ALBUMS I CAN'T STOP LISTENING TO

13 Jul 2019


I feel like we all like to recommend new music to people; whether it's something completely different to what they are used to or something you think they'd like as it has a familiar sound to their other favourites. Here, I thought I'd share with you five albums that are not only great for the summer but suitable for different music tastes. Hopefully, you'll discover a new album or artist that you haven't given a listen to before. 

Jeremy Zucker // Motions

Jeremy Zucker has a chilled tone that I have loved to have in the background while I clean, work or read. The album Motions includes tracks that make the perfect late night playlist.  While it was released back in 2017, it’s only a recent discovery for me along with his more recent tracks that I’ve also been loving. If you’re looking for an artist to add to your late night, chilled playlist, Motions is the perfect album for that.

Favourite Tracks: Heavy, Idk Love & Stay Quiet

LAUV // I met you when I was 18

Like with Jeremy Zucker, LAUV’s album is perfect to have on in the background and enjoy. This album has a mixture of slower songs that I enjoy the most, as well as some more upbeat tracks like Chasing Fire that are great for the summer and long car journeys.  It’s the album that I can have on while I’m tidying and I’ll soon catch myself bobbing and even singing along to. 

Favourite Tracks: Never Not, The Story Never Ends, Chasing Fire

BTS // Map of The Soul: Persona

I’ve already mentioned this album in my last “READ, WATCH, LISTEN“. Since that post, I actually saw BTS live and since then, I’ve not stopped listening to this album. It doesn’t matter that it’s by Korean artists and spoken in Korean; the songs are still super catchy and I don’t see myself stopping listening to this anytime soon!


Favourite Tracks: Intro: Persona, Home & Mikrokosmos

Khalid // Free Spirit

Since his last album, I haven’t stopped listening to Khalid. He was in my top 5 most played artists on Spotify last year and a lot of that was down to it being the perfect album to listen to while revising. While I know most people can’t work with music on, it was never too distracting and was just a nice chilled album to have on in the background. His new album Free Spirit I treated in a similar way, but with a few more upbeat tracks, they also made the perfect summer songs to play when with friends or for a good sing-along in the shower!

Favourite Tracks: Intro, Right Back & Bad Luck

Loyle Carner // Not Waving, But Drowning

While you might be thinking my picks so far are chilled, this one tops them all. Loyle Carner was introduced by my housemate (thanks Ben) and, with his most recent album, I haven’t stopped listening to. It reminds me of Frank Ocean’s Album Blonde with a mix of music and filler talking tracks.  It’s the perfect album to enjoy in the evenings while I’m reading or just taking some time for myself. I love how it’s like a story; start from the beginning and listen to the end. Also with a track featuring Sampha, of course, I’m going to love it! It’s definitely one I recommend giving a listen. Loyle Carner just released some tour dates so I am highly considering seeing him live soon. 

Favourite Tracks: Krispy, Ottolenghi, Desoleil (Brilliant Corners)


What are your current favourite albums? Leave me some of your own recommendations!

Hope you're doing great, 
Sarah x 

MY SUMMER BEAUTY PICKS

8 Jul 2019


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With the transition into summer well underway, I thought it was time I shared some of the products I have been reaching for on the warmer, sunnier days to help my skin glow and feel summer-ready. I have been choosing, as always, to opt for a lighter base and focussing a little more on my skin and body care to help me achieve a natural glow. 


 BODY CARE 


As the weather picks up, more skin tends to be on show and so I like to make sure that my skin is well protected and well moisturised to help me feel a little more confident in my skin. 

This has been really great to apply to my legs before shaving, to get rid of any flaky dead skin and start with a fresh smooth base for any shaving products, moisturisers and tan. I've also been applying this to the tops of my arms. I have a very common skin condition called Keratosis Pilaris where the use of harsh exfoliants can only make it worse. However, every so often a little more exfoliation is nice and, with this scrub, it leaves my arms feeling lovely and smooth. 

This is probably one of my current beauty obsessions. Gone are days that I can be bothered to fake tan and have to deal with the patchy consequences when it all goes wrong. After picking this up in HomeSense a month ago, I have been absolutely loving applying this. Unlike other tanning lotions or fake tans, this is a really hydrating tinted lotion that not only smells amazing but leaves my skin feeling so smooth and soft. Application has also been a breeze; by applying in circular motions and making sure I wash my hands thoroughly after, I've had no mishaps in the forms of patches or streaks. Even after a shower or two and no reapplication, I can still see the subtle tan and glow it gives. With small shimmer reflexes, as well as almost a blurring effect, I'm really loving this product right now. 



