Thursday, 13 April 2017

In My New-In

I have so much in my new-in at the moment and so little time to do anything with it, but instead of giving up and letting myself drown in products that I'm trying to juggle on my blog I figured I'd give you a run down of at least some of that latest coolest things that have fallen into my new-in box (basket). There's a lot more where these came from, but I thought I'd just talk you through my favourite bits and pieces at the moment based on my first glance, and I'll get to reviews just as soon as University exams and whatnot are over...

KISS Faux Mink Lashes - I absolutely could not tell you if these look like mink lashes as I've absolutely never worn a pair, but I am fascinated by the look of these faux mink options. They're long, wispy and really gorgeously separated to make these dramatic, yet somehow really natural looking lashes. I think Katy will probably get to wearing these before me, but I have seen them in a few YouTube videos lately and they look amazing - I'll be sure to update when (if) I ever find occasion to attach them to my eyelids.

Beautifully Scrumptious Chocolate Fudge Body Butter - Some of you may know that Healthpoint LTD. came along to our event and they own a ton of brands including Beautifully scrumptious. Now this is nothing amazing special, I believe from what I could gather that you can usually get their products from Poundland, but this is beautifully soft, sinks in straight away and (best of all) smells exactly like cake batter. This isn't a sickly chocolate scent that I'm used to, it's a more subtle, much more cocoa scent and everything about it has me digging it out of the tub and slapping it on my body whenever possible.

L'Oreal Colorista Spray in #pinkhair - Some of you may know that I'm having issues with a really dry, sore scalp and so I haven't managed to brave getting my hair cut short yet; and I'm just not willing to spend money and time bleaching all of my hair and permanently dying it pink when over half of it is going to be cut off in the near future anyway. So, when this pink one day spray from L'Oreal Colorista came in, I have to say I was really excited to get my hands on it to see what the permanent job might look like in a few weeks. I'll give it a go, keep an eye out for me under the pink hair hashtag!

Oh K! Panda Sheet Mask - These were in the goodie bags for our event but I'm just absolutely obsessed with how cute they are. My group chat keep sending pictures over of them wearing them and they do look adorable, but everyone is also saying how good their skin feels, which is obviously a bonus when it comes to skincare. I'll definitely tweet or snapchat this one when it makes it's way to the top of my list to be used, how could I not when it's so cute!

So there's my favourite bits of my new-in at the moment, but tell me what's in yours!

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 April 2017

Makeup Geek Showstoppers

Deciding what lipstick to wear on any day is a big choice - but deciding what lipstick to wear on the day of #carnLIVal was something entirely different. Helpfully, alongside the goodies that Makeup Geek sent to the event, they had also sent a huge PR package containing what seemed like every pigment and foiled lipstick they offer, but also some of their new limited edition creme stains - the Showstoppers. After a long debate as to what I needed in a lipstick for it to be worth wearing on the day, I finally settled for a Showstopper in Foxtrot.

They have a really good set of colours in the range in my opinion, and they sent me five really varying options; Twerk (a dark green that almost looks black in some lights), Flamenco (a really deep, true red), Charleston (a bright, almost Cadbury purple), Moonwalk (a literally fluorescent baby pink) and the one that I chose for the event - Foxtrot, which is a soft corally nude. These settle right down to a matte texture, and although they need retouching throughout the day they're pretty easy to build on top of themselves, so it's not the end of the world if some crumbles when you're eating.

The main issue I have with these is that they're disproportionately uncomfortable to wear when you consider the actually wear time - they dry down like a matte liquid lipstick, but wear more like a standard lipstick, meaning it can feel a little like all of the pain with no gain. Similarly, they don't tend to wear in a good way - with any kind of food or drink quickly giving way to the dreaded 'bumhole' lip. Although the colours on offer are pretty, I'm much likely to pass over them in favour of either a traditional bullet lipstick for comfort, or a liquid matte lipstick for much better lasting power.

