The best beauty products for our recent heatwave 

product review

I don’t know about you guys but this heat is too much for me. I feel like I am slowly melting, my inner core is melting. Everything is melting. But one thing that doesn’t need to have a meltdown is your beauty routine.

Just recently I’ve been reviewing a lot of skincare products for ReallyRee, and coincidentally many of them have been natural products. I am fast becoming an advocate for nature. So the latest is Urban Veda and I just thought this purifying skin wash and polish will be perfect in this weather. The tee tree and mint makes them ultra refreshing, and they decongest the skin.

I also love the Hawaiian tropic dry oil, it really makes me feel like it helps accelerate the tanning process (although the spf deffo isn’t high enough for this weather, I tend to layer this with sun cream). It’s so important to remember to wear protection – just because we’re in England doesn’t mean we won’t burn. This oil is relative cheap and moisturising, plus it smells like coconut & guava!

Carmex has always been one of my faves when it comes to lipcare, I suffer from chapped lips and the hot weather can make this worse. Their lip balms are so affordable and seem to last forever. I don’t think I’ve ever finished a carmex pot?

Make sure if you wear any make up or lip balms that they also contain spf. Burned swollen lips will not be attractive.**(Not a cheap alternative to lip fillers)**

Happy tanning guys!

Primark mermaid glow highlighter – a cult product for £3.50 

product review

I urge you one and all to stop wasting your money on expensive highlighters! I know the struggle; they look so attractive and shiny, but this highlighter from Primark ticks all the boxes. It ensures that you look like a real life mermaid, if ever there was one! 

Full review 

Firstly, it is only £3.50, so not really a huge investment. The highlighter also comes in other colours, should you not prefer a shiny white mermaid metallic look. 

It is ultra pigmented! In comparison to my Urban Decay highlighter (I have the powder highlighter in ‘Sin’), I can’t say there is much difference in quality. The Primark highlighter has longevity, I have been wearing it for around two weeks now; and everyday it stays put for the entire day. I know this because on my way home from work, I happened to just catch my reflection in glass and my cheeks were shining to the high heavens. Of course I smiled to myself. 

The next time you visit Primark be sure to grab one of these – if there’s any left. Sure, the packaging is rather basic maybe compared to more expensive highlighters. But you know what, I like it. It’s simplistic and it does the job, pretty darn well may I add. 

[Perhaps not the best pic to show off the highlight, but it’s there glowing away if you look close enough] 
[…Andddd swatch 😍, you can really see the high pigmentation here] 

Sessions by Kate Hughes; amazing pop-up make-up master-classes

Events & launches

I attended the website launch for ”Sessions by Kate Hughes”. What could be better than a professional make-up master-class that strips make-up artistry back down to basics AND travels to you and your friends!? Sessions by Kate Hughes is just that. It’s a pop up make-up academy which runs over a five day duration and the complexity of make-up skills taught increases daily. All you need to bring along is (your face obvs) and your own brushes!

Kate Hughes has been an established MUA for the last 30 years, and so this business is a natural progression. Armed with lovely business partner Zo, they are destined to become an amazing success.

More about the sessions

Seeing as professional make-up is provided, what particular brands are used? Kate herself has commented, ‘’although we love the high end brands, we want the classes to be accessible and affordable, Lord and Berry is a favourite of ours, and we use a lot of Mac and NYX’’.

Anyone with any level of skill can attend the classes; make-up artistry is stripped down to basics and re-taught. Everything from foundation application to contouring is covered. Kate also mentioned her brand is launching a make-up brush range soon – all beauty obsessives keep your eyes peeled.

What also sets aside Kate’s lessons from conventional master-classes, is that additionally you are taught raw business skills. Including how to pursue a career in make-up artistry, how to network your business online, social media management and more.

Lush red velvet cup-cakes with glitter lips, so fetch

However, what really made this event outstanding, (aside from the amazing red velvet cup-cakes with glittery lips on and Prosecco on tap), was the refreshing atmosphere. When attending a beauty event, there is often a misconception that the professionals in this industry are catty/bitchy. This event was nothing like that – everyone who attended was so humble and lovely. It was fantastic to see bloggers / MUA’s/ journalists all sharing ideas and complimenting one another. It was a real promotion to girl power and entrepreneurship. An absolutely inspirational event with a really uplifting feel, if you ever need your make-up skills brushing up – highly recommend Kate and her wonderful business partner Zo.

