Friday, 31 March 2017

JOHN FRIEDA SHEER BLONDE BRILLIANTLY BRIGHTER: REVIEWED


Today's review subjects are the John Frieda Sheer Blonde Brilliantly Brighter Shampoo and conditioner from his new range which promises to increase the natural luminosity of blonde hair for a natural looking, perfectly blended, brilliant shine
Utilising the powers of John Frieda's patented technology they promise to encourage blondes to discover new depths; perfecting the hair from within for brilliant reflection and shine, and providing a translucent color effect that adds layers of shimmery pearlescence toenhance your blonde shade with every movement.



Despite the apprehension before my hair transformation, on the whole I've been quite happy about leaving my natural blonde behind. I've enjoyed being able to experiment with new make up, and playing with fashion colour combinations when trying to work out what works well alongside my new reddish brown locks. Okay, occasionaly I get slight pangs of nostalgia when I see an insta-babe with beachy highlighted waves, but they aren't long-lasting enough to make me return to the colour that had always been my trademark.

Then these new John Frieda Sheer Blonde Brilliantly Brighter products arrived, looking resplendant in their iridescant tubes, and I coudln't help but feel a bit sad that I wasn't able to test them on my own hair on this occasion. I used to love how my blonde hair could freshen and sparkle with use of targeted products.



Luckily there's a new blonde in the household in the form of my hair conscious boyfriend Simon, who got bleached ahead of his latest band tour across the UK and Europe. He wanted to make a bit of a statement and have an appearance that popped on stage, hoping that all the pictures the photographers took would make for great instagram fodder, so decided to turn his thick, dark japanese hair into a bright blonde. When he's behaving, and we're on good terms, I refer to him endearingly as Billy Idol, when he's not I'll compare his mop to Miley Cyrus or Annie Lennox. Both hair idols in my eyes, but not exactly the style aesthetic he was aiming for.

It wasn't long after his makeover that he was a true convert of the powers of the purple shampoo, realising how dyed blonde hair has such an annoying eagerness to go brassy and yellow. While the well known brands did the job at maintaining the right bright shade, he did find he was sacrificing something in the haircare process, so I was interested to see how he would get on with these products.


                          Before                                                           After



The first thing he mentioned after the first use was that unlike the silver shampoos he's used since his bleaching, this brightening shampoo still lathered up in the way we expect shampoo's to. I agreed with him that the process feels somewhat unsatisafactory if there is a lack of lather, or a change of consistency when rubbing the product through wet hair, so this product was already impressing.
When you squeeze the product into your hand you notice that it's a transluscent white with s pearlescant reflection, which instantly gifts you with confidents that it will inject similar effects into the strands of your hair.

Both products have got a lovely fruity aroma, which isn't too overwhelming but nicer than the chemical smell many products with a definite colour-effecting function seem to have.  When he rested his head on my lap, which he does when we're watching TV and when he's hinting at a back scratch or head massage, I got a nice whiff of his newly washed and conditioned head, and it was very pleasant.


These products have John Frieda’s patented technology to penetrate and perfect the hair from within, improving each strand’s reflective capabilities and resulting in a noticeable luminosity. Si has slightly wirey/course hair due to his heritage, so when bleached it tends to get a bit frazzled and looks fairly matte. While this didn't inject a huge amount of shine it did give it a smoother finish and turn the slightly yellow blonde into a more attractive pearlier shade.

When given some care my hair as the ability to really shine, so I can imagine that this product would have been even more effective on my former blonde locks. It's easier to notice gloss and shine on longer hair too as there is more space for the light to reflect, so I'm kicking myself that I didn't try this in October before I went to the dark side.



Si was very happy with the process and result of using these products, and plans to continue to use them the rest of his time as a babe'in blonde.

SHEER BLONDE
BRILLIANTLY BRIGHTER ULTRA ILLUMINATING
SHAMPOO
AND CONDITIONER (RRP £6.99 each) 

This is NOT a sponsored post, but the products were sent for review purposes. 
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Wednesday, 29 March 2017

VITA LIBERATA TEN MINUTE TAN: REVIEWED



Ten Minute Tan is the new, organic pre-shower tanning lotion from Vita Liberata. An exciting new product release for all you fake tanners out there I'm sure...but I'm not one sadly. Well I should say, I haven't been. I've used those moisturising creams for scaredy cats, the ones that that have a subtle hot of tan within them, that have the ability to turn my transluscent winter white paste-iness into more of a spring-time off-white. They have just a little hint of bronze to take the edge off I guess. 

This could be the game-changer, it's a bonifide tanning product, but with a ten minute promise and just as easy as the 2 in 1 products I have previously tried. It sounds like the perfect bridging product for beginners who'd like to become regular and proficient fake tanners.

I'm fairly lazy when it comes to beauty regimes, anything that requires faff is vito'ed pretty swiftly. Any process that requires precision or expert application also tends to be shunned, purely because I'm aware of the potentially disastrous results, and the fact I have to  appear on camera and not look too offensive while doing so. Ten Minute Tan from the world’s leading non-
toxic, luxury tanning brand, Vita Liberata, sounds like the ideal product for me. But does it live up to it's glowing reviews, and is it's appealing name accurate?
 

