Worth the Hype?

It doesn’t seem too long since a lot of the make up community wanted to boycott brands such as Make Up Revolution for accusations that they were copying high end brands such as Urban Decay. I wrote a whole other blog post about this, mainly saying how I think MUR is a wonderful brand for making cruelty free and high quality make up affordable for those of us with lower budgets.

It seems a lot of that drama has been put away into a corner of the internet, especially since the launch of their ‘Conceal and Define’ concealer, which at £4.00, has taken the industry by storm with the product selling out very quickly. I haven’t seen this much excitement over a high street product in a while, and it’s lovely to see something that is so affordable and accessible! I believe this concealer is now available in Ulta which is fantastic news for those living in the states! So about the actual product! I purchased two shades; C3 and C6 – just so I had the choice when wearing fake tan or when my skin is paler in these winter months.

Application: 10/10

I love how easy this stuff is to apply! It has the typical concealer applicator wand, but it’s about 10 times bigger. This is fantastic for applying small dots in particular areas of the face. The applicator also means you could easily apply it as a foundation if you didn’t want to wear a heavy base.

Longevity: 9/10

I tested this out on a work day, meaning being sat in an office which goes from super duper air con cold to oven hot. My foundation doesn’t usually exist around my nose and cheeks by the end of the day, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that applying a little of this concealer in those tricky areas helped to keep my skin tone looking even all day. It also provides a beautiful soft texture. I give it a nine as I haven’t worn it long enough to test the entirety of the product.

Cost: 10/10

£4 for a cruelty free, high-end quality concealer almost seems to good to be true. I even told my boyfriend I was pretty sure this concealer would hide 21 years of tiredness! Lol!

I hope this blog post has been able to offer you an insight into the most talked about product at the minute. You may have also heard it be compared to high-end brand, Tarte and their shape tape concealer. As Tarte isn’t as accessible in the UK as Make up Revolution is, this is a great time for us brits! There’s also a really decent shade range so check it out if you struggle finding a good match for your tone.

Thyme for me

On these cold evenings it has become my favourite thing to get cosy in my big fluffy blanket, stick on an episode of Friends (thank you, Netflix!) and light a few candles. To me, lighting candles helps me unwind and relax. They create a beautiful calming light and release some amazing scents.

ThYme Candles are made in Sheffield, by Helen Clark, using the finest natural soy wax and fragranced with oils. Soy wax is 100% natural and an environmentally friendly alternative to paraffin wax. They are also vegan friendly!

Soy wax creates a pure, delicately scented candle. The best part about buying from this brand? A donation from every thyme fragrance candle will be made to Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice. So while you are enjoying a beautifully, handmade candle, the money used to purchase it is going to an amazing cause. So, what’s available?

Currently, four scents are available from Thyme Candles. Honey, Berry, Clove and of course, Thyme. When I picked up each candle from it’s delicate tissue paper wrapping, I could instantly imagine where each candle would work best at home; this is something I don’t usually experience with candles. Normally, I pick up a ‘fresh cotton’ sort of scent and think, perfect! That’ll do! However, with the Thyme candles, the scents can work across the home, which I think is an amazing concept. For example, let’s take the scent ‘Thyme’ – a scent which would compliment any dining room or kitchen. It almost inspires me to get cooking it’s that good.

My personal favourite from the collection is Berry. As a girl with a sweet tooth, I love anything that smells sweet and fruity. I’m actually about a third down already I love it that much – it’s been burning for hours and it’s incredible how long they last.

Sometimes, with the big candle brands, the overwhelming choice can be quite intimidating. I love that ThYme candles have a collection of four staple scents, all of which are unique to each other, meaning there is definitely one for everyone. Even my mum is after these candles! I may have to share them with her…

It’s always a pleasure to work with local brands, it’s one of my favourite things to do. Why don’t you show Thyme Candles some love? The candles are available to buy on Etsy, here. A Fiver each for a handmade product with so much love added into it, you can’t go wrong. These would make a perfect gift, especially with Valentine’s Day coming up!

