Saturday, 10 October 2015

I Got The Job! | Benefit Cosmetics

Since I was 13/14 years old I have always been make up mad and longed for nothing more than to have a job based around make up. At long last, that day has arrived!

I have worked as a part time Sale Assistant in a stationery shop for just over 2 and a half years and I have finally landed a job that I am so passionate about and for a brand that I have loved and used for years.

After reading up on so many blog posts across the internet it was safe to say I was more than nervous for the interview process but it is no where near as bad as girls make out. Therefore, if you're thinking of applying for a make up counter role whether it be Benefit Cosmetics or not, don't be put off or discouraged by what you read!

I officially start in just under two week's time and I couldn't be more excited! I'm looking forward to receiving my welcome pack from Benefit and already have a list as long as my arm of all the products I want to buy for myself and for Christmas gifts for others.

I'm thinking of writing up a post about my experience with the recruitment process along with my tips and advice so let me know if that's something you would be interested in reading and if you have any Bene goodies you can suggest for me to try then do let me know in the comments below!

Friday, 9 October 2015

To Uni or Not To Uni | My Thoughts

Once we reach the age of 4 or so we are pushed into the cycle of education. That continuous wheel that just churns millions of different people, different personalities, different intellectuals into the same old clock work cycle of Nursery, Primary School, Secondary school, College/Sixth Form and University. 

Granted, we do have to stay in education, its the law. But is the path that people expect us to take after Secondary School and even College really what suits us all? In short, no.

The increasing pressure on students, of all ages, is causing stress, anxiety and people to just drop out of the education system completely. You reach the end of Year 9 and you have to pick out your GCSE options for the following two years which is such a daunting task when you're only 14 and the majority of students have no idea as to what they want to do as a career. Once GCSE's are over you are then told you must go to college. Great. Now what? Two years later and are you likely to have a clearer idea of what you really want to do for the rest of your life? Probably not. 

I was lucky in the sense I always new what industry I wanted to break into. I knew from around the age of 13/14 of what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be in life. Of course, it has changed slightly but I have always stayed within the Beauty industry. Being a typical girlie girl, blonde and wanting to be (originally) a Make Up Artist and now a Qualified Beauty Therapist you can bet your bottom dollar I am well and truly under the 'dumb blonde' stereotype. And let me tell you, that couldn't be further from the truth. I achieved 8 GCSE's, 2 A Levels and 1 AS Level with my A Level results being ABC. (If you didn't sing *it's easy as 123* after that I am highly disappointed!)

The problem with our education system is that teachers, parents and even the Government expect all students to have straight A's across all subjects, be excelling in everything they do, exceeding targets and going above and beyond. But that's not the way it works. What happens to those that can't put pen to paper but can express their emotions and play characters in the most beautiful way on stage? What happens to those who have learning difficulties? What happens to those who have mental illnesses that can't cope with the pressures of school? The majority of the time, they're forgotten about. Unless you are achieving top grades, reaching your targets and ensuring the establishment you're in keeps it's numbers up, you're nothing more than a cog churning away in the big old education wheel.

But that's not the way it should be. You shouldn't be expected to go to college if it's not for you and you certainly shouldn't be pressured into spending £9,000 on a Uni for 3 years when its not for you either. Students need to stop being pressured into the route of College and University and be able to explore other options which suit them and their capabilities more appropriately.

There are incredible opportunities out there for everyone. If University is for you then that's amazing and there are hundreds of excellent courses to choose from up and down the country and even abroad. But there are also great opportunities out in the industry fields such as apprenticeships and skill-based courses that can be taken at college. If attending College or University isn't for you, you can even study from home with Open Colleges and Uni's. Or you can even land yourself a full-time job and work your way up in the business ranks. And who knows? You may even decide to take up a College or Degree course when you're older.

When I was in Sixth Form the pressure on me to apply for Uni courses was unbearable even to the point where the Head of Sixth Form was looking up and printing out courses for me that she thought I would be interested in! In the end I think she just gave up on me as I was so stubborn about it and I definitely wasn't going to be another tally on her chart. I felt belittled. Copious amounts of teachers were looking down on me and giving me that 'disappointed' look when I told them the career choice I had made with one even saying "Oh Ellen, you're so much better than that". Really? Really? I was so shocked at her response I couldn't even think to say anything back! And I bet I'm not the only student that's ever gone through things like this and felt pressured into choosing a life choice that only you can really make. 

