Wednesday, 30 November 2016

November Degustabox

One of the best things about living with another blogger is definitely the fact that you can share their photos when you forget to take your own, and so picture credit to Katy (she did say I could use them).

I love Degustabox day, and this month's was even better than normal because November's box is the Christmas box, and you know I'm all about that; and they didn't let me down, so you best steel yourself for crackers, drinks and chocolate galore. As usual, there's a discount code to go alongside and so if you read this and decide you want a box, head on over to Degustabox and use the code OXNGO for £7 off, which isn't to be sniffed at! I don't get anything in return, you just get a really good deal.

Let's start with the drinks, because we all know that I love it when I get a good drink (or a stiff drink) in my degustabox - and so I was pretty pleased to see two bottles of The Good Cider Of San Sebastian nestled in there, and I can't wait to get these open around Christmas, but right now they're burning a hole in the fridge until a more "appropriate" time to drink them (aka. not 9am on a Wednesday). I did also get a Glitter Berry J2O which is a nice addition for those who don't drink, plus the bottle is cute af. I also got a set of cartons of apple juice from Appy Kids Co. which I was, quite honestly, disproportionately excited about; I love some juice and these have pictures of the Gruffalo on the front (I just remembered this are in the fridge and actually might go and grab one before I finish off this post). Great if you've got kids, great if you're a kid at heart.


Next, let's talk about snack bits - because you know that I'm all about a good snack - and so let's start with the butter crisps from Jules Destrooper. Despite the misleading name, these are actually wafer like biscuits, and they're soft, buttery and good for Christmas morning when you're looking for something sweet to eat without entering into the dangerous "opening your selection box territory. In addition to these there were a packet of Pipers Crisps in Wild Thyme and Rosemary - which I knew that I was going to like because I absolutely love their Chorizo crisps, and these didn't disappoint. There was also some good old Butterkist, and who doesn't like Butterkist? There was a small packet of cinema sweet and a big packet of the new Chocolate Mallow flavour - I'm not sure if I loved or hated the latter, but I did manage to eat an entire packet, so take from that what you will.


Chocolate's next - and there were two little bits in this box; the Brodericks Brothers Handmade Rice Crispy Peanut Butter Bar which, I have it on good authority was really, really tasty, and also the Michel Et Augustin dark chocolate and sea salt cookies, which Katy's Mum didn't stop talking about for what seemed like about an hour. There was also a couple of packets of glitter jelly, and you know that I'm all about that shit.


Finally onto the more practical, but less exciting bits. Let's start with the tea that made me a little emotional and reminiscent over my old job at a swiss restaurant, and that's the pear and cinnamon strudel Ahmad's Tea. These are adorable tea bags and I absolutely can't wait to delve into them, but I do keep on forgetting, so there's that. On top of these there were two boxes of crackers (obviously being saved for Christmas) which were Ryvita Caramelised Onion Thins - the black pepper ones of these used to be my ultimate favourite lunch offering) and also some Cracked Black Pepper Crackers which look fab, so they'll be good come Christmas. The final, and least interesting offering in my opinion, is pepper sauce from Christian Potier, which will undoubtedly get used but will likely sit in the cupboard for a fair while since.

So there's November's Degustabox - let me know what you thought and what bits you've tried and loved if you got the box too!

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

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Belonging

Feeling like I belong is something that I think I've always struggled with; not so much in school and in friendships but more as in the last few years I've never really known where to call home. With Katy, I lived in Chester in what was her house, and although I didn't really belong there I felt as though I never really belonged at my Mum and Dad's either, same when I was between houses with my ex boyfriend, and now that I'm back with Katy I'm living in her house that still feels very much like hers, but I don't feel like Mum and Dad's is really my home either anymore.


It's not a reflection on anybody else, or the places that I'm living, or even on myself - it's a reflection of what I need, that I need the comfort and stability of being in a place that's for me, a place that I call mine. Katy has done everything she can to make this room my home, and in many ways it is - but I don't think I'll settle until I'm in a place that I can really put my stamp on, a place that seems ours and is at least semi-permanent, a place to really start our future in.

Belonging is really tough - because there's no real way that you can force yourself to belong; you can feel comfortable, and happy, and safe and still feel as though this space that you're living in really isn't actually your space. I am so grateful to Katy's parents for letting me live here, I love playing with the dog, curling up in front of their fire, I love helping to put the shopping away - I literally love it here, but the place just doesn't really feel like my house, I'm just not sure that I really fit here.

There's no real point to this post, except to ask if anyone has any tips, and to help myself get it out and move forward.

Sammy xo.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Giorgio Armani Beaute

Until a few weeks ago I hadn't really tried anything from Giorgio Armani Beaute, but now I feel as though I could talk about different offerings that I really like until I'm blue in the face. I have a fair few bits to talk about overall, but I've decided to focus on four main things that I think are likely to be the things people are most likely to be asking for when Christmas rolls around, and so I thought that these could be the most helpful. Armani really, really isn't cheap and so I think it's good to see whether or not these live up to the expectation before you spend any cash buying them for yourself.


Right, let's start with Luminous Silk Foundation. I have the lightest colour which is, bizarrely, number 2 - and to give it it's dues, it's a really good colour match and the bottle even has a pump (although personally I'd expect that for £37). This foundation just really isn't for me, however, I find it to be way too thin and - although I've been told at events that this can be built up to a full coverage - I just haven't managed to make it a heavy enough coverage for my liking, even using a sponge or a flat top kabuki. This lasts well, and it gives Katy's dry skin a really lovely luminous finish (as the name would suggest), but if you're looking for something that's really going to give some coverage, I probably wouldn't recommend this one, especially not for the price.


