Monday, 6 July 2015

2 Years On : Do I Regret Going To Uni?

The TimeHop app. can be funny, nostalgic, embarrassing or, in my case this weekend, scary. On Saturday just gone, it was 2 years since I graduated from university. In some ways, it feels like a million years ago, like the idea of being a student is a distant memory from a past life while in others way, I still feel like at some point or other, I'll be going back after this massively extended Summer break to start another year of hungover lectures, finishing essays at 5am and spending more time in the library than at home. Truth is though, this isn't a break between years of university, and as I don't plan return to education, especially not in the near future, I guess you could say I'm a graduate. Yes, that's right, I am a graduate. Somebody awarded ME a degree. Crazy stuff, eh?

Like most creative industries, fashion relies for heavily on gullible young people willing to work their asses off for little or not pay and exploitive employers trying to pass it all off as invaluable experience. Because 'invaluable' and 'unpaid' are apparently interchangeable terms. I've done a few internships alongside uni or work, some paid, some not, but all of which I've enjoyed and learned from. However, I'm now 24, and I'm in no position financially to give up a permanent full time job to pursue unpaid temporary work and sadly fashion industry really doesn't cater to the likes of me, aspiring and hard working but realistic. It often weighs on my mind, had I not gone to uni, but instead spent that time making the most of being young, living the home and willing to work for free, I could be somewhere very different now. Part of me thinks 'yes, I should've done this, imagine what I could've been doing now' while another part thinks 'hell no, I'm worth more than being free labour, I'd rather an honest day's pay for an honest day's work '. Either way, I didn't do that, instead I choose to go to uni and in some ways, I regret it.

I've worked for the same retail brand since my first year in university. 18th November 2009 to me exact. At 24, it's quite rare to have been with a company for nearly 6 years. For the most part, I like my job, I've met a whole host of amazing, talented and hard working people, made some great life-long friends, learned a lot (career wise as well as just general life skills) and have just finished their management training programme. Having studied for a degree in Fashion Business, my job does pull on certain aspects of my degree although it's not a graduate job. However, having graduated two years now, I often wonder what'll be next for me. I love fashion and love retail, but I could've skipped the whole degree thing and would probably be much further ahead by now.

Another thing, a lot of people leave uni with a bunch of life long friends and loads of invaluable experiences that adult life just cannot give them in the same way that student life can. Me? I have a few friends from uni that I catch up with periodically, but none of them are close friends of mine above and beyond our time at uni. As for the majority of the life experiences I got under my belt for those 4 years of my life? They came from my social life, not from uni. During my time at university, especially during my final year, I had became so utterly sick off it all, and my mental health wasn't great. I was only continuing on with it all because it was so near to the finish line but retrospectively I now see how much it was all getting to me and how it would've been much healthier for my education and my mental health to just quit (or at least postpone) while I was ahead.

While I'm very proud of my degree and all the hard work that I put into getting it, it still haunts me a little that that period of my life wasn't spend as well as it could've been, to benefit me as a person or my career. I wouldn't say I wish I hadn't gone, cause perhaps it was going that made me realise how that I'd been better not having gone...


Friday, 3 July 2015

The No.7 Early Defence Range*

Did you know that No.7 is the most widely owned cosmetics brand in the UK? More than a third of all women own at least something by them. I've used a variety of their makeup and skincare for years, so when I was asked by the lovely people at No.7 if I'd be interested in trying out their new Early Defence skincare, of course I said yes! 




While I like to think that I still fit into the 'early twenties' category, truth is in less than a year, I will be a quarter of a century in age. I wouldn't normally be the target market for aging skincare, but those Gordon Ramsey lines on my forehead are becoming ever deeper and it's probably about time I started thinking about the old 'w' word - winkles. This range is perfect for that. Rather than your classic wrinkle smoothing creams, this is all about wrinkle prevention, stopping the little buggers in their tracks before they happen.

The range features 3 products, a day cream, a night cream (each 50ml - £19.50) and an eye cream (15ml - £13.50). The packaging is uninspiring but inoffensive - clean white, pewter and silver. I always prefer when creams come in pots rather than tubes as it's easier to control the amount you're applying and these little jars do the job just fine but aren't the type of thing you have beautifully presented on your dresser. The eye cream comes in a pointed tube, perfect fit precision application.




