A PAY DAY WISHLIST

21 Oct 2017

While working can be tiring, it does have it's perks when you have a bit of extra money to spend it on yourself. Here's what I've been eyeing up to spend my wages on this month. 


I don't know about you, but my email is constantly congested with newsletters from online retailers. Usually, I delete them before I even have the chance to look but I stumbled across a New Look email that included these Black Spot Frill Hem Cropped Trousers. I have similar pants to this and they're great to chuck on for my 9am lectures- comfy but still looking like I've made some effort. 

If you know me, you'll know I'm quite obsessed with anything slightly mustard. So when I saw someone at uni in a mustard scarf, I had to hunt one down. When I  was browsing New Look for the trousers, I thought I'd see if they had something similar and they did. This Yellow Ribbed Knit Scarf is exactly what I wanted now that'll be great for the coming winter months. 

Linking to keeping warm, I'm after a travel mug. As much as I love the porcelain ones from places like Cath Kidston, I wanted something that didn't matter if it was thrown in my bag when I was in a rush. It was when I was browsing Lizz's blog "ETHICAL EVOLUTION" when I saw her post on her Zero Waste Goals which featured an Ecoffee mug. I love her idea behind this purchase so I think I'm going to pick one up myself off amazon. They have some really nice patterns but I particularly like the blue floral one above. 

I sadly haven't had much time for anything other than my job and uni work but a new book will always spur me on to take some time out of my day for myself. I'm tempted this month to pick up The Power by Naomi Alderman. The premise sounds like an interesting one and so I think it would be one that would be good for my next read. 

Stranger Things Season 2 is due to be released very soon. In honour of that, Topshop have released some Stranger Things T-shirts among other things related to this release. I'm very tempted by a few of the t-shirts. For £20, I think that's fairly reasonable for a Topshop t-shirt so maybe I'll look into it soon as I think they'll be selling out quite quickly. 

If I was really going to splash the cash this payday, I'd finally get the Kanken Backpack in Ox Red that I've been eyeing up for far too long. £75 just seems like a price I can't easily justify but still I look at this bag every pay day. Maybe next pay day, who knows?

So here are just a few things I've been looking at buying this pay day. Do you have any favourites you think I should look into buying? 
This post is a little different to the usual thing but if you like this kind of thing, let me know!
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah X

YORK FOOD AND DRINK FESTIVAL

30 Sep 2017


Read about my day out in York and the great food I had. 


If you didn't know already, I'm now in my second year of university at the University of York. It's freshers week at the moment so first years are now roaming about finding their feet. Some of my house and I decide to try and escape the on-campus madness and head into the centre. York Food & Drink Festival is currently on and so we decided to have a look around and eat way too much food. 

I decided to try something different. While a lot of the festival food seemed to be big burgers and meat, I found, not actually at the festival but on the markets a new little company selling vegetarian curries. I went for the Red Lentil Dal and Bombay potatoes. Taking pictures of food isn't really my forte and so I didn't manage to get one before I was eating it.
You'll have to take my word for it when I say I really enjoyed it; the potatoes were lovely and the curry, being something I hadn't tried before, was really nice to eat with the bit of bread that came with it. I wish I had some rice to go with the rest of the curry because it was really tasty and I think I'll be trying to remake this curry myself soon.  

We then spotted a cute little truck selling crepes and so my friend and I decided to go halves on one and we were so glad we did. It was white chocolate, Nutella and strawberries and it was delicious! It was a messy affair but really nice all the same. We struggled to finish it we were so full. 

We headed back into the main strip of the food and drink festival; while only small, there was a lot on offer. Some of the stalls looked so inviting I couldn't not at least take a picture. I liked the way local businesses had come together to offer some great food that you could tell everyone was loving. It was such a lovely atmosphere that reminded me of the York Christmas markets which I'll be definitely heading back to later this year. 

I hope you enjoyed this little day account and the photos along side it. Let me know if you'd like to hear more about what goes on in York in future posts. 

Hope you're doing great,
Sarah X

CURRENT MUSIC FAVES

27 Sep 2017

I thought it was time I share with you some more of my favourite artists and bands at the moment. 

VANT 
This is a band that’s a bit heavier than what I’m used to but they quickly have become a band I listen to on the daily.  Their song "Birth Certificate" reminds me of the type of song you hear at the start of a 90s chic flick and I don’t have a problem with that at all. If any of you are to know one of their songs, it’s Karma Seeker; a little slower than some of their other songs but still a great one to belt out and sing along to. Some band’s music is made to be performed live and VANT are definitely in that category and that’s why I’m so excited to see them live in the coming months. 

My top picks: Karma Seeker, Do you know me?, Birth certificate & Mess Around

NOTHING BUT THIEVES 

I saw them over the summer at Community Festival in London, their new album was released and now I’m looking forward to seeing them again in November. Like VANT, they may be a little heavy for some, but you can’t deny how amazing they are with their lyrics and performing live. I’m yet to give their new album “Broken Machine” a really good listen but, from what I’ve heard so far, I already love it!

My top picks: Amsterdam, Ban All the Music, Itch & If I Get High

LEWIS CAPALDI


If you like something a little slow, I’d give Lewis Capaldi a listen. Sadly, he only has two songs on Spotify for me to enjoy but they are two beautifully written and beautifully played songs. With great lyrics and a unique sound, I don’t know anyone who could deny Lewis’ talent. He’s already done so well and I can’t wait to hear more from him, hopefully, soon. 

My top picks: Bruises & Lost On You

JORDAN MCKAMPA

You may have seen, if you follow me on twitter, that I’m loving Jordan McKampa at the moment. After first hearing him at a Lewis Watson gig earlier this year which he supported (Read about the gig here if you’re interested), I haven't stopped listening. Jordan Mckampa’s voice had kept me company on many train and bus journeys this summer and I’ve grown a fairly big fan of his over the past year. His singer-songwriter vibes added with the Matt Corby feel he brings to a song are just what I like. Jordan is one I want to see live again in the future. 

