Monday, 3 October 2016

Living With... Mental Health Problems

CW - This post contains some content on the topic of anxiety, panic attacks and phobias, please continue with caution if you may find such topics triggering.

They say you should write the thing that you are most afraid to write. So here goes.

I've lived with mental illnesses for as long as I can remember. Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, PND, OCD, and more recently, Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia. Oh, and I have Trichotillomania too. Yay.

I've always been a worrier, I've always suffered with low mood. I experienced traumatic events early on in life and I've been on antidepressants since I was 16 and able to go to the doctors on my own.

Don't get me wrong, I've had wonderful things happen too. I had my children, I found friends and I met the love of my life. I've had professional success and I've had my world fall apart around my feet. I feel like I've lived a hundred lifetimes already.

I've been living with agoraphobia for some time now. My life changed in ways I still find incredibly hard to cope with. I've always been an independent person, having that taken away has been one of the most difficult things I've ever had to deal with.

I had a breakdown and started to experience panic attacks more severely than I ever had before. I spent weeks in a constant state of panic - I was in what felt like a non stop panic attack. I was so hot, I felt like I had a fever. I was afraid to walk up and down the stairs at home in case I fainted. I was dizzy and distressed. I believed that I was dying, but that no one believed me. The medication I was given to soothe the symptoms, triggered my anxiety. I was alone and afraid. I felt like I couldn't breathe. I developed phobias about food and chemicals, I thought I was going to have a fatal reaction to something. Even writing this down makes me feel light headed.

You see, these things aren't really gone, just slightly lessened. I still have random, frequent panic attacks with no trigger. I've found ways that I can try and cope at home. When I have to go out, the anxiety is horrendous. I feel like my brain is a faulty smoke alarm, it thinks there's fire everywhere. I'm in a permanent state of terror, with every fibre of my being telling me I have to escape to safety. Except I don't really feel completely safe anywhere.

When I need to leave the house, I have to have someone with me, the symptoms are frankly too unbearable and terrifying to cope with on my own. Each time I go out leaves me feeling completely exhausted, drained and vulnerable. My anxiety at home spikes and it takes weeks to recuperate. Then repeat.

There has been some good to come out of this though.

I am much more grateful for the small things in life.

I am taking the time to properly heal from past trauma/illness.

I discovered who in my life truly cares about me.

I learned about self care, and how to be cared for by others.

I am hopeful for recovery, I have to be. I have a whole new life just waiting for me to be ready for it, and I intend to make the most of every second.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

The 90's Supermodel Lip

So you all know I'm all all about those 90's makeup trends right now (like I said, probably influenced by all the Voyager I've been watching: side note - who else is super excited for MAC x Star Trek?). 

I blame Kylie Jenner. First it was all about MAC Soar & Brave, then I finally got on the Whirl & Velvet Teddy bandwagon, and then my beloved bought me a Kylie Lip Kit and my fate was sealed. I'd gone from low key nude lips to fully reliving the nineties, and I'm still not bored yet. One of my favourite  looks at the minute is MAC Groundwork paintpot on the eyes, with a brown kohl liner smudged into the upper lashline, my holy grail Nars Laguna bronzer (no blush for this one), and either a dirty rose or brown nude lip. 

When I discovered this little duo, I was so impressed by the pairing that I dubbed it The 90's Supermodel Lip - I know, high praise indeed. Say hello to my new faves: Too Faced Perfect Lips in Perfect Nude and Chantecaille Lucky. I had them both in my collection already, and honestly wasn't so fussed for the Chantecaille before. I didn't understand the hype and was kind of regretting it. But when I paired it with the Too Faced lipliner, oh my! I've never been one for shimmery lipglosses before but boy, does this one make your lips look plumper! (I'm also not one for plumping lipglosses - not a fan of irritants making my lips swell, I'll be honest with ya). There's just something about these two together that is so utterly flattering, I'm completely addicted. If you've been dreaming of a gorgeously glossy nude lip, you might just find it in these two.

What's your favourite nude lip? 

Friday, 3 June 2016

The Backups.

You know the ones, those absolute gems that not only do you repurchase, but you have a secret stash all ready to go should you *gasp!* run out. Heaven forbid you should have to go even a day without your precious product, amirite?

So these are the things that I refuse to be without.

I've literally just realised that all four products are from just two brands *eye rolling forever*. So I used to be Team Nars Creamy Concealer and sure, it has it's place. but now I'm 100% Team UD Naked Skin Concealer (this has a much longer name but honestly, who has the time...). It's creamy, it's pigmented, it's a dream for highlighting and my beauty blender gets along just great with it. What's not to like?  

