Sunday, 14 October 2018

Finishing Roaccutane


My last roaccutane update was at the end of month 6. We are now at 7 and a half months and I have decided to finish taking my medication two weeks earlier than planned. I went to the dermatologist last week, and as soon as I walked into the consultation room he said "Lucy I think we should stop at 8 months". I was really happy he said it before I got that chance too, as I have wanted to finish it for the last month or so. Due to appointments I had ended up with three weeks' worth of medication left, so he said to finish that and then stop. I decided myself this week I wanted to stop. When I took my last contraceptive pill for this month, on that day I also took my last roaccutane tablets. It has been a long time coming and I have had such strange effects the last 8 weeks or so, I needed to do it.

I have felt such a change in my mood. I have been crying on a daily basis, not even because I feel particularly low in mood but anything triggers tears. This is something I have never experienced and it is either my pill or the roaccutane. My contraceptive pill I have been on is rigevidon and I have been on this many times before, and never had these side effects. I did a lot of research before deciding to take roaccutane and this seems to be a common side effect. I have also been over thinking everything which I have been doing, and it has made me a little on edge. I just have not enjoyed the way I have been feeling and I decided to finish it all at once. I want to be completely hormone free, I don't want anything extra in my body and I am hoping this will take me back to my old self.

There is no denying roaccutane has changed my life. I cannot describe how much happier it makes me being spot free. It is so nice talking about my acne in the past tense, as it has been with me for over 10 years. I am going to do before and after pictures, but I am going to post them in my final roaccutane post which will be up in December. The dermatologist wants me to have a final appointment in December to check that everything is still okay. I am so nervous about the aspect of the acne returning. He said to me that my nose was looking shiny and my eyes literally filled my tears. I looked in the mirror in the room and to me my nose has been so much shinier than it was in that moment. I am just going to try and not focus on it. I am so happy that I now feel confident makeup free, and that at the end of the day was my goal for this entire process. I feel as though I have lost my love for makeup as I have wanted to keep my skin as clear as I can, so I am excited to get back into the makeup love affair. I am still keeping my skincare routine as simple as possible as I know my skin is still fragile. I'll tell you what I am excited about - getting my eyebrows waxed and tinted!

In terms of other side effects, my skin has very much settled down. My lips are still very dry, my aloe vera vaseline is still my most trusty friend. They crack a ridiculous amount on a daily basis, and I cannot wait for them to get back normal.

I am really excited to see what the next month or two holds. However, I do not feel as though I am in the clear yet. I am praying that my skin is still beautiful and my hormones re-balance and I start to feel like the old me.

Lucy
xoxo

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Sunday, 7 October 2018

Getting my blogging game back on


I know I have written a few of these posts over my blogging years. I think having nearly had this blog for five years, it is definitely bound to happen over time. For a few months throughout the summer I literally had rock bottom motivation to even open up blogger and consider writing any kind of post. It was strange, but I knew that everything would be okay and it would bypass just like many times before. I always find that after a holiday I feel like I got my mojo back and I am reading to knuckle down with all things to do with my blog.

I feel like in my nearly 5 years of blogging things have changed so much, and does with such speed it can sometimes make you feel like you are not in the game at all. I feel like everyone around me is upping their game, and I am at the bottom of the heap struggling to stay afloat. I think this is often how you can feel in life in general. I have definitely experienced this many times, when you feel everyone around you is achieving and you are either plateauing or sinking. When I finally get that urge again to go out and get what I want, it spurs me on in wanting to better myself and my blog. I also use this moto in all aspects of my life. There is no way you are going to go through your life every day of every year being at the top of your game, life comes with peaks and troves and it's how we overcome them which is the biggest achievement.