Are these the worst thing in the world? No, especially not Foxtrot with it's nude being a lot more forgiving, but they're definitely not my favourite thing that Makeup Geek has to offer at the moment, and especially not when they set you back $12, and for just a little more than that you could get one of their foiled lip glosses (update to come because I really do like those), or even one of their plush mattes. Pretty colours, and even prettier packaging - but if you're opting for something Makeup Geek; these wouldn't be my recommendation I'm afraid.

If you've tried these and have any ways on how to better make them work, 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.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Finding A Place

Life lately has gotten a little bit, for want of a better word, tangled. I have so much to do, and so little time to fit it all in, that I feel like all the previously neat threads of my life are a completely mess; and getting more and more knotted by the day. I have to balance work, university, a social life, my blog, events and freelance work - and I'm just not as good at juggling as I was when I could exist on four hours of sleep a night. Well, I'm either not as good at juggling as I used to be, or juggling isn't as effective when you're older and need more sleep to function on a day to day basis.

And I guess that it sort of makes me feel like a failure - because everyone around me seems to have stopped juggling. Everyone has found their place, everyone has fallen into the right place in their life, and I guess that I just feel a little bit less than; like at 23 I should have my shit together or at least some idea about where my shit is going to go when I eventually do manage to get it together. I know that the saying goes that 'nothing ruins your twenties like thinking that you should have your shit together by now' - but when it seems like everyone except you does, it kind of does fuck you up.

Gone are the days of being top in school, gone are the days of being a grade four ballet dancer, gone are the days of constantly acing a waitressing job and being able to afford whatever I wanted every month - now I'm an adult, and I've not got any skills, I'm not the top of my age group and all I'm doing is wandering aimlessly, crying at Netflix shows and wondering what the hell I'm going to do with my life. Finding a place is something that I want to do so badly, but the harder I push for it, the further it seems to get away from me.

So not all that wander are lost - but I really am. I don't know what comes next, or what road at the crossroads I'm meant to take; and I know I'm a flake on here, but that's because I don't really know myself any more. The girl that I used to write the life of so confidently? She isn't the same girl that I am now, and sometimes that's a good thing, but sometimes I feel as though I wish my life was as straightforward as she thought hers would be.

I'm still trying to find my place, but it's hard - any tips appreciated.

Sammy xo.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Hotel Chocolat Hard Boiled Eggs

I'm a big lover of marzipan and dark chocolate, but it's something that you come across a lot less frequently than you may imagine. With that in mind, when Hotel Chocolate offered me one of their Hard Boiled Eggs and one of the options was marzipan, you best know that I jumped at the chance to chow down on this one in the name of the review. I can't say that this lasted long, but I did stop chewing lost enough in order to make some notes on this so I could do at least some kind of review.

There's something really special about Hotel Chocolat - and clearly you all see it too, as there was a lot of love for my Easter Post for them a few weeks ago, and so it's nice to be working alongside them again. Their chocolate is luxurious; and no matter how big or small the offering, it always feels like a treat to be savoured. The Hard Boiled Eggs are no exception (eggs-ception?) there's a solid walled hollow egg, alongside a chocolate offering matching the type of egg that you've opted for - in my case, dark chocolate marzipan.

The marzipan is full and not too sweet, and combined with the dark chocolate - though it doesn't really make for a sweet treat - it definitely does make for a tasty one. It's not the marzipan that you get around a battenberg (although to be completely honest, I still may argue that that's the ultimate type of marzipan, but it could be the solid layer of sugar), but rather a much more grown up version, filled with a warm, true almond taste and then wrapped in a just-this-side-of-too-bitter dark chocolate.

Now these aren't cheap, because one egg (though remember they are pretty thick and they do also come with chocolates) is going to set you back £15 - but in my opinion it genuinely is worth it. Not only is the egg infused with almond - with this one being marzipan - but the whole thing just feels luxurious and like every touch has been finished off with a flourish. Marzipan not a thing? There are also mint, brownie, salted caramel and even three dark chocolate options that are completely vegan. Hotel Chocolat have really outdone themselves for easter, and I truthfully really can't wait to see what they have in store for their Summer flavours...