** These candles were gifted to me by Helen. This is review is non-biased and all my honest opinions are stated. 🙂 

Socially Confidently Anxious

It’s rather frequent I see something online and my automatic reaction is ‘omg, literally me’, however, this is usually a viral video of a puppy falling asleep, or someone tucking into a vat of mac of cheese in a food challenge, and not a mental health related blog post.

I’ve spoken about my mental health briefly on my blog in a mini-series, but it has been a few years since I wrote those posts and I’ve decided to write an update in response to Sophie’s (Petals Of Perfection) blog post for ‘The Mighty’. In this article, Sophie discusses how the label social anxiety comes with a connotation of always being introverted and house-bound, which isn’t true.

Don’t get me wrong, I have been the stereotypical image of a social anxiety sufferer; unable to leave the house due to what people think of me, having panic attacks in a school lesson because I was asked to answer a question in front of the class and I couldn’t. My social anxiety used to be BAD. When I went to university, my first evening was spent crying at the thought of playing drinking games with a bunch of strangers and going to a nightclub without the comfort of my school friends. Gradually, the more I pushed myself to get to know people around me, my confidence grew. Hey, when I started university I couldn’t do a presentation in front of my tutor group and by my final year, I was able to do it – Albeit with shakes and stutters! Despite these accomplishments, I still call myself a social anxiety sufferer.

It recently hit me how much I had grown in confidence when I told my colleagues at work that I had social anxiety, their instant reaction was ‘No you don’t!’ and to be honest…I could see why they thought that. I definitely have a reputation at work for being VERY chatty. I love having a good natter – but I love a bit of quiet time just as equally. Maybe I’d make a good taxi drive one day?! Lol!

Anyway, all of this got me thinking. I still have social anxiety, even though I’m a million miles away from how I used to be. I don’t find meeting new people that tricky anymore, I love to getting to know people, despite the anxieties, but my original fears still stand – public speaking and being the centre of attention (in an ‘on the spot’ sort of way) – I can’t think of anything worse than being in a large room of people and having everyone’s eyes on me. I’d probably spontaneously self-combust and go bright red in the process. Even at blogger events, my tummy turns when someone says ‘Let’s go around the room and introduce ourselves!’ (in that moment my brain is all ‘nope nope nope’).

Similar to what Sophie said, just because someone is confident and able in certain situations, doesn’t mean other ones are quite as easy. Mental health conditions are a bit like a shapeshifter, in that they adapt and mould themselves to cope with different situations in different ways.

If you know someone has social anxiety, and you’re in a situation with them where they could perhaps feel a bit shitty, but it doesn’t show, just remind yourself how hard that person is trying just to be calm and relaxed in that situation. I always think its good to know that if you have a friend with social anxiety and you’re out (a night out for example) and they need a few minutes alone, it’s nothing you’ve done. Sometimes we need a bit of re-charge time before going back into a potentially challenging situation. Also, it’s the most comforting and re-assuring thing to know that your friends know. There was a time when I was going to a gig with my brother, and the night before he sent me a text telling me not to worry and that we could leave the venue at any time. Little things like this can make the BIGGEST of differences.

Social anxiety isn’t JUST about being shy! Peace out! 🙂

Anastasia Beverly Hills Matte Liquid Lipsticks

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Above photo: Wearing shade ‘Stripped’

Matte lipsticks always seem like a great idea when you’re sat putting your make-up on. The glossy texture glides onto your lips and life is great. You look in the mirror and feel like an Instagram model flogging the latest must have matte lip. However, after a few hours, you start to feel your lips shrivelling into wrinkly, dry lumps and you can’t really rescue it. Sigh…it was fun while it lasted.

Recently, I had a f*** it moment. I was scrolling down my Facebook feed and noticed an ad for a set of full sized Anastasia Beverley Hills matte lipsticks for £32. The value was worth about £120 I believe. My eyes widened in shock and I looked for any signs of it being fake. I clicked the link and was directly taken to the official website. Safe to say I was SHOOKETH. While Halifax was gently telling me ‘No Amy, you’re saving for a new iPhone’ I didn’t hesitate clicking ‘add to cart’.

