Monday, January 30, 2017

I was going to use a rather ~low quality~ iPhone snap as the main eye-catcher for this post, but luckily I found something a lot more blog friendly and (I guess) relevant also to what I wanted to chat about - blog problems amiright?

Before I jump in, I wanted to say that recently it's felt I've done nothing but also everything at the same time (hence why a re-use of some old/iPhone photos) - I've been working on a stop motion video for my channel which was meant to be a creative project to take under a week yet has stretched a wee bit longer (but I'm really in love with it and want to get it up soon), and I'm also filled up on life stuff that despite having Zoe stay at mine the last week, we've both either been stuck on our laptops or watching a movie to escape real life for a bit. But that's life sometimes and you've just got to make it work when you can.

Now back to the thought in hand (or brain) - things I want to learn from blogging. This isn't one of those cliche posts, more the things I want to gain from blogging in terms of opportunity and knowledge, the doors it can open to discover and learn about new things or how to be better at more advanced know-how. Let's call this my 'checklist of purpose and content', those instances of value I just want to have more of.

1. Explore the science behind skincare
I find often that we have press releases or launches where the product and brand is exciting, and we might understand the ingredients to an extent, but I want to see and understand everything that goes into making the product and why - I'd love to be taken around the labs of some of my favourite brands (especially the natural skincare ones) and see how they source, extract, mix and produce the magic formulas of their products, so that I could understand the product better and be able to inform others to a better extent why it's awesome and works.

2. Creative collaboration and connection
I've mentioned this in a recent post, but I do think 2017 is the year of collaborative blogging and content - whether it's paying for a photographer or working on a regular basis with a group of blogger friends to swap ideas and cameras or help go through analytics to push each other up, meeting up with people who get what you do or can help in a specific area will give you both some serious inspo and also do that really great thing of, yanno, helping others out and getting help in return ;)

3. How to multitask, or plan effectively
Over the last week or so I've lagged behind a lot but it's only because I've spent time on animation for a video and misplaced time to shoot, but I look at those I work with and others around me and think 'how do you at least 80% of the time seem to manage?' - I'm not asking for 6am-11pm days, but I really want to knuckle down and work out how to manage time and use it to it's maximum potential.

4. Make meaningful connections and lasting impressions
With bloggers, potential friends (potential friends, did I really just say that?!), PRs and clients, I'm always wondering whether someone would like me/like me enough to be like 'hey, let's keep talking' but now that I've looked into my personality type more (not that I'm trying to get boxed in by a set type but it's scarily accurate) and I do have layers of emotional protection that need to be peeled back by people who understand and trust each revelation, and to even allow people to get there is very hard. I do have a level of outwardsness, and sharing, and sometimes oversharing, but I would like to make more meaningful connections, have a relaxed approach to networking and talking, and feel happy that I really gave a person my time and that they felt welcomed by me.

5. Technical stuff (yes I wrote that as basic as it is on my list)
Coding, Lightroom, FCP, even more photography knowledge...I want to know it all. My level of techy nerdy understanding would be for a piece of equipment or software to be released and know off the bat what each specification meant. Wild, but impressive. Maybe if I get my timings right circa above, I'll have some hours set aside to learn something...

6. How it works on all levels
I love hearing about how bloggers, brands and other industry outlets work - whether it's my level of understanding, a more Instagram based creator's experience or a big high flying PR brand who discusses what they look for and want to get on their side of the brief, I love hearing the ins and outs to make me more informed but also improve 'my game' and attitude to blogging and content.

7. Analytics and stats
This might go with Technical Stuff but I love seeing data - data was always my favourite part of math, and even the Instagram insights makes me all excited. True, I need to understand Google Analytics a bit more, but maybe mixing this all in with blog planning sessions, it's a great way to understand audiences, business and how to improve organically with something concrete to refer to.

8. How to constantly produce something new, and utilise trends in a unique way
I've got the basics of inspiration nailed - step away, do something different, indulge in passions and BOOM ideas! - but making it eveolve naturally and keeping it fresh, eeeeeyeah sometimes I ponder. I do think that being surounded with good influence and encouragement helps massively, and also testing waters, but whether it's fashion, culture, or photography, I want my blog to move naturally and progressively with trends whilst being true to who I am and evolving in and around me.

