5 Cruelty-Free Makeup Brands I Love

Tonight I wanted to write about something a little different. We all know that I’m not a beauty blogger BUT in the last year or so I’ve been experimenting a little. So, why not share with you some of my favourite brands? This isn’t sponsored, I wish.

I’ll be honest I can’t say everything I own is cruelty-free, it’s not. I try my best and I think trying is a start. My view is that if people are trying to change and do good in their lives it should be celebrated, they shouldn’t be shouted down for it! So, there’s a disclaimer right there, I’m still trying to find a red lipstick that’s as good as my MAC ones (any recommendations? Please post them below ⬇️)

Bare Minerals

My Mum actually started using this before I did. We both have the same skin, which is really prone to breaking out so if we’re going to use any foundation it has to be able to breathe.

This is the only foundation I will use. It doesn’t make my skin feel gross, it’s easy to apply and it makes me feel good when I do wear it. Also, yes for super pale shades. Just because I want to use foundation, doesn’t mean I want to be 3 shades darker.

Lottie London

I absolutely adore Lottie London’s liquid lipstick and nail varnishes. They have amazing packaging as well, which is super cute. I love that the liquid lipsticks are easy for me to just pop into my bag and reapply. Also, there are some great nude-ish shades, I am a fan.

Urban Decay 

I was sooooo late to the party with Urban Decay. I haven’t been into make up for very long so the £38 price tag for eyeshadow scared me off. That was until my sister swore by it, then did my make up using it for a few days while we were in Disney.

Using Christmas money I bought my first palette the Naked 3 and hands down it is the more durable eyeshadow I’ve ever used. Beautiful colours and I’m already eyeing up some other palettes as I write this. I’m looking at you Aphrodisiac palette 👀.

Revolution 

A great affordable brand that is my go to for the basics. Eyeliner? Revolution. Blush? Revolution? New things I want to try? Revolution. A great brand that I am so pleased is cruelty-free.

Barry M

All hail the Barry M mascara. I love my waterproof mascara, it’s light and not clumpy. Also their glitter nail varnishes are amaaaazing. Another affordable brand that I’ve been using for years.

What brands am I missing? Let me know in the comments below!

Being Truthful On Galentines Day

Hello lovely lot!

I know this post is going out a little later than normal but I’ve been wracking my brains about what to post this week. A little bit of bloggers block has hit pretty hard!

You may or may not know that today is known as Galentines Day, February 13th is dedicated to our female friendships and celebrating them. I have some wonderful women in my life that I absolutely adore. Some of them I’ve known for years, others a few months. I realise as I get older that you don’t always need years to get to know a person, sometimes it feels instantaneous.

While I scrolled through my feeds today I felt a pang of sadness. I saw the #girlsquads, the pictures of groups of girls who went out together every weekend and seemed to spend every moment together, many of them since their school days.

Here’s the thing, I’ve struggled with friendships growing up. There has been around 2 times in my life I’ve had a group of girlfriends who were all close with each other. Once at school and once at university, neither worked out. Nowadays my closest girlfriends all get along and will come out for my birthday/ event but we’re not a big collective group.

I was born in 1994, which means I’m a Spice Girls kid. I grew up idolising these 5 women who were the best of friends. There were times when I’d watch the other groups of girls at school and desperately want to be a part of it a big group. That was the way it should be right?

In the books I read, the films I watched girls were groups. Groups who could talk about anything and do anything together. Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t totally alone, I had close girlfriends but felt like something was wrong with me because I wasn’t part of something bigger. A squad, a team, whatever you want to do it.

As I got older and the Spice Girls were no more, I still had this longing. Years later, I tried to morph myself into someone I wasn’t to fit into a ‘squad’. I made some mistakes then I wish I hadn’t, including pushing other people I was close to away to feel included.

I tried to be what I thought I should. This could be my moment, right? But I still felt like I was trying too hard, at least deeps down. Now those relationships are gone.

