E.L.F Mascara First Impressions Review

Elf have always been a brand that had never quite reached my radar. I had been aware of their existence, but I (still) don’t know much about their products. Despite this, when I found out the brand had launched in Superdrug stores around the UK I rushed to my nearest store. Knowing they are a cruelty free brand, I seized this as an opportunity to buy myself some new Mascara. I have been fairly desperate to find a cruelty free mascara from the drugstore that I like! I haven’t tried many, just NYX (which I absolutely hated), so i got quite excited about trying something new!

I’m considering this as a first impressions review, because as I write this, I have only worn this mascara three times. I don’t really have high ambitions for my mascara, so I usually know almost immediately whether it is something I would buy again or not. Basically, i just want my mascara to turn my lashes black. If I could get away with it, I probably wouldn’t wear any! I want something will create quite a natural look and feel light and easy to wear throughout the day. With this in mind I decided to pick up their waterproof mascara because the temperatures here have been rising, so I needed something that would survive through even the sweatiest of shifts in my work.

Initially, I wasn’t really impressed by the packaging. It just didn’t sell the product to me, it looks cheap and wasn’t promising. When I first looked at it, I immediately thought “this is going to be awful.” It is a basic matte black plastic-y looking mascara tube with the brand name printed on. I had a conversation with my friend about it and we both agreed that it looked like something from our favourite childhood brand Internacionale (does anyone remember that shop?) I also found the wand handle to be incredibly long. I personally would have preferred if it was a little bit shorter to balance the weight of the brush a little better.  The brush is also quite basic looking, but that is no fault as it performs its job.

The formula is waterproof and claims to “achieve thick, full and long looking lashes.” The formula definitely lengthens lashes, and as you can see in the images above, it definitely thickens lashes too! I noticed the product was a little bit sticky until it has dried – after a couple of seconds of cuddling with my dog my eyelashes had stuck together! Realistically though, that is an easy fix. Most people aren’t daft enough to rub their face into their dogs coat immediately after putting on their make up! By the end of the day the mascara seemed to stay in place even through both sweaty gigs, and sweaty shifts. Despite the hard wearing formula, I didn’t find it difficult to remove using Simple Micellar Water.

Overall, I definitely do like this mascara. It looks very natural and that is what I like. It is a little bit sticky, but the mascara doesn’t clump as you layer it on. It also doesn’t budge throughout the day or flake into your eyes. I have worn this during two very busy, and sweaty weekend shifts in my work and also to a gig and it has managed to hold up nicely. While I wouldn’t consider it to be the best mascara that I have ever used. For the price I definitely think it is worth it. I’m still on the look out for a better drug store mascara, but this is my favourite that I’ve tried so far. If you have any recommendations about what I should try next, let me know!

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Candida Diaries: It’s been three years

panties yeast infection chronic illness

It’s been about three years since I had my first yeast infection. Not knowing what was happening to my body I ignored it and hoped it would disappear. Since then I have watched my body change, my lifestyle change, and even some of symptoms and nature of this ailment have changed. It took me a really long time to actually come to terms with this illness. There is so much that is just unknown about chronic/recurrent yeast infections so any treatment that I have had has been very muddled, and uncertain.

So where am I now? I’ve kind of given up. My doctors have always been reluctant to recognise this as a long standing illness. But I always wanted to be persistent, I always wanted to keep it on my medical records as an existing problem and insisted on having regular check ups.  But I just don’t have the energy to pursue it. I’ve grown tired of visiting my GP and hearing the same thing, and getting no further forward. In my own time, at home, I have researched loads of different methods which could limit yeast overgrowth, but very few of them would be successful without medical guidance.

It’s very difficult to continue being persistent when you know that there is nothing else that the doctors are willing to do for you. But I also know that there are other possibilities that could be aided by dietitians, or even acupuncturists.  It goes without saying that three years down the line there remains a desperation to get rid of this illness. I have researched all sorts of treatments all of which have no certainty to be successful. I want to try them, but I just need the support from medical professionals to take my illness seriously. Without that, it has been difficult to keep up any hope that I have to get rid of it. For now, I just hope that the many blog posts I have read from fellow sufferers are right, and one day I too wake up and my yeast infection has disappeared!

