Thursday, 23 February 2017

I Have Felt

(TW: SH/Suicide)

The last year has been a whirlwind of feelings; I feel like on this blog I have felt every single type of emotion possibly; I started a miserable, unhappy, broken girl - and I've ended up something different; realised my own strength. This is a post to reflect; a post written nearly a year clean of self harm, a post written over a year from my near suicide attempt, 6 months since leaving therapy, a fiance to a beautiful woman I never saw being in my life anymore. This is about feelings, the last year, and a whole lot of change.

I have felt broken - lost, worthless, unfixable. I have felt as though my life is going absolutely nowhere, there is no point in continuing. I have felt as though I have nothing to offer the world, as though I am nothing more than dust in the universe, I have felt like I deserved the worst things that happened to me, the things that I did to myself. I have felt as though this world would be better off without me, as though I was nothing but a burden and a weight on those around me. I have felt a hundred things that I don't feel anymore; I know what it's like to feel as though I am a gift to the world, as though the people around me are lucky to have me, I know the things I did to myself to survive don't define me, things that happened to me were far from my fault. I have realised what it's like to feel worthy of the life that I've created.

I have felt alone; I have felt as though I will never go out of my house again, never laugh with my friends again, I have felt as though it would be me and top ten scariest on YouTube from now until forever. I have felt as though I had no future, there was no way that somebody would ever love me, I would never have children, or a house, or pets. I have felt alone in a way that I don't feel anymore; I know what it's like to fall asleep next to the person I love the most wearing my engagement ring and planning for our future house and children. I know what it's like to laugh with my friends, to reach out to them when I need help, to know I'm never alone no matter how much it can feel like I am sometimes.

I have felt sad, and anxious, and like my illnesses define me - and I still do sometimes; but I have learned so much in the last year. I have learned that my brain function differently, I have learned that I will always feel too deeply, react differently; I will likely need to take anti-depressants on and off throughout my life, I will always have bouts of anxiety no matter how well I learn to control it. I don't feel that this defines me anymore; I am funny, and strong, and I have a voice I use for important things - all of this defines me more than my illnesses.

So that's the past year; I have felt a lot of things that I don't anymore, and hopefully that goes on.

Sammy xo.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Lulu Guinness Tangle Teezer

I have hair so long and so thick that it would make Rapunzel jealous. Okay, not so much - but it is a lot of hair to be tackling on a daily basis and so anything that makes it a little easier to manage is gratefully accepted in my books. Katy and I have both used Tangle Teezers since we got them from HQHearts for Valentine's last year and I thought mine was doing a pretty good job; but when I was offered a new Compact Styler, I jumped at the chance and was surprised to see just how much a new Tangle Teezer had to offer beyond what my old, tattered one could a year down the line.

We need to start with the fact that Tangle Teezer have a lot more to offer in terms of designs than when I received my original pink brush - and so this time I opted for the Lulu Guinness Vertical Lipstick Print Compact Styler (although this is a pound or so more expensive at £13.50 unless I'm mistaken). This is a really pretty geometric print on the top, with a soft pink underneath where the bristles are and, like all the compact stylers, comes with a cap to keep the bristles in check. The first thing that I did notice, and as someone that brushes her hair in the shower this is a really good thing, the newer compact styler I have doesn't seem to take water on inside the casing, something that really frustrated me about my older one, and so it seems like some design flaws may have been hammered out along the course of the last year or so.

I think it's worth saying that if there's one thing that this has made clear to me, it's that I need to change my hairbrush more often than I am. I always pull the hair out of my hairbrush and clean it, but since getting a new Tangle Teezer with no bend bristles, it's clear that it's not just about hygiene, but also about how well the brush works - especially when it comes to bristles as fragile and easy to manipulate as the Tangle Teezer. Once again though, this definitely seems like a design flaw that's starting to be hammered out in comparison to my older offering; with the bristles seemingly managing to handle much more before bending or becoming more flush with the bottom of the brush.

All in all - it seems like Tangle Teezer are only going from strength to strength and, as good as the first offering I had off them was, they're hammering out the little design flaws to make the Tangle Teezer the ultimate brush. I opted for the detangling option, but now I'm looking into whether I should try and get myself one of the finishing brushes or one of the blow-styling brushes in order to see how they hold up compared to the counterparts I've already tried (don't even get me started on the Star Wars themes, because I'm kicking myself for already now having a new one and not being able to justify buying a stormtrooper one!)

If you've tried the blow-styling or finishing brushes, please let me know what they're like, because I definitely want to see if they're worth buying!

Sammy xo.
Contains PR samples/items gifted to me by companies however all opinions are my own - please view my disclaimer for more information.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

MyMallBox Updated Review

It's no real secret that I got a package from America delivered by MyMallBox last year, and I raved about them from then until now; in my blog post, on my twitter, to anyone that wanted a third party shipping company. Recently though, I went back with them to have another package delivered, and I had a very different experience than I did with my original blog post. This isn't a big change in heart because I paid for this delivery and the shipping was paid for me last time, it's just that I want to make sure I'm always up to date with the companies I promote, and this one may not be as amazing as I thought it was last year when I first used it.