Next up is the Fluid Sheer Highlighter - and to be honest I can't even find the colour that I have of this online, but I will tell you that it, again, is number 2. This is a soft peach, pink sort of colour with a lot of sparkle, and I've been using it as a highlighter (you just pat it on and tap to blend) but Katy has been using it as a primer underneath her foundation and that looks amazing too. I'm not normally one for cream/liquid highlighter, but this one really does work for me and - although it's not cheap at £36.50 - I'd definitely say it's worth the money.


Finally I have an Eye Tint in number 7, and a Lip Maestro in 513. I've lumped these together because I have less to say about them - but I do like both of these a lot. The eye tint has a long doe foot applicator and blends out really well, it's subtle and soft and generally just really pretty - my one downside of this product is that, personally, I just wouldn't be spending £27 on a liquid eyeshadow when, realistically, you could probably find something really similar in boots for a solid fifth of the price. The Lip Maestro is absolutely beautiful and sets down to be almost matte - however, this is also £27 and truthfully, it just really doesn't stay well enough for me to justify spending that amount of money on the lip product. I'd say stick to drug store options, or other more reliable high end options for these two, personally.


So there's my honest thoughts on these, you might think I'm being negative - but I'm just giving honest reviews, especially given the high end nature of the products. If you've tried any of the products and agree or disagree, please do let me know.

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, 27 November 2016

Tips For Bad Days

As Winter rolls in, so do deadlines and so does my anxiety. It's not unbearable, but it's definitely worse than when I'm living life to the max in the Summer and so I've come to formulate a set of tips for bad days in the hope that what helps me just might help you if you need the tips. Obviously no tips are all inclusive, and we all deal with different things in different ways - but it's worth trying a lot of tips to see what works for you personally (and if that's not on this list, then let people know in the comments and we can do a tip share).


1: Write It Down
This is one of the most valuable coping mechanisms that I learned during therapy. When I'm feeling bad, it can feel like it's doubled or tripled as it continuously flows around my head - and so, I find that writing things down on bad days can really help. When I feel better, I either read back on this and try to solve some problems, or I just rip it up and throw it away - whatever appeals to me on the day. It's not a cure all, at all, but it's definitely a practical way to get those feelings out and start to turn your day around at least a little bit.

2: Take The Time Out
I always feel really guilty for taking time out of my life to just regroup, keep my head above water and give myself some time to wallow. Never feel guilty for staying in bed late, for avoiding situations every now and again upset you - take time away from social media, cancel social plans, do whatever you need to do in order to get back on your feet. There's no shame in the need to regroup and work on yourself.

3: Take Care Of Yourself
This is one of the most important ones for me - take care of yourself. Get a shower, change your clothes - push yourself to take your medication and eat and drink even when it's the last thing in the world that you want to do. Eat chocolate, watch Gilmore Girls and make sure that you're doing everything that you can to make sure that, in the long run, you're going to be okay. 

If you have tips on what you do on bad days, please do let me know!

Sammy xo.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

New In Fragrance

Literally just right this minute, as I sat down to start writing this post, I suddenly realised that I have no idea how to write about fragrance. It's so subjective and differs so slightly for each seperate person that I suddenly feel as though there's a lot riding on this post; especially when perfume is so expensive and it's Christmas coming up. Having said that; I have a few perfumes now in my new in box and so I thought it was about time that I got around to talking about them. There's one for just about everyone; from affordable to pretty high end and so keep reading if perfume is on your wishlist this year.

I don't really know where to start, but it seemed to make sense to start with high street and so I have two offerings from an old favourite brand of mine; The Library Of Fragrance. I asked for Myrrh for myself because it sounded amazing and exotic, and Cinnamon Bun for Katy because it's her favourite food - but I actually think that we are going to end up swapping them round as we definitely each prefer the opposite. I'm not really sure what Myrrh is meant to smell like, but to me the smell reminds me almost exactly of the taste of gin and tonic (I don't know how else to describe it). It's described as "warm, spicy, radiant and sensual" on the website and I'd definitely agree. It's a night time scent, but it's perfect for Christmas on it's own, and with Library Of Fragrance you can layer their colognes to make the smell more sweet or fruity anyway, there's even a handy guide on the website.

Next onto Cinnamon Bun and this is everything I wanted it to be and more. Although it does smell like Cinnamon buns taste, in terms of how both foods smell I'd say it actually smells a little more like Gingerbread. Katy thinks that this one is a bit much, and it is very heavy in the way of cinnamon and so it's definitely not for the faint hearted, but for me personally, I think that it's warm and soft and perfect for the Christmas Season when I don't want to feel like I've gone overboard, but I want to be in the spirit. My favourite thing about both of these fragrances is that they're only £15 each, so if you want to layer them it's really not going to break the bank.


Now we're getting a little more expensive as I'm moving onto the Coach Eau De Parfum, which is £69 for the 90ml bottle. This perfume is one that I feel just really isn't for me - not in that it's unpleasant but it just really doesn't sit right on my skin for any kind of occasion. This is supposedly fruity, then flowery and then finally settles to a musk and I hate flowers and the smell of musk in a perfume and so I suppose that could, in itself, be the issue - no big deal, I'm sure many people would like it and it's definitely the kind of perfume that my mum would go for, but I find it a bit heavy and old for myself.


One that I tried and genuinely did really like, which surprised me, is the Bvlgari Goldea Eau De Parfum. Again, I got this in the 90ml bottle and it's not cheap because it's going to knock you back a solid £102 (which makes me feel a little sick inside) but obviously there's smaller bottles, and also we all know that perfume is hella expensive. This is a musky smell with fruity undertones and it's just really wearable, despite the somewhat old fashioned bottle that would definitely put me off if I was looking at it in the shop. Not my top fragrance out of the list, but if musk undertones are your thing then this one might be worth looking at (try 30ml first, would be my one piece of advice).


