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


*AD- this post contains affiliate links*

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 

READ, WATCH, LISTEN

23 May 2019



It's been a little while but I am happy to report that my dissertation is submitted and my exams are finished. This leaves me with more time to focus on other things and one of those being blogging. As my first post back, I thought it was time to share with you again some entertainment I've been soaking up and enjoying both before my exams and, guilty, during them. 

READ

"MR SALARY" BY SALLY ROONEY

Sally Rooney is a current popular writer and is one everyone's TBR at the moment. With little time to read myself, I thought I would start with this short story published in a recent Penguin collection. It has definitely encouraged to read some of her other books in the future as it gave me a real sense of what kind of writing I should expect from her. It can be hard to convey a character's feelings and backstory in a believable way in such a small amount of pages but, there it seems no difficulty as I was fully invested in the character and really enjoyed the insight into the woman's life. If you too have heard of Sally Rooney and are unsure about whether it's your kind of thing, I recommend giving this a quick read and I am sure it will help make up your mind and, very likely, encourage you to read more of hers. 

"CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET?" BY SOPHIE KINSELLA

Not every book you read has to be the work of a genius or a tedious read with lots of hidden meanings and layers. Sometimes, a bit of fluff is what we all need. This book came at the perfect time, acting as comic relief during revision which had me creasing at the characters. I have previously read a teen novel by Sophie Kinsella but this was my first Adult/New Adult novel by her. It's about a girl who, while on a flight, shares her deepest secrets with the man sat next to her. After the journey, she gets off hope that her life with carrying on as normal only to find this man was the CEO of the company she works for. This book really did have me laughing out loud and hitting my head out of second-hand embarrassment. If you're looking for an easy pool-side read this summer or something just a little lighter, this one is worth the read. 

WATCH 

OUR PLANET

Yes, I'm late to report my love for this one but as the hype begins to die down, I thought it would do no harm into bringing back everyone's attention and hopefully persuade those that are still yet to watch, to go and watch it. In this series, David Attenborough narrates on the extensive terrains across the world and sharing, as always the beauty of the world. for each episode has a different focus, but with the same overarching message- climate change is real and we can start to make a change now. What I particularly loved about this series what that, while climate change is devastating and reality, they shed some hope on how we can change today and really save the future of our planet. I urge you, no, beg you to watch this and hopefully you'll be as inspired as many to help make a difference even if it's so small. 

LISTEN

MAP OF THE SOUL: PERSONA

My music test is ever-changing. While for years I loved the indie-alternative music that so many my age loved, I've accepted now that my music taste really is a bit of everything and genre eans very little to me. The Korean group BTS have really influenced my love of different genres. This group is a real global success and yet there is still a surprising amount of people who still don't know who they are or have a real appreciation for what they do. I know they're not for everyone but the lyrics and the thought that goes into every part of this band is something you should at least give a go. They may sing another language but that doesn't ake your listening experiences and the message it holds any less than a song in your language. If anything, I feel it makes the listening experience and the conversation surrounding it even more interesting. "Map of The Soul: Persona" is their latest and probably one of my favorites and already one of my most played albums of the year. 

I am so excited that I will also be witnessing the spectacle that is their live tour at the end of this month which I will be sure to share over on my Instagram as well as maybe here on my blog, to really emphasize how bloody brilliant BTS are. 



Of course, there were other TV shows I was watching out of procrastination and music I listened to help me focus but these were some of my favorites of the last month.

 Have you any opinions on the things I've mentioned? I'd also love to hear your own recommendations!
Hope you're doing great, 
Sarah x 

MINMALIST SUMMER MAKEUP

23 Apr 2019


*This post contains affiliate links but all opinions remain my own*

Recently, I’ve been opting to wear no makeup. While my skin has had some rough patches, I think letting my skin breath a little has really helped make it feel a little healthier. As the summer weather begins to come around, the last thing I want it heavy makeup on my face. I’ve started to reintroduce makeup into my daily routine and I’ve found products that create a lightweight base while giving me a little coverage. I like how simple the make up I have opted for is as well; it means it’s been less of a chore to do and also really quick and easy. 