How To Use

You apply a generous amount to the skin in long circular movements. The consistency of the product makes this extremely easy to do, it doesn't cling or drag against the skin as it applies extremely smoothly. You can of course use a mitt if you have one available, but I used my trusty hands - I like the feeling of control you have when skin touches skin. I washed my hands immediately after applying so I wasn't left with any unwanted staining. 

You are advised to wait for ten minutes (or 15-20 for a darker tan). I chose to wait for 15 minutes...well if I'm honest I had planned for 10 but got distracted by watching the last episode of Dexter and completely lost track of time. While we're talking about Dexter, what is with that ending? Someone talk to me about it please, I know I'm late to the party but I still have things I need to get off my chest!

Back to the tanning...So I used the shower head to wash off the product and gently patted with a soft towel. I didn't rub too vigorously because I didn't want to remove too much of the product and encourage an uneven result.

The tan then develops over the next 4-6 hours and should last about 5 days.

Why it's good

A lot of brands shout about the invisibility of the product as if that's extremely beneficial to us. While it makes it seem like a less messy activity, it actually makes it extremely hard to see where you've already applied the tan. This product strikes the perfect balance, because it's clear enough to see where it has already been rubbed on, but it isn't so dark in colour that it feels dangerously messy.

It's an incredibly smooth consistency too, so applying it to the skin with your hands, as I did, or with a mitt if you are a regular and avid tanner (or just happen to have a mitt floating around) is an effortless process. It feels so easy that a novice like myself actually feels quite confident that it's all going to turn out okay! Because you only have to wait ten minutes you don't have to worry about the tan coming off on your clothes, in your bed sheets, or anywhere else in your house. I think one of the main reasons I've always avoided tanning is because I associate with my uni mates bed-sheets which looked like had been evidence of a dirty protest. 

After 4-6 hours a very subtle tan revealed itself on my legs. For those seeking a dramatic change the transformation may have seemed a bit lackluster, but I was thrilled with the result. It proved to me that this is a buildable product and one perfect for those that hold amateur status in the tanning game. In the same way those moisturisers have that tan within them, this product offers a risk free application and result, but one that lasts just under a week if not topped up. The shade was a lovely golden warm brown and matched the glow I achieve naturally in the summer. This made me think this will be one of my go to products during the summer months, when I want to sustain the appearance of my holiday tan for as long possible. I can add a layer of this when I notice the devestating fading and pretend I'm still a bronzen beach babe.

Your skin feels wonderfully soft and hydrated afer use too, which I assume is down to the ingredient Matrixyl 3000, which apparently mimics the appearance of broken down collagen and caused a for a plumping, smoothing effect. My legs are a bit winter-weary, scaley and haggard at the moment, so this aloside the vitamin-rich Rose, which helps with tissue regeneration and smooth the surface of the skin, has pepped by stems up no end. If these ingredients weren't enough to make us feel like we're doing our well used leggies some good the cream also contains Neroli, which has a toning, tightening effect, and shrinks pores and blood vessels to
smooth the skin’s appearance. It also has a stimulating effect on skin cells,
helping regenerate skin and improving elasticity. 

 Now the next piece of information about the product is not one I can back yet, purely because I haven't had the conditions to test it out yet. If someone wants to send me to a warm climate for the sake of a thorough review feel free...
'The new, holiday-friendly self-tan application; with Ten Minute Tan you don’t need to worry about streaking orsmearing which can occur in hot climates if you are sweating or swimming, and you can apply SPF as usualwithin 30 minutes of application'
Sounds good though, and everything else they've said has turned out to be true, so I'm confident we can trust them on element also. 

There is a bit of that fake tan biscuity smell, but it's definitely not as strong as many others I've had a whiff of intentionally or not. Fresh out of the bottle it smells like a delicious lemon drizzle cake, which is an absolute delight.

Overall I really enjoyed using this product- it was fuss free, time effective, and gave a lovely natural result. On a serious note...I devestatingly lost a friend to skin cancer last summer, so please stay safe as you can in the sun. I've overdone it so many times and now regret it, so don't be as foolish as me, it's really not woth it.  If you can opt for a fake tan like this instead. With products this good we can complete our quest for that perfect glow without risking our health...or the state of our bed sheets.


£29.95
This is NOT a sponsored post, but the sample was sent for review purposes.
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DON'T BELIEVE YOUR OWN HYPE



‘Die, you whore’. Wow, sorry that was a bit of an intense way to start a blog post. But that was the last comment I received on YouTube before going to bed last Friday. It didn’t exactly soothe me into sleep, but in hindsight it was a powerful reminder of the ridiculousness of the internet.