However, despite what everyone was telling me and pressuring me to do, I stuck to what I wanted to do. And I couldn't be happier. I finished my A Levels to then go to another college where I completed my Level 2 Beauty Therapy qualification and am now continuing onto my Level 3 Beauty Therapy qualification before I am let out into the big wide world of work. I have also had work experience in an award winning Make Up School, Sky Sports and Sky News and a five star Spa with many other events and charity days I have also participated in.

Just because you don't follow the standard education rules of studying for your A Levels and then a Degree, does not mean you can't achieve amazing things and have invaluable life and work experience along the way.

So, what I'm trying to say, is that if you are at that point in your life where you're finishing your GCSE's or A Levels this year and are having to decide what's next for you.. Think outside the box. There's so much more to life than what you're told is the 'right' thing to do. Go with your passion and what you feel happiest doing, not what others want you to do. Don't be another cog in the wheel. Do what you want to do. Study where your passion lies and then you will thrive in whatever it is you choose to do.

Let me know what your thoughts are and whether you agree/disagree with any points I've made in the comments below, I'd love to hear them!

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Beauty Advent Calendars 2015 | My Top Picks

The lure of chocolate on the lead up to Christmas seems to be no more as the rise of beauty Advent Calendars are taking over. Here are my top picks so far... 

This calendar includes beautiful premium products to suit all kinds of girls and women out there from brands such as Benefit, Burts Bees and Cowshed to Sally Hansen and Molton Brown. The YOU Beauty Advent Calendar is currently available to order and takes 7-15 working days to arrive. All the products included are worth £330 but you pay £59.96. Postage and packaging is free for YOU members but for non members you would have to pay an additional £4.95.

Of course, Benefit had to feature in my top picks as they have always been one of my favourite premium make up brands. This funky little calendar includes minis of great Benefit products that every girl wants and needs in her make up bag including the best seller's Hoola, They're Real! and the POREfessional. It's not on sale just yet but is being released on 15/10/15 and its worth is £79.17 but you pay less than half price at £34.50.

The Body Shop currently have two beauty Advent calendars on sale one being the one featured in this post at £60 and another which is a premium version that comes in at £80. Both beauty calendars are already on sale on the Body Shop website and I can only assume they are in stores too. This gorgeous calendar includes cute little minis such as Heart Soaps, Argan Oil Shower Gel, body lotions, lip butters, hand lotions and many more. Well... 19 more...

4) Makeup Revolution Advent Beauty Chest
Makeup Revolution have released two beauty Advent products. The first one is a beauty Advent calender featuring 25 full sized products, it was £50 now £45. The second one is the Advent beauty chest which I have decided to include in my top picks as why not? The bigger the better, right? Similarly to the calendar, the beauty chest includes 25 full sized products and even includes some of their best selling palettes so you know you won't be disappointed opening these doors. The chest was £100 and is currently £85. This is the only calendar/chest I have come across in which all products are full sized.

5) Boots No7 25 Days of Beauty Wonders
This lovely little calendar contains amazing products from a new nail colour, skin care and body products to No7 accessories. The Boots Advent calendar contains 6 full sized products and the rest are minis. The worth of the calendar is £148 but is on sale for just a fraction of the price at £38 so you really can't go wrong especially if it is a gift for someone else! The 25 Days of Beauty Wonders calendar is currently not available to buy and is being released on 28/10/15. However, you can head over to the Boots website and be added on to the wishlist (link above).

What do you think of my top picks for Beauty Advent Calendars so far? Do any take your fancy or have you found something even more spectacular? Let me know your thoughts and finds in the comments below!

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Three Is The Magic Number | October Goals

I've seen a few bloggers that often post up their monthly goals which I have now decided to do. I think it is a great idea as I can share more about myself with my readers and it might actually make me want to achieve them just that little bit more!

My first goal for this month is to drink more water! After speaking to fellow beauty blogger Cree I have decided this is definitely something I need to do as this girl manages to drink 3L of the stuff a day! Iced water is my favourite thing to drink (boring I know) but I just don't drink enough of it even though I know how amazing it is for your body and skin. As a Beauty Therapist I'm constantly telling people to drink more water due to the benefits but I really need to start taking more of my own advice. Therefore, my goal is to up my water intake each day to stay hydrated and look after my mind, body and skin better.