Now it's 11:30pm and I have to be up early for work (that time management planning is coming along real swell), so here's hoping I get some inspiration in my sleep - or you leave your own learning thoughts in the comments below! Here's to learning, always.


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Friday, January 27, 2017

Okay, I'm totally making this up - multi-planning; who has the time and why am I spreading my life across three different pieces of stationery?

Honestly, because my head has that many tabs open and I like to write both neatly and sprawling when clearing the thoughts from my brain, plus stationery is pretty and I love pens so making excuses here I am.

My current setup is a Rifle Paper Co. Agenda for listing important dates and meetings, an Ohh Deer x UO planner for listing my daily tasks and to-do lists (which is also undated so I don't feel bad if I miss a day out and has a handy hour-by-hour segment along with the main goal for the day) and to really cut loose and get my ideas down, I have a thick lined notepad from Homesense which houses all my initial brainwaves for posts, videos and bulletpointed topics to cover in each post - just like this one, which makes writing a whole lot easier.

A new something in my life has been the Illustries Hello Time Planner, which honestly is the biggest ass planner I've ever seen, but is packed with unique and beautifully designed methods to plan your day/week/month/year more efficiently. It encourages you to do more than 'just plan' by keeping you inspired and allowing you to keep everything in one place whilst still keeping things organised into categories - for example, Hello Time is more than the average planner in that it gives you dedicated sections to sketch doodles (if you're frequent to being on long calls, you'll know what I mean about the doodles), produce the most detailed plan of action - there's a double-page spread flow diagram that helps you breakdown the big idea into goals, resources, obstacles, strategy, details and successes, amazing for say someone who is trying to plan hosting some workshops at a point this year ;)

The whole layout is fun and interesting - from pages of motivational quotes in a pretty black, blush and white theme, a gridded page for goals to develop, habits to stop and let go of, and the best checklist with tick boxes you ever did see. With all the extras, it is bigger than your usual planner, and probably best suited to those all on the go and in creative jobs (it's also quite pricey at £39), but it's one beasty beauty and even if you don't want to use it for your every day life, it's perfect for a project or business - so maybe your dream blogging planner wishes have come true!

Is there a law against having four planners for day-to-day life? Asking for a friend who's trying to justify multi-planning to society....


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Monday, January 23, 2017

aka why am I wearing so much pink recently?

I've been thinking about my wardrobe a lot recently, especially since I packed all my Christmas jumpers away and have been left with literally 5 items of clothing - gal needs to do some shopping. I'm a strong believer in a capsule wardrobe and only wearing colours and styles that suit me, and last year was truly the year of a blue wardrobe that every outfit variation was blue with a hint of grey or white. It's cool though, I like a theme, you could even say it's 'on brand' and most people know me now as 'the girl who loves blue', yet towards the end of the year I had this calling...for things that weren't blue...mainly the

This isn't some pink shaming post, but I will admit that for years I was adamant against wearing pink or red for that matter as it just didn't suit my skin-tone; but the heart wants what it wants and since then I've made quite a few more colourful (and pink) additions to my wardrobe and even underwear choices - keep your filthy thoughts off my silky drawers ;)

I was interested in why I'd gravitated to other colour, given my very staunch approach, and just as with my newfound interest in personality and thinking more about self-confidence, I did a bit of research into the psychology of colour - I know that retailers use red signs for sales and promotions as it's more eye-catching and makes us believe we're getting more of a bargain than before - purely to see why I wore the colours I chose on specific days and what the new shades meant.

See, every day, I'm making conscious choices about colour - I start each morning looking at my drawer of coloured pens and ask 'what colour represents me today?' and it's usually any shade bar yellow and olive, because I'm really not that kind of person, but even asking that question itself shows I'm identifying an approach to my day and how my mind is working. But back to the meaning behind colours - the 4 primary colours studied (red, blue, green and yellow) are representative of the mind, body, emotions and balance between them all, and each hue targets a difference mechanism and response in the brain.

