Sunday, 31 May 2009

Insecurity: My Thoughts

*You do not have to read this blog. You do not have to comment. It is more for my benefit, this is my place to be free.*

I am the first person to admit I am insecure. I don't think, as much as I would like to be, that I will ever be 100% totally confident, it's just not part of my make up (not the cosmetic kind!). For as long as I can remember there has always been something I have been insecure about. I'm not saying this is good, I can't stand feeling like I do. It's something I begrudgingly accept, because no matter how much effort I make to try and counteract it, insecure thoughts just creep back in.

I am the first person to try and boost other peoples confidence, and try to quell their insecurities. Not just because I feel I should, because I actually want to and I don't believe they should have them. However, when it comes to taking my own advice, or applying that same belief to myself, it just categorically does not work.

As I have gotten older (I'm 22, so probably have a fair way to go and hopefully improve) some insecurities have lessened, to the point where they don't impact upon my life in such obvious ways, but they are still there, lurking beneath the surface. Some days my insecurities are much worse that others, just in the natural ebb and flow of life, hormones and events.

My biggest insecurity is my appearance. I should say at this point I am not writing this blog to receive compliments, sympathy, or anything to that effect, I'm simply writing it because for me, writing is like therapy, it's a release and I find it helps to put things into words. I'm not particularly good at vocalising a lot of these personal thoughts, I'm too emotional, but writing is something I can do. I don't think I have ever expressed these feelings to anyone before, with the exception of my long suffering boyfriend Colin, who finds them unfathomable. I have been with him for 5 years (in July), and I think my insecurities have heightened in that time...not because of him directly, but due to my age and experiences. When I met Colin I was a size 6/8, I am now a size 10/12 which I KNOW is not fat/huge/monstrous in any way...but if I was insecure and unhappy with the way I looked 5 years ago, you can imagine how I feel now, when I am bigger. I would love to be that size again, and it's not like I've binge eaten my way through 5 years, I'm still pretty healthy, and I think my metabolism is still quite effective, perhaps it's just natural and if I had exercised more...I don't know!

I know my insecurities go way back, I can remember in my first couple of years at secondary school, in my early teens, being so uncomfortably paranoid and shy about how pale I was. PE lessons were horrific for me. I genuinely got terrified of changing in front of everyone (I was thin as a rake, and my actual body was not the issue then), in case they, God forbid, saw my pasty legs and all pointed and laughed. Embracing my pale skin now is a very, very big step forward! I then realised I was the only person who didn't shave, and I remember being painfully conscious of my legs even more. I got some disposable razors and started shaving in secret (although I'm sure my Mum wouldn't have told me off or anything, I just was too embarrassed to ask), but I still felt self conscious. I can remember clear as day going to play netball in PE one summer, and I was the only person wearing trousers because I couldn't bear for anyone to see me. This is undoubtedly where my genuine dislike for my legs stemmed from, and I don't see how I could ever escape from these feelings fully, even if my some miracle I end up with pins like a supermodel.

The feelings I had for my legs, and the painfully self conscious way I tried to hide myself gradually extended to the rest of my body, and in my teenage years it was my skin colour (or lack thereof) that I disliked. I am also quite a sweaty person, which I think anyone can understand is a horrible, horrible thing, something you can't help but be aware of. This was also painfully obvious from my teenage years, and in summer I would keep my school jumper on even though I was literally melting in the heat, just so people wouldn't see if I had sweat patches on my blouse. I have recently found a good anti persperant that is quite effective, but I am still very conscious of sweating now...which is probably why I really don't like the English heat, which clings to me and makes me all sticky and uncomfortable.