My second goal for October is to buy a book and start reading again. I can't remember the last time I bought a good book and sat down to read. The only things I tend to read are blog posts, the newspapers and my college textbook and although all three are informative and interesting to me, I feel I need to get a good book to unwind with at the end of the day! I'm always browsing around Waterstones but never make a purchase. So, if you have any suggestions please let me know as it might narrow down my indecisiveness!

My third and final goal this month is to keep up blogging and make sure I update my blog and other social media sites I use. I started my blog about a year ago but never really posted much as I thought I wasn't good enough and no one would find me interesting. However, last month I decided that I am good enough to blog and if I put all my passion and love into what I'm writing about, my readers will love it just as much! I have been taking part in Blogtober where you post every single day of the month and I have been loving it so much that I don't want to stop. As of next month I am going to choose 2-3 days (maybe more) where I am going to write and post as it's something I really enjoy doing and have a real passion for.

Let me know what your goals are for October and if you have any books you could recommend me!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Drugstore Haul | Re-Buys and New Try's

On Sunday I popped to my local Boots store during my lunch and picked up some products I always re-buy and a couple of new try's too.

First up is the Boots Simply Sensitive Toner. I use the whole of the Boots Simply Sensitive range and I love using this toner after cleansing my skin and removing all my make up. The aloe vera is great for my sensitive skin and is so cooling and calming. It's also great for removing the remaining bits of make up that often get missed in the hair line.

I also picked up the Boots Simply Sensitive Hydrating Night Moisturiser as I am starting to run out. This is great value for money and works wonders on my skin making it feel soft, supple and hydrated after use. 

My favourite foundation ever ever ever is the Rimmel London Lasting Finish 25 hr foundation. I love the serum in this foundation as I find it gives me more of a full coverage look without looking cakey. Plus this is the only brand I have found that has an exact match for my skin tone which is amazing to find as I am super pale and always end up looking orange and patchy with other brands I have tried.

The Collection Sheer Loose Powder is a godsend! I use the translucent powder but I accidentally picked up the shade 1 Barely There.. oops! Hopefully this works just as well for me and doesn't darken the colour of my foundation too much but the Collection powder is so affordable I wouldn't mind going back and picking up the correct shade *face palm*. This powder is great at setting my foundation and keeps it in place all day. Its great for those oily t-zones and I couldn't be without it!

The next product I picked up was Collection's Lasting Perfection concealer in #1 Fair. This is amazing value for money and it is perfect for covering up my dark circles, brightening my eyes and hiding all those nasty spots and blemishes that crop up. You can read my full review of the Collection Lasting Perfection concealer here.

My two new try's are the Barry M Sunsent Daylight Curing polishes. I picked up Vengeance in Wine as I thought it is the perfect colour for Autumn and looks so pretty! I also picked up the Daylight Curing topcoat to go with it. The Barry M Daylight Curing polishes give you the effect of gel nails without the UV lamps. As I am a qualified Beauty Therapist, I have a gel lamp myself so I know how amazing gels look with the colours that pop and a long lasting shine. These polishes promise the effects of gel nails minus the UV lamp. It works by painting your nails in two coats of your choice of colour (it has to be in the Sunset range) and finishing with the Sunset topcoat. The natural daylight then 'cures' the polish giving you that lovely glossy colour that lasts forever! I haven't tried them out properly yet but I am so excited too and if it works I will 100% be buying lots more colours!

Monday, 5 October 2015

Motivational Monday | My Day

"Dear Monday,

Thanks for having the word 'mon' in you. That's French for 'mine', in case you weren't aware, Monday, but it makes me think of you more as 'my day', and frankly that sounds like a much more promising start to the week!"


Monday. That one small, six lettered word that fills you with fear every single week. 

But why? Yes, many of you lucky ones have had a two-day break from all the madness but what makes Monday so bad compared to all the other days of the week? 

People are constantly living for Friday, living for the weekend, living just to wish their life away. 

We need to learn to stop living this way because we're rushing through life with no real care or time to appreciate the good things in life. It's time to start waking up not just on Monday's but every day of the week knowing that your happiness, success and everything else that gets thrown at you in life is all down to you and only you can be held responsible.

It's time to start living life to the full and getting the most out of every day possible because if you put your mind to it you can achieve all your goals and dreams. You don't want to look back on your life thinking "I wish I did...", "I should have done ... when I had the chance". You want to be looking back on your life being thankful of how much you did and what you achieved.

"Nothing is impossible, even the word itself says 'I'm possible".

Now, time to get off the internet (until its time to read my next post, tomorrow, of course) and grab today with both hands to ensure you have a great and very productive start to the week!

