Beauty Bloggers Beauty Range Wishlist

Monday, 29 September 2014
If you're a regular in the blogosphere, there is no way that you could have missed the launch of Zoe from Zoella's beauty range, Zoella Beauty, now out in Superdrug in the UK and on It's quite heart-warming to see the hard work of bloggers pay off, and it's been interesting to see posts from other bloggers who've already gotten their hands on the range. The launch party looked amazing! Congrats Zoe!

I'm looking forward to eventually getting my hands on some of the products (thank you for shipping to Belgium!), so while I wait for them to come back in stock, I thought I'd put together a wishlist including beauty ranges from other Youtube beauty bloggers Tanya Burr Cosmetics by Tanya Burr and Em Cosmetics by Michelle Phan. 

Tanya Burr Nail Polish (60g) in Peaches & Cream || New York Night || Little Duck || Riding Hood ||

I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on the Zoella Beauty Fizz Bar, Tanya Burr Nail Polish in Little Duck (I love the names!) and the Em Cosmetics Concealer Mixing Palette.

Have you tried any of these products? Do you have any favourites from their beauty lines?

Thoughts On Sunday: There's A Reason Why People Tell You To Follow Your Dreams

Sunday, 28 September 2014
(Image source: Roman Boed)

There are probably hundreds and thousands of blog posts which cover the topic of following your dreams. Entire blogs and books are dedicated to the subject. You may have even had teachers and parents telling you to do so before you could even fully grasp what a dream was. It is something that we hear over and over again, and just like when you repeat the same word over and over again, it starts to lose meaning. It starts to become a case of: okay, thanks for the advice, but what do you want me to do with it? What does it mean? Have you tried following your dream in an economic downturn, when your desired field is no longer hiring, when life is placing obstacle after obstacle in your path and outright beating you up and you're pretty sure the end is nigh? What if dreams are just dreams and we should stick to reality? 

The concept of following your dream can seem abstract to the point that it appears as the privilege of a select few. I acknowledge that the ability to follow your dream is in itself a privilege. No matter how much people wax lyrical about every individual's ability to do 'anything they want in life' this has to be dabbed with a dose of realism. Not everyone, everywhere, has the capacity, the opportunity and the freedom to live their life in accordance to their dreams. There are those who dream of going to school but can't because they live in a war-ravaged area or their education system simply isn't accessible; there are those who are actively stopped from dreaming and if they were to follow their dreams it would result in the loss of their life - there are those who truly cannot follow their dreams, no matter how much they would want to.

I think that's part of the reason why we're told to follow our dreams so much. It is a privilege to do so when you can, so why spend your time doing something else? Even then, being told you're lucky to be able to do something doesn't necessarily inspire you to get going. It certainly didn't work for me. What has pushed me the most in recent times was fully realising the consequences of not following your dreams when you can

You will never be able to quite shake the feeling that there is something else in life you should be doing. I imagine we're perfectly capable of living with this feeling. I've managed to convince myself for long stretches of time that I wanted to be doing something other than writing, that I wanted to work in a non-creative environment, that I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing things that I didn't want to do. People are often able take their dreams to the grave. The truth of the matter is though, when you don't follow your dreams when you could have, you're haunted by the ghost of 'What if'. And the ghost of 'What if I had just gone for it?' weighs a lot heavier than the one that says 'What if I was born into different circumstances'.

Chances are, you will feel unsatisfied. There is something that you really want. You know it'll make you happy, and you wake up every morning dreaming of a life where you're doing it. You pass your local bookstore imagining your name being touted as this year's bestseller, you read about the success of yet another company and think you could have done the same if you'd started at the same time, you watch a Youtube video and wish you could be doing the same. It's very difficult to appreciate and be satisfied with the life that you're living when you're not on the path you want.

As a consequence, you're generally unhappy. It doesn't necessarily mean you're sad or that you can't feel happiness, but you're not really happy. Most of the things in life we either do because we have to or because they make us happy. Often we also end up doing things because we think we should do them, and yet they're neither things we have to do or that make us happy. Most of the 'should do' in our lives are linked to comparisons, to societal pressures and to a fear of reaching for what we want, and none of those are a combination for happiness.

