Sunday, 26 October 2014

Sheffield Beauty Bloggers Meet Up // 18/10/14

I was lucky enough to grab a place at the Sheffield Beauty Bloggers meet up (#sheffieldbbloggers) last minute and I'm so glad I got a chance to go. Organised by Georgina of She Might Be Loved, Ashleigh of Beauty Waterfall and Heather of Porcelain Beauty, the event was a huge success.

This was my fourth meet up since starting my blog in January and I love how every meet up has a completely different atmosphere and format, whether it was cozy cups of tea, scavenger hunts, presentations from beauty companies or a completely chilled out event.

I got the train to Sheffield but just as I pulled up at the station, I realised I had forgot my bloody camera! :( This wasn't too much of a problem though as I had my phone and if you know from other beauty events I blog about, I rarely take photos anyway as I'm usually too caught up chatting to other bloggers.

When arriving at Sheffield, I got a taxi with three other bloggers. I'm glad we chose to taxi as I would have never found the venue on my own (or it would have taken me a good 2 hours. Google maps is not my friend.) We arrived at an Indian Restaurant called Maveli which I thought was absolutely perfect for our venue. There was enough room for us to walk about and chat to each other, and there was something to do in every corner of the room.

Georgia was there to greet us as we arrived and told us to grab our goody bags. I loved that we got our goody bags straight away as it meant we got a chance to play with the products. Charley arrived with a nude lip and left with green ones thanks to Makeup Revolution.

After rooting through our bags, I decided to have a wonder. Lush had come to our event with a variety of their products, including some xmas and halloween stock. I bought some bits, but I'm going to post a seperate Lush haul. On top of that, we had a chance to make our own bath bombs and receive a hand and arm massage using one of the massage bars.

The best  bit of the night was the raffle, as there were so many amazing goodies to be won, including products from the Balm, perfumes, and my personal favourite, four beautiful Vivienne Westwood rings.

The raffle was in aid of Look Good, Feel Better, a charity that helps make women feel better when going through cancer treatment by teaching them how to draw on their eyebrows and looking after their skin. Jan from the charity attended to represent them and I think she did an amazing job informing us on this incredible charity. By the end of the night, we had raised around £250.

I was lucky enough to actually win a Vivienne Westwood ring! So thank you to Silver Tree for donating it.

After the raffle, we got to play around with some of Georgina's fancy dress costumes and there was a prize for the funniest photo. I must have been incredibly lucky that day, as I won another Urban Decay eye primer (which my mum gladly took off my hands!)
My winning (blurry) photo!

There's so much more to talk about, that I'd be here writing for another hour. First of all the delicious food the restaurant served us. I'm a picky eater but I tried most things and it was all yummy. The lady from HD Brows who I never actually got a chance to talk to, but who spent all afternoon fixing our brows, applying makeup and offering tips and advice. And lastly, Costello's, the cake company who actually deliver cake to your door.

Thanks again to the organisers for creating such an amazing event :)

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Thursday Topic// Role Models; That Zoella Article.

A couple of days ago Twitter was rife with debate over a certain article written by Chloe Hamilton. I'm sure we all know which one I mean. Some people completely disagreed with the article, whilst others saw some valid points in her writing. I was one of the former.

Hamilton wrote on twitter that she found 'Zoella's sickly sweet brand of feminism hard to stomach.' As opposed to her own brand of feminism which involved making fun of a young girls name, appearance, business and success. I rant on about feminism all the time, but I think it's so important to remember that we should be supporting each other, not tearing each other down. Whether you like Zoella or not, you have to admire her success (which was not easy peasy as according to the article).

Ignoring the complete spitefulness of the article, the comment that had me the most interested was the one about telling her young fans not to worry about their appearance so much. Some, including Hamilton, thought this hypocritical considering some of Zoe's most popular videos are hair and makeup tutorials.