Top picks: Saint, Midnight & Teardrops in the Hurricane


HARRY STYLES

I’ll admit it, I was, and still am, a bit of a 1D fan (you’ve got to admit some of their songs were catchy!). Harry’s own music was the one I was most looking forward to and it’s the one one that really interests me. I would suggest giving his new record a listen even if you already have biased ideas of the ex-1D member. His sound is a great one and even sounding like Bowie in parts- you might be surprised! It’s such a good mix of slow melancholic sounds with more rock tracks that I think make a great all-around record. 

My top picks: Sweet Creature, Two Ghosts, Kiwi & From the Dining Table. 

CORELLA

Another recent discovery  are this great band. They were another favourite over the summer and I give at least one song a listen daily. They haven’t released as many songs as I would like but everything I hear makes me want to see them live! I can't really say much more other than give them a listen. 


My top picks: Barcelona Girl, Fever & See the Day

If you've heard of any of these bands and artists before I'd love to know what you think of them. Are there any mentioned that you've not heard of an might check out?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

SKINCARE ON TRIAL + MINI REVIEWS

24 Sep 2017




After buying and testing a few new skincare products recently, I thought I'd share my thoughts with you. 

SUPERDRUG NATURALLY RADIANT HOT CLOTH CLEANSER 

After hearing comparisons to the Liz Earle Cleanser which isn't exactly in my price range, I thought I'd pick this up. This has made my skin feel smoother and hasn't caused any breakouts. While I wouldn't say it's one for helping breakouts, it has kept my spots at bay and I haven't had any major problems even around the time of the month. This feels like a much more luxurious product than what I'm paying for and so I definitely feel I'm getting my money's worth with it and it's one I'd recommend for anyone.

SUPERDRUG NATURALLY RADIANT DAY CREAM FOR NORMAL/DRY SKIN

What I liked, straight off the bat, was in the shop they had the type I picked up but also a variation for normal/oily skin which is great to see they're covering all bases. Being paired with or without the cleanser, this a fabulous and affordable daily moisturiser that creates a great, hydrated base for my make-up. It reminds me of old moisturisers I'd reach for such as the Olay moisturiser or the Nivea moisturiser for dry skin; I'm happy I've finally found a cruelty-free moisturiser that works as well, if not better, than one's I've used in the past. While the smell is a strong one, it doesn't have an effect on my skin's sensitivity and isn't a smell I hate. This is definitely one I'll buy again as being another inexpensive product almost feels luxury on the skin. 

THE ORDINARY AZELIAC ACID SUSPENSION 10%

This claims to brighten the skin as the main aim for this product however it was my friend who had heard it made a good primer. Sadly, this has been my least favourite of the products mentioned in this post. While I can see why it would make a good primer and does leave my skin feeling smooth, it almost feels chalky in texture once dries as well as dehydrated and tight. This isn't one I'll be buying again but I'll still make sure I get my use out of it and I'd suggest maybe giving it ago if you have a more oily skin type. 

THE ORDINARY HIGH-ADHERENCE SILICONE PRIMER

The word silicone around beauty is something that would usually make me run a mile. It gives me flashbacks of failed primers that just dry and ball up on my face. However, after reading a few reviews saying this was nothing  like silicone and, with it being fairly inexpensive I thought I'd give it a go and so far so good! I agree, it's not like other 'silicone' primers I've used before- with a more creamy texture and not really silicone feeling at all, it creates a great smoothing effect for make-up to apply over. If this carries on living up to my expectations, this will be a primer I'll be repurchasing in the future. 

So there's a few short reviews of some skincare products I have had on trial in my skincare routine. Let me know if you like the idea of me doing more mini reviews like this in the future! 
Have you tried any of these products before?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x 

END OF SUMMER HAUL

12 Sep 2017

With summer coming to an end, I thought I'd share with you some of the bits I've spent my money on recently before I head back to uni.

FASHION

I've already shared with you, in previous favourites posts, some of my most recent fashion purchases this summer. After spending some money on the New Look 25% off haul, I ended up keeping just one of the t-shirts I bought which is a simple Yellow Fitted T-shirt that, while, when paired with my mom jeans, I look like a Simpsons character, I really love; mustard is definitely a colour I've been loving this summer! While only £3.70 in the sale (usually, still, only £5), I think this was a real steal for an everyday staple tee. One other thing I picked up from the New Look sale was a little accessory of an "Aloha" card holder. It was only a last minute buy to get my total up to get free delivery and, for only £1.50, I think this was a great little purchase that will come in handy on a day-to-day basis especially at uni and on night outs. 

BEAUTY

As per usual, I took a few trips to Superdrug where I picked up my favourite "Pink Fizz" Shower Gel as well as my usual Superdrug Aloe Vera & Mango Extracts Shampoo & Conditioner. All super affordable and do a fab job. I also thought I'd try something new and so I picked up the Naturally Radiant Day Cream for Dry/Normal Skin. I'd seen a few people talk about this and so I thought I would give it ago as my previous Superdrug moisturisers are running low. The Radiant range were on buy on get one free so I thought I'd pick up another well talked about Superdrug product which is their Naturally Radiant Brightening Hot Cloth Cleanser. Supposedly similar to the Liz Earle version, I thought I'd give it ago especially seeing as it worked out as a free purchase. 
A bit of a different purchase for me but when I saw the Charcoalogy Soothing Body Wash from TKMaxx, I had to pick it up. The packaging is what, honestly sold me as it looks similar to more luxury brands such as Aesop and Anthropology. I have to give a *disclaimer* here and say, while there and then I googled whether this was a cruelty-free brand I wasn't entirely sure whether it was or not. But then after seeing it describe as so on one of the websites selling this product I thought I'd pick it up. Sadly, now, I'm not 100% sure whether it is or not but having now bought it, I still want to use it up. Unfortunately, it is also not vegetarian/ vegan as it contains glycerol (a derivative of glycerin) and so, while I made the mistake of purchasing this, I will definitely learn from my mistakes next time I'm shopping in TKMaxx!
In other news, after finding out Collection was not cruelty-free I've been on the hunt for a new concealer which is both cruelty free and pale enough for me. In my hunt I picked up the NYX  HD Concealer as well as, a brand I've not used before, Essence Stay All Day 16hr Concealer. So far, they both seem like good concealers but both have their cons. I'm planning on doing a concealer post in the future where I go in to more detail of cruelty-free concealers. 