The Ordinary SPF 30 

I mentioned this very recently in my "Transitional Skincare Staples" but I thought it was worth another mention here as it has really come part of my make up routine. After applying moisturiser, this is my next step. I really want to make sure I’m looking after my skin this summer so this is the perfect way to accomplish this. 

Bareminerals Tinted Hydrating Cream

If you’ve seen any of my previous beauty posts, you will probably know my love for the Body Shop BB Cream- it provides, really, no coverage but adds a little colour and evens out my complexion. My shade has been out of stock a while and I have been eyeing up this Bareminerals BB Cream for a while. I’ve really been enjoying using this. Like the Body Shop BB Cream, it adds so colour to my face but also a little more coverage than the one I previously used. It really feels like I have nothing on my face and, that, I really like. It’s got such a natural glow to it that I also really love and think it provides a great base, especially in the warmer weather. 

Revolution Conceal & Define Concealer

Like everyone seems to agree, this is a great concealer and, for me, this is my main source of coverage. I apply under my eyes, forehead chin and also under my cheekbones where I have a little scarring. It works perfectly with the Bareminerals Cream to create a great base. 

Makeup Obsession Eyebrow Duo

This is probably the biggest chore of doing my make up and, I’m sure, you can probably agree with me saying that. This duo really helps me to fill in my eyebrows quickly and without real trouble. For a mere £2, this powder duo is a real bargain and has worked great for me. Sadly, it seems that this no longer exists on the shelves but Revolution do some similar and great alternatives. 

Natural Collection Bronzer

This bronzer has lasted me well. I mentioned this previously in "My Everyday Makeup" and with it still making an appearance here now shows it has stood the test of time. It’s quite fitting to the brand name as it really does give me a natural bronzer to help warm up my pale complexion. 

Soap & Glory Powder

This is an old favorite of mine and, honestly, I’m just trying to use it up. In cruelty-free discussions, Soap & Glory’s stance on animal testing has been seen in the past to be a little unclear and so I try and avoid it. However, I have had this powder in my collection for a while now and I thought now is a great time to use it up as it really is great at setting my make up especially when the base has such a dewy finish. 

So there are few products I use on my face at the moment and will probably how it will be across the rest of this summer. I think a lightweight base is so much better for over the summer and I feel I’ve created a routine that will work well. 

What makeup products do you find yourself reaching for over summer? 
Hope you’re doing great,
Sarah x 

Shop This Post* 



INSTAGRAM: CREATING YOUR PERFECT FEED {AD}

15 Apr 2019

*This post is kindly sponsored by Panasonic*





Sometimes it can be difficult to feel like you're making the most of Instagram and creating a feed that you're happy with. My feed has gone through a few transitions over the years but I feel like I've finally found a style that I am happy with and feel I can follow with most photos I'd like to post. This was quite a process but I thought I'd share with you a few ways to set you on your way to creating your own perfect feed. 

Quality over Quantity. 

This doesn't only help you only share your best photos but it's actually quite good for the ever-changing algorithm of Instagram that, at the moment, posting less frequently is actually preferred. Focussing on trying to only post photos I'm happy with and are different from before leaves me feeling a little more positive about my feed. 

In terms of actual quality, I do mainly use my phone to take photos for Instagram. However, if I've been on trips or just wanted to up my quality, I have reached for my DSLR to get a more crisp and high-quality photo. If this is something you're thinking of improving it maybe worth investing in a high-quality camera. Why not check out the newly-unveiled Full Frame Mirrorless Cameras* from Panasonic. This range of cameras is compact while offering a great quality of both photo and video. It would make a good investment if you're wanting to not only improve your Instagram posts but also wanting to delve into the world of vlogging or video. It's definitely worth reading into this range as this range offers many great features that my current DSLR is lacking as it is now highly outdated. 


Editing

This can be a short or as thorough process as you wish or feel your photos need. For me, I find having a similar filter and editing style across all my photos helps to create a more uniform feed where the photos aren't all different and may seem out of place. Along with many others, my app of choice has to be VSCO, I stick to the original filters that come with the free app but tend to alter the settings so much that I end up creating almost my own filter that I'll apply to most of my photos. 

If you want to go the extra mile, having software like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom can really help increase that quality and help perfect your images in a way that phone apps can't really do. 