It's warm and muggy. The last thing you want to be doing is hanging around waiting for your body lotion to dry. This is where this fabulous spray-on lotion comes in handy. There was quite the hype around these a few years back and I still haven't stopped enjoying this product on days I need to moisturise but don't want to wait forever for it to dry. This Spray on lotion from Superdrug is super affordable and has lasted me for ages and so I feel it's a great addition to your summer body care as well as being a great product to take on your travels. 

SKINCARE


For me, skin care in summer is probably the most important. I don't like to have a face full of makeup in the heat and so, if I can get my skin in a place where I am happy to not wear makeup, then that would be amazing. At the moment, I have been opting for products that promote skin glow as well as hydration. 

You may have seen this in my 3 TRANSITIONAL SKINCARE STAPLES and, while we have transitioned into the hotter climates, this is still making its way into my skincare routine. As the summer weather can be muggy and the air is highly polluted, I find this a great non-harsh exfoliator to remove any impurities. Also with vitamin C, it's promoting your skin's healthy glow which, if you haven't caught onto the theme yet, is perfect for the summer. 

In winter, this was great for hydration and now into summer, it's also great for that added glow. After I apply this, I automatically feel my skin is in better condition and that I don't need to wear makeup. It is such a simple oil that I am really enjoying using. Applied morning and night, I really feel the benefits under my make up during the day or in the morning after applying the night before. 


MAKEUP

Like I said, I tend to put down the makeup brush and pick up a good cleanser in the warmer months. However, on days where I need a little something, I love using these two products especially.

I've already shared my love for this on multiple occasions including my MINIMALIST SUMMER MAKEUP post the other month. Since wanting to branch out from using my The Body Shop BB Cream, this has been a great alternative. It helps give my skin a natural glow as well as the colour and enough coverage I want in my base before applying concealer. I definitely recommend this if you are looking for a lightweight base that doesn't require constant attention throughout the day. 


NYX illuminator
This acts as a 2-in-1 blush and highlight for me. With quite chunky gold reflexes, I don't go too heavy handed with this. However, for every day, a little applied to my cheeks and cheekbones adds a little flush of colour as well as adding to that glowing look. It has such a pretty and natural orange/coral colour that I find it really flattering especially for a summery look. This seems to be discontinued but the old favourite Sleek Rose Gold Blush* is a good alternative. 

So there is a breakdown of some products that I reach for in summer and that I am currently loving in this warmer weather. 

Are there any products you find yourself loving in the summer months? Leave your recommendations!
Hope you're doing great, 
Sarah x

My Relationship With My Body

1 Jul 2019


One's relationship with their own confidence tends to be a rocky one; you can go from loving yourself to not even being able to stand the sight of yourself in a short space of time. Since I remember, I have struggled to accept how I look and be happy with what I see in the mirror. But... this is slowly changing. 

Back in 2017, I wrote a post called "Is it right I feel confident?". This was more about society's ideas with body confidence and how it can really stop someone like me from being happy with how they look. People aren't nice to those who aren't considered "pretty" in high school and, while at the time the validation of others seems like all that's needed to cure my unhealthy relationship with my body, I now realise the only validation I need is my own. But I guess, for a 14-year-old, that's hard to understand. 

Back in high school in the peak of the summer terms, I would always still be wearing tights even in the scorching UK sun. PE was my least favourite subject. Not because of the physical element which I actually loved it was the ordeal of getting changed. I never had my bare legs out, would forever cover my arms like they were something to hide, something to be ashamed of. Back then I was unhappy and unconfident with how I looked. I would buy size 16/18 clothes when I was actually a size 12 because I thought I was bigger than I really was. I was never small but how I saw myself was not the reality of it. 

My relationship with my body intertwined with my relationship to food. I hated to be seen eating in front of people; shamed to be judged about what I was eating and so would choose to eat in the toilets at points (disgusting, I know). At the end of high school, things weren't all that fabulous. 

Flashforward to the first year of university. I'd grown in confidence through sixth form in speaking openly with new people but my body confidence was still not all there. However, throughout the three years at university, I think it has what has really driven a change in how I perceive myself. 