A few days letter, I got in for work to see the package I had been waiting for. Six beautiful liquid lipsticks presented in a luxurious metallic box. You know in films when characters find a box of treasure and it glows onto their face? This was kinda the same thing.

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So, these are the shades! From the top we have ‘Requiem’, ”Current’, ‘Dazed’, ‘American Doll’, ‘Toast’ and ‘Stripped’. 

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In the photo above I’m wearing ‘American Doll’ which is the ULTIMATE red lipstick. Think pin-up girl meets MAC’s ‘Crimson’. This is the ultimate festive red for me and I cannot wait to wear it more!

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I never thought, in a million YEARS, that I would own a G R E E N lipstick. Green. Ok so it’s not a shade for day-to-day, but I totally see this being a sassy edition to an edgy outfit on a night out. I don’t think I’m brave enough to sport this out, maybe Halloween?!

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My favourite shade out of the selection is probably ‘Toast’ (worn above). It’s a beautiful nude/brown and goes well with the sort of eye-make up I like to wear. I think this shade would compliment darker skin BEAUTIFULLY too.

So less about the colours; the texture of these lipsticks is nice and thick which you’d expect from a luxury brand like ABH. The applicator is a longer ‘pad’ at the end of the wand. Its the perfect size and shape for me, but that’s personal preference!

You definitely cannot fault the pigment of these lipsticks either, the colour is very rich and you don’t need to do more than one layer. You can easily get away without wearing lip liner too!

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While these lipsticks are long-lasting, you do get the ‘lip stick butt hole‘ – you know when your bit of wet lip starts to show and contrasts heavily with your lipstick? This is probably less obvious with the nude shades, but I don’t think ANY matte lipstick can avoid doing this. If you’re that fussed you can just re-apply and you’re good to go!

Overall, it’s a 4.5/5 (the 0.5 for the butthole sitch) I love these lipsticks and I am SO glad I was able to snap up this deal. Do you have any of these shades? Let me know – I’d love to hear what you think of them!!

Move Over Dry January!

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In a few weeks time, we will be in the year of 2018. The whole #NewYearNewMe sha-bang will start, everyone will insist they’re on a kale diet, and the inevitable ‘I haven’t showered since last year’ jokes will emerge. I think the nicest thing about the new year this time around, is that the 1st lands on a Monday. Isn’t that satisfying?! Anyway, you’ve probably guessed by the title that January 2018 for me is going to have a bit of a challenge associated with it.

While my New Year resolution for 2017 was to read more, (ok, I didn’t read LOADS, but I finished a couple books which is a steady improvement!) this year it is to help more. This can be anything to helping a friend out to raising some money for charity, which nicely leads me on to the real reason I’m writing this post.

Teenage Cancer Trust have launched ‘Party Hard, Train Harder’ which is a campaign to get us moving (more specifically, 10k steps a day) to help raise some cash munaaay for the wonderful charity. As I am partial to a pig in blanket (or 60) I thought this would be the ultimate motivation to get up and get moving! For that extra push, my boyfriend, Joey, will also be joining me on this challenge! Check out his Instagram for some of his amazing shots.

We have both started getting super into photography, me with my little Canon camera, and Joey with his drone! We are hoping to really seize the opportunity to get the steps in and take some incredible photos to keep everyone updated on our progress.

For a bit of background, Around seven young people aged between 13 and 24 are diagnosed with cancer every day in the UK. They need expert treatment and support from the moment they hear the word ‘cancer’, and this is where Teenage Cancer Trust step in. All cancer charities are super close to my heart, so it is a complete honour to be able to work with TCT.

If you’re like me, and want to help more, why not drop us a few pennies? The tiniest amount really will go a long way.

£25 could pay for an hour with a Youth Support Worker to keep young people active, encourage them to socialise and help them gain some control over their illness.