I'm not a die hard Zoella fan. I watch her main channel videos, but only watch the daily vlogs with titles that catch my attention. Most of the vlogs I've watched, Zoe is usually in her pajamas, messy hair with no makeup. She frequently points out her spots and dark eye bags, joking that she inherited them from her father. To me, she does not care that much about her appearance, but the article does not mention this. For most of us, including Zoella, makeup is a hobby and if we ever feel obliged to wear it, it's most likely down to the numerous photoshopped adverts we encounter a day, and not a girl with a messy bun who likes to talk to a camera.

I feel by stating Zoella is hypocritical, we include a wide variety of occupations. My sister is a beauty therapist with a young daughter. I'm sure she will tell her one day that she shouldn't worry about appearance, but does that make her a hypocrite? What about girls whose mums are makeup artists, hairdressers, who work in Boots or like to wear makeup themselves?

When I was a teenager, I didn't read blogs. I read magazines like Bliss or Sugar. They were full of advice; anything from beauty to sex. We are also told not to worry about it, but the advice is there if we need it.

Teenage girls are always going to fret about appearance and I know I wish I had someone like Zoe to watch when I was younger, to teach me how to apply makeup properly instead of guessing where the blush was supposed to go. The word 'role-model' is thrown around too much, and there's so much pressure on young females in the lime light to be perfect all the time.

Hamilton deems Zoella a bad role model for her apparent shallowness and superficiality. But I'm sure some people deem other celebs, such as, say, Miley Cyrus as a bad role model for being provocative, Or Taylor Swift, for having too many boyfriends. Or Jennifer Lawrence, for taking nude photos. Or self-proclaimed feminist and author Caitlin Moran, for saying too many swear words.

Yes, in an ideal world, our role models would be nurses or teachers or our mothers. But we look up to people we want to be when we're older. The majority of women in my family are nurses but I've always wanted to do something more creative. When I was a teenager, my role models were people in bands. As I've gotten older, they've become authors.

As far as role models go, I think a successful business woman isn't a bad choice. And I just want to mention;

'[Why doesn't she] encourage their kids to spend their pocket money on books.' Hasn't she just written a book that's bound to become a bestseller? If anyone can encourage kids to read, I imagine it would be Zoella. 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Boux Avenue Room Spray // Review

I'm obsessed with buying scented candles, oil diffusers, and sprays to make my room smell pretty. If you've ever been into Boux Avenue, you'll know that the soft fresh fragrance hits you as soon as you enter. I adore the smell, and was so excited to see that they sold room sprays, so I too could make my room smell as lovely.

At £10 for 100mls, this stuff isn't cheap. But it comes in a square shape glass bottle with pink ribbon that looks so pretty on my dressing table.

I chose the smell 'Pink Taffeta' which contains rose, amber and peony. It is very warm and musky, but also fresh and clean. I love spraying this onto my bedding in between washes to keep it smelling nice.

Unfortunately, the smell doesn't last that long. After first spraying, the room smells lovely for just a few minutes. I know you get used to smells, but even after leaving the room and coming back in, say, half an hour later, I don't detect the smell anymore.

After speaking to someone at the shop, she said she goes through a bottle every couple of weeks. Maybe it's my fault for not spraying enough, but if I'm spending ten pounds on a room spray, I expect to get a great scent payoff without having to use half a bottle.

Also, the lady at the shop says that people buy this to use as perfume. The back of the bottle warns to avoid contact with skin, so maybe this wasn't the right advice for her to be giving out haha.

Overall, I wouldn't buy this again, as I wasn't very impressed with the product. I think a bottle of Febreeze would work just as well, if not better, and you're not breaking the bank.

Although a bottle of Febreeze isn't as pretty to look at.

Have you tried a Boux Avenue Room Spray? What did you think?

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Sample Review // Nivea Creme Care Shower Cream

I have so many samples in my possession from various blogger meets, magazines and beauty boxes, I decided it was about time to make my way through them.

Because I only have small samples of products, this is going to be like a first impression than an in depth review. But if something makes me want to buy it full size, then you know it's good!