Finally, and a firm favourite - Giorgio Armani Sí. The 50ml version of this is going to set you back about £63 which isn't to be sniffed at (no pun intended). I've just let the dog smell this one and it really doesn't seem like her favourite, but it is mine at the moment - in fact something about it reminds me of cake, although it is realistically a combination blackcurrant and musk I believe. It's not sweet, but it's not overly musky and it just feels like a really wearable fragrance to me personally, and I'm all over it.

Let me know what fragrances you're loving this year, not that I need any more!

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, 25 November 2016

Changing My Mind

If you follow me on Twitter (shameless plug alert) you'll know that one bit of my degree is much, much worse than the other part of my degree - and that's Criminology. I wanted to love it, I did; but, truthfully, I find it fairly triggering as well as just difficult - so, so much more difficult than I had imagined and much more difficult than I'm finding getting to grips with English Lit. I've struggled through it, through lecture after lecture and I've tried to love it as much as I want to, but it's just not happening for me.


So the time has come to make a decision. At first it was dropping out, but I'm not ready to give up on this just yet - I'm not ready to give up on learning, to give up on bettering myself and projecting myself further towards the future that I want myself (although that really is still completely unknown at this point to be honest) and so instead, I've come to a crossroads because to change my degree I need to know what the fuck that I want to do with my life, or at least what the fuck I want to do with my life right now.

All I can say is that I really don't envy all the 16 and 17 year olds trying to do the same thing right now - I've had the option to live, to see parts of the world, to work a few years, to get the experience that I need in order to form some sort of decision for what I want to do with life in the future. I've had the benefit of nearly 7 extra years, and I'm still making the wrong decisions, working out my future purely through attempts and failures. All in all - it's been a tough few years but I'm still working out the kind of person that I want to be, still learning how I want to better myself and add to my skill repertoire. 

So here's me changing my mind - maybe to something similar like sociology or theology, or maybe to something completely different like fine arts or English Language, I just don't know anymore; but I know that I've finally gotten comfortable with that fact that it's okay not to find out what I want to do the first time round, or even the third, or even the tenth. It's okay to keep working forwards in a direction even if I don't know when it's going to end in the long run - it's okay to fail, to start back at the beginning, to try all over again.

So here I am saying back to square one (okay, more like square two if we're honest, because I'm still keeping up with English Literature) and I'm okay with it for once, I'm determined to find my way no matter how long it takes me to get there. Any tips appreciated though!

Sammy xo.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Pixi Christmas Launches

A few weeks ago I got the chance to go and meet Pixi's makeup goddess Amanda Bell to speak me through their Christmas launches and I was so excited I could barely contain myself for the entire week before. So, on the day - I head off to the Liverpool Malmaison with Katy and we were ushered through to a lovely covered piece of the bar to look at holly themed packaging and to swatch everything we could get our hands on. So, without further ado I thought I would share my favourite pieces from the Pixi Christmas Collection (so you can share my passion and grab yours before it's too late).

(L-R Swatches; Bronze, Blush, Glow // Highlight Shades)

The Palette Rosette seems the best place to start as it's pretty much the most all encompassing present that is on the more affordable end of the scale (it'll only set you back £22) so even if it's too late to get this on the note off to the North Pole, you just might be able to spring it for yourself. This is exactly the kind of palette to take on holiday with you - and so if you're travelling between different houses for the christmas season this was probably one of the better options. This contains three face powders; a bronzer, a blusher and a highlight - as well as 5 lid colours, three under eyebrow highlight shades and three brow shades.

(L-R Swatches; Lid Shades // Eye Contours // Brow Shades)

This really is a very versatile palette, and for the most part it's off really good quality - there's a mixture of satin and matte shades, there are a few amount of colours that all work really well together and you can use it for both day and night.  Probably time to start with the face powders; all of which have a shimmer to them. These aren't my choice powders, in that I like a good strong contour and a shimmer isn't ideal for that - but they are really good quality none the less; and the blush is a soft pink that's really flattering, and the highlight has a really good glow to it in a way that you wouldn't expect from such a budget palette. The matte shades leave a fair bit to be imagined and can go on patchy and uneven, but the shimmer shades more than make up for it, and there's no denying that it's worth the price.


Next up is a personal favourite; the Endless Silky Eye Pen Kit. You all know that I'm a sucker for eyeliner and so when we saw these tested, I knew that they were going to be the perfect set for me personally. There are five colours ranging from black to a shimmery cream (even including a rose gold, every blogger's dream) and are £18 for the five, which makes them less than £4 each which really isn't to be sniffed at. These draw on almost liquidy and soft, but set and really stay in place for the whole day - however, I do find the darker colours transfer onto the top of my lid, so I've found these word much better as strong, stay in place eyeliners for my waterline.


Finally, and one I'm on the fence about is the Multibalm 2 in 1 Cheek and Lip Colour, and mine is in the pretty pink shade of Wild Rose. I just don't know how to feel about this; it really doesn't work for me on my cheeks, it's easy to blend out but it's just totally the wrong colour and makes me look like I've had an awful sunburn, however this is good as a lip colour; but I find it better when I rub it onto my finger and press the colour in which makes it look a lot more wearable. This is somewhat waxy, but it's smooth and easy to blend so if multibalms are usually your thing, this might be a good choice.

If you've tried anything from Pixi, or if you have suggestions for Christmas beauty launches to try, please do let me know.

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, 23 November 2016

University - 2 Months In

University has quite honestly been one of the hardest things that I've ever done. I feel like whilst all of my friends are out there drinking bazzalads (a fantastic concoction of lemonade, cherry sourz and vodka shots) and coming in at three in the morning, I feel as though I'm barely managing to keep my head above water for long enough to get through my degree. As naive as I am, I just didn't think that it would be quite this hard to get through University, I thought like I had done in school - I'd just breeze through with no real effort, but to be honest this has been a really tough wake up call.


