Cruelty Free Summer Makeup – All Under £10

There’s nothing worse than having your makeup routine completely perfected, only for summer to come around and through humidity, heat and hay-fever your way, and it changes everything.

Not only does summer mess with my skin, but I’m now on a makeup buying ban for a little while, and I’m also no longer buying makeup that isn’t cruelty free, and while you’d think that these bans would limit my options for the summer, I’ve managed to find myself a summer kit that’s not only completely cruelty free, but actually every item is also under £10!

Primer – The Ordinary High Spreadability Fluid Primer – £5.50

This is my all year round primer, but it really holds its own even against the struggles of summer!

Foundation – The Ordinary Serum Foundation – £6

I love both of the foundations from The Ordinary, but tend to use Coverage more in the colder months and switch to Serum from Spring onwards as its a lighter formula but the coverage is still very good!

Blush/bronzer/highlighter – Makeup Revolution – (my set now discontinued)

I’ve had this little palette for a while now, but as the shades are a little darker than what I would normally wear, I save it for summer when I’ve tanned a little bit and can get away with glowing a little more.

Highlighter – Makeup Revolution Baked Matte Lights Highlighter – £3

I love this highlighter as its a great base for building on. I normally start with a good layer of this matte highlight and then go over it with a shinier highlight.

Eyeshadow primer – NYX Proof It! – £6

I swear by this primer, and if you read my blog a lot you’ll have seen this mentioned over and over because it is really that good!

Eyeshadows – Colourpop Supershock Shadows – $5

The only downside of these eyeshadows is having to pay international shipping and customs (I actually bought mine in the US) but I think they’re fab! They blend so nicely and hold up well under summer conditions.

Brows – NYX Tame and Frame Brow Pomade – £6

Ever since I reviewed this recently I’ve been using this pomade. Its such great value for money and such a good product.

Mascara – Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara – £8.50 (for travel sized)

I only bought this in a travel size because I do love my current mascara and I just wanted to try it out, but its a fab little cruelty free mascara.

Setting spray – Urban Decay All Nighter – £10 (for travel sized)

Say hello to your new favourite setting spray and say goodbye to your makeup running. Despite being a travel sized bottle, its still pretty large and will last you through summer no problem!

Here’s to a summer of long lasting makeup!

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Small Summer Goals

Every year for the last few years I have written a summer bucket list, and every year I’ve only managed to tick one or two things off of those lists.

I think I always think that the summer is a time where I can get loads done, because during our school years the summer holidays are the longest time we would get off, but in the real world work, I don’t get six weeks off during the most glorious time of the year, in fact last year I didn’t get any time off work in the summer.

This year will actually be a little different as I’ll be leaving my current job in July 6th, and plunging myself into a bit of uncertainty with what I’ll be doing after we move, but I don’t want to pressure myself into thinking I should be working through a list of activities while dealing with it all. Instead, I’m setting myself some little goals for the summer; things that are actually achievable even if things do get stressful or busy.

Spend more time outdoors

Because I’m normally working through the summer months, I find that I’m rarely out enjoying the sun for the short period of time we get sun here in the UK. I won’t be by the beach, but we do have a lovely big garden at our house, and we’re surrounded by lovely fields for walks, so imma get me some more vitamin D.

Lose two inches

Whatever my body looks like, that is my summer body, and I’m happy accepting that, but I have gained some weight recently since breaking my ankle, and I’d like to try and shift a little bit of it before I get back into marathon training in the autumn.

Explore my new home

I’m still coming to terms with the fact that in a months time I’ll be a northerner, and it’s gonna take some time before I really get to know the area, but while the weather is good (or as good as it gets up north), it seems like the best time to get out and about.

Bake more

I know that when it starts heating up outside, turning the heat up in the kitchen seems a little strange, but I’ve got a brand new kitchen to play in and I miss baking so much right now that I want to make more of an effort to make the time for it.

