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Sunday, 21 May 2017

May 2017 Makeup and Beauty Haul

Excuse me for a second whilst I shoot myself in the foot... Recently, I've stopped buying new makeup - almost altogether. My May beauty haul was the total sum of two long months of makeup shopping, bar a cult favourite or two. I can't quite believe it! I'm not sure whether it's lack of time, enthusiasm for new releases or finally my inner adult kicking in. But, at the moment all I tend to reach for are the same old favourites day in, day out.

Keep reading to find out which products peaked my interest and made it into my shopping basket during the month of May.

Beauty and Makeup Haul, Barry M, Makeup Revolution, L'Oreal Makeup Forever

Barry M Illuminating Highlighter Palette

One thing that really blew me away about Barry M's Illuminating Highlighter Palette (£6.49) is the packaging. If you removed the brand name, I couldn't tell if the kitsch, rose gold embellished box was Benefit's latest release. Inside, you'll find three pretty standard highlight shades, a white, a pink and a peach. Admittedly they aren't the most pigmented but blend well together for a light and natural sheen. Though beware, glitter haters, there's more than a little sparkle in the mix too.


L'Oreal Miss Baby Roll Mega Volume Waterproof Mascara

Holy grail product alert. For months mascara has seemed to just glide right of my lashes, causing me to become a panda by noon. So, when I saw a couple of beauty bloggers talking about the new L'Oreal Miss Baby Roll Mega Volume Mascara (£7.99) on Twitter and just how hard it was to remove, I rushed out to purchase one in waterproof, just to make sure. Though things can get a little spidery if you apply with a heavy hand, my lashes look long and luscious right up to the point I use a cotton pad a bit of coconut oil to remove it at the end of the day.


Makeup For Ever Rouge Artist Intense in Matte Bright Red

It's red, it's matte and it's hella moisturising. I wish Makeup For Ever was more widely available over in the UK as, after purchasing their Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick in Matte Bright Red (£16.00, Debenhams) beauty from the TKMaxx beauty counter I'm hooked on this creamy and long lasting formula. Move over MAC!


Makeup Revolution Retro Luxe Lip Kit in Regal

As I've mentioned before, I do love Makeup Revolution's answer to Kylie Jenner's famous lip kits. After purchasing the shades Magnificent (dark green), Glory (brown) and Noble (nude) I decided to add one more to my collection. Regal (£6.00) is best described as a rusty, orange-red with a matte finish that just screams retro. The formula is not drying, long-lasting and only need reapplying once for a nine-to-five stint.


PS... Precious Metals Collection Complete Face Palette

I picked this PS... Precious Metals Complete Face Palette (£6.00, available at Primark) up on a whim. I could say I thought it might come in handy for a bit of light travel? But really, the warm, pinky tones sucked me right in. Complete with a large mirror, three eyeshadows, a highlight, contour and two light lip tints there's just enough of everything for a light touch or overnight stay. The pigment pack a punch, though you have to be mindful that there is an awful lot of fallout, especially with the buttery, foiled gold.

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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Making a Big Mac at McDonald's!*

Join me for a juicy behind-the-scenes look at the newly revamped McDonald's restaurant in St Andrews Quay Hull. This post contains sponsored content by McDonald's.

Flashback to a cold and dreary day in 2015 when I popped into my local McDonald's  for breakfast - 2 stacks of pancakes with syrup and a coffee, obviously - and got giddy at the shiny, new digital order screens. I'm a nerd, get over it. So, when McDonald's got in touch inviting me down to one of their newly revamped restaurants and promised an insight into their revolutionised kitchen design, a look into their digital experience and the chance to make my very own Big Mac, I was in.

But first, coffee. A side note on blogging events: before I ventured to McDonald's, I worked a 9-5, got changed into my dungarees in the least public car park I could find and attempted to recreate that morning's makeup look without 3 of my brushes. #relateable, anyone? I was so ready for the coffee I was offered when I walked through the door!

