Monday, 29 February 2016

Do I Regret Getting A Matching Tattoo?

When I was 18 I did a really, really stupid thing, even by my standard - I got a matching tattoo. It was with my best friend at the time, and it was of song lyrics from a band that we both liked. My tattoo is in my friend's writing, and hers is in my writing and at the time I thought it was ultimately cool (it isn't, really). Now, important fact about this friend was, although she was seeing a boy at the time of us getting tattoos, we were also romantically involved. It was messy and complicated and I thought that I loved her, but more importantly? I thought that she loved me, obviously, or I would never have gotten a tattoo in her handwriting.

I never told my mum that my tattoo was in this girls handwriting and her and my dad weren't too offended by it and to be honest, for the first year and a half neither was I. Things were good with our relationship - she broke up with the boy that she was seeing and we got together and honestly, for a solid month or two it was blissful. Then it got complicated. She thought I didn't care enough, I felt that she could be selfish and manipulative, she would go days if not weeks without talking to me and the last straw was six months into our relationship when she hadn't come to see me, or let me come to see her, for over two months. Painfully and messily we broke it off, and it soon became clear that there was no real love lost between us and so off we went our seperate ways, each with our own little permanent reminder of what had come before.

People who knew me then are keen to ask me about the tattoo from the relationship that, at the time, had seemed like the be all and end all. Do I regret it? Does looking at it make me feel sad or angry? Will I ever cover it up? They're all things that I've considered during the time we've been broken up of course - I was furious every time I saw it for months, I threatened to have it covered up even some of the time that we were together, of course there are times when I've regretted it. Time though, they say, is a healer, and I stand here four years later, nearly two years free from that relationship and I say to all of those questions; no.

I don't regret the tattoo, it marks a part of my life that I survived. I was so ill that she couldn't take it and yet I got through that and came out of the other side. It marks a passage of my life that lead me to the greatest love that I've ever known (cheesy, but true) and allowed me to recognise it as what it was. It doesn't make me angry or sad to look at; it's not her writing anymore, it was a message to myself to enjoy my life and marvel at it's wonders - it's a part of me and if anything it makes me feel like breaking it off was the best choice. Will I ever cover it up? No. Covering it up would be like blocking out the past, deleting her pictures and refusing to speak of her. I wasn't out to my family, but it was my first real gay relationship and it was a huge marker for me. The words might not be what I would choose in hindsight, but I'm proud of the scrapbook memory that they've become for me.

So there's my answer; I don't regret it. I don't regret it, and I wish her all the best I just have no desire to talk to her or write any more lyrics for her to get tattooed on herself. Of course I'd say think carefully about getting a tattoo but honestly, seeing it makes me proud of how far I've truly come. And for the question I'm sure you all want the answer to; yes, I do plan to get a tattoo at least for Katy, if not with her.

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: Tattoos

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Maya Confident Curling And Styling Crème

There are some brands that have just been created by someone with so much passion that it's hard not to find it contagious, and Maya is one of those companies. Michelle, the creator, is so keen and knowledgeable that it truly was a pleasure to get the opportunity to test our her Confident Styling And Curling Creme. I talked a lot to Michelle about the type of hair that I had, how I wash and style it and she assured me that Maya is perfect for all hair types but would almost definitely work for my hair and so I eagerly awaited it's arrival. 

styling cream

This is a super thick cream which makes a nice change from the oils that I've been using, but it did make me worry that it would be really heavy on my hair - I can confirm that it didn't, however, for a product that is so thick it's almost difficult to get out of the bottle, this feels almost weightless on the hair which was a nice surprise. I need more of this than I would need from an oil, but I'd expect that, and I get more of this to begin with so it's not as though I'm using half a bottle in one go.

I can't decide whether or not I like the scent of this but my mum loves it - it smells almost coconutty but not quite, sort of like a suncream sort of smell. It's packed full with natural ingredients and oils though, so that's likely where the smell comes from (seriously, this is chock full of olive oil, argan oil and shea butter amongst it's 12 natural oils and extracts). I like the idea of this and it actually really reminds me of the Windle and Moodie Hair Moisturiser - I put this on wet hair, dried it and then found it was sleek, less frizzy and the natural waves in my hair stayed in much more successfully. All in all, it was a success.

haircare for curly hair

This didn't weigh my hair down, didn't make it feel greasy and it has a pretty pleasant smell - plus it comes in a pump bottle and you can get 250ml of it for £20, which is pretty cheap when you weigh it all up. All in all, I think it's a fabulous product and Michelle is so passionate about the company that it's hard to see it doing anything less than well.

What's your favourite hair product at the moment?

Sammy xo.
This post is written in collaboration with however all words and views are my own, please check my disclaimer for more information.

If you liked this you might like: Liz Earle Botanical Shine Hair Oil

Saturday, 27 February 2016

March's To-Read List

Last month predetermining which books that I was going to read and review on my blog really seemed to help me get through them and write about them and, more than that, I really enjoyed it and so, here's the books that I'll be reading during March - all being well you'll see one book a week being reviewed on here.

pile of books

1: In A Dark Dark Wood - Ruth Ware
When I was feeling really crap a few weeks ago my mum took me to do an age old cheering up activity - going to buy books from ASDA. I picked this one up purely because it sounded like one of the most standard thrillers going - but I think that hopefully it should have some sort of intriguing twist. I like the idea of how dark this is and so I hope that it doesn't fall short of my expectations.

top two books march 2016

2: Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell
This was actually one of the first books that Katy ever bought for me when I was deep into my fanfiction writing stage. I keep meaning to get around to reading this but it's just always been overlooked - I have to say though that I'm really looking forward to getting into a book that I think is going to be more chick-lit than anything that I've gotten around to reading in quite a while.