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Autumn Picks | Wish List

I do love a good wish list and its mostly due to the fact I'm constantly finding things I love and would love to have. So, here are my Autumn picks for this month's wish list...

These are soo cute and I adore them! I would love to have these in my AW wardrobe!

I don't have any capes in my wardrobe and I feel this would be perfect for those days when it's warm out but you still need to cover up.

3. Yankee Candle Small Jar in Pink Dragon Fruit & Snow in Love £7.99:
I had these two Yankee candle melts last year and I love having them burning whilst I was relaxing in my room. They always leave your room smelling lovely the day after too. This year I'd love to get the small jars as I can then change up what scent I would like each day instead of waiting for one melt to run out before I can use the other.

I can't remember the last time I purchased a nail varnish. I'm all about the dark colours in AW and I love the look of this! I've always used Barry M products and am a huge fan of the gelly hi shine range as its like a proper gel manicure minus the price tag!

Black. Glitter. Heels. Need I say more?

My feet are constantly cold and one of the worst things in the morning is waking up and walking on freezing cold tiles in the bathroom and kitchen. I need to invest into slippers this year.

This is honestly one of the nicest, cosiest, softest dressing gowns I've ever seen/felt! It's soo gorgeous and of course, it would have to be black!

Let me know if you like any of my Autumn picks and what's on your wish list this month.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Strobing | My Top 4 Products

Just like many trends in the beauty world they pop out of no where and take over. Everywhere you look whether it be in magazines, online or advertising campaigns, everyone wants in on the new thing. One of those latest trends being 'Strobing' or otherwise known as 'Highlighting'.

Highlighting and strobing first became more popular with the rise of contouring throughout the beauty world where everyone wants chiselled jaw lines, cheeks that pop and that natural Summer glow.

Makeup Revolution's Triple Baked Highlighter under the brows and across the cheekbones
Naturally, with a new beauty trend continuously on the rise, so are the products to go with it. Where do you start? With high end, premium products or drug store products on a budget? It can almost become overwhelming when deciding what products might be best for to use in order to end up with a natural glow instead of looking more like an 80's disco ball. So, luckily for you, I have tried and tested many products and here are my top 4 for perfecting the strobing trend.

1) Makeup Revolution's I Heart Makeup Goddess of Love Triple Baked Highlighter
Wow, that was a mouth full! Nonetheless, this highlighter is perfect especially for beginners. It is a powdered highlighter and is a dupe of the Too Faced heart products but unlike the hefty price tag this one comes in at just £4.99. Like all other Makeup Revolution products this is of such high quality and will last you forever as you get so much for such a small price. This highlighter creates the perfect subtle shimmer and looks so beautiful on the tops of my cheek bones, under my brows and down the top half of the bridge of my nose.

2) Benefit's Watt's Up!
I have had this product sitting in my makeup box for god knows how long and ironically dug it out when the strobing trend started and I wanted to experiment. This highlighter comes in cute packaging (as always with Benefit) and also has a brush which you can use to blend the highlighter into the skin which is really handy. Watt's Up! has more of a golden glow which I believe would look beautiful on skin tone and looks perfect even when it is blended over makeup. Now, I haven't tried the whole contouring-of-the-boobs-kinda-thing but the texture and consistency of this product makes me believe it would be perfect for the job. Watt's Up comes in at £24.50 but like always with Benefit, you get what you pay for!

3) Benefit's High Beam:
Yes, another one from Benefit I'm afraid! I have used High Beam since it first hit the Benefit stands and have loved it ever since. High Beam has a more liquid texture but blends beautifully on the skin. I had *ahem* misplaced my full sized High Beam but this is one I got within a makeup set I bought a while back. I don't tend to use this highlighter on my cheeks but I love dabbing this under my brows along the brown bone, down the bridge of my nose and above my cupid's bow. High Beam retails at £19.50.

4) Rimmel London's Good to Glow in 001 Notting Hill Glow:
I must admit, I had only picked this highlighter up as I was repurchasing my favourite foundation and Rimmel's products were two for £10 so I thought why not!? I'm so glad I picked this up as it is just sooo pretty on the skin. I think this shade of highlighter would definitely suit us paler girls better but they also do a gorgeous golden shade which would compliment darker skin tones beautifully. This is a lightweight, liquid texture and looks great in all the areas you would want to have a glow. The only thing I would say for this highlighter is to build it up slowly and remember less is more! Rimmel's Good to Glow comes in at £4.99.