If you want to win a Hotel Chocolat Hard Boiled Egg, head over to my pinned tweet and follow me and them to win one of your very own (though this does end today - 10/08/17 at 11:59pm). Good 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.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

(TW:SH) One Year


I wanted to write something about this for yesterday, but something about it felt so absurdly fragile on the run up to it, and so I decided to leave off writing it until it was tangible - until it was something solid, over and done with. Yesterday, though, I was a year clean of self harm. One year clean to eleven years self harming, and this year someone feels like it's been longer than all eleven of the ones that came beforehand. After feeling as though self harm would be something that would plague my life forever - this year seems like something that would never happen, this feels entirely strange, and new, and almost unreal.

Self harm is without a doubt the hardest thing that I've ever had to kick - there are nights that I lie awake feeling like my skin is itching under the surface, there are days I think that the only thing that could take the edge off is the habit that ruined my life for years beforehand. It's felt impossible at times, and I find myself angry at the world in a way that I never used to be when the habit was dulling me down. I find that I feel like I'm a completely different person now; and some of this is a bad thing, but most of this is such a good thing.

In the same way that I feel angry to a more intense level, I feel happy to a more intense level, joyful. I laugh at jokes now, I have bare arms, new tattoos where there used to just be layers of scars. I'm a completely different person to the girl that I was this time last year; scared, dishonest, constantly feeling unworthy of the life that was being offered to me. It's taken a year to get here, and it's also taken so much more than a year to get here. It's taken more fluoxetine tablets than I care to count, a thousand and two long sleeved jumpers, ruined pyjamas and bedsheets and so many plasters shoved in my bag.

I am now a grown woman, a grown woman who will always have a self harm addiction - whether I like to admit it or not. Addictions are hard to kick - and when hard times roll, I'll always think about how easy it could be to right my feelings, to set the timer back to 0 and calibrate myself to that person that I was before. For now though, I'm a year clean - and I'm holding on, letting the habit go, managing, living, surviving. For now, I'm clean.

Sammy xo.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

NYX ULTIMATE Cool Neutral Shadow Palette

Do you ever end up with something in your collection that you use almost daily, but if you'd have seen it on a shelf you definitely wouldn't have picked it up? For me, that's definitely the NYX ULTIMATE Cool Neutral Shadow Palette. There's a lot by NYX that I live and die for, but if I was going to pick from scratch in a shop, this mixture of brights, neutrals, mattes and shimmers definitely wouldn't have been something I'd have chucked into my bag. In a tiny plastic casing though, is nestled a perfect eyeshadow palette that never seems to let me down, and all for £16.

There's a couple of variations of this - a Smoky and Highlight version with an amazing bright green hiding in the corner, a Brights version that's got me dreaming on Halloween look and a Warm Neutrals version that has my heart beating out of my chest, and to be honest this probably wouldn't have been one that I'd picked, but I received this in PR, and I have to hold my hands up and say that it's an amazing little palette. Though at first this appears to be a mismatched set of neutrals and dark with some pops of colours thrown in, everything about this just seems to work when you put it to the test; I've found using each column of shadows to create an eye look works, as does mixing and matching depending on what I feel on the day.

The top half of the palette is a set of basic neutrals, whereas the bottom half add some smokey aspects, as well as a burgundy, a bright purple and a surprisingly subtle teal colour to add something special to your eye look; in fact, there'd even a pressed shadow that isn't unlike Mac's blue brown. If you're thinking that such a wide choice of shadow options in such an affordable palette means that you're compromising on quality though, then you're about to be pleasantly surprised. The shimmers are soft and buttery as you'd expect, but expect strongly pigmented, easy to blend mattes; even when it comes to those bright colours.

This is a sturdy, reliable palette - both when it comes to it's hard plastic packaging and the quality of the shadows inside; this is far beyond a cheap drugstore palette, this is a little gem of a palette that's going to worm it's way into your heart; or at least definitely your makeup routine. NYX are really knocking it out of the water at the moment, with products that seem to hugely exceed expectations, and it's lovely to see - more of this NYX please (and if anyone finds the Warm Neutrals Shadow Palette and it's not sold out anywhere please let me know!).

If you've been trying any of NYX products and found a little gem, I'd love to know what it is!