3: The Kabul Beauty School - Deborah Rodriguez
This was one of my Christmas books off of Katy and I'm not sure what to expect from it, but I'm excited to read something a little different and out of my comfort zone. I think that this will also probably err on the side of chick-lit, but that's not a bad thing and I'm sure that I'll love it when I really manage to get stuck in.

books to read during march 2016

4: The 5 People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
I've actually had this over a year - my auntie gave me this when she finished reading it on my 21st birthday away and I've just never managed to get around to reading it. I'm really excited to read this - it's a book that suggests that there will be 5 people who massively shape your life and when it comes to meeting them in heaven, they might not be who you expected. I love the idea of this and I'm excited to get around to it.

What's on your to-read list?

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: February's To-Read List

Friday, 26 February 2016

Ameliorate Skincare

It goes without saying that Katy and I trial each other's products. It's not that we don't have our own, or that the other persons are particularly better, it's just a simple case of I'll always want what I don't have and I don't like to miss out when she's trying something and so I like to try it too. With this in mind, when Ameliorate offered to send Katy and I a set of skincare for us to trial between us it seemed to fit both of our needs perfectly; I wouldn't have to lust over products Katy was trialling, and Ameliorate would get two impartial opinions for the price of one; from two very different skin types. So, it was a win win situation and so we agreed and now, here we are.

We got the Body Polish, Shower Cream and Body Lotion to try out. First things first; the look of the bottles. Although these look high end and clean, I find they're a little overwhelming - there's a considerable amount of writing on them which makes them appear a little confusing at first glance, and each product looks nearly identical and although it's not offensive, I just think that in my opinion the packaging could probably be better. Having said that - all three of the products that I've trialled came in a squeezy tubes which I really like, I find them a lot neater, cleaner and easier to use than pots of body lotion or hard bottles.

So do they work? Well, I can only talk about them from my point of view and although I used to suffer from Keratosis Pilaris (also known as chicken skin, or bumpy skin on the tops of my arms) this has mostly cleared up as I've gotten older; however I can attest for the fact that looking at the results of surveys these really seem to work, and they've definitely worked well on my normal skin. Having said that, they're not the cheapest of products, which these three falling between £15.00 and £27.50.

There are definitely some hits and misses within these three products. The undeniable hit is the Body Polish - this is gritty but moisturising at the same time and, although it's gentle, it really does do a good job at smoothing and softening the skin. Goldilocks (as in not too hit, not too miss) is definitely the shower cream. I don't hate this - it foams up well and it smells clean and fresh; it genuinely does do it's job - but I just can't imagine splashing out £15.00 on a shower cream that for me is just a basic body wash. 

The body lotion is definitely a miss, the big bad wolf in this goldilocks tale,. It's not that it's a bad product as such, but the smell is so heavily talc-y that I just hate the scent that it leaves on my skin. My skin does feel nourished and smooth and soft but the smell overpowers all of that for me. All in all, if I still suffered heavily from Keratosis Pilaris then I would definitely be more ranting and raving of these products, I'm sure. I used to have to splash out on La Roche Posay Iso Urea and this is much more pleasant and, on the whole, more affordable. This is, however, meant to be a good choice for all skin types and I'd have to disagree - if you have normal skin, this will likely be no better than similar products before or after.

Have you tried Ameliorate? What would you recommend?

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

If you liked this you might like: Dr Bronner's Skincare

Thursday, 25 February 2016


If there's one thing that we're really lacking when it comes to Mental Illness (and honestly - there's a whole range of things, but we're just going to settle on this one) it's tolerance. I know there's post upon post about how hard it is to find tolerance from the media, from family members who don't quite understand, from education systems and friends and a workplaces - and are all these are awful. However, in the time that I've been ill, but far the worst lack of tolerance that I've come up against was that shown by a medical professional.

Shortly after I finally told my girlfriend and family about how bad things had gotten with my illness back in October, we rung the crisis team who suggested we either go to A&E or head to my doctors in the morning for an urgent mental health assessment and, given that I was surrounded by my safety net and finally slightly calmer after hours of sobbing, I decided that all I wanted to do was sleep and so I opted for the latter. So, in the morning I head to my doctors and, irregardless of the fact that it was clearly written on my record that I was attending an urgent mental health assessment, met with one of the rudest, least helpful doctors that I've ever had to cross paths with.

I was asked whether I really thought that I needed to take time off of work, I was given new anti-depressants with very little say in the matter - she didn't take the time to talk me through my new medication, or what to expect or when to come back. She was condescending, talked over me, talked to Katy as though I was a child and consistently referred to Katy as my "friend" irregardless of the fact that I had introduced her as my partner. It wasn't only this attitude that was poor - I was told that between now and my access team referral (which was given to me as I was struggling so badly) there was nothing that anybody could really do for me, no port of call save a trip to A&E. I was given no helpline information, we were simply given my poorly explained new medication and sent on our way.

The more I read about stories of mental illness and it's sufferers, the more it becomes clear that this isn't an isolated incident. I didn't face a particularly unhelpful doctor, I wasn't just unlucky - the attitude of the NHS on the whole needs to be improved. My access team, an outside party, sat and talked with me until I was calmer, helped with coping mechanisms and gave me a place to turn - whereas the NHS turned me away with an attitude of frustration as they didn't seem to think that as I was a mental health patient I was in any way their responsibility. In reality - we all talk about a stigma existing in society but I struggle to see how it's going to be broken until the NHS start realising that, in the same way as if I came to them with tonsillitis, they need to have experts on hand that can help with my illness.