This is a rambling post, I’m well aware but I started to think that maybe, just maybe, I didn’t need a squad. That I could have these wonderful friendships individually with women and it didn’t matter if we had a WhatsApp group or if I’d known them in my emo phase.

These girls, each of them unique and completely different are my friends and I love and cherish them.

What are your experiences? I’d love to know below.

Book Review: I Am, I Am, I Am – Maggie O’Farrell

Maggie O’Farrell has had quite a life, forget a cat having nine lives, this tell the story of Maggie’s 17 brushes with death, some are remarkable, some are sad and some will send a chill down your spine. This is about everyday life, survival and appreciating the life you have.

This is a stunning memoir that I wish I could shout about from the rooftops. I listened to this as an audiobook rather than reading and I actually thought it was a great way to engage with the book, it almost made it seem more real.

Spanning decades, every chapter another tale of luck and resilience. In fact, the book itself is for Maggie’s daughter who lives with a condition that is incredibly dangerous to the point she must always be one step ahead.

I’ll admit what initially drew me to this book was the title. ‘I am, I am, I am’ is a quote from one of my favourite novels, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath – linking to the idea of your heartbeat reminding you that you are alive and centring you. I liked the link, while the book doesn’t mention this, I’m hoping I’m not going out on a limb here!

Death is something that most of us don’t talk about, it’s a taboo topic in society. Of course, death is sad for those left behind, however, it is a natural part of life. While this can, at times, be an incredibly tough read some of the situations that Maggie has been in are truly horrible but it gives comfort she has survived.

This will remind you of the fragility of life, but also the beauty of it. These are not stories of bitterness or anger, instead, they are about living despite hardships. In fact, it made me reevaluate part of my life too and my own hardships.

I gave this 4.5 stars, this is an absolutely brilliant read. It really does draw you in and I genuinely cared about Maggie and wanted to know more about her and her family. If you’d like a memoir that holds your attention but also makes you think hard then this is for you.

Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

5 Things I’ve Gained From Jobs I’ve Had Since Graduating.

When I left university I thought I would get a job, stay in that job for a few years and not even have to think about another one until I wanted to. With hindsight I laugh at myself then, because what I didn’t know is that it’s simply not the case. 

From the examples I’d had in my life you worked in one place for a long time, people in my family had worked at the same place for over 10 years sometimes – they might have changed roles but they were with that company. The thing is, that didn’t seem to apply with me. 

I’ve moved around a fair few times since graduating. For some, it was simply the fact that my position wasn’t needed anymore and so my contract ended, from others I wasn’t right for the role and let go and some were simply short term contract roles. In some of those I was miserable and leaving was the best thing I did…but when I was made to leave I couldn’t help but feel like a failure. But, with the gift of hindsight I realised I actually learnt a lot.

Doing a good job is important but so are boundaries.

I’ve always been an overachiever, but I had to learn about boundaries. I would work and work and work way past what I should have been.

I needed to learn to separate my work life and my home life. To know that my job wasn’t my entire life (although this gets a little more difficult when you are working for yourself). I learnt that I work to live, not the other way around! It’s an important lesson.

Learning what I want and what I don’t in my personal and professional life

I learnt that I love the world of digital, have a passion for social and like to be creative. Traditional marketing methods never spoke to me short-term and instead of managing campaigns I wanted to be in the thick of it! I wanted to be writing, making, creating.

I also learnt that a 45-minute drive every morning and every night made me miserable, as did a rigid 9-5.30. That the corporate scene bored me and that I needed to enjoy what I was doing.

I have to look after my own health because other people won’t

In more than one of my jobs I felt that I had to hide any health issues I had, even mentioning the word stress was looked down upon. As if I couldn’t do my job.

When I worked late and gave my all, it wasn’t noticed or acknowledged but if I was overworked and got ill or wasn’t my ‘normal self’ it was pulled up. I had to learn the hard way I needed to look after myself because no one in the working world was going to.

Resilience

Every time I got knocked down I got back up again vowing to do better next time. Once, after being told my job wasn’t going to exist anymore I cried, drove back to my home town and immediately got online and started contacting people who might know of some leads.