Why I’m going to be insanely selfish this year 

opinion piece

‘Successful women are selfish’ 

Discuss. 

No, this isn’t an exam don’t worry. I don’t really like that quotation, or my title to be fair. They both contain implications that we as females are selfish on superficial levels, when in fact, I am only referring to on a professional and careerial level. 

When a man is ruthless he is adored as a great business man. But when a women is just as ruthless she is called selfish? 

It’s not selfish at all. It’s a natural progression that one feels at a certain stage in their life when they need to put their own wants first. 

Why I am going to be shamelessly selfish this year 

The end of 2016 marked the end of an era for me. I finished my degree, and with zero guidance and a paradigm of confusion; I entered the real world. So for 2017 my fundamental aim is to gain as much industry experience as possible (my degree was in journalism). And be in a ‘good’ place by the end of the year.

I have to apply myself intensely so that I can be in a better position. BUT applying myself hard does come with some consequential factors. For example, I am still working my other temp job as a service advisor / marketing assistant at a garage; which by the way is severely demanding. 6 days a week, around 58 hours per week. It is a stressful role, and on top of that I am upkeeping a blog – freelance writing and attending interviews. 

Ultimately this year I need to put myself first. I need to save as much money as possible – an internship means unpaid or low paid work potentially. This means that other factors of my life may suffer. I am going to struggle financially, I’m not fortunate to have rich parents who can support me. Which means I will have to undertake a weekend job (hence no social life) just to pay my bills. Friends whom are not benefitting me, who aren’t ambitious or driven in life I just don’t have time for. This is not ruthless or unfair – I just have a very strict agenda and I need to stay focused. 

There are times where I want to cry out of frustration. My current job is not what I want to be doing – so everyday is a downhill struggle. My email inbox is scattered full of rejection. I am rejected on a daily basis. I must have applied to at least 2000 jobs / internships. This is the most disheartened I’ve ever been in my life. To want something so badly, try as hard as you possibly can. To just hit a brick wall. 

It hurts and I want to give up, I want to give up everyday. But I continue. I continue for myself. For my future, for my career. 

So if cutting back your social life, wearing last seasons trends and shopping at the pound shop all mean you can move forward in life. Do it. Do it with pride. Put yourself and your needs first. 

If that makes me selfish then ok I am selfish. But you know what? At the end of this year when I have achieved so much more than I even expected due to my own hard work. Then I will be the one reaping the rewards. 

Selflessness is so last year girls. 

How to make a budgeting plan to save money in 2017 – and actually stick to it 

top tips

The sheer discipline which is required when saving money can be utterly draining. I won’t lie to you, it is severely difficult especially when you work hard. 

You work bloody hard right? All the hours God sends, and you can’t treat yourself? Sounds like torture? 

Well it isn’t torturous actually, it’s sensible. Budgeting helps you to decide when the correct time to treat yourself is, whilst saving at the same time. 

I have been using this budgeting plan which I formulated myself for a few months now, and it’s been very successful. 

How to formulate the budgeting plan (you will need a pen, paper and a calculator for this part): 

1. Jot down your total income, let’s start with what you earn per month. (Any additional incomes should not be taken into consideration at this point, they can go straight into savings unless needed for bills). 

Once you have calculated your average monthly income, you need to work out your monthly expenditure. For example; 

Monthly income – £1000 

Monthly Bills: 

Rent – £200 

Oyster card – £90 

Food shopping – £45 

Toiletries – £20 

 Phone bill – £30 

Going out – £160 

Misc bills – £30 

The next step is to analyse how you can cut the monthly expenditure. So to use the example at hand, of course something like rent is difficult to negotiate; however food and going out budgets can be reduced. 

2. How to cut your expenditure 

Continuing from the example above, you can try to cut food bills by shopping around. Instead of buying from Sainsbury’s, why not try Lidl. It is a lot cheaper, but still excellent quality. You could reduce your food bills by up to 20%.