I'm not trying to put you off going to your doctor if you're ill - it took a few poor shots, but I managed to hit on a doctor who is helpful, patient and kind and I feel like I've managed to make more strides than I would have thought possible - but on the whole, the majority of the NHS needs to realise that nobody will take mental illness seriously until GP's really start to.

Have you had any really positive points of call when it comes to mental illness?

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: Mental Health - Frustration

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

The Girl With A Clock For A Heart Review

There are very few books that are simultaneously easy to read as well as being a genuinely gripping thriller - but Peter Swanson has nailed that completely with The Girl With A Clock For A Heart. It's not a thriller that seems heavy, or too much to read in one sitting; it's one that had me reading it in a single sitting without accurately guessing all of the plot twists (and that's something, seriously.) This is one book I'd say would appeal to the young adult audience, but will also find it's way onto the bookshelves of many a mature reader.

The Girl With A Clock For A Heart Cover

The way Peter Swanson writes nearly entirely makes this book what it is - we see the present day and George as a struggling man coming to grips with meeting once again with the love of his life who is, for reasons unknown to us as readers at this point, wanted for past crimes. Intertwined, we also see George when he met her to begin with in college, struggling with his first love and coming to terms with being left behind when a suicide occurs. It's heartbreaking and emotional and so beautifully written that it's hard not to get emotionally invested within the book, and that's part of it's charm - we are blinded in the same way that George is and that puts us truly in his shoes.

The book is an easy read, and yet it's challenging and interesting and all in all, it just really will keep you guessing until the very end. I tried to explain the story to Katy and just came across as absolutely crazy with all the twists and turns, and yet I didn't find it difficult to read and so it gets a huge thumbs up in my eyes.

inside book pages

This is definitely one to take away on your holidays and, although it's not my favourite book, I'd definitely buy Peter Swanson's newest offerings.

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: The Dollmaker Book Review

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Sam Farmer Shampoo And Conditioner

I'm all for challenging myself and a lot of you know that my latest challenge for myself has included taking better care of my hair where possible. Although I've been trying out some oils and creams and everything in between - I was still firmly in the mindset that Shampoo and Conditioner was just something that was, there and there abouts, an expensive offering was probably only as good as whatever was on offer this week. However, the very lovely, chatty Sam Farmer was very keen to try and change my mind on shampoo and conditioner being nothing special and so offered to send me over some Shampoo and Conditioner which I graciously accepted.

sam farmer shampoo and conditioner bottles

Fellow Sam has created a range of products that are unisex and particularly formulated to suit adolescent skin and although I'm slightly outside of that bracket these days, though I am in denial about that, I thought that this no-nonsense approach to hair might be just what I need. The fact is, it's refreshing to see someone take this non-targeted approach to bodycare and I love the ingredients that go into the product but it did leave me thinking that this generic shampoo and conditioner offering was probably going to do little for my hair. My oh my, how looks can be deceiving. Added bonus; these are all cruelty free (as are all products in the EU, but Sam Farmer doesn't distribute in any countries that have compulsory animal testing) and there's a really extensive, interesting education page about what ingredients are used, and why.

shampoo and conditioner

The Shampoo is "formulated to gently cleanse the hair and scalp without leaving any residue...gentle enough to use every day with added glycerin to improve moisturisation". It's clean smelling, almost citrusy, and it does work - no better than other shampoos I've tried, but to be fair it's not much higher in price point either at £5. I didn't have any issues with it and nor did Katy who has very sensitive skin, and so although it wasn't amazing, it definitely wasn't bad by any means. It was the conditioner, though, that was the secret underdog. It pretty much shares a scent with the Shampoo and, in the shower it just doesn't seem much, however when I got out and tried to brush through my freshly conditioned here; something not much short of a miracle happened.

Sam farmer products

This works better than any conditioner I've ever tried, and I'm honestly not being dramatic. This is targeted to help improve manageability, and it definitely does. Both the conditioner and the shampoo make me feel as though my hair is softer, shinier and better looking with completely minimum effort, and if we're honest - isn't that what we all really want from life? This stuff isn't going to break the bank, the conditioner is £5.50, but it's honestly worth every penny. It's undoubtedly changed my opinion on whether Shampoo and Conditioner are just that - not all hair care is made equal, and Sam Farmer is definitely leading the race.

What's your favourite hair care products?

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

If you liked this you might like: Sample Sunday - Redken Extreme

Monday, 22 February 2016

Tiger Wishlist

For Katy and I, Tiger is one of those shops that seems cool and elusive because you can't order online and we only ever went into one in London (and it was amazing - I got a notepad, a sketchpad, a charging cable and a set of batteries, all in one place). As such, it's become a Narnia that we're literally obsessed with and so when it came to us putting our deposit down on a flat, we naturally started planning how and when we'd get to Tiger to get the last little bits of everything. So, without further ado, here's the top things on my wishlist.
tiger dinosaur plant pot
Oh come on, these are adorable - the flowers form the spine of the dinosaur, and these would look literally amazing with cacti in them. Also I just love dinosaurs and they're like £4 which is insanely cheap. I just think that these will look adorable on our desk and, luckily, Katy agrees.