£50 could pay for 2 hours with an expert nurse who understands the unique experience of being diagnosed when you’re a teenager.

Any amount, big or small will be put to good use. So why not re-consider buying that extra bottle of Seccy and put that money where it matters?

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/amyandjoey

 

 

Winter Wanders

 

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I’ve had an interest in Photography for a good number of years now. While it is something I’ve never gone ‘pro’ with, I do still find a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction from the hobby. I know that I don’t own top of the range kit and probably could put a lot more effort in, but I’m so happy with my current Canon EOS M10.

One thing I admire about blogging, is that it allows me to challenge myself to capture things in an exciting way to engage my readers and really show off what I have been up to or what products I am talking about. This is not only through words, but through imagery also.

In the past few days, my boyfriend purchased a drone after months of contemplating and thinking about it. We both decided that when it arrived, we would get out more on our usually lazy Sundays and explore the world around us; Joey via Drone and me via camera. I’m hoping that by visiting different locations with different weather conditions, I can teach myself a lot more about capturing that perfect shot.

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The first stop on today’s adventures was the Penistone Viaduct which is something I have never actually got close to before despite living in Sheffield all of my life. It is practically on my boyfriends doorstep, and he got some incredible shots of this from above!

It’s an absolute ginormous structure, and definitely made me feel a lot shorter than I already am! If you’re lucky too, you can hear the trains go over.

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Our second stop was the Emley Moor Tower. Another monument which made me feel super small. I won’t lie, I was cold by this point and took photos out the window of the car as it was so freezing. Joey was still able to brave the cold!

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little insight into my day today and I hope it has inspired you to get out and admire your local scenery like we did! While every post won’t be like this, expect to see more lifestyle and photography posts as I find writing these posts so much more rewarding. I do still love my beauty writing though, so that is never going to disappear!

 

 

 

To Tame a Mane

About a month ago, I was convinced my hair had retired. Yep. You read that correctly. I was 99% sure my hair had given up doing its job as ‘being hair’ and bought itself a holiday home in a Spanish Island. Ok, I’m probably taking this a bit too far now. What I’m basically trying to say is that it simply stopped growing. I decided around a year ago that I wanted to cut my hair short. I made the brave decision to cut off my long brunette locks for a more grown-up ‘lob’ look. I enjoyed it for a few months until I got bored and wanted my long, thick hair back. There was one slight problem, I don’t think it wanted me back.

 

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I had so many hair cuts which were just to snip to ends off and maintain the short hair, but it simply stayed the same length. I tried everything to get it to grow. I would spend a good five minutes deeply massaging my scalp to try and encourage growth in my hair, but nothing.

Cut to a few weeks later and my work Christmas party is announced – the girls group chat instantly boomed, ‘are you going?’ and ‘what are you wearing?’. I could only think of one thing, I wish I had my long hair to make myself feel extra glam. This probably sounds pretty pathetic, but you don’t know this feeling unless you’ve gone from very long to short hair!

I started asking my friends for some advice. How can I get my hair to grow super quick in 2 months? My friend suggested the brand, Mane ‘n Tail and she mentioned how she knew someone who had used to as they wanted to stop wearing their hair extensions. My friend said that in a month, she ditched the extensions, and it was all thanks to the shampoo brand.

 

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I won’t lie, as a bit of a Graphic Design snob, I was a bit put off by the packaging at first, but after having a mooch into the brand, I knew I had to try it. The reviews on amazing were soaring, and it was due to be pay day that week…

Cut to a month later and I’m looking through my photos from my graduation. Even with my hair curled, I can notice a huge difference in length! I am just over the moon. I’ve even got my mum hooked onto the stuff. We both have super thick hair, so this stuff is great for helping us maintain it.

While it has definitely helped me with my hair growth, I wouldn’t say this is the main selling point of the brand. It really helps with the texture and leaves your hair just feeling lovely and clean, which is what you want, right?

If you’re like me, and have lost hope with other shampoo, please take a look at this super cool Mane ‘n Tail stuff. You really will not regret it.