I pretty much used MyMallBox purely to get Bath and Bodyworks shipped here, although there were also some other bits that I had already stored at my MyMallBox address such as cereal and cookies which I added to my parcel. The first thing we need to talk about is the biggest thing that's changed my mind on using the service; and that's the huge jump in price. MyMallBox, when I used it the previous time, had a sort of economy option that meant that you would wait longer, but your delivery would be much less expensive than the top option; this is something that has been stopped by the site, seemingly without telling people that this is no longer an option. I used my original email address again this time, and I wasn't made aware of this change via email or otherwise, and I've read on Twitter that this is the case with a lot of people.

Similarly, last time I had items shipped from America I used it to get hand sanitizers from Bath and Bodyworks, something that I know other bloggers did too - however this time, these were removed from my package and seemingly destroyed; they have seemingly been named as hazardous materials by the company - and although this is fair enough; they were happily sent to me when doing a review post last time even though my entire package was repackaged. I'm reluctant to say that MyMallBox allowed them to be shipped last time in order for a positive review; but looking at bloggers posts and seeing that this time they've been taken out, this sadly does look like the case.

I'm not saying that MyMallBox is a bad company - I used them this time despite the changes, and I'll no doubt use them again; the products always come in a great condition and, in fairness, I paid £42 for shipping to get my parcel within 48 hours and with no extra customs charge. Without a doubt, they're a good company - but many changes have happened seemingly without making customers aware, which is both frustrating and means that a lot of items now can't be shipped that were previously put in blog posts clearly saying they had been shipped.

Like I said, not bashing the company, just popping an update up in case you were considering using them - just be aware that there are now things that they used to ship and now won't, and there are now difference in costs that are only really clear when you get through to actually shipping your items. They're worth using, just be aware of the changes.

Sammy xo

Monday, 20 February 2017

Pureology Perfect 4 Platinum Miracle Filler Treatment

Anyone with bleached hair will tell you what a nightmare it is - it may look cool, I may feel like a mermaid, and I may never regret bleaching it - but keeping it in a good condition is no mean feat. When Pureology sent me bits and pieces to try, I have to admit that I sort of skipped over their Perfect 4 Platinum Miracle Filler Treatment in favour of the shampoo and conditioner. I tend to generally fear hair products that I don't understand, and so this was lying around in a box for a while - but having had enough of split, dry ends where my hair is bleached the lightest, I went in search of something that might help. I stumbled upon this, and decided to test it out to try and see some amazing results; after all, it does call itself a miracle.

One of my favourite thing about Pureology is the smell, it's this sweet but also perfumed smell that lingers in your hair and smells fresh without being sickly - so it was nice to see that this spray left a similar smell behind on my hair. This is essentially a smell that contains a material that fills gaps in cuticles of hair that have been made by bleaching (I think) in order to make it stronger, softer and shinier - something that I really needed. This isn't sticky, but it's more like a literally liquid spray, and when I first tried it I wasn't convinced that it was anything more than some kind of elaborate detangling spray, but I have to say that it's time to eat my words, because it seems that this thing really does work.

Beyond being cool and smelling nice, if I spray this on wet hair and then blow dry it I genuinely do end up with smoother, shinier and less dry hair. I don't know how this works - I am very very incapable when it comes to science, but all I need to know is that this really, really does work. It's a ten second step in my hair routine (which is basically non-existent save brushing it) that can change the look of my hair until I wash it again - and don't get me wrong, it isn't going to make me look like I've never bleached my hair, but it definitely is going to help with that yellow, straw like feeling hair that I've come to despise so much.

You can grab a bottle of this on Amazon for £17.89 (with prime, no less, you don't even have to pay for your delivery) and I genuinely believe that this might be one of my real haircare saviours since I went bleach blonde. As mentioned earlier, don't expect hair like Rapunzel's in Tangled, but do expect to see a genuine change in your hair in no time at all. I can't vouch for this for obvious reasons, but I did read some reviews on the Pureology site suggesting this can also be used on dry brunette (or other coloured) hair, and I can't see why that wouldn't be true. Basically, in my opinion, this really does need to be in most people's hair supplies, because it's one of the best hair products out there.

All in all - this is amazing and you should buy it. Not sponsored, just pleased to be sharing a great product that went unnoticed by me for so long.

Sammy xo.
Contains PR samples/items gifted to me by companies however all opinions are my own - please view my disclaimer for more information.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

NYX Liquid Suede Lipstick

Latvia brought a lot of intriguing and interesting things my way; and although a lot of these were archaeological or historical, some of them weren't, and the one I'm going to talk about today isn't quite as groundbreaking - instead, it's the NYX standalone store. NYX has only just come to the Boots around me, and so a standalone store was like a playground and, after being kicked out for being there past closing time (genuinely though), I went back in order to pick up some bits. As there was some sort of post Christmas sale, I managed to pick up 3 Liquid Suede Lipsticks for €11, which definitely isn't bad considering one is £7 over here - in true Sam fashion I managed to lose two (probably to two different handbags or something) and so I'm here to talk about the last one in Respect The Pink.