This comment, and the equally degrading and brutal ones that followed from this particular user initially shocked, and in turn had an inevitable effect on my mood, but it didn’t wound in the way it may have in the past. Having sat on the edge of the bed my own, with the words permeating for a bit, I started to think about what I would say to friends or other internet users if they received similar messages of hate/negativity. As well as pointing out that they (the foul commenter) are either fuelled by sadness/jealousy/anger, have too much time on their hands, and are looking for a reaction, I would also point out that they don’t know you, so you mustn’t let the words harm you. For once I was able to take my own advice, and I refused to allow any tears to flow, meaning the victory was mine over the joy-killer beavering away online.

This post isn’t dedicated to trolling though, because quite frankly we shouldn’t be giving them the spotlight, precisely becausethis is exactly their goal when typing those derogatory or unnecessary comments. We don’t want to give them that satisfaction do we? Annoyingly, I’ve already done that by tweeting about it the morning following the slew of misery…emotional tweeting, never a good idea.

Instead I want to focus on maintaining perspective in terms of all comments/feedback we get as blogger/vloggers/influencers. In the same way we encourage people to ignore the needlessly negative ones, it’s important we throw some caution to the positive ones too, in terms of how much we listen to them or treat them as gospel.

Trolling is something we focus on because it’s so obviously unpleasant, cruel, and unhelpful, and it’s a good example to use when moaning about how awful the internet and modern life is. But I think it’s extremely important to remember how sycophantic, hyperbolic or untrue the positive comments can be too.

We mustn’t let the flow of positive comments we get go straight to our heads without consideration. In the same way we access the bad ones and ask ourselves if they have merit, we should be going through the same process validity process with the glowing ones.

For instance I’ve done hundreds of interviews on my channel. I know when one is below par or even a bit of stinker. I’ll still get comments saying it was a great interview, good job Sophie, or similar. And yes I know sometimes we are overly critical of our own performance, and sometimes other people have a better more objective perspective, but sometimes people are actually being overly complimentary.

The fuel behind the lovely comment could stem from many different objectives. They might really like you and want to be supportive and encouraging. Perhaps they’re a genuinely positive person who likes to spread that uplifting nature via their input on the internet. Perhaps they love the person you’re interviewing and lap up any content related to them. Perhaps they know that if they leave a positive reaction it will benefit them - perhaps a reply or a retweet, or if they’re a YouTuber perhaps a future collaboration. Maybe they idolise you and would tell you you’re fabulous at anything you do, even if you’re not. 

Although these comments have boosted me on those low days, encouraged me to continue and give me those lovely warm fuzzy feelings, I have learned that I must not take them on too much, and definitely cannot let them go to my head. Although, as innately unconfident person I’m not sure this was ever a danger.

 The internet isn’t real remember. It’s filtered, edited, with many actions fuelled by motive, agenda or clouded by the pedestal of idolisation.

So when it comes to certain videos, like my music interviews, it’s the non subscribed or new viewers, the male music fans in their 30/40’s who don’t care about what I’m wearing, my outfit,  my make up or who I’m mates with, who I’ll pay more attention to when it comes to feedback. If a bloke that’s a big music head or a massive fan of the band comes across my interview through a search and tells me that they really enjoyed the interview, then that’s a good indication that I was on the right track with that one. My lovely subscribers who come back each video are so loving and kind that they’d offer up loveliness whether or not I’d earned it via my work. I’m very lucky to have this loyal and loving internet family, but it can’t be my sole guide, or the primary gauge in terms of my accomplishments.

Now I’m not saying people shouldn’t be supportive and offer up white lies in order to make someone feel good, particularly if the person in question needs that, it warms by heart whenever I see positivity on my timelines/feeds. But I think we need to remind ourselves to accept them with measure.

This all links seamlessly to a topic I’ve discussed numerous times on here and on my channel and mentioned a few lines up in this post. Idols.

These days if you ask the young generation who they idolise many will point out a Instagram, blog, Reality TV or YouTube stars. I’m not saying this is wrong, nor that these people don’t deserve the this sort of appreciation in comparison to other people, but when I’ve probed further as to why they’ve deemed that person ‘inspiring’, ‘a role model’, ‘my idol’ ‘perfection’…I’m often left itching to get into a maternal role, and on a mission to get them to really ask themselves whether their love for that particular person stems from factors that truly matter.

If they said their work ethic, their kindness, their journey (perhaps overcoming something), their creativity, their charity work, their businesses mind, their sense of humour, their can-do attitude, something of that ilk, then that’s awesome. But I can’t help but feel that many are putting emphasis and priority on more shallow/unimportant things.

For example how often does a girl/boy suddenly get catapulted to celebrity status because of the famous person they’re dating. Within days they’ll be numerous fan accounts, and gushing ‘I love you’ type comments underneath their photos from fans of their beau. While I’m not suggesting they don’t hold the attributes that strangers could fall for or be inspired by, in this case it’s purely they association with another person or their looks that have put them on this pedestal. Although I’m sure that adulation is flattering at times, I’m sure those people would want you to love them for their personality or things firmly linked to their inner being. But unfortunately these are things that internet strangers can’t get a real grasp of because they only see a glimmer of the whole being via what the person posts on the internet. That's the truth. Trust me from known celebrities or high profile people, I know how much the online/fan perception can differ from the reality.