As I headed toward GCSE and A Level age appearance started to become 'the thing', clothes, bodies and faces started to have a really powerful impact. I was never in the 'popular' crowd, I never particularly wanted to be, they all seemed like stuck up, really irritating people, but that also meant that, by school playground standards, I wasn't cool, didn't know what cool was, and couldn't ever be cool. Bothered?! Not really! I still had great fun with my friends, and at least they were actually my friends, not just accessories! I wanted to do well at school, and I did, so I'm glad it wasn't just one big fashion show, or about how many boys I could throw myself at in a lunch hour. However, this time is when I started to look at myself more critically, and noticed things that were not quite how I would like them, and so on and so forth. My feelings towards my body by the time I got to University where more often that not negative, self loathing and destructive. I think, looking back, my 'then' best friend had anorexia, which probably did not help me, and though I didn't go to the controlling extremes that she did, my thought processes were much the same.

I'm not sure if my insecurities are just that, or if it could perhaps be mild BDD (Body Dysmoprhic Disorder), but what I do know is that, to me, they are very real, they affect me every single day of my life, subconsciously they affect my personality and my decisions, and I wish I didn't think the way that I did. I can accept compliments more graciously now, instead of immediately batting them away and dismissing them, but it doesn't mean I believe them, or want to be smothered in them. The day I look in the mirror and am even a tiny bit pleased with the whole reflection looking back will be a very good day.

My overall confidence has grown. When I look back to my teenage years, and even to University, I can see how much I have changed, and I think it's for the better. I would still describe myself as shy, but compared to when I was a teen, this may not be as prominent. I can easily walk into a room of people and not let my nervous butterflies get the better of me. I can strike up conversations with people I don't know, in an environment that I don't know, and enjoy it. I can get on a train to a destination I have never visited, and know that deep down, even if I do get hopelessly lost, I'll be OK. I can say no and not regret my decision. I can make complaints without stuttering my way through the conversation. I can take responsibility for my own actions. In these respects, my confidence has grown in leaps and bounds, to the point where new acquaintances would not describe me as shy. I think University and the working world are accountable for these growths, and I'm very thankful for the developments. I wish I could extend this to all areas of my life.

When I graduated from University with a 2:1 in my degree I had an epiphany. I am intelligent. Wow, I did it. By myself. That is MY degree. That may sound silly, but up until that point I genuinely believed that I had fluked my way through my GCSE's and A Levels, and that every achievement I had was by some small miracle. The tears I shed when I got my results where pure, ecstatic joy mixed with relief. My lack of self belief and self worth had prevented me from realising my potential, and stopped me from seeing what other people saw all along.

Insecurities may be silly, trivial feelings, but are inescapable and potentially crippling nonetheless.

Friday, 29 May 2009

In and Out - May

It's that time of the month again, the monthly round up of the good, the bad and the ugly!! May has been jam packed to say the least, and I actually think it's fair to say I feel a little bit worn out! Without further ado...

IN:

Girls Aloud ~ You all knew this would be coming! I've been doing my blogging secretly at work recently, so I've yet to sit down and do a dedicated Girls Aloud post...but suffice to say, when I saw the Girls perform live at the o2 in London on Sat 23rd May, they were sensational! Even Cheryl, who was really poorly! No matter what anyone says about Girls Aloud I really do stand by them being good...they CAN all sing (they won in a singing talent competition for goodness sake!), the CAN all dance and they are all drop dead gorgeous. Seeing them live is an amazing experience, and I'm lucky enough to have seen them in a VERY large venue and a smaller, more intimate venue...both times they blew me away with the energy they put into performing. I heart Girls Aloud :)

Blogging ~ this is truly on the massive UP! Ever since I started this blog I have been amazed by the posts I read, the photos I look at, the people I speak to and the things I experience. I travelled to Liverpool and met up with 3 fabulous ladies, who I not only admire for their brilliant blogs and obvious make up talents, but they are also genuinely nice people, who really care, and to have the opportunity to meet people like this, through my blog, is amazing :) Then of course there was the Barry M event, which was such a privilege to be a part of, and the freebies were insane! I've said it before, and I'll say it time and time again, blogging makes me a very happy lady!