If you don't follow your dream, more often than not, you will have regrets. It's amazing how fast 'I should be doing...' turns into 'I should have done...' when that thing you thought you should have been doing wasn't what you wanted to do. I have never regretted the things I have done that I wanted to do, even when they've gone wrong or turned out the complete opposite of how I expected them to be - I've just chalked them up to bad experiences and happily moved on. The times that have stayed on my mind have been the moments when I gave up, when I chose the easy path instead of the dream path, when I didn't do what I wanted to do, and I have ultimately regretted those moments.

When you don't follow your dreams when you could have done, when you're not doing what you want to do for all the reasons and excuses that are personal to you, it's hard to feel truly alive. It's hard to get up early in the morning or feel enthusiasm for the coming day or find rhyme or reason in powering through the obstacles that life places in your way. Ultimately, it will chip away at you, without you even realising it. You're existing and going through the motions, but there is more to life than that. And often those who tell you to follow your dreams know all of this on a subconscious, if not conscious, level.

That's why so many people tell you to follow your dreams, especially when there is nothing truly stopping you from doing so. It's not for the fun of hearing themselves talk about a subject that's been done to death. It's because doing the opposite? Well, it sucks. 

Back To Uni 2014 Wishlist - Part 2

Saturday, 27 September 2014
So here is Part 2 of my Back To Uni 2014 Wishlist. As I mentioned in the first part of the wishlist, all the pieces I've picked are from New Look : they have a great range, they're usually on trend, and hello student discount! That being said, do you ever go through a phase where you walk into your local New Lookk and you can't see anything you like? Thank goodness for their online store! My wishlist grows every time I visit the site. Plus, they have a 60% off sale on at the moment so be sure to check it out if you like your New Look as much as I do. 

As a commuting student, my shoes take on extra importance as they have to take me through ever-changing weather conditions and allow me to run for the train without falling flat on my face. I was instantly drawn to the lace up runners as they reminded me a lot of the Nike Roshe Runs, more affordable. I am so grateful for the sneakers trend. Comfort and style are always a winning combination in my books. Same goes for the velvet slip ons, which add a stylish twist to any casual outfit, whilst keeping feet dry on those rainy days. Even so, who can resist the allure of a cut out shoe? I've been eyeing the tan shoe boots for a while, and I liked the idea of chunky cut out brogues for those days you want to toughen up an outfit without doing much. The woven lace up pumps are an excellent transition piece for those unexpectedly sunny autumn days that remind you of summer, whilst the block heel boots are just what you need for when the rainstorms hit. All day lectures are hard enough - let's not add wet feet to the mix!

Last but not least - accessories! If you're on a course which subjects you to heavy textbooks, you'll know about that shoulder pain you feel a few months in because you've been subjecting it to constant torture from all the weight you've been lugging aound. A backpack is a good solution to that, and I like this quilted one which is simple, stylish and practical. (I've yet to succumb to the luxury backpack trend - I'm not sure I ever will). However, I'm more of a handbag kind of girl, and these bowler bags fit the bill: the black slouchy one for my more casual looks, and the khaki contrast one when I want to look more put together.

Every good student needs a watch, and it's personally one of my favourite accessories. I feel naked without a watch! The wrap style of this gorgeous oversized black and gold watch means that it also looks like you're wearing a bracelet without the double effort of finding one when you're rushing in the morning. That's also what I like about the necklaces I've picked. The layering gives them a statement effect without having to worry about being overdressed as with some statement necklaces. Plus I find that longer necklaces work better with scarves. 

So that's it for my Back To Uni 2014 wishlist! 

You may have noticed that I didn't include jeans or trousers, but that's because I'm a tricky customer when it comes to those and I always have a bone to pick with New Look jeans (hey, no one's perfect!) and I'm beginning to realise that jeans are better as statement pieces.

Are you a New Looker? Or do you prefer to do your back to uni/school shopping elsewhere?