I do find though that the blogosphere changes at such a rapid rate. When it is just a hobby, you do find yourself feeling as though you are left behind, I often remind myself this is not my job. Trying to beat the Instagram algorithms on a daily basis, posting at a certain time, having a specific theme all with the same colour, posting twice a day, it can all take a toll and it does sometime take the fun aspect away of blogging for me. It is no longer just your one blog and that platform, every time a new social media app comes out it is getting on board with it. It is the little things such as planning when I am taking my break at work to get my photo up bob on 8am, I just sit and laugh sometimes because it really is not real life in the slightest. I think out of all of the things I tell myself, remembering that social media really is just the greater aspects of someone's life on show, a snap shot, and someone's smile can easily fade after the photo has been taken. I love Instagram and I think it is a great app, but I find it the most stressful out of them all.

I think if I came into the blogging world now as a newbie other social medias would take preference over an actual blog. Calling yourself a blogger seems to have drifted out and it's either an influencer or a content creator, in all honestly I can't really get on board with either of those as I will and always will be a blogger, as this is where I started and what I enjoy the most. I do fear that blogging is slowly but surely taking a backseat. When I first started my favourite bloggers were posting every single day, and I know other social media outlooks have come into play, and for some they have definitely taken priority. People aren't taking the time to post lengthy, in depth posts about products anymore, when they can write it in a quick caption on Insta or Twitter. Blogging is what changed and structure this new and exciting industry, and things definitely do need to change along the way in order for it to continue to develop. However, I do fear blogging is slowly deteriorating as we have seen with other social networks sites such as MySpace. In all honesty, all of these thoughts and feelings are definitely what pushes me to continue with my blog, as I want the blogging space and community to go on for as long as possible.

I really have never been one to look at my stats closely and analysis them. I do however love it when I see a particular post which has done really well, as this then helps me to plan and create my future content. I think expanding from just beauty posts, into lifestyle and travel was such a great move for me as it allowed me to have so much more scope to write about. I love a blog with varied content which you get engrossed in to, as before you know it you have read 10 posts and it keeps you wanting to go back for more.

I do need to continue to push myself in order to keep my mind-set fresh and keep the content coming on a regular basis. I often get stuck in ruts; I won't take photos for two weeks and instead of putting time to one side to do this, I just let the time dwindle away with me. I recently went on a jam pack weekend away which involved lots of activities, and I picked up my phone only at night. I felt fantastic and I thought to myself why do I spend an hour scrolling Twitter endlessly when I could be utilising my time writing posts. I moan, like everyone does, about time management and being too busy. That weekend away really did put into perspective that it is how we choose to use our spare time, and that really counts. I am all for days of just doing absolute nothing, my job is demanding and sometimes I don't want to wake up and force myself to create content. However, I am definitely going to try and get into a better more structured routine. I love getting things done first thing in the morning, as it leaves me with the rest of the day to do whatever I want without that sense of guilt hanging over you. I know I waste endless amount of hours scrolling on my phone, and it is my goal to make that stop.

All in all, until I get a real urge that blogging is 100% no longer for me this blog will continue. I still struggle with explaining to my friends what I do and what it involves, and I really do not think until you have done it you can explain it. I do love that it is an outlet just for me, that none of my close friends actually share with me. It is my own little own project which I run by myself. Most importantly, it gives me a mind-set for a period of time for me to do what I want to as I complete control of it.

Lucy
xoxo

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Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Primark's Berry Velvets (Huda Beauty Dupe)











There is no denying Primark have invested a lot of money and time into their beauty section over the last year. I often visit their huge store in Manchester, and the aisles of beauty products seem to grow every time I go in. That obviously means that every time I go in I need to investigate any new items. There is no denying that they produce products so fast to keep up with trends just like their clothing, however I think their recent releases definitely got me thinking about the whole dupes/copying high end brands issue which is often talked about in the beauty industry.

When I went into Primark at the start of August and was browsing the aisles of the makeup, my eyes were drawn to a small stand of eye palettes in quad shapes. I picked up berry velvets and I was instantly happy with the colour scheme within this quad. Hence the name, the shades are all themed around berry tones which are my favourites during the Autumn. I was drawn to these petite quad shaped palettes, as I had been longing after a Huda Beauty quad eyeshadow palette for the longest time. If you look at Huda's mauve obsession palette, you will be able to instantly see the resemblance between them. The 9 shades are definitely based around the same shade range, and also come with a mix of mattes and metallics. However, Huda's palette is £25 and the Primark version is £3.

