Monday, 31 October 2016

Manyo Factory Galactomyces Niacin Special Treatment Essence

Bloody hell - that's a bit of a mouthful isn't it? You might know that a few weeks ago I went through a solid month where all I did was strop about how bad my skin was on my twitter. I am dramatic but it was bad, and so when a few companies reached out to see if I would like to try their products in order to try and clear my skin, I jumped at each and every chance. Some of these were companies I'd never heard of before, and one of the best products turned out to be the Galactomyces Niacin Special Treatment Essence from Manyo Factory - a company that I've never heard of before I received this product but I have to say that they're becoming a fast favourite.

I'll be straight with you; I can't talk about the complex sciencey bits of these products, but I can tell you that, at least for me, it works. I was a little bit worried that a lot of products were going to help with the oils and the spots that were a big issues for me, but would only dry out my skin which would bring a whole new set of problems altogether. Manyo Factory were quick to assure me that this wouldn't be the case with their product and asked me to use it for a few weeks before I commented (which I would anyway, but I get their point in that it's a long-ish term solution as opposed to a tea tree sort of quick fix.)

I've found this a little much for my whole face, however, I find it works really well for me if I put this just on affected areas after a toner but before a moisturiser, I then moisturise my face and head off to bed. I didn't put this on in the morning (although I think I could do with no negative effects, I just found the just-at-night system worked pretty well for me!) and it still only took about two weeks to almost entirely clear up my skin.

This isn't a serum, it's an essence which is something that hadn't occurred to me whatsoever, to be honest - however it's worth noting that this isn't a heavy gel, but it's more a thin liquid consistency and so be prepared to catch this when you press the top on the pipette. Having said that - it's not too greasy and not too lotion-y which seems to make it the perfect type of product to go underneath my moisturiser; and it really did help my skin. Like I said, I can't speak for the sciencey bits of this - but I do know that it worked for me, I know that it took about two weeks but I've ended up with pretty clear skin, and it's even helped to fade some of the marks on my face. So, all in all - I'm actually really about this product.

So, if nothing else - Manyo Factory has given me a new favourite to add to my skincare list, and it's inspired me to go out and try brands and products I might usually avoid. Thanks, guys - it's been amazing!

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

Friday, 28 October 2016

Wanderlust and Recovery

If there's a reason that I'm really, really angry at my anxiety (more so than the fact it affects my every day life) it's because it's stopped me travelling. If you know about me, the only thing I find scarier than travelling is the constant worry that I'll never get the chance. Recovery has allowed me to go further afar, there's a joke on twitter that I'm constantly tweeting about being on trains, I find that Katy and I are always looking at places to go, always booking hotels and tickets to go places whether it's for days, or weeks, and all in all - I find my wanderlust and recovery are constantly in battle.

And I'm getting there - we had a spontaneous few days in Blackpool getting tattoos and sneaking onto the beach late at night and getting drunk and filming videos, and we ventured to the Trafford Centre and I've been added last minute onto a holiday to Krakow in a few weeks - and I'm okay with these things that all would have seemed impossible this time last year. But, I still worry. I worry about everything; at a more manageable level, but it's still there. I constantly forget my tablets which makes me nervous, I constantly leave my glasses and contact lenses behind, I constantly worry about getting lost, about being on time for travel plans, about who I'll encounter.

But, I've found that now I can push through. I can go even when I worry about these things, I can handle a few days without my meds if I have to (although I wouldn't choose to), leaving my glasses behind isn't the worst thing that could ever happen and if I get lost I have google maps. I'm learning that I can worry about things and still prove to myself that I don't need to worry; I can worry I'm not going to do okay, but I can still get there and be okay no matter how much I worry about it.

Recovery is difficult - because it's not like my illness that is a barrier stopping me doing things, but rather this teasing, niggly voice in the background that's constantly whispering what ifs to me that are much harder to ignore. Recovery is difficult, but it's worth it. It's worth it when I wake up in hotels and know that I can go exploring, it's worth it when I look back on my photographs of trips away, it's so so worth it when I sit with my soon to be girlfriend watching stars and lights on Blackpool beach (slightly drunk) on a Thursday night.

Recovery and wanderlust are the two things I've found that butt heads in my life the most, but I'm getting there. I'm not letting my worry ruin my excitement, I'm not willing to compromise anymore, and back down, and worry. Wanderlust is a part of my life and always will be, I hope that anxiety is only temporary and so I refuse to lose experiences to it - I refuse to allow it to take away this want to see the world that I've always had in my blood.

So that's a brain dump of how I'm feeling right now - but basically, I'm not letting worry stop me anymore.

Sammy xo.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Reluctantly; My Favourite Waterproof Eyeliner

I am so reluctantly writing this post - because it's about an eyeliner I have so, so many problems with. Some of you might know I've been trying as many eyeliners as humanly possible in order for me to judge which one works best for me and competes best against my watery eyes and I was hoping I'd find a hidden gem. Instead, I found that an eyeliner I have so many issues with came out on top and so, reluctantly, I'm telling you about my favourite waterproof eyeliner out of all of the ones that I tried; so, here's my review of the They're Real Push-Up Liner (the black one - I'm not a heathen).

This is hella expensive at £18.50 and to be honest, it's an eyeliner I've tried before and just not had much love for. We've all read the reviews of how dry this is, how crumbly, how hard it is to apply and how hard it can be to remove and to be honest, I agree with a lot of those things - it is dry sometimes, it does crumble off, it's a pain to apply and it is near impossible to remove some nights; but that doesn't take away from the fact that it's definitely one of the best eyeliners out of the ones that I tested (I know guys, I know - I'm sorry, okay?)

Now this is near impossible to put on, the flex tip is meant to make it easier to get closer to your lash line but to me it just seems like a entire unnecessary drama and it doesn't get as close to my lashes as I might like, and I've found that you have to run the excess product across your hand in order to stop yourself putting too much on and so you can waste a lot of product getting it to the right amount of product. On top of that you need to really scrub to get it off and quite often I wake up with it still at my lash line (or as close as I could get in any case). You might be reading this and thinking, but Sam, you just told me that this is your favourite eyeliner and all you've done is slag it off. I'm getting there, okay?

