Wednesday 28 June 2017


Oh June, you've been good to me.
You followed me home to the beach and watched my hair get tangled in the sea breeze and the tip of my nose get dipped in ice cream.

You've seen me start to build up a healthy relationship with exercise again, a major step forward that I've been hesitant to take. The cross trainer has been a demon of mine for a long time now.
You saw a favourite night with one of my best friends, and then the ugly hangover the next morning. (Life hack: don't go to a restaurant and order chocolate treats when you're hanging. It's not a good idea.)
You've sat with me and watched a lot of Sam Claflin movies, because why not? 
You waited patiently for me whilst I contemplated a four month summer, simultaneously delirious with excitement and rigid with fear for the long stretch of time. I thought for a while that I didn't like spending time on my own, and I tried to constantly fill empty spaces with people. June, you taught me I was wrong. I kinda love my own company.
You cheered me on as I picked up my work in progress and drove the process of writing my novel full speed ahead. Summer is a beautiful opportunity to dream, and I now get separation anxiety every time I leave my story for more than 24 hours.
You sat and waited whilst I had a minor freak out over all the things I want to achieve in these next few chapters of the year. And then smiled as I picked myself up and made a to-do list, because we all know that they solve everything.
You also witnessed a blogging identity crisis. Guys, you might notice a few new tabs at the top of my website - this space is now a pretty little mish-mash of topics. I couldn't love it more.
You've lazed on the grass with me as I embarked on a reading marathon to make up for all the time not spent with my nose in a book at university. Who knew we could get through so many stories?
Last night you probably laughed as I attempted my first professional cocktail in a bar; never underestimate the work behind a porn star martini.  
Finally, you've watched me find another little part of myself. I feel like I say this every month, but this month has been a learning curve. I'm so happy to be on the right track.
Goodbye June, I liked you.
I liked you a lot.

Sunday 25 June 2017

The 'Fit Me' Translucent Powder

If I haven't mentioned before how I'm kinda in a love affair with the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer, then the secrets out now. I'm not sure I'll ever become as emotionally attached to a man as I am to that product. Like, dang, I'm pretty sure you could party all night, get one hour of sleep, and the concealer would still manage to cover the dark circles. Boom.
So naturally, when I was browsing Amazon after repurchasing the concealer (you really do have to go to those lengths to get the pale shades, which are ALWAYS out of stock in Boots) and saw that there is a translucent 'Fit Me' powder, I had to have it. Literally had to have. To make everything even more exciting, it was advertised as a powder to make your skin look 'matte and poreless'. Squeeeee. And like the face product maniac I have become lately, I got on that Amazon Prime train and boarded the land to Maybelline Fit Me. I was not disappointed.
When it comes to powders, I'm pretty picky. Obviously, the risk that you take with a white translucent powder is white-cast, and I'm glad to announce that thankfully, you don't get any of that with this product. I'm going through a phase at the moment, whilst I nurse my dry skin back to health, of not using foundation, and when you layer the powder over only the concealer you can hardly tell that I've skipped that step. Being the sceptic that I am, I didn't think that the powder would deliver when it came to making your skin look 'poreless', but it does indeed. This is definitely up there with my Soap&Glory face powder, which isn't a title given lightly. In terms of matte-ness (is that even a word?), despite the fact that you need a top up a few hours after application, its a good egg. A really good egg. For £5.99, I can't believe the quality.

The only downside to this glorious purchase, is that I've noticed that it can slightly lighten some foundations that I do wear (on the few occasions that I've paired it with them). It seems different to white-cast, because it doesn't make your skin look white, it just alters one or two of my other skin products. And it isn't drastic. In my case, that's a bonus, considering I don't imagine I'll ever find a light enough shade, but for some of you I know that that might be an issue. So be wary, and not too heavy handed.
The product comes in a cute little compact, and although I don't think I'll ever use the sponge that's included, it would be a good way for someone to apply the powder if they're just building up a make up collection. I definitely relied on sponges like that before I got into make up brushes, and they worked well for me! Last but not least...that mirror is 10/10. I used it to touch up my face on a train the other day, and it worked a dream. Gotta love a handy mirror. 