Reds and pinks are physical colours, with red acting more as a stimulant, courage and excitement whilst pinks exuding warmth, nurture, and physical tranquility, yet both come with negative connotations (or more likely, 'I'm wearing this colour to disguise an insecurity') such as emasculation (srsly?), emotional claustrophobia, and aggression - I can admit that I've struggled expressing emotions, so maybe that's the call for pink, to do it with colours and clothes when I can't vocally.

The blues and greys? Calm, cool and serene vibes with a hint of neutral mentality, but I've noticed on days I'm stressed they reflect feelings of lack in energy and efficiency, confidence and emotion. It's like I've had a year of being chill and relaxed, and now I need a bit of warmth in my life and now on days when I'm feeling overwhelmed I will gravitate to those cooler colours as it all feels a bit overwhelming to wear something eye-catching.

Everything I've done recently from card reading to this and personality tests, I feel has helped me understand myself more, and I guess it's some sort of weird continuing new year transition where I'm trying to find my feet for what's to come and how I want to be. But one thing is surely certain - with me running out of tops at an alarmingly fast rate, I'm going to be needing a heck load more clothes in my wardrobe...


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Friday, January 20, 2017

I've had this overwhelming feeling that 2017 is a year where people come together and support each other in new ways, and I've seen it pick up pace already - bloggers coming together for planning sessions and helping out with content, monthly meetings to help push one another further, heck even bloggers making jobs be it on the side or from their work.

One other thing I've picked up on also is people calling for more support and teamwork - whether that's in the literal sense of having a team to support you on things, or helping out a fellow blogger/creator with help in return, or just promoting and shouting out about someone you love, people seem to want a sense of camaraderie again.

So today, I'm shouting out the people whose content I can't get enough of, and whose personalities and creativity inspire me with every tweet/photo/video they post - and if you don't follow them already, you probably should now.

Megan from Thumbelina Lillie

Myself and Megan are similar souls (we both scored ISFJ on a personality test I linked to so we really do get how one another thinks) but she is honestly the nicest, sweetest and most loved person I've met online. I can tell she wants to pour every bit of love and heart and soul into what she wants to do, and the amount of times I've cry laughed over her naturally candid and honest Instagram stories is too much to count. Being a total boss the last year, she's gotten engaged, bought a house, got a smashing job and kept running a smashing blog, all whilst being a true gem.

Lucy Moon

I find it really difficult to find and enjoy new people online, partially because I'm stuck in my ways sometimes but mostly because there are so many people - it's overwhelming at least. I'd watched a few of Lucy's videos before but at around Christmastime I really got into her channel, and her videos have the perfect balance of honesty, relatability, and creativity, and what I like is that she can take the most simple of formats and make it interesting or like a real life conversation. She's one of those people who comes across as interested in everything and can articulate on number of subjects, and I find it refreshing but also inspiring to discover new things past what I usually consume.

Charlotte Goodowl

I BLOODY LOVE CHARLOTTE - I've never come across someone so cool, so creative and generally so nice. Fun fact, Charlotte and I were both featured in the same issue of COMPANY as Upcoming Fashion Designer (her) and Upcoming Fashion Photographer (moi) and met a few years later at an event, and since then I've only met her one other time but it feels like forever. I watch her videos in complete awe, at how cool and expressive she is, and I just want to put her in my pocket to inspire me daily and let me take photos of her. Her talent for fashion and design is impecible and I hope one day I can sit front row at her solo LFW collection show.

Jemma from Dorkface

Jemma will absolutely lol at this but I remember being so intimidated by how sucessful she is and how much people love her - if I see any more love go towards her I'm pretty sure she'll have enough to rival Harry Styles, but she's one of the most humble and hilarious and kind people I've come across on the internet. She's created a community within a community, put her illustration skills to use with a super cute stationery and art business, and still feels she has to do more (Jemma you're a bloody boss). Jemma you keep me smiling on Twitter and I love it, so thank you.

Kristabel Plummer

Engagement is a big deal with what we do, and I noticed almost immediately how much I engaged and enjoyed Kristabel's content - I briefly met Kristabel at her Blogger's Market, and then saw she was echoing similar thoughts of connecting with bloggers on Twitter so I got involved, basically stalking for an update of when it would be so I could get involved, and slowly that turned into nodding along to and liking all her recent content. Like I said, I don't find it easy to find new people, but immediately I loved her approach to blogging and the topics addressed, and I kinda just want to sit and listen to what she has to say all day long.