Also, don't dismiss the in-app tools that Instagram offers. I am an avid lover and user of the 'Lux' feature. It adds the finishing touch to my photos just by adding a little more contrast and clarity. 

Do you have any other tools you use to edit your photos? I'd love for you to share any tips you have with me!



Find Your Style and Make it your own 

I think this is where a lot of people get stuck. It all comes down to everything coming together; the photos you take and post, how you edit, how you lay them out. I've found a style that suits me and, I hope, managed to make it my own. 

Your Instagram is just that; yours. Seeing some personality in the photos and the captions I find really helps with engagement and can make you feel a lot happier with the overall look. It's easy to get caught up in numbers on Instagram but I think it's important to remember that your Instagram feed is just that- there's no need for it to really be perfect; it's what you make of it and as long as your happy with it, then your followers will be as well. 

So there are just a few things that have helped me create an Instagram feed that I am happy with and has left me motivated to post even more in the coming months. 

Do you have Instagram? Leave your links below and I'll be sure to check you out! 
Hope you're doing great, 
Sarah x


*This post was a paid collaboration with Panasonic to promote their new line of Lumix full frame mirrorless cameras. However, all opinions, as always, remain my own. *

WHERE I'M AT: An Honest Update

10 Apr 2019

I tend to be someone who doesn’t share that I’m struggling. I’m more likely to struggle alone, work it out on my own and then maybe tell people what happened after. I’m trying to learn to be more open along the way. A problem shared is a problem halved right? 

I’m finding it hard to find the words even now to share comfortably how I am feeling. However, I thought it was worth letting you know that, while at the moment things are a little difficult, life is a little stressful, I’m not 100% focussed, motivated and myself, I’m hoping to bounce back soon. 

At the start of this year, I set myself a goal; that for each month to have a “Focus”. January was "Renew", February was "Balance" and last month, March, was "Create". I felt really motivated by these goals. Yes, I had slip ups but overall I was happy that I was really getting the most out of my year. However, March was probably the least successful. With final year stress dwelling on my mind; deadlines, exams, job hunting, my head just wasn’t as focused as I would have liked. 

As the next two months will be filled with even more life stressors as I come to the end of my degree, I think I’ll have less time to focus on certain goals and will be taking each day as it comes as I try to make it to the end of the year. So here, I thought I’d say that for now that I’ve decided to put a pause on my monthly focus. I will definitely be picking them up again once university is finished as I will be needing the motivation to focus on the future. I will also be sure to revisit Create” as a focus; I did not use last month to its full potential and I want to give myself another chance to give it ago. 

With this, it’s worth mentioning that my blog may start to look a little sparse soon. I’ve been proud to have rediscovered my love for my blog and, I don’t want to lose that. So, if I don’t have a post for each week, I won’t be pressuring myself to get one published. I hope that’s ok with you. I will still be updating my Twitter and more so my Instagram as I work through the exam stress. 

Just last week I had a small (and I mean small) health scare. While, thankfully, all results were clear, the worry I felt around this has really put a lot into perspective. I’ve realised that, while I won’t have a real focus for the next few months other than my degree,  I will be focussing on myself.  I’ve realised that I should really be doing everything I can to put myself first; not force myself to do anything I don’t want and not put myself in situations I’ll feel uncomfortable in. I shouldn’t surround myself with people who don’t make me feel like the best version of me (sorry for the cheese). I should be surrounding myself with people I adore and who make me feel happy even when things get a little tough. 

These next few months, I feel a lot is going to be thrown my way and, honestly, I’m not ready. But am I going to give it my best shot at getting through? Of course, I am! And, I’ll be sure to let you know how I come out the other side when it’s all over. 

Hope you’re doing great, 
Sarah x

3 TRANSITIONAL SKINCARE STAPLES

3 Apr 2019


As the cold weather slowly comes to an end, my skin can definitely tell that it's been a dry and cold few months. Now more than ever, my skin really needs some TLC and with help from the product mentioned here, it's definitely helping it get its hydration and glow back.

