I'm currently experiencing a hair-life crisis. Unsure of whether or not to go for the chop, let it grow or do something in between (when you've got a wedding happening in six months time your hair decisions hold even more weight!) I'm increasingly turning to a portfolio of styling products to tide me over and keep my rather dry and dull locks in check. The thought of washing, drying and styling my hair has never been appealing, but now I'm spending more of my days in the gym it seems pointless to keep preening when I know I'm going to get all sweaty in a matter of hours anyway. I've been increasingly turning to a portfolio of styling products to help add texture, volume, shine and control to my 'do so I don't have to bother with heat styling or washing it daily - and these are the six that have continually made the cut.
My oh my the sunshine has finally come out to play. For the first time this year I embraced the warmer weather and left my opaques at home, revealing a flash of bare leg and letting the spring breeze catch my appropriately hued skirt. I've been preemptively buying lighter coloured garments in anticipation of such a momentous occasion for some time, which means most are sitting within my wardrobe with labels still attached waiting to be loved. (I do the same every year and never learn.) When we had a few days of warmer weather it was the perfect excuse to finally pop on a springtime outfit and journey for tea and cake at the blogger haven location that is Peggy Porschen. Possibly the most Instagram-friendly location in London, this cute little cafe offers up delicious cakes that are almost too good to eat; whether you choose to sit inside amidst the sweet treats, or enjoy the view of the streets of Belgravia while you sip on a brew, it's a destination that's well worth a visit. While I was there it was the perfect opportunity to take in the sunshine and snap a few pictures of possibly my favourite look of the year to date.
Despite the fact that we've become desensitized to nudity, sex, violence and gore (you only have to watch a singular episode of Game Of Thrones to tick them all off,) periods are still rather taboo. Half of the population suffers the inconvenience of a menstrual cycle for a duration of their lives, but it remains a subject that many of us shy away from and refuse to discuss outside of our intimate circles. Although periods can be uncomfortable and a hindrance, the majority of us are in a position to snuggle up with a hot water bottle and eat all the chocolate without wondering where our next tampon is coming from. We're in a position to put that leaky mishap down to experience and pick out a new pair of knickers, without having to worry about skipping a meal in order to afford to do so. Young girls in developing countries, however, often don't have access to toilets or sanitary products at school and so have little choice but to stay at home during their monthly visit from mother nature; they don't have the availability of clean underwear or the knowledge to look after themselves effectively, nor the support network to turn to when in need.
In our search for the perfect flutter, most of us don't think twice about applying a set of false lashes. With so many brands now available, providing incredibly natural results for only a few pounds, false lashes have never been so popular - or such a normalised part of our regimes. Ten years ago they may have been so uncomfortable to wear that we only resorted to using falsies on a Saturday night (when we knew after a glass or two of Pinot Grigio we'd forget all about it,) but in 2017 lashes are comfortable and lightweight enough to wear every single day. The shelves of our local Superdrug are awash with every style, length and celebrity-endorsed brand you could think of, while even the more premium brands (Illamasqua, MAC and Huda Beauty being among them) are getting in on the act; false lashes are undoubtedly as part of our routines as spray tanning and brow threading. However, there's a secret practice within pockets of the lash industry that many brands are not too forthcoming about when questioned: many of our lash lines are being enhanced at the expense of animal cruelty.
Over the last couple of weeks my 'new in' box has been spilling over, as everyone starts to roll out their new season launches. This is always my favourite time of year, as things start to hot up (literally and metaphorically) and we're no longer just chatting about high coverage foundation and hard working body cream. We've got new makeup brands, seasonal collections, innovative technology and scents to perk us up when we need it most - as well as some shower gel that's possibly the most advanced you'll have ever experienced. I've picked out ten pieces that have got me excited and think you'll be interested to discover too, all which provide a great way to transition into spring. Enjoy.
If you've been living under a rock these past few days (or simply don't spend your time immersed in the Instagram accounts of the beauty elite like me,) then you may not have noticed that there has been a war of words erupting from the camp of Kat Von D against brands that, in her words, 'ride her coattails'. It started when Kat, the creative mind behind her self-named super-stellar makeup brand, shared this Instagram image comparing her 'Shade & Light' palette to that of Makeup Revolution's 'Light & Shade palette' - which is without a doubt somewhat more than 'inspired' by her original. Rather interestingly the response was somewhat split, with Kat's committed fans running to her defense and posting supportive messages, while many others stepped in to express their confusion as to why this was even wrong. In order to express her point of view further, Kat then uploaded a video to YouTube which explained her frustration and disappointment while giving viewers an insight into her development and creative process. (Worth a watch here if you have time!)