Excuse me whilst my inner nerd gets excited at the digital screens once more... I can't wait to tell my fussy-eater friend about them! Hate pickle or fancy a reduced carb lunch by doing away with the burger bun? McDonald's make it easy to personalise your order to your liking at the tap of a screen. As an added bonus, you can also opt for table service, removing the majority of human interaction on those days you just cannot deal - a.k.a before 9am and a good, strong coffee - as your order zooms straight to the kitchen. Bonus.



The kitchen is exactly where myself and blogger Ana at Caffeine Berry (hi!) went next. We donned our uniform, complete with hat, hairnet and apron. Which several bloggers, friend sand colleagues have told me is a look I really suit. I'm taking that as a compliment until further notice...


After a tour of the intelligent grills that cook all kinds of meat to the perfect level of juicy and speedy production lines in the kitchen that assemble fresh burgers on cue, we got the chance to make our own Big Mac. Naturally, I spent the entire time we were being instructed taking photos and mentally composing tweets so managed to forget the entire process when it was my turn. The highlights are the fancy three-slot toaster that toasts each part of the bun differently and the sauce gun that squirts exactly the right amount of garnish onto each burger. So satisfying. This was my first ever Big Mac - I'm a McChicken sorta girl - and I ate it in two sections. How people manage one of these giants, a milkshake and chips I will never know!

This was followed by a taste test, of their new signature range featuring a tasty BBQ number. Though my feeble stomach only managed half I'll definitely be ordering one again!

Finally, we got to go behind the scenes of the drive through. Don't lie and say you've never thought about it. In reality, it's a burger chute that pushes the burger from one end of the production line to the front kiosks, a long corridor and two very well organised employees. Reality 1, Imagination 0.



Find out more about the events up and down the country at #YourNewMcDonalds or by visiting the McDonald's website.

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5 Quick Social Media Tips you can Start Today

5 Quick Easy Social Media Tips, Blogger, Social Media Help, Small Biz, Facebook, Twitter Tips, How to get more Engagement, Grow your Following.png

Struggling with your social media strategy as a blogger or small biz? Here are five quick and easy tips I've learnt from marketing to 18-25-year-olds.

Exciting news blog readers! I just got a new job as a Social Media Executive which means I'm currently 50 pages and 14 days deep into writing my digital marketing hand over covering everything from social media scheduling to web design, e-mail marketing, filming tips and video editing preferences. Passing on my technical know how is oddly satisfying so, I thought I'd put some of it on the blog for you to read too! Today's topic is quick social media tips.

In a recent social media marketing podcast I was listening to I found it takes just 50ms to make a first impression - that's just 0.05 of a second. This back up so much of the short and sweet content marketing I have done in my role as a Digital Comms Co-ordinator. With so much content out there, the internet generation - one moment whilst I cringe inwardly at myself - is becoming increasingly good at deciding what content they want to engage with and what they'll pass on. Time is short, people. So, how do you convince them to read on?


Make it Short and Sweet

Cut the rubbish, it's quite simple. Young people don't want to read fancy linking words or elaborate introductions they want the facts with an adjective or two thrown in. Groundbreaking research or stress-busting BBQ sound so much better. The first thing I do when I receive social media copy is to brutalise it, pull out the facts and repackage it in ideally 140 characters or less, Facebook-inclusive.

It's all in the Image

Remember those 50ms it takes to form a first impression? This shoots down to 13ms when you include an image, such us some promotional material (not too wordy!) GIF or picture. I rarely tweet without them when I'm promoting a post or event. It's just not worth it! I bet the reason some of you are here right now is because of my hella trendy image I created using Canva and not MS Word.

Cat typing, laptop keyboard GIF
Hands down, the best GIF in existence. Credit: @Aaron.

Scheduling is Everything


If you don't use Hootsuite, Tweet Deck or Buffer - how do live?! Social media scheduling services the equivalent of helpful social media elves that spread your updates far and wide whilst you're doing other things like working, sleeping or having some me time binge-watching 13 Reasons Why on the sofa. The above three are free to use, with some paid options, and are a great starting point for upping your social media game.