Pai Gentle Hydrating Cleanser 

The windy weather recently seems to be really drying my skin out and it’s definitely not summer yet so this doesn’t come as a surprise to me. To try and bring a little more hydration back into my skin, this cleanser is a super gentle and hydrating cream cleanser that is perfect for just this. While I do have more combination skin, I don’t find it irritates any of my problem areas like some products aimed at hydrating do; I think this may be down to the Camellia that's in this. This has been a really good skincare pick for me at the moment to use both in the morning before applying my makeup as well as the evening to finish the day with a smooth, fresh face. 

The Ordinary SPF 

While I should be wearing SPF all year round and I did make an effort to try and remember to use this during winter, I think now more than ever, getting into the habit of picking this up and applying after moisturiser will be better in helping my skin fight against the weather conditions. This is quite a thick product and can leave a white cast on your face but after applying my foundation it not only gives a nice hydrated glow under my makeup but that white cast seems to disappear. I think SPF is one that is something that we should all introduce into our skincare to help add a little more protection against the sun as it starts to appear more in spring. 

Vitamin E Liquid Peel 

While I remain pale as ever through the year, winter especially can leave my skin, as I’m sure is the same with others, a little dull. So something like this Body Shop product can help bring a little more radiance. It’s kind of like an exfoliator but isn’t abrasive so is another good one for those with sensitive skin. I use this by applying the product onto my skin, working it in until it starts to form small clumps on the skin. While it may look weird, after washing away with a muslin cloth and applying moisturiser,  my skin feels a lot more smooth and exfoliated and, hopefully, a little more glowing. 


So these are just three of my skincare picks for the end of winter as we are heading quickly into spring. Are there any products your skin has been loving lately? I'd love to hear!
Hope you're doing great, 
Sarah 

Shop this post and more! {AD-af}*




* While affiliate links are included in this post, all opinions are my own 

GOING PLASTIC FREE

22 Mar 2019


Over the past few months, I've posted a couple of posts in relation to cutting down waste specifically in beauty and also beyond.  One aspect that I find hard to escape is the use of plastic. While I make a conscious effort to buy loose veg, fresh unwrapped bread as well as beauty products that don't use plastic bottles, some necessities make it hard to escape the use of plastic. 

When I found out that a plastic-free shop had opened in York I was very excited to check it out and give it ago. Bishy Weigh is an independently run plastic free shop just a little out of the city of York. It has basically all the essential food items that make going plastic-free even more doable. 

My friend and I headed over to the shop just the other day and I loved the experience; it felt as though I was in a sweet shop yet everything was pasta and fruits. It was such a simple process; take your own Tupperware, weigh before you fill and then weigh again after it's full to calculate the exact price of what you've bought. No need to worry if you didn't bring your own containers, they have paper bags and also reusable cotton bags to buy which are so cute. 
There was such a good choice from your basics to gluten-free alternatives and some fab dietary information for each of the products. They also had an array of washing up liquids, detergents, spices etc. as well as some other beauty items like bamboo toothbrushes and reusable makeup wipes. 

This little shop has really encouraged me to be even more conscious about what I buy and that it is possible to live a plastic-free lifestyle. I'd love to see more shops like this popping up around the country as having it so close to home is a great luxury. 

If you're in the York area and want to have a visit yourself, you can find all the information and pricing on their Facebook Page. If you're even just a little interested and seeing some of their own tips for living plastic free as well as learning a little more about their story, check out their Twitter and Instagram. 

Do you have any tips for going plastic free? Would you consider giving it a go yourself? 
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

ORGANISING MY ONLINE WORKSPACE {AD}

11 Mar 2019



Clearing out the downloads

I’m forever downloading online papers, journals, powerpoints for university and they never seem to leave my downloads folder. So, first things first; if I need it, move it to a specific folder. If not, get rid. 
As I edit my blog photos on my phone and then send to my laptop, they also end up in my downloads and never have a proper home,  so moving these out of downloads is another thing I’ve been doing and finding them a better home. 

Making a habit out of downloading something and moving a specific folder it relates to keeps the space it’s taking up to a minimum and saves me not being able to find, for example, the paper I’m looking for, only to download it again and have duplicates. Speaking of moving things to folders…

Creating folders

Kind of how you’d split up a blog post; You have your title, heading, maybe sub headings and, even sub-subheadings. Slowly getting narrower may seem a bit silly but it has really helped to streamline my workspace and having things compartmentalised so specifically has made it even easier to find what I’m looking for. 