Love Her Style: LLYMLRS | London Fashion Week SS15

Friday, 26 September 2014

London Fashion Week is usually my favourite fashion week, and though I didn't follow the shows as much as I would have liked to this year, I did keep up with my daily blog reading in order to see what the lovely ladies I follow were up to during this week, if anything at all. One blogger's style that really stood out for me was Lily Melrose's. I absolutely fell in love with these looks - I honestly feel like I've been thinking about them for days. So there was no way I couldn't write a blog post.
Her look from Day One first caught my eye because it was so well pulled together, the little details all adding up to create an eye-catching whole. My favourite part may actually be the dark checked socks peeking out from her boots! Her look for Day Two sucked me in. Her grey Topshop Unique gilet is absolutely stunning in its simplicity. A gorgeous staple piece that says sometimes you really do have to splurge. And last but not least, her look for Day Three was my favourite, with it's elegant, soft, feminine look, jazzed up by the black and white pattern of the checked coat and the houndstooth satchel. She even filmed a Get Ready With Me video for this look, which is most definitely worth checking out - the look is so pretty!
As if I wasn't fangirling enough, I was inspired to create a Polyvore board. That is how much I loved her looks. 
Inspired by: LLYMLRS

What do you think of her look?

Review: The Body Shop Strawberry Hand Cream

Monday, 22 September 2014

I picked up this Strawberry Hand Cream from The Body Shop a while ago and it has yet to leave my hand bag. I really like the packaging; I think squeezy tubes like these are more practical than their slightly bulkier plastic counterparts, and they don't betray how affordable this is (€5/£3.50). The scent is incredibly intense without ever being overpowering and whilst being quite sweet it isn't sickeningly so. If you like your strawberry scents, then I would highly recommend this little beauty because it will not disappoint. 

This hand cream has quite a light, almost gel-like consistency, smooths on easily and absorbs quickly which is just what you need when you're out and about and need to quickly add some moisture to your hands. It also doesn't leave a greasy residue, which is also handy when you're using technology such as a tablet or you're about to return to an e-reader. One thing Kindles do not like is greasy hand cream. Trust me. 

I would say though that because it does have such a light consistency, sometimes I get the impression that my hands are a little on the dry side, even if my skin is soft and moisturised to the touch. It's not one I would recommend to someone who has dry skin or wants more intense moisturising.Whilst I'm beginning to doubt this will make the transition into the colder months, this was the ideal summer hand cream, and whenever I apply it I'm reminded of the sun, ice cream and pretty dresses, which is great for momentarily forgetting the grey skies and heavy rain falling outside. 

Have you tried this hand cream or some of the other scents which came out at the same time? I remember trying to decide between the Pink Grapefruit, Satsuma, Shea, Mango, Honeymania and Moringa. It's so hard to pick when you want them all.

Thoughts On Sunday: What To Do When You're Not Where You Expected To Be

Sunday, 21 September 2014
We’re no strangers to expectations.

I’d go as far as to say we’re born with expectations; I think it’s a human condition. When our parents had us, they didn’t necessarily have us with a purpose in minds, but they had hopes and expectations for us, they foresaw bright and glowing futures, usually hidden in the “You can be anything you want to be” uttered so encouragingly. We hit school, and there are expectations that we’ll meet the average grades and hopes that we’ll go far beyond that, from both family and the schools who are proud at their academically brilliant students, or those who have a certain extra-curricular flair. We graduate and we move on to the “adult world” and our bosses have expectations in monthly targets, and hopes in the shape of the company’s overall aim, the people we date hope we’ll turn out to be someone they can come to genuinely like, in the same way that some of us romantics are always on the look out for The One.

There are the hopes and expectations others have for us. Then there are the hopes and expectations that we have for ourselves. 

I remember vividly how ambitious I was when I was eight years old. It was at that time that I discovered ten-year plans, and I set about making my own. In the space of a couple of months I decided I wanted to either be a doctor, a lawyer, a journalist or a writer. I was still perfecting my English at the time, and an invitation to the Headteacher’s reading club led me to discover the wonders of Harry Potter, and I decided I was going to be the next J.K. Rowling. Of course my parents wanted me to be prudent, and whilst applauding my prestigious choice, told me I should still have a career to pay for things whilst I was still in the process of writing my best-sellers. I fixated on one day attending Cambridge University, even ordering a prospectus online, so that I could remember to keep my feet on the ground. Yes, one day I was going to sell millions of books worldwide, but first a degree at one of the top universities.