Barry M ~ I'm feeling pretty enamoured with this brand to be honest! I genuinely like their products and the concept behind the brand. Bazza himself is a legend for sure, and it was a pleasure to meet him and hear him speak! I really was blown away at how generous Barry M were to us at the event a couple of weeks ago...I know it has been talked about a lot, and I don't want to overdo it, but there was a lot of hard work and preparation that went into the event (thanks to the PR company too!), and it really was much appreciated! Thanks for inviting me Bazza and Co!

MAC ~ I really do like it. I started out feeling a bit dubious about it all, a short while ago I owned no high end make up and thought it was all overpriced mumbo jumbo...I seriously need to eat my words! This blogging malarkey is almost certainly to blame (wrong word?!) for my turnaround of opinion, and I'm thankful for it! I might be a little less better off than I was before I discovered the delights MAC (and other higher end brands) have to offer, but now I really have embraced my passion for make up, creating different looks (even if no one sees them!) and making myself up. Getting my make up done by Nic from Pixiwoo in London this month was most definitely a really brilliant experience (without sounding all silly and starstruck), I really respect her and Sam as make up artists, they are VERY good at what they do!

BBQ's ~ Someone tell me what's not to love about BBQ's?!?! Seriously?! Great food, great weather (ok, so this box might not always get ticked), good company and chilling outside...whenever I smell the wafts of food being cooked on a BBQ my mouth starts watering...pass me a burger and a jug of Pimms and I'm sorted :) I love that everyone rallies together for a BBQ...Colin turned 30 on the 22nd and I'd organised a surprise party for him (with the help of his family, and some very good friends who kept stchum!), it made me smile to look around at everyone enjoying a mild evening, with the BBQ smoking away and Pimms on tap :)

New cars
~ Those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook will know that I purchased a new car this month...and as much as I loved my other car, this new one is a breath of fresh air...sooooo much nicer to drive. I'll be selling her asap, so if anyone is interested in a 12 year old 106, let me know! I'm an automatic driver though!

OUT:

Not wearing my Girls Aloud lashes to Girls Aloud ~ because I am clearly LAME!

The great English weather
~ Sorry...did I say great, I clearly meant to say "can't ever make your bloody mind up" weather! My mistake! What is with this...will I ever get used to it? Sunny and hot one minute, pouring with rain the next, muggy and windy at the same time...make your mind up Mother Nature!

Money
~ I just don't have any! Right about now it would be REALLY helpful if money actually DID grow on trees, and if those irritating little 'money' spiders did bring me money when they crawl all over me when I'm sitting in the park!

Work
~ similar to above, it is the lack of that is bothering me...fingers crossed something good comes my way, sharpish!

I'm off out for my leaving do with work now, so have a fabulous Friday night everyone!

x x x

Thursday, 28 May 2009

A Review: Dainty Doll Plumping Gloss

Dainty Doll by Nicola Roberts
Hibiscus Plumping Gloss

As a massive Girls Aloud fan, when I noticed whilst shopping in Liverpool that Debenhams stocked Nicola Roberts make up line, Dainty Doll, I just had to check it out! I had seen it online on ASOS and Jelly Pong Pong, but without seeing it in person I hadn't wanted to get anything! I was fascinated to check out the foundations, and there really is a white one! Wow...even I am not that pale, which surprised me! For those who are not aware, Nicola Roberts started up her own make up line, Dainty Doll, as part of a 'reality' series called 'The Passions of Girls Aloud'. The concept of Dainty Doll is to cater for those pearly white skinned beauties out there, like Nicola, who struggle to find make up to suit their skin tones (the main objective was creating very pale foundations).

What Did I Think?