It is a pain - it's a pain to get right and it's a pain to wing out and generally, it's just an absolute knob of a product; but, once it's there - it's pretty damn amazing. I feel so reluctant to admit that I love this - but I do; I love that I don't mind about rubbing at my eyes, I love that it doesn't matter how windy it is or how much my eyes water this will stay put. I will gladly suffer extra time in the morning putting this on because I know that, when it comes to the end of the day, I won't have had to reapply at all no matter what's gone on. It's a pain in the arse, but there's no denying that Benefit They're Real has become my favourite eyeliner for a day long wing.

So reluctantly, it's a thumbs up from me to Benefit's They're Real Push-Up Liner. Not the best eyeliner to ever happen to the world, but definitely the longest lasting and it's not one to be sniffed at.

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

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

The Sign Of Four Book Review

I'm a big fan of Arthur Conan Doyle and, happily, a lot of the subtexts within his books fit perfectly in with what I'm studying in the Literature portion of my degree and so when Katy and I were in the Trafford Centre last week I picked up The Sign Of Four and read it on the way home, and finished it in the library whilst I was waiting for Katy to finish to go home earlier this week. I don't know what I was expecting from The Sign Of Four, but I happily found it to be one of the easier Sherlock Holmes novels to read and I managed to get through it fairly quickly. Also, my one is a penguin classic and, although it was only £5, the cover is the beautiful Despotica cover and so it looks amazing on my bookshelf.

Honestly, considering I was essentially reading to extend my knowledge of time periods etc. within Literature, I expected to find it really boring but I was very happily surprised. I found the book even more enticing than the offerings I have read by Conan Doyle in the past, and it's only just over 100 pages long, so even for the least enthusiastic readers out there, this one isn't going to be impossible to get through. It's a lot less intimidating to pick up a book you know you can get through, especially as I picked this up as a little respite between my compulsory set texts - so kudos on that one.

The story basically follows Sherlock Holmes as he looks for missing treasure owed to a young woman, and the story that ensues. It's slightly bizarre, well written and fast paced - and all in all I just found it a joy to read. As a Sherlock and Elementary fan, it's nice to read the texts that inspired the TV shows, it's nice to see the links and what remained true to the original and I think you'll find the humour in the modern touches to the show if you've both read and watched Sherlock.

All in all - it's what you'd expect from Conan Doyle, but I do think that everyone should read at least one of his books in their lifetime. I know the stories of Sherlock Holmes pretty well, but I have to say that realistically, knowing the stories just doesn't compare to reading them and being right in the middle of the action with Sherlock, Watson, Mary, Gregson and Lestrade. There's something magical about reading the book and seeing the world as Conan Doyle imagined it that you just can't catch no matter how good the television or film remake is.

All in all - buy the book because it will look bloody adorable on your shelf and it's a really good read.

Sammy xo.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Underwear Wishlist

If there's one thing that makes me feel good about myself it's new underwear that makes me feel sexy. I mean, it's actually probably tequila now that I'm thinking about it, but new underwear that makes me feel sexy is definitely a close second. So, as we head into a new season it only seems fair that my boobs and vagina get a  whole new wardrobe, and here are the bits of underwear that have had me all heart eyed in the last few weeks.

1: Wolf and Whistle Navy Lace Lingerie Set - £30
I like to pretend that I'm a classy lady and so I like to go for underwear I can wear to the office and in the bedroom. You know, if I ever bother to wear a bra. Or if I were to ever get a real adult job. Okay, jokes aside and I love the panel between the cups on this bra immense amounts, I think that's it's pretty and sexy in one hit and I just love the idea of this set. Plus you can see my vagina through the knickers and I'm pretty much all about that to be honest. Variety (and vaginas) are the spice of life.

2: ASOS Triple Strap Suspender - £10
It's not a secret as to how much I want to be Blair Waldorf and anyone who has ever seen even the smallest piece of any episode of Gossip Girl ever knows that this is definitely step one. I have a suspender belt already which I love, but I like the triple straps on this to just add something a little different to an otherwise plain black set. Do I ever really need suspenders? Not at all. Do I want to wear them every day even when I'm not having sex? You know it.

3: Ann Summers Glitsy Chemise - £28
I saw this in the Ann Summers window earlier this week and made Katy stop and stare at it awkwardly in front of a shopping centre full of people but I've never seen anything that I think will make me feel like a goddess more than this. I mean, if we're honest it's like not at all practical unless you're only putting on this and a trenchcoat with the explicit idea to go out and have sex with someone (and like let's be honest I'm not against that), but this is so pretty I just don't even care.

4: ASOS Valerie Satin Moulded Set - £32
At first I thought I hated this but to be honest I love the shape of the straps and I think it would make my boobs look banging. I'm all about this silk/lace combination and I think that, although the colour would probably make me look ill, I would still feel fucking amazing in this. 

5: Victoria's Secret Logo Elastic Lace Thong - £9.55
These are like insanely expensive even if you get them on 5 for £25 but I am literally obsessed with the band on them. Will I ever wear them? Probably not. Will they still take pride of place in my collection? Yeah probably. Once again see through so you can see my vagina if I wish you to. All about that.

Sammy xo.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Elizavecca Donkeys and Piggies

We all know that I'm a sucker for a cute packaging and so when Elizavecca wanted to work with me I was over the moon, because the only thing that's better than products that work well is products that work well and look like they wouldn't look out of place within a kids toy store. I've been obsessed with the Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay since it was doing the rounds on YouTube and so I was excited to give it a go for myself, and to give the Donkey Piggy Donkey Creamy Cleansing Melting Cream a go.

First things first; the packaging. Everything from the actual box that it was posted in right down to the actual jars - this is just a kawaii lovers dream and I absolutely can't cope with how much I love the little characters (look at that pig dressed up like a donkey! Look at the pastel colours!) So you know, so far, so good. But opening these products up, it became clear that the quality of the packaging is nothing to be sniffed at - heavy glass, spatulas with each, clear and beautiful branding - it all creates something really pretty that had me falling in love with the brand before I even really got to the product inside.