We don't actually strictly need any more plates, but I think that these spotted offerings are just so sweet and you can't really sniff at them only being £1 each. I mean, if people come to eat, they'll need plates, right? You can probably never have too many plates. That's what I'm telling myself anyway.
tiger dead sea shampoo
Okay, so we probably don't need two different plant pots but one is a dinosaur, and one looks super cute. Plus I could buy one of each for £6. Tiger is a slippy, slippy slope. You can also get these in 5 different colours and 2 different patterns so, plenty of variables.

I absolutely love anything that I can use to personalise a place and, although we'll have our carnival lights, I just think it would be nice to have K&S in these black letters on one of the very few surfaces that we'll have left after we've been to buy stuff from Tiger.

We definitely don't need any more shampoo - but I didn't know that Tiger even did bath, body and cosmetics so I now definitely want to pick some up. They have a fair few offerings but this dead sea black mud shampoo looked amongst the most interesting and I can definitely afford to splash out a few quid on it.

What are your biggest loves from Tiger?

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: The Homeware Picks

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Vendula Spring/Summer 2016

Last year, Vendula sent me a bag and to this day it's a bag that friends, family and co-workers still ask me about on the rare weeks that I don't wear it at least once. I'd seen a lot of their offerings when we head to The Clothes Show in December and debated buying another shop front bag (I had my eye on The Lingerie Shop) but simply put, I couldn't afford it - so, when Vendula offered to send me another bag from their Spring/Summer collection for this year, I jumped at the chance and picked Chocolatier's Shop in the grab bag format (they also have Ladies Day, Tea Party, Recipe and Sushi Shop designs new in for this season.)

This is a fair bit more expensive than my Cottage Box Bag which was around £65, but this grab bag style will set you back around £87.50. It's worth noting the quality of this bag though - it has a lot of moveable parts - flowers, ribbons, the shop sign and yet every bit seems strongly attached and not at all at risk of falling off. Similarly, the shiny vinyl feel of the bag makes it unlikely to mark which works very well in my favour as I'm a pretty clumsy person, all in all. This also has it's closure on the top of the bag instead of at the front, and instead of a twist lock with a flap that folds over, this has a twist lock with a doctor's bag opening and closing.

I do have a niggle about this bag, and that's that although it has a shoulder strap the shoulder strap attaches to the same loops as the hand strap; this isn't the end of the world but it just makes it look a little strange and makes it harder than you'd imagine to get into sometimes. Similarly, when I looked at this bag on the website it didn't have the "life is like a cup of cake!" writing on the back - so it's worth noting if these things are going to annoy you then just give it a good think before you shell out the money.

Inside the bag this has two open small pockets and one bigger zip compartment pocket - the lining is the classic Vendula London skyline fabric and the whole bag is really a statement piece. All in all I don't think I'll get as much wear out of this as I did and continue to get out of my cottage bag, but I love both completely and there's a lot to be said about Vendula's pieces.

What do you think of Vendula's bags?

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

If you liked this you might like: OOTD - where's your picket fence, love?

Saturday, 20 February 2016

The Not So Little Fickle Girl

A few weeks ago I sat down and read Jemma's post about what she's really like behind her blog and it struck me that, despite how much time we spend on our blogs and chatting to each other, we lead entire lives that other people who share our blog lives don't always know about and so - in honour of Jemma's post - I decided to write a post about who I really am when I'm not hiding behind a keyboard (I'm the new generation of keyboard warrior, now I think about it).

My real full name is Sam, I'm 22 although this seems to confuse a lot of people and I can still get a half on the bus, which is handy when I'm low on money (it is a pain when I want to buy a drink in a pub though, admittedly). I'm really accident prone and I tend to be covered in bruises that I can't ever remember getting; I'd like to blame it on drinking but the truth is I'm mostly tee-total. Like for real, it's not even a cool thing I just don't really like the taste of alcohol or getting out of my depth with little control - plus, it's seriously expensive.

I'm always tired but I'm surprisingly a morning person - by the time 9am rolls around I'm usually the one waking Katy up because I'm bored and I want somebody to talk to; I'm also a night owl though, I get most of my work done at stupid o' clock in the morning and so now I'm thinking about it - I don't really get much sleep. I'm still slightly scared of the dark, I like things to be clean and organised and when I'm stressed I'll deep clean everything (also, when it comes to throwing things out I have no sentimental feelings - I'm seriously ruthless.)

I'm never, ever on time - if my anxiety is bad I will be incredibly early to make sure that I don't have anything wrong and that you won't have to wait for me, if my anxiety isn't particularly bad I will nearly always be late as I am a champion at convincing myself that I have more time than I actually do. On that note, it takes me at least forty minutes every morning to put make up on because I'm constantly distracted by my phone, or whatever I'm watching, or the fact my eyebrows need plucking (anything, really).

I'm lazy and loyal and I don't like to get dressed or go out if I can avoid it. I hate drying my hair, I find getting showers awkward when I'm staying at Katy's university house and I'm snappy and unpredictable. I'm reckless, I don't like to offend people and, more importantly than anything - I like to think that the last thing I actually am is fickle.

What are you like behind your blog?

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: The A=Z Of Sammy

Friday, 19 February 2016

Is Speaking Up About Mental Illness A Privilege?