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, 4 April 2017

The Anti-Depressant Break Up

It's been a while since I talked about medication hasn't it? It's been a while since we upped my dosage because I was feeling so tired, a while since I was wondering if it was doing what I needed it to, and a while since I came off my anti-depressants altogether. Fluoxetine saved my life; it gave me my life back, I will probably need to rekindle my flame with this old faithful in the future - but I can't say that I'm sad to see these green and white capsules go.

Coming off anti-depressants is a strange thing. It's constantly sitting on the edge of the wall and never knowing if you're going to fall; or in my case, and the case of many other people with anxiety disorders or severe depressive tendencies, never knowing when you're about to fall off the wall again. For the last few months I've been holding my breath, waiting for my life to crumble in, waiting to need to go running back to the tablets that saved me - but it hasn't come yet. I've been getting up every morning, getting dressed, walking the dog - laughing, smiling, living - for want of a better word, I've been fine.

I'm scared though; like breaking up with a partner that you've learned to live your life around, I'm scared that I'm going to need to go back there, I'm scared that I'm going to fall into old ways and old patterns without even realising, I'm constantly scared that this new start is too fragile, going to well. I am made up with myself to have come off of the medication I was depending on, I was never ashamed of it - but I'm definitely proud to be living without it. I'm wary, but hopeful.

I don't have much to say here, but I felt like I wanted to say something. I wanted to note this feeling of worried, but positive. I want to mark the first time in twelve years that I'm happy, coping, and medicine free - three things that definitely haven't coincided in the past. Thanks for saving my life Fluoxetine, I'm forever grateful for the time that we spend together, but for now it's goodbye from me.

If you've come off anti-depressants, I'd love to hear your experience.

Sammy xo.

Monday, 3 April 2017

My Favourite Things In Our Room 2017

Our room is ever changing; we have a finite amount of space in Katy's Mum and Dad's house and there are two of us constantly amassing more and more items, and so our general space is getting smaller and smaller, and our collections of belongings are getting broader and broader. We have gotten a lot of things lately though that I really love (I obviously love everything in our room, but you know that feeling that you get when you have something new and it just feels cool and special) and so I thought that today I'd share with you my current favourite things without our room.

I have been in love with this since the moment that it arrived, and I have to say that I like the fact that it's pointless just as much as I like how pretty it is. This is next to my empties bin and it's my counterpart to Katy's 'K' carnival light from Rocket and Rye; there's absolutely no point in it but I just really like it. I always loved ampersands, and even looked at getting an ampersand tattoo, and it always signifies continuing on and adding something; but generally this is probably my top favourite thing in our room at the moment.

We got this frame on a whim from Wilko and we have filled it with postcards and tickets from our time in Poznan, and I'm absolutely in love with this. We are going to attempt to make a new one for each place that we go to, and then set them up on our wall to remind us of each of our many trips away. This is a cheap, but very effective, and very personal way to remind us of the amazing times that we had in each place that we got to on holiday.

This is something that I didn't really think that we would get that much use from, but we seem to have it on every single night and we change colours weekly just to swap it up, but this is an acrylic lamp in the shape of BB8. This is from an Etsy shop (linked in the title) that provides you with a base, and then a number of acrylic shapes to fit into it in order to make the lamp your own, in fact I believe that you can even add your own acrylic version of a photograph which is pretty cool. This comes with a remote to set it to what feels like 20 different colours, and it's just something I love having around.

So there are my favourite things in our room at the moment, I'm always looking to add to our collections (though we really don't have the space!) and so I'd love you to enable me.

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, 2 April 2017

Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops in Halo

I'm a big fan of highlight in general - but it takes something special to get me really excited. However, I wanted Cover FX Halo Drops for a really long time and always meant to get them 'with my next pay cheque' and so I was over the moon when Katy took the leap and, under the guise of it being a mother's day present from our small toy sheep son (Ben), bought them for me last weeks. Whereas I can leave gold and silver highlight (although if you're offering pass them my way), there was something irresistible about this blue, gold, pink shift of a liquid highlight that I just wasn't quite ready to pass over.

The Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops go alongside their original Custom Cover Drops, as additions to primers, bases or moisturisers in order to better customise the product that you're about to wear (although truth be told, in both of the cases of these products; with a careful hand you can definitely wear these as a standalone product), and I have to say that I love that as an idea - creating your own perfect product irregardless of what base that you began with. Having said that, I definitely wouldn't be mixing these in with my foundation - for fear of looking like the tin man - however as a standalone product to be used as a highlight, this tiny vial of liquid is otherworldly.

Now I'll be frank - the packaging is fine but nothing special; compared to the heavy, sparkly copper of the packaging of Sunset or the bright yellow gold of Candlelight, this just looks white with the tiniest bit of holographic shift - but when you get to the packaging, everything is forgiven. If this product was sold in an old salad container I'd forgotten about and left in my locker in school for four weeks, I'd probably still buy it (this is a joke, I obviously never ate salad in school. Or ever.). Pull out the dropper and be prepared for the liquid version of a Halo. The name is spot on; because this is pure, liquified, angel headwear.

The one thing I will say about this is that it feels sort of greasy, which isn't too much of an issue when it comes to wearing it as you would a liquid highlighter because used alone it sets down (though be careful, because a tiny bit goes a very long way), it's worth noting if you're looking to add this into your foundation because I feel as though it might change the consistency of your foundation. When you blend this stuff out though, it's a pure oil slick of blue and purple; in fact it makes me think this would be the result if you turned a Mac Lightscapade into a fluid. This is the perfect foundation for that bold night out look, or try mixing it in with a moisturiser and wearing it with no foundation for a more subtle look as we roll into Summer. This stuff isn't cheap at £34, but I want to buy a new bottle right now and I haven't even used this one up, or even used more than a few drops total - so that definitely says something.

If you've tried any of the Cover FX Custom Cover Drops, I'd love to know your thoughts!

Sammy xo.

Saturday, 1 April 2017


I know, I know - it didn't matter what I chose to call this post, because all that you would have seen was 'really, really expensive candles'. I get it though, I do - Diptyque are expensive, and they're something that I definitely never could have justified buying for myself, but seeing as though they offered to send me one, I feel as though I can give a more unbiased view than if my mind was weighed down by the heavy price of a scented, white candle. There's got to be a reason that these guys are so iconic though, right? There's got to be a reason that so many people out there are going to Space NK in order to drop a few weeks wages on a candle, surely? Let's see, it's time for a lowdown.

I mean, I'm going to start by saying that they're undoubtedly absolutely gorgeous; there's something amazing about that elegant, basic and timeless packaging that really draws me in. Is it that I've seen it on a hundred different Instagram pages? Maybe. Is it that there is no YouTuber has ever spoken badly about a monochrome colour scheme? Probably. But, the look of the brand as a whole has always intrigued me, and so when I received one of these in the post, it was love at first sight. Although I could have picked my scent, I didn't really know where to start, and so I let their lovely PR contact do it for me, and so it was a surprise when I open the parcel, and nestled inside was the Diptyque candle in Freesia.

Admittedly this isn't a scent that I would normally opt for - and especially not at £45 per candle (although I did actually think that these were a lot more expensive than this, and so this is probably the only time that £45 was a good surprise when it comes to candle pricing). I have to say though; these scents are high end; this isn't the floral sweet smell of Freesia that you'd expect from cheaper candles of the same nature, this is a fresh smell, with just a hint of flowers like when you walk past some flowers on a Summer's day. It's beautiful - fresh, clean and grown up. Is it worth £45, though? I just don't really know.

Do I love this? Undoubtedly, I think that it's really beautiful, fresh smelling and just something special - but is it something I'd ever buy for myself? I want to say no because it's just a candle, but more than once this week I've found myself hovering over the black version of the baies scent and so yes, maybe. If it helps you make a decision on whether this is worth it or not; I have to say that I would definitely pay this to buy one for my Mum in the future as a treat; and that's high praise, because my Mum doesn't really get the paying for expensive things mentality, and so at most she'd tell me it smells and looks nice.