Highlighters shown in numerical order
Comment below your favourite highlighters to use and whether or not you love the strobing trend.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Smashbox | Femme Fatale Matte

I am a huge lover of lipsticks. You'd rarely find me without a bit of colour on my lips and Autumn is the perfect season to start wearing darker, bolder colours. 

My favourite Autumnal colour would have to be purple. My top purple lipstick I own would have to be MAC's Rebel which I wore religiously last year but that has now all changed as I have found my new favourite...

Smashbox's Femme Fatale Matte lipstick is my new go-to Autumnal shade. I have always been a fan of Smashbox lipsticks including my all time favourite Pretty Social. I was browsing around in my local Boots store a few weeks ago and started swatching colours when I came across this little beauty. 

When you swatch this lippy on your hand it almost looks more pink than purple which can be a bit deceiving but it is the perfect purple shade with slightly pink undertones to suit any skin tone. It does remind me a bit of MAC's Rebel when on the lips but I much prefer the colouring of Femme Fatale and you can build up colour so easily for a much darker look. I have also found that compared with MAC's Rebel this is soo much easier to remove and doesn't stain your lips either. 

I will most definitely be wearing Femme Fatale throughout the Autumn and Winter months and would love to know your go-to Autumnal shades too and any you could recommend to me!

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Time to De-stress | Top 5 Tips

I am a perfectionist. I analyse every little thing possible. Now, I do believe being a perfectionist is an amazing characteristic to have, however, it can lead me to being the most stressed out, worrying, nervous person ever. I find it very hard to relax and unwind but as I have gotten older and experienced different things, I have found it has given me more knowledge and power on how to handle myself and my emotions. Of course, some people are the most amazingly-relaxed stress free people to walk the planet (I envy you) but not everyone has that cool, calm and collected approach to life. So, I have compiled a list of my top 5 tips to help you unwind and de-stress. Without further a-do...

1)  Lists: I, myself, find lists to be so helpful. I use lists for pretty much everything that's going on in my life. Whether that be to-do lists, shopping lists or planning out what to study that week. I find that if I sit down, usually on a Sunday night, to write out things I need to get done the following week and update my diary and calendar, I have a much better outlook on the week approaching and have a clear idea of what I need to be doing each day. I find this kind of planning to be really helpful to manage my stress and the satisfaction of crossing everything off your to-do list is great. Of course, this way of planning isn't for everyone but if it is, you don't have to use scrap bits of paper or an old pen. Pretty calenders can be found everywhere and Card Factory even do two for £1. Things such as diaries and weekly planners can also be a great way of breaking down things you need to do and if that's not your thing, a simple list on your 'notes' app on your phone can do just the trick.

2) Baths: I must admit I'm not a huge bath person and am more of a shower kinda gal but baths can be a great stress reliever! Baths are a great way to relax and unwind. They help relax your muscles (which helps when your stressed as muscles get tense and often cause headaches) making you feel more relaxed and ultimately help you to have a better night's sleep. You can also add candles around the bathroom, bath bombs or anything else you find soothing and relaxing to have a bit of 'me-time'.

 3) Music: Music has the power to make you feel all kinds of things. Music is one of the best stress relief's about whether you enjoy banging out the air guitar, belting out a bit of Whitney or just laying back and enjoying the lyrics, it is the perfect way to let your mind wander and just let loose. This is one of my personal favourites, especially when the house is empty and I can sing at the top of my voice! It releases those amazing little things called endorphins and can totally transform your mood no matter how stressy and grumpy you were beforehand. 

4) Walking: No matter how much we may like to deny it exercise is one of the best ways to de-stress. You don't have to start running marathons or swimming 100 lengths in your local swimming pool but even a 10 minute walk can help to clear the mind and help you to feel more relaxed. The best thing is that you can incorporate this into any part of your day whether that be in your lunch break, after work or even before you start the busy day ahead. It also helps to take a more scenic route if possible such as parks and gardens and you may wish to take your headphones to listen to some music along the way although you may get some odd looks if you start the air guitar mid-walk...

5) Spending time with someone: We all have that one person we can go to no matter what. It may be a family member, a friend, a partner... Whoever it may be it is always important to spend time with someone you makes you feel great and equally who you make feel wonderful too. It gives you a sense of well-being and perspective on your busy/stressful life and if you can talk to your 'someone' just remember that a problem shared is a problem halved.