It’s laughable now, because that’s just not how it went. When you’re eight years old, you can’t quite grasp how changeable life is. Even though we’d just moved countries, that hadn’t hindered my belief in unwavering stability, or maybe that’s why I clung on to it so much. I believed that if I had a plan, I could stick to it, and that would be it - my life would be sorted. I didn’t factor in that my self-esteem would take several hits over the course of the next ten years, and by the time it came to applying to Cambridge, I would no longer believe I had what it took to do it, let alone do what I had always dreamt of doing: write.

One of the things I’ve struggled with since turning eighteen was the realisation that I had fallen short of my own hopes and expectations. It’s easy to shut out other people’s disappointment, but your own disappointment often that resonates ten times louder, and if you don’t find a way to work through it, it can eat at you, keeping you awake at night and stopping you from moving forward. As I work through another setback, and stare my mid-twenties in the face, I realise that I’m going to have deal with my own expectations, and share with you some thoughts on how to get past this, in case you’re going through the same thing.

Accept that you are where you are in life and that there is nothing wrong with that.

Often we are unable to accept our position in life because we’re comparing ourselves to others who seem to be doing much better. In this case, it’s a case of accepting that where you are in life compared to where you expected to be, is acceptable. It doesn’t mean you’ll never reach your dreams and goals. Sometimes we have to adapt to the reality of life, and as long as you don’t give up entirely, you’ll find a new path. All roads lead to Rome, right? So don’t be so hard on yourself.

Write a new plan.

If you’re like me and you love your ten year plans, then write a new one. Don’t dust the old one off and try and make it adapt – keep the end goal, but sketch a different path. Think of it like how a GPS gets you to your destination. You put in your final destination, and it maps the quickest way to get there. When you hit a road block or you take the wrong turn, does the GPS simply turn off and say ‘Well, I was supposed to take this road and now I can’t there’s nothing left to do?’. No, it simply says ‘Recalculating’ and then you’re off again. Constantly adapt your plans to the obstacles life throws at you or to take the wrong turns that we, as fallible human beings, are likely to take. And accept that like a GPS, if you try and stick to your plan even when it’s stopped feeling right, you might end up in the wrong place or driving straight into a river.

Get on with it.

I’ve spent five years mourning the loss of that initial plan. Five years in which I could have been recalculating my route and getting to where I want to be on a new path. Now I’ve accepted it, and I have new plan, the only thing that’s left to do is to get on with it. There’s no use dwelling in the past or the what-ifs. Life has already happened, and each day will keep happening no matter what we do, so the best thing to do when we’re not where we thought we’d be, is to look at where we were going in the first place, and get going.

Remember you’re alive, and that’s all that matters.

It's easy to get bogged down in expectations, in what you should be and what you should do but honestly, all that matters is that you're alive. Being alive means that regardless of where you are or what you have achieve thus far, you still have the possibility to achieve more and work towards what you want. One foot in the other until you can't. Everything else? Doesn't matter.

Back To Uni 2014 Wishlist - Part 1

Saturday, 20 September 2014

It’s that time of the year where some of us head back to universities and colleges. It’s a time of getting back into the books, and for me, trying to figure out what to wear as I rush around because I slept through three snoozes!

I absolutely admire the girls who treat lectures as their personal fashion shows. They look flawless, and their style always on point, but most of the time they have the luxury of living on campus, though that’s not to say my fellow commuters don’t up the style stakes either. Personally, I need something that’s comfortable, can transition through unpredictable weather (hello, layers!) and yet doesn’t look like I just threw it on without a second thought – unless, of course that’s the look I’m going for. It's true that as the assignments build up and exam season looms style often takes a back seat, but in the first couple of weeks, we’re all secretly trying to impress, even if it’s not our first year.
I picked New Look for my back-to-uni wishlist, as New Look is stylish, affordable and accessible, and there’s such a great range to suit everyone that even if you have the same peplum top as the girl sitting next to you, chances are you’ve styled it completely different. 