All in all - this is an expensive candle; but it's also something really special and beautiful, and I want to say that I couldn't justify this in future, but like I said; that black Baies candle is calling my name. If you've ever tried Diptyque candles, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Sammy xo.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Knowing Your Worth In Freelancing

You all may know that Katy and I have been freelancing for the past few months, and it's been a real learning curve. Prior to this, I'd only had very structured jobs that come along with very structured wages, and so when I started to freelance I didn't really know what I should be asking for when it came to pricing, or what work somebody would pay me to do. As Katy and I have gone on with our freelancing experiment, we've learned a lot very quickly; but. most notably, we've learnt what our freelancing is worth; and so if you're looking to start freelancing, here's some things that I think are important to know.

Once you know your worth, find regular clients
Once you know your worth, find regular clients and make sure that they're paying you what you know that your work is worth is the long run. As soon as you have regular payments and long term clients, make sure that you drop yourself from PeoplePerHour and UpWork and other similar sites that will take a huge cut of your money, especially when you're starting out and your wages aren't that great anyway. Stick to a pricing plan that suits you, and make sure that your clients know what you will and won't do for extra cash in terms of their business; these boundaries will help you to make sure that you're earning what you think you should be for the work that you're putting in.

Argue the toss, but not for the sake of it
Don't argue for the sake of it, and don't always push for more money, but make sure that you stand your ground and do so if you know that the work is worth more than you're being offered. We had a client offer £150 for three months worth of social media work, and after calmly explaining our social media plans and why this wouldn't be a good amount of money for the work that we would be putting in, this was upped dramatically. Don't push your luck, but make sure you're not underselling yourself, I've found out the hard way that it sets a precedent for future work if you do.

Know what work you can and can't do
Don't try to fumble your way through work if you don't know how to do it - most people will be willing to help you to learn how to do it, or they'll be happy to pass the work off to someone else as you do some alternative work. It's better to learn to do a job, or miss out on £20, than completely fucking up a job and losing a long term contact. Work out your skills and don't lie about them, but it's worth being open to new ones - just make sure that the person you're working for knows that they're new.

There's a hundred and one things that I've learned within the last few months, but these are definitely my top ones when it comes to freelance social media managing and content outsourcing; it's been a learning curve, but I definitely feel as though I'm getting to know my worth, my skills, and I'm getting a lot braver.

Leave what you've learned whilst freelancing in the comments, you could just teach me an important thing or two!

Sammy xo

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Hotel Chocolat Easter Goodies

I've been absent and sporadic when it comes to posts lately, but I'm back for what I hope is good, and my first post back is something that's close to my heart; chocolate. I'm not a big easter egg kind of person, but there's just something so beautiful about Hotel Chocolat's options that they regularly seem too good to resist. I feel like there's something a lot less childlike about chocolate when it's not in an egg shape, and so when Katy and I dug into some Hotel Chocolat offerings, it all felt very grown up - even when we ate it all within 24 hours. If you're looking for something a little more upmarket for your other half, or even yourself, for Easter look no further, because I've got you covered.

The amazing guys over at Hotel Chocolat basically gave me free reign to pick what I wanted out of their Easter collection, and so after much deliberation I opted for the Caramel Egg Sandwich and The Egg On My Face Slab. We'll start with the more basic option, The Egg On my Face Slab, which is a basic milk chocolate slab, with creamy white chocolate eyes. This thing is the typical offering from Hotel Chocolat, and although you have to shell out £8 for something that's basically just milk chocolate, you do get a whole lot of milk chocolate for your buck and I have to admit - it's really good. This is solid, thick milk chocolate with just the tiniest hint of which chocolate; it's amazing, smooth and it's just really, really good chocolate. Would I recommend it? Yes, but I'd be tempted to say maybe in the sale; because as good as the chocolate is, I'm not sure I can even shell out nearly a tenner on a slab of chocolate in any kind of good faith.

Next up though is something a lot more special, and something that I definitely would recommend, and that's the Caramel Egg Sandwich. Now, I'm tempted to say that this is pretty much the same amount of chocolate as the Egg On My Face Slab, although for a lot more money as this one actually will set you back an entire tenner, but this just feels like a lot more chocolate as it's split into two, and generally the caramel chocolate recipe from Hotel Chocolat is something really special, and it's definitely worth shelling out for (no pun intended.) ((okay, some pun intended, but it was at least semi-good)). Although this is pretty hard to eat, as the shells on the top of the sandwich are hollow and break the minute that your teeth hit them, it's worth all of the mess, and the seemingly extortionate price.