I feel these types of post almost got a rep for promoting the same people over and over, and that those who were truly undiscovered found it harder to be seen - I mean, that's truer now more than ever thanks to algorithms #algNOrithms - but as I said, people seem to be coming back round to that view of 'hey, so and so is doing awesome, let's shout them out!' regardless of whatever number or 'status' they have, and hopefully this has expanded your weekend reading and viewing list. If you want to recieve love, you've got to show love, am I right?

Happy Friday! x

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

I don't know about you, but I bloody love a quiz. Anything where I can have my personality or general self rinsed on the topics of 'what animal represents you emotionally?' or 'can we guess your relationship status by the last thing you ate?' (it was a massive jacket potato followed by pasta, so single yet satisfied in my stomach).

Basically, I love knowing who and what I am and getting a stamp on it with detailed explanation underneath bullet-pointing each factor of why I got that result. So exciting.

A few weeks ago someone left a comment on my Instagram noting their personality letter-combo, and it inspired me to retake the 16Personalities test because I'm pretty sure I'd changed/forgotten mine and, hey, IT'S A TEST. At the time, I was feeling a bit wobbly and uncertain with what the heck I was doing with myself and how I was approaching things, so it gave me clarity in some sense.

It turns out I'm an ISFJ-T aka The Defender - Introverted, Sensing, Feeling and Judging which I have to say is bang on (if you know me, even on the surface, this is off the bat) but the uniqueness of ISFJ is that with a majority of introversion, there are well-developed people skills as well as analytical perspectives in a mainly sensing environment, and again judging what you see and know with experience but being open to the new and changing, which I like.

I won't list the traits in full (you can read that here and take the test yourself) but there's very clear signs I'm someone who likes to go above and beyond, takes things personally and will protect those with whom I have a connection with dearly. I'm also in the same category as Beyonce (she's an ISFJ) so bloody get me in formation ASAP.

If anything, it's made me worry less and focus on my strengths, taking this test; at the end of the day, it's chemical programming mixed with environmental upbringing that shapes us, but understanding how it makes us work can help us play to our strengths - something that helped fix my wobble was the passage stating 'Home is where the heart is...and in no other area of their lives do they strive with such dedication to create the harmony and beauty they wish to see in the world. The trouble is, these are the benefits of an established long-term relationship, and ISFJs’ unbearable shyness means it can take a long time to reach this point...and only enter into relationships that have a real chance of lasting a lifetime.' - in a moment of rare honesty, I will admit I have certain guards and barriers with people, even those I'm closest to, and wish often to be given a chance to say everything and be heard, but I can't, because the need for value and reciprocation is something I need.

Then again, it may just be me searching for an explanation, something outside myself to validate a feeling (but with a J letter meaning 'I'll believe it when I see it', I think we can maybe disregard that) - it's an interesting way to recognise and deal with strengths and weaknesses that may creep in and steer you in ways that feel out of control. The letters don't have to define you (but my Ravenclaw sorting will do, BLUE RAVENCLAWS FOREVER) but you can give yourself a good personality rinsing and get back to kicking ass at the day knowing that blip is easily solved because you're someone who puts 110% in daily - you go pal!

Now if you don't mind me, I have a few more tests to run including 'which biscuit represents your star sign?' and 'how old are you emotionally?' (I got 82 FYI).


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Monday, January 16, 2017

Oh man, I am so out of practise writing outfit posts - genuinely considering a quick Google to get inspiration, a topic, anything to spur some words to flow.

Let's talk about fashion; whilst the writing side of this seems hard, I've actually loved picking up new pieces and finding new brands - this Lovely, Lonely jumper from He is honestly me right now,  I adore the uniqueness of each piece and equally more the ~cool vibez~ of every Instagirl I've seen wearing the brand.