SPONSORED FEATURE IN PARTNERSHIP WITH HOMEDICSDuring the colder months I wholeheartedly embrace being a little bit fuzzy; when my legs are constantly hidden beneath a combination of tights, jeans and pyjama bottoms my hair removal routine is at a bare minimum - even more so because dry, irritated and dehydrated legs are an absolute nightmare to try and shave or epilate. However, as soon as the sun starts to peek through the clouds I'm all about revealing those legs and shunning my tights for as long as possible. (In fact I'm currently sitting here writing sans tights because I can't bare to put them on until the last minute. How much longer until I can walk around bare-legged without feeling like it was a major outfit mistake?!) With the need to reveal my skin comes the inevitable rekindling of my hair removal routine, which is possibly the most laborious and unglam things that us women have to do. Imagine all that time we'd have free to do what we really wanted if we didn't have to constantly shave, epilate or wax our legs, underarms or bikini lines? Imagine all the extra cash we'd have if we didn't have to fork out for salon appointments or at-home solution to our fuzzy woes?
I can barely separate my memories of makeup with my memories of Benefit. It's one of those brands that I've used for as long as I can remember, and one that I continue to rely on almost daily. One of my school friends introduced me to the wonders of their makeup portfolio almost twenty years ago and I was immediately hooked - although the price points weren't exactly teenager friendly, the bright and fun packaging definitely was. For me though, the reason Benefit stands the test of time is that they simply make awesome products that are worthy of their price tag and transcend generations; your little sister would be as happy using this as your best friend or your mum. Although they continue to launch new bits and pieces, pushing the boundaries and capitalising on trends, for me the wonder of the brand I have such affinity with is the portfolio of 'classics' that I know I can always rely on (and are never not within my makeup collection.) Here are my top five faves from Benefit that I don't think I could ever be without.
Looking in the mirror I can see those inevitable signs of ageing starting to creep up on me. The texture of my skin has changed, there's a little less structure to my jawline and it take a touch more concealer to cover those dark circles in the morning. Although the way my body is changing isn't exactly welcomed, it's also not necessarily feared - we all age, so it's not something to be embarrassed or ashamed about. I'm a firm believer in embracing whatever we individually deem necessary to ensure we feel good about ourselves (whether that's anything from a great face cream or regular facials to more invasive aesthetic procedures,) and wholeheartedly embrace products that will help to delay those signs of ageing or give me the confidence to step out the door with my usual sass. (*Finger clicks!*) I have an expansive anti-ageing regime and as the years continue to creep up on me I've no doubt I'll start to embrace even more hardworking (and potentially invasive) procedures, because the number of candles on my cake and wrinkles on my face won't necessarily correspond with how I feel inside.
THIS IS A SPONSORED POST IN PARTNERSHIP WITH LIPIVIRThe beauty industry thrives on our insecurities, worries and concerns; it's there to point out that we have spots that need covering, fine lines that need targeting or lashes that need lengthening. However, it's also there to provide the tools we need to feel confident and fabulous when we need it most - whether that's via a radiance boosting face cream, a bright red lipstick or a shampoo that keeps your colour vibrant. I adore everything about the industry and choose to take away the positives rather than the negatives, believing that those bods in white coats are busy trying to find solutions to our problems rather than forcing us to buy into something we don't really need. Personally I've always looked at my huge stash of products as a tool kit to reveal who I think I am, rather than a way of concealing or creating a new identity; it's empowering and confidence building to know I can cover up those early onset greys, dark circles and fine lines under my eyes, so I don't have to worry about them interfering with my day. The benefit the beauty industry brings is choice: choice to address concerns or worries, choice to create who you want to be that day, choice to age at your own pace and choice to feel confident in your own skin. But what about beauty confidence?
In my opinion cleansing is one of the most, if not the most, important part of any beauty regime. We can buy as many expensive creams and serums as we like, but if you're not removing the daily build-up of grime and residue then they won't be able to penetrate deep down enough to really make an impact. Although I'd happily scrimp on a mascara or body lotion, my cleanser will always be top of my priority list: I see such a difference when I'm using a great one, and using it properly. Cleansing may seem like a basic process that's hard to get wrong, but it's also one of the most misunderstood elements of beauty; whether that's relying on a face wipe, scrubbing too much or making your eyes all stingy, there are ways to make the process easier, more effective and enjoyable too. So here are the mistakes that you could be making without knowing - and how to fix them.