Then you hear people saying s/he’s my idol, purely because they’re crushing on that persons outer beauty, the vessel, their shell, that part of them that will undoubtedly change/age. We all like looking at pretty/beautiful things, even if it at times it makes us feel unattractive in comparison and a little bit (a lot) green eyed, that's part of human nature. But is it really the sole thing we should look to for in terms of a role model?

Other people choose to put people on pedestal because of the lifestyle they’ve portrayed online, including the holidays they have, the processions they own, the VIP parties they attend or the ‘cool’ friends they have. When you think of it rationally, it’s quite bonkers to idolise someone because of these shallow things - they say nothing about the core of the person, their morals, their care of others or how kindly they live their life as a whole.

So to get back to my original point. Whenever someone says something I feel is over the top I tend to take it with a pinch of salt in order to stay grounded, which is necessary in an industry built on popularity, and numbers based on people’s perceptions of who/what you are. I’ll embrace that warmth for a second, and then remember that it may not be based on something that is real or true, or on an element of myself I truly hold value in.

So I’m not saying you have to tell me that I’ve done a crap job on a drawing, fluffed an interview, or created a diabolically terrible tutorial, and trust me no one needs to remind me how god-awful I am blending eyeshadow, or that I say ‘you know’ too much. But if you leave a comment don’t feel you need to pump up my ego if my work or my being hasn’t warranted the praise. If you enjoyed the video or blog post let me know, that’s awesome to hear, but don’t feel you need to tell me ‘insert exaggerated/unrealistic comment’ that I don’t deserve or need to receive. I’m quite happy with credit where credits due, and constructive criticism where necessary, I know I’m not an oscar worthy film-maker, and I know that I don’t have model looks, but if you stick around because you like me, or the stuff I make, or you’ve gotten something valuable from it, that’s good enough for me. None of us are ‘perfect’ and that’s ok. It’s important us creater’s remember that, even if our followers are telling us we are.
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Thursday, 23 March 2017

PHOTOGRAPHY WORK: AMANDA HENDRICK: BASKING IN THE LIGHT


The already glowing Amanda, looked even more luminous basking in the light of this expansive window . I have a thing for when strands of hair catch the light, so I really relished taking this set of photos.  

Please credit me if you use my photos. 

Thank you,


 

 






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Wednesday, 22 March 2017

CHRIS KAMRADA/YOUNGGUNS/BRIXTON - GALLERY


Since Ben departed Young Guns, the boys have had some fabulous drummers in the shape of Josh, Casey and Chris join them on tour. Chris, who has also worked with bands like PVRIS, Sleepwave and VersaEmerge joined the boys for their recent run with LTA, and showcased his hugely impressive drumming talents each night. Here's a few snaps I got during their penultimate night of tour at London's Brixton Academy.

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Sunday, 19 March 2017

Young Guns Brixton Soundcheck: Gallery


Sorry for the slight pause in activity on this blog over the last week. I've been busing taking pictures at gigs this week, and spending a hell of a lot of time commuting. Factor in editing the images and a fair amount of napping, and I've been left with very little time to construct blogs. 

Just so you have visual proof that this isn't lies to excuse some blogging laziness, I thought I'd do a few posts showing you some pictures from the events I've been. Here are some shots of Young Guns during their soundcheck at Brixton Academy on Friday. It was the penultimate night of their UK run with Lower Than Atlantis, a tour that has been incredibly fun and rewarding for all involved. At the end of the soundcheck disaster struck when a major tech fail occurred that we weren't sure could be rectified in time for the show. Panic!! Tne pictures of the boys huddling together is when they were discussing possible solutions for the nightmare. 

Anyone who was at the gig will be able to tell you that it all go clearly got sorted because they went to put on one of the best shows of their career. The crowd were incredible and there was an amazing energy within the iconic venue of Brixton Academy. Lower Than Atlantis headlined and confirmed their place in the upper echelons of the UK rock scenes. A very special show for the band, fans and industry folk alike.

All shots taken with my little Panasonic Lumix. Please credit if used. 

If you want to see some more professional shots keep an eye on my friend's feed -  @marcusmaschwitz - pictures from the show are incredible

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Monday, 13 March 2017

I want to be a better person but ….but how?


I long for the day I can post an article that will deemed worthy of retweeting and sharing amongst the blogging community, because it’s inspiring or powerful, or radiates heartwarming positivity and light. But I’m afraid today I deliver another rambling spill from my brain, which will once again leave you thinking that Sophie has a lot of work to do on herself.

And that would be true. They always say recognising the problem is the first and important step, so here I am telling you that I don’t think I’m the ‘good’ person I once was, but I don’t know what to do about it.

I’ve never felt like I’m the bee’s knees… or the cool modern equivalent to that phrase. However I was always knew that I lived my life kindly, and considered the thoughts and feelings of others - something I think I learned from the behaviour of my parents. I’ve never been the prettiest, the coolest, or most talented, but I think I tended to give off ‘good vibes’, and tried to ensure I was a positive addition to people’s lives. I was the care-giver (mum and I have always collected the strays or troubled of the world), the listener, the comforter, or the person who’d quietly stick up for the weak or misfit-ed. I was never the most outgoing of people, but always had a lot of friends (almost to a level it was stressful to time manage), so I always presumed it was down to the fact they knew I’d be there for them, treat them well, and never judge.