Also with going out budgets, try to minimise these also. Perhaps give yourself £20 per weekend to go out for a meal etc. If you want to drink you can always invite a friend round, after all a decent bottle of wine only costs £9! This is much easier to practise in winter. Hibernation is key. 

In regards to your phone bill, unless you are stuck in the Stone Age chances are you’ll have a contract. So your monthly tariff isn’t up for negotiation. But what you can do is plan to get an alternative, cheaper deal when the time comes to renew the contract. So that the next year you are saving that extra amount per month. 

Miscellaneous bills – of course things like gas and water bills can be reduced slightly by careful usage of utilities, but they aren’t bills you can do away with. Any other subscriptions or direct debits you have that aren’t absolutely necessary, cancel them right away. 

Toiletries; as a woman it can be difficult to minimise the amount of toiletries we need, we get taxed for bleeding once a month for starters. But what I have found really useful is buying these essentials from the pound shop. They have all your favourite products and brands for £1. You just need to go once a month spend £15 and stock up. Essentials like: make up wipes, feminine washes, Tampons, shower gel, shampoo & conditioner, hair products etc. This will save you bundles. 

3. Maximise your income 

In addition to minimising your outgoings, what you can also do is spend every piece of spare time you have trying to maximise income. And this extra income can go straight to your savings. 

For example, selling unwanted items on eBay (not so great these days as fees have risen, it is difficult to make a profit), depop is a popular app where you can sell make up and clothes. The selling pages on Facebook are handy for selling stuff too, free to advertise. 

You can also check your local area for weekly car boot sales, and sell your unwanted items for cash. Whilst you are there, you can also look for bargains to resell for profit. 

Why not start your own business? 

Everyone has a skill, and you never know who out there could do with yours. This money on the side will help immensely, with the aid of social media, advertising your skills and services has never been easier. 

Conclusion: 

Of course everyone’s situation will differ, but using these guidelines you can create a budgeting plan each month on a sticky note / paper. Attach it to your diary (so it’s always in mind), and stick to it. The motivation will come from seeing your savings stack up. The rest my dear, is up to you. 

Hope everyone has a prosperous 2017. ✔️

Secluded: how to beauty shop on rural holidays 

top tips

Because no matter where you holiday this summer 2016, you will find a source to purchase cosmetics or perfume. Or even hair products. Any type of item which epitomises vanity? 

Even if you are in the middle of a jaw-droppingly beautiful Sardinian village, where the locals twist up their necks to stare at you as they must have never seen a platinum blonde girl before – and absolutely no one speaks English.  Yep, there is hidden treasures even in the most remote of places.

Here’s my top tips for rural beauty buys; 

1. Locality 

If it isn’t already blindingly obvious – find out which local produce is popular wherever you are staying. For example, last year in Crete I found olive oil products were available in almost every store – as they are locally grown and produced. Natural products are often better for the skin and hair, you are helping independant business’ and you end up with unique, quaint, raw products. 

Triple threat right there. 

2. Hidden treasure 

As well as local produce, you can also try products unique to the area you are staying. For example, I have just come back from Sardinia and I found a perfume, (infact the holy grail of all perfumes) produced and sold only in Sardinia – which I fell in love with. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Chanel girl at heart – but this perfume is a strong contender in winning my affection. 

Aqua di sardegna – smeralda (Incase anyone wants to smell heaven on earth – an absolute orgasm for your nose) 

It’s well worth paying attention to brands you’ve never heard of – sometimes you find some real bargains which can grow to become some of your favourite products. 


3. Marketplace 

Any rural area will always have a flea market. The original hipster place to be seen. 

But honestly, you can find some real bargains here – again, local produce will be rife. Also hand made jewellery, handbags, purses etc will be available. 

Unique pieces aplenty. 

4. Deep

Any dedicated shopper/ shopping addict will know, sometimes the best products are in the most unlikely of shops. 

When beauty shopping on holiday, try supermarkets and pharmacies for unique products. For example in Sardinia I found a Loreal shampoo which is only sold in salons in the uk – specifically for colour damaged hair. It was great to see that top quality product in a tiny supermarket in a province of Sardinia. 