When I first spoke out about my mental illness, I did so to 600 people from the comfort of my bed. I said words to these strangers that I'd never managed to say to my ex-girlfriend, friends or family and I did so unapologetically - all the while knowing that, when it came to it, this one single original post could potentially effect the way that people saw me, the way future employers saw me, the view that universities might have of me if I ever came to apply. I did so knowing the risks, and knowing that my voice could be one of a wave that might start something bigger, so that one day girls like me, girls not like me, and people all over the world would also be able to share their stories without worrying about the stigma and issues that might come with it. So, when I came across an article a few weeks ago about the idea that speaking up about mental health being a privilege, it irked me in all the wrong ways.

I'm quick to admit my privilege; I'm not naive in the fact that I went to a good school and got a good education, I'm from a white middle-class nuclear family in a fairly good area, I've never known poverty, nor racism, nor much hardship whatsoever; but my writing about mental illness hasn't come from a place of privilege. It came from a place of struggle, and feeling so alone - I left a job after I was negatively confronted about things that I'd written about my mental health, I've had to defend pieces to my family and friends - it's not been me writing because I'm invincible, it's been me writing (and quite honestly, losing a fair amount due to it) because I shouldn't have to be invincible, and one day I hope that my voice will have contributed to the fact that people no longer worry about writing similar things.

Spargo-Ryan, the author of the article, might indeed feel her writing comes from a place of privilege - she doesn't have to worry about her family or her job and she has a louder voice than many due to her financial and ethnical situation - but the fact is, she speaks for her alone. I do have to worry about my family, I have and will have to worry about past and future jobs - I may have a louder voice, but I'm well aware that I'm risking a lot to show people that I'm willing to use it to start a conversation. I'm not stupid, I know that I am more privileged than many, but that does nothing to contribute to my voice whatsoever. I lost a lot on the way here, I will undoubtedly lose more as I refuse to stop talking about an illness that almost rules my life - because I shouldn't have to risk anything to talk about my illness, the stigma needs to stop.

Although Spargo-Ryan undoubtedly meant well in her article; the fact is, she is further isolating those of us talking about mental illness. Possibly without meaning to what's she saying is yes, we all suffer the same, but if you are able to talk about it - you're not brave, you're in a elite that has nothing to lose. I'm sorry to say, we're all in the same boat here, we all face the same stigma, we might all lose the same - until we tackle the stigma, none of us are privileged in the eyes of mental health.

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: Depression

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Working With Washi Tape

Honestly - until I got sent some MT Washi Tape, I just never really got it. It's pretty, sure, and you can use it to seal envelopes and decorate pencils and stuff but - what's the point? I think maybe the issue is that I saw it as glorified masking tape with naff designs but MT has such pretty tape that I was determined that I wouldn't waste it, so I googled what I could do with washi tape and, although I wasn't 100% on board with the craft side of things, mostly because I have no hand eye coordination and I'm honestly just not great at things like that - I did find a use that I could get on board with; decoration.

I have an all white room at home and a student house when I'm staying with Katy - both are a little impersonal at the both of times; clinical but also pretty hard to decorate as I don't want to mark my pretty white surfaces and we can't leave any permanent marks in Katy's room. As I mentioned a minute ago though, it came to my attention that Washi tape is just glorified masking tape and so it easily removes off most surfaces - so, I took a roll to Katy's desk and gave it a good old college try. I tried first with the transparent-ish spotty tape on Katy's desk and there's no photographs of this because it's not my best work - it looks cute but you can see the overlaps a lot more easily as the tape isn't completely opaque. I left it up whilst I practised on other surfaces, I'm going to try it again this week so I'll pop a picture update on Twitter if it works.

So, when I came home I remembered to bare this is mind and so I opted for a much more opaque offering - I also worked along a smaller length and tucked the excess underneath. It looked a little messy still - mainly due to the aforementioned poor hand eye coordination - but it looks super cute and I'm a lot more proud of it than Katy's desk - mostly because you can't see the overlap as glaringly obviously as you could the first time that I tried. I have to say though, I found these stick and stay really well, but they are pretty easy to remove with only a minimal amount of residue left - I've obviously never used masking tape to decorate with for any length of time, but this does seem to have a similar adhesive method and you can rip it in the same way without using scissors.

Most of my rolls are the 15mm rolls and I think this is a really great size - it seems to be the perfect size for the edging of most of my furniture and I haven't ran out of any of the rolls yet and I've done a fair few trails with them. Having said that, one of my rolls is the wider size and I have struggled to find any use for this one - it's just an odd size and I can't really find anything that it's suitable for - I keep trying but it's just that little bit too tall or too small to really make it work.

These start at about £2.50 on Amazon and they have a ton of prints - I do think that they're worth the money, but don't expect miracles. They are great if you have a room you want to personalise and decorate without leaving any permanent mark, though and I'll definitely be taking them to use in the flat next year.

What have you used Washi Tape for?

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

If you liked this you might like: Sweetpea Pantry Chocolate Giggles

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit/Bombs On Aunt Dainty Book Review

When I was a kid one of my favourite books was The Tiger That Came To Tea by Judith Kerr. It was always Each Peach Pear Plum that came home in my older brother's book bag, but for me it was all about the tiger that disrupted a household at tea time. So, when my fascination developed for World War 2 during my History A-Level, mum bought me her Young Adult offering; When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit/Bombs On Aunt Dainty. I have wanted to read this for ages, seriously it's be on my bookshelf for literal years, but it was lost under my legitimate A-Level contemporary sources and textbooks. This month though, I dragged it out and settled down with it.

when hitler stole pink rabbit cover

This is actually two standalone books - but Bombs On Aunt Dainty follows on from When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit and so I simply sat and read one straight after the other. This is, I believe, based on Judith Kerr's true journey from Berlin to London, and it shows. Although reading this as an adult it seems anything but a book for young readers, the fact is it turns the war into something young people would be able to understand at a basic, terrifying level; and it perfectly captures the confusion and loneliness of a child and her family becoming refugees.