I've learnt the importance of a good top the hard way: that is when I'm standing in my jeans and bra staring into my cupboard wondering what I can possibly wear that doesn't clash with my jacket, cardigan or scarf. That's why I've opted for tops that have a basic feel with a subtle twist, such as the check pattern on the jumper or the sheer panelling of the black top, or the longline of the burgundy tshirt - which by the way is a perfect colour for the season! A basic crop top is essential for pairing with high-waisted jeans or skirts, and I've only begun appreciating just how much you can do when you have a plain shirt in your wardrobe arsenal. With tops, especially in winter, less is definitely more for that effortless casual look.

With the dresses I've also for a simple look with details that add a twist to your outfit without you even having to do anything. I really like the pleats on the cobalt dress! One thing that's important for me is dresses that have a little structure and a little longer so that they're less likely to blow up in the wind as the weather worsens. I also think these dresses would also work well for presentations or oral exams - add a blazer and smart shoes and you're good to go!

As the weather cools down, the jumpers come out. I love the autumnal colours of these, and there's nothing quite like accessorizing with the changing leaves. They're great for layering and can be worn on their own with a scarf on the warmer days or thrown under a coat in order to be nice and toasty. I love the idea of a leather look blazer for when you want to vamp up your look and I couldn't resist the tartan pattern of the boyfriend blazer. Keeping the tops simple makes it easier to style in the mornings and I think you can never go wrong with jumper + shirt + jeans combination!

I'm definitely hoping to get my hands on the black check jacquard jumper, the blue pleated dress and the navy check boyfriend blazer. What about you? What pieces did you like?

Currently Reading #1: Alain de Botton, 'The Romantic Movement'

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

I used to be a self-professed bookworm. After a particularly haunting incident involving my favourite Barbie during childhood, I turned to books, and we started a tumultuous love affair that under the pressure of adolescence and heavy university work load I thought had come to an end. But thankfully, it isn't so, and lately I've been getting back into reading which has made me a particularly happy bunny. I love reading. It's slow going compared to the speed I remember I used to devour books when I was younger (anyone else read Harry Potter on the same day it was released?) but it's no less enjoyable.

I'm currently sinking my teeth into 'The Romantic Movement: Sex, Shopping and the Novel' by Alain de Botton. It's not my first reading of it, but I hadn't read it in so long, and personally I think it's one of those novels that reads like the first time if you've let enough time elapse so that you've inadvertantly grown as well. 

The thing I like most about 'The Romantic Movement' is the way that de Botton manages to mix fiction with a philosophical and psychological analysis of a relationship from the meeting to break up. The ordinary becomes extraordinary, and the extraordinary becomes understandable. Alice and Eric's relationship isn't particularly interesting in itself, but is brought into new light by analysing it though the prism of the likes of Plato, Freud and Madam Bovary, who are casually dropped into the analysis without making the reader feel like he's being pretentious. 

It's a light, enjoyable read that I can just pick it up and read a few pages, mull it over and read a few more the next day. All in all, it's the perfect book to ease me back into reading.

Have you read 'The Romantic Movement'?

Yves Rocher Bath and Shower Haul

Monday, 15 September 2014
For those of you with an Yves Rocher near you, you will know the deal that comes with walking into your local Yves Rocher: you either buy nothing or you buy everything. When I went in, I knew I wanted to pick up my free gifts (I always get my yearly calendar, pen and phone case) and that I’d just run out of bath stuff so I wanted to stock up. Incidentally, it was Yves Rocher Bath-Shower Gel in Organic Raspberry.

So I knew I had to pick up the same in Wild Strawberry because the end of summer has caused me to cling on to the summer scents perhaps in a subconscious hope of prolonging it whilst the cold weather gathers, and nothing says summer like strawberries. This has a very sweet scent which is perfect for relaxing and leaving the bathroom smelling delicious.  
Then I spotted the gift sets. I knew right then and there they had to be in my bathroom. One set contained a set of the new Yves Rocher Exfoliating Shower gels (200ml) and another came with miniatures of their Bath-Shower Gels (200ml) and their matching Body Milks.

In the Exfoliating Shower Gels I got the following scents: Strawberry, Yellow Peach, and Organic Raspberry. They contain natural fruit seeds which are gentle enough to use every day, though it does warn not to apply to damaged or irritated skin. I like that it uses mostly natural ingredients (96-98% depending on the fruit), and like with their Bath-Shower Gels is pH balanced and paraben-free, which is always a plus. Not to mention the amazing fruity smells! Organic Raspberry is my favourite scent out of these and it looks amazing. I’m going to be sad when I get through it!