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We got Married! 

Brad came back to visit me and he was determined to visit another castle. He hunted high and low, all over the internet to find the right castle to visit but ultimately, neither of us drive, so we were really limited in our choice. Luckily a couple of stops away on the train is Linlithgow Palace – birth place of Mary Queen of Scots, and neighbouring is Saint Michael’s Church which was first consecrated in 1242.

St Michaels Church Linlithgow Scotland

Linlithgow Palace predates the formation of the Union (only slightly) and naturally over time the Palace became out of use and was burned out in the 18th Century so much of what we see today are ruins. Since then an array of animals have moved in from birds who sit in the bare window spaces; and bats who chill out in what previously would have been the wine cellar. It is a really beautiful palace to visit, there is a clear grandiose to the building, and there are loads of small details that still exist in the stonework of the palace which hint to that. My favourite area of the castle is definitely the Chapel space. You can imagine the room with painted glass windows reflecting an erray of colours through the space and people viewing from the arched balcony above. There aren’t loads of features or artifacts to view in this palace so the visit was over much quicker than either of us had anticipated, so we decided to head through to Edinburgh afterwards!

After a quick train journey we hit the shops. We both picked up some goodies from Pie in the Sky. I got a belt and choker, while Brad got some new wooden ear jewellery. We also stopped at the Royal Mile Market because Brad decided he wanted to be a ‘ring guy.’ I even found one that I really liked, but I couldn’t justify spending £20 on a piece of jewellery I know I’d hardly wear.

After we got bored of shopping we continued up the mile to go to Camera Obscura. I had never been before, but Brad being the big tourist that he is, insisted we go because it’s really fun. He wasn’t wrong! We done everything from turn our faces into monkey’s and get lost in the mirror maze! Before we left we even got married! For £2, the pink Autowed machine wed us in unholy matrimony in a short ceremony totally not recognised by the law. Yet somehow, we managed to prank everyone on Facebook and got a number of congratulations after our humble little ceremony!

We accidently recreated this Queen Cover

As the night hit, we met up with my friend Bethany and went to Banshee Labyrinth, Edinburghs most haunted pub and naturally home to Edinburgh’s goths. I was completely taken away by their coffin shaped tables. The pub is connected by a series of underground tunnels with some chambers that shoot off with pool tables and jukeboxes. They even have an inhouse cinema and gig space. Pretty cool, right? I must admit that my personal highlight of the visit was being mistaken as a ghost by some tourists. That is a new one for me!


Rubbish picture, but this gave me life!!

Overall, we had a really fun day visiting the palace in Linlithgow, and then spontaneously visiting Edinburgh and conducting our very own sham marrriage. The rest of Bradley’s visit was a bit more relaxed, seeing friends, eating vegan food and watching movies. We had a really lovely time together, and i’m so pleased to finally call him my husband. 😜

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Linlithgow St Michaels ChurchLinlithgow Palace FountainLinlithgow Palace tattoos alternative punkLinlithgow Palace Chapel alternativeLinlithgow Palace Chapel alternative punkLinlithgow Palace Chapel punkCamera Obscura Edinburgh alternative disturbiaCamera Obscura Alice in Wonderland alternativeCamera Obscura Edinburgh Optical Illusion alternativemirror maze Camera Obscura Edinburgh AlternativeOur Wedding Autowed Edinburgh Camera Obscura

Why this General Election is SO Important…

I have a few friends on facebook who – during the weeks after the election was announced – have declared their intention not to vote, and how they would rather sit around and wait for the “revolution.” But I am here to inform you all, the revolution has already begun and the fascists are winning.
It might not be a revolution that is taking place on the streets, however the Brexit outcome is the biggest change to our constitution perhaps ever.

Now briefly, for those of you who haven‘t yet realized that we do actually have a constitution, let me just go over it. It’s really simple and has one main principle and that is parliamentary sovereignty. (I know, exam has passed, and I don’t need to talk about this anymore… but here I am). Basically parliamentary sovereignty means we have an ‘unlimited’ government who can do whatever they want – they are our highest power. I’m sure that is no surprise to some of you. You all saw the controversy over who has power surrounding the referendum.