Repost, Repost, Repost

Your followers are people too. They, like you, are not always online and consequently, they miss a lot of your updates, even when you're posting at the right time. You can use Followerwonk (Moz) for free to find out when works bets for you. Believe it or not, the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram algorithms help you out here. Having a 'What you've missed' section means that those followers who engage with you are more inclined to see your updates when they return.

However, you can help this process along by, for example, re-buffering your old and well-performing posts on Buffer or automatically share old posts to your social media using a Wordpress plugin. In an ideal world, each tweet would be nicely re-worded and repackaged to reach a different audience who is on at a different time of day but, in reality, who has the time?!

Listen More, Talk Less!

I find social media is at its best when people are positively interacting with each other. For example, there's a handful of accounts close to the one I manage at work that are the punniest hidden gems. Plus, the free promo never hurts. Go get yourself some Twitter groupies be that bloggers, super-fans of your store or other small businesses and build some relationships!

That's it from me for today, I hope you found this post helpful and would love it if you could share your social media tips in the comments below. Let's help each other out!

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Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Five Podcasts you need to Download

Podcasts to Listen to, Ctrl Alt Delete, Blogger Emma Ganon, Commute, Commuting, Podcast Recommendations, Podcasts for Bloggers, Girlboss

Ready to make your morning commute? Podcasts have recently become my thing. Firstly, because there's only so many times I can listen to a Spotify playlist before becoming immune to its charms, and secondly because they're just so funny/inspirational/helpful (delete as appropriate). Today I'm going to talk about some of my favourite pods I listen to week after week. I've also included so additional listening below each kickass topic if you're so inclined, each linked to iTunes for your general perusing.


Nurture your Inner Weird:


Dear Hank and John
Don't forget to be awesome and get your weekly dose of this comedy podcast about death. Youtube institutions Hank and John Green answer your questions about being socially awkward, science and the apocalypse whilst squeezing in weekly short poems and news. It's a must-listen if you grew up on the internet, have an interest in English or science or just generally ask what if?

My Favourite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark
For those days you feel like an unnecessarily terrible person for fluffing your words in a meeting or forgetting to bring in your bin for the second day in a row. When actually, you're doing pretty great. I have yet to actually listen to a full episode yet as my morbid self is currently obsessed - in a healthy way, promise - listening to back-to-back minisodes about hometown murders and then triple checking I locked the door at night.

Ladies who Lunch by Ingrid Nilsen and Cat Valdes
The Debrief Podcast
Serial


For Social Media Buffs:


Social Media Marketing Podcast
I mainly use this to pick up great new software/apps and so far, it's been super helpful! Working in social media I've got to grips with the basics. Though I'll dip in and out of the guests on the pod whilst I'm washing up, playing Zelda or typing up notes for insightful tips on millennials and intelligent sounding stats I can memorise for future use. Do it.


Soulful PR Podcast with Janet Murray
Aimed at small business owners looking to dip their toe into marketing, the Soulful PR Podcast is an interesting listen for bloggers and social media managers alike for quick tips on strategy, tools and how to grow your audience, explained in a plain and simple manner.

Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield


Get Inspired:


Ctrl Alt Delete by Emma Gannon
I first started listening to Cntrl Alt Delete after I'd read fellow blogger Emma Gannon's book of the same title. The book focuses on the cringe-worthy ways millennials grow up online whilst the podcast examines at the lives of girlbosses from bloggers to businesswomen who pass on their wisdom.

Being Boss: Mindset, Tactics, and Lifestyle for Creative Entrepreneurs
Girlboss Radio with Sophia Amoruso
Women in Business (NatWest)
These 4 Walls (ASOS)
My Big Idea (ASOS)

Make sure you leave me your podcast suggestions in the comments below!

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Monday, 6 March 2017

Cosy Duvet Covers & Bedroom Hacks for Winter


This post features paid product placement by Yorkshire Linen.

There is nothing more I hate than being dragged from my bed - my boyfriend takes these things very seriously - on a Sunday morning in the middle of winter. I've got my warm fuzzy bottoms on, my squashy duvet and more often than not an extra blanket. I'm the definition of a cosy blanket burrito. This is because this winter I made my sleeping space as cosy af. Want to learn how to upgrade yours? Check out my tips below.