I'd say my first big body confidence accomplishment was summer ball in the first year. For the first time in years, I left the house without a jacket or anything to cover my arms. I felt good at with I was wearing and wasn't worried about people looking at me. This one small spark of confidence was the first step in me gaining a whole new lease of self-confidence.




While the next two years I still covered up and was never really happy in what I was wearing or how I looked, the days that I could stop and look in the mirror became more frequent. My relationship with food changed; I was eating healthier, not worried about people judging what I ate and I enjoyed trying new foods and more vegetarian meals. Over the years, my weight has fluctuated; I lost weight in the first year only to put it back on in second and, while it hurt to know, going into the third year I was happier within myself without looking at the number on the scales. I started to exercise more again; not a lot but still more than I was which definitely made me happier.

With summer approaching, I feel like I am in a good place to be confident with not having to cover up on the warmer days. While there will be times that I don't feel confident and will feel how I used to feel, the more days I have felt positive in my body, the better. 

It's been a long journey but I'm so happy to share with you that things are finally looking positive with my body confidence. There was a time where mirrors were the enemy- I couldn't look in one without finding a flaw. Now, I can look at it, happy with my reflection. 

I've still got a way to go before I'm truly confident with my body but I'm definitely on the right path to having a happy and healthy relationship with how I see myself.



Hope you're doing great, 
Sarah x

What Makes Beauty Products Ethical & Sustainable?

10 Jun 2019




As much as I would like to consider myself knowledgeable in the world of sustainable and ethical beauty and have previously posted about how to be sustainable on a budget, there are definitely some areas I am less knowledgeable of. Today, I called upon my friends at Sustainable Jungle to bring together a short guide to ethical and sustainable beauty, including how to avoid Green Washing.

Who doesn't love a good mascara, a beautiful scent, a nourishing moisturiser or a functional deodorant? The good news is that we as consumers of these products can use the power of what we purchase to really make a positive impact on both the people involved in making them and, of course, the planet. 

How exactly can we make sure that the beauty products we are consuming are truely as ethical and sustainable as possible? How do we avoid falling victim to greenwashing in an area that is especially ripe for smart and tactical marketing?

there are a few things to consider. We think a useful way to think about this is from the very start of the product's life (i.e. the ingredients), all the way along the manufacturing and testing process and, ultimately, its packaging and end of life story. We've come up with the following key attributes we use as a framework when looking for the most ethical and sustainable brands and products on the market.

Ethical Sourcing

Ethical sourcing is a very broad term, we tend to use it in the context of impact on human life in terms of what's going on in a brand's supply chain, if they pay fair prices for material and goods, and whether their suppliers are committed to a positive environment and social impact while providing safe working conditions for all that work.

Vegan & Palm Oil Free

Separately, we look for products with ingredients that don't have a negative implication for our planet. We tend to focus on animal rights and biodiversity loss: products that are vegan (i.e. contain no animal products whatsoever- even if you are not vegan, you just simply don't need crushed insects in your lipstick, which a real thing) and palm oil free because while it's a complicated issue, the reality is that palm oil is devastating forests and jungles that are critical to biodiversity.

Ingredient Quality

Similarly, we look for products with ingredients that are high quality and non-toxic- ideally, these will be organically farmed, all natural ingredients containing no GMOs, manufactured herbicides, artificial fertilizers, artificial or synthetic colours, preservatives or chemicals. This one is super difficult to find a key problem area for greenwashing, especially in the case of cosmetics.

Cruelty-free

This is probably the attribute you are most familiar and thankfully, the cruelty-free movement has done an excellent job of forcing a number of brands to stop the cruel practice of testing cosmetics and personal care products on beagles, bunnies and other animals- a practice that we will no doubt look back on in 50 years' time as utterly barbaric.

Thoughtful Packaging

Increasingly we are looking for brands and products that cater to zero waste lifestyles and have a very clear end of life story- i.e. there is a way to responsibly reuse (through send-back programs) or compost the packaging. This is not always available to everyone everywhere so, at the very least, packaging should be recyclable.

Forward Thinking Business Practices and Charitable Giving

Finally, we love to find brands that have thought beyond just the product themselves, for example, may be powered by renewable energy, have an entirely plastic-free delivery process or have a community garden for their employees. Many ethical and sustainable brands out there also prioritise giving back to their communities through charitable giving programs.


While this framework is not entirely perfect, we find it a useful way to minimise our risk of doing damage and to support brands and small businesses out there that are doing the right thing and creating products that align with our own values.