The creams themselves are white and opaque but melt into the skin quickly rather than sit on the surface like a lot of white, thicker creams do. The scent is clean with a slight 'planty' vibes - although it's not, I think this makes the product feel more natural. I wouldn't say I noticed a huge different in my skin in regardless to wrinkles, but I guess thats more of the long term thing for this type of skincare. I do however love that it's clean and cooling to apply and leaves my skin feeling plump and full, even the next day. Strangely though, I found the day cream to be thicker and more moisturising than the night cream which is unusual - I think if anything, they work better for the opposite time of day!

Personally, I was a little underwhelmed by the eyecream, it's not a bad product as such but I didn't find it as soothing and rejuvenating as I like an eyecream to be. Perhaps that's just me as I'm definitely one of those people that when I'm tired or worn down, it shows around my eyes.

Overall, I am really enjoying using the range, especially the day and night creams. In regards to wrinkles, I haven't noticed a huge different yet, although perhaps that's what can be expected of a wrinkle prevention cream. I think the range is a great all rounder, plumping, soothing and smoothing and at <£50 for all three products, it's great quality for the price.




Wednesday, 1 July 2015

OOTD

An outfit of the day...in July...involving boots? Surely not! Last Friday, I went out for lunch for my grans' 85th birthday. As it was June, we expected a nice sunny day and had planned to visit a lovely picturesque hotel in the countryside, but no, life in Scotland isn't that kind and instead, it poured down with rain all day long!



Dress - Primark
Jacket - Topshop 
Boots - Faith at Debenhams
Necklace - eBay
Bag - H&M

With a heat wave expected for the end of this week, I'm sincerely hoping I'll have no need for boots until at least September!


Monday, 29 June 2015

TV & Music Favourites

As much as I love writing and reading favourites posts, I've been loving so many beauty products recently that if I did a beauty favourites, we'd be here all might, so I thought I'd do something a bit different - here's some of the TV, music and movies I've been loving recently!



Do you ever listen to a cover of a song so often that when you actually hear the original, it doesn't sound quite right? That's what's happened for me with Jessie Ware's Live Lounge cover of Nick Jonas's 'Jealous' - totally different from the cheesy pop guilty pleasure original, Jessie's version is so chilled and mellow - watch/listen here

Next, it's no surprise that I'm a huge Killers fan so when Brandon Flowers new album 'The Desired Effect' was realised earlier this month, I hot tailed it down to HMV to get my first physical CD in years. I much prefer this to this first solo album 'Flamingo' but maybe it's just because it sounds just like the Killers. While we're on the topic of the Killers (I could go all day!) they recently did a live cover of Kings of Leon's 'The Bucket' - watch the union of two amazing bands here

Finally, a little controversially, I can't NOT mention Glastonbury, most specifically Florence & The Machine's headline set. I first saw Florence live back in...2006 I think, supporting Kate Nash in a half-empty 200 capacity venue and now, she's headlining one of the biggest festivals in the world, I'm so proud of her! Don't get me wrong, I'm sure the Foo's would've been incredible too, but there's nothing quite like Florence's voice. Amazing! 



Hardly something new and revolutionary in the realms of TV but I've been rewatching the comedy gold that is Peep Show on Netflix and it's just as amazing the second (or, you know, twelfth) time around. If you've never watched it, or even if you have, I can't recommend it highly enough, it's such an underrated programme that really deserves to be up there (if not higher) than other British comedy classics like The Office. 

Lastly, again I'm late to the party, but I've been watching season 3 of Suits as it's finally on Netflix. I know season 5 is about to start in the UK so I've got a lot of catching up to do but I'm just glad that Mike and Harvey are back in my life. As a series, it's starting now to get more complex and some of the smaller characters are beginning to develop. If you like drama, wit and very attractive men in Suits, fire up your Netflix.

What have you been watching and listening to recently? I love discovering new and lesser known artists and shows so do share if you've discovered anything amazing!