Two months in, it's not really got any easier. I find myself in positions that I've never been in before, I'm constantly pushed to my limits when it comes to speaking publicly and meeting new people and, for the most part, I really am striving forward. That's not to say, however, that there aren't tears and tantrums a plenty on Monday mornings, or I'm not threatening to drop out every two hours on average - but it means that despite all of that, I'm really starting to push forward and get somewhere.

I sit in lectures and I don't know the definitions for half of the words that the people around me are using, and I don't know crime rates, or law dates, and I'm not as widely read as the people around me; but that's okay. I'm not always going to be the best of everything - I was privileged as a kid in that I was at the top of my school pretty much all the way until sixth form, but I'm getting used to knuckling down and putting the work in, I'm getting used to actually putting research in and making sure I'm actually learning and taking new things in like I should be.

So two months, an essay, an exercise, countless seminars and a good dose of lectures in and I can say - I'm managing, and I'm proud of myself. I'm getting there, and maybe this won't be my forever thing, but I'm learning enough about my subjects that if I decide I want it to be, I just might manage to make it there in the long run. So a huge thanks to everyone in the library for not judging me when I'm crying (sometimes over work, sometimes over Jane The Virgin), thanks for Katy for the burgers for lunches and the chocolate and the support and thanks to everyone who's spoken to me and made me remember that I'm pretty boss as humans go and I've definitely got this.

If you have any tips for us newbies at uni, I'd love to hear them!

Sammy xo.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Sex Toy Wishlist #2

We all know that I love a sex toy, and it's been a while since I've done a good sex toy wishlist and with Christmas coming up, I thought that it'd benefit you to show you some of the things you could have under your tree if you've been nice (or very, very naughty I suppose). There's something for just about everyone and so if you think you might like a little more vibrators or bondage in your life, you've definitely come to the right place.


1: C String Vibrating Knickers - £32.99
Carvaka has fast become one of mine and Katy's favourite sex toy brands, and so I'm regularly flicking through to see what they have to offer. My favourite at the moment are definitely these vibrating C String knickers (Like a G string but without the extra bit. It took me a while to get it) - that you can wear on a day out to see just how good your self control is (the website's words not mine) or for a special night in with someone else holding the remote. I just like the idea of these and I think they could add a little spice into any night, though maybe swap them out for something a bit comfier if it's a Sunday and you're off to see your mate for a roast. It is from Carvaka though, and if you use LoveKaty in the code box you'll get 15% off (we don't get anything from it, we just like to hook you up with a good deal).

2: Big Box Of Sexual Happiness - £120
Okay so this is a bit of a cheat but come on, you get 24 sex toys and they essentially work out half price. I'm really getting back into loving and using sexual aids and so something like this seems like the perfect way to ease me back in, not that I need easing or really have £120 to spare; but if I did it would probably go for this over a Jo Malone calendar. They smell nice, but no candle is quite as orgasmic as actually finding a new way to make yourself come every day - so good work, Lovehoney, I'm definitely on board with that one.

3: Flickering Touch Massage Candle (Vanilla and Creme De Cocoa) - £24.90
This is a bit pricey for a massage candle but to be honest they're mine and Katy's favourite thing to have around. We used to use them a lot, and I like them because they can be sensual without being inherently sexual; sore back? Great, use a massage candle. Want to lick my clit? Great, start me off with a massage candle. They're versatile and you can get them in three different smells from Lelo, all of which I'm sure are amazing because they're my top sex toy brand pretty much of all time, but Vanilla and Creme De Cocoa is the one that I think would work best for me, whether I want comforting to be my end goal or coming.


4: Burnt Embers Wrist Cuffs - £14.99
You all knew that Bondara was going to end up on this list, because it always does. These wrist cuffs are ideal for me, I find that the silk ties I'm fond of using now are easy to tie but allow a little too much leeway and not enough friction for my liking, and so I like the idea of something as easy to use as cuffs, but I also like the idea that they'll be that bit rougher than using the silk ties that we're using now. Also like, this is part of their new range that's all black and copper/bronze and it's cute as fuck (no pun intended).

5: Rampant Rabbit Just The Ears - £21
To be honest I'm just going to come out and say it; I'm a bit fan of my clit. Sometimes I don't want a rubber penis or some fingers, I just want clitoral stimulation (and that's what most ladies come from to be fair so don't knock it!). Although I think this is expensive and strangely cutesy for what it is, I'm not against the idea of being able to focus on my clit with just the ears. Cute, practical and a good addition to most sex toy collections, in my opinion,

Let me know what sex toys you're lusting over, we're all friends here.

Sammy xo.

Monday, 21 November 2016

(TW: Suicide/Self Harm) The Year Since

(TW: Suicide/Self Harm)

It's no secret that I've recently surpassed a year since I was referred to my crisis team post near suicide attempt. It's been a long, taxing, life affirming year and I'm so glad that it's finally behind me. But, I felt as though it was time to talk about it - a lot of you have followed this journey from rough beginnings to calmer ends, but for those of you that haven't, I don't want to graze over the past that led me here, and so I'm ready to talk.


I'm not going to talk about what happened this time last year - there's posts around on it if you want to find them but I don't want to dwell on that day, which was one of the worst days of my life. As much as I spent the first few months after speaking about how grateful I was for my life, and how much better things were finally getting as I sat in therapy for weeks on end; I was guilty over brushing over the worst bits. I was quick to omit how hard self harm urges were beating me down, I didn't talk quite as much as I think I should have or wanted to about how hard it was to really get over suicidal urges - but I made it here nonetheless.