My next backup, is one which I didn't even like at first. Go figure. It's the Perversion mascara, also from Urban Decay. Now, when this one is brand new, it's clumpy, its smudgy, it's not my favourite by a long shot. But, when it dries out a little, oh my! Literally the most fluttery lashes you ever did see. It even surpasses my old favourite, Guerlain Maxi Lash. Honestly, there would be tears if this were ever to be discontinued. Lots of them,

Again, we've got two from Anastasia, but she is the undisputed Queen of Brows so no real surprise there. The Tinted Brow Gel is my absolute favourite - not just for setting, but for adding some dimension. The warmth in my chosen shade Brunette might be too much for some, but I love it for making my brows appear fuller and less flat. Now the much raved about Brow Wiz took me a while to get on board with, but now I wouldn't be without it. I mean, I dabble in pencils, powders and her very own Dip Brow Pomade from time to time, but I always come back to this. The nib is super fine, and it's almost waxy consistency makes it really easy to use the right pressure to get your desired look. Once you've got the hang of it, it'll never let you down.

So tell me, what's in your backup stash?


Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Mac Spice and Honey Love

Honestly though, is there anything better than finding a new favourite lip combination? 

I really wasn't sure if the iconic MAC Spice lipliner would suit my skin tone (pale with pink undertones) but the 90's obsession is at an all time high and I seem to have a burning desire to own ALL of the nude lip colours. I don't think all the Star Trek I've been watching is helping either. Anyway, after Googling swatches for ages I decided to just go for it. 

My lipstick of choice for pairing with MAC Spice is MAC Honeylove. It's a gorgeous nude, which is just a little *too* nude for me to wear alone - but is perfect over a liner to give the look some dimension. 

So tell me, what's your favourite lip combo? If you've tried either of these, please let me know how you like to wear them :)

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Space NK Haul

Just a teeny tiny Space NK Haul, but don't good things always come in small packages?

I had to get a replacement for my Hourglass Mineral Veil primer, I just can't be without it now. I always buy this in the smaller size though, it makes it so much easier to justify that way! It's the most beautiful primer, it makes my makeup look flawless and it's one of the few primers that actually make my foundation last longer. If you need your makeup to be absolutely perfect for a special occasion, this is definitely one to try.

Another primer, and one I've been without for an absolute age, the Nars Pro Prime eyeshadow primer. I raved about this when I first started using it, but I didn't really wear eyeshadow often then - what this was great for was stopping my concealer from creasing and keeping my liquid eyeliner from smudging. When my first tube ran out, I decided not to repurchase and to try and get some use from my Paintpot in Painterly. I do love that one, and I've really enjoyed using it but I wanted to see how the Nars would fare with the heavier eye makeup that I wear these days.

Lastly a beautiful new lipstick for the summer, Nars Jungle Red. I know everyone raves about the Audacious line but I've had mixed experiences with them. I do have a bit of a soft spot for original lipsticks though and at the timd of writing, I've already had some good use from this one. It's the perfect low key summer red and I've really been enjoying wearing this with bronzed, glowy skin and minimal eye makeup.

What goodies have you been buying recently?


Thursday, 19 May 2016

Kylie Lip Kit in True Brown K Review

Whether you're a beauty blogger or makeup aficionado, there's really no way you could have escaped the hype surrounding Kylie Jenner and her lip products of choice. As soon as they were mentioned in the press or on social media, the MAC lipsticks and liners she was said to wear all sold out  - and kept selling out (yes I did buy Velvet Teddy and Soar as soon as they became available, thanks for asking). Coming from a family of business savvy women, it was only a matter of time before she brought out her own line of products. 

I'll admit, I was apprehensive about attempting to order one of the Kylie Lip Kits. It seemed like such a lot of effort to find out when there would be a restock (they are ALWAYS sold out), to be online at the exact time that they would be available to buy, plus the worry about ordering from the US and the horror stories I'd heard about people receiving faulty items and poor customer service for overseas customers (or worse, just receiving empty boxes), I'd pretty much accepted that this was one product I'd have to miss out out. Until my wonderful boyfriend decided to take on the challenge for himself and surprised me with one for my birthday! I've never been so shocked as I was when I saw that unmistakable black and white box, and I still don't know the lengths he had to go to in order to obtain one, but needless to say, I was very impressed!