Note the past tense nature of this paragraph.

Of course it’s impossible to be the friend I once was. As you get older you get pulled into so many directions. You have time-hogging responsibilities that leave you less time to do those cute extra things that cement your role as a great mate. If you’ve worked in as many jobs and industries as I have you will have accumulated a number of friends, and become a fixture of many friendships groups, which you also have to divide you time and effort between. Throw in a chronic illness and your ability to be a good friend is hindered further. With everyone spread across the world, your position being absent of money or energy to travel to meet them, the relationships dwindle . I can’t even find the energy to keep up with all the WhatsApp group chats these days, so always end up missing the information about the next meet up.

But, I don’t beat myself up about this anymore, not that it doesn’t make me sad that I often feel out of the loop and isolated, but I know it’s not my fault.

But sadly there’s been a definite deterioration in my way of thinking, and the way I react to other people, and the individual way they think or behave. On a daily basis I am letting tweets on my feed make me angry or frustrated. I see people being so ungrateful, prioritising the wrong things, or just being cruel, and it makes me resentful of the industries I work in, and the way we live today. Due to the change in what is considered important in today’s society’s I keep seeing the wrong people elevated or rewarded, and the deserving and hardworking shunned, and I can’t help but let it affect me. I guess I take it very personally because I know all too well that you can work your butt off, do the right thing, even go the extra mile, and still not achieve what you have rightfully earned. Things just don’t work out how you feel they should.

And here’s a really ugly part. I’m finding it really hard to be happy for people when they get the things that have eluded me for so long. It’s a horrible truth but I can’t ignore that it’s there. This isn’t the case for everyone. I’m ecstatic for those that truly deserve it, who are kind genuine souls, those who have faced a lot of hardship, or worked very hard. I’ll always champion those people...and they give me hope that it can work out. But I can’t pretend to be happy for everyone…even if a tweet showcasing support to them would make me appear like a better human to those observing.

I don’t spend my time communicating these negi thoughts as and when they come. I still try to be fun and lighthearted Soph when spending time with other people, but there are a few slip ups when they filter out through gaps in my happy mask. In fact I rarely ever say harsh words out loud, but the fact remains that my thoughts have definitely become less forgiving, more cynical, self pitying, and envious. So that makes me a horrible person right? And the problem with these thought’s is that each one fuels more of the same. Then you end up feeling worse, because if you still have the essence of the old you within you, you feel guilty for allowing yourself down that path.

I’m sure It doesn’t help that I don’t have positive voices and presences around me for the majority of the time, because the people you surround yourself with really do help to shape your mood and general attitude to situations. The majority of the time I’m in bed on my own, so I only have my thoughts and opinions to focus on..thoughts and opinions that generally include berating myself, or the world we live in today. These days I also have serial killer Dexter for company, which can’t be helping matters. I can see a difference on the days I spend with some of my certain friends though - this I hope proves I’m not a lost cause and perhaps one day I’ll be back to the sunnier version of Soph.

With my friend Holly we laugh about gross stuff, personal matters that most people would put under the ‘oversharing bracket’. We also get each other excited talking about creative endeavours and travel plans. After a chat with Amanda, during one of our photo sessions, I feel like I can actually achieve something, and I start believing that maybe I really can make some dreams come true. When my darling Kelly drives over, we express our love for each other very freely, laugh over some good food and catch up about our fails and successes since our last catch up. The fact that she is always willing to travel to me gives me faith in humans,  because she recognises just how much that helps me. Then there’s my oldest girls who know my essence and have been around long enough to have seen all the events of my life that have lead to the sad person I am today. They are able to bring out the old Soph because when we’re together it’s like we’re silly school girls again, recounting all the embarrassing moments we had in front of the fit guys at school.

But if these moments are too infrequent, my voice is obviously going to be the overriding message, and that is a message is hopelessness and one that tells me I don’t fit in this world, and will never get along with all that existing within it involves…all communicated on the loudest of tannoys of course.

When life has been repeatedly unkind some people find comfort or escape by turning to excess amounts of food, or by numbing out on drugs or alcohol. Others may find themselves turning to unsuitable partners and toxic relationships because they are so down on life, and themselves, that they don’t think they deserve better. My coping mechanism, and the reaction to the life I’ve lived, is to become this harder, toughened version of myself.

There are benefits to this perhaps. People always took advantage of Sophie (Lite version) because they knew they could. She’d be ok with it, she’d forgive, she’ll still be here etc. These days I speak up a bit more, and put my foot down where necessary and I am happy to put unpopular opinion online.