There was a sample quad which I was able to swatch and I was surprised at how pigmented they looked on first impressions. The problem with Primark makeup is consumers do not always use the swatch palette on the display to test the colours, meaning many of the products get ruined. I was glad to see that they have started coating their palettes with a plastic layer which needed to be cut off after being purchased. This was only £3 which I thought was an absolute bargain so I put it into my basket and headed on my merry way.

I have been playing around with this Primark berry velvets palette for a few weeks now, and I am very happy to report that you need to run down to your local Primark and pick it up. I have tried and reviewed many Primark beauty products over the last year, but never any eyeshadows and I have to say they have done exceptionally well with this range. I do love buying high end eyeshadow palettes, I think Urban Decay's heat palette is my most used palette which I own. However, I am definitely not a beauty lover who only buys high end products, as I definitely buy more from high streets shops. I love finding products which are great high end alternatives for a fraction of the price.

My favourite two shadows which I have been wearing together are sweetness (mid toned pink) with wild hearts (pink metallic) blended together. Devotion is a copper metallic and is such a beautiful and well pigmented shade. There are three shades which on swatch look a little bit chalky, they are peace (white pearlised), selfish (mid toned purple metallic) and tough love (dark plum mettalic). However, the two darker purple shades selfish and tough love look great when applied to the eye. Pearl is a little bit light for me as I love using this kind of shade for under my brow bone, and it does not quite give me the pop I wanted. Although, humble (light pink metallic) is perfect for this and has beautiful pigmentation.

Overall, for £3 this is one of the best high street palettes which I have tried for a while. Normally, on the high street this palette would cost £8/9 at a minimum, so I am not quite sure how Primark has managed to produce such a good quality palette for such a small price. The packaging is card and the corners will probably start to ruin after a few uses, but I have noticed a lot of palettes are now coming in card packaging. I think that this will be a brilliant palette to travel with as it is so dinky and portable. I am very impressed with this and there was two other palettes in this range, one had smokey brown tones and the other was bright and vibrant. I will definitely be looking out for them on my future visits to pick up and try.

Lucy
xoxo

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Sunday, 23 September 2018

Madeira

I haven't been this excited to write a blog post in ages. My trip to Madeira was honestly one of the best, and I have so many memories which I know I will treasure forever. Before going on this trip I really did not know much about the island in the slightest. My parents had visited 25 years ago and always had such fantastic things to say about it. As I went with my parents on this trip I kind of just let them plan it, and was just happy to having our annual family two week summer holiday booked.

I did do some research before we went and we always buy a guidebook which I think is a staple for any trip. We noted that there were a few tourist attractions and places which we definitely wanted to visit. My parents still love to go holidays where you have a rep. This year it was very useful as we attended the welcome meeting and we were told a lot about the city of Funchal which is where we were staying. We stayed about the Hotel Girassol which was located just on the outskirts of the city. There were lots of hotels in this part of the city as it was just a little bit away from the main city action, but there were still lots of bars, restaurants and shops.

We were told by the rep that getting into the centre of Funchal would be a 30 minute walk. Most of the time we opted to use the local buses which costs €1.95 per person each way. It was a 10 minute journey and the buses were every 15 minutes. This was the first holiday where we have ever been all-inclusive and I have to say it was definitely good value for money. We usually go self-catered and I did the miss being able to stroll and choose the restaurant and have a more varied selection of food. However, the hotel did provide a good variety of food, but by day 14 as I think with any all-inclusive holiday we were a little bit bored. On two of the nights we choose to eat out of the hotel but just stayed in our smaller resort and the food was great. One thing we did notice though is that the food is not cheap. A meal for 3 would cost €60-75 depending on if we wanted wine or not. We did all say though that the food was delicious so we did not mind paying it, but if you were self-catered it would have been a large expense. We also ate in the centre of Funchal when we went in for either the attractions of to look further around the city. Once again the food was great, and there was a wide range of food on offer. If you like fish then Madeira is perfect for you, as they catch all their fish locally and it is one of the main trades and incomes for the island.