Had I chosen it for myself, I almost certainly wouldn't have chosen True Brown K - it really is a true brown and I would never have thought that I could pull it off. I still haven't worn it on it's own, but I've had so much fun mixing it with other liquid lipsticks that I already own.

The formula works amazingly well with the Stila Stay All Day Liquid lipsticks - I've used it with Caramello to make a lighter, more nude brown shade. with Patina to make a more brown-toned, rosy shade, and with Baci to give it a more grey/lilac undertone. I've been really pleased with all of them, but I think my favourite combination so far is True Brown K and Stila Caramello - it's so wearable and totally reignited my love for the 90's makeup trend. 

Having something outside of my comfort zone encouraged me to be more creative with my lip colours. I often play around with different eyeshadow looks but I'm somehow more reserved with my lipstick choices. Since I received this, I've found myself layering and mixing colours and finishes much more.

The liquid lipstick has a lovely vanilla scent, and the applicator seems to pick up just the right amount of product. I don't find it to be too drying at all, it's very comfortable to wear. The lipliner I received actually has a bit of a fault, it seems to disappear into the packaging then reappear if you give it a little shake. It's very creamy, much more creamy than MAC lipliners (I actually prefer a drier, more waxy formula like the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat liners but I guess that's personal preference).

So... Are they worth the hype?

Let's just say I've already put in an order for another one ;) 


Monday, 16 May 2016

Loreal Nude Magique Cushion Foundation and Glam Bronze Cushion De Soleil Review

When Lancome released their first cushion foundation (an exciting foray into the world of Korean beauty - influenced by Lisa Eldridge, their newest Creative Director), I made it my mission to go out and try it immediately. At the time, I was all about that full coverage face and sadly, the cushion foundation was just too sheer for my liking. 

Fast forward about a year, and my taste in bases shifted slightly. Okay, I still love my Double Wear and Sheer Glow, but I've developed a new found appreciation for a sheerer, more natural looking finish. My most recent love is the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk, but that stuff is hella expensive. I've been using the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum, which has a lovely finish and the low maintenance "throw it on with no need for brushes or beauty blenders" vibe that I've become obsessed with, but in reality it's just too yellow toned for my skin *cries in corner for days*

The L'oreal Nude Magique Cushion is described as a "dewy glow foundation" and that's definitely true. I used to have oily skin so a dewy finish takes some getting used to! I got 01 Porcelain, which is the shade - I'm usually between Siberia and Mont Blanc in Nars Sheer Glow, between shades 2 and 3.5 in Illamasqua Skin Base and shade 2 in Giogio Armani Luminous Silk - although the cushion foundation is probably quite forgiving if you don't get an exact match, due to how sheer it is. 

For the purpose of testing the foundation, I skipped out on primer and I only lightly powdered areas where I'd concealed. The foundation evened out my skin tone but didn't cover any blemishes or redness, and I could have done with a light dusting of loose powder all over to keep the shine down. That said, I do really like it and I'm much happier these days to use a lighter coverage foundation and pin point conceal any problem areas. I think this is an excellent foundation for summer, due to its SPF of 29 and its radiant finish. I also love how practical this product is, its plastic compact packaging will be great for travelling and touch ups on the go. 

It's been a while since I tried out drugstore foundations, but I'm suitably impressed with this one and I'll definitely be trying out more that the high street has to offer - if you have any recommendations please let me know :)

It was actually was the Cushion De Soleil that I was originally  interested in - I've never been much of a bronzer gal, but have recently become re-acquainted with my Nars Laguna and I'm loving that summery bronzed look right now. I've become rather preoccupied with finding the perfect natural looking bronzer and have spent hours browsing beautiful cream products; but was worried that I don't have the skin type, the skin tone or the skill required to get the best out of them. I was equally afraid of the new liquid bronzers, mostly I'm concerned that I'd overdo it and look streaky or muddy. 

This new offering from L'oreal piqued my interest as it seemed like it might be a fool proof way to get that bronzed goddess look on my low key makeup days. If you're pale like me, this "fresh glow bronzer" is perfect to get a gorgeously sunkissed appearance, which is just what I've been craving. So far, I've used my Real Techniques stippling brush to apply it, and it meshes seamlessly with the cushion foundation.

Both of these items have an RRP of £14.99 but are currently on sale at Boots and Superdrug for £9.99. I'm so happy with both of my purchases, but I think my favourite of the two so far has to be the foundation - which I never thought I'd be saying! Will you be trying either of these?