Have you ever tried the 'Fit Me' collection?


Wednesday 21 June 2017

All The Rage || Courtney Summers

Trigger warning: All The Rage by Courtney Summers is a book about rape.
This book isn't a light-hearted contemporary that you picture yourself reading on the beach with a cosmo in the other hand. Its a book full of darkness. Its also the first book in a while that left me wanting to string my constellations of thoughts into a tangible review.
Courtney Summers is not afraid to tell the truth. A tragic irony, since the whole book is based on the opposite. Each chapter drips confession, even if Romy (the protagonist) avoids the very same thing. This book is about what its like to be a girl that has been raped. Not only that, its about what it's like to be a girl in general. How we pit ourselves against each other, and how we cower in the face of the uncertainty that, if we stand up for what we believe in, we run the risk of being just as unfortunate as those that need our help. How we walk alone at night and cross our fingers that we remain safe, and how we cringe every time a man whistles as we walk past.
The pages say horrible things, like people often do. It brings to light what so many ignore; the truth to being a woman, and the hardship of his word against yours. The tight lipped truth that if a man contradicts your story, it suddenly becomes less worthy of a reaction.
It touches upon the loneliness of education, and the aftermath of being brave enough to admit something before you are shunned. The words resonated with me not because I related to them (something that the power of literature often enables), but because they spoke so honestly and brutally that I couldn't help but open my eyes. It isn't fluffy, but neither is real life. Rape is such a taboo subject that it takes a brave author to write about it, and a brave reader to turn the last page. I read this in one sitting, and I could feel how important it is.
In terms of the writing, the switching from first to third person in the beginning threw me off. In fact, I almost abandoned it. Once you get about fifty pages in and acclimatise to the style of writing, it becomes clear that this is a beautifully raw piece of literature. Authors write what people are afraid to say in everyday life.
This is a story about rape. The brutality of it, the affects of it, the way people respond to it. It touches on what it feels like to be part of a community, and what happens when that community turns on you. There is nothing more heart-breaking than watching a confession be rendered meaningless, and I cannot imagine being in Romy's shoes. To go through something so raw and have not one person believe you. The story really begins when a girl goes missing, and suddenly bravery is more than a protagonist trying to save herself. I don't want to give anything away, so this review is spoiler free. Trust me though, this is a book that will make you view the world a little bit differently. One chapter at a time.
I cannot ignore fearless writing. Or the anger that it shakes up inside of me. (Believe me, you're supposed to feel that way.)
5/5 stars on goodreads.

Sunday 18 June 2017

What I've Been Reaching For Lately

I struggled immensely to narrow down this list of favourites; April and May were great for discovering gems. Side note: aren't these flowers gorgeous? Got to love some summer blooms.
When it came to renewing my faith in favourites of months gone by, I picked up MAC Harmony Blush a lot. I don't think I'm saying anything you haven't already heard if I tell you that this is my favourite contour shade of all time. This past couple of months I put down the others that I was trialling to embrace this ash brown contour again.  No regrets.
Another love I wasn't anticipating, was to bring back Maybelline Lash Sensational. My Mum tried the mascara once, hated it, so passed it along to me, and I've been loving it for my first coat of mascara on my top lashes (before I go in heavy with the Better Than Sex), and as a bottom lash mascara. Staying with the Maybelline trend, I couldn't not include the Fit Me concealer in 'Fair', which I have completely used up in the couple of months I've owned it. I posted a whole review of that baby over here.
Lately, I've developed texture on my skin around my chin and nose - the kind of texture that doesn't look great underneath foundation, and just generally lowers your overall mood. I have a feeling that it might be linked to hay fever, since its more of a rash than acne, but I've been using E45 cream twice a day and the texture has cleared right up. In a matter of days. I had to include it in this favourites, because I'm now convinced that E45 is a lifesaver.