Our garden’s first bbq

We also need to break in our new garden and what’s better than a bbq in the summer?

What are your plans for the summer?

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Our First Weekend In Our New House and What We Got Done

So even though it feels like we’ve waited forever, in reality its only been 2 1/2 months since we saw our house for the first time, and on Thursday we officially completed and its now ours! We picked up the keys on Friday and the weekend has been the first phase of our moving process – I don’t actually leave my job until July 6th, so until then we’ll only be able to visit on weekends, but that hopefully means by the time we’re up there permanently, it will be mostly finished in terms of unpacking and decorating! (This is a bit of an unedited photo dump so apologies that some pictures are a bit dark)

We went up with my parents in a one car, one van convoy, both packed to bursting with the stuff we already have, and then once we’d unloaded that all into the garage, it was on to Ikea for the big furniture shop. I won’t bore you with the details, but 5 trolleys and one delivery coming on Tuesday, and we’re actually still not completely done as we realised we’ve picked up a few things in the wrong sizes and forgot a few little but key things like hinges and legs for cupboards.. As that was a fairly manual labour filled day, we didn’t build anything that night, and Matthew and I had what I believe is a traditional ‘first night in new house’ evening of takeaway pizza on the floor because we don’t have a dining table/chairs or even a sofa, and slept on our mattress on the floor because its our bed being delivered on Tuesday..

Our current living room set up

Saturday morning my parents brought round some food for breakfast; we got to use our toaster and kettle for the first time with toast for Dad and a cup of tea for my mum. Matthew and I then headed off to do a bit more shopping with Mum while we left my dad to start building some of the Ikea stuff. We hit Costco (for mainly cleaning supplies at this point), B&Q for paint and decorating bits and then went to DFS to order our sofa, which was a pretty easy job as we’ve had it picked our for ages! On our way back to the house we decided to try out our first local chippy to see how it was (a solid 7/10) and then after we’d eaten, again on the kitchen floor, Matthew and I set to work painting the feature wall in our guest bedroom. (I’ll be doing a full post on how we did this later on this week!)

Once the wall was painted, we could then build the bed in there and position all the furniture, and then my parents headed home. Matthew and I drove into Crewe for another B&Q trip, this time for paint for my office, plus some screws and wall plugs and a few other bits and bobs, and I spent the evening painting the feature wall in my office.

Sunday morning was another coat of paint in my office, then we headed back into Crewe and hit Home Bargains and Dunelm for some things for the bathroom, grabbed lunch in Nandos and headed back to the house where the Sky man had just arrived to set up our Sky box. I built all the bathroom bits, then while Matthew screwed them into the walls, I built the desk for my office and got that all set up.

The rest of the afternoon was spent doing some finishing touches in the guest bedroom, which is now pretty much finished apart from a mirror needing to be put on a wall and a few other little decor additions, then tidied up all the mess into the garage.

So one weekend in, we have pretty much finished the guest bedroom and the bathroom, bar a few little details, and made a start to pretty much every other room. We still haven’t decided how we want to decorate our bedroom or the living room, but as neither have that much furniture in them right now we’ve got plenty of time to decide! If you want to see how some of these rooms looked before, check out the first look at our home here.

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Sixty Seconds of Self Care

With mental health awareness increasing by the day, self care is becoming an ever increasingly more important part of day to day life. Quite simply, self care is any act in which you do something to look after yourself, either physically or mentally.

Too often though, we think of self care as a bit of a big deal, and I know that I for one am guilty of ignoring self care with the excuse that I don’t have enough time, when in fact we should always be finding the time to make sure that we are happy. Self care doesn’t have to mean spending 2 hours in a bath with £20 worth of Lush products, it can be as simple as a minute here and there, and sometimes the smallest things can make a big difference to your day.

