Friday, 30 March 2018

Relapse.

(TW: Self Harm)

I don't really know how to start this post because, in simple terms, I didn't ever have to expect to write it. I hear a lot about relapse, but I just never though that I would be there - and that was naive, and wishful of me, and now I know better because here I am babbling instead of writing a clever first line to catch your attention. I've put off writing this post because it's messy, and sad, and I feel completely different to how I felt then, but I feel like it's important to put it out there. In February, I relapsed.

I wish I could sit here and say x and y caused this relapse, I wish I could say it helped, I wish I could say that I got the support that I needed when it happened; but that really isn't the case. What caused the relapse was how lonely I was. Life was isolating and grey, and I kept trying to reach out for the support that I needed but it just wasn't there; and that isn't me putting my actions onto someone else's shoulders - I made the decision that night - but shouting into a void was getting too much. Then one night, a Friday night after a day that I don't care to remember now, I relapsed. It didn't help, I didn't feel better.

The support I got afterwards was minimal. A lot of people I felt I could reach out to I did, and that did help to have people remind me this wasn't undoing the stitching that I'd put in for two years before this - but there were a lot of people I should have been able to reach out to for support that I really didn't feel like I could and, as it turned out, rightfully so. So, I kept this quiet, I healed and I spent weeks angry with myself for making that decision when I already knew that it wouldn't help, when I worked so hard to get past that when I've been clean for so long. Then I identified the issue, I worked around it and I let it go. A lot has changed since then and writing this story up has definitely made me realise how lucky I am that this life changed and left me in a very different position.

I'm not letting myself be sad about this anymore, or angry about it. I'm letting myself heal and grow and start again to mark how far I've come in time. I'm not slipping back into old habits, I'm not blaming it on everyone else like I did last time; I'm taking a breath and letting it go, and realising how different - and for the better - my life is right now compared to that night that broke down everything that I worked for. Relapse is never easy, and I hope I'll never have to write another post like this again, but if I do? I do. It happens, I'm still growing and sometimes I'll make mistakes. I hope that the growth that I make far outweighs them.

If you have any tips moving forward, or even just kind words, please do leave them below.

Sammy xo.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Obscure UK Attractions I Want To Visit

If you've been around lately you'll know that I'm really into the idea of travelling around the UK. I love travelling around Europe and the world, but with having to juggle holidays in work that's not so much of an option this year. So, with that in mind, I've been thinking a lot about the places that I want to travel within the UK - and with the help of a website I use a lot when I'm abroad, Atlas Obscura (absolutely not sponsored, just I use them so much they deserve a mention), I've found my favourite obscure UK attractions that I'm yet to visit.


Let's start pretty close to home; in fact close enough to home that when we get up early enough at the weekend my parents have been known to take me here for breakfast; and truthfully, I didn't even know that this existed. The library hosts Gladstone's collection of books but also boasts the cutest hotel I've ever seen; you can browse the library for five hours after closing (until the grand old time of 10pm) and even take books to bed with you, as though sleeping in the library wasn't cool enough to begin with. If anyone needs me I'll be on the phone working out when I can get a night here booked.

If you saw my post on my trip to Warsaw, you'll know just how in love with their neon museum that I  am. There's something about neon that just gets me; and so going to a warehouse that sells alcohol alongside handmade neon signs seems like the perfect fit for me. I believe they recycle and upcycle old signs, but also welcome those just popping around for the views. They're only open during the weekend, and they're slightly off the beaten track - but I would bet money on the fact that this is well worth a visit.

Now this is a weird one, I know, but hold with me here. Newman Brothers were the coffins of choice for both Princess Diana and Churchill; but now you can visit the factory that remains unchanged since 1960. Clock in, test machines and; here's the bit that interests me, you can even go for parties to celebrate Día De Los Muertos. Something about this place just really intrigues me, and though I can't justify an entire trip to Birmingham purely for this, if I find myself down that way anytime soon, I'll definitely be adding this to my itinerary.

We've all heard of this one, right? I know, I know - it's a cliche; but kids books hold such a place in m heart. I want to visit the fantasy worlds of the books I grew up with, and I want to see life size versions of the scenes within them; I think the whole thing is magical, and I don't get why you wouldn't want to go. Oxford is really beautiful and a place I've never really been able to explore, so I definitely might have to go down the two birds and one stone route here and visit (though note; they're only open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in term-time, though every day in school holidays).

When I went to Prague; probably one of the things that I was the most intrigued about was the dragon that was supposed to be hatching under the bridge; only nobody knew when and so the myth is yet to be disproved. I love folklore, and mermaids are my favourites; so if you think I'm not going to visit 'Jenny Greenteeth' the nasty mermaid, you're so wrong. If nothing else, I've literally just read that in a bizarre twist of fate after an accident, there are 50 wallabies hanging around here; so they're 10000% worth the trip.

If you've been to any of these places, or if you have any UK locations you think should be on my list; hit me up down below.

Sammy xo.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

5 Ways To Make Your Next Trip Easier

Now that we take so many trips together, Katy and I have gotten into a routine of working out what we need to know before we go. It's a fine art for us that just means that when we land in a country that we might not know very well, or at all, it's all smooth sailing from there on out. Some things are apps, some things are tips and some things are just little practises that we've picked up along the way that will make your next trip run smoother than ever.


1: Find a taxi app!
There are three inevitable things in life; death, taxes and the fact that taxis at the airport taxi rank will always cost you more than if you can ring or book with a company another way. Travelling in 2018 has made it easier than ever to find a cheaper alternative; and so whether you opt for Uber, iTaxi or a local alternative, have that taxi app downloaded or that taxi number stored in your phone. This sounds like something really basic, but some journeys can be less than half the price if you do them this way instead of just hopping into a taxi at the rank; and that money saved is another beer, so don't waste it!