Get comfy, you're going to be spending a lot of time here

Just think about how much time you spend in your bedroom on a weekly basis. Sleeping, reading, drinking coffee as you flatly refuse to believe it's Monday already... You need to give your sleeping space the time and makeover it deserves by focussing on the things you want to feel whilst winding down.

For me that's being 1) warm 2) comfortable and 3) surrounded by as many padded, fluffy things as possible. I'm talking throw cushions, blankets, memory foam pillows, fluffy rugs - I can't tell you how much of a difference this makes in the mornings. But, for you this could be a mood-lifting diffuser, a humidifier or an extra sheet for when you kick off the duvet. Think about whatever works for you and do it! Remember, a good night's sleep can be priceless.


Make the space work for both day and night

Wipe that cheeky smirk off your face, here I'm talking removing artificial blue light and encouraging warmer tones into the room. Avoiding blue light right before bed - yes, that means you too, Twitter - is proven to help you fall asleep faster. So ditch the phone in favour of a book and your old lamp for the pleasant glow of a Himalayan Salt Lamp that has plenty of benefits for your health and mood, besides looking pretty.

For years I worked out of a bedroom office that meant I could never quite switch off from work. If possible shift your desk into another room or try and separate the workspace as much as possible within the space that you have so that your body knows when it's time to be active and when it's time to nap.


Declutter

In my bedroom, the space that gets most cluttered is my bedside table. Bobby pins, hair ties, empty pill packets, sweet wrappers and old receipts. It looks like I've emptied a week's worth of my coat pockets! Recently I've bought a phone charging stand to keep my cables in check and made a vow to leave any and all pocket junk elsewhere. We can't all be perfect.

Living in a cluttered and busy environment cannot be good for switching off. Throw out the clothes you never wear so that everything fits neatly into your wardrobe, remove that chair everyone uses as a clothes rack and attempt to adult your clothes into the laundry bin.



Update your decor with new duvets, sheets and nick nacks

Now you've got the basics covered, let's focus on the look. My bedroom feels a million times better when I'm snuggled up in my favourite sheets. They're such an inexpensive way of transforming the look of the room Yorkshire Linen have a great selection of duvet covers from this quirky pom-pom set that's got all kinds of Scandinavian vibes to this geometric grey set for less than £20. However, my personal favourite has to be a set that declares just how ready I am for my Sunday duvet day. Or you can hit up Primark to find this quirky printed Toucan set to brighten up your space.

Finish things off with an easy to keep houseplant, a stack of your most recent reads whether that be magazines, comics or novels and a record player for good measure. Ah, the perfect Sunday morning. Two guesses as to what I'll be up to this weekend!

Let me know what would be in your ideal bedroom in the comments below.

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Thursday, 2 March 2017

February Favourites: 2017

I'm not mentally ready for it to be March yet. To me, February always feels like a bit of a filler month. You can't really take holiday because you've just been off for Christmas, the weather is still sucky and grey and horrible for blog photos and everyone's still keen to keep to their resolutions so not much social activity happens. Obviously you've got Valentine's day stuck right in the middle there, but it's never really been my cup of tea. So, for me, February is a month for hibernating, decluttering and trying new things. Here's some of my favourites I've discovered this month:

Laundry B Frill Boho Blouse Cream

Fashion:

Frill Boho Blouse // Laundry B*

This month I stepped out of my comfort zone in terms of fashion with this breathtaking Frill Boho Blouse from Laundry B*. Modern twists on the traditional white shirt are going to be a big trend for spring. Whether that be embroidery, synching or cut outs. This beautiful specimen features a high lace collar and detailing, elegant bell-sleeves and a dropped waist - that, might I add, is perfect for hiding a food baby. It's one of those versatile pieces that can be dressed up with a fur jacket and a pair or heels or dressed down with some sleek sandals, pair of comfy leggings and a fedora.


Decor:

Aldi Marble and Copper Vintage Lamp

Recently, I've been just itching to switch up my interior decor. I'm talking repainting, retiling and redoing everything from the ground up. Trouble is, I'm currently renting and it's driving me insane! So, instead of reaching for the hammer, I've been saving so many beautiful inspo images on Instagram, hunting for accessories and window shopping various textures and patterns for my next living space. It seems to be working, for now...