Everything about the book is charming - it's uncomfortably frank about the death and loss that happened during the war, and yet it's charming and funny and it shows the disfunction of childhood and teenage life as it happens to both Anna and her brother Max. It shows the war from the view of a German family, and yet one who didn't spend the war in their own country - it's enchanting and awkward and awful in equal measures and I enjoyed every single minute of both novels. 

inside pages

This isn't an easy read - but it's a worthwhile one. It's charming and shows the atrocities of war for refugees and yet it's beautifully written and captivating. I can't recommend it highly enough and I can't wait to get my hands on Judith Kerr's adult novel of A Small Person Far Away.

What's your favourite book at the minute?

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: The Year Of The Rat Book Review

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Ellovi Body and Lip Butters

To be honest - I'm not too selective about skincare. I'm getting better at knowing what should go onto my skin and what I should try to stay away from, but the fact is that in the past I just haven't been as concerned with it as I should have been. Having said that, even I know how good a company is going to be for your skin based on how few ingredients they have and so, when Ellovi emailed me offering me the chance to try out some of their lip and body butters, the 6 ingredient tagline had me accepting out of pure fascination.

So, can you tell the difference between this and it's chemical filled counterparts? Well, I didn't think I was going to be able to but, in all honesty, it seems almost like some breach of the law that this body butter and products like The Body Shop's Body Butter can be called the same thing. I'm not normally one to review samples, if I can avoid it, but this was worth talking about. It's smooth and melts to an oil on the skin and it genuinely is a good product, but that's not what swayed me into talking about this sample size - the smell was. The shea butter overpowers the whole smell and it smells so like a chocolate shop I went to in Poland with Katy that it actually brought tears to my eyes. Their "original" butter has exactly the right kind of chocolate smell, how chocolate really smells, and the product from what I tried is amazing in itself too. Mainly - I'd recommend this product purely on the fact for every time you use it you can feel as though you're third wheeling one of the best nights of my entire life. Seriously, though.

I also did get one of their full sized products though, which is what this post is actually about. Knowing that I was getting to try the original body butter, I opted for a different variety of their lip butter; Blossom. I hate flowery smells, but when I looked online I was fairly confident that this was going to taste slightly orangey and so I took a risk - I was right. This errs on the side of citrus, the only really flowery taste comes through in the Chamomile which just takes the edge off of the fruit taste and leaves a nice, rounded lip balm flavour.

Is it a good product? I'm in two minds. I love the feel of it, don't get me wrong, it's gritty until it touches your lips and then it seems to melt down to a soft, oily wax. I like it, and it genuinely does really seem to help my eternally chapped lips - but, having said that, it's definitely not a lip balm you can chuck on under your lipstick. It's thick and moisturising, but it's a lip balm I use at night, not one I put on with lip products in the day. It smells amazing though, and the shape is thinner than a normal chapstick bullet - the only one big downside is that it's hard to twist it back down, sometimes I have to push it instead. I have to say though, all of these are only little issues - and the product does really sell itself, especially for $5.

All in all - Ellovi is just one of those brands that are quietly doing good things and making good products at a good price; and it shows. Have you ever tried any of Ellovi's products?

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

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Monday, 15 February 2016

3 Things That I've Learned Living With 9 Other Girls

At home I grew up with my parents and older brother and then, when he ventured off to University, it was just me, my mum and my dad - which made for very quiet living. This all changed when I met Katy and started to stay at her University house with three boys; but it all changed even more drastically when, in September this year, Katy (and by extension, also I) moved in with 7 other girls (this quickly became eight other girls in January this year). So, here's a few lessons that I've learned whilst living with 9 other girls (as I'm counting Katy as one.)

1: Cheap Carpet Hoards Hair
For real, though. Cheap carpet, the kind that landlords insist on chucking in University housing, acts like some sort of weird hair velcro and you will never, ever manage to get the hair out of it. At this point in the year I feel like some days I'm walking on a fluffy hair cloud that Henry The Hoover is absolutely no match for. This is made worse by the sheer amount of hair that us ten girls have between us - seriously, don't look to close at any of the carpets if you're ever round at the house, they're gross but it's beyond our control.

2: There Is Never Enough Cupboard Space (Or Dish Rack Space, Or Sink Space, Or Just SPACE)
Sharing space is all well and good until you get to a few months in and you've suddenly accumulated 78 pans between the ten of you and there's no longer anywhere to store them, or the plates that are consistently taking up the very small amount of space you have on the drainer. Basically, wherever you need to be there will always be someone there, and wherever you need to put your stuff will always be full. And yet still you won't be able to find a single fork when it comes to eating your pot noodle at lunchtime.

3: It's Never Quiet
I mean, it doesn't help that we have half of the lacrosse team and the captain of the volleyball team living with us, but it's literally never quiet. 6am has people leaving for rowing, 6pm has everyone trying to cook meals at once in the kitchen. There's so many of us that there's always someone's friends here, always someone running from room to room, always somebody slamming the front door. It's weirdly comforting in equal amounts to how annoying it can seem.

As much as this sounds like a whingey post, I bloody love it here. I love hearing everyone laughing and running up the stairs, I love it when we all play board games or sit and watch crappy TV together - I actually will miss this house when it's just Katy and I next year (and it'll undoubtedly seem very, very quiet.) 