There's even been a few lookbook/fashion video ideas floating around in my head that I'd love to do and I've felt my creative potential has increased since the start of the year, but implicating it has felt so hard! What I've identified again is that blogging and creating can be incredibly lovely, but incredibly lonely - where I live is beautifully quiet, with space and lots of green, but not a lot of people I can relate to; it's a journey into London or Brighton, which for someone who doesn't exert a lot of energy and mental capacity for people on the regular, takes it out of me, so despite getting to see the people I want to, dealing with the vibe of trains and tubes and mass amounts of people makes me feel tired and depleated, knocking me for six.

I've wanted to make the most of opportunities this year to go and see people, to have a catch up and chat but also feel renewed in inspiration, proper idea spurning sessions and collaborative work where you feel understood and connected to a bigger thing; I've already had a mare trying to meet up with people already (thanks trains and snow) and it's only building angst to go and have human contact with others whom have a fresh perspective on ideas, but for now I'm trying to focus on the solo work - developing inital ideas, doing things that make me happy, and trying to find ways to satisfy my time,

Jumper - He Official | Trousers - All Saints | Bag - Next* (similar) | Chelsea Boots - Next* (similar)

I'll tell you one thing though, this little creative-interaction dry spell is making my shopping habits itch, just one or two or five online orders won't hurt will they? I mean, I may just even get some inspiration, and equally treat my lonely (solo) self to something lovely...


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Friday, January 13, 2017

You know that really awesome feeling when you go for a back massage and all the knots are pummled out of you and you feel like a loosey goosey? Yeah, that's the best; in fact I could do with a good back clicking and shoulder rub myself, but one area I neglect most is my face, and until you've given your cheeks a proper massage you forget just how tense the muscles get from talking, smiling, and definitely from holding stress trying to write when the words aren't coming...

My jade roller had been gathering dust for a while and even when I did use it, I was only rolling quickly to stimulate some lymph movement, but after visiting Emma at her treatment rooms in London for a Reflexology facial (specifically the Zone Face Lift) I've had a renewed love affair with this little relaxing device and have felt a lot more elasticity and vitality in my skin since! The facial itself is to encourage tone and firmness to the skin, aimed more at mature skin as a non-surgical face lift, but even for my skin it helped clear blockages, relax the muscles and honestly, sent me into a revitalising sleep I was in dire need of.

Some of the techniques within the Zone Face Life facial are super easy to replicate at home, and they do make getting out of bed a little easier - for example, in the diagram below where there's a white highlighted area, applying pressure and massaging under the muscle helps clear the liver which causes a build up of toxins, leading to anything including spots - yep, I've seen a noticeable difference since working out the blocks in my cheeks! 

Also, those green vertical lines and rainbow dots around the eyebrow? Perfect for relieving tension in the head and brain - you'd be surprised how sensitive your eyebrows get when you've had little or broken sleep, you can really feel it, and a little applied pressure every day just eases it out - moving your fingerd downwards where the lines are promotes lymphatic drainage, and a little pinch or pressure on the brow points helps boost collagen and relieve tension. Something I also like is using the knuckles of your fore and middle finger to rub across the forehead will relieve any morning sleepiness and yawns that are telling you you can't be awake at this hour, and gets your energy flowing again!

Additionally, I like to take the space between my knuckles and work in upward motions from my chin to my cheekbones as the former is renound as being the parallel to your butt, basically holding all the waste toxins (like those chin spots that won't gtfo) so by massaging it up to the lymphatic drainage points you can steer it away from the face and allow the lymph to deal with it properly ;) Plus it makes your face muscles feel all kinds of soft and relaxed so huge bonus yeah?

And to keep your skin looking firm and glowing and basically 'living' all day long, I really recommend taking your fave oil cleanser in both palms and alternating firm upwards strokes with each hand to improve circulation and really work both the product and your inner glow - honestly, your cheeks will thank you!

I've basically talked myself into a relaxed state just writing this up, so I'm going to go give my skin some overdue loving - I suggest you do the same, I can hear that weekend pamper session calling...


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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

If you'd have said a year ago 'Lauren, you're going to write a blog post about card readings and that you're basing a year's progress off them' then I'd have shook my head at you and said 'nah mate it's just a bit of fun', but too be honest it's still a bit of fun now, it's just more accurate fun.