In terms of lip products, three stood out as the only picks I'm really using at the moment. 'Cool Girl' by TooFaced is a matte liquid lipstick that I won in a giveaway hosted by Alice, and I'm so grateful since this formula is the only matte liquid lip formula I will use. I don't find it drying in the slightest, and this cool brown nude shade is right up my alley. The other Liquid Lip I've gravitated towards (and by gravitated, I mean I wear it literally every time I go on a night out), is Alyssa from Colourpop. A beautiful baby/medium pink satin shade that I die over every time. I'm not going to elaborate much on the fact that I included the Bare Minerals Gloss in 'Flirt', because y'all know how my heart beats for that gloss. Enough said. 
When I haven't been wearing acrylics, I've been wearing a Morgan Taylor nail polish in the shade 'Watch your step, sister!' (I can't say that out loud and take myself seriously at the same time). It's a pretty neon pink, that doesn't chip easily and applies like a dream. As for perfume, I've been wearing Accord No1 Floral by Zara which, as you can probably imagine, is a strong floral, feminine scent.
Finally, my Z palette has been my best pal. I even left it at home by accident when I went back to university and had to ask my Mum to send it over in the first class post. The two additions to my palette that I've used non-stop however are 'Issues', a peach nude by Colourpop that works beautifully as a crease colour, and 'Grandstand' by Make up Geek, a foiled copper/red brown that is a stunning lid shade. I'm such a convert to the single shadow lifestyle, let me tell you.


Thursday 15 June 2017

I Write For A Newspaper!

By far, one of my favourite things about university has been joining a writing society. It occurred to me yesterday that I've never spoken about it before over here, which makes little sense considering that this is just another platform I use for writing.
The Gryphon is the University of Leeds Newspaper, and I'll never get over the thrill I get at seeing my words in an actual newspaper. So exciting. I thought I'd add links in this post to all of my articles (since they're all posted online as well as some in print), so you can have a read if you fancy. I don't tend to stick to one genre; I write for the 'Blogs' section of the newspaper, which is essentially an opinionated mish mash of anything you're passionate about. Its ideal!
Essentially, discussing the power of an era of beauty and lifestyle bloggers, and how we're often stereotyped unfairly. Probably the article of most relevance to my blog, and definitely one that I'm proud of. GIRL POWER.
I think, as writers, we're all a little bit attached to the tendency to over-think things. Here I talked about why that's not necessarily a negative thing, if we train ourselves to think of our minds in a more positive light.
I'm more than a little attached to paperbacks. Enough said. 

The closure of the South Lakes Safari Zoo in Cumbria sparked an article surrounding the morality of zoos, and how we commoditize wild animals for our own gain. This one is a bit of rant!
Without a doubt, this is my favourite article that I've written, and if I was going to point you in the direction of any of these, it would be this one. A controversial topic among bloggers and vloggers, but one that needs to be considered since it has such a direct impact, and one that is very close to my heart.

As a geography student (and a human), Trump's withdrawal from the climate agreement wound me up. This is my first attempt at a political article, something I was hesitant to write, considering I'm much more of a non-factual, opinionated writer.

I plan to keep updating you guys on my articles if you fancy reading them, either by renewing this post, or sequential posting. I'm so excited to continue writing for the paper in my second year, especially as I'm the online editor for 2017/18!


Monday 12 June 2017

A Limited Edition Morphe Treat

When Beauty Bay announced that this palette was back in stock, I think I might have squealed. I've been on a beauty spending ban during the last couple of months, and considering I didn't buy a single item during that time I thought it was justifiable to pop onto BB and buy the Limited Edition Morphe 25B Bronzed Mocha Eyeshadow Palette (£19).
I was drawn into this palette mainly because I think the style and packaging of the product is gorgeous; the transparent lid means that you can easily see the shades inside, something that I also love about my holy grail Z Palette. There's just something undeniably jazzy about transparent packaging, am I right? I would however be a bit wary of travelling with such a heavily plastic product - the thought of a suitcase disaster like that practically brings a tear to my eye.
The square layout of the 25B is different to the usual large Morphe palettes and more compact, which I think I prefer - 25 shadows for under £20 is a bargain that I just couldn't pass up! Particularly now that its Summer, and I get the opportunity to wear make up more often since I'm not stuck inside a room revising (hallelujah).
This isn't a Beauty Bay review, but I couldn't not mention that this arrived the morning after I clicked 'order', despite only selecting standard delivery. Now THAT is customer service.