For my bath-shower gel and body milk miniatures I got: Yellow Peach and Organic Raspberry again, as well as Organic Vanilla. The Organic Vanilla was the reason why I really wanted this set in the first place as the full size bottles were pretty big, and I didn’t want to have to use up a scent I might not like. Plus this way, I figured that I could also get to test out the body milks. I know I really enjoy the Organic Raspberry bath gel, though from a quick sniff I’m not sure if I’ll say the same for the body milk. On the other hand, the Organic Vanilla Body Milk smells amazing so I’m excited to try it out.

I’ll be sure to let you know how I got on with these, probably in empties post as I make my way through this collection throughout the next coming months. I love an excuse for a nice long bath!

Are you an Yves Rocher lover, or have you ever been to one? What do you think? Do you go for their shower and bath stuff? 
I know that I hadn’t heard of it until I moved to Belgium (I confused it with Yves Saint Laurent back in the days when I was young and unaware), and I’ve only just discovered that they do mail order in a lot of different countries! If you go here you can check to see if Yves Rocher is available in your country, though I accept no responsibility if you inadvertently become addicted to this brand!

Thoughts On Sunday: Don't try it, just do it.

Sunday, 14 September 2014
Welcome to what I hope to make a weekly feature: ‘Thoughts on Sunday’. For me, and for many others, Sunday is a day for thought and reflecting. I usually have brunch with my mother on Sundays and we have a tendency to go on existentialist tangents, or discuss our current reading material and consequent inspired thoughts, so I wanted to share with you my own thoughts. Just what I’ve been thinking about, what’s inspired me and hopefully it might get you thinking too. I find that Sunday is the perfect time for getting your head in order for the coming week. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve felt lost on a Sunday and read something inspirational that has sparked an enthusiastic Monday. Sometimes what I read doesn’t click and other times, I read it at the right moment and it makes so much sense that it feels like I could have written it myself.

This week’s Thoughts on Sunday is on the subject of trying. 

“Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.” – Master Yoda.

I’ve never seen this episode of Star Wars, but it’s a well-known quote, and one that has been on my mind for the past week or so as I geared myself up to start this blog and the start of another year at university. I never really understood this quote, maybe because I haven’t watched the film, and maybe because I just couldn’t see how I could apply it to my life. How could there be no try?

From a young age, I was told that it didn’t matter if I failed, what mattered was that I at least tried. People will often say ‘You should at least try’ especially when you’re faced with an activity that you’re afraid of or don’t particularly want to do. Encouraging you to try, is encouraging you to at least attempt to do something, which isn’t inherently bad. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t try things, but I’m beginning to wonder if it’s the right thing to be saying. When you’re trying something, you’re not doing it.

It took me awhile to understand the difference between ‘trying to do something’ and ‘doing something’. Trying allows for a reserve of doubt, a reserve of failure that you were sort of sure was going to happen, and when it does happen, it doesn’t really matter because you knew there was a chance that it was going to happen. When you try, you hope for success but at the same time set up a safety net in case you don't quite make it to what you were aiming. However, in the realms of motivation, it is a widely held belief that if you anticipate failure chances are you’re going to fail.

Nike doesn’t say ‘just try it’ because it’s doesn’t have the same hard determination as ‘just do it’. ‘Just try it’ would incite just as much curiosity, but it doesn’t evoke the same sort of dedication to what you’re doing as ‘just do it’. When you do something you can’t back out. If you run every day, you run every day – you’re not trying to be a runner, you’re out there come rain or shine, and hopefully (for the marketing department at least) kitted out head to toe in Nike.

It took me awhile to apply the same logic to blogging. I’ve wanted to ‘be a blogger’ since the first bloggers emerged on the scene and we were enthralled with the likes of Susie Bubble, Tavi Gevinson, and The Sartorialist. Except I never got round to blogging, for many, many reasons, including comparing myself to other, letting fear rule me and wanting to do it so much that I talked myself out of it because I didn’t want to find out that I sucked at something I wanted desperately to be good at. (These are things I shall no doubt cover in later Thoughts on Sunday). In hindsight, the thing that ended up being my downfall was that I stayed in the ‘just try it’ phase. Oh, I tried blogging. I racked up a thousand first posts, and usually ended up calling it quits by the third post.