Having said that - I actually do really like the product inside the Donkey Creamy Cleansing Melting Cream as well. Now, don't get me wrong this isn't going to give Emma Hardie a run for her money - but this will take all of your make up off and leave your skin feeling fresh and nourished (although I would recommend using a quick second cleanse at night, too.) This is a sort of gel although it's a lot wetter than I thought it would be, and it has no real smell. It's really nothing to write home about but it's a good product - it's one I could see myself buying again and although it isn't the best cleanser I've ever tried, it's far from being the worst.

Now I'm so torn about this (and I'm literally the last person in the whole world to talk about it, or so it seems) but I also tried out the YouTube famous Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay mask. I can't really get a photograph of this because you just can't see what I'm trying to explain in a photo, but essentially this goes on as a grey sort of gel, as it reacts with the air as you put it on your skin - it foams up until your face is one big grey cloud; rub the foam in and wash off and voile, skin as soft as a... pig's bottom?

No doubt this works - I just don't really get the point. I was worried about it drying my skin out and, to give it it's dues, it doesn't - but it just doesn't really do anything at all in my opinion. It foams up, I rub it in and I could have used literally any cleanser to get the same result. It's fun and gimmicky, but it's not like I come out feeling like I've made a trip to a cosmetic surgeon without ever touching a knife. It's a good one for a night in with your mates, and it did amuse me for the whole time I had it on - but in terms of skincare benefits? There are much, much better masks out there in my humble opinion.

So that's my thoughts on Elizavecca up until now - a fab company with some good products - but if you've tried anything I've not mentioned here I would love to know what you thought!

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, 23 October 2016

Six Months Clean

(TW; Self Harm)

It's been a weird old month, and so I've missed a few posts out and so this is running a little bit late to be honest; but, Katy and I got together on October 8th, which only slightly eclipsed the fact that this was also my six month anniversary of being clean. I wondered whether or not I should write about this, to be honest, but here we are; six months in and I'm feeling good. I'm not finding it as easy as I would like, I'm still counting down all the days and there's still days where the only thing that's getting me through is the number of days that I've already managed to smash - but it's irregardless at the moment, because I'm still doing it, I'm still six months clean, still determined to stay on this path.

Six months is a turning point - it's a point that I didn't think that I would reach and now that I have, it feels like a point of no return; it feels like six months is the decider; I can't go back now, recovery is very much real. I don't know what it is about six months, it's just a point that I thought that I would never reach, it's a point that I've never reached before and now I'm here I feel stronger, more capable, like I've got this under control and this healing is my life now, much more so than what came before.

There isn't really a point to this post except that I'm determined to keep talking - self harm was a huge part of my life, recovery has been an even bigger part and I need to keep my voice shouting - because I never want people to forget that I might be happy now, but there was a time that I really wasn't. I don't want to be the person that recovered and stops talking about the thing that plagued my life, I want to remind you that recovery is possible, and I want to remind you that it's okay that this isn't easy, and it really, really fucking isn't. It's the hardest thing I've ever done, and I did Russian History at A-Level.

So, I am still recovering, I am still more scars than skin in places on my body - and I likely always will be. But I'm happy, and I'm doing well; I'm still here and my days are still ticking up, and the worst thing in my life today isn't the fact that I've hurt myself, or I'm handling my self harm addiction, it's that my period pains are stopping me tidying the room, and I need to sit down and actually do some work for university in a minute. Recovery has been weird, and fast, and so fucking slow all at the same time, and I can't believe I'm already at six months.

So here's to the next six months, and the next six years, and so so much further - here's to recovery, and to inevitable relapse, and to knowing that I'm strong enough to get through anyway. Here's to me.

Sammy xo.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Chelsea Beautique Brows Kit In Natural

You might know this about me (in fact if you follow me on twitter this is probably all you know about me because it's literally all that I ever go on about) but - I am all about a strong brow. I think it's that I have literally nothing in the way of natural brows and so it makes me want to be Cara Delevigne when it comes to drawing the in, but either way they take up a solid third of the time it takes to do my makeup every day and they're the one thing that I really don't ever leave the house without. So, when Chelsea Beautique offered to send me one of their Brow Kits, I obviously wasn't going to say no and so I've been playing with this beauty since it arrived with me about two months ago. My kit is in fair, and I also got a spare powder in "espresso" which is about 20 shades too dark for my hair - but it's good to know there's some colour range out there if nothing else.

First things first - I'll be straight with you; scrap the fucking stencils. There is literally nothing more pointless in the whole world than this flimsy bits of plastic - and I wanted to get on with them, I really did, because imagine how easy putting your eyebrows on would be if you just had to colour in the inside of a stencil every day instead of actually drawing them in free hand; but they're just pointless. I like that there's a couple of shapes, I like that they're all different widths and lengths, but they just don't work for me at all - they're messy and leave hairs unattended and just leave me with a proper strange shaped brow. No thanks. Rule them out for starters.

Having started on that note like a negative Nelly, I have to say that actually the rest of the kit is really boss (in fact I haven't been using it for a week and now I'm looking back down on it I've started to feel proper cheated about it.) First of all - let's cover the price because this is going to set you back more than a Rimmel pencil because the kit will cost you £35 - but don't wince and click off just yet - because the kit does come with the (pointless) stencils, a double ended brush to apply the product, the shadow itself, some pointed ended tweezers and a velvet pouch to keep everything in. It definitely feels like a luxury item, but it doesn't feel pretentious or like a waste of money, my powder has lasted forever so far and it doesn't smudge during the day and it's apparently waterproof, though I obviously haven't put that one to the test.

I've found that the best way to use the product is to use the angled brush to carve in the shape of my brows, then fill them mostly with the blending brush and add some sort of hair texture back in using the angled brush once again. I haven't been using the velvet pouch or the stencils, but the shadow, the brush and the tweezers have worked really well for me so far. Plus, it's good to know that if my shadow ever runs out (which seems like something that will quite literally never happen) it'll only cost £15.00 to get a new pot which is cheaper than my old favourite brow pomade.