As I continue to write an I wonder if maybe I’m not as hard or un-good as I think. Maybe people just don’t talk about their less than nice thoughts as much as they do their happy, encouraging, inspiring ones? Hmmm

After - all Si still gets a bit cross with me saying ‘ You’re too nice’ and ‘People are taking the piss out of you,” ‘You should tell him/her that it’s not ok.’ He’s either telling me to ‘lay the smackdown’ or  completely agrees with the things I point out that I feel are unjust. Maybe I’m not being completely  irrational with these thought. Maybe I’m not this bad person, but I’ve just found the level of ‘nice’ you need to have to protect yourself from harm.

As I  just said, it has been suggested I was probably just ‘too nice’ for the majority of my life, and that that was probably what got me in most of the situations that lead to the downfall of my overall  positivity level. People see nice-ness as weakness…more accurately they see it as a sign that this is a person is someone they can manipulate or who will offer forgiveness beyond the usual level.

So I wonder if it is possible to have positive thoughts, be happy for others, and not let history, and the lessons you’ve learned from it, dictate your mind and the way it functions….while protecting yourself from future harm that your old positive self fell prey to. Sounds tricky.

Annoyingly this lack of positivity offers another part of my being that makes me feel ostracised from the blogger community. Currently there’s so much focus is about being someone that radiates positivity, being that posi role model. I know a mindset can help to get you on that happy track, but it’s still an incredibly hard vibe to manufacture if life is constantly reminding you how cruel and unfair it can be. I did work out that the community was making it harder for me to be positive because so much of how it functions feels unjust to me so I stopped watching videos and distanced myself from lots of people and events. I know for a fact I’d be a more positive person without social media too, so in time I hope I can remove that from my life too.

Due to horrendous past relationship that taught just how cruel humans can be, and how proficient some people can be at lying, I definitely have more of a guard up that I once did. I’m now at a point where I presume people have a motive or agenda when they doing something nice, whether that’s the case or not. This is a sad attitude to have particularly because it could mean deflecting genuinely lovely people away. But I get those thoughts due to life experience. Surely no ones just nice, like I once used to be…back in the dark ages before social media andwhen emphasis wasn't on cool points and numbers. In the past I’ve had people be nice to me because of who I know, and who they can access via me. And there’s still some that slip through the net. In the last few months there’s bee a few people I’ve befriended that I thought were good eggs, but who numerous sources have informed me are the opposite. But then how do I know that the people telling you they’re not nice aren’t the issue….See these confusions are another reason why I sometimes find it easier to just completely step away from social situations.

Blogs are meant to be honest, and people say that ‘realnness’ is one of the major things they seek from the bloggers they follow. But I feel a lot of the time people want to read about vulnerability, or posts that talk about strength, growth, overcoming. I’m not sure they want to hear about the ugly sides of us, the things that still exist within us and bring out the unpleasant sides to our personalities.

What can be gained from hearing those terrible truths?

I guess it’s that whole ‘she’s ruining my vibe’ type thing. People don’t want to take on other peoples negativity because they’re probably using their energy to batt their own bad thoughts and tendencies away. So do I need to find a way of being honest and real without being bringing other people down?

This post had no real structure. It was just a spur of the moment brain fart (more like full on IBS attack) which will probably make me an even less desirable blogger.. and human. Sorry about that.

One day I hope I’ll be able to write an honest post talking about things I’m proud of. I truly hope they’ll be a day when I can brag about the stuff I’ve achieved and feel comfortable in doing so because I'll feel worthy of the public pat on the back.

I hope you’ll bear with me in the hope I’ll get there someday. In the meantime, feel free to offer tips on how I can become the better woman I want to be.



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Friday, 10 March 2017

GREYWIND ALBUM LAUNCH GIG PHOTO GALLERY

  

A few weeks ago I headed to the stunning setting of London St Pancras Old Church for Greywind's debut headline show and to celebrate their album release. I was there to capture some moments from this pivotal night, including an acoustic performance, meet and greet, and incredible full band show. I recieived numerous request from fans to post these pictures so they can recall the night...so here you go guys. Have you got your copy of Afterthoughts yet? If not, I'd get on that....
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Wednesday, 8 March 2017

International Women's Day: You Got This...



Valentines day encourages people to tell people they love, them and in the same way IWD will get people focusing on feminist issues and the power and beauty (inner and outer) of women. I know that the blogging world is going to be heaving with posts, and while this is no bad thing I hope we will try and thread this through our content throughout the rest of the year too. We don’t have to do posts about sisterhood, supporting other females, girl gangs and such to do this. By offering up opinion on issues that matter, by being accepting those of others and contributing intelligent debate, we are showing we have voices that should and deserve to be heard. If we continue to post articles that show that females can be vulnerable, but can also be strong, and if we continue to do good work within the industries we beaver away within, we have actions speaking loudly alongside our words.

Unfortunately some of us are made to feel like we need to prove ourselves, or that we need to fight to be considered equal…in a relationship, in a work place or in a community. I think how we live can be just as important as the things we say. Us ladies may exist in a world where we still need to be extremelyresilient,  having to buck up, dust ourselves off, and persevere to a level that we shouldn’t have to, but my god am I going to continue to brush off those dusty needs and stand tall as many times as I need to. I know that my gender doesn’t harm my ability in the areas of work I have chosen to explore, so even if there are people telling me, or making me feel that I can't succeed, do as well, then I’m damn well going to make sure I do all I can to prove them wrong.