Did I cry when these happened? Of course, I did, I’m human! Did I have times where I thought I just couldn’t do it and wanted to give up, duh! Somehow I did it.

There are good people in every company, organisation, etc

Ultimately in every single job I’ve had I met wonderful people. People who I’ve stayed in touch with to varying degrees. No matter what there are good people in the world and that’s always a good thing to be reminded of.

What have previous jobs taught you? I’d love to know in the comments below!

What I Read In January 2019!

It’s time for the first reading wrap up of 2019, yippie! January is not a great month so I try to read as much as possible to escape the horrible outside, boo.

This month I managed to read 9 books; 4 physical books, 2 graphic novels, 2 audiobooks and 1 kindle read. Not bad, not bad at all. So, let’s get into what I thought.

Becoming Michelle Obama

Becoming – Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama just seems like a wonderful human and as soon as I heard this was being released it was on my wishlist.

Originally, I tried the audiobook but just felt it didn’t work for me so I switched to a physical copy. This is a really inspiring story and although the beginning was a little slow I still enjoyed it and gave it 5 stars.

You Are A Badass At Making Money

You Are A Badass At Making Money – Jen Sincero

There are few books you can claim changed the way you think, this is one of them. After a friend sent me this to listen to I was obsessed with it. Sincero talks about money, how we view money as a society and how to get past those mental blocks.

I appreciate it’s not for everyone but I loved this and gave it 4 stars.

Everything I Never Told You

Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng

Celeste Ng is one of those authors I kept hearing about, so seeing this for £3 I thought I might as well pick it up.

This is great if you like family based drama and mystery. Lydia, the perfect girl of the family is found dead in a possible suicide. We see how this impacts the family and try and find out what really happened.

This was okay, a decent plot but not something that got me super invested in the characters and I did feel the ending was a little lax. I gave it 3 stars.

Unnatural Vol 1

Unnatural, Vol 1 Awakening – Mirka Andolfo

A new graphic novel with themes of segregation, the idea of the ‘perfect family’, oh and they’re all animals. This also gets pretty steamy, but I don’t want to ruin it for anyone! 4 stars.

Saga Vol 8

Saga Volume 8 – Fiona Staples and Brian K Vaughan

It’s number 8 in the series so I can hardly say anything at all but this broke my heart at times, I’ve heard the next in the series will crush me. 5 stars.

Notes to Self Emilie Pine

Notes To Self – Emiline Pine

A full review to come but this is a thought-provoking and altogether wonderful collection of essays. With difficult topics and brutal honesty, I’m a big fan of Emiline Pine now. 5 Stars

Born Lippy How To Do Female

Born Lippy – How To Do Female – Jo Brand

A fun insight into womanhood thanks to none other than Jo Brand. This is dry, witty and at times made me laugh out loud while listening. I would definitely recommend the audiobook for an extra kick. 4 stars.

An Absolute Remarkable Thing

An Absolutely Remarkable Think – Hank Green

I’ve been waiting to read this for so long, so of course, I was super excited to get it for Christmas. Buuuuut, it fell a little short for me, I really struggled with the protagonist for the majority of the book.

Not a bad debut and I probably will pick up the next book in the series just to see where it goes but right now this got a 3.5 from me.

Pop Star Jihadi

Pop Star Jihadi – Nick Tyrone

I received this book from Midas PR after being asked if I would be interested in reading. This is an incredibly well written and intelligent piece of fiction.

How would we react to a teen superstar blowing themselves up at their own concert, killing nearly 100 fans. Who would we believe? Would mob mentality take over? 4.5 stars.

My Top Shows On Netflix

10 Of My Favourite Shows On Netflix

I like Netflix, mostly for having something on in the background unless I am really hooked! It’s normally difficult for me to get into films/shows at home but when I find some I like I will watch them again and again.

So, why not share with you some of my favourite shows on Neflix? Some are exclusive to Netflix, some I watched on TV and am so happy that I now have a place to watch them over and over again. Please note these are only shows rather than films or documentaries!