All in all, Chelsea Beautique aren't a brand I've tried anything else from - but I'd be really keen to try. There's something really nice about this brand; the packaging and the products really live up to the price point. Annoyingly it's not super cheap, but I would suggest buying the kit and I'll definitely be buying more shadow when mine runs out.

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

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Stop Calling Me An Angry Feminist

If there's one thing that I've learned in the last week or so, if it wasn't already clear, is that the fact that I'm a woman means that many men see my opinions as much lesser than their own. I can shout them down until I'm blue in the face, I can calmly and reasonably tell them genuine facts, I can literally sit replying to men who have come to attack me in my own mentions; but I'll still be the angry feminist. The fact that I'm a feminist has become this ugly trait to people who attack me; how dare I want equality? How dare I be angry about the way that the world is working out?

This week - I've been a feminist, and I've been angry. I've not been an angry feminist - I've believed in equality across genders as I always have, and I've been angry about the world around me. I've been angry that we are blaming victims, I've been angry that we are letting rapists walk free, I've been angry because we all deserve better. I've been angry, and I've been feminist - and these two things are not linked. You can write off my disgust at the failures of the criminal justice system this week as me being an angry feminist - but we all know that I'm not. We all know that I have a right to be angry, and you wouldn't be searching me out to specifically tell me otherwise, if I didn't.

As a feminist - I think I have a right to be angry. I am not angry because I'm a feminist, I am angry because everything I stand for is being discredited this week - I am angry because a man can stand in court and be declared not guilty when he gave a star witness £50,000 to discuss a victim's sex life, I am angry because we have torn apart a victim's sex life whilst never questioning the past of the accused; I am angry, so fucking angry, and it's nothing to do with my being feminist. It's everything to do with the fact that I think that any victim deserves better, it's everything to do with the fact that a criminal has walked free and people everywhere (mainly men, but not always) keep writing me off as an angry feminist instead of looking at the facts in front of them.

I am angry. I am angry that a girl is in a position I've been in and instead of giving her the help she needs, we are tearing apart her reputation and leaking her name online. I am angry. I am so, so angry that there is a man who has gotten free on a technicality despite the fact he has clearly interfered with a witness whether directly or not. I am angry. I am so fucking angry at the world around me - I am angry that we are rejoicing in calling a woman who is hurting a liar, and I am fucking angry that you think that I can only be mad because that victim is a woman - I would be angry if this was a man, I would be angry if this was someone of non-binary gender, I'm fucking angry.

So stop calling me an angry feminist - stop making it like I have no right to be angry, like my gender and my beliefs make my opinions invalid. And stop coming into my fucking mentions, starting fights and then quote tweeting me as an angry feminist, because that really does create an angry feminist ready to come back at you.

Sammy xo.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Empire Liverpool Menu Launch

Oh lord, I just really don't know where to even start with this one. I don't really like to give negative reviews of anywhere, and especially not places in my home town because I love it here and I want everyone to come and enjoy it - but I was invited here and honestly so much happened that I felt like I needed to talk about it. It's not all bad, but Katy came with me and I think I can pretty confidently say that neither of us would ever go back, with (in my opinion) just cause. So, let me tell you about a night out at Empire last week.

Empire is on Seel Street, and so they're competing against some of the best - Alma De Cuba is the mecca of cocktails and their door is right opposite, Brewdog has burgers like you wouldn't believe and they're a three minute walk away; to make it on Seel Street, you have to really create something special, it has to be a bit of everything. Having seen the menu, stalked their twitter and seen the outside of the restaurant - I really thought that Empire might have it. Edgy? Check. Vegan options? Check. Good location? Undoubtedly. So what was the issue?

Well when we arrived - we had no clue what we were doing and so we head over to the guy with the clipboard; he couldn't find us on the list, was incredibly unhelpful and with no information whatsoever sent us off to sit down whilst his coworkers giggled around him in a way that generally just made Katy and I feel really, really uncomfortable. After sitting down with menus we ordered drinks (although we had to ask for drinks menus in the first place) and sat to talk. I say talk, but I really mean shout because this place doesn't seem to switch the music down when it's in restaurant mode, and it was like sitting in the middle of a club eating my tea. All a bit strange, if I'm honest with you.

After looking through everything we ordered the Meat Lovers board with steak, chicken goujons, mixed kebabs, salad and cous cous and we also ordered a side of salt and pepper chips. I have to give it to them, the food was genuinely amazing - the salt and pepper chips were perfect, we enjoyed trying new things and considering the board was a sharing board we did end up leaving some as we were full. The drinks were also pretty good, but you're paying a top cocktail price at anywhere from about £7 upwards. Also, ask for side plates, because even though the food is pretty messy and you're literally sharing from a board in the middle of the table, nobody gave us or (it seemed from looking around) anybody else side plates without us asking.

In the end, although we enjoyed the food we didn't even spend a full hour there as we just really didn't like the atmosphere. The food was great - but if you're looking for somewhere to actually chat to friends with helpful staff, I'm not sure this is the one for you.

Sammy xo.
Contains a meal provided for PR purposes however all opinions are my own - please view my disclaimer for more information.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Nars Almeria

To be honest; before I decided to write this post I had used this blush a handful of times. Katy got me this when we were going out the first time, and so honestly about this time last year, and I used it a fair amount then but it quickly got put in a drawer and was forgotten - because that's the type of person that I am. However, whilst looking for a deeper blush to get me through Autumn, I rediscovered NARS Almeria and I can't decide why I haven't already hit pan on this because it's so, so pretty.

For some reason in my head this is really, really red - but it just isn't, it's almost a deep nude raspberry kind of colour, it's more subtle than you might imagine seeing it online and it's just like a much deeper orgasm (orgasm for the summer, almeria for the winter - that's my new slogan). This was, I believe, originally part of the 2014 holiday collection and so the packaging isn't the typically harsh matte black of nars, but rather it has glossy flower prints overlaid in black over the top. Out of everything I own from NARS, this is definitely one of the prettier compacts.