The first attraction we did was the cable cars. This is definitely one of the top tourist attractions which Madeira has to offer to visitors. The cable cars take you into the hills and when I say it goes high, it goes high! I'm not a huge fan of heights, but this shocked me as on the way up I felt queasy and scared. Once at the top you arrive in Monte which is a small village, we planned to go around the Botanical Gardens which you can only get to by taking the second cable car half way back down the hill. This was opened in the 1960's by the Reid's family (who I will come onto later). The gardens were lovely to walk around as the sun was shining and it was a pleasant, but steep walk. We then went to a lovely little cafe that has the most fantastic views overlooking the island.





When we go on holiday I always think the sightseeing buses are worth paying for. They give you a great insight of the city, you learn about their history and also you can hop on and off to sights which you want to see. We chose to go on the city sightseeing bus as it went to all of the places we wanted to visit. On the first day we decided to get the blue line which took us to Monte, where we went to the Monte Palace Tropical Gardens. Out of the two gardens if you only have time to visit one, I would definitely choose this one. It is absolutely huge in total is covers 70,000 square meters, and it took us hours to go round. This is also fairly steep, as it is set in the hills but it was so beautiful. There are waterfalls, bridges and tropical houses which have exotic plants from all over the world. It is kind of like a spiral down and when you reach the middle you get to the museum which so beautiful to look at, it is surrounded by such an array of plants and trees and has a lake running throughout the middle of it.



Monte is also where you can get on their famous basket carts, they are basically big wooden woven baskets which two people sit in. You start at the top of a very steep hill and two men push you down and it's basically a big slide, but in fact it is down one of their regular roads with cars. We were considering doing this but we thought it was expensive and we did not have a real desire to do it, although it would have definitely have been fun.


On the second day of using our city-seeing bus tour ticket, we visited a place called Camara de Lobos. The bus which takes you here are much smaller as they have to get up the narrow winding roads into the very edges of the island. When you reach the top there is a large fishing port and a picaresque stretch of shops and restaurants. We spent an hour or two looking round and then sat down overlooking the port and had some lunch. On the way back down we finished off by swapping buses and seeing the other parts of the tour which we had not yet done.




Reid's Palace was somewhere which my mum had mentioned quite a few times, and was definitely at the top of her must visit list. The rep informed us of what it was and its location, my mum was determined for us to go during our holiday at some point for their famous afternoon tea. There was so much to write about that I have actually written an individual post all about it here. To give a very concise round up, Reid's Palace is a five stars hotel which is in Funchal, they offer an afternoon tea where you sit on their balcony which overlooks the entire island. It is a must visit trip from me, and it is a memory which we will all be telling people when this holiday is brought up in conversation.


The city of Funchal itself has a lot of exploring on offer, as it has an old and a new town. Within the new town they host many well-known shops, and I definitely did more shopping than I expected! The city also has a cathedral which is open must times of the day, and has some stunning stain-glass windows to view. The city is perfect for strolling and stopping off for a tea and cake every hour. Funchal is a popular destination as the first stop on a lot of European cruise liners, meaning that some days the city could be very busy with a large amount of tourists. This is great for the locals and their businesses as it brings a lot amount of income for them.



Overall, I had such a fantastic holiday and I have recommended to everyone who will listen that they should visit Madeira. They live such a lovely and relaxed lifestyle, and I definitely de-stressed and relaxed from the usual hustle and bustle of everyday life. I don't think I would rush back as I feel as though we thoroughly explored a lot of the island. I love to discover new places and I cannot wait for my next adventure.

Lucy
xoxo
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Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Reid's Palace for Afternoon Tea - Madeira

 







My latest travel adventure took me to Madeira and wow what a beautiful place it is. I did not know much about the island at all before visiting, but since returning I have been telling everyone who will listen to visit. Whilst staying in Funchal which is the capital of the island, we were recommended to visit the five stars Reid's Palace Hotel for their afternoon tea experience.