The Fix

This is new to Netflix and I absolutely love it. So much so I binge watched it and really hope for a season 2! A lot of what I watch regularly is comedy (most of my recommendations are stand up specials) so this was a great mix!

American Crime Story: The People Vs OJ Simpson

I wrote a blog post about this when it was on TV, saying how interesting I found it (post here). It’s no wonder that after it came to Netfli I may have watched it once or twice…and then many more times after that. I was an interesting trial and so well acted!

How I Met Your Mother

I’ve loved HIMYM for years, so much so I had every season on DVD while I was at uni and watched it almost every day. This is one of my favourites to put on in the background and just catch up on old episodes.

Friends

Come on, you didn’t really think I’d leave Friends out did you? This was a staple for me growing up. I had all the VHS tapes as an early teen, then bought all the DVDs and now sweet, sweet Netflix. It’s a classic TV series and I love it.

Star Trek Discovery

This is an excellent story and has really got me interested in Star Trek. An incredible cast and moments that made me gasp out loud. This is also great if you weren’t an original Trekky (I’d only seen the newer films) you’re not expected to know too much and the first season is all new characters.

I dare you not to be hooked, and if you start now you can binge the whole of series 1, you are welcome.

Bojack Horseman

For me, this is a show I can have on in the background. I’m slowly making my way through, particularly when Ali goes on tour. You don’t have to concentrate too much, it’s something you can absorb and enjoy and sometimes that’s all you need from a TV show.

Rick & Morty

This makes me laugh, it is silly and ridiculous but that’s kind of the point. Ali and I will watch this together while eating sometimes or I’ll make him put it through the speakers of his computer if he has it on.

The Crown

The best Netflix series ever produced. This was a masterpiece, I loved it and I’m so excited for the next season to see what they will do with it. Claire Foy is such an incredible actress too, plus I do love the Royal family!

Next season, for those of you who don’t know, we’ll get a whole new cast replacing those we have come to love including Helena Bonham-Carter and Olivia Coleman.

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman

This was a great series. Although Letterman isn’t as big over here in the UK I loved his way of interviewing. The Malala interview was my favourite, closely followed by Barack Obama and Tina Fey. More please!

Doctor Who

Matt Smith is my Doctor. I still need to work my way through the earlier episodes of Eccleston and Tennant but I love curling up and putting on old episodes of the Smith era. Everyone has their favourites, don’t @ me.

And that’s that! What else should I be watching on Netflix? I’d love to know your favourites below!

Book Review: The Boy Who Followed His Father To Auschwitz – Jeremy Dromfield

In the Nazi rule of 1930s Vienna, Gustav Kleinmann and his family were impacted like many Jewish families. Trapped in a nightmare that they didn’t know was only just beginning. Soon after Gustav and his teenage son Fritz are rounded up and sent to a Concentration Camp, where Fritz will do the unthinkable. 

Well, this was an emotional read. Reading a book about the Holocaust is tough, but needed. Last year I picked up The Tattooist of Auschwitz and this year I once again found a read that I almost couldn’t believe. It is a story of the bonds of family and the strength of the humans in the worst circumstances. 

This was an interesting mix of storytelling and a journalistic viewpoint. Dromfield has tried to include the climate of the world as well as in Germany. When reading I felt sick that so much of the world, the UK included, shut their doors to refugees. It’s something we’ve seen since. I truly think that is one of the reasons these books are so important – so we can recognise history repeating itself. 

What I also found incredibly interesting within the book is Fritz’s feelings of wanting change, even if it means risking his life. These are two men that tried their hardest not to give up, although in different ways. While they were father and son, seeing their different approaches to survival gave more of an insight into who they were and why they needed each other. 

This was a 4 star read for me. I feel like saying I enjoyed this was wrong. You can’t enjoy a book about the Holocaust but there was a heart to it. The fact that you could feel the family bond and fight for survival the whole way through. You are rooting for this father and son, for the entire family. I can see this becoming a very well known and read book. 

Thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.