For example, I have a folder for each year of uni which is then split into the separate modules, then again into lectures and maybe even further into lecture material, revision notes and assignments if there was one. I then know exactly where something will be and where to go to find it. It sounds so simple ( because it is) but it’s something I know we all tend to neglect and just clump all those word files into ‘documents’ with no real structure. 

Reducing bookmarks

Whether it’s a recipe I have had bookmarked for over a year and probably won’t make or a dress from ASOS that is out of stock, regularly going through and seeing whether you really need that bookmark anymore, helps my internet browser look a little less cluttered and better organised to find a bookmark if and when I really need it. 

Deleting Apps

I can only really speak for an Apple user but, just like on my phone, I’m forever downloading random apps that I think I’ll use and actually never do. A lot of apps I have downloaded tend to exactly the same thing so it’s time to delete any that really do the same job and also I just don’t use. It makes it easier to then find those that I need. 


Unsubscribing to Newsletters

We all have those emails from sites that we ordered from once and just had to tick ‘subscribe to newsletter’. This can be quite a tedious task to do but I love not getting an abundance of emails I never read coming through every day. it means that I’m more likely to see more important emails and not miss any opportunities that may have got lost among the unwanted email clutter. 

Emptying the trash 

One thing I always forget but is one of the final touches to decluttering and organising my laptop is to get rid of all the files I’ve deleted once and for all. 



Decluttering the Desktop

I’m not usually one to have a messy desktop but, from trying to find a new home for my photos, they seemed to end up here.  I recently discovered an app calledDeclutter" that has come in very handy in decluttering my desktop. It automatically organises your files into folders that appear on your desktop based on the file type; all jpg, gif, png etc into photos, all doc, docx, pdf etc into documents. On the app store, this is usually £4.99. However, Setapp contacted me about the great tool they offer and I think you’ll love it. They offer a monthly subscription with access to apps that are usually quite pricey to buy on the App Store. You get exclusive access to these apps that usually costs and unlimited use each month with the apps they have constantly updating. Declutter is just one of their many apps that I’ve been loving.  You can learn more about the set-app and what it offers here {AD-aff.*}.  

Are you a student? They offer a fabulous discount of 50% making the monthly fee just £4.99 a month; read more and sign up for a free trial here {AD-aff}.  If you’re looking to get more organised, productive and creative, the Setapp has so many apps that really help with all these and more. 


So there are the ways that I organise my online workspace; it allows me to work more efficiently and I can more easily find everything I need.  Are there any tips you have for organising your computer? I’d love to hear!
Hope you’re doing great, 
Sarah x

AD-aff* refers to affiliate links where I receive a small percentage. However, all opinions remain my own and have full control over what I say and include in posts that use the links. 

READ, WATCH, LISTEN

7 Mar 2019

I think it’s about time I share with you a few of my favourites in the world of music, TV, books and blogging. I have some great recommendations that I hope you’ll like as well and want to give a go. 

Read

"We Should All Be Feminists" 

It had been a while since I’d read non-fiction as well as feminist based-book. When I spotted this in the library, I remembered I’d bought it as a present for a friend a few years ago and had been yet to read it. I’d describe this as a great pocket-guide to feminism. It sets out what feminism really is for so many women. It was such a short yet impactful read that I would recommend to anyone interested in feminism or, honestly, anyone; it can give people a simple sense of the good that feminism does and why it exists and why it is not just for females but for everyone. 

BECC4


I tend to flick between blogs and, honestly, don’t tend to stick to one blog. However, Becca’s posts have really been catching my attention recently and I have really enjoyed reading them.  They cover some great topics that aren’t always the usual, cliche topics. I also feel like I’m reading something by a friend with her “Sick Tings” posts especially; I love them! 

The Bliss Bean 

I think I’ve found the version of me I wish I was. Everything she’s done I’ve wanted to do. She’s learnt Korean, has a fabulous blog and Instagram and has posts that I just love to read. I love the resources she includes as a few freebies. This is a very recent blog find but one I’ll definitely be going back to in the future. 