We decided to go one afternoon and it was so delightful, we all had such a wonderful time. We had been told that it is pretty fancy, and it really was. Even during the day it is evening attire and they are pretty strict with their dress code. We arrived for our afternoon tea and we were a little bit early, so we were told we could take a wander around the hotel and their grounds. It has some beautiful decor and we were all wishing we could afford to stay at the hotel. After a quick Google search we discovered that it was very much out of our price range starting at €340 a night for a classic room going up to €900 for a suite, but if you want a luxurious trip then this hotel would be perfect.

At time we had booked we were invited onto the balcony for our afternoon tea sitting. It was beautiful and the balcony overlooks the island which was so pleasant and tranquil. The first course was the sandwiches and all the staff were lovely and very accommodating as we did not like all of the fillings. We were informed at the start that you can order more of the same course if you want to. I think we got swept up in all of the excitement and we decided to go in for round two with the sandwiches.

Next up, were the scones. They were just how I like them and they came with a variety of jams and a perfectly made clotted cream. This was probably my favourite round! When you first arrive at your table they give you a menu with lots of different types and blends of teas. You are able to have other drinks if you prefer. I decided to go for the Reid's traditional tea which I really enjoyed, as you can see from the picture the teapot is rather large. You also get bottomless tea which was great as you could different types throughout the afternoon.

After the scones came the cakes. I have to say me and mum were originally the most excited for this round for all the reasons you would expect. The cake selection was massive, and we didn't know where to start. The little fruit tarts were my favourite. As you would expect they were all very fancy, and some of them a little too much and I just couldn't face them all. Don't worry though between us all we at least managed to try them all!

When you book for the afternoon tea which costs €35 per person you do get told you get 2 hours at your allocated table. They were really relaxed with this which was really great as we still had a few cakes to get through at the 2 hours mark. They were not offering you another round of cakes which is obviously totally acceptable, as they do have three set times of sittings for the afternoon tea in a day. It was not a cheap but it was a lovely day out and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. The food and tea were all lovely, and the view was the perfect setting. We all went back to the hotel very full, but all very happy. It is located just on the outskirts of the centre of Funchal but it is very easy to get to as throughout Madeira public transport is great. We were very lucky that Reid's was only a 10 minute stroll from our hotel.

Lucy
xoxo
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Sunday, 16 September 2018

Wanting to Explore


I feel like recently I have had the urge more than ever to just pack up a bag and head off on a lifetime trip. I am not in a stable relationship, I am saving for a house- but that can definitely wait, and there will always be work for me when I get home. In all honesty, if I could make just a small a wage from my blog and social media I would be off in a no time.

I feel like turning 24 has been a bit of a defining point in terms of my feeling like I need to make something of myself. I am not sure if that is going on an adventure, but I do feel as though I need some escapism. Everyone at work literally says to me 'you are always on holiday', the fact is I get 6 weeks a year off and my 2018 goal was to use all my annual leave for holidays. I don't need to use my holidays for child care, I use them for enjoyment and for me that is to leave my house and get on a plane. I did take a gap year and I never did the travelling thing, I worked the entire year and there was no way with the wage I was on I was travelling anyway! The furthest I made was 10 days in Ayia Napa! I was definitely too young and naive to have gone travelling then anyway, I doubt I would have latest very long. I think after going to university a lot think that your life is now just work, work, work. In reality, after being in education for so long and now working full time for two years I have definitely got that urge to just pack up and go.

The thing is I haven't got a burning desire to visit somewhere in particularly. I have always wanted to go to New Zealand and Australia, but I know I will need to save up a lot to be able to even afford my plane tickets, that is definitely something for the bucket list. I have enjoyed this year just using bits of annual leave here and there and going off on shorter city breaks, rather than a week or two weeks at a time. This year I started off by visiting Hamburg in February and Guernsey in April. I have recently been on a two week break with my family to Maderia which was beautiful. I am hopefully heading away in October, then Edinburgh in December for the Christmas markets. Within the last few weeks my travelling agenda for 2019 has been coming together very well. Disneyland Paris is finally happening in February (eek!), Centreparcs in March and hopefully Copenhagen in April. My friend from university and I are hopefully going on an adventure possibly to India for 3 weeks at some point, which is so exciting!