THIS IS A SPONSORED ADVERTORIAL IN PARTNERSHIP WITH SENOCALMTummy troubles can cause more than a little upset. If you suffer from symptoms including bloating, sickness, discomfort, excess gas or cramps it can impact your life so much you're often prevented from going about your daily business. Not only can you feel lethargic and uncomfortable, but it can be somewhat embarrassing; I know first hand of the issues surrounding IBS related symptoms, as someone that rarely goes a week without having some kind of flare up that leaves me in pain and my top button undone. IBS symptoms can impact as many as one in five people, with women being twice as likely to suffer than men, and are often triggered by sugar, alcohol and highly processed foods. However, it's not just what you put in your body that can have an impact on your physical wellbeing - it's also what goes on it your mind.
Up until about a year ago I'd sacked off jeans for good. After spending most of my mid-twenties wearing nothing but jeans and court shoes (that was never a good look) I'd progressed to a point where I felt they were just no longer my style; I felt I'd transitioned into a slightly more polished and classically dressed individual, who no longer wanted to struggle finding the perfect fit - because shopping for jeans when you've got hips and arse is an absolute nightmare. However, a recommendation from my mum led me to my local ASDA (yes really) and I found the perfect fit of jeans for the first time in years. Hoorah! The George Wonderfit jeans are an absolute dream for those of us with junk in our trunk, as they fit beautifully and provide optimum comfort for only £20.00 a pair. So obsessed am I with these supermarket trews that I bought them in every colour and have replaced them three times over; when they're only £20.00 a pair you can get away with it! I've recommended them to quite a few curvy friends and they're in awe too... They really are that good. So now I'm back on the jeans bandwagon, how have I been styling them over these past few spring weeks?
I've never really understood those gym-bums that spend their lives pumping iron, looking lean and enjoying every minute of it; for me working out is about about doing what I need to do, not about particular enjoyment or excitement at the thought of getting back in my leggings. I'm definitely one of those girls that's not naturally supposed to be super slim or super fit - even at school I was always hanging back with the asthma kids during cross country, or being shamed by my hockey coach for not particularly wanting to spend 90mins on a rainy Friday morning stood in the middle of a muddy field. (Now I realise her attitude just made it worse, rather than encouraging me, but that's another story.) However, over the years I've found things that work for me: be that dance classes, yoga, my exercise bike or a flexible gym membership that allows me to go whenever the need takes me. It's vital that we all remain active, but shaming people into running for an hour on the treadmill is not the way to do it. If you're considering joining a gym but are a little hesitant to do so, here are the things I've learned since I've joined that may help get you off your sofa once and for all.
Maybe I'm just getting old, but increasingly I seem to be wearing my cynical hat and wondering when we all got caught up in the hype of 'wonder products' and their extortionate price tags. Although there are some truly wonderful innovations our there that really do make a difference, a lot of the time a product can be over hyped and over praised by those that won't even truly benefit from the ingredients it has to offer. With so many beauty editors and influencers confessing to adore everything going, it's hard to know whether or not the excitement is justified - or if you'd be better off saving your cash for something else entirely. GlamGlow is definitely one of those brands; I remember when it first launched and every beauty enthusiast was desperate to try this ground-breaking mud mask in an effort to revolutionist their skin. At the time I tried it and thought it was pleasant, but distinctively average, but a few years later (and with many more additions to the range) it was time to put Glam's Glow to the test once again. Can these little pots of coloured goo really give you the skin you've always dreamed of?
Right now I'm in two minds about the blogging world, the beauty industry and consumerism in general. This year I've taken a definite step back from the constant treadmill of new launches and have made a concerted effort to bring you an edit of things I love and think you'd like to know about, but in a way that is useful and empowering - rather than encouraging you to buy yet another eyeshadow palette you really don't need. Don't get me wrong, I love stuff and I love shopping, but I'm also incredibly aware that not everyone has the same level of disposable income and that a throwaway purchase for one person will be a long considered one for another. So many brands are churning out launches just for the sake of it, hoping that the promise of newness and 'a smidgen better than before' will be enough for us to part with our cash, but many more are also trying to make a real difference by giving back to the community. One of those is Bobbi Brown and their annual 'Pretty Powerful' campaign, which raises money for an incredible charity that makes a difference to hundreds of women around the UK.