HOMEWARE

There wasn't much I had to buy for going into second for my house other than some new duvet sets and the usually IKEA bits that I wasn't sure would be too interested in. However, I thought I'd share two purchases I think most of you bloggers will like. The first is one most have already seen and purchased and it's the Primark Rose Gold Basket; I thought this would be perfect for my desk to store my pencil cases and anything like my stapler and hole punch. If not for that, it currently works great for holding some of my everyday skincare bits. 
This next thing was seen in TKMaxx and I couldn't help myself. This purple, painted-like box with gold foiling is such a gorgeous box. Is that weird? I think not. I can't say I know exactly what I'll be using this for but with the amount of beauty products and notebooks I have that will need a home at uni, I'm sure I'll find a suitable purpose for this box. I plan on doing a room tour when I move so I'm sure you'll see then what I've decided to use this for!

So that's some of the things I've bought recently; does anything take your fancy?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x



HOW TO SURVIVE FRESHERS

7 Sep 2017

So I'm guessing that a few of you will be heading off to university for the first time this year and I can't believe that it was a year ago that I was in the same position as you are now. While I was no pro at Freshers, I thought I would give you a few pieces of advice I wish I'd had for the first week or so at university.

SOME ADVICE

THROW YOURSELF INTO IT

I feel if I hadn't have got to know my flat, I would have very much regretted it. Taking the time to speak to your housemates, if you're living in, is essential. I tried to go to as many nights out as I could during Freshers and I was so glad I did because it was a chance to really get to know everyone. 

DON'T PANIC! EVERYONE'S IN THE SAME BOAT

This is probably to most over used piece of advice but it's still one to bear in mind; everyone will be nervous to meet new people so awkwardness is normal but know that's to be expected when strangers are put together and you have no clue who they are. It's worth remembering that getting to know people will happen naturally so don't put pressure on yourself to get your life story out as soon as you meet them.

SIGN UP TO AS MUCH AS YOU CAN OR WANT TO 

Freshers fair was such a great chance to see, apart from your course, what the uni really has to offer from sports to societies- most universities offer an incredible array of activities for you to get involved at. I signed up for so many society and group newsletters at my freshers fair and, while I've still never attended most of them, I was glad I at least gave myself the opportunity to and I wasn't missing out. While I'll be going into second year I think I'll still be going along to this years freshers fair and see if there's anything new and interesting!

A BISCUIT TIN IS THE WAY FORWARD

So a little anecdote: I was given some biscuits and a biscuit tin by a family friend to take with me to uni and I have never been so happy it was there. Putting it in the kitchen made it that little bit more homely and communal as we bonded over biscuits a lot during the first week. With only the freshers events really happening, we spent most of our days sat in the kitchen talking and eating biscuits. Some people bake, some people leave their doors opening; anything to be seen as welcoming will give you the chance to really talk to and get to know your flat. 

LECTURES: DON'T SIT IN ONE SEAT 

Maybe later on in the year when you've made some friends on your course you'll be happy sitting in the same seats every lecture but, as no one in my flat did my course, I decided that each lecture during the first few weeks I would sit in a different seat and if someone sat next to me, flash them a smile and, most of the time, it followed with a fab conversation about the night out before or what college they were in (my uni is collegiate a bit like harry potter houses). It was only a week or two into my course that I sat next to someone who happened to be in my tutorial and we really got on. I definitely think switching up where I sit and taking some time to talk to new people really helped. 


MY FRESHERS SURVIVAL ESSENTIALS

A SOLID PAIR OF TRAINERS: Day and night, you're walking about a lot. Ditch the heels for nights out if that's what you used to; you won't last a week in them. Once you've done a night out in trainers, you won't want to go back. 

BLISTER PLASTERS: So you've decided to ditch the heels but that still doesn't mean your feet won't be ruined from night after night. These were a life saver for me. 

FANCY DRESS OUTFITS: We were told what events would be happening during our freshers but it wouldn't hurt to have a lil' stock of some costumes you could throw together even if it is a cheap superhero mask. 

A CARD GAME: While eating through the biscuits we played a lot of card games. A pack of playing cards was perfect to get us through the week but cards against humanity is another student fave. 

FACE WIPES: Appealing to the more beauty/ skin conscious amongst you, please don't make the same mistake I did and not have some of these until the last term of uni last year and instead had to do a full cleansing routine after every night out to get my make up off. Save time and just get some face wipes. They also double up as great desk and window ledge cleaners before you move out. 

SPRITE: So if my sister past on any better piece of advice from her time at uni it was the wonders of sprite and what it does on a hangover. If found this worked for me but, if you're a drinker, your favourite remedy would suffice; make sure you pack your hangover cure to the gallon (better be safe than sorry). 

MICROWAVEABLE FOOD: I'd say, especially for the first night, no one wanted to crack open their new pans just yet so opting for a student staple of super noodles or microwaveable rice or meals is the best option. Failing that, a takeaway with the flat might be a good shout. 

COLD & FLU TABLETS: My lectures at uni are recorded and so listening back to the first terms lectures were tough to understand due to the amount of coughing going on from us all. Freshers flu is definitely a thing so some of these would definitely be worth it. Also keep up your vitamins; orange juice is a must.

So there's a few bits of advice and some of my uni "essentials". What is some advice you'd give Freshers if you've been to uni? 
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x


RECENTLY READ #21

30 Aug 2017

This has been a very slow summer of reading. A lot slower and unproductive than I would have hoped. Nevertheless, here are the reviews and summaries of the books I've read recently. 


WHAT'S A GIRL GOTTA DO? (SPINSTER SERIES #3) // HOLLY BOURNE

★★☆☆☆

I finally got round to completing the third book in the series after not being able to get into it straight away. Sadly, this book didn't live up to the other two's standards; I don't know whether it was because the final focus of character of Lottie was not one I felt was relatable. The premise of this book was that Lottie wanted to start a feminist revolution by pointing out every patriarchal flaw she comes across while keeping up to date on a YouTube channel. There was, of course, the usual tropes that come along with a youtube video- it, of course, going viral. It did cover topics such as trolling which are important for our generation. However, I felt, apart from the obvious characteristics that put the girls in sixth form college, the overall writing was a little juvenile. 
I don't know whether by this last book, I have outgrown the characters and the storyline but this one just didn't appeal to me. I know that there's the final add-on to this series by Holly Bourne "...And A Happy New Year?" which I do want to get round to completing so I definitely have still enjoyed this series and want to see how things are rounded off. Overall, this book (along with the series) carried some great messages but, for me, it was the weakest of the trilogy and may be more suited for a slightly younger audience than myself. 

TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE // MITCH ALBOM

★★★★☆

I have reviewed before other Mitch Albom books that are always so beautifully written and resinate with me well but this one I have been trying to read on and off for years and I finally powered through and finished it: I am so glad I did. It was almost as if it was designed to be a little book of life advice disguised as a novel and I love that. 
When Mitch returns to see his old professor in the last few months of Morrie's life, they share their last lessons together where both Mitch and you, as the reader, get some great take-home messages that will stick with you. The messages and the feelings I took away from this book were ones I haven't felt from a book in a very long time. If you want a short, powerful, thought-provoking read this is definitely one I'd recommend for you.

S.T.A.G.S // M.A.BENNETT*

★★★☆☆


I hadn't heard of this author before but, when HotKeyBooks sent me through a synopsis, I was intrigued and as soon as it came through my post box, I was reading it. It's set in a medieval school based on old legends surrounding, surprise, a Stag. It's a book of cult-like organisations within the upperclass network at this famously posh school. The main character, Greer, came to the school on a scholarship and spent her time feeling alone until she received an invite to attend a weekend at Henry de Warlencourt's house along with the other prefects known as the "Medievals". She was invited along to a weekend of bloodspots; Huntin' Shootin' Fishin'. However, things aren't as nice as they seem and as the weekend's events unfolds things become a little strange. 
While this made a nice change to the usual YA I read, the plot was a little lacking; while saying it's a thriller it wasn't really edge-of-the-seat stuff and their weren't any twists and turns that shocked or surprised me as a reader. Nothing with the plot was left for the reader to decipher before a big reveal- answers were given on a plate. There was also a lot of pop culture references throughout this book; I liked the film references but the simple explanation of Greer liking movies was just that- simple. Also the talk of social media could make this book one that becomes dated very fast. 
Having said that, it's still a book I would recommend for fans of E.Lockhart's We Were Liars if you like the mystery element of that book and also fans of her book the disreputable history... as the setting of the book seems fairly similar. 

I'm hoping that, with what's left of summer, I will be able to get cracking on reading some more and maybe actually complete my goodreads yearly challenge (here's to hoping)!
What books would you recommend I read next?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah X


SECOND YEAR UNIVERSITY GOALS

25 Aug 2017

If I could do 1st year again what would I do differently? Here are some goals I want to set myself to make sure I have a fab year at uni. 

So if you've been reading for a little while, you'll know I finished my first year at university studying Psychology. It had its ups and downs but, all in all, I enjoyed my time there, the things I accomplished, the friends I made, the independence I achieved. I sadly didn't update my blog enough though out the year of what my year really consisted of and that's my first goal going into my second year...

1. Make time for blogging. 
I have neglected my blog over this passed year and I always seem to try and set aside time to get it done. But being so strict with scheduling my blog doesn't seem to work for me. Instead of setting specific deadlines, I am going to just make sure I keep up to date with the blogging world and carry on posting everything I love along with a lot more uni related posts. If you have any suggestions of posts, I'd love to hear!

2. Stay Ahead. 
While it wasn't such a need-to-do thing in first year, I really want to put my all into second year. This includes staying on top of my reading, writing up my notes and not leaving essays to the last minute. I've always been pretty good at this but I want to make sure I try my best to get everything done with time to spare. 

3. Find a balance. 
This is something I wish I'd done better in first year. Some weeks I'd lock myself away in my room to work while other weeks I'd do no work at all. By doing this, it encouraged me to procrastinate but, then when I did start the work, I'd begin to panic and soon feel burnt out. I want to make sure I get the balance between work and play right to make sure I make the most out of the year and still get good grades while I'm doing it. 

4. Try new things. 
While my inbox may be constantly full with weekly newsletters from all the different societies and club activities I signed up for at the Freshers fair, I definitely didn't step outside my comfort zone to try something new. This is something I really want to accomplish this year whether it's attending society socials or going along to campus events. I want to throw myself into uni life on a whole new level. 

5. Explore the city even more. 
I think I did an OK job of doing this already but there's still more to explore. I go to university in York and I feel like it's quite a cultured, historic city with some great places to visit. One thing I failed to do last year was make the most of the free entry to museums and galleries in York that I get as a student. Along with this, I never even walked along the York walls or visit half the cafes I wanted to. 

I'm sure there is more I want to accomplish this year, some that I've not even thought of yet, but with these five goals, I hope my second year at uni will be even better than the first.
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

CURRENTLY LOVING

16 Aug 2017

 

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge

As my B.Beauty Blender looked as though it was coming to the end of its life and there was a 3 for 2 offer on in Superdrug, I had to finally give this ago and I wasn't disappointed. While slightly more expensive, I still love this sponge. When damp it becomes a super soft and super easy to use sponge that makes blending foundation hassle-free. It works great for full coverage foundations that need an extra bit of work and leaves me with a great looking base. 


Morphe Bronzed Mocha Palette

This is my first impression of Morphe and I'm impressed. The array of shades that came in this palette and the quality is great and definitely worth what I paid for it. The colours add a warmer tone to my usual browns and golds that I opt for and has made me use more burgundy and orange in my eye looks which I love at the moment. Sadly this palette, I think is now sold out as it was limited edition but the Morphe 350 Nature Glow palette is a good alternative.

The Body Shop Blending Brush

Helping out with the eyeshadows, in the blending brush. I always wanted a Mac 217 blending brush but due to the price and them testing on animals, it was out of the question. I was so excited to give this a go when it was first released and since buying a few months a go, it's become a go-to to aid my more heavier eye looks to make sure there are no sharp edges in sight. 

Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalene Solution 

If you saw my CRUELTY FREE BEAUTY: SKINCARE SAVIOURS post, you will have seen me mention this. Since using this, I have notice a slight difference in the way my skin reacts to my moisturiser in terms of helping my skin feel and look more hydrated. I can't say it's a miracle worker as some days my drier patches are still visible. However, it's a great addition to my skincare that has helped me over the last month. 

I don't really mention food favourites but I can't not mention these. If you follow me on instagram (@distortings) you may have seen these on my story when I picked them up. While expensive for a sweet, they taste amazing and are vegan which is an added positive for me. I actually picked these up in Superdrug for cheaper stockists such as Topshop so I'd try there first if you want to give these a go which I suggest you do!

Zara Mustard Frilled Jacket

Since picking up this coat, I haven't stopped wearing it. It's perfect for this time of year. For something so thin, it keeps me warm as I walk to and from work as well as looking really nice and being something a little different to my black bomber jacket or yellow raincoat. It's a great piece that, even though it's mustard, goes with so many outfits and looks as though you've made more effort that you actually have which I'm all about. 

Oliver Bonas Marble Geometric Phone Case

I've only had this phone case a week but I'm so glad I picked it up when I saw it on sale in Manchester. Going from a cheap marble phone case to a bulky holographic case, I'm glad to be back on the marble trend with a twist. They had some really nice phone cases so they're definitely ones to check out! This is another that is now sold out but Coconut Lane have some great Marble phone cases. For a 20% discount use my code saraheliza20!

So that's everything I've been loving recently!
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

ULTIMATE PALE APPRECIATION: CRUELTY FREE EDITION

2 Aug 2017

Here's a run down of all the products by brands that are perfect for paler skin that are also fab and cruelty free. 

Back in 2015 which seems like quite along time ago in blogging terms, I created a few posts centred around being a super pale gal and the problems that comes with (finding the right shades, limited choice etc.) and from that I created a post entitled PALE APPRECIATION POST followed by another one a year later called MORE PALE APPRECIATION. In these posts, I narrowed down  and shared with you the best products and companies for the fair ones of you. I said on monday in my CRUELTY FREE BEAUTY:WORRIES AND SOLUTIONS that something I was concerned about was limiting myself too much and not finding products that were both perfect for the paler person and didn't test on animals. I can say, I needn't have worried and so today I share with you ALL of my make-up products by companies that cater for us pale 'uns. While some of these products are ones that are repeated from previous posts, I thought it would be worth having them all in one place. 

FOUNDATION

This is the hardest and, I think, the most crucial product to find in the right shade and, so, a lot of this post is going to be dedicated to the different cruelty free foundations I use as well as some I've heard good things about that you may find useful to check out. I'm someone who likes a different foundation for a different situation so here's the run down. 

THE FULL COVERAGE: KAT VON D 'LOCK IT FOUNDATION' 

I'm not going to say much on this one as I feel this foundation has taken up a lot of discussion on my blog recently. I think that's because I'm so happy to have found a foundation that is perfect not only in finish but also in the shade. If you want to read my full review to see whether this foundation is for you, see it here. It's very rare I'm not the lightest shade so this is one to be able to cater for super fair skin tones. 

Similar cruelty-free options: Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation, Too Faced 'Born This Way' foundation (Just added an even paler shade!). 

THE EVERYDAY: THE BODY SHOP FRESH NUDE FOUNDATION

As the name of this foundation suggests, it offers a fresh-face feel with the palest shade being perfect for little pale me. As I am the palest shade, anyone more pale than me may have trouble but it's definitely one to give a go and the body shop staff always seem happy to help. The coverage is light to medium making it perfect for an everyday make up. 

THE BARELY THERE: THE BODY SHOP ALL-IN-ONE BB CREAM

Here's another that needs no real introduction to long term readers. This is my base of choice daily because it's a stress free, easily applied base. It is said to adapt to the skins tone as it's worked into the skin. I don't know how much I agree with that but it does provide a fair, thin base for my foundation as well as a great way for me to add a subtle glow and a dewey look to my make up. 

Similar cruelty free options: Illamasqua skin base, bareMinerals Complexion Rescue BB Cream. 


OTHER 

There are other products that skin colour needs to be accounted for such as concealer and contour so I thought I'd share with you my favourites as well as some recommended to give a go if looking for pale, cruelty free products. 

THE ULTIMATE CONCEALER: COLLECTION LASTING PERFECTION

After writing this post, I sadly found out that Collection do actually test on animal. Therefore, if anyone has any cheap cruelty free alternatives they would be much appreciated!

Similar cruelty free options: Urban Decay Naked concealer, Tarte Shape tape, Kat Von D 'Lock It' concealer.

MY ULTIMATE CONTOUR PICK: SLEEK CONTOUR KIT

There are so many great cruelty-free pale contour kits out there on the high street but the Sleek Contour Kit is still my one and only. It's got a perfect colour that doesn't leave me looking muddy and gives me a great contour with a highlight to compliment. Definitely worth the purchase every time. 

Similar cruelty free options: Make Up Revolution Contour Range, Freedom Make up Contour Range, The Body Shop Honeycomb Bronzer, Nip + Fab contour palettes. 

TRANSLUCENT POWDER: SOAP & GLORY "ONE HECK OF A BLOT'

Another product I've exhausted talking about on my blog but one I feel I should mention again. The translucent shade makes this a great universal powder and it doesn't run the risk of adding extra coverage in the wrong colour. It's such a great setting powder that works well on my skin. 

Similar cruelty free options: Make Up Revolution Translucent Pressed Powder, MUA Translucent Pressed Powder, Collection Invisible Setting Powder. 


So there's my complete run down of all the products that not only I love but I've heard others love that are cruelty free and have a decent range of shades (some more than others) for pale, fair skin. I hope this may have helped some of you!
What are some of your favourite cruelty free brands?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

Shop for products mentioned here: 

CRUELTY FREE BEAUTY: SKIN CARE SAVIOURS

1 Aug 2017

Here are some of most loved and most-reached-for cruelty-free skin care products when my face is in crisis.

A big transitioning point for me when it comes to cruelty-free is the skin care; skin care is something I regularly like to switch up. Luckily, almost all of my favourite skin care products are cruelty free and which made my life much easier when switching out those that weren't cruelty free. For me, my main problem is retaining moisture along with battling the odd breakout and so below you can find all the products I find work a treat!