However, Brexit produced a result which is taking us out of the EU. This was a result that was largely not wanted by our parliament. It was a decision made by the British people and the government (and our parliament) have decided to push through with it. This introduces popular sovereignty, which is the notion that the people hold all power. You can see how this would be conflicting with the notion of parliamentary sovereignty.

The principle that government are actually pressing ahead with a decision that THEY DID NOT WANT, but was demanded by the people IS REVOLUTIONARY. Perhaps it is one of the benefits of Brexit – the people have been given power. But with the anticipated Tory government in action, it wont be the kind of revolution that the left have been longing for. It is clear that the Tories want to press ahead with a ‘hard’ Brexit that no one really voted for. The referendum was a two option poll which is ambigious because the Brexit process is much more complex than just leave or remain. There are a multitude of options in between that the British people will not be allowed to consider under a Conservative government. That is why I urge you all to vote.

It is so important to vote in this general election to make sure that your voice is heard. This election will dictate our future, and it will predict what kind of lives we can lead. I want to urge everyone to turnout at their polling station and make a choice which allows the British public a voice in the Brexit process. We deserve transparency. The Conservative party do not need to be our future.

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Cruelty Free Update: My Every Day Make-up

Illamasqua Skin Base NARS Sheer Glow Seventeen High Drama Sara Hill Luxurty Face Primer Urban Decay Primer PotionA year or so ago I decided I wanted to switch up my make-up routine and ensure that every single product that I use is cruelty free. So today I am going to go over the products that I use on a daily basis to hopefully help guide you towards some cruelty free and easy to obtain alternatives to your beauty routine.

Before I go on to list the products I use, I do have one confession to make. The one product I have struggled with finding an alternative for is my moisturiser. I was previously using some pretty heavy duty E45 cream to moisturise my face on a daily basis. I since picked up Aveeno to try. For some reason I was certain I had googled it and found that it was cruelty free, but when I double checked it after buying it, I realised I was wrong. So if anyone has any recommendations for a good cruelty free moisturiser, I am all ears! Now lets get into it…

Primer: Sara Hill Luxury Face Primer (£28) for the face, and Urban Decay Original Eyeshadow Primer Potion (£17) for the eyes

Foundation: NARS Sheer Glow Foundation (£32) in shade light 3, mixed with Illamasqua’s SB 01 (white) Skin Base Foundation (£33).

Sara Hill Luxury face Primer NARS Sheer gLOW Foundation Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation

: Seventeen High Drama Liquid Eyeliner (£3.99)

: I have been switching Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes (£23) and Maybelline Colossal (which you can see pictured) which is not cruelty free, but it was gifted to me at Christmas and I think I would be wasteful not to finish it.

: I rotate mostly between Jeffrey Star Velour Liquid Lipstick (£16) and Kat Von D (£17)

Jeffree Star Androgyny Kat Von D Lolita Urban Decay eye primer potion Seventeen High Drama

Make up Remover: Simple Micellar Water 400ml (£6.59)
One thing I have found quite difficult since transitioning to a cruelty free beauty routine is keeping the cost down. As you can see I spend well over £100 on just my everyday ‘essentials’. I don’t even use a lot of products daily. I reeally want to find a drug store alternative for my mascara that I actually like. Previously I have used NYX Doll Eyes Mascara and I found the product so clumpy and horrible that I just had to indulge in something that I knew would work. On the other hand, I have fallen head over heels with my Seventeen eyeliner, I have already gone through multiple little tubes! I wouldn’t swap it for anything!

If you have any Cruelty Free favourites that you want to share with me then please do! I’m always looking for new products to try!