The other option for these limited edition palettes is Copper Spice, and I may have to pop back online to pick those copper shades up later in the Summer, but for now I just couldn't resist this collection of deep browns and purples. When I was swatching the shadows for this post, I think I sat there for a good two minutes just staring at the pigmentation. Hooooly moly does this palette have pigment. (And I'm talking opaque colour pigment. Swatches at the bottom of the post!)
As always when it comes to these kind of palettes, the shimmer shades are the goldmine in terms of colour payoff, but I was pleasantly surprised by the range of mattes. The only way I can think of describing the formula is buttery, as the shadows are smooth to the point of just gliding onto the eyelid. Morphe consistently impress me with the quality of their palettes; I've never tried one of the larger products, but everyone raves about them and if they're up to the standard of this 25B, I can see why.
I can't wait to play around with this and see what looks I can create - my only qualm is that the shades don't have names, so I can't show you my current favourites (but think all of the shimmers and brown mattes). I've been waiting months to get my hands on this, and I'm pleased to say that it does not disappoint in the slightest. 


Saturday 3 June 2017

Staying Calm

If there's one thing that I will spend my life trying to accurately master, its the act of staying calm. I'm a truly positive person in general, and get excited about the littlest of things, but the other side to me is one of worry. Part of growing up (some may call it adult-ing), is learning what soothes you, and calms your nerves. Throughout my teenage years I think I've near enough perfected my list, so I thought I'd share the wisdom, because there ain't nothing worse than that panicky feeling in the pit of your stomach.
I don't think there's anything in life that writing can't solve, honestly. I'm assuming that this might be a mutual feeling, since a lot of us write on our corners of the internet - sitting down with a notebook and filling it with thoughts and fiction has always been a kind of solice for me. There's something about expressing your thoughts that lets the negative ones seep away. Side note: writing with a hot chocolate gives you bonus points.
Therapy Balms
This is a new one for me, and I recently wrote a post about my favourite therapy balm brand here. Focusing on such a strong scent takes my mind off the long list of worries in my head, and for at least a minute, I let my mind become a clean slate. (Sometimes, a minute is all you need. For me, panicking happens very quickly, so a minute of calm makes a world of difference).
Most of the time, reading in general settles me in about five minutes flat. Occasionally though, I'm too restless to shift my attention to a novel, so snuggling up in a blanket and reading a couple of poems gives me enough time to divert my attention. I received 'Milk and Honey' for my birthday in April, and its a goodun'. Wholeheartedly recommend. Rupi Kaur has a gift for phrasing thoughts so beautifully and eloquently.

Making lists
This method is an old one. I vividly remember my Mum telling me to make lists in my mind when I couldn't get to sleep/calm down back in my younger days. When I was in primary school, we used to sit together every night and make a 'worry list' of all the things that had cycled around in my head that day, and I guess the habit has stuck. To-do lists are my favourite to focus on; feeling organised never fails to calm me down and the practice of handwriting a list can also be a real gem when it comes to settling.
Keying into your senses
I've seen this circling around the internet in the last few months, and I've been trying it out a lot whenever I begin to feel anxious. Essentially, think of all the things you can smell/see/taste/hear/touch, and again (like the other methods) it shifts your attention to a different task. That's the theme around here; moving away from the stressful thoughts and towards anything else that you can grasp, is what really helps. I know that for some people TV is effective - personally the consistent noise unsettles me and I prefer silence, but its all a learning curve to find what works for you.
If you have any methods of your own, I'd love to hear them in the comments! I hope you're enjoying the slight shift away from a purely beauty based blog; I still adore writing about my glosses, but lifestyle is a genre I want to incorporate more and more. Particularly with mental health, which I've kept silent about in the past but finally feel comfortable talking about.

© A Small Distraction. All rights reserved.