2: Know where you're staying (and write it down)
I have to say that Katy and I are the worst for purely relying on the Airbnb app to let us know when we're staying, that is until we got to Nuremberg, where we found the building only for our phones to die. We ended up sitting in a building next to a plug socket so I could check the apartment number and where the keys were left; so from then on we always make sure to save it on both phones and write it down where possible. It's just another way to ensure you don't hit an infuriating snag when all you want to do is get to your accommodation and drop your bags off.

Bonus Tip: Ideally - learn how the address should sound in the language of the country that you're in, because it can be difficult to get this across in a taxi if you're unsure of how the letters should sound.

3: Find a place to eat for the night you get in
If you land in the middle of the night and eat on the plane, or land with enough time to actually explore, then this really isn't really necessary; however we've done that 'landing at 10pm starving and trying to find a 24hr Supermarket' deal before, and it ends up with everyone grumpy and hungry. So, before you go, or even on the way to where you're staying - find somewhere that's going to be open to get that midnight feast sorted. Garages are a good option, McDonalds, Tesco in some country, Carrefour... The options really can be endless, as long as you scope out some ideas before you go. Thank me when you're sitting at home with Pepsi Twist and a full stomach.

4: Know the best way to travel, and how you use the transportation
Some places we've been taxis have worked out cheaper for both of us than getting trains, but it's worth taking a look into the estimates of both to help you to decide how you're going to get about. If you're going to head out on public transportation; know the rules. Some trams don't let you off without scanning a ticket, some buses don't let you give them money because you should have bought a ticket before at the stop. Ticket machines for both directions can be on just one side of the road, sometimes they're in newsagents and sometimes you can use contactless card whilst you're actually on your chosen method of travel. Read up before you go to save yourself looking like a tit, or potentially even getting a mega fine you hadn't budgeted for.

Those are just some of the tips we have to make your next trip a little easier. Got your own tips? Definitely leave them down below so everyone can reap the benefits!

Sammy xo.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Make Up Geek Brushes

Now bear with me here because I know, when you think of Make Up Geek you think of those separate eye shadow pans and bright pigments, but this post is so worth reading if you're in the market for new brushes. Admittedly, you might be something like me - that is, always in the market for new brushes - and so when Make Up Geek asked me if I'd like to review their brushes, I absolutely jumped at the chance. Not only are they sleek, cruelty free and all synthetic, but they also won't break the bank if you want to grab yourself a full set.


I got quite a few and so it makes sense to start with face brushes and then move onto eyes, and I have to admit, out of the lot I was sent, the face brushes impress me a lot less than the eye brushes, but that's definitely not to say that they're not brushes. There were two that really weren't for me, and they are the Angled Stippling Brush ($17) and the Cheek Highlighter Brush ($10) - but these are definitely my least favourites, purely because of how I personally apply my makeup - both are stippling type brushes. Though I will never be a stippling kind of person, these are good quality brushes, with next to no shed even with a few washes. If stippling is your deal, these are good brushes that are definitely going to last a long while - and so I won't write them off entirely at the minute.


Next up are two that I definitely can appreciate, the Face Buffer Brush ($18) and the Angled Contour Brush ($10). The Buffer Brush is similar to an old favourite of mine, and not only is this good to apply foundation (though nowhere near as flawlessly as a sponge for me personally), but it's great to really buff out that harsh contour when you got a little too over eager with the bronzer. It's soft, hasn't ended up shedding or out of shape after multiple washes and it's definitely worth the money that you're going to drop on this, especially if a certain brands perfect face brush was an old school favourite for you. What I'm quickly discovered whilst writing this post is that I haven't been using any of the brushes for their correct intent - and so we'll quickly move onto the Angled Contour Brush that I've been using perfectly for highlight. It's soft, has short bristles and is angled perfectly to get that beautiful sweep of highlight I'm always look for - for $10, if you can buy just one of these face brushes, this should definitely be the one.


The two eye brushes I was very, very excited to add to my collection were the Pointed Crease Brush ($8.50) and the Small Crease Brush ($8.50). I truly never know what type of brush that I'm supposed to be using on my crease and so it's definitely nice to have brushes that have their use clearly printed on the outside, so even for makeup novices like me they're easy to pick out and use. These are both soft and fluffy, pick up product easily and are big enough to not feel fiddly, whilst being smaller enough to get that perfect crease blend without ending up with shadow by the arch of your brows. Similarly, the Outer V Brush ($8.50) is a nice, compactly bristled brush that is perfect for picking up that darker colour and keeping it where you wanted. If you're the queen of the accidentally smoky eye, when what you really wanted was to deepen a colour slightly, this is definitely the perfect brush for you.


Nearly there, gang! Just two brushes left; one my least favourite, and one my most. We can certainly start with the least; the Soft Dome Brush ($8.50). Once again - this isn't a bad brush as such, but it just really doesn't fit in with my typically makeup routine; it's too big and fluffy for a crease or dome brush, and it's way to fluffy to pack colour onto my lid. If you have use for a brush this shape, this is a good one, but I definitely feel as though this doesn't add anything to my makeup brush collection. My favourite brush though, easily, is the Bent Liner Brush ($8.50) - and I have to say I have a solid 8 of these in my collection, and they definitely make liner so much easier. Some are easily split, and others are rubber instead of actual bristles, but this is the perfect bristle brush that genuinely seems to stay in shape no matter how often I wash it.


Overall, the brushes are beautiful - they're classic grey with gunmetal barrels, the bristles are soft and wash well and overall - they're affordable. If you're looking for new brushes, Make Up Geek should definitely be your first stop.

If you've tried any of the brushes, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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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