This product is marketed as a 'high shine, plumping lip gloss, with chili extract'. As soon as you apply it the chili extract kicks in, and you get the tingling feeling synonymous with lip lumping products. Currently there are only two shades available; Hibiscus which is a gorgeous peachy/browny/pinky colour, and Rosebud (pictured above) which is a lovely pink colour. I have the Hibiscus, and the colour really is lovely on the lips, with just the right amount of shimmer, good pigmentation, lovely smell and not at all sticky. It does plump my lips to some degree, but I am quite sceptical of how these products work. Basically, from my understanding, they stimulate the lips, by using ingredients which cause a very small allergic reaction, hence causing the lips to appear plumper. It sounds scary, but I personally don't find it painful or unpleasant at all. I really like this particular gloss, and would like to try more from the range. The packaging of the Dainty Doll products is really pretty, feminine and elegant, designed by Nicola, the boxes feature a character based upon her. Dainty Doll really does epitomise everything I think Nicola is about...primarily it embraces paler skin tones, providing a filler for the previous gap in the market, but it also encapsulates her style, old school glamour and personality. I am really quite taken with it! Dainty Doll products are not tested on animals.

How Much Will It Cost?

I can't find my receipt to see how much I paid, but it was roughly the same as the R.R.P on ASOS.com - £6.00 for 5.87ml.

Where Is It Sold?

ASOS.com, Jelly Pong Pong and apparently Debenhams in Liverpool! If anyone else knows of any other stockists feel free to let me know!

Would I Recommend This?

Yes, and you don't need to be porcelain skinned to try out Dainty Doll...you just might want to give the foundations a miss! It's a really girly, pretty range, which looks lovely on your dressing table and the products work too!

Star Rating:

4.5/5

A Review: Anatomicals

Anatomicals - we only want you for your body
The Sleek Shall Inherit The Earth [Conditioner]

I was sent this Anatomicals product to try out and review a few weeks ago now, but I've been mad busy and simply haven't had time to sit down a write this!

Oddly enough, on the same day that I was contacted by a PR company regarding this product, I had picked up an Anatomicals mini kit, called the Camper Pamper Kit (I was going camping!), but before that I had never actually heard of the brand. As you can see above, the Anatomicals tag line is "we only want you for your body", which made me smile immediately!

The Anatomicals website says this about the product:

"in Religious Education at school, we all learnt that it was the meek who would inherit the earth. well, fat lot those and any teachers knew. it’s really the vain and self -obsessed about their hair who will inherit the earth. obviously, no RE teacher was, and is, ever going to know that. we mean have you seen their hair? bird’s nest would be a compliment. so the upshot is, use this conditioner and the whole planet is yours"

Now, I personally have nothing against RE teachers, and when I was at school everyone fancied the RE teacher, and as I remember she had fab hair...however, putting that aside I'll get on with the review!

What Do I Think?

I am really liking this brand! Anatomicals clearly put a lot of imagination and creativity into their products, which you can see in their amusing annotations and descriptions. The product itself (a conditioner) is pretty 'no thrills' I would say, and I didn't really notice and marked improvement in the 'sleekness' of my hair after using in, compared with my normal conditioner. I expect my conditioner to do just that, condition my hair, which equates to it being smoother and sleeker, so I wouldn't say this does anything really "wow"! It has a really nice fragrance, which is not too overpowering, and reading the bottle certainly gave me a few laughs! It is a nice product, and I'm definitely going to be checking out more from the brand.

How Much Will It Cost?

This product retails at £2.49 for 250ml

Where Is It Sold?

Anatomicals is available online via their website, and I have seen various products in various shops (for example, the Camper Pamper Kit was from a camping store). Apologies if I have missed out any particular sources.

Would I Recommend This?

If you are looking for a fun and funky brand then Anatomicals is up your street! If you want to have something to read and giggle at when in the bath or shower, the products always have funny annotations on the labels, so for entertainment and originality this brand is at number 1! The product itself did not particularly wow me, in comparison to larger sized drugstore haircare, but it's good enough and there is certainly nothing offensive about it at all! I would say overall I wouldn't purchase this product, but I would recommend the Anatomicals brand!