Playing on our love for copious amounts of copper and marble, this vintage-inspired faux Marble and Copper Lamp from Aldi has featured in blogger Instagram stories far and wide. I purchased it after coveting this very similar model on Amazon. Not only does it scream chic, industrial decor but the light is pleasant and extremely hygge when I'm up late jotting down blog post ideas. Though it's currently sitting on my desk, I can't help thinking it would make the perfect lamp for a reading nook. Alongside a squashy pillow, cosy blanket and overstuffed bookcase.


Blogging:

Blogger Help Posts

This month I have loved writing blogger help posts! If I'm honest I'd been feeling a little lost in the world of beauty at the beginning of the month so started to wrack my brain for other content I enthused about that would make an interesting read and continues my #BloggingHacks series. I'm a true nerd at heart. From basic SEO to great apps for photography, coding tips to stock photos. I'm trying to cover just a little bit of everything to help out those who search for it. You can read the entire series here.


Netflix: 

How to Get Away with Murder

This month my favourite binge-wroth show has been ABC's How to get Away with Murder. Though, I also tuned into The Fresh Prince, Cuckoo, The OA, Lucifer and Are you the One? It's the right mix of lawyer that I loved in The Good Wife - coincidentally also finished this month - and straight up Rosewood drama to fill the gap PLL has left behind as I, along with the rest of the young female population, eagerly anticipate the last few episodes. If you're looking for some serious drama with a few twists and turns, this show is for you. I cannot wait for season three to come out on Netflix!

Harry Potter Potterhead Audiobook Prisoner of Azkaban Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Making Chores Less Boring:

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

I've just finished listening to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for the umpteenth time. Twenty-nine hours of commuting, laundry and cooking time well spent. I'd completely forgotten the Percy storyline, Ginny's kickass attitude to dating and just how much I love the Weasley twins. Though, I must admit I still don't ship Harry and Cho. The whole storyline, especially the darker books, roll on Half-blood Prince, is just as magical as the first time I've read it and now I get to do it over and over again with Audible. Coincidentally, I've also been binge watching the lovely Lana on Youtube as she visits Universal, platform 9 and 3/4 and hauls the most amazing Harry Potter merch. A must-watch channel for any potterhead.


Upping the Chocolate Biscuit Game:

Border Milk Chocolate Gingers

Holy moly. Border's award-winning Milk Chocolate Gingers have knocked my beloved Chocolate Digestives off my biscuit top spot for good. They're satisfyingly chocolatey with a kick of spicy and refreshing ginger that goes perfectly with a quiet cuppa tea. I get how #spon this sounds, but I really do just enjoy these biscuits! Actually, they're my favourite adulting biscuit of choice. Read: eat one, or two and put the packet back in the cupboard like the elegant and restrained, grown woman I am.

New in Beauty Haul, Makeup Haul, Smashbox Cover Shot Eye Palette Ablaze, Makeup Revolution Retro Luxe Matte Lip Kit, Liquid Lipstick

Beauty:

Makeup Revolution Retro Luxe Matte Lip Kit

Every blogger has raved over these suspected Kylie Lip Kit dupes this month. I've briefly talked about them here and have to say that, after a few weeks of use I tend to just go straight for the liquid lipstick and negate the liner completely. My favourite shade to wear is Noble. The formula is just so comfortable. Though I find the darker two from my haul - Glory (brown), Magnificent (dark green) - have a slight tendency to ball up later on in the day. Still, for just #6 per kit I'd say that six hours of wear is more than admirable. Wouldn't you? Have you tried any of the new Makeup Revolution Retro Luxe Matte Lip Kits?

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Wednesday, 1 March 2017

24 Hours in the Life of Someone with Chronic Fatigue

Sleep Tight, Lightbox, Tumblr, ME, Chronic Fatigue, Spoonie

Surprise, I have Chronic Fatigue. It's been five years and I haven't quite developed a good way of telling people. Weird, right? I tend to just blurt it out in, what I judge as, appropriate situations. Spoiler: they are often not. It usually makes the other person more awkward than I intended. Apologies if this has every been you.