FOR DRY SKIN DAYS

THE ORDINARY 100% PLANT-DERIVED SQUALANE

This is the newest edition to my favourite products that work wonders. The Ordinary is a company that has received a lot of attention over the past year and I was happy to jump on that band wagon to see what all the fuss is about. I can say that, with this product in particular, I see why people love it so much. While the formula to start felt as though it was just a layer of grease on top of my skin, after a few minutes that grease was gone and my skin felt just as, if not better than, when I apply my moisturiser. And with moisturiser added, my skin was on top form in terms of keeping that hydration. 

NIP & FAB DRAGON FIX SERUM

This has been a staple for me for the last year as you may have seen in my previous CRUELTY FREE SKINCARE FAVOURITES. It has similar benefits to that of The Ordinary serum but while that is more of a skincare aid, this is one that helps my skin appear flawless when it comes to applying my make-up and is one I grab for more on a daily basis. Applying before moisturiser and make-up makes my skin look smoother and even as well as giving it that extra moisture boost for the day. 

THE BODY SHOP VITAMIN E OVERNIGHT MOISTURE MASK

Also a previous favourite in my most recent CURRENTLY LOVING, this moisture is a great cruelty free alternative to other, even more expensive, hydrating masks such as the Origins Drink Up Mask which I previously owned. While appearing tacky to start, I can feel the hydrating benefits before I go to sleep and even more when I wake up. With The Body Shop always having sales, this is one to definitely snap up when an offer is on. 

WHEN MY HEAD BECOMES A SPOT MINEFIELD

THE BODY SHOP 3-IN-ONE TEA TREE FACE MASK, EXFOLIATOR & WASH

This is another one to get your hands on when there's a fabulous "30% Off Everything" sale that The Body Shop like to grace us with quite often. I love the Lush Mask Of Magnanimity mask but when, being on a budget, this works just as well acting not only as a mask but also as face wash and exfoliator to really get into those pores and get all the nastiness out. It's such a refreshing wash and mask that I do notice a difference in after I use it. 

SOAP & GLORY NO CLOGS ALLOWED EXFOLIATING MASK

Staying on the same subject of unclogging pores, this Soap & Glory mask is one I grab for on special occasions when I seemed to have a real build up of nastiness. For me, the texture of this mask and application was one to get used to but the heated properties of this feel really soothing on my skin and with the exfoliation it gives,  draws out everything hiding away.

LUSH TEA TREE TONER TABS

I can't go through this cruelty free week without mentioning a lush product. Even though a small one, it's definitely a nice little purchase. With the tab, you add it to hot water and steam your face over it. The smell is lovely and we all know how good tea tree is for spots. While, thankfully my blemishes haven't been too unbearable over the last few years, tea tree products were always a saviour and lush, along with almost all skincare brands, have products dedicated to tea tree and it's definitely a cruelty-free and natural method of drawing out the toxins from your face. 

So there's a run down of my continued favourite skin care products that really help tackle my skin's problems. 
What are some of your skin care saviours?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x


Shop the products mentioned/cheaper alternatives below x 



CRUELTY-FREE BEAUTY: WORRIES & SOLUTIONS

31 Jul 2017

It's been almost a year since I started my transition into cruelty free beauty and over the year I have definitely experienced some ups and downs with choosing to do this. While, now, I couldn't imagine going back to purchasing products from brands that do test on animals, I know it has it's challenges. So, I thought, for those looking for some help in deciding whether cruelty-free beauty is something you can do, I'm going to share with you some of the problems I found a long the way, how I solved these as well as some of the fabulous perks to cruelty-free beauty!

"THERE'S LESS CHOICE"

When it comes to trying to find the perfect foundation, cruelty free or not, I struggle. Therefore, when searching for one that was not just pale, hydrating and good coverage but was also cruelty free, this was something else to add to my tick list of things I needed. 

SOLUTION: Yes, your choices are narrowed but I actually found it made my decisions a lot easier. When toying between two foundations, one cruelty free and one not, it helped me make that choice much quicker and I ended up with a fab foundation! 

"IT'S MORE EXPENSIVE"

This was my biggest worry when stepping into cruelty free beauty. All the blogs I was reading seemed to be including fabulous products from brands such as Anastasia, Urban Decay, Kat Von D etc. But, these were products I just can't budget for as a nineteen-year old student. 

SOLUTION: If you're in the UK, you should count yourself lucky! There are so many cruelty-free brands waiting for you to discover them on the high street. Brands such as Make Up Revolution, Freedom, Sleek, Collection, Barry M; They're all brands that you can find in your local Boots and Superdrug and all are cruelty free. If it's skincare you need, of course there's lush and the body shop but Superdrug's own ranges in skincare, haircare etc. are all fabulous and all cruelty free with many even vegan and all reasonably priced. 

"I CAN'T FIND AN ALTERNATIVE"

This one's been the trickiest for me and for things such as toothbrushes, toothbrushes, feminine care, razors etc that are cruelty free are hard to come buy unless you're looking at certain stores online. But, if you're anything like me, some products you can't find a suitable alternative that cuts it as well or that you trust. 

SOLUTION: When in doubt; Superdrug. Everything from their razors to toothbrushes include a cruelty free logo on the back of their products and work just as well as big companies such as Colgate and Venus. You may also be surprised to find that a lot of these are cheaper than big name brands while working just as well. 
Sometimes, there is a lot of trying and testing but it's definitely worth it! If you're going try one thing from Superdrug, I have a real love for their own brand aerosol deodorants; I'd definitely give them a shot! 

These are just some of the worries I had when starting out eliminating products that test on animals. I do still have a way to go in eradicating all traces of products testing on animals but it's not something I can do overnight. The positives to cruelty-free living are endless and maybe I'll share those with you soon!
Do you have any worries about cruelty-free beauty? Do you have any positives to share about shopping cruelty-free?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

WHAT I ATE IN A DAY #3

26 Jul 2017

In this What I Ate In A Day, you can see what I eat when all I want are some fail-safe favourite comfort foods. 