Watch 

The Sinner

I was actually intrigued to watch season 2 more than 1. However, I wasn’t sure if I could get away with not watching the first season so I thought I’d start where, I guess, you are supposed to. After only finishing the first season, I can already highly recommend. If you haven’t heard of this before, it follows a detective who looks not really at who did it but why did they do it.  Each of the two seasons has focussed on a single murder investigation where the culprit is quite an unlikely person and the situation it happens is quite peculiar. With just one investigation taking up the whole season, I wondered if it would really hold my attention but every episode ended with me wanting to start the next one straight away which is always a sign that I’m a fan. 

Wonder

This is not a new film but one that I’ve discovered and adore. It’s become my go-to cry-but-feel-better-after film. I read the book many years ago now and had been meaning to get around to watching it. When it finally made its way on to Netflix and knew I had to watch it and I’m so glad it did. It did the book so much justice and got the really important plot points across. It’s really one for all the family and I would encourage everyone to give it a watch (and maybe give the book a read as well!)

Listen 

HONNE

HONNE has quickly become one of my most listened to artists. I especially love listening to them as I work. Their music is not distracting for when I work, I find really chilled and perfect focus music. I particularly love their songs “Location Unknown” and “I Just Wanna Go Back”. I really recommend checking out HONNE this month. 

H.E.R

This is another chilled artist I've been loving. H.E.R's voice is just so soothing. I'd say a female Frank Ocean but so much more power and I love it. If you haven't checked her out before, I'd definitely recommend. I'd specifically check out "Jungle" "Best Part" and "Hard Place"; they're among my favourites and probably some of her most well known so are a great place to start.

Hope you enjoyed reading about some of my recommendations! Anything you recommend for me to read, watch or listen over the next month?
Hope you're doing great, 
Sarah x

FOCUS OF THE MONTH: CREATE

4 Mar 2019

It’s somehow already March and the third month of my little challenge. I really enjoyed letting Twitter decide what my focus would be last month and so I thought I’d do this again. I kind of already knew I wanted “CREATE” to be my word to focus on but it was nice to see those who voted, agreeing that it was a good choice. I think, funnily enough, that this month is going to be a tough challenge, but I think now more than ever and ready to focus on getting creative again. 

Writing

Apart from blogging, essay and reports and the odd article writing, I haven’t taken some time to write anything else since, I think, before coming to uni. Writing was something I used to love and I’d have so many ideas I wanted to express in words. However, as work mounted, I lost both my motivation and inspiration for writing. Now, I want to write again; whether good or bad, my aim is to produce and create something written that isn’t related to uni or blogging. I want to step outside my comfort zone and create something new that, maybe, I’ll share with you in the future. 

Painting

I love to paint- particularly watercolours. I’ve had a few opportunities to pick up the paintbrush but it’s been a while since I’ve created something I love. I’ve already started working on a piece taken from a music video I love. My aim is to keep working on this and, hopefully, finish it (even if just a rough first attempt) by the end of this month. 

Something I actually wanted to start in January but have yet to get round to is art journaling; I think this will be a really nice way to get some different ideas out without feeling pressured for them to be perfect. Just yesterday, I went an picked up a notebook that I think will be great for this. I’m hoping to start working my way through the book, starting this month. 

Finding inspiration

I think one reason my motivation is lacking is that I’ve stopped searching for inspiration, I’ve stopped reading, going to art exhibitions, listening to new music etc.  I want to try and search for as much inspiration as possible; whether that’s reading more or going to a gallery. 

Whenever I’ve read about where and how people get inspiration, one thing they say is to always have a place to jot down any ideas with you on the go.  With my phone constantly in my pocket, I may as well use it for good and take a few moments in a day to write down any ideas I have had that day. Maybe do some mind maps, lists; anything that gets me thinking a little more. 

Keeping the balance

In my February in Review, I said that February’s focus of “Balance” is definitely going to be an ongoing one. With deadlines approaching over spring break and preparation for my final exams, I want to make sure I’m making time for both revision and work as well as getting creative. 
I’m going to try and swap searching social media for reading and, instead of Netflix doing some writing. This way, I’ll have no excuse for not being able to create something this month. 


So there are my goals this month based around my focus of /Create/ Can you think of any other ways I could get creative this month? Any words of wisdom? 
What are your goals and focuses for March? 
Hope you’re doing great, 
Sarah x 
design by amanda inez