Star Rating:

3/5

Thursday, 21 May 2009

A Review: Illamasqua Pure Pigment [Furore]

Illamasqua Pure Pigment
Furore

Illamasqua is a fabulous high end make up brand, designed to let us explore our alter egos! I took this quote from their website because to me it sums up make up and what is can be perfectly: "Illamasqua is for the bolder person hiding inside all of us. It is an act and an attitude. A symbol of tolerance. A celebration of idiosyncrasies. A confident statement of self-ownership"

After my recent trip to Liverpool/Manchester I was properly introduced to Illamasqua by my good friend Jen, and although it is pretty expensive, their products are of superbly high quality, and their colour ranges are second to none! I was blown away to say the least! Like Jen, I am inspired by the brand and what it represents, and have not been at all disappointed with my purchases! My favourite product has to be the Pure Pigment, which I got in the shade Furore. It's a gorgeous orange/peachy colour, and is ever so finely milled. The only other form of pigment I have used is Barry M Dazzle Dusts, which are obviously a fraction of the price, and whilst they are of a reasonable quality, they simply do not compare to the likes of Illamasqua.

The Illamasqua website describes their pure pigments as follows:
"Made to be played with. A metallic, high-shine, pure-colour powder that highlights eyes, cheeks, lips and brows, or anywhere else you choose to accentuate. Mix with eye shadow, blusher, lipgloss or use it on its own to intense effect. Bring out your bold side"

What Do I Think?
I really do love this product! The packaging is really good quality, and I love the simple yet effective, stylish designs. The pigment comes in the same type of container as the other eyeshadows, and the lid acts as a stopper to prevent the pigment from spilling all over the place in storage. A little of this pigment goes a REALLY long way, so although I did initially wince a little at the price, I am now thinking it's pretty good value for money. The intensity of the colour, whether used alone or over a sticky base (I use their cream eyeshadow), is really impressive, and I have never found a colour quite like this either. I am loving how versatile these pigments are too...you can use them on the eyes, cheeks, lips...anywhere that tickles your fancy! This colour is prefect for a subtle sheen on the cheeks or browbones, or less sparingly on the eyelids. I can imagine mixing this with a neutral or clear lipgloss, or even something brighter, would give fantastic results...I'll have to give it a try! The staying power is seriously amazing too...I wore the pigment over the top of a cream eyeshadow (Exalt - also Illamasqua), and even after a very long day of shopping and travelling it hadn't budged, and it was only when I got home at 1.30am that signs of creasing appeared...I applied it at 9am!!!

What Else Is Available?

Illamasqua have an extensive range of products, take at look at their website here.

How Much Will It Cost?
The pigments retail for £15 for 1.3g

Where Is It Sold?

Illamasqua is currently available in the UK, in Selfridges - London & Manchester, Debenhams - Glasgow & Belfast, Fenwick - Newcastle, BT2 - Dublin. Their rollout of stores and locations is continuing, details of which can be found on the Illamasqua website.

Would I Recommend This?

100% yes! I really would recommend if you are looking for a one-of-a-kind colour, and impeccable quality, that you check out the Illamasqua range, especially the pigments. I genuinely love the brand and in particular this product, so much so that after a week of owning it, I felt compelled to share my thoughts with you!

Star Rating:

5/5

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Dyeing for a change...

***UPDATE***


...no I didn't spell dyeing wrong! Some of you may have seen from my Tweets today that I am toying with the idea of transforming myself (with the help of a salon!) from a blonde to a brunette! This may come as a surprise to those who know me personally, but I really need to make a positive change, something I can focus on and feel good about, with all this negativity looming around me. Hair is such an important aspect of ourselves; it's probably one of the first things we notice about someone. Given my recent hair distaste, I'm thinking making a change could be a very good thing indeed. The older I've become, the darker my natural colour gets, and my brows are pretty dark, so it wouldn't look too weird. A lot of the women I admire are brunettes, and I always long for their healthy, shiny looking locks.

I do have a couple of niggles about being too fair skinned for brown hair, missing the blonde (but I could always have some highlights, right?) and my clothes and make up not looking right, but I think they are small in comparison with my sudden desire for a big change!

So, what do you think peeps...shall I do it?

x x x