They may also sell their own branded make up which could be well worth trying. 

The local pharmacy was also a victim of my spending. They had, again, unique perfumes from the region; amazing amounts of skin care by well known and lesser known brands. A make up stand, containing cosmetics by two brands I had never heard of (but they looked top quality). 

If you look hard enough you will find something you either need – or don’t so much need, but want – because you can never have too much make up. Perfume. Hair products. Clothes. Shoes. Handbags… 

Happy hunting. 

Nerve deception: Social media Vs. Reality

opinion piece

I watched ”Nerve” last Friday at the cinema, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the film, a brief overview:

”Nerve” refers to a game in the film, it is based on a social media concept. The game offers service users the option to become watchers or players. Watchers follow their favourite players, and become part of an underground community. Players must complete dares generated by watchers, every dare will win you money – but if you bail out at any point you lose all the money you have previously earned. Each dare becomes increasingly dangerous, and the protagonist whom becomes a player after she is mocked by her friends for never taking risks; becomes alarmingly immersed in the game. After a set-up by watchers, her and the said friend who criticised her, have a huge argument. And she tells the police all about the game, and how dangerous it is. She is warned at the beginning of joining as a player, that snitches get stitches. So she gets knocked out, and wakes up in a cell with a TV screen talking at her (Orwellian vibes at this stage). Because she snitched she has now become part of a third category within the game. Neither player nor watcher, she is now a prisoner. The only way out to be in the final round of the game, and win – or she is trapped forever. In the end, she fakes her death and she wins and the game is shut down by her geeky programming friends.

Although this is a somewhat far-fetched concept of an online game, particular elements explored within the film are comparable to issues identified within social media.

Focusing on Instagram, (as I feel this was the closest of the social media platforms to the game) these were the parallels I found:

Addiction & Insecurity- Within the film, players will go to extreme lengths to complete dares / because completing dares equals more followers, more likes, and therefore more on-line fame.

This also occurs on Instagram. Users will go to extreme lengths to increase popularity online:

There is huge pressure on social media for participants with a number of ‘’followers’’ to maintain a certain image, and also to be constantly active. The flow of the online world moves at an alarmingly fast rate – and you are expected to keep up. The mixture of these pressures, plus general insecurities, and exploitation of the female form online can have adverse effects on personal identity and body image. This can consequently lead to premature sexualisation of young females.

There has been a blur between porn and normality, which expands online through to social media. As McNair describes, ‘’…this revolution in the means of communication has fanned the growth of a less regulated, more commercialised, and more pluralistic sexual culture (in terms of the variety of sexualities which it can accommodate), and thus promoted what I will describe as a democratisation of desire…’’ (McNair, 2002:11)

Blur between online & reality – ”Nerve” encapsulates it’s users by using money incentives, but in addition to this users want to gain followers, and online fame as discussed above. This immersion into the game created a blur between reality and online.

This can be seen on Instagram also.

A poignant example of this is the case of Essena O’Neill, an 18 year old ‘’Insta-famous’’ female who had thousands of followers, and was addicted to social media. She would go to extreme lengths to convey a ‘’perfect’’ lifestyle and appearance on Instagram.

“I’ve spent the majority of my teenage life being addicted to social media, social approval, social status, and my physical appearance,” she writes in her last Instagram post, which shows a cartoon character wearing a television set on his head with “We Are A Brain-Washed Generation” written on the screen. “Social media, especially how I used it, isn’t real. Its contrived images and edited clips ranked against each other. It’s a system based on social approval, likes, validation, in views, success in followers. It’s perfectly orchestrated self-absorbed judgement.” (Chung, 2015, The Huffington Post):

Conclusion:

Although the concept of a murderous game online initially seems completely unrealistic; After further analysis, it can be said specific attributes of ”Nerve”, and how users interacted with it, are comparable to Instagram. Instagram addiction is a real issue, and users who can no longer establish between reality and the online realm, can potentially run the risk of causing detrimental affects to their mental health, social interaction and possibly even physical health in extreme cases (there has been reported cases of suicides due to social media related issues). Relying on social media for social approval is never a good thing. I don’t think this is the last we will be hearing about it, unfortunately.