Honestly, I never really got card reading until a few years ago; we'd always have some in the house and I would pick the ones I wanted because 'they were pretty' not because I really understood what they were meant for. It's been more in the last year when I've hung out with Zoe that we've done readings as something fun to help clarify thoughts and worries - nothing specific like 'will I marry Harry Styles?', more 'what do I need right now?'

It's through doing it with friends that I feel card reading is a good way of clarifying and noticing traits and hopes you have - for example, we did several readings last weekend from 'what is my word this year?' to 'what does my past and present show me?' and a lot of them made us laugh because they were very true, but I think it's because cards just highlight the things we're looking for, whether it's to reaffirm a thought or push you to do something you've been mulling over.

The main question I wanted answering was what 2017 held for me, and using a mix of three card packs (by the same creator, as suggested) I drew 4 cards from each deck to represent 12 months; I'm moderately surprised that none of them suggested travel or wealth, but what seems to be emotional balance and growth in myself, which I guess matches my desire of self love and care in my resolutions list. There's also a strong theme of creativity, making changes and trying new things, which also matched with my word of the year - study (Ravenclaw's unite), but what I do like is that the cards aren't always literal - body movement could mean exercising more (ahem) but also physically moving your body and bodily possesions somewhere new; creative expression could be doing more with my work or simply trying knitting or illustration as a hobby - must make time for knitting this year.

Another thing to note, is that cards drawn upside down indicate a block, which is what made me laugh at December - it's as if the cards are saying 'you only asked for 2017, we're not giving you any 2018 indicators mate' but I did also get a block on soulmates so...

Even if you're not 'into' card readings (heck I wasn't for at least 20 years) they're a good way at bringing up things you're undecided on and making you think about them a bit more - need to cut a connection? Time for rest? Unresolved issues? Is wealth on it's way? Whatever the question, I've found now in those moments when I can reach out for a chat with someone, and need unbiased clarification on uncertain worries, pulling a few cards out and asking questions out loud gives me the direction I need.

Now can the cards give me some direction of what to make for dinner because girl be hunnnnngry...


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Monday, January 09, 2017

My idea of pure luxury is laying on the sofa draped in several blankets, steaming through a pile of books I've been wanting to read and being fully absorbed with what's in front of me rather than aware of the world's activities around me. Writing that has almost convinced me to shut my laptop and attempt to get back into the reading zone I had over Christmas, but gal's gotta steam on!

Despite having an 'End of Year Detox' cold, I managed to finish three books which inspired and intrgued me in different ways, and can highly recommend you add to your 'to read' list asap...

Bloom by Estée Lalonde
Reading Bloom felt like reading my own life story except the person telling the story is a lot cooler than me. In all honesty though, Estée's book is one big reassuring and reaffirming hug that despite any obstacle or fear you can make shit happen, and that you can be happy and deservedly happy. I love how it's presented almost as a collection of essays, it feels so personal and intimate that you feel as though yourself and the words understand one another, which is a magical experience be it fiction or a memoir. I can hand on heart say I could read Bloom weekly, even if it was just one chapter to relate to a feeling, it's that awesome a book and you can tell even from the cover it's going to be beautifully curated with images and design, words and thoughts, and I love that you can feel life on every page. Honestly, beautiful.

Capture Your Style by Aimee Song
Whether you're a serious Instagrammer or casual uploader, this book will really get you thinking about your approach to the app. It's a nice easy read with varied advice from how to arrange and style your theme to the best way to shoot your brunch flatlay - if you're an OG Instagram fan then there are parts you can skip, but overall it gave me new inspiration on how to style and present my uploads, and to importantly have fun with outfit shots (which I'm trying to do more of this year!) A must for any Instagram addict.