In order to save for my trips I have a saving accounts and I use that for partly saving for a house and the other half for travel. I have also opened a help to buy ISA which is proving to be working very well. Say I save £400 one particular month, I will decide and make a note depending on that month's plans how much is going for trips and how much is going towards the house. It is a very simple method. My kind of rationale is I have worked hard for my money, and I will spend it on whatever I want as long as I am sensible.

I have never really been a spontaneous person, I always like plans and to be organised to a fashion. I think I am somewhat easy going but I like to know times and places of things I am doing. Even though I would like nothing more than to pack up and leave. However, I have so many worries in my mind, and I am not sure that just taking 9 months off and going on this huge adventure is going to be the answer to what I am looking for. So I think for now my 2019 goal is going to be the same as 2018, to use all my annual leave to the best I can. I think with where I work its great as it is not Monday-Friday, I can use requests to my advantage so I only use a small amount of annual leave at a time. I know it is only September but there is nothing more exciting than having a holiday to countdown too and already cannot wait to book my next adventures!

Lucy
xoxo
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Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Jaclyn Hill x Morphe The Vault Collection: Bling Boss





This announcement of this launch from Jaclyn Hill and Morphe got me very excited. As you know I was, and still am a big fan of her first palette and I did a full review here if you wish to read it. The Vault is a collection of four different palettes - bling boss, ring the alarm, dark magic and armed and gorgeous. I think the price point of these are really good, they are £15 each or you can buy the full vault for £49.

I was debating which palette to choose for a few days. I originally was drawn to the ring the alarm palette as it has all of the classic orange, yellow and copper shades which I am always drawn to. However, I do already own 20 palettes that have this type of shades it, so I decided to venture of out my norm and go for bling boss which mainly focuses on purple shades.

I was super excited when it arrived as the palette contains such a fantastic array of colours. This has a mixture of mattes and shimmers which is what I like in a palette as it allows you to create a lot of different looks. So as always being the blogger I am I start to take my pictures, and do some swatches. I really liked the texture of the shadows as they are creamy and pick up easily out of the pan. My first impressions were a little disappointing as some of the shades did not have good pay off.

The first row shades: bling bling (silvery pink glitz), hush hush (matte mauve), hem (vibrant violent shimmer), pizzazz (glittery magenta) and mystic ( matte brown toned purple).


`Second row: sparks (matte strawberry red), glitz & glam (shimmering rose gold), rockstar (matte purple), ballsy (glittery mauve pink) and berry treasure (glittery black).


The matte shades are definitely the ones which I am the most disappointed with. I wanted the dark mattes to be the true dark they should be, but they just did not perform in comparison to my other favourite palettes. You can see in the swatches that the shadows look a little ashy and the pigmentation is not the best. I feel like some of the mattes have been made well, but look at the comparison between the three matte shades in this picture. Sparks (top) has a great colour pay off which is so different compared to rockstar (third) which looks so patchy and uneven. As always I try to swatch these equally. The ones which I found patchy I reswatched, but time and time again I saw no improvement.


As I have already mentioned I was really impressed with Jaclyn's first palette with Morphe. However, the bling boss palette has not left me with the urge to buy any other palettes form this collection. There are some great shimmer shades in this palette and this is where the palette does do well. The shades bling bling and glitz & glam are great and I have reached for them the most out of all the shades. This palette has opened my eyes to the fact that I should step away from my classic go to shades and use more reds and purples and be a little more creative.

I usually write posts on all of the beauty products I am loving, as I love to find hidden gems with the beauty industry. When a product is launched which I am excited about such as this palette I want to be honest with my reviews. I really wanted to love this, but I have used it a lot and my overall opinion is simple - there is a mixture of some great and some dud shades.

Lucy
xoxo

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