BREAKFAST

To start this day I had one of my Tesco dairy free mango yoghurts along with sainsbury's simple granola and a nectarine. While it may not look like it, minimal effort is needed to make this super summery, simple breakfast that will keep me full all the way to lunch. 

LUNCH

I've been having a constant obsession with the Covent Garden Slow Roast Tomato Soup; it's definitely more of a luxurious soup and I always snatch it up when it's on offer as it's the only soup I like. This doesn't scream summer but it's a fab one for the english summer day's when it's on the cold side and a little rainy out as this day turned out to be. I also make my own crouton style-bread bites. I do this by cutting, usually, 2 slices of bread into square shapes which I place in a shallow pan along with some melted butter, garlic and mixed herbs. I wait until the bread started to crisp and brown before turning them out and serving with my soup.



TEA

For me, this is the star of the show. I shared my quick chilli recipe in my first WHAT I ATE IN A DAY. So, I took that fail-safe chilli recipe and instead of just serving it with rice; I added a few tacos as well as some lettuce. On other occasions I add more veg such as carrot and pepper. Along with a small portion of rice, I assemble my so-called tacos. It's such a fun twist on a plain chilli and with those little extras making it my chilli version of a Buddha bowl, it's become my go-to easy meal and is definitely a favourite. 

Hope you enjoyed reading a little about what I've been eating recently. 
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

KAT VON D "LOCK IT" FOUNDATION

20 Jul 2017


Hear my thoughts of my most recent purchase of the Kat Von D Lock it Foundation and why I decided to splash out on a more high-end foundation as well as my experience at the Kat Von D counter in Manchester. 

As you may be aware, I'm making the transition to a fully cruelty free make up collection. One thing I had been yet to part with, however, was my well-loved L'oreal True Match Foundation. This has been my constant go to for years when I'm wanting a higher coverage for a night out. I've had trouble in the past finding a high coverage foundation that doesn't cling to my dry areas as well as not lasting long enough. The last time I decided to splurge on a high-end foundation, it didn't end well as it still sits on my shelf being used a grand total of once (I'm looking at you Illamasqua). This has since given me apprehensions of buying foundations as well as being colour matched.

THE INITIAL PURCHASE

I decided it was finally time that I venture out and find a new foundation. I did a lot of research prior and had intentions of buying the Nars Sheer Glow before they decided to be annoying and start testing on animals. The Two Faced "Born This Way" foundation, as a lot of the reviews suggested, had a great finish for those with drier skin. However, when I went to buy it, the lightest shade stocked in the Debenhams I went to was not light at all and they didn't stock the actual lightest shade. This wasn't going well in terms of hunting down my perfect foundation.

It was then I spotted a Kat Von D stand. It turns out they'd only recently launched at this Debenhams branch in Manchester and, as I'd been eager to look at the Kat Von D range, I headed over. I immediately saw the "Lock It" foundation and saw the fabulous range of shades. A lovely girl came over after my friend and I had looked for a few minutes and I asked if she could colour match me. She started to take a small section of my own make up off and swatched three of the shades onto my face. We, together, decided that two of the shades were too dark and too yellow toned but the last one was a perfect match. I appreciated that she didn't pressure me to rush to make a descision and let me almost come to the decision myself that it was the right shade. After my Illamasqua experience -where the lady there chose a shade 3 shades too dark and she decided that was right only for me to discover it wasn't right at all- I was happy that I had chance to view the foundation for myself. 

Like I said, she didn't make me rush my decision. She next took off my make up on one side of my face, applied some of the "Lock It" primer (which is now on my Lust List; it was so soothing) and applied layer by layer the foundation to one side of my face. She stopped between layers to let me have a look and decide whether I wanted her to add moreas she knew I was after something full coverage. After I got the desired coverage, she then removed my make up on the other side and evened it out. Because I now just had a flat face of foundation, she offered to contour my face which excited me because I loved the look of the "Shade and Light" palette and it looked so lovely on my skin!

There was no doubt I was going to be buying the foundation and the experience left me wanting to return to buy more Kat Von D products in the future. The time she took to make sure I was really helped me make my decision and this experience has restored my faith in make up counter service.

THE REVIEW

The shade I bought was Light 44 Cool  and it's a perfect match to my skin and of very similar shade to that of my L'oreal True Match in 1C Rose Ivory. It is described as a matte finish which did have me wary as that's something I usually steer clear of. However, I could see from application, with a good moisturiser and primer, this wouldn't be a problem from my skin. I can now say, that's exactly right. On it's own it looks as though it is clinging but after finishing my makeup, it's not noticeable and has a lovely finish. 

It's easily buildable foundation and, while the formulation is thicker than any other foundation I've used before, it doesn't feel thick on the skin but instead feels surprisingly light weight and almost skin-like which I love. 

I also believe this foundation stands the test of time. When on a night out with this one and, 8 hours or so later, the only thing to have budged was my eyeshadow; everything else was intact and not much shine was showing through.

All in all, I feel this is a fabulous foundation that I will definitely be reaching for every time I need a more full coverage base and it was worth spending the extra money on. I'm now one step closer to having a fully cruelty free make up collection. I also can't wait to try out other Kat Von D products in the future!

Is there any Kat Von D products you think I should try next? What is the full coverage foundation you usually grab for?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x 

Products mentioned/similar to: 


SOME INTERNET THINGS

17 Jul 2017

I'm constantly discovering new faves on the internet and so I thought it would time to share some of those with you. 

SOUL PANCAKE: TELL MY STORY

One of the episodes to this series popped up onto my suggested on YouTube and I quickly found myself watching each episode in the series. The premise of this is a blind date where one has to guess the other's answers to the questions presented before they answer for themselves. I love seeing the variety of answers and it's such a great way to get a feel for different people's stories from all different backgrounds. 

@ATTNdotcom

This is an online magazine but I personally love their Instagram. It documents the kind of stories I love and promotes positive messages of equal rights and environmental issues which I am always willing to take some time to read. Their Instagram posts and stories are always worth a read and gives a short snippet of stories. It's definitely an account to give a follow.