If you want to learn more about this topic in detail, Joy and Lyall of Sustainable Jungle have gone into more detail in this article that is worth the read. Their site is also a great place to learn more about sustainable products and brands. You may also see a post by me crop up on their website in the near future.

We hope you find use in it too and we'd love to hear your ideas, thoughts, comments or questions on this thinking!

Hope you're doing great, 
Sarah x 



GRWM: BTS CONCERT EDITION

6 Jun 2019

*AD: This post contains affiliate links but all opinions, as always, remain my own*



Here's the rundown of the make-up and the outfit I wore for the sold-out Wembley "Speak Yourself" concert as well as my bag essentials. 

It was just last Saturday that I was at the BTS "Speak Yourself" concert at Wembley Stadium. This happened to be a very hot and humid day in London and so spending hours outside called for some makeup that could withstand both the heat and the time. I also wanted a simple outfit that was perfect for the weather and wasn't too much fuss. Honestly, there's not many new products included in this post but just some old favourites that always do the job. Today, I thought I'd share with you how I got ready and what I packed for the concert. 

THE MAKEUP

For my base, I opted for The Body Shop Vitamin E day cream and the Barry M Primer. Together, these made a hydrated and smooth base to apply my Kat Von D Lock It Foundation. This foundation is on its last legs but it's always been the best option for days that I need my makeup to last longer and want a little more coverage. I applied my Revolution Concealer and my eyebrow powder as usual as well as bronzing with my favourite Natural Collection Bronzer. For extra highlight, I stole my sister's Estate Highlighter which I am definitely going to be buying myself; it had such a good sheen and glow and is only $10. 

As much as I had planned to rock some bright pink eye shadow, I did not trust it to withstand the weather so, I instead applied some of my bronzer and highlighter on my lid to just add a little colour. 
I then finished my make up by setting it in place with my One Heck Of A Blot Powder, applied my Barry M Waterproof Mascara (which was a very good choice) and then simply layered on some lip balm to protect my lips from the sun. 

As I said, I wanted my make up to be simple yet lasting and I think this did the trick.

THE OUTFIT

My choice of outfit changed quite a lot as the weather was so unpredictable. However, as it turned out to be such a warm day, I settled for a Plain White Cotton Tee from New Look and an old favourite of my Pink Primark shift Dress. I paired this with my staple black converse as I knew they wouldn't let me down and would be comfortable to wear for the whole day. 

For accessories, I wore my usual Whale tail necklace that I never take off and my current favourite Oliver Bonas Heart Contour Earrings. And, I'd like to give a thank you to my friend Hila for kindly gifting me the BT21 Koya Headband; a BTS concert look will never be complete without them! 

THE BAG ESSENTIALS

Glasses
It may not look the best with your outfit but, if you're anything like me, they are essential to make sure you see everything. You'll regret missing anything later if you had to squint throughout the show. 

Tickets
Don't roll your eyes at how simple this is. It happens to the best of us, so make sure you have them with you to prevent you from having to panic and run home to pick them up. 

Waterbottle
I can only speak for how it works at Wembley Stadium but I was so glad to find that you could take your own bottle in and refill it at certain first aid points around the stadium. Especially in the heat, I was so glad I had this as well as glad I didn't have to pay for an overpriced bottle of water. 

Phone
By this, I mean a phone that specifically has a lot of free storage for all the photos you may wish to take. Honestly, this time around, I didn't really take many photos and I don't really regret it. I actually really enjoyed myself not watching it through my phone screen. Of course, if you want to take some photos and videos to look back on later and wish you were still there, then make sure you've got the storage ready!

Portable Charger
Having a phone with battery life as bad as mine, I would have been lost without this. It's good to make sure you keep your phone topped up with charge so you can take all your photos, contact anyone you need to and get home easily, especially if your travel involved any trains and public transport. 

THE CONCERT

While I've said before that BTS is not my usual type of music I listen to, over the past couple of years they've become one of my most played artists so I was excited to finally see them live. The tickets were probably the most expensive one I ever have bought (and will ever buy) but I think it was worth every penny. It wasn't just a concert but a show that had you smiling and laughing the whole way through. I thought I'd share a few photos I took from the day but if you want to see some more as well as some videos, check out my latest Instagram post and June Highlights on my feed. 



So there's everything I wore and took to my most recent concert. I'd love to know what you think. Are there any concert essentials I missed off? 

Hope you're doing great, 
Sarah x 

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