Sphinx by Anna Garréta
This has to be one of the most unique books I've ever read - Sphinx is probably one of it's kind, a genderless LGBTQ+ novel which explores feelings of love and philosophy and education, all interwined with the Paris dance scene. I'll be honest, it was a bit of a brutal read but in a good way - I'm always looking to expand my language and use more eloquent words however there were some passages where the text (or thoughts) of the character were convoluted with overused descriptive narritive. I feel like I just made a hypocrite of myself with that last passage, but you understand what I mean? A lot of time was spent underlining and looking up word meanings which honestly I didn't have a huge problem with as I felt I learnt a lot of words from this, but I feel it can easily make you lost if you don't fully understand what the characters and tone are expressing. Either way, despite storyline critiques which I don't want to spoil the book by sharing, the book in itself is very important - it allows you to visualise and understand representation and truly create a story in your mind where you can relate and imagine. It's by no means a cheery romance, but an educational read at best.

I've still got a way to go with my pile of books, but if you have any recommendations, let me know what you've been reading recently that you've absolutely loved - In the meantime, you'll find me on blanket covered sofa somewhere cosy...


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Friday, January 06, 2017

I really love decluttering my beauty stash (see this post) and with some spare time this Christmas to spend cleaning - yep that was my idea of fun this Christmas - I decided to yet again tackle my beauty drawer. I've always felt I had too much makeup for my face at one time, and I've started to become more concious of what is on my skin, so killing two birds with one stone I thought 'why not keep only things that are cruelty free?'

There have been plenty of articles on why CF and more natural based makeup is great for the skin, and to be honest even if the products aren't all natural there's no reason they can't be tested fairly i.e not on animals or living creatures. It has been proven that better resutls come from (consenting) humans and synthetic materials so, why not encourage the industry to move into cruelty free testing by taking a proper stand - with your money.

I'll be honest, I'm surprised at how many brands are cruelty free/vegan and I did find a few bits in my stash that I've already swtiched to - for foundation I found a tube of Oxygenetix Acne Foundation* that I got at a dermatologist event which has a high amount of coverage for one layer and allows skin to breathe (I do wish it was a little more hydrating in formula but you can always add an illuminator, and it is also a little pricey). Concealer and contour was also covered as Zoeva is another fab CF brand and whilst thier parent company does test on animals, Urban Decay has a no animal testing policy so I'm still all over NAKED Skin Concealer!

Brows and eyes are no problem either - Anastasia Beverly Hills is all cruelty free so you can have even better brows knowing it's all from a good place, and the Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks are also perfect should you need a sparkly eye or low-key shimmer. Already with a cult following, a lot of Kat Von D's range is vegan as well as CF, and I'm so in love with the Tattoo Liner that I'm considering emergency backups and replacing other lipsticks I have with the Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks when they run out! Speaking of lipsticks, NYX's whole line is CF so if you haven't tried Liquid Suede or their Green Correcter (life saving for spots and redness) then go before I out-buy you.

With all this decluttering, it has inspired a little cruelty free wishlist of things to stock up and try once I've used up my current stash; the Zoeva Nude Spectrum and Caramel Melange Eyeshadow Palettes are on my 'to try' list along with a few brushes, and there's a few foundation picks I'm researching into - quite a few of my Korean beauty products are cruelty free, but I'd eyeing up formulas from Laura Mercier, Charlotte Tilbury and Becca so if you've tried any let me know! Also, Hourglass and Becca as I mentioned are cruetly free soo...I'm sensing a shimmering skin purchase at some point ;)

If you're considering a cruelty free spin on your beauty stash, then I'd recommend this post on which brands support cruelty free and if you have been using cruelty free/vegan products for a while the please leave suggestions down below as I'd love to know more!

I'm itching to place a Cult Beauty order now, somebody stop me. Maybe...


Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2017


Happy 2017 everyone! I hope you had a fab Christmas break and lovely New Year - I spent mine revelling in time off, boxsets of Car Share and Harry Potter, reading some fab books and um, riding out what I can only call The End of Work Year Detox cold.

I'd planned work up until last Saturday and honestly had nothing to fall back on until yesterday when I finally felt 99% again, but to be honest I really enjoyed feeling chill about the whole situation - I saw lots of people on social media the last few days saying they'd had enlightening ideas during their break and were back and ready to go, whilst I wanted another day of Christmas bread and chocolate batons diet and attempting to read a book without a head cold.

Rushing has never been something I enjoy, and I felt my 2017 resolutions post was a little rushed - there wasn't time to re-edit it either as I was knee deep in sniffles and concentrating was the last thing on my mind - so to jog my brain back into blogging I spent some time refining what it was I really wanted to achieve this year and also a F**k Budget which did some good and was frankly hilarious to write.

