lesson In Romantics in all its full glory. On the wishlist is the Sunday of Parklife in June and I am beyond desperate to see Lady Gaga when she's in the country in October. Sadly I was a victim of the ticket fiasco so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she'll release more dates. Seeing artists and bands perform right in front of my eyeballs is one of my favourite things to do and I'm hopeful that 2017 isgoing to deliver some brilliant performances.

4. A Completed Sleeve
My left arm has been a saga in terms of getting it tattooed; it's been ongoing since 2011 (yes, really) but I only have one large piece left to be done and some smaller gap fillers to fully finish it off.
I've grown to have a love/hate relationship with getting the sleeve done but I am well and truly ready to get it totally boxed off this year. To some of you it'll probably seem strange to class this as an experience to look forward to, but I do think of tattoo sessions as exactly that! After six years of falling in and out of love with my sleeve I'm very much ready to have it beautiful and complete.

5. Trot the Globe
At the end of April Brad and I will be celebrating our eighth anniversary and we want to go adventuring on our first foreign holiday (yes, you read that right, we've never been on a 'proper' holiday together!) with the toss-up currently falling between Amsterdam and Poland.
Sun-drenched holidays spent on loungers don't really appeal to us - we'd rather experience culture and history in the places that we do end up visiting - which is why we're stuck on fully deciding where to go on our first trip away. There are pros and cons to both places, with the final decision looking to be scarily close to being decided via the flip of a coin!

I'm really enjoying the process of building my year on experiences and making memories - I truly feel like it's a properly fulfilling way to go about things - and I'm loving Eventbrite for finding interesting and exciting things to do that I might otherwise miss out on. If you can't find an event you want to attend you can even create your own and keep track of the guest list with their online registration software.
Let me know what memories you're going to be making this year in the comments!