I love the smell of this shower creme, especially for Autumn/Winter. In the summer I prefer fresh, fruity scents, but this is quite musky and has a hint of citrus to it. The smell doesn't linger on the skin long, but I find most shower gels don't. However, when using it, it feels very luxurious.

I prefer shower creams to gels, as I find them more moisturising, especially when it comes to shaving my legs. This makes my skin feel lovely and doesn't leave that weird, tight feeling I get when using soap or some shower gels.

For 250mls for less than £2, this is definitely something I'd consider buying. However, I'm still making my way through the stash of body products I got last Christmas!

Have you tried this product before?

Friday, 17 October 2014

Zoella Beauty Haul

I don't know whether you can call this a haul as I only bought three things, but considering there isn't that much in Zoella's collection yet, I think it was a good start.

My local Superdrug is so small it hardly ever gets new releases, so imagine my excitement when I walked past and saw the Zoella Beauty products on a shelf. They had everything apart from the candles and the makeup bag with the eyes on. The main thing I was interested in was the body mist 'Blissful Mistful' which is £8. I love the bottle and it looks so pretty on my dressing table next to my other perfume bottles. Because it was so cheap, I thought it would look cheap, but as you a can see, it doesn't. I find it hard to describe smells, but I think this is a more Spring/Summer scent than Autumn/Winter, just because it smells really fresh and clean rather than musky.

I went back to Superdrug a few days later and picked up the Candle 'Let's Glow' and the Fizz Bar. I haven't used either yet, but the Fizz bar has such a familiar smell. I think it reminds me of washing powder but I'm excited to use it. The candle also smells lovely.

I'm excited to try these and glad I managed to get some of the range before they sold out. If you happen to see some of the stuff in your local Superdrug, be sure to pick some up because I was told that when they sell, it will be a while before stores get them in again.

Have you tried any of her range?

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Thursday Topic// Can You Be Feminist And A Beauty Blogger?

I am a feminist.

I first started to identify myself as a feminist at the tender age of sixteen when I started my AS levels. I had amazing teachers who encouraged us and invited debate and I started to realise that feminism and  women's rights were something I was deeply passionate about.

I think my brain's always been tuned to think this particular way. I remember reading Twilight for the first time and hating Bella because she was so passive and let the men in her life completely control her. I remember being completely outraged at school when one of my friends had her boob grabbed by a male student and no one blinked an eye because 'boys will be boys.' I remember being one of the only ones in my class who supported the 'pro-choice' abortion debate in RE lessons.

I think of all this and sometimes wonder whether I'm a hypocrite. I am a self-proclaimed feminist who writes a beauty blog.

I know feminism isn't black and white. Although in it simplest terms, feminism means supporting the equal rights of men and women. However, there's all sorts of tangents and arguments that will never be solved because there's no right or wrong answers.

As a beauty blogger, am I effectively promoting an industry that makes money exploiting women's insecurities? As I applied my makeup this morning, I realised how ridiculous the whole thing is. I was putting my self in pain by removing hair from my eyebrows. I was using a primer to eliminate the appearance of pores. I was using bronzer to make my cheekbones more pronounced and my nose slimmer.

I started to question myself why I was doing this. Was it to make myself more attractive?

Well, yes. I'd be lying if I said that wearing makeup didn't make me feel prettier. I think wearing makeup makes me look more alert, healthier, and I actually feel like I get more stuff done with makeup on. I'm not particularly self conscious without makeup; I've posted photos of myself on my blog without makeup on and uploaded a couple of youtube videos where my face has been bare. But, if I'm honest, I rarely leave the house without wearing makeup, even if it's applying a little concealer and lip balm to nip to Asdas.

Is this me conforming to societies perception of beauty? Am I wearing makeup because I want to make men and women think I'm attractive? Why do I want to make them think me attractive? Will they appreciate me more if I'm prettier?

I've spent the last five years studying literature that proves women are more than just a pretty face and something to be looked at. But by writing a beauty blog, am I just reinforcing this idea?