Having Chronic Fatigue something I sprinkle into my blog, most often calling it ME due to the negative stigma attached to this "made up" condition that affects me every minute of every day. I've even got a few posts from that brief time I thought I was losing the plot because my student GP was unequipped to deal with it: "Young women sometimes just get this way". But, as I really have no choice in the matter, I have had to learn to live with it. The only reason I decided to dedicate a full blog post to it is the incredible 24 hours in the life of someone with OCD article Thrifty Vintage Fashion wrote that really opened my eyes to what it's like to walk in another person's shoes. I know I'll never truly understand, just like, even if I told you I never, ever wake up refreshed and am always tired you, if you've never experienced it before, wouldn't be able to fathom it. I know this because I couldn't have fathomed it. It's an incomprehensible feeling.

Everyone experiences Chronic Fatigue differently. However much I wish it was a label given to lazy people and one day I'll wake up just fine and dandy, I know it's not true because I can feel it's not true. I don't want to say I'm lucky, because, I contracted Chronic Fatigue and that's pretty shit as far as things go. I likely won't every get better. Which is hard to grasp right? For-ever. I'll be this way throughout my life. On my wedding day, at parents evenings and during retirement. I'm not sure that'll ever sink in. But, after four years of pushing my boundaries and learning what I can and can't do, I am able to hold down a relatively normal life and I know that's not always possible for those suffering from Chronic Fatige. So please don't use my experience to judge that of your friend, relative or coworker. Each to their ME-riddled own.

Disclaimer done, here's what twenty-four hours of my life with Chronic Fatigue looks like. No pity parties please.

6:40 am - First alarm goes off. You don't register it.

6:45 am - Second. Nope, nothing.

6:50 am - Third. You keep your eyes open for long enough to hit the home button but as soon as your hand returns to the duvet you're already asleep, exhausted before the day has even begun.

6:55 am - Forth. Your boyfriend nudges you awake. You find this deeply annoying instead of cute. Everything's fuzzy inside your head. Why move. Go away. Sleep.

7:00 am - With the fifth alarm, you manage to move again and keep your eyes open. The slight shift has just made you realise just how much pain you're in - usually your back, neck and legs. You don't want to have to move.

7:05 am - Sixth alarm. Owy. Owy. Owy. But slightly more awake. You drag yourself out of bed to your pre-prepared bag and clothes you had to put together the night before because you knew your brain fog would make it take three times longer in the morning and you don't have time to spare.

7:15 am - It's taken you ten minutes to get downstairs, use the bathroom and dress. Not bad considering you're feeling only half-zombie today.

7:20 am - Time for makeup whilst listening to your audio book. You're losing your lead here but skip the eyeliner and have it done in 15 minutes whilst you brain awakes to the worries of work. Your heart rate spikes, as it always does, and your Apple Watch buzzes reminding you to take a deep breath.

7:45 am - You leave the house 5 minutes late because your fatigued brain couldn't remember if it shut off the phone charger, tap or shut the fridge door. You check the door three times on your way out and make a mental note that today is Tuesday and the door is locked. Look, you're wearing that skirt, which is different from Monday so you'll remember this. Right? You get into your car and, whilst driving in the dark realise that you couldn't tell whether it was 8 am or 10 pm without a watch. Your body and mind feel the same.

8:04 am - You arrive into work late and more than likely blame it on the traffic. You vow to work four minutes late to make up for it. Computer on. E-mails up. Oh god, you have that many. Go get some caffeine, it'll help you think.

9:00 am - You spend the next hour checking and double checking your responses to e-mails because 1) you're already a terribly fast typer and 2) you don't want your brain fog to replace any words for phonetically similar words or homophones. If the pain is still there, sometimes it goes, you'll have to pop down to the shop to purchase breakfast so you can take a prescribed painkiller. You never have time to eat in a morning because it takes you twenty minutes just to move. Occasionally, you'll stink the office out with Deep Heat.