All in all - Hotel Chocolat is expensive, no doubt about it; there's no point in beating around the bush and pretending that it's anything other than a really, really expensive treat that someone special would get you, or you'd get someone special. For Easter though, they've really excelled themselves, and if you're looking to treat yourself, or someone in your life, definitely opt for their caramel chocolate options and try to savour every single minute. If you're not willing to shell out the full price (there's that pun again), definitely keep your eyes wide open when it comes to the sale, because you'll get some good options, some good chocolate, and some good pricing.

Let me know your favourite Hotel Chocolat options 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.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

How Do We Travel So Much?

If there's one question that Katy and I seem to get asked at least once a day lately, it's how on earth do we travel so much? I mean, it's actually "how are you affording it?" but that doesn't really make sense as a standalone question and so I opted for the more all-encompassing, and much more click worthy title of; how do we travel so much? There was a lot of time during our relationship where Katy and I simply couldn't afford to travel, we could barely afford to live away from home, and we definitely couldn't afford to go to America (like we are next year). So, what changed that made us suddenly able to afford multiple holidays a year?

This isn't about to get all philosophical - but in basic terms, what changed was us as people. In the time that we were apart we learnt what mattered to us, we had cancelled our lease on what was set to be our joint flat, and about a month into living with Katy's parents we decided that living together in our own space was a secondary dream for us, and so was our wedding; because our primary dream suddenly became clear; we wanted to travel. We wanted to take the chance to travel when we were paying minimal rent, when we could come home to food in the fridge, and people to look at our photographs, and the fire already lit. Before we created our own life together, our own world, we wanted to explore the one that was already out there.

So, we started working out how we could afford to do it. It started with jobs, then extras hours, then freelance on top of that. Then came the cull; we couldn't spend as much as we were spending on makeup, or fast food, or taxis - we had to learn to live basically so that our travelling was anything but. Essentially; we made a decision. We made a decision that travelling was a priority to us; it was more important to us right now than saving for a wedding, or paying rent on a flat, or having our own dog, or having pizza twice a week, or getting taxis when we could walk or get buses.

We learn to use the system so we could afford it; £1000 Thomas Cook all-inclusive packages are still out of our budget if we want to pay upfront (and we do), and so we became all too familiar with Air BnB and cheap flights from Skyscanner and Norwegian airways - we quickly realised that it wouldn't be pools and panoramic views, but with a little bit of determination and searching it definitely could be tiny apartments in perfect locations. We learned that whilst we might not be going to capitals, we could explore beautiful cities and see things our friends might never see - and it's amazing, and magical, and exactly what I wanted from my travelling experience.

What I learned about travelling when we work minimum wage jobs and freelance sporadically is you have to make it your priority, and you have to be willing to dig for offers; but more than anything, you have to be flexible. It'll be worth every penny, trust me.

Sammy xo.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Magnitone Barefaced

I'm lazy. Not like won't get out of bed in the morning type lazy (although I am that too) but in the context of this blog, I'm 'definitely-not-going-to-wash-my-face-when-I-could-use-these-make-up-wipes-right-here' type lazy. I love washing my face, I like how it feels when it's done and it's just so satisfying and life-affirming when you know that you've been together enough to at least wash your face with something more than cotton wool and a micellar pad this morning. Call me fickle (in fact seriously do, I made my blog around that as a trait), but having a gadget or something pretty to help me feel more inspired when it comes to washing my face each morning definitely helps; and luckily for me, the Magnitone Barefaced is both.

When Magnitone sent me a Barefaced Brush (they sent me some other goodies too, but we are testing them to the max and so the review for those will be with you in a while) I thought it was a little gimmicky. Cute? Sure, it was pastel pink and came with it's own adorable pouch, but worth the money? Well, I wasn't so sure. These adorable little face brushes come with a not so adorable £70 price tag - and that's a whole lot for something that I didn't think I was going to get much use of, and so I took to trying this at least once a day so I could get into a routine with it and let you know whether or not this was truly worth the money, if you used it to it's full potential.