Friday, 19 June 2015

The No.7 Beautiful Eyebrow Pencil

Hi all. Like a lot of beauty bloggers, I love my eyebrows. Having always had very fine and faint brows myself, grooming them, shaping them, tweeting them and finding new and exciting ways to create the brows I was never lucky to have naturally is definitely my beauty obsession. It's by far the favourite part of doing my makeup and really makes me feel ready to take on the day ahead. 



For more than a year now, I've been using a brow brush (the MAC 208) with powder eyeshadow (MAC's 'Brun') to fill them in. Started my brow journey with the Rimmel brow pencil as most of us do, I loved the precision of a brush and I found it much easier to control. When I made the pencil to brush switch, I swore I would never use a pencil again. I didn't realise it at the time, but it's the crumbly texture and the orangey colour of the Rimmel brow pencil specifically which had put me off pencils, so it was a surprise to even myself when I recently picked up No.7's Beautiful Eyebrow Pencil (£7.99). I don't know why I did it, I was just feeling fed up with my brows and was longing for something new. 

The colour is this is so much better for me. The shade is called 'Black' but it's not, it's clearly a dark brown. Although my hair is a reddish brown, I much prefer a cooler toned eyebrow product as it's too much for me to have unnatural hair and brow colours matching. This pencil is much more of a grey-toned brown which is great and the formula itself is much smoother and easier to draw in individual hairs with.

I also love that it comes with a spooly at one end. My natural brows and my filled in brows are two entirely different things so I need a spooly to brush my natural brows up to create my desired arch. It's so handy having brow product and spooly all in one!

While I do still love my powder and brush, I'm really into using a pencil to create the basic shape of the arch, as it's much more precise and then filling in the rest with the brush. After discovering this product. I now feel bad for ever doubting pencils. I am truly in love with this combination! 



Wednesday, 17 June 2015

OOTD

When I started my blog nearly 4 years ago now, it was a fashion blog. I didn't have much interest in writing about beauty or lifestyle, not regularly anyway, but I guess a lot has changed. For one thing, I'm no longer a fashion student. I work full time, I wear head to toe black 5 out of every 7 days so the opportunity to express myself through fashion is unfortunately not as frequent any more.

Don't get me wrong, I love beauty and lifestyle blogging and am very happy with the way my blog is going at the moment, it can cover everything from arguably superficial stuff like make-up to serious issues like mental health and politics in the space of just a few days. 

However, I was shocked to discover the other day that I hadn't posted an OOTD post since December. 6 months. This just isn't good enough, I've got a check to call myself a fashion blogger. I've decided it's time for a change so without further ado, here's my first OOTD in 2015. In June. Fashion blogger fail.




TOP - H&M
JEANS - H&M
BAG - PIED DE TERRE AT HOUSE OF FRASER
SANDALS - PRIMARK
NECKLACE - FOREVER 21
SUNGLASSES - CAMDEN MARKET

Last week, the sun was out, the skies were blue and I had a day all to myself. I love spending time with my friends and family but I'm also not ashamed to admit that I like a little alone time every now and them and what better way to do that than to head to the park and relax by the river with a good book and an ice cold smoothie while soaking up some rays?

It doesn't get said often, but Glasgow is truly a beautiful place. This little spot down by the river is less than 10 minutes from my house, buried deep beneath the city. Sometimes it just takes a little sunshine to bring out the best in places...





Sunday, 14 June 2015

Lessons From An All-Girls Catholic School

Being a teenage girl isn't easy. Getting good grades, making informed decisions about your future, being cool, sexy etc. it's hard work. Doing all this without the gender balance of teenage boys is questionably even harder. Here's some of the lessons that 6 years of all girls education taught me...

Sexuality, shexuality!
Believe it or not, I'm not gay just because I went to an all girls school. It seems absolutely absurd to me that people seriously think that, aged 11, girls would decide 'I'm gay, I'm going to send myself to an all-girls high school to try and score myself a future missus.' Um...no, I'm sorry to burst the bubble but it doesn't quite work that way. I went to the primary school (which was mixed) so naturally it only made sense to then go into the high school. Plus it's one of the best state schools in Scotland in terms of exam results and the closest to our house, so why would I? 