FURRY LITTLE PEACH

Also know as Sha'an, she is what is inspiring me this summer to crack out my paits that I haven't reached for in a while and get creating. Her work is unique and lovely and her youtube videos give us a glimpse as to what it is she's been up to They also proved a nice little watch to keep me inspired and smiling.

BOOKSANDLALA

If you're as much of if not more of a book enthusiast than me and want to stay on top of bookish news, I always find myself looking towards the fabulous Lala. I particularly love her "Bookmark'd" series; she releases a video each month giving a run down on all book news she's interested in as well as book adaptation news. While she just includes the books and films she's interested in herself, I am thankful we have similar bookish interests so I get up to date through her on a lot of the authors that I love. Lala has really nailed it with this series and, along with all her other videos, she's become my favourite book related youtuber.

So here are just a few internet bits I've loved and I hope you enjoy them too; let me know your thoughts if you check any of them out!
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x 

RECENTLY READ #20

10 Jul 2017

It's taken a while but here some mini reviews for the books I've been reading. 


follow me on goodreads for more recommendations and reviews! 


A QUIET KIND OF THUNDER // SARA BERNARD 

 ★★★☆☆


This was the perfect book to pick up after being deep in uni work and reading. A story of a girl who doesn't like to speak and a boy that can't hear, they're little journey is sweet and makes for a great twist to the usual young adult fiction. I have to take points off it though for being highly predictable and clich├ęd in some aspects. Overall, I loved this book, the little bit of sign language seen throughout added a extra quirk to the book that I really appreciated. If your up for some lighthearted teen romance this summer, I'd give this one a try. If you were a fan of Jennifer Niven's Holding Up The Universe  I think this would be a great one for you.

HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE // J.K ROWLING

★★★★☆

This one took me a while to get through and not the fault of the books but more my timing of reading it. However, once I hit a hundred pages I could not put it down just as I'd found the early books. It was super fast paced which I liked as well. After seeing the size, I wasn't too sure whether it would live up to being my favourite of the books as the film does. I do think I actually think I preferred previous books as there wasn't much extra in here than that of the film but I still loved the extra Dobby action that was thrown in.  I definitely preferred the portrayal of Cedric Diggory more in the film than in the book; I didn't feel he had enough of a role in the book which I would have loved. However, the final few chapter were my favourite. I'm not usually one for action but the way this was written was perfect and, overall made for a great ending to a fab book. 

FRESHERS // TOM ELLEN & LUCY IVISON* 

★★★★★

I don't want to say too much about this book just yet as, from what I gather, it is not out until August but I absolutely loved it! It's the first book in a while that had me laugh out loud. It was such a fun read and I ended up finishing it within a day because I enjoyed it so much. Weirdly, I connected to this book because the writers went to the University of York where I go and they drew upon things that, as a student there, I understood. My friend asked me if I would have enjoyed just as much had I not gone to the uni it basically surround? That, I can't really answer but I think the universal nature of Freshers is one that all students can relate to and I think it would be a great one for those wanting to feel nostalgic of their first term at university or want a tiny insight into some of the shenanigans that go on. This is not Ellen and Ivison's first book so I will no doubt be pick their other book soon. Watch this space for a more in depth look of this book in a future post. 

So there are some reviews of the books I've read recently. What books would you recommend I check out next?

Hope you're doing great, 
Sarah x 

Those products marked (*) have been kindly gifted to me. However, as always, all opinions remain my own! 


CURRENTLY LOVING

7 Jul 2017

Until a few months ago, I felt I was doing so well in keeping up to date with my monthly favourites posts. However, this didn't last but I still want to share with you some fab things I've found recently that I think you may like.


PS... DOUBLE ENDED MAKE UP BRUSH

I've always loved my angled brush for everyday contour and bronze, it started to look a shabby and when I saw this in Primark for just short of £2 I thought it was worth a go. Not only is the bristles super soft, you get two brushes for the price of one. I use the angled side for bronzer and contour while using the other for highlight. This is a perfect little compact brush that I'd recommend to anyone. 

REVOLUTION BAKED HIGHLIGHTER IN PEACH LIGHTS

I'm usually one to reach for a golden/yellow-toned highlighter but I thought this would make a nice change for nights out. The pigmentation is perfect and gives me that bit of shimmer we all love. It's another cheap alternative to a lot of more pricey highlighters. I mean, why waste your money on something better when you can get just as good at a fraction of the price. 

SUPERDRUG FACIAL WIPES FOR SENSITIVE SKIN

A bit of a boring one but a definite necessity. As the end of uni grew nearer, I got lazier and lazier with make up removal and these were my trusty sidekick to make sure I got it off. They are the perfect wipes for me as they don't react with my skin like a lot of wipes (including others that are supposedly sensitive), the remove my make up quickly and easily and are another cheap purchase. 

THE BODY SHOP VITAMIN E HYDRATING SLEEPING MASK

Boy does this hydrate. I've not woken up with softer skin as I have since using this product. While the moisture I find only seems to last a day, the effects are the best. From someone who struggles to get a perfect base to apply my make up on top of, this has really aided my smooth base perfect to apply make up on top of the next day. Beware, it is quite heavily scented but I don't find it to react with my skin in a way that is harmful or annoying. This is quickly becoming a skin care saviour. 

TOY STORY MOLESKIN // BULLET JOURNALLING

I saw these in the Moleskin store in London back last year and, while the colours are a bit out there, I fell in love with it. My sister held on to this and went back to pick it up for my birthday. That was in January and now, months later, I decided to start a form a bullet journalling. While it's not as strict as some people's are with day to day logs, I'm more using it as a way to bullet point weekly to-dos as well as tracking things such as blog posts and reading; if you're interested to see some of the other page ideas, I'd be happy to make a post!

MISSGUIDED MAUVE MIDI SKIRT

When it came to my end of term ball, I was a bit stuck on what to wear that wasn't too expensive. I've recently been obsessed with clothing that are a mauve colour and so when I saw this on Missguided I thought it would be perfect. While the pictures aren't the website didn't look exactly like that of what I received, I loved it either way. To see what it really looked like, here are some photos from the ball. (I'm going to be posting about first year very soon so more photos to come then!)



So that's all I've been loving for now but they'll definitely be more to come over the next few months which I'll be making sure I share with you!
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x 


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