With google spitting out over 41.4 million search results for the term 'wedding diet', it's safe to say it's one of those things that is usually top of the agenda when that sparkly ring slips onto a finger. As a society we're a little obsessed with our eating habits and restrictive dieting in general, but as soon as there's a wedding on the horizon it seems to get ten times worse. Even at the National Wedding Show this past weekend there were what can only be described as 'reduced calorie foods' in the goodie bags, which doesn't exactly promote body positivity during a time when women already feel quite fragile. Apparently around 90% of brides-to-be are anxious about their weight, which is understandable when they're due to be photographed from every angle and the pictures being posted all over social media without any kind of pre-approval. (Although I have been to weddings before where all social media coverage was banned until it had been approved by the bride!) One of the main questions I keep getting asked is whether or not I'm going to starve myself for the next six months, and therefore be no fun to be around - which is not only marginally annoying, but also quite worrying. When such an occasion is about the celebration of love between two people, why is one of the top concerns how big your bum is going to look on the day? Well, I for one have got more important things to worry about (like booking a florist, finding a photographer and deciding what shoes I'm going to wear) so these are the reasons that a wedding diet just isn't for me.
A Smear Test Takes 60 Seconds, But It Could Save Your Life: All You Need To Know To Settle Your Anxieties.
Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under the age of 35; according to The Eve Appeal, 55 women in the UK are diagnosed with gynaecological cancer every day and 21 will die from it - but it's actually one of the few cancers that can be prevented. Scientific evidence has shown that if women are screened every three years, more than 90% of pre-cancer cases are picked up and can be treated with very little inconvenience. Our regular smear test can hugely increase our chance of leading a happy, healthy, problem-free life, but so many of us are skipping them altogether because of the fear factor. Shockingly, a third of women between the ages of 25 and 29 do not take up their smear test invitation, while 1 in 5 don’t actually attend their appointment after it's been booked. Not only is that a complete waste of the surgery's time, but it could be causing so much unnecessary distress later on down the line. Although smear tests aren't exactly enjoyable, they're so quick and painless that we should all be making the time to get tested and look after our health; it's only ten minutes out of your day and only sixty seconds of mild awkwardness, so in my book there's no valid excuse not to pop along and see the nurse.
Little tokens of affection can provide a simple way to let our loved ones know we're thinking of them; a small gift can make a big impact on someone's day or outlook, just as much as a phone call or postcard sent with a loving kiss. Although we're programmed to celebrate birthdays, Christmas, Mother's and Father's Day (among other key dates,) it can be restrictive and lends us to forget all those other opportunities to say 'thank you', 'how you holding up?' or simply 'I saw this and thought of you'. Whether it’s my fiancé bringing me a bottle of Diet Coke and a Creme Egg home from the petrol station, a text from a friend to ask if they can help with anything during a turbulent time, or my sister finding a book she knows I’ll love, it’s those little things that put a smile on our faces and let us know we’re not forgotten.
You know what they say: you wait for great makeup launches to come along, and then a tonne turn up all at once! It's taken a good long while for genuinely exciting bits and pieces to land on my doorstep this year (red lipsticks and another re-hash of a mascara are not exciting,) but can I get a whoop whoop because boy do we have lift off! I've pulled together an edit of nine launches I think you need to know about, all of which just happen to be more than a little bit pretty too. Here's the lowdown, so get your notepad and pen at the ready because there *will* be a shopping list.
Achieve A Radiant Glow With A Comprehensive Skincare Regime: No7 Lift & Luminate Proves It's #BetterTogether
While I'm happy to skip the primer, eyeliner or blush on a daily basis, the one area of my regime I never gloss over is skin care. You can apply all the makeup (and use all the photoshop) in the world, but if the canvas beneath isn't luminous and hydrated the tell tale signs will still be there and shine through. This isn't about 'turning back the clock' or seeking out the skin you had as a teenager, but helping us to all look and feel our best while ageing gracefully. With the advances in science enabling us to treat our skin effectively and ensure it has all the ingredients it needs to work efficiently, there's no excuse for anyone to look exhausted - or to sit back and let nature take its course. I'm a firm believer in a comprehensive skincare regime and the benefits that using an eye cream, serum, day and night treatment can bring to the complexion, and a number of weeks ago No7 challenged ten bloggers to put it to the test and see what difference it could make to them.