First things first, we need to talk about the tube on this - it's shorter than you would imagine, and a lot wider than a typical lip gloss type tube. That's not a bad thing, and it's nice to look at, but it's worth knowing because the shape of the packaging just caught me off guard a little when I first took them out of the cardboard packaging that they came in. Instead of having coloured stickers, or any kind of clear packaging, these have packaging the colour of the product instead - and although that's helpful when digging around for the colour that you want, it is annoying that you can't see how much product is left inside. For any other brand, I'd be less worried - but NYX soft matte lip creams are notorious for not being full or drying out quickly, and so I'd just like it a little better if you could see how much was left inside.

The wand is a long, offset sort of doe foot applicator, making it very easy to apply and get a crisp line around the outside of your lip. Combined with the fact that the formula itself is opaque without feeling heavy - this does make for a really pretty looking lip. The thing I want to tackle first about this one is that the formula doesn't entirely set down - it does go a gentle matte (as you might imagine, it looks very like suede when it's settling down) but it's not what I would call a liquid lip - which is fine, because they're actually describing it as a cream lipstick - which is what it is. Expect better staying power than a traditional lipstick, but not anything close to a liquid lipstick that won't budge - it's somewhere in between, making it a lot more comfortable to wear, without me having to worry about the colour slipping around my face.

Now finally let's talk about what I'm most about that I've just touched on - the colours. It's much easier to be brave with colours when you're using a formula like this - knowing that they're not going to slide about and end up on my teeth means that I can happily pick brighter colours - like the heavy bubblegum blue/pink that is Respect the Pink in this post, but also in Sway (a bright lavender) and Subversive Socialite (a dark plum purple) which were the other colours that I picked. I saw blues and oranges, and I personally shy-ed away from them, but if bright colours are your thing, this definitely seems like it could be the formula for you if you don't want something as drying and matte as liquid lipsticks.

All in all, for £7 these are something really special. Put down the soft matte lip creams that are so raved about and pick up these - a great formula, comfortable to wear and available in a lot of colours outside the regular nude/red/plum sort of spectrum. Head down to your local Boots and grab one of these, you won't be sorry.

Sammy xo.

Friday, 17 February 2017

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo Anti Blemish Cream

There are some products that have been doing the rounds since well before I started blogging, and the La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo is definitely one of those. To be honest, I wasn't even sure what this was, but in desperation when my skin was bad, I reached out for this when I saw it in Boots when we were in London. I opted for the Anti-Blemish cream, given that I have an abundance of targeted spot treatments already that seem to be doing little to nothing - and it wasn't cheap, so I've been trying it out to see whether it really is the miracle product that Youtubers everywhere have been billing it as.

To be honest; my main issue with this product was that I just wasn't sure what I was buying - but it turned out that this is a type of moisturiser to put on my entire face as opposed to just affected areas; and it works as a moisturiser within it's own rights. That's good for a lazy girl like me, because if it takes an extra step in my skincare regime, you'll be sure that I'm eventually going to give it up because I can't be bothered taking that much out of my Netflix watching schedule. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about this one - but I put it into my skincare rotation and decided to just see how it goes.

It did go better than expected though, in all honesty - if at first it was a little putting like sunscreen on, which it was, it was soon forgiven due to the fact that my skin cleared up at an incredible rate. Now, don't get me wrong, this isn't going to clear up those spots overnight and leave nothing; but this does seem to help make them smaller, less red and take the swelling out of them, without drying them out like typical spot treatments that work in a similar way. This isn't cheap, it'll set you back around £15 per tube, but in the grand scheme of things you're saving money on both your moisturiser and a topical spot treatment, and so it probably all works out in the long run.

I'm not really that keen on repurchasing skincare - in the same way that I hoard makeup, once I've tried something I tend to sort of throw it aside and move on; however, it's not often that I actually see results with something in the way that I saw something with this (also, it smells amazing - like lemons instead of gross tea tree like most spot treatments) and so I'd imagine that I'm going to be constantly buying this so I'm not longer at a loss when a spot pops up.

If you have any similar products that you'd recommend, or if you have any recommendations for further La Roche Posay products, don't forget to let me know in the comments!

Sammy xo.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

OOTD: Charmed, I'm Sure

It's been so long since I've done an outfit post, but Latvia seemed like the perfect time to get back into it. Now, I've come a long way since my first OOTD, I'm a solid four stone heavier, I have a lot more hair and, generally, I'm just a different person; but I'm getting used to myself, and getting more used to my own style. So, here's my latest OOTD, let me know what you think (as long as it's nice). My bag is a Vendula bag with my charms detached, but the collection I have is the Frida Kahlo collection, if you're interested.

Leggings - H&M // T-Shirt - Primark

Gloves - Tiger // Scarf - Primark

Bag - Vendula

Jacket - Forever 21

Shoes - Doc Martens

So there you go!

Sammy xo.
Contains PR samples/items gifted to me by companies however all opinions are my own - please view my disclaimer for more information.