This almost has a gold shift in it with regards to shimmer, but to me this is a lot more wearable than Orgasm, which just looks too gold on me - this is definitely closer to what I want in an Autumn blush, it leaves me looking flushed and like I've just run a mile. Well I imagine that's what I'd look like if I ran a mile, but you know, we're just going to have to assume. I have to say that NARS blush have this amazingly blendability combined with a pigment that makes any shade seemingly wearable on most skin tones, but I think that Almeria takes that to a new level - it's just a really beautiful, really wearable shade.

In the past I've had NARS blushes that have felt a little gritty with glitter, but this is a soft, powdery sort of texture - I just often have a bit of fallout, but it's definitely worth it for how good the powder looks on the skin. If you go a bit heavy on this, just either blend it out with quite a dense fluffy brush, or pat over it with a beauty blender and it seems like you're usually good to go again. Good job, NARS, it's like putting magic powder on my skin some mornings, I feel like I can do basically no wrong (well I can, but I can easily patch it up.)

Now, this stuff isn't cheap, it'll knock you back £22.50 - however, if mine is anything to go by, you could use it every day for a solid year and barely even hit pan on the product. This was a top choice by Katy, and if you're looking for a new, deeper blush to add to your collection - Almeria could definitely be the one.

Sammy xo.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Papertrophy (Aka. I have a unicorn)

I'm all about cool quirky little pieces to add something to my room and so when Papertrophy said I could pick one of their cool wall mounted pieces of paper art, I obviously opted for the Unicorn. You can get tons of these, and in loads of different colours but to contrast with my white walls I chose black and gold (you might have seen him, in fact, in my new additions to my room post a while back). Now I didn't look into this company quite like I should have if I'm honest and so it turned into a little bit more of an ordeal than I originally anticipated, but I made it and he's pride of place on my wall so let's have a chat about him.

Now - if I'd have been smart enough to look into this I would have realised that I had to put it together myself. To be honest, the fact that it's made out of paper should have been a hint that they weren't going to ship it ready made - but nonetheless I didn't click until this arrived completely flat. Now, luckily for me it's pretty straightforward (if quite time consuming!) to put together and each piece is labelled; hell, the kits even come with their own glue which is a blessing if you're as unorganised as me! Also, each different coloured part of each animal (as there aren't only unicorns) comes in a seperate brown paper bag. All very organised.

Luckily for me, they send a smaller animal to put together in order to practise how to fold the paper, how to follow the instructions and where to glue. At first the whole thing seemed quite alarming and I wasn't sure I could do it and make it look anything like it was supposed to, however, you get used to where the tabs should go and which way you should be folding as you go on. By the time that you've finished your smaller practice animal, you'll definitely have got the hang of it and you'll feel like a master; irregardless of the fact that you don't actually have to do much except bend and stick.

Now I knew it was a full on job when I started because the tiny gorilla had taken me a solid four hours put together, but it took near on a week of doing it each evening to actually manage to put the unicorn together properly. This helpfully does come with a mount for the wall (also paper, obviously) and so when you finish your project, you're literally ready to hang it up and go. They hang really well, and they're easy to move around but it's worth noting that these things are considerably bigger than you might imagine.

Now - here's the bit I'm not sure about. I love the unicorn - but had it come to buying it for myself I just wouldn't have been able to justify €60 for something I was literally putting together myself. I can't fault Papertrophy, their customer service was great and the finished product looks amazing - but you are paying to bend and stick paper into a certain shape, so it's up to you how you feel about that really.

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

Saturday, 15 October 2016

(TW Rape/SA) Rape Culture

I write this with a twitter full of mentions from rape apologists. They call girls liars and skanks, tell me that feminists are the problem. They tell me that rape culture doesn't exist and we need to stop whinging, we need to accept faith in the British Justice System and impartial juries and we need to move on, take each word as gospel and never question. What these men don't understand is I can't; as a woman who grew up in the very centre of a world that believes in and unknowingly, almost unwittingly, enforces rape culture - I can't keep quiet anymore. We need to talk about it.

We need to talk about it because I didn't use the word rape for a solid 2 months after somebody had sex with me after I'd said no multiple times, because girls who haven't ever been raped or sexually assaulted are seemingly few and far between and they view themselves as lucky, because we tell girls that everyone is innocent until proven guilty; until you're a rape victim, in which you need to be willing to stand there and prove your innocence. We need to talk about it because I am ashamed to have been a victim of it, because society and the media tell me it was my fault; it was what I was wearing, the situation that I put myself in, the way that I acted; I brought it upon myself.

We need to talk because girls everywhere are taught how to protect themselves, but we don't acknowledge that men are victims too - because we are taught how to prevent being raped instead of teaching people not to fucking rape. We need to talk because we are telling girls to pipe down, stop talking, look pretty and take whatever you're given - we are telling them their voices, stories and experiences aren't valid, we are teaching them that there's no point in talking about; better to keep schtum, move on, live in fear for the rest of your life because maybe that wasn't rape anyway, and if you say anything it's your word against his, and you could ruin his life.

We need to talk, because the media are telling girls every day that their consent or lack thereof is nowhere near as important as the reputation of a Stanford swimmer, or the career of a mediocre footballer; she is worth less as a victim than even her abuser. We need to talk, because when we rejoice a guilty verdict (that are few and far between) our names are noted down so post retrial months later, we can be proved wrong; "in your face" they tell us, "she's always been a liar and a skank." We need to talk because when we make the victim seem guilty from the beginning, it's hard to see the accused as anything but innocent.

We need to talk because we dissect victims sex lives; we tell them their fantasies, kinks and past means that they asked for this, that they have no place to complain whatsoever. We tell women that if they've enjoyed sex within a certain time period they cannot possibly be victims. We tell victims that their rape will always be their fault irregardless of anything; the situation, their clothes, the person. 

We live in the centre of a rape culture, and we need to talk about it.

Sammy xo.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Smashbox Jet Set Waterproof Eyeliner

You all know I'm about a solid winged liner - but getting one that looks good and stays good is no mean feat. Smashbox is a brand I haven't really tried too much from - some foundation and eyeshadows but nothing of real substance, and so when they offered to send me out a supposedly unbudgeable eyeliner to put the test, I was just about ready to put it through some seriously testing in order to see how it stood in the face of some serious wear time. Gel eyeliners used to be my jam and so I was excited to go old school and see if they were everything I remembered - and Smashbox Jet Set Waterproof Eyeliner didn't let me down.