Here are a few self care practices that I’ve been doing lately that take no time at all:

  • Taking a little more time brushing my hair after washing it, rather than just enough to get any knots out
  • Instead of gulping down my hot chocolate while I’m trying to get work done, I’ve been stopping to sit back and enjoy it
  • At the end of each day, taking just a small amount of time to write down, or just think about all the good things that have happened that day
  • Sitting to eat breakfast, rather than standing
  • Using an in-shower moisturiser to keep my skin happy with minimal effort
  • Drinking at least one glass of water every two hours
  • Deciding what to wear to work the night before so I don’t have to rush around in the morning and feel cuter
  • Taking a little bit of time each morning to comment on Instagram posts instead of just liking, and also replying to comments on my own posts
  • Using my Fitbit’s ‘relax’ feature for breathing exercises before bed
  • Applying BioOil to my stretch marks after showering
  • Reminding myself why I love what I do when I’m feeling stressed about it
  • Retweeting cute animal videos to brighten up my (and others) timelines

These might seem like insignificant little acts, but just by doing them and knowing that I’m making a little effort towards looking after myself, they have been making a big difference!

Do you take time to look after yourself?

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Travelling with Revolut

When you’re a regular, or even a non-regular traveller, there’s nothing more annoying than either having to get all your travel money exchanged into cash, or risking foreign transaction charges on most of your cards if you have to use them while you’re away, and even if you have a card that doesn’t charge, there’s that nagging worry about losing or having cards stolen while abroad, and if this sounds familiar to you, you need a Revolut card.

Revolut is, in fact, a mobile app, and the only way you can get a card is through the app itself. Essentially, its a pre-paid credit card: you simply link a debit or credit card to the app and use that to top it up by whatever amount you need, and if the card doesn’t have enough on it, the transaction will simply fail, so you’ve always got the added security of knowing that if there’s nothing there, nothing can be spent.

But what makes Revolut different to any other pre-paid card is what makes it ideal for travelling – you can exchange money right there on the app, and get the best rates as it uses the central bank exchange rates, rather than those that retailers use to make money out of your holiday money needs. For example, as I’m writing this, Post Office are currently offering 1.2961 on USD, whereas Revolut has 1.3401! Once you’ve topped up your card with cash, you can hit the exchange button, select your desired currency and watch what the exchange rate is doing as it updates every few seconds, so you can wait until it goes up a few 0.01s to get a little bit more for your money, and once your money has been converted to whatever currency you want, that means you’re using the correct currency for the country you’re in, so no foreign transaction charges! Plus, any leftover currency can be converted back just as easily as you switched it in the first place, so you don’t have to worry about selling your money back to a bureau de change or hiding it away until your next trip.

Another great thing about the app is that it notifies you as soon as you’ve made a payment, so you can see what you’ve spent straight away, with a clear description of where you spent it and don’t have to guess from ‘pending transactions’ where your money has gone. Its also got nifty features like being able to split your bill with another Revolut user, and also a selection of other things on offer, so its a really handy thing to have!

Apart from the cost of the card, which is £5 plus £3 delivery, Revolut is completely free (unless you choose to go Premium), so compared to so many other credit cards that have annual fees etc, its a steal, but don’t just take my word for it, download the app for free for all the information!

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NYX Tame and Frame VS Benefit Ka-Brow!

Even when I’ve run out of time/can’t be bothered to do my makeup for the day, my eyebrows are normally a must. I don’t have bad eyebrows, in fact I think I’m pretty lucky that I don’t really have to do much to them at all, but I just feel so much better with everything nicely filled in and looking a whole lot more together.

For the last couple of years, my go-to product has been Benefit’s Ka-Brow (shade 01, if anyone’s interested) and its never really let me down, but I’m trying to make an effort to switch out my remaining non-cruelty-free products for more animal friendly alternatives, and also trying to cut down what I spend on some makeup, and a friend of mine suggested I tried the NYX Tame and Frame pomade, so I’ve been comparing the two.