Girls Are Bitches, Boys Are Bitches, Everyone's A Bitch, Life's A Bitch
You'd expect all girls schools to be bitchy, right? Because females are inherently bitchy and males aren't, right? HA! Dream on. Bitchiness was rife at my school, put any group of hormonally charged, insecure teenagers in a confined space, throw in the pressure of exams and making decisions about your futures as well as the usual teen worries of sex, body image and being 'cool' and it's no surprise that there's bitchiness. But I don't believe that's down to our gender. All genders bitch, it's natural. For the most part though, there wasn't many arguments or physical fights at my school, nothing compared to how I've heard other schools were, but hey, that's Glasgow I guess!

Most of my classmates were and still are confident and loud and if they had a problem, it would get discussed face to face (or via notes getting passed in class) instead of behind peoples' backs. Swimming for six years in a sea of girls makes you ballsy and opinionated and hard to shut up. We never had to fight for male approval so we learned that we could think and say as we wanted and wouldn't be silenced by our male counterparts. 

Feminist Ideal? Feminist Reality
By it's truest definition, I've probably been a feminist since my early teens. Then though, it didn't ever strike me as feminism. Being a female in a female focussed environment whereby we were encouraged and supported in our aspirations and dreams, it was alien to me that that wasn't the norm. Retrospectively, that was a great way to be educated because the idea that women should have the same opportunities as men should be natural and unquestioned. It wasn't until after I finished high school that I got properly into feminism and discovered that how I'd always thought wasn't as natural to everybody as it seems to be to me and my classmates. 

In an environment whereby gender was never made an issue of, inequality in gender rights and responsibilities was never much made an issue of either. We were all female and we were all equal. I can't imagine how different a person I'd be today and how different my outlooks on feminism would be had I had to struggle with gender inequalities in my education.

You Can Never Be Too Open Minded
Being educated in a very religious environment was certainly...an experience. We said prayers at assemblies and had crosses and paintings of the Virgin Mary were round every corner. However, being single sex, there was a high proportion of Muslim students too. Personally I'm not religious, nor have I ever really been. I don't know why that is, but I think is anything, being around religion so much made me keen to question things. Why should I believe in this magical man in the sky? The repression of religious made me feel suffocated and as I result, I'd say I'm now a very open minded person. It's fine to be any gender, race, religion, sexuality, colour, shape, whatever, just as long as you're a nicer person.


Two of my oldest friends, two of just a small group of people from high school who I ever still see or speak to!
Side note - what on Earth was I thinking with that fringe?

Independence is key
The running joke that girls don't don't anything alone, the most cliche example would be going to the loo. Women travel in packs, or so I've heard. As a child or teenager, I was never really one to stray away from the crowd. I craved normality, I didn't want to be any different from everyone else. However, being educated in such a script environment made me realise the importance of individuality and independence. We don't all have to be well mannered, well behaved and well  presented in our clone-like uniforms. In fact, it's better that we're not all the same.

I can count on one hand the people from school that I still speak to in real life and quite honestly I don't really regret not keeping up with more classmates. We were friends then but if we were meant to be friends in adult life, we would be. School creates the illusion that seeing our friends every single day is a good thing, while in reality, I'm not sure it is. It's the intensity of these teenage friendships that make them so fragile and probably plays a big factor in why a lot of us don't keep up with our school friends. The majority of my friends these days are from uni or work or other random places and I think for the most part, not seeing them every since day is probably best. Maybe I'm just a recluse, but at least I'm an independent recluse!

It's Nice To Be Important, But It's More Important To Be Nice
It wasn't til the end of high school and life following it that I realised that the high school movie stereotype of the cool kids actually exists. Schools in Britain have that? Who knew! This really came as a shock to me. Sure, there was a bit of name calling now and then, but there definitely wasn't the silence descending as the cool kids entered the lunch room, strutting like a runway model to the popular table as all the less being stared in awe and jealous.

I'm not saying everything was always harmonious at my school but for the most part, people either got along as much as they needed to or stayed out of each other's way. That's the best way to be in life I've found. You do you, let them do them.