I have to admit that I was a bit dubious when I opened this because it's actually the brown shade and not the black, but when I looked properly this is actually almost a bronze and it's definitely dark enough that at a distance looking at me you definitely couldn't tell anything was amiss with my eye makeup, but up close this definitely added a little dimension and sparkle to my eye look, which was nice even though I was only going about my general day to day life.

Now, I learned to wing my eyeliner using a gel liner and a slanted eye brush and so I found this really easy to apply and I even tried a few brushes and had no issues with any; the liner is smooth and sets down after a minute or so in order to stay in place which gives you a solid few seconds to clean up those inevitable mistakes that you make on the second eye (because it's always the fucking second eye, isn't it?). It's annoying this doesn't come with a brush, but not unexpected - and to be honest I ended up using a different brush for my lid and waterline liner anyway and so, either way I probably would have had to dig another brush out from somewhere.

(When First Applied)

I was seriously impressed by this because I definitely wore it on a day when I was gdong more than usual and, as you can see on the photo before, I did get pretty oily (read: sweaty) and so it had a fair bit to contend with. I wore this to uni when I wasn't well and so it managed to survive a general day getting lost around campus, as well as two train journeys, a nap and undoubtedly a trip to the shop in order to get some chocolate. Also you can see my window reflected in my head in the picture below and I'm do distracted by it. What a greasy mess.)

(After A Day's Wear)

Seriously though I got a solid eight hours out of this without the tiniest smudge, and so I'm so about this and, to be honest, I'm all but ready to buy the black and add that to my collection too. Trust me on this one, just because nobody seems to talk about Smashbox Eye Liner, that doesn't mean that it's not worth the buy (and a pot will send you back £18, which actually isn't all that eye watering).

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

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The Blackpool Dungeon's Festival Of Souls

You know when you don't even have to go to an event to know that it's going to be one of the best ones you've ever been invited to? Well, those were exactly my thoughts about The Blackpool Tower Dungeon's Festival Of Souls invite when it came into my inbox. Fair warning; they gave us tickets and a free cocktail each - but we were mostly sober and they didn't bribe us into writing good reviews (although they probably could have done with a few more drinks. Joking, of course.) So, last Thursday I set off to Blackpool with Katy to meet Lyd and head off to The Festival Of Souls.

We had a good little trip as we got there and were rushed into the Hangman's Tavern to grab cocktails - complete with jelly fangs on the top and a whole lot of alcohol. These are pretty affordable (and in fact we did buy more after our free ones, and we even paid £6 for our second lot so we could all get a tankard); but all in all - if you want to get in the mood for the dungeons the tavern in the perfect place. Pleasant alcohol buzz, old fashioned decor and vague screams being heard in the background. It's very atmospheric, and I'm all about a good drink so it just really added something pleasant to the night to be able to hang around, sit and catch up before we went through the dungeons.

We were actually the last group to go in for the tour (presumably due to the aforementioned bar) but they made no attempt to rush us through, and I felt like the whole evening was just so relaxed and lovely that I almost forgot that we were at a Halloween event. That was, of course, until we got to the photo opportunity and stood up against a giant green screen in stocks with axes and holding up various internal organs. Firmly back into the spirit of my surroundings, they wished us a terrible time and sent us off to the experience itself.

From before we even got in the lift we knew it was going to be good - we were asked to sign over our souls, we were suitably creeped out and before we had even set foot in the first room I was clinging onto Katy and Lyd for dear life. If you're a history nerd, this is totally going to be your jam because it goes from the Black Plague, to the war of the roses, right through Oliver Cromwell's reign and The Salem Witch Trials. Even if you're not a history nerd, it's hard not to end up engrossed in the stories, as each room is a separate interactive experience from a different time period that includes a new actor, at least one unwilling volunteer from the office and enough suitably gruesome knowledge to get you through the evening.

All in all, it's full of a lot of water being splashed in your face, some clever effects, many a gruesome smell, a mirror maze and an actual ride. Me, Katy and Lyd screamed and laughed our way through and as soon as we came out, all I wanted to do was to go back round and do it all again. If you've done Blackpool dungeons before don't expect a new tour, because it's the same as the original save the beginning, but it's worth every penny and you can take kids in from the age of 8. All I'll say is there's a reason that The Dungeons are the home of Halloween!

Sammy xo.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016


I know - shocking as it is, this title isn't even clickbait. I'm here to talk about something I haven't talked properly about in what seems like forever and a day - happiness. It's been a long few weeks and I know that I've had more than my fair share of meltdowns on twitter, but I feel as though all of a sudden, I've hit my stride and I've managed to find happiness, properly - and I feel like I've found another bit of recovery that I didn't even know existed enough for me to want it, but here we are.

Life has been a blur the last few weeks, of Criminology and English Lit, of blogging and vlogging and trips away and sneaking onto closed beaches late at night and of drunkenly videoing and eating cheesy chips after midnight. It's been a blur of making new friends, rapidly building up confidence that I didn't even realise that I had and laughing (so, so much laughing). I just feel as though I've finally managed to find the person that I really am, the person that I want to be and am proud of being and it's refreshing - it's like starting a new chapter of my life but the story has been renewed. Nothing that came before matters anymore, nothing that hurt me is coming with me, none of my self harm habits are coming with me, I'm taking my medication, getting enough sleep, taking care of myself.

In any case -  I'm just happy, and people are noticing. My friends are commenting on my confidence, I find myself smiling more, laughing more, talking more, debating more and taking more selfies. I find myself excited about life, excited to adventure, excited for the future and the possibility of everything it could hold. I'm learning to live in a way that makes me want to get up most days, I'm learning, in the traditional sense, I'm expanding my knowledge and looking at careers and I'm just getting there - I'm finally getting there. I'm learning that some things are better the second time around, and some things will always be amazing.