I could sit here and say how hard it is - and it was - but you've heard it all from me a million times before. Instead, I want to say this; the year since has been the best year of my life. I've learned to love people, trust people, embrace my scars, and really start to appreciate the life that I all too nearly didn't have. I've learned to sleep at night knowing that I'm doing worthwhile things in my life, and my worst days now are 100 times better than my best days this time last year. As hollow as the words sound, and as much as I'm sure you've all heard them a thousand times before; I want to reiterate the fact that it can and will get better.

I want to say that I did it by myself, that I learned my strength because I had to, because I had nobody to lean on except myself; and only in those times do you truly realise the kind of person that you were destined to be (too cheesy? Maybe). Through being so ill, I found my voice - I learned to shout, I learned to scream for people who felt their voices weren't being heard and now I stand 10 years older than the time when I got ill, but a completely different person. I'm not the girl hiding at the back anymore, I'm the woman on her soapbox at the front.

So the last year has been the hardest of my life, but undoubtedly the best. Come through for me, 2017, god knows I'm trying my hardest.

Sammy xo.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Fuck The Patriarchy Gift Guide

We all know that I love a good feminist gift and so it seemed fitting that I would look to my favourite companies for help to put together an entire gift guide based around feminism and bringing down the patriarchy. Obviously most of these companies also have non-feminist options but I just don't really see why you would want those instead, but to each their own. Some of these companies are smaller etsy companies and it's nice to be able to showcase some lesser known talent, so please do go and search them out because they're well worth a peek!


Punky Pins - Cuterus/Pro Feminism Pins (£6 each)
I used to really rate Punky Pins jewellery when I was in school and so seeing them around again doing feminist pins was a nice throwback to being fifteen. I love so many of their pins, but when they sent me out these two they just seemed to perfectly encompass everything about this gift guide and so I was more than happy to take them and pop them in here. My personal favourite is cuterus, but the pro cats pin is definitely one I think a lot of you will like even though cats aren't really for me personally.

(photo by Katy but not sure who else would be this close to my clit to take one)

The Oyster Knife - Suck My Clit Knickers (£5)
Not only is The Oyster Knife my favourite Etsy shop of all time, but Sophie who owns the shop is a genuine sweetheart. I really like these knickers, and Katy and I have been obsessed with them ever since we saw them - but add the fact that they wash well, they're vaguely passive aggressive and they're really comfortable and you have my favourite feminist clothing item to date. All in all, these are probably one of my favourite things in the entire gift guide - good going, Sophie.


Little Woman Goods - Feminist Vinyl Sticker (£2.89)
I love a good sticker and these are absolutely gorgeous (also scratchproof, waterproof and dishwasher safe which is bizarre but also pretty amazing in my opinion). I've used these to decorate my university book, but you can stick them on pretty much anything and they're really pretty as well as conveying such an important message. You can get a ton of different stickers on Little Woman Goods and their business cards have cartoon naked ladies on that are so cute I can't even cope.


Feminist Apparel - Feminist Killjoy Jumper (£36.03)
You all know that I love Feminist Apparel and I've talked about them before on my blog, but when they sent me this Feminist Killjoy jumper (complete with rainbows) it was just so suited to me that I couldn't not include it. This is a bit of an inside joke given that this is what many men call me on twitter whenever I mention, well... just about anything really - but the jumper is cool af, soft inside and generally so, so pretty.

So there's my picks for my fuck the patriarchy gift guide, but if you have any others please do let me know in the comments!

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, 19 November 2016

Take Two

There's some places you just don't ever expect to be again when you leave; and here where I am now is one of those places. The place, for reference, is Katy's bedroom, surrounded by our joint belongings and listening to a snoring dog. This was a place, both literally and metaphorically that I just thought I would never be again - and it's not a bad thing that I am, and it's not a secret because you've all known for weeks that Katy and I are back together, but I've put off talking about it for a little bit until I felt like I've really got my head around it enough to talk about it on here.


Being back with Katy is wonderful, and beautiful and perfect. It's being back in a place that I love, but being healthy and grown up enough to realise that it's different this time, and we are different this time, and much more rests on it than did before. I am happy to be here, and it feels like a step forward in a direction that I can't wait to be in - but it's also full of anxiety; with figuring out where we are now as very different people, where our future lies - it's like trying to work out how soon is too soon when we've only been dating for a month but also for over a year. It's settling into a rhythm, whilst at the same time making sure that the rhythm isn't the same one that broke us up in the first place.

It's starting again whilst knowing everything about each other already and it's difficult, and wonderful and lovely - and it's just so hard that people around us have made their feelings so clear that we are suddenly in this limbo between people, and experiences, and life. It's different, and the same, and I'm still getting my head around the fact that after months of sobbing because I wasn't back here, doing this - all of a sudden I actually am, back in this house, in this bed, with this amazing human.

So here's to the second take, and truthfully - I don't know where this will lead. I don't know whether I'm going to fall back down the rabbit hole and lose myself, I don't know whether I'm going to continue thriving, and living and moving forwards; my future surrounded by myself is so unsure that adding other people into the equation only serves to make it a little more complicated, a little more tricky to navigate. We're working through it though, it's so worth it.

I can't wait to see what the future holds for Katy and I, I can't wait to wake up curled around each other in our own flat, with our own dog - I can't wait for the future to happen. Here's to take two, and hoping it's a lot more successful than take one.

Sammy xo.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Makeup Geek Highlighters - Swatches and First Impressions

You all know that I'm all about a good glow, and so when Makeup Geek offered to send out some of their new highlighter compacts I nearly broke my fingers I was so eager to reply. Annoyingly, I had to wait a few weeks for them to arrive as they hadn't actually launched yet when I got the email, but after we got back from Krakow, I was greeted by a package full of pigments, shadows and the ever-coveted new highlighter compacts. I got three out of the total thirteen, two duochrome and one classic, and so I thought I'd swatch them and give some first impressions on whether they're worth shelling out for.