The reason I’ve always used Ka-Brow is because its really convenient. It has a brush built right into the packaging, meaning that I can throw it in my bag, or take it in my hand luggage when I travel, and never have to worry about whether or not I’ve remembered a brush. I’ve also always used it because its never failed me. The formula is more cream than gel, so its not at all sticky feeling and applies smoothly and its buildable – my one annoyance is that sometimes if I apply it too heavy at first, it doesn’t blend out particularly well, and often by the time I’m coming to the bottom of the product, it starts to dry out and get a little bitty.

I knew that my NYX shade would be Blonde as I have a NYX pencil in that shade, so I didn’t have to worry too much about knowing which one would match for me, although its possibly slightly lighter than its Benefit counterpart, not that it bothers me. As with many other NYX products, the packaging it pretty simple but its nice and does the job – I particularly like the fact that its a frosted glass effect rather than being clear. The formula is more gel-like than Ka-Brow, but is also soft and creamy and not at all sticky. It glides on like a dream and builds up nicely, blending better than Ka-Brow – because its a bit lighter in shade I do have to build it up a little more, but its not like its hard work!

Obviously there’s no brush built into this little jar, but the product holds all day with no problem at all, so its not like I need to be reapplying throughout the day, and its the same with Ka-Brow – all day brows, no fuss. The big difference between the two, however, is of course the price tag: for a Benefit product you’ll be paying Benefit prices of £18-20, compared to NYX’s £6 a pot. For that price, plus the bonus of being cruelty free, Tame and Frame is getting my vote on this one!

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Just Because

I can’t imagine that there’s anyone who hasn’t been told at least once in their life, and most likely by their mother, that ‘just because *this person* did that, doesn’t mean you have to. If they jumped of a cliff, would you follow?’ while you rolled your eyes because it really wasn’t a big deal.

These were always things that we wanted to do; places we wanted to go or styles we wanted to copy, not things that we felt obliged to do, but as you get older, everything suddenly becomes more about what you feel like you should be doing, rather than what you actually want to do. Sure, some of these things are things that we think we should be doing for good reasons, but then there’s also a good number of things that might not always be good for us, and these are the things that we should maybe give a miss, at least every now and then.

Just because other people stay late at work, it doesn’t mean you have to

When I started my new job, I thought that just because the guy who sat next to me came in an hour before me, and often stayed past when I left, it meant that I wasn’t doing my job well enough, and frankly that’s just not true. So long as I come into work, do the hours I’m contracted to do and complete all the work that needs to be done, that’s good enough. If others want to come in early, stay late or take on extra work, that’s on them, but I did enough of that in my previous jobs and now I like that I’m able to walk away when 5 o’clock hits and not have a care in the world.

Just because you’ve made plans, it doesn’t mean you can’t cancel them if you’re not feeling it

If you’re tired, having a bad mental health day or for whatever reason you don’t feel up to it, you shouldn’t feel bad about cancelling plans. People might not always understand it, but that doesn’t matter. Put yourself first.

But as well as the things you shouldn’t be doing just because you thin you should, there are also things that you can do even though you didn’t do what other people did..

Just because you didn’t go to university, it doesn’t mean you can’t get to the same place as someone who did

I’ve actually just started working with a girl I went to school with. She went to university, and got her job through a graduate scheme. I went straight into work after sixth form, and after gaining skills and working hard, I am just one level below her, and with another year of experience and study support through work, I could move up into the same position she works in with a university degree. Sometimes there’s more than one path.

Just because you haven’t got a huge following, it doesn’t mean you don’t a good following

You could have a million followers, but if one a few hundred actually bother to support you, then you might just be better off having a few hundred followers who cheer you on at every possible moment. I mean, the Instagram algorithm is screwing us all over anyway..

There are however many billion people in the world and every single one of us is unique, so just because one or two people make you stop and think you’re missing out on something or doing something wrong, do you think that’s right?

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