On another relevant issue…I have tired a bit of the angle that girls should support other girls, without exception. I understand our journeys are littered with issues connected to equality and sexism, and that we don’t need people of our own army going rogue and attacking us too. I of course agree that we should offer kindness, support, and encouragement when we can, but I don’t think the fuel should be the gender of the person. Realistically not all women are going to share the same values, the same opinions, the same level of understanding and kindness, or the same backstory that has had an inevitable impact on the aforementioned things.

I’ve noticed on social media that as soon as a female voices an opposing view, a difference of opinion, or merely challenges the words/actions of another female, many people love to conclude that they are jealous, ‘throwing shade’ or being un-feminist. We need to be careful here. I wouldn’t want anyone to think that as a woman I couldn’t take on board the opinions of others or another person’s (females) standpoint. I would feel weakened if I thought people didn’t believe I could take criticism and try and learn from the experience in some way. We will all find ourselves in a position where need to called out  we aren’t infallible - we WILL make mistakes. I know I don’t agree with everything every blogger says for instance, but that doesn’t mean I don’t admire their work ethic, how well they’ve done, or dislike in any way. It just means I have a different opinion on that or many other matters they have chosen to talk about, and that's okay. Surely we should use our platforms to showcase our own personal and unique views and in turn encourage healthy and well thought out debate. Otherwise me might as well upload posts with links to other peoples blogs saying - READ THIS.

Now to this media storm that has happened in the last week or so, focusing on the actions and words of high profile celebrities like Brie Larson and Emma Watson. Shock horror Brie Laason wore revealing outfit on the One Show, and Emma Watson wore an outfit that was quite revealing in the boob area as part of a high fashion shoot. I'm sorry they have faced this mass wrath of judgement but at least it's got people talking, which I hope will lead to a deeper understanding of what being a Feminist really means.

The assumption that a naked body or the appearance/showing of a part of the body that we see less on a day to day basis is always a sexual thing, is so off I don’t really know where to start, but I’ll try. People seem to believe that a bare female body immediately means people will be titillated by it, that the person displaying their body is doing it to feel sexy, or to give off ‘sexy.’

It can be about so many other things, but so many people seem to respond in a way that targets the obvious and the easiest angle, perhaps due to the ‘values’ that have been ingrained as they grew up or perhaps due to how society has conditioned them to.

I wish people would consider these things before jumping to conclusion. when viewing an image with an element of nudity or flesh baring.

Perhaps that part of the body holds some significance for them. Perhaps there’s a link to something that has happened to them during their life, a visible or invisible scar that tells a story. Perhaps it’s a part of the body they hold dear because the struggle or torment it has delivered to their life, which has go on to teach them some valuable life lessons. Maybe to them, their body represents a vessel for new life and a source of love and nutrients for their offspring. Perhaps it represents the potential of new life. Maybe their willingness to appear without clothes signifies a shift in their self acceptance and a new level of confidence. Maybe they want to portray vulnerability. Maybe their creative eye gazes in awe over beautiful lines and curves. Maybe they want to stand strong as a message of hope for people doubting their own self worth or beauty. Consider whether they are doing it to rebel against conformity. Allow yourself to wonder whether they may see the naked form as a human in it’s purest form, stripped back and without prejudices and judgements caused by the addition of clothing, which tends to has the ability connote a level of wealth or status. Some may see their skin as a canvas, proud to show off the artwork they’ve collected on their body. Perhaps they find being naked liberating and the life that ‘free’ feeling it gives them. Perhaps they are doing it to draw attention to a cause. Perhaps their life hasn’t gone how they would. Perhaps it’s an artistic decision, perhaps every aspect of the shoot was artfully curated.

Maybe they put on this revealing and skin flashing outfit that made them feel fantastic. There’s a chance they felt powerful and strong. Ask yourself whether the sight of someone  enjoying their sexuality or being comfortable in their skin, should always be considered something that cheapens,  devalues their worth, or the perception of women as a whole.


I think I said what I wanted to say in a nutshell in this instagram. 



Lastly. Build people up where possible. Have intelligent conversation. Promote equality.

I really hope you all have  women in your life that bolster the fact that you can do anything and you have a voice that should be heard. 

Just make sure you got those people that can say ‘You got this’. But if not please tell yourself.

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Tuesday, 7 March 2017

MY FAVOURITE CRUELTY FREE FOUNDATION


 
As you will know if I've been struggling to find a cruelty-free foundation that doesn't disagree with my awkward and temperamentall skin. A lot of people presume that natural products are going to better for absolutely everyone, and you can understand the logic, but as someone who suffers with allergies and intolerances to salicylates, which are found naturally within a lot of fruit and vegetables, I can tell you that this isn't always the case. 

I've tried various Cruelty Free foundations that had so such promise, brands that were reccommended by bloggers with similar skin types, and who upload honest and reliable reviews that I usually agree with. But when I went on to try them myself they either brought on a very notiecable breakout, drew attention to my fairly large pores, or not had sufficient enough coverage to mask my acne scars and discolouration. 