We'll start with my least favourite - although that's not saying much because I literally love all three - and talk about the classic highlighter in Glitz. All three of the compacts have a huge mirror and a bronze/silver metallic compact - and they each hold 7g of product for $20 which seems really good as pricing goes. Glitz itself is a soft silver/pink sort of colour and it's genuinely so pigmented, soft and easy to use - it's just a really basic colour in comparison to the other two duochromes that I received alongside it. It's gorgeous though, it's really wearable and it's Katy's favourite so it's found a good home even if it might not be with me.

Next up we come to the duochromes, and I'm almost angry that I've been wearing makeup for close on ten years and it's taken me this long to get something this pretty in my life. I actually got two of the duochromes, but let's start with Lit - which is a yellow/soft gold sort of highlight with a pink/bronze sort of shift. this swatches probably the most like one I would wear every day personally, and it's super pretty - this one is one that is going to best suit pale skin I think as it almost melts down into my snowman like complexion.

(L-R: Moon Phase // Lit // Glitz)

Finally, my favourite out of the three - Moon Phase. I can't even begin to explain how excited I was to open this, because all I wanted highlighter wise ws to own either Moon Phase or Celestial and so I was more than pleased when I opened the box to find this little beauty. This has a translucent base with a blue/violet shift and although I'm worried about how wearable it is realistically, I actually think this is the one that I plan on rocking the most on a daily basis.

(L-R: Glitz // Lit // Moon Phase)

So all in all, I'd recommend picking some of these up, especially for $20 - plus, they're talc free, paraben free and aren't tested on animals; there's a colour for just about everyone so definitely log onto the website and have a peek.

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

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Kraków 2.0

In a weird turn of events - last week I flew off to Poland. That in itself isn't that weird, but it becomes considerably more weird when you find out that I was going with my girlfriend and a couple she knew that I had literally never met, seen or spoken to before. Cue nerves on a Thursday night as two absolute strangers came striding towards us at Liverpool airport - but I honestly needn't have worried, because what followed turned out to be some of the best five days of my life.


Having done Krakow a few times before I worried that it wouldn't feel as magical as it did the first few trips, but truthfully everything about Poland is so beautiful, and my heart is so horrendously rooted there, that I could sit in my apartment for five days solid and still feel as though I was home, and happy, and in a city with so much to offer. However, sit in the apartment I did not; instead I traded in lazy days for 8am starts, scarves, gloves and multiple layers and saw all of the bits of Poland I haven't been able to see before in the past.


We saw a dragon that breathes fire, Wawel Castle, we took group selfies, and candids of each other. We did love locks, escape rooms and so many games of cards against humanity that I lost track. I met two amazing friends in Kaz and Robyn, I laughed so much that it's hard to imagine that I would never have been able to take this trip this time last year - and I felt for the first time since my recovery that I was finally really living again, enjoying life and making friends and creating memories that I would actually want to be cemented forever; this weekend was one of the best that I can remember, in recovery or otherwise.


Krakow will always hold such a prominent place in my heart - from standing looking cultured in the Van Gogh museum, to yelling about how much I love cinnamon buns in the mall. It'll always stress me out that my second language was Spanish and not Polish, and I will never, ever let it drop that Kaz thought that Tupperware was called Tubberware - but I will always come back to Krakow and feel content, and at home, and like something is at rest within me.


So thanks Krakow; for the Sephora trips, the escape rooms, the lovers bridge that proudly holds my name alongside Katy's. Thanks for the cold nights and the first time I've ever seen such perfectly formed snowflakes - thanks for a million and one inside jokes, and for everything. Also, and more importantly, thanks to Kaz, Robyn and Katy for making this everything it was.

Sammy xo.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Christmas Fashion Wishlist

I love a good jumper, and pretty much everything burgundy and so - although I'm not the greatest fan of the holiday season to be honest (bah humbug) - Christmas is the perfect time for me when it comes to talking about fashion. I've had my eye on all manner of things, and I've tried to keep these fashion picks as year-round as possible - but here's hoping Santa brings me at least a few of these (look Santa, I know I haven't been good but as you're a fictitious character I think you should let it go this time.)


1: Pink Sequin Badge Jumper - River Island (£40)
To be honest I think this is actually hella expensive for what it is, and you can get similar designs all around at the moment but this is just the one calling out to me. Realistically I'm not going to spend £40 on a jumper (that's sort of the point of a wishlist item though, right?) but if I was going to then this would definitely be top of my list. I love the detail around the cuffs and rainbows just speak to my little gay self on a spiritual level.

2: Grey Mermaid Tail Blanket - New Look (£27.99)
Speaking of talking to me on a spiritual level, you had to know a mermaid blanket would be in here somewhere. Ideally, I'd like a multicoloured one but it just won't go with the theme of my room, and so I was pleased as punch when I stumbled across this plain grey one from New Look. Pretty expensive, but also literally amazing and the closest that I'll ever get to actually being Ariel in my lifetime (although I'm hoping science will still pull through on that one for me).

3: Prosecc Ho Ho Ho Jumper - Not On The High Street (£29)
If there's one thing that Christmas is full of in our house it's alcohol and so this just seemed like the perfect addition to my jumper collection. Not as versatile as the other jumpers on this list, but pretty funny and probably classy enough that people wouldn't be mad at me for wearing it instead of a dress (although we can only hope - personally I'm voting for a day in pyjamas).


4: Burgundy Bralet Pyjama Set - Missguided (£18)
What would Christmas be without some sexy lingerie, and mixing that with pyjamas combines my two favourite things. I picked these because I thought that Katy would really like them and she's rudely reading over my shoulder so can confirm that I'm correct.