And honestly, it seemed impossible this time last year - I was so sad and felt like I was incapable and unworthy of love. Now, I see it differently - I am so worthy, and I am so loveable, so intelligent, so strong, so modest (that was a joke, guys, don't post this on twitter to slag me off). I have changed, developed and grown into a person that I love, a person that I'm proud to put out into the world and it's changed everything, it really has. I feel like I'm not just existing anymore, I'm standing on the cusp of the rest of my life and I'm going to make it, and I'm going to be amazing.

So that's what's happening in life lately - I'm just fucking happy.

Sammy xo.

Monday, 10 October 2016

B. From Superdrug

There are always those brands flying around online that are meant to be amazing and you never really get around to trying and, for me, one of those brands was definitely B. by Superdrug. I knew people rated this brand really highly, and I knew that they were cruelty free which is never a bad thing - but they were just a brand that I'd never really sought out in the past. When they offered to send me some bits and pieces in order to help me see the brand for myself, I eagerly accepted and I have to say; they really haven't let me down.

We have to start with the Fan Brush because I've been using this is quite a few videos over on my YouTube channel lately and it's better than I ever could have imagined. It's 100% synthetic, which I'm usually all about - but this is so soft that it's quickly become one of my favourite brushes. I wasn't sure about using a fan brush for my highlight because I love that shit bold - but this has really worked for a bold, concentrated highlight kind of look, and to be honest it'll only set you back £7.99 and so you'd be stupid not to add it to your collection, no offence.

Next up are their Makeup Brush Cleansing Wipes, but these are my least favourite of all the things that they sent. Now don't get me wrong, that's not to say that these are bad - but they definitely don't quite hold their own against the rest of the products; and they just weren't what I had expected. These really do clean your brushes - but I just find them a little redundant; they're too wet to use as a spot clean (i.e. you can't use them whilst swapping from shadow to shadow to use the same brush) and if I'm going to get them fully wet anyway to wash them I'd sooner just do a deep clean. If you're away or on lazy days though, these are definitely better than nothing in a pinch - and they're not to be sniffed at when they're only £3.99 for a packet.

Finally, and by far my favourite product that B. sent over to me is the Hyaluronic Acid Facial Spritz; and this is something that I didn't know that I needed in my life but I'm not quite sure how I lived without it now that I've been using it every day. This is just a really handy thing to have in my makeup bag - I've been using it to dampen my beauty blender, to spray over makeup when it looks a little cakey or, alternatively, just in between skincare layers in order to add some extra moisture when my skin is really dry and uncomfortable. Basically, this is clean, seemingly lasts forever and it's just a really handy little addition to go in your bag. It's £7.99 and so it isn't cheap - but in my humble opinion it's worth the price and more.

All in all, I've been really impressed with B. - there's just something about the brand that seems to be amazing, and effective, all whilst remaining affordable. Knowing that it's cruelty free definitely adds to the charm - but if you haven't tried B. yet I would definitely say give it a go if you get the chance.

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, 9 October 2016

Week One

This week has been a literal mess, and I've loved honestly every single minute of it. This week was my first full week at uni, it's brought me new friends, new confidence and an insane amount of new experiences; and it's been a good one. It's been hard, and it's been tough to get through, and there were tears, and tantrums and laughing so hard it's hurt and the last seven days have honestly seemed surreal - but here I am, at the end of them, to report back.

University is a really tough experience - and my first few days I found it a bit of a struggle. It's nerve-wracking no matter what your personality is like, I think; and I wasn't sure how I felt about living at home. Was I going to miss out on valuable experiences? Was I going to meet fewer people? Would I make any friends? It turns out all I miss out on is the night drinking (day drinking is still thoroughly on the cards), I have met more people than I've ever known before in my life and I've made at least a few friends and a ton of acquaintances. It's a natural thing to worry about going, I think - but pretty much all of my worries were unfounded, and as that became clear I gained confidence really quickly.

Having said that - some of us found our first week full of stress. We didn't know where we were going, where the buildings were, where the rooms were, who you'd be with in seminars, and who you'd sit next to in lectures. I found myself on edge even as I was enjoying myself; and I just want to say I doubt I was the only one. I found it really overwhelming and I felt like the only person who felt a little out of my depth when everybody else was having fun; but the more I talked about it with people, the more it seemed that pretty much all of us felt like tiny fish in a very, very big pond (it turns out, all it took to get past this feeling was a few shots of cherry sourz and a McDonalds.)

In short - I get why kids cry at their first day of school, because last Monday I wanted to do the same standing outside of the room for my seminar. New people, new experiences and new knowledge all being thrown at you in the space of a few days and it can feel like a lot - but truthfully, what I think about most looking back on this week is howling at poems I can't understand with people I met ten minutes before, and going to learn circus skills with a girl I might never meet again.

University is a lot - but I've been there a week and I'm already learning new things, rapidly building up my confidence, happily speaking to people. Comparatively to last year, I feel like a completely different person, I feel as though I've grown and become someone that I'm really proud of being, and university and getting through that initial discomfort has only cemented that for me. One week down, approximately one hundred and fifty five left to go.

If you started University this year, let me know how you got on!

Sammy xo.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Caketoppers + WIN CAKE!

I'm all about a good cake. In fact, I'm just all about cake - it doesn't even have to be particularly good. So, when Caketoppers offered to send me my own personalised Little Fickle cupcakes I was all about that - cakes with my own logo on them? Be still my self absorbed heart. I didn't really know what to expect because, and you know this isn't a bad thing in my eyes, but this seemed to be a bit gimmicky. I was somewhat worried that these cakes would be mediocre but the real selling point would be that my logo was on the top of them - but in some ways I was definitely surprised.

Let's talk packaging because I'm pretty much all about this - it's always important when you're getting cakes through the post that they'd packaged well - and given that they were cupcakes and so not in a tin or anything, I was excited to see how they would last the tough journey with our less than ideal postman. The answer was well. These were packaged in a little plastic container, each in individual plastic wrapping, and they made it to me completely intact, which seemed like a miracle. On reflection, it's actually really clever that the logos are printed onto royal icing and then placed on top of the icing because it makes them almost impossible to destroy in any kind of obvious way. Kudos for thinking that one through, guys!