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The Face of Jealousy

8030b02676e358864f34d84a2c4b6b9aLong story, short – Bradley made a new friend. A new girl had started in his work quite a few months ago and over time she became a part of his friend group. Brad shares his house with his group of friends and she will come over, hang out, watch movies – you know, do what friends do. Now here’s the catch. I didn’t even notice. How does that happen? I don’t know. But it hit me when I visited again in January for the first time in 3 months. I probably would have been none-the-wiser had I not visited Cambridge, and the only reason I realised was because they were texting loads. It’s not really a big deal, but the scenario did leave me feeling a bit confused, and of course my mind started to worry.

After I returned from Cambridge, I would find myself thinking about this girl he had been texting and my mind would wander. My mind would always cast back to my psycho girlfriend moment. I would wonder if anything was going on;  if she was interested in him and what they acted like together. I’m sure these are probably things that would run through the mind of anyone in an LDR in this situation. But the thing that concerned me the most was how did someone new come into his life and I was so oblivious!?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I don’t feel as if I need to know every move that Bradley makes. You will find out much more about Bradley by speaking to him in person than you will from messaging him online, and I am ok with that. I don’t mind waiting until we are back together to find out little anecdotes about dumb things he got up to with his friends, or a story about his customers from work. But how did I go so many months without even the slightest inclination that Brad had made a new friend? That baffled me.

The answer is pretty obvious. There was a break down in communication to some extent. Skype calls declined while I had exams, phone calls pretty much didn’t exist. All we done was text each other, but even that can be difficult to keep up when you are still going about your every day life and dealing with your own problems. Quite naturally that makes the space for things (or people in this instance) to pass us by. This whole concept was pretty difficult to get my head around. It wasn’t until I spoke to Brad about the situation that I realised it can be the only logical explanation.

That conversation in itself was difficult. How do you talk to your partner about their new friendship that seems to have sprung up out of nowhere, without it seeming accusatory? How do you even tell someone that their new friendship makes you feel a bit strange, without it coming across the wrong way? I had so many questions circulating my mind, and every single one of them made me feel petty, and like I was being silly about it because it is such a small issue. He has a new friend, so what? He is allowed to have friends, and meet new people. It’s not a big deal. But I knew that I had to talk to him about it.

This is what I meant when I said that communication is important. Some times the little things don’t matter. No one really wants to know what you eat every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But some times, the most insignificant things do, and this is a prime example of that. Meeting a new person can seem like the most insignificant change in your life, but in a long distance relationship, it can seem like they have appeared out of nowhere. The little signs that indicate how close you have become to a new person aren’t always evident when you and your partner are constantly communicating through a screen. Sometimes these little things need to be mentioned.

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My Summer to-do List

At long last, my exams are over, my essays are done and Summer has started! Like everyone else I want to have an amazing Summer filled with new experiences, but I also want to feel as if it has been a productive Summer as well. I have so many ideas that I have had for ages and never carried through with, so now is my time to complete them! In the hopes of getting me both excited and motivated for all the many amazing things I am going to do and want to do this Summer, I thought I’d share with you my to do list.

valfre summer to doValfre

  1. Follow my Favourite Band on Tour
    Once again I’ll be back on the tour wagon following Green Day from Ireland to London. We’ve got 3 stops before returning home and seeing them for a final time in Glasgow. We’ve just finalised our travel details, I’m so looking forward to this!
  2. Make a Patchwork Quilt
    Ok, so while we’re on the topic of Green Day, I should mention I have accumulated a lot of Green Day t-shirts over the years, and there are plenty of them that just never really get worn anymore. So to save some drawer space I want to create myself a patch work quilt in all the Green Day merch I just don’t wear!
  3. Berlin!
    Germany has been on my bucket list for a very long time and this year I am finally visiting Berlin for my birthday! Berlin is home to subculture so I really want to check out some punk shows while we are in the city. Hopefully some good bands will be playing!
  4. Fix my ripped up jeans
    Long story short, I am currently sat with a rather large hole in the crotch of my jeans right now. I want to patch up the hole and turn them into some shorts to rock during my holiday to Berlin.
  5. Explore!
    I want to do more than just what I have planned. I want to go on dog walks up the hills, I want to go to new cities, I want to wild swim and do things that are easily accessible to me. I want spontaneous fun!

Tell me your plans for this Summer?

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