5: Bored Stripey Sweater - Lazy Oaf (£45)
Basically, I like a jumper that projects my feelings into the world and so I think that this Lazy Oaf offering will be the perfect one when the clock hits about 3pm on Christmas Day and I've thoroughly had enough of whatever Santa has brought me. I really don't have the time or energy to remortgage my house to shop at Lazy Oaf, but I might just ask mum for this one because this is me af.

So there's my Christmas picks - let me know what clothes you've got your eye on!

Sammy xo.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Urban Decay Christmas Picks

Happily, in the past few weeks I've gotten my hands on a fair few goodies from Urban Decay; both from their lovely PR and from their Liverpool Debenhams stand. I've picked up so many bits and pieces and so I thought that I'd put together a list of Christmas picks out of my favourites in order to help you along with those Christmas wishlists (although I'm sure that none of you need a hand in that department.)


Come on, you knew that this was going to be on this list because I've banged on about it since it arrived at my house, but it really is one of my favourite palettes of the year so far. I like the mix of warm and cold, I like that most of these are matte with just one demi-matte base shade and I even like the brush (much smaller than its counterparts in the other Naked Palettes). This has a killer mirror in this too, and although it's not as easy to carry around as the other Naked Palettes, it's definitely more all-encompassing and so makes a great one to take on holiday. Trust me, it's worth every penny of the £38.50.


This is the best inner corner highlight I've ever seen - I saw it on a girl at an event and specifically searched it out to buy afterwards - it looks like snow in a tube and I absolutely love it. The girl at the event told me that you can use this as shadow, as an inner corner highlight or over the top of a matte eyeliner - and although I've only used it as the latter, I'm just honestly in love with it. You'll often see me rocking this on snapchat (or Katy, robbing cow).


I got these in Street, Push and Goldrush and I absolutely love them - they're sharp enough to get a good line without feeling as though you're properly stabbing your eyelids with them. I will say that (particularly the darker, less shimmery shades) they need a little in the way of building up, but they're definitely worth the buy and there's 20 shades to pick from - plus, they're only £16 each.


To be honest, I could have picked nearly all of Urban Decay's range to make this post, but I managed to whittle it down to a small selection - however, if you like anything not mentioned here, please do let me know!

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

Monday, 14 November 2016

Sex And The Less Than Straight Girl

I'm pretty confident when it comes to sex, I have a positive attitude - I've been learning and growing sexually since I was 16, and 6 years later I know what I like and I know what I want in my sex life. Having said that - since exploring my sexuality and deciding that I best identify currently as a lesbian, I'm finding myself at a little disconnect. You may remember that in the past I talked about Sex and Self Harm, and being in a loving relationship has definitely helped with that being an issue - I feel as though I can talk to my girlfriend about any issues that I'm feeling and I no longer feel the need to use sex as a coping mechanism and a punishment; however, having said that, I'm still coming to terms with having a normal sex life since both coming clean about my self harm and since identifying as lesbian.


I've found that sex has become a huge part of my life, but I've learned to be intimate all of a sudden.  I don't want to just be having sex, I want all of the bits that come afterwards, curling into my girlfriend's chest, laughing until my sides ache, feeling loved and content as safe. Sex has always held a really huge part of me, a huge part of my life - and so to have it hold a positive one feels like a revelation, like something I've never felt before. For the first time, I'm really enjoying sex, enjoying exploring things a little more, enjoying feeling safe and intimate.

Now I'm not saying that sex when I identified as straight was awful by any means - but I've come to realise that for me personally, sex with my own gender (as opposed to sex with other genders) feels closer to what I need, closer to what I personally would like from a sexual relationship. More than anything I'm really happy that in the long run, I've found myself and the best sexual practise for me personally - but I'm also mad that it took this long, mad about the time I wasted.

This is a word dump post but I want to say - recovering from sex as self harm has been one of the hardest things I've ever done and now I'm just really happy with the place that I'm at both emotionally and sexually.

Sammy xo

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Cafe Rouge A/W Menu 2016

In Liverpool we are pretty spoiled for places to go and eat - and that leads to a huge amount of feeling overwhelmed, a pattern where you only go to three restaurants, and way too many conversations that start with me saying to Katy; "we really should go there to eat". So, to be perfectly honest, menu launches are normally how we come across new restaurants and places to eat these days and I gratefully accepted Cafe Rouge's invite to try out their Autumn/Winter menu, especially as it has a prime location in the middle of Liverpool One and not having to trudge up Bold Street to get my chow on seemed like a boss idea.


When we went in the staff were amazing; really welcoming (especially considering we had turned up three hours early because I had completely messed the timings of my day up), all really friendly and all willing to chit chat to pass the time whilst we were ordering, waiting for meals, or even just sitting. Now to be honest, we had absolutely pored over the menu before we went and I still didn't know what I was going to pick when we turned up - but after much umming and ahhing Katy went for Croque Monsieur with herby mash instead of chips (which is weird to be honest) and I went for a burger with added bacon and skinny fries.

To be fair - the food was absolutely amazing; we both said it without prompting to each other (not that I ever prompt Katy to tell me she likes food because that would be so weird, but you get my point) and we both finished our mains feeling like we were absolutely stuffed. We got some more drinks and asked for a little bit of a break to decide if we could handle dessert; now this is something that aggravates me because it's a really simple request and many waiting staff just completely ignore it - but we were left for a solid twenty minutes without being forgotten about and then we ordered chocolate fondant to share, which was to die for.