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: A Letter To My Future Children

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Why Jessica Jones Is Marvel's Unexpected Hero

This probably contains spoilers, but why are you reading this if you haven't seen the season anyway?

What girls worldwide have been waiting for is a hero - not a Prince Charming or a knight in shining armour but rather someone to look up for; what girls worldwide have been waiting for is Jessica Jones. Marvel's newest superhero has climbed her way to the top of Netflix watch lists and it's not hard to see why - Marvel have ditched the tiny skirts, lycra and capes and instead Jessica has turned up in combat boots and a leather jacket and we've all fallen in love with the idea that this unassuming woman, a woman just like most of us, could be Marvel's next big thing (and indeed the programme was quickly snapped up for a second season.) Jessica Jones is here to stay and there's not a damsel in distress to be seen - Jessica isn't here for love, she's here to save the world and - it seems - change it.

When we meet Jessica she is, for all intents and purpose a psychological abuse victim - she demonstrates actions suggesting that she is still suffering from PTSD from being kept captive in a psychologically abusive relationship. She is physically strong - her super power is in itself strength - but she is emotionally weak in the light of a relationship that came before; this doesn't manifest itself in a sense of revenge like we've come to expect from Marvel superheroes, but instead Jessica actively seeks to stay away from Kilgrave, her abuser, until he seeks her out.

Watching Jessica Jones Netflix

Although part of Jessica's charm is seeing her break through this isolation, that's not the reason that she's quickly become a hero for women everywhere - it's the fact we consistently see her selflessly protect others, bring women up. In other Marvel offerings, women are often viewed s romantic interests, victims or enemies but, undeniably, in this case the roles have reversed. Similarly, whereas usually men are physically strong and women are psychologically strong, we see a reverse in this; Kilgrave is physically weak but strong physically, and Jessica has strength as her superpower but lacks the emotional and psychological strength that we'd expect.

It is not only Jessica herself who is breaking the wall down for strong women - it would be impossible to talk about the season without discussing the fact that the programme shows Marvel's first abortion and, notably, it doesn't depict a young girl crying and forced into an abortion - Hope is instead a victim of rape who is making a strong, viable choice. This might not seem like a huge step forward, but realistically its a leap - women following through with abortion in film and TV are few and far between and this marks a huge step forward for the representation of women's rights in mainstream TV.

Similarly, it's important to note that Trish similarly shows a strong, female character in a way that is matched by few other female characters in similar shows. Trish's role is almost more important than Jessica as Trish has no powers at all - she is just an everyday woman working towards becoming a hero on a practical level. Trish doesn't let herself be seen as a victim even though by most standards she is - this is an important message that women see very little of in mainstream media. Whereas Trish relies on her physical strength we see little of Jessica's physical strength except from when she's using it against Kilgrave - Jessica's super power is strength and yet the one that she realistically uses to become triumphant is her psychological power.

All in all, Jessica Jones is a huge step forwards for women - it sets a precedent for similar films and series in the future; women are not just victims to be saved, we are here to save the world today - and it's time everybody got with the programme, literally.

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: Feminism Vs. Human Decency

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Jane Iredale PlayOn Lip Crayon

Normally I love a good matte lip, but undeniably that's likely to be the exact cause as to why my lips are always so dry and so - as they say, if you love something let it go - I'm taking a little break and moving onto more balmy offerings. Jane Iredale just happened to email at the right time to offer me one of their PlayOn Lip Crayons and so, the start of a whole new collection of lip products was born (any excuse to buy new lipstick.) It was a product I probably wouldn't have picked out to try myself, and a colour I definitely wouldn't - but I accepted in an attempt to widen my comfort zone and I have to say that I found myself pleasantly surprised.

jane iredale saucy lip pencil

I got the shade "Saucy" and it's a red tinted coral sort of colour - like I said, this is so traditionally not me, I'd normally go for a deep plum or a red sort of shade, but when this came it seemed surprisingly wearable. Like you'd expect from a crayon, this is a little balm like, it's soft and moisturising but it packs a surprising amount of pigment into such a little product, alongside a lot of shine. Annoyingly, this is an actual pencil which mean it requires a fat pencil sharpener, but that's just my personal vendetta against wooden pencils and an adamant belief that we don't need anything except twist ups in 2016.

Besides the whole pencil sharpener situation - I really like this. The packaging is a gold barrel with the end the same colour as the lip product and, helpfully and more rare than you'd imagine, this actually matches the colour of the lipstick when it's swatched. It's worth mentioning, though, that as the top of the crayon nearest the actual product is light and the product is so balmy, it's very, very easy to transfer it right across the brand, shiny new pale wood. Annoying and it makes it look messy, but only a minor niggle.

playon crayon in saucy

Although this is pretty pigmented, as you'd expect from a balm, the staying power isn't all that great. I've definitely have worse and it wears pretty evenly but it isn't great at staying where you put it. I thought the first time that I put this one that maybe it was a little too much for me, however now I'm looking back at the pictures that I took in natural light I think that if I wore it a little more and got used to the colour then this could become a replacement for my traditional red lips come Spring. In some lights this can look fluorescent, but its actually a lot more subtle than that in natural light - and surprisingly flattering on my skin tone even taking into consideration how pale that I am. 

jane iredale saucy swatch

All in all, it's definitely one of those cutesy Summer shades as opposed to the heavy berries and reds that I opt for in Winter, but it's a surprisingly versatile colour and the formula is really smooth with a brilliant payoff. You'll only get a few hours out of it before reapplying, but it's worth it for a quick pop of colour - and they're definitely worth the £14 that it'll set you back.