I tried using this each morning, with my normal cleansing routine every night to take my make up off, and I don't have sensitive skin, but this really did seem to be a little much for my skin, and after a few days it seemed to be really itchy and irritated whenever anything came into contact with it. It wasn't such a big deal, but something to bear in mind - however, once I took this down to just using it every other day, it seemed much better. To be fair to this, I'm willing to retract my initial thoughts and statement about it seeming like a gimmick, because unlike other brushes in the past that I've used, I'm tempted to say that this facial brush works.

I think that at first my doubt stemmed from the fact that this doesn't seem to move much; it definitely isn't a facial brush that alarmingly spins around with bristles that seem to dance in strange directions. Instead, this is a slightly moving brush head that feels as though it's barely moving at all on your skin, but don't be fooled - there's a lot of power behind such a powerful movement, and my face does feel really clean, and almost exfoliated by the time I'm finished. You really don't need to do this once a day in my opinion, every other day is more than enough.

Beautiful, effective and a really pretty colour - it seems like Magnitone has outdone itself with the Barefaced brush. If you've tried a Magnitone, I'd love to hear your opinions!

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, 10 March 2017

Overwhelmed, Money Troubles, An Update.

I'll be honest with you guys, I'm overwhelmed. It feels strange to sit here and type in this box, I feel as though it's been months since I've done this, not weeks - as I'm doing it, my mind is half here, and half somewhere totally different, thinking about the task that I have to do next. It's been a long time since my brain has been fully occupied, since it's had more than one job to do, since it's had to think, process, develop ideas, keep in a certain head frame. It's been a while since I've done a job outside of my blog, outside of events, writing for companies and trying out makeup.

Some of you may know that for the last year or so, I've really struggled with money. I'm not talking about the idea that I've not been able to go out with my mates because I'm on my last tenner a week before payday, I'm talking about the fact that I got turned down for credit cards, I was in so much debt that my debit cards were blocked, I was out of money, out of luck and I couldn't get a job for shit. For the last year, I have been in a constant cycle of sleepless nights, trying to work out how I'm paying to get to uni the next day, and never being able to buy anything that I like because I simply don't have the money; whether the item was £1 or £900.

I've had to buy myself out of some seriously big overdraft charges this year, I've had to take £1400 out of an overdraft; and I'm only now starting to get into the swing of my job trying to pay this off and pay for the life that we want to have; I'm freelancing, working on overtime, working all the time - still trying to keep up with university, a social life. I'm nearly at the point where I've paid off my debts and I'm learning to save better, budget better, work harder, and more, for the things that I want, that I want for Katy and I. I'm overwhelmed, and I'm trying - but I still haven't managed to find that balance between work, play, and the ability to afford life.

I've neglected Little Fickle - and though it's not the end of the world - it certainly seems like a physical manifestation of what I've let slip in my life in the last few weeks. I love Little Fickle, I built it up from the ground to where it is now; which is at least the height of a curb. I've let my relationships slip, I've not slept enough - I've been overwhelmed trying to dig myself out of a hole that I've been in for over a year now, but I'm getting there. I think. I'm trying.

So that's where I've been - bear with me, if any of your care that I've been away, and I'm trying my best to get back into a routine.

Sammy xo.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

I Have Felt

(TW: SH/Suicide)

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

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

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

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

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

Sammy xo.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Lulu Guinness Tangle Teezer

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

MyMallBox Updated Review

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

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

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

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

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

Sammy xo

Monday, 20 February 2017

Pureology Perfect 4 Platinum Miracle Filler Treatment

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 19 February 2017

NYX Liquid Suede Lipstick

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

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

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

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

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

Sammy xo.

Friday, 17 February 2017

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo Anti Blemish Cream

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

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

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

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

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

Sammy xo.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

OOTD: Charmed, I'm Sure

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

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

Gloves - Tiger // Scarf - Primark

Bag - Vendula

Jacket - Forever 21

Shoes - Doc Martens

So there you go!

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