10:00 am - You're doing a kickass job and are feeling as awake as you'll ever be. To an outsider, you're functioning at one hundred percent. But you know that by now you've at least slipped up with your words once in casual office conversation. You struggle to get the right word out, say the wrong one or stutter.

2:00 pm - Due to a last-minute crisis you're late eating again. The added pressure makes it feel like a silent alarm is going off in your brain. Everything is silently screaming. Your muscles begin to complain as your heart beats faster. Think. Deep breath. Type faster. Crisis averted. Breathe. Outwardly you haven't batted an eyelid.

3:00 pm - You're on your third cup of coffee as you try and combat the 3 pm melatonin dip your ancestors used to sleep. Not long to go now.

4:04 pm - You start packing up, pleased that you're making an effort to cut down your lieu time, it's good for your health and means you won't need to nap as much after work this week. Good for you.

4:30 pm - Home. You take either one of three roads:

1) Nap because even though you tried your fatigue has just overwhelmed you and all you can manage to do is crawl up the stairs  - sometimes literally - and hide under the duvet. Sometimes you sleep for 20 minutes, sometimes for 3 hours, sometimes you're too tired to sleep at all which leaves you frustrated and fuzzy. You move out from the duvet feeling, more often than not, less refreshed. But at least you didn't have to waste energy functioning. Thinking is sometimes too hard.

2) You've got a bit more energy and just need some recovery time. Hello, coffee machine and Netflix. An hour later you feel sufficiently recharged and mooch around reading or writing a blog post. Sometimes you get really into it and write for hours. Other times you just jot down ideas.

3) You seize the day. Now, this doesn't happen very often but sometimes you come home and refuse to sleep, you muster what energy you have and you power through the next two-hour writing copy, checking e-mails and batch editing photos. Though, you wear yourself out and spend the rest of the night between beanbag and bed.

9:30 pm - Almost bedtime. You're making a real effort to start winding down before bed now, turning off the bright lights and just chilling in bed with a cup of sleepy tea, your Twitter feed and a good TV show or book. Not ideal, but it's a start. You might even have just got out of a relaxing bubble bath which makes you ready to drop. You once read that the dip in temperature mimics that of the boy as you fall asleep so you managed to get to sleep faster. Anything to avoid the fatigue related insomnia that keeps you up for hours.

10:00 pm - Lights out. Audiobook on. Find out what I'm listening to here.

10:30 pm - You're grumpy again as your boyfriend joins you. You're running on empty and all you want in the world is to fall quickly into a restful sleep. Which, spoiler, doesn't happen, ever. You vow to try and be a nicer person tomorrow but, usually, the tiredness wins out. Occasionally you get horrible fatigue-driven down periods of days at a time but today's not one of them so you don't don't dwell on your tendency to be a horrible girlfriend who does nothing tonight.

11:00 pm - With any luck, you're now sleeping like the dead. If not, you keep your audiobook on as you mentally countdown the hours until you're awake again.

12:30 am - Congrats, you've finally fallen asleep and completely lost your place in your audiobook.

3:30 am - Pee break! Darn, that sleepy tea. You rush downstairs but it takes you a good long while to fall back to sleep again. You wonder how much concealer you'll have to apply to your bags.

6:30 am - It might as well be 11 pm. You don't even hear your boyfriend's alarm as he wakes up.

Obviously not every day is the same, some days I feel better and other days I feel much, much worse. But, after holding a steady graduate job for a year and a half now I've only ever had one fatigue-related absence. Apparently, I haven't quite made it to a place where I can do a seven-minute workout just yet.

Want to find out more about my experience of Chronic Fatigue? Or ask an awkward question? Feel free. The comment below, send me a tweet or drop me a DM. I'll be happy to help. That is, if I remember to check my DMs!


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Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Urban Decay Beauty Haul: Brows, Blush & Primer


When I first got into beauty blogging back in 2013, the Urban Decay Naked Palette was the product to own. Consequently, Urban Decay's beauty releases will always have a special place in my heart that reminds me of sleepless nights refreshing stats, broken sidebars and making new internet friends on Twitter. Find out what products I acquired in my latest haul below.


Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion // Eden*

I didn't think I could love a skin-toned primer more than my trusted MAC Pain Pot in Painterly. That was until I used Urban Decay's Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Eden*. It's pigmented and mattifying it leaves me with the perfect bright eyes without a shadow of purple in sight. My favourite way to wear this is by using the handy doe-foot application - an upgrade to my Urban Decay Primer Potion in Sin* - to apply a swipe of primer to the eye and to blend it out using my ring finger or Real Techniques Bold Metals Oval Shadow Brush.

Recently, I've been using it in conjunction with my Smashbox Cover Shot Eye Palette in Ablaze, which has a wonderful selection of warm-toned shimmers and mattes by setting the primer with Relaxed, a cream-tones matte shade and warming up my crease with Throwback, a burnt-orange for an easy to wear, everyday look.


Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Blush // Indecent*

Indecent* is a coral-toned matte blush that lies somewhere between natural and neon. The entire blush range comes in, what can only be described as badass packaging with a satisfying metallic clasp. Just one word of warning, this blush is hella pigmented so use sparingly with a fluffy brush.


Urban Decay Brow Tamer // Clear*

There's one really, truly brilliant thing about the packaging of this that makes Urban Decay's Brow Tamer* a thousand times better than any of the other clear brow gels I've tried. Can you think what it might be? Nope, it's not the brush, or the snazzy, new green and purple packaging. It's the fact that the tube is a dazzling shade of opaque purple.

Every single other clear brow gel I have tried comes in a clear tube which, you know is going to get gunked up the second you apply the fixing gel atop of your brow powder which, really vainly, makes for terrible product shots. Such a first world problem, I know. My eyebrows aren't particularly bushy thanks to years of regrettable over-plucking but this seems to hold them nicely in place without making them um... crunchy.

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Monday, 27 February 2017

L'Oreal Infallible Total Cover Full Coverage Foundation


Are you looking for a good, all around, full coverage foundation at a drugstore price point? You need to purchase the L'Oreal Infallible Total Cover Full Coverage Foundation. Immediately.

When I first saw the adverts for the L'Oreal Infallible Total Cover Full Coverage Foundation, I wasn't convinced. The colour match didn't look quite right and the overall finished seemed flat. In my time as a beauty blogger I've tried my fair share of drugstore foundations promising to be full coverage and always come away disappointed. No matter how rave the Youtube review. Cue a bad skin day and I threw caution to the wind and decided to give it a go. So, how did the L'Oreal Infallible Total Cover Full Coverage Foundation, with such a lengthy, promise-filled title, compare to its predecessors?

Answer: splendidly. In the few short weeks I've had, the formula has outdone my gold standard of drugstore foundation: L'Oreal Infallible Mattifying Foundation. Let's break it down and find out how the coverage, formula, colour and finish work with my skin.


Coverage

There's no doubt about it that this foundation is full coverage. It promises to cover imperfections marks and dark spots and does exactly what it says on the tin, to the point where I can skip the concealer on my red and acne cheeks. It's that good.


Formula

If you're into a light and skin-like feel, this foundation probably isn't for you. The formula has a thick, almost whipped consistency that feels more like a heavy duty concealer than foundation. You notice it right from the moment you squeeze a pea-sized amount onto the back for your hand. Though, it blends beautifully so you can always using a good buffing brush to reduce the coverage when you have a good skin day.


Colour

The colour match between the L'Oreal Infallible Total Cover Full Coverage Foundation in Porcelain and the L'Oreal Infallible Mattifying Foundation in Light Sand is pretty similar, despite the shade difference. Both work well on my porcelain skin. However, if you're a hair lighter than me you may be left wishing for a slightly lighter shade.


Finish

Once you've finished applying it, the finish is demi-matte but, even on my dry skin, it tends to become dewy with oil throughout the day. Day, in this instance, being a stressful, nine-to-five job which may have something to contribute to my less-than-perfect finish. Though it's nothing a bit of blotting paper or powder wouldn't fix if you're into a completely matte finish.

I'll just leave you the link to the Boots website just here, just in case...

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