But I've finally found my holy grail foundation in the award-winning Skin Base Foundation By Illamasqua. Feeling desperate and not wanting to have to settle with a non cruelty free brand, I put out a plee on Twitter. Many bloggers and friends tweeted the brands I'd already tried, or brands that aren't yet available in the UK, but then I  got a slew of messages reccommending this particular one. So to you guys....THANK YOU!!


So the next time I was in London and before heading to a girly dinner in Soho I swung by their store which is quite literally a stones throw from Carnaby Street, to pick up a bottle. 

I thought it would be one of those fly-by visits, a simple case of picking a colour that looked right, perhaps discretely testing on one of my cheeks, and then handing over my cash. But as as soon the sales assistant asked me how he could help it, I knew it would be a much more thorough procedure. 

I was sat in one of their chairs in front of the mirror, with my face already fully made up for the eveneing of socialising and eating at Balons round the corner. When he asked if he could take off my foundation I have to admit I instantly felt a bit stressed. If you're someone that's not very confident about their bare face, you don't particularly look forward to the prospect of exposing your natural canvas to the public who can peek in through the window, or to a shop full of strangers. I was also seriously clock-watching as I had somewhere to be, and hadn't invisioned this task would take more than a couple of minutes. But when he pointed out that by testing it properly all over my face it would ensure we would find a perfect colour match. I figured if I'm going to spending more than my norm on a foundation, I ought to get the perfect one, plus I could see that there was only one other person in the shop. I decided to let him wipe off my thick veil of make up.

Once my face was bare and it's true blotchy self, he started applying some Hydra Veil (rehydrating gel) all over my face, but focusing on the areas that tend to sweat or expose pores. Part hydrator, part primer, Hydra Veil 'instantly hydrates and smooths skin through a self-levelling, futuristic clear gel'. 


Utilising the power of Microalgae, Vitamin C and B3 which work together to help maintain skins hydration levels, the formula promises to create a healthy looking, balanced finish.

He put some on his hand which he then applied to my face using a brush, and my word did it feel refreshing.  The plant extracts provide that calming and refreshing feeling. Once dried, which takes a matter of seconds as it sinks in to the skin in the same vein as a primer, you instantly see a smoother surface for the foundation to rest on. 


Next we tried out a couple of shade of foundation on my cheek with us finally settling on 6.5 which has an olive yellow undertone. I know that a lot people struggle to find foundation's with yellow undertones, so I thought it was worth mentioning. I'm someone who looks fairly pale right now, but I tan incredibly well in summer, going quite a deep golden brown. There are an impressive 26 shades to choose from.

Knowing that I was off somewhere aftewards, he very happily obliged in finishing off my make up with some blusher and powder. He also was very generous in giving me a sample of the HydraVeil to take away with me, as well as an invite to come back and have my make up done, which I sadly couldn't do before the offer expired. Still a nice touch though! 

Having lived with it for a number of weeks now I am just as impressed with it. In fact I love it even more since I've started applying it with a dense buffing brush. I'm going to sound like a complete loser now, but I genuinely get excited about putting my foundation on everyday, just because the transformation is so very satisfying. A little goes a long way too (if applied with a brush) , it dimishes the appearance of pores, covers discoouration very well, and lasts all day. Unlike many of my past foundations, it also doesn't tend to sit in the lines that come from my nose to the corner of my mouth either.

The greatest joy/relief upon discovering this foundation is that it doesn't worsen my acne, in fact I truly believe it reduces it. If I go a few days of not wearing it I definitely notice a few more of those buggers sprouting up. Perhaps that's because having foundation on prevents me from touching my face as much, or maybe there's something in the formula that is beneficial to spont prone skin...or maybe just my skin. Either way, I'm ecstatic about it.

But when I was having my make-up done professionally, ahead of the Fifty Shades Darker premiere, we were having a girly chat  about our favourite foundations, and this of course was mentioned by everyone. However, one of the make-up artists did state that she tried it on a client who had very dry skin and it didn't work too well for her. So maybe if you skin is highly textured by dryness, maybe this isn't the ideal choice for you. 


So a huge shout out goes to Illmasqua for not only creating cruelty free and (some) vegan products that do an amazing job, but also for having staff willing to put in the time and care to ensure their customers come away happy and confident in their purchases. It's also great knowing you're not sacrifying style or choice, the brand are famed for their stunning array of colours, proving you don't have to limit your make up creativity to be more ethical. 

At £32.50 it's fairly expensive, but if something gives you confidence, improves the appearance and texture of your skin, AND it happens to be cruelty free, I think it is very much worth it. Before going Cruelty Free I used Clinique Anti Blemish which had a simililarly good effect on my troublesome skin, but lacked the full coverage of Skin Base, so even though it was cheaper I think this one is worth the extra few pounds.


What are your favourite foundations? I'd love to hear your reccommendations.

30ml 1FL OZ
price per 10ml £10.83
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