I know that makeup is more than looking attractive. It can be a form of self expression. I sometimes like to wear purple lipstick so dark it's almost black. My boyfriend and dad may not like it, but I do so I wear it.

For others makeup is an art form. It takes serious precision to create the perfect cat flick. Blending eye shadow is something that takes many hours of practice. I don't even want to think about contouring.

Makeup is also fun. I find enjoyment from doing my makeup, and even apply it if I'm not going anywhere. I love watching makeup tutorials on youtube, and testing lipsticks out in Boots. Can doing something that we enjoy be oppressive? After all, we're not being forced to wear makeup. We do it because we like it.

The beauty blogger community is dominantly female and is a community I feel is very supportive and friendly. Women have made careers out of beauty blogging (think Zoella Beauty, Tanya Burr etc) and this couldn't have happened without the support of other women and other beauty bloggers. Society has taught us that other women are our competition and we should tear them down (ever hear the stereotypical ' a group of women together leads to bitchiness) but I don't find this within blogging. Can something that leads to success for so many women be anti-feminist?

I could go on and on for ages as like I said, often with topics like feminism, there's no black and white answer and each opinion is subjective.

The beauty industry is complex, but so is feminism and so is life.

Beauty blogging is a hobby and something I will continue doing. Wearing makeup is a choice and something that makes me feel good, and something that makes me feel powerful. Making this choice implies ownership and states that I have complete control over my body. Yes, I may do it to look more attractive, but with women in the spotlight like Beyonce and Miley Cyrus, who use their makeup and fashion choices to own their sexuality, I feel there's nothing wrong with this.

The problem with makeup arises when women are forced to wear it. Whether this be at a young age to fit in with friends (this isn't a literal 'force' but more a peer pressure 'force') or because the beauty industry tells us we're not beautiful without it. It get's even more sinister when makeup is introduced as part of a dress code at work. I know there's even some jobs where you can get fired for having smudged lipstick (think air hostess.)

I know this is a long post and I applaud you if you read it all. I'm wondering what your views on the subject are? Whether you simply leave a comment, or write a long rambling post of your own, let me know because I'm interested.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The Body Shop Haul

After running low on my Soap & Glory Cleanser for the second time, I decided to switch it up a bit and try something new. I recently got a sample of the Vitamin E cleanser from The Body Shop and decided to try that.

The Body Shop were having a 30% off event for 'Love Your Body' card holders on the 2nd and 3rd of October, which they kindly informed me by text. I had also been eyeing up their night creams and couldn't decide between the Vitamin E one or the S&G Wish Upon A Jar. Considering S&G was £16, I decided to go for the cheaper option. 

Together the cleanser and night cream came to £20.50 but with 30% off, it came to just over £14 which I thought was amazing. 

After paying for my items, I inquired about the birthday bonus card holders get. When it's your birthday month, you get £5 to spend in store. They informed me I could use this in conjunction with the 30% offer, so off I went browsing again. 

Gabby from VelvetGh0st talked about the Instablur primer, saying it was one of her favourites. This costs £14 on it's own, but next to it was a set featuring the primer and the bb cream for just £20! Bargains to be had everywhere. With the 30% off, this cost just £14, then with the extra £5 off it came to just £9. £9 for 2 products is amazing value. 

As I was about to pay for these, the lady informed me that if I spent another pound, I would get another £5 off as I had reached the first reward (basically every £10 you spend, you get a stamp. When you get 4 stamps, you get a £5 reward off any purchase.) 

I headed towards the £2 lip balms, but the lady showed me the Instablur Eye Primer. She applied a little on my hand, then swatched some eye shadow next to the primer then on it. It made it so much more vibrant! I was a bit unsure whether to purchase it or not, but the lady scanned it and told me I would be paying £12.50 for all three products! Which meant the eye primer cost me just £3.50. 

I decided then I better leave or I would be there all day. Have you bought anything from The Body Shop lately?