1. See a dermatologist.
When I was invited to Eudelo last November, I had my first proper extraction facial and it was everything I wanted for years from a facial - my pores were clear for a week, a week! I've seen kits online but I feel it's good routine to see a professional (and prevents me messing) and get my skin sorted out. As part of my Self Love goal, making sure my skin looks and feels good has a huge impact on my confidence so it's deffo worth investing in!

2. Do things by myself.
Kinda ties in with my confidence goal, but I always panic about going somewhere alone and not knowing people I can talk to. There's a few things I want to do this year and feel almost reliant on others going to justify going myself, so maybe I can just get over that? Thanks.

3. Book and commit to things.
How many times have you wishy-washily said 'oh I'd like to go to that' and then never do anything about it? I'd need at least 10 hands. As I said, there's a few things I'd like to go and do, so I'm going to try and make them happen.

4. F**k Budget.
Maybe I should just say fuck? I'm still not used to typing fuck out. Fuck. Fuck Fuck Fuck. It's just a fucking word lol. Anyway, I forgot about Fuck Budgets even though The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck is a fave book of mine, but I've spent writing mine out for life and work (complete with counter DGAF points) and it makes me feel a lot clearer on my ideas and thoughts. Complete with my vision for the upcoming year, I think it makes 2017 look v. promising.

5. Explore things I'm interested in.
When children are little, parents are encouraged to take note of things they find interesting to see how quickly a child prodigy/future Olympian they'll become. I've no idea what my thing was, but I do know that I've developed a habit for not seeing things through outside of solidified hobbies and work. I've really been interested in knitting recently and getting back into gaming, and also in watching classic Studio Ghibli anime, so I'm going to try and attempt each in a manageable (aka don't go hardcore and give up) fashion and expand my hobbiest horizons!

6. Bring in more colour.
I'm a hardcore blue girl, you know that by now, but recently I've been feeling experimental and wearing a few pink/raspberry toned things - basically colours I don't usually allow myself to adorn daily. It's given my wardrobe a little refresh and I feel this year might be more experimental than usual.

7. Stand up for myself more.
From my Fuck Budget, I highlighted that there were more opportunities for me to stand my ground more and not feel afraid of speaking up. I too often worry about other people's thoughts, but I don't want it to hold me back anymore.

8. Enjoy the process of planning.
I really want to hone my time-management this year, and I have three planners this year to make this possible! There's my Rifle Paper Co. Agenda which is the 'pretty' planner for just listing dates and appointments, Ohh Deer x UO Marble Planner for daily activities that get broken down into time, to-do list and objectives (great for work!) and finally this pretty Marks and Spencer Illustrated Cities Calendar I got in the sale - this is better for an overview of the month, popping down when the bins go out and when I'll be out. You know, adult stuff. I love the whole new year new planner vibe, and with lots of new pens for Christmas also, filling in my lists and dates has been colourful and fun! (Am I a child?)

9. Take time to create aka don't worry, be happy aka chill.
I've gotten better at feeling okay with myself if I miss an upload or post, so I'd like to do one better and if I have an idea that takes up time and means compromising filler, use that time to focus the creativity and make the idea as high quality as I can rather than rushing it in a small time-frame.

10. Start a project.
I mentioned in my previous resolutions post I wanted to do more photography and I'd like to start doing some self-portraiture work, quite wacky and crazy with editorial tones. Just a way to express myself and build my skills like I used to back in college - maybe I'll end up buying wigs again...

There are other specific goals I want to focus on alongside the original ones I mentioned - exercise is still priority, but to break it down I want better up arm strength plus defined arms, waist and butt. I also want to solidify relationships and keep interest in world news, but staying honest with goals I've thought about more hopefully means I'll be seeing them through in 2017. I also wanted to shout out to Helen's monthly goal idea, I think having a goal per month like drinking more water or aiming to do a push up is so good, and makes it all less overwhelming - might try it myself ;)

Now that's all sorted, it's back to the list making - I've have got three sets of planners to keep on top of now...


Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more.

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