With just a few posts and a blog name, I could say that I had tried blogging. It didn’t matter that it hadn’t worked out, but at least I had tried. I forgot the part where I had to ‘try my best’ and that basically translates to ‘just doing it’. Trying doesn’t involve pushing through the writer’s block and bashing out a couple of hundred words that you hate but you’ve scheduled a post for the next day and you know that you have to get it out there nonetheless. Trying doesn’t even involve a blogging schedule because you’re not a blogger yet, you’re just trying to figure it out. Trying doesn’t really involve a hundred percent, and when it does, it’s synonymous to doing it.

And so that’s when Master Yoda’s quote begun to make more sense:  
You can’t try to blog. Blog. Or don’t blog. There is no try.

In the end, I think the biggest bone I have to pick with the concept of trying is the assumption that trying engenders in some people (I don’t think I’m alone in thinking like this!) that when you do something, it has to be perfect. All the other times you’re doing it, you’re just trying – trying to reach some unattainable perfection. As an aspiring writer, I’ve noticed it’s what established writers try to get the newbies to understand over and over again: a writer is one who writes. Not one who tries to write. One who writes every day, and even if it’s utter rubbish, it doesn’t matter because they’re engaging in their activity, and with each attempt they improve their craft, find their style and are never short of inspiration.

I now believe that when we stop trying to do something, and we just do it, it becomes a whole lot easier. As a consequence, instead of it being a case of ‘I tried and I failed’ it becomes ‘I did it, and I wasn’t that great at it, but I still did it’. Do you see a difference?

What do you think? Am I being to harsh on trying?

August Favourites 2014

Friday, 12 September 2014

I can’t believe that it’s September already. It feels like it was just yesterday that I was sweltering in the London July heat; August sort of washed away, and now the last weeks of summer in September are announcing the arrival of autumn and then: winter is coming. Time really does fly. However, despite feeling that August didn't really stick around, I did manage to amass a few favourites that I'd like to share with you. 

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Lash Extending Treatment Mascara

Whilst I was in London over the summer, I picked this mascara up at TK Maxx in a kit that also contained a sample size of the Elizabeth Arden Lift and Firm Eye Cream with SPF15 and the All Gone Eye and Lip Make Up Remover. While I have yet to use the eye and lip make up remover, and I'm still undecided as to how I feel about the eye cream, I have come to absolutely love the mascara gor one reason, and one reason only: it works! I know I’m not the only one who’s ever brought a mascara which promises to do all sorts of things to your lashes only to be a little let down by either the lack of volume, the lack of length – the lack of whatever it promises. Not with this mascara. It applies well, doesn’t clump and gives you long lashes that frame your eyes quite naturally. You can either double up for a slightly more dramatic look, or I like to use a volumising mascara on top of this to get really full lashes. Honestly, when I’m just nipping out to do some grocery shopping and I want a quick no-make up look, I just dab this on, tidy up my eyebrows, powder my face and off I go!

Another reason I’m particularly keen on using this regularly is that the treatment side works. Since I begun using this daily, I have noticed a significant difference in the length of my lashes – without the mascara. The mascara contains Ceramide, vitamins A, C and E, as well as Keravis, which is said to help strengthen and fortify lashes, and after years of abuse (sleeping in eye make up – guilty as charged!) my lashes probably rejoiced at being taken care of. I think it is worth noting that, whilst it doesn’t clump or smudge, if you’re a fellow oily-lidded gal or your make up just has a tendency to travel southward, this stuff stings. And not just an annoying tickle but a full-on “I will rub my eyes right here on this bus and have panda eyes if I need to because dammit it hurts” kinda sting. This can also happen when removing it given that it has the stubbornness of a waterproof mascara, but that might be a sign I need a better eye make up remover or use the one that it came with. 