I got one chocolate sponge with chocolate icing, and one classic sponge with white icing - both with a royal icing logo printed onto the top and given the intricacy of my logo, I was pleased to say that there wasn't a lot in the way of picture distortion, which is worth noting if you're looking for something small or delicate to go on the top of your cakes. I thought I was going to love the chocolate and find the original boring - but truthfully I was all about the original; this reminded me exactly of sayers pink cakes (do other bakeries have these, like sponge cakes with crap icing that are amazing?) and I was all about that. The chocolate was nice, but a little sickly - I would opt for original if I had to pick between the two.

The cakes themselves are amazing - they remained soft and fluffy even after their travels and I just really enjoyed them to be honest; good cakes - but having my logo on them was just the cherry on top (disclaimer; there are no cherries on the top of the cakes). You can get your own set of two with your own logo on for a fiver which isn't too bad - so if I can interest you in that click here and take a look for yourself.

If you're here for the free cake, now's your chance because I'm giving away a Gift Box Of Flower Cupcakes worth £17.95 - so if you're interested get involved using the rafflecopter below - the competition will be going on until 11:59pm on Friday 14th and all you have to do is follow me on twitter to be entered; best of luck!

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

Friday, 7 October 2016

ASOS wishlist

Now first things first - this isn't a sponsored post (although if you need bloggers, ASOS - holla at me), I just really like ASOS and I like it when everything I need is in one place because, in essence, I'm proper lazy. So, I spent a lot of my time scouting out different brands on ASOS and making many, many wishlists - but there are some items that I just can't get out of my head and so, without further ado - here are the top items on my ASOS wishlist at the current minute.

1: Lace Top Satin Pleated Midi Dress - £58
Okay so no denying that this dress is little over the top - but look at it, it's like a Victorian nightgown and I'm just all about that. I love the colour of this, I love the idea of wearing satin and looking like a lady for the first time in my life. I'm just all about this dress - it isn't too expensive, it is gorgeous and I might never wear it but I want this in my wardrobe just to look at, to be honest.

2: Oversized Cotton Shirt With Badge Print - £38
Now there's no denying that this is hella expensive for a shirt - but it's so so cute. I imagine pairing this with leggings and my docs would look super cool and, although potentially it's a bit more of a summer shirt than an Autumn one - but this is everything I'm all about to be honest. Cute as fuck as so my aesthetic. Maybe when my student loan comes in - a girl can dream.

3: HENA Brocade Backpack - £28
Seems a bit backwards that this bag is cheaper than the last shirt, but still. I'm not a big backpack kind of person, to be frank - but I'm all about these old fashioned patterns and so I just love the look of this. The metallic detailing adds a little something to it and the modern style of the bag contrasts the old fashioned print. Essentially - I just really like this and it'll definitely be added to my basket when my loan comes in (ah, the never ending student loan...)

4: DEXTER Panda Trainers - £25
Okay, okay - so I know that these are pretty obnoxious. The fluffy tails, the popup ears, the excessively happy little face - but tell me that you don't love them. If you were having a bad day, there's frankly no way that these shoes wouldn't cheer you up - and all that I want is to see these on my floor every day smiling up at me (which sounds creepy, now I've said it aloud.)

5: Lost Ink Pinafore Skirt In Cut Out Lace - £85
Now straight up you know I'm never, ever going to afford this - but it channels every Wednesday Addams fantasy that I've ever had. It's limited in how you can wear it but look at how gorgeous it is - add some heels, a white shirt and a chunky necklace and all of a sudden you have a perfect outfit for... well, I'm not sure what for yet, leave it with me.

So there are my top ASOS picks - what are you lusting after right now?

Sammy xo.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation & Naked Concealer

Oh Urban Decay - you're always building me up just to let me down. You give me some products that absolutely smash it out of the park, and some products that just don't quite make the grade - and today I have one of each to be honest. There have been a fair few new releases within the last few months, but the one I have today is the new All Nighter Foundation, and I thought for good measure I would throw in the old favourite of the Naked Concealer because I was going to do them in seperate posts, but it seems to make more sense to link them in together.

Okay - let's start with the foundation. I've heard all manner of things about this new foundation, but being that Naked Skin Foundation was one of my old holy grail foundations, I decided that it was only fair that I try it's older, more resilient sister (bad metaphor? Definitely. Sorry about me). I was pretty confident in my shade being 0.5 as, as aforementioned, I really love the Naked skin and that's my shade in that. Surprisingly, when I got this it was a lot lighter in the bottle than my Naked Skin, which is good because it oxidises about two shades and so I would never have gotten away with it otherwise, I'm still pushing it now if I'm being honest.

I just really don't like this foundation. No doubt that the bottle is lovely, and it does give the coverage that it promised and more - but it's just not for me at all. My skin isn't particularly dry but this seems to cling and cake around any lines or uneven texture, it oxidises to be way too dark and even with added oil and using a damp sponge to apply, this just really, really doesn't work for me. I had high hopes, Urban Decay, but you've let me down on this one I'm afraid (although if you've had any luck making it work please let me know how because I would like to be able to make it work for nights out).

Okay, from the bad to the really good - and a product that lives up to the hype that everyone's put on it, and that's the Naked Concealer. I struggle getting a concealer that's light enough to match my foundation shade, but fair neutral seems to be the perfect one for both under eyes and spot concealing. It's not just the formulation of this concealer, although that really is good - it's thin without being sheer, and creamy without hugely creasing if it isn't powdered - it's everything from the shade range to the large doe foot applicator. Truthfully, I'm just all about this. If I gave it one downfall it's that whenever I pull the applicator out of the tube I manage to flick it everywhere, but that could be me being a dope to be honest.

Swatches L-R; All Nighter after oxidising for 20 minutes // Naked Concealer // All Nighter Freshly Swatched

So one good, one bad product from Urban Decay - but they still remain to be pretty much my favourite make up company of all time. As mentioned before, if you've got tips on the All Nighter foundation, please help your girl out!

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