What's your favourite lipstick for Spring/Summer?

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

If you liked this you might like: Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick In Lolita

Friday, 12 February 2016

ASOS Wishlist

I love ASOS - it takes the chore out of internet shopping as normally I can find most of the things that I want all in one convenient place - plus, it's not exclusively high or low end, but varies between the two and everything in between. All in all, I spend a lot of time window shopping on ASOS - here's my picks.

hollister jumper

1: Sleeveless Longline Top - £10
I love basics, but I like them to look a little bit different than the millions of other basic pieces that I inevitably have in my wardrobe. The shape and the cut of this just really work for me, and I think the colour is just basic enough to wear with anything without being as boring as plain white or plain black. It's only a tenner as well, so it's not going to break the bank even if I only wear it a couple of times.

2: Sundry Light Wash Sweatpant - £100
I just can't afford to drop £100 on these, but oh my god how comfortable do they look. I have a pair similar to these that actually belong to Katy and are so worn in and comfortable that they look light washed even though she assures me that they were originally navy. I can't afford to spend a hundred quid on any pants at this point in my life, but if I could - these would be my choice.

3: Hollister Lace Shoulder Striped Jumper - £29
Hollister hasn't really been my thing since I was about 15, but this jumper is just so pretty and elegant, but so casual that it makes me want to buy it and wear it all the time when I'm sitting in bed blogging. I like the colour of this, I think it'll work really well as we move into Spring, but I do believe that they have a navy variation of this as well.

fries before guys quote

4: Fries Before Guys Ankle Socks - £3
Socks are my thing at the minute, but Katy always has better ones than me and I'm a bit jealous and so I'm looking to expand my collection. I think this is a hilarious joke as I bloody love chips and I'm just not into men - as unintentional gay jokes go, this one is particularly amusing to me.

5: Blocked Satchel Bag - £22
I love satchels but I'm not usually bold enough (or carrying few enough things) to put my Cambridge Satchel to use in the way that I'd like. This one is affordable enough that I won't feel as guilty if I don't get around to using it and I think that the colours are nice and versatile. Plus, the buckles are amazing.

What are your ASOS wants?

Sammy xo.

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Thursday, 11 February 2016

Valentines Day On The High St.

I've never been hugely into Valentine's Day - I'm not hugely against it, just I've never been a swooning, loving kind of person (save when it comes to Katy, of course). Having said that, it's almost impossible to avoid Valentine's when you're blogging, and so I've found some bits and bobs that you can buy on the high street (okay, one's online but it does have a high street price tag) from 3 of my favourite brands - and there's not a rose or box of chocolates in sight.

baylis and harding valentines 2016
baylis and harding candles

1: Baylis and Harding
Stand Out Product: Magnolia and Pear Blossom 3 Candle Set (£14.99)

Other Notable Products: N/A

I've worked with Bayliss and Harding in the past and have one of their triple wick candles and I like it, it's fine - but it's just plain white and clean smelling. Like I said fine, but boring. So, when I saw that they had a new Valentine's set out I was desperate to get my hands on some - not only did these seem like they'd be a stronger scent, but they all looked adorable in silver and pink metallic glasses (and I figure that I could use them again. Probably for make up storage). These burn evenly, smell amazing - and not too heavily floral, as I hate that - and only come in at around £15; plus, you can order them online or you can just nip into Argos and grab a set. I believe there's a second scent for Valentine's due, but it's late and so will actually come out later in the year. I'll keep you updated on that. If candles aren't your thing, they have the standard body wash sets and all sorts to pick from, so have a scout around to see what you can find - none of them appeal to me personally other than the candles, but they do some amazing stuff.

2: Paperchase
Stand Out Product: Dating Journal (£6)

Other Notable Products: Red Satin Heart Confetti (£3.25) // Funny Valentine's Cards (various prices)

Without a doubt Paperchase is one of my favourite shops on the high street, but it's probably not one that I would tend to go to for Valentine's gifts. Having said that, the Dating Journal they have for this Valentine's is one of my favourite gifts - and it's so cheap and versatile. I think it's hilarious for you if you're single or in a relationship and it's just a great way to look back on past relationships - plus, it's cheap enough that you could buy it for a single friend if you felt like they'd appreciate it. It's not the most romantic of presents, admittedly, but I do like it.

For something a little more romantic, try their really affordable Red Satin Heart Confetti to set the scene on Valentine's night, also their cards are bloody hilarious (this "I'm Gay For You" card is just perfect for Katy and I. Although it does have cats on it but beggars can't be choosers).

3: Firebox
Stand Out Product: Love Bites Lollies (£9.99)

Other Notable Products: Nari The Narwhal Night Light (£9.99)

Firebox are running a campaign this year and it's based around whether you're going to play it safe with your Valentine's gifts or whether you're willing to take a risk - and so they sent me a selection of bits and pieces for both sides. Now, they're not for the faint-hearted or those sensitive to bad language, but amongst my favourite were the Love Bites Lollies that have phrases on them that get a little more forward as you go on (plus they have amazing flavours including Salted Caramel), and they're definitely a risk for some newer relationships but I think they're bloody hilarious.

If you want to play it a bit more safe, the Nari the Narwhal Night Light is just adorable and every bit as affordable as the lollipops. Personally, I love both so it's just a matter of preference!

What are you hoping to get for Valentine's Day?

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

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