Yves Rocher Sexy Pulp Ultra Volume Mascara

This is the mascara I’ve been pairing with my Elizabeth Arden one for beautiful full lashes. Again, it’s another one that keeps its promise. I first got this mascara three years ago as a sample and absolutely loved it, so when I had money off (Yves Rocher will suck you in with their brilliant deals, there is no use resisting), I knew I had to get this. It’s not quite a false lash effect, but your lashes will definitely not go unnoticed with this baby. I particularly like the brush of this. Some mascara’s have some scary brushes or ones that end up hurting my eyes, but not this one. I would highly recommend and will definitely repurchase.

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in 30

Until I bought this, I’d never used a concealer before. I spent most of my teenage years in a confused haze where it came to make up, and not only was I not entirely sure what concealer was for, there was also the difficulty of finding a drugstore brand that has a decent colour range of concealers. I didn’t want to splurge the first time I used a beauty product I wasn’t even sure how to use. However, after watching many a Youtuber and reading an abundance of beauty blogs, I finally understood what a concealer was for, and jumped at the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer when I saw it. Now I can’t go without. It covers signs of late night studies and acne scars without going cakey. It’s light-weight, and natural and it lasted me a good three months – I recently repurchased it. I just really enjoy the consistency of this when I'm applying it, and if this is what I can get at drugstore prices, I'm looking forward to trying higher end brands.

What I will say about this is that, at least for me, blending with fingers isn’t enough. I not only have oily skin, but I’m a glasses wearer, so even with a primer this had a tendency to slide or settle in odd places on my face. Luckily I discovered that I could less this problem significantly by blending the concealer in with a brush before setting it with a powder.

Barry M Brow Pen Liquid Eyebrow Marker in Dark Brown

When I first picked this up in Superdrug over the summer I second-guessed my purchase – I even tried to return it to no avail. However, after a few uses I decided that it was fate that Superdrug excludes make-up from its return policy. I’m still perfecting my brow technique, and this definitely made the job a lot easier than pencil or powder. The shade is just the right colour, and the thin nib allows you to lightly fill in and outline your brows. I feel like you have to be really heavy handed with this in order to get the thick Sharpie look. On a night out I liked to pair this with a powder to give me really defined brows that stayed in place the entire night. There’s no Barry M in Belgium, but I just discovered the Barry M site delivers to Belgium which makes me so happy as this isn’t the only Barry M product I’ve been loving.

Nail Paint by Barry M 308 Berry Ice Cream

This was my perfect summer shade. Pretty, pastel and purple! I didn’t always want to go for brights, especially with August a lot rainier weather wise, and this colour just fit the bill. Since Barry M is so affordable, I was surprised that the staying power rivalled my Nails Inc and Essie shades, though you do have to apply two coats to get a nice opaque colour (I feel three shades starts to look a little like Tippex or actual paint). It also had a glossy finish that I liked, and I’ll definitely be looking for some darker shades in this range as we move into autumn.

Batiste Dry Shampoo in Floral and Fruity Blush (50ml)

I picked this up on a whim when I was getting some other travel-sized beauty products mainly because I wanted to sate my curiosity as to whether this would work on my hair type. I have chemically-straightened black hair, but in between treatments the roots acquire their natural, coarse frizzy texture. I’d also heard complaints that it either didn’t work or that it left behind white residue that is hard to brush. I was pleasantly surprised. A good shake of the can, a couple of sprays and a good brush through and voila! I have glossy, revitalised hair. It’s great for when washing your hair isn’t a possibility (or just feels like effort that day). I personally wouldn’t Batiste more than two days in a row. Though it does freshen up, it is another hair product, and in the end will contribute to the grease build up.

Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Lotion SPF 15

Though I think my skin is beginning to show signs of a need to switch up my routine and find a more suitable face cream, this got me through the summer months. I first got this in June when my face was dry and irritable from drying skin products that had left my skin begging for moisture. This was lightweight (great for those hot summer days!) and left my skin sufficiently moisturised without leaving greasy. I used it throughout July even if a higher SPF might have been called for, but it was perfect for cloudy and rainy August. I liked that I knew that my skin was moisturised and protected without needing two separate products. 

What about you? What did you love over August?  Have you used any of my favourites? What did you think of them?