Now it's important to note that this isn't going to wow you with the price - but that's definitely not to say that it's particularly expensive, just you're paying for the quality of food that you're getting (think about a tenner a head for mains, plus drinks and desserts; expensive for every lunchtime, but definitely worth it). I asked pretty much every staff member the one item on the menu that they would recommend and it seems if you're going anytime soon, the Tarte Au Citron is the way forward, so if you follow that tip please do let me know.

All in all though, Cafe Rouge has definitely cemented itself as a new lunch spot for us (and as snobby as this sounds, I'm surprised that such a big chain as found it's way into my heart!) - and we plan on heading back next week, which says something in my opinion!

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

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Relapse/Relax

Kudos to Panic! At The Disco early days for this title (Camisado, if you wanted to give it a listen now I've reminded you) but it just seemed to fit perfectly. I've touched on relapse and recovery on my blog, and I talk about it a lot of twitter, but I felt as though it was just about time for me to sit down and spill my feelings onto a page about how I'm feeling because right now, I'm scared. Mental illness is scary, and for me personally recovery has been every bit as scary as before I recovered - before I only worried about myself, but now I feel as though I have a lot to lose if I relapse, I have a lot resting on the shoulders of my recovery and my maintaining it.

Realistically, the only person who feels like a lot rests of my recovery is me - I know that, people tell me that all of the time; but to me it seems logical. When I was ill, a lot of people left, I was isolated - now I am better and those things aren't issues anymore; so, logically, in my head my illness is linked with a sense of people leaving, with a sense of isolation (wow, this got dramatic fast even by my standards, didn't it?). Mental illness is hard, and it makes you believe things that aren't true - and even now I'm better, some of those hardwired ideas have stayed fast within my head and I'm nervous about it, I'm worried, every time I have a bad day it's like I can see that void opening up again ready to drag me in.

This time though, I've been sensible. I've let myself cry and I've let myself wallow, I've cancelled university lectures and caught up online, I've called my therapist, adjusted my medication and made sure that people know that although I'm still upright on this tightrope, I'm feeling like it's pretty wobbly some days and there's no safety net underneath. I'm taking care of myself, I'm doing everything that I should, I'm still 100% better on my bad days now than I ever was on my good days this time last year, but I will have months like this; when new things and new experiences throw me off course and leave me wondering whether I can do this, whether I'm destined to end back where I started. Logically writing this I know I'm too different and aware for that to happen, but it's still a worry. Mental illness isn't logical, neither are these worries.

So I've relapsed, and I'm learning to relax a little more about it - because unfortunately for me relapse is a huge part of my life for the future, and learning to cope with it is something that I really will find invaluable in the future.

So here's to relapse, and learning to calm down a little about it - though it's easier said than done.

Sammy xo.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Gifts That Give Back Gift Guide

One of my favourite gift guides to put together last year was definitely my gifts that look good and do good gift guide, and so it was the one guide that I knew for sure would be making a comeback this year. This year I made it slightly smaller in order to better focus on the charity aspect of each company, but I'm really proud of some of the companies I'm working with this year, and the charity aspects that they all pursue. There's something for pretty much anyone and so read on to find a present for someone that won't only be a gift to them, but a gift to somebody in need too.


Humble - Purple Adult Brush (£3.99)
I know, a toothbrush seems like a really bizarre thing to add to a gift guide (and I agree) but Katy tells me that every year they get one in their stockings and it seems like this is a genuine thing that people do and so I thought that I would highlight how important this company is (if you're going to get a toothbrush, may as well make it one that gives back!) Humble make sure that not only are toothbrushes great quality and getting rid of the plastic problem that we have with toothbrushes washing up in oceans (they're made mostly from bamboo) - but also they donate a brush to somebody in need for each one that you buy. You can even get these for kiddos - so get buying if you're one of the families that likes to have a toothbrush in the stockings. Plus, you have to admit that they look adorable, if nothing else. Rustic, edgy, cool.

The Travelling Bee Co. - Lavender and Lemon Hand Balm (£7)
Now I was spoiled for choice by The Travelling Bee Co. (and you'll definitely see more of them on my blog in the future) but after much umming and ahhing I decided to opt for the Lavender and Lemon Hand Balm, which just smells amazing and is the perfect present for just about anybody at all when the weather starts getting colder and all of us need a little extra TLC when it comes to our hands. Not only are their products just amazing, they also have their own bee colony (you can follow them on facebook here) and are working hard to educate and help prevent any further decline in bee numbers. A worthwhile cause, and even if you're not that into bees (which makes you weird but okay) you get a good beauty product out of it, what more could you want.


Look Good Feel Better - Flawless Foundation Duo Set (£17.99)
I'm a sucker for a good makeup brush set, and so this one with the Duo Fibre Foundation Brush, the Angled Foundation Brush and a protective pouch seemed like an obvious choice. Not only are these brushes absolutely gorgeous and so, so soft (the kind you never want to use because when you wash them they might not feel the same - just me?) but Look Good Feel Better are also a company supporting women with cancer and 8-12% of the cost of the products will go back to the company to help women further. This company actually makes me feel a little emotional and it's one I really love and so go and support them, we all need make up brushes, right? (I assume if you're reading this blog then the answer is definitely yes.)


Denik - Goal Digger Notebook - ($11.95)
We all know that the last thing I need is another notebook, but I couldn't help myself when I saw this one on Denik. This is pretty, the quality is amazing and Katy is jealous of it (which is just about the sign of good style if you ask me) - plus it's pretty cheap considering you're supporting as amazing company. Denik not only support artists creating their designs (this fantastic one was created by Katrina Houskeeper and you can follow her here) but they also give an amount of proceeds directly back to help build schools (this year in Guatemala). Like me, you might not need a new notebook, but when you're helping this amount of people I feel as though it would be really rude not to.

So there's my gift guide for gifts that give back this year, if you know any other brands or if you purchase from any of these, please do let me know!

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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