The Importance of Shopping Sustainably and Independently

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

I’ve been wanting to write this blog post for a while now and have been really excited about it, hence me posting it in the middle of the week as a bit of a bonus post. The reason for this is the incredible top I am wearing in these photos. I picked it up at a store in the Gracia region of Barcelona, called the 8pm Store, conveniently situated just next to the apartment we were staying in, off my cousins recommendation. The 8pm Store is an independent concept, fashion store, stocking clothes all of which have been designed sustainably in Barcelona as well as an art exhibition. The clothing in the store was so cool and being in the store itself was an amazing experience. Plus, the owner was so friendly, explaining to me more about the idea and logistics behind the store, also gifting me a free postcard from their last exhibition, which was such a nice touch and really made me feel happy for the rest of the day.

This experience got me thinking about why it is so important to support independent fashion. I would never have had an experience like that in a high-street store and because fashion is a really creative thing for me, it’s so inspiring to have a shopping experience like I did in The 8pm Store. Another really great shopping experience I had was also on my travels this year back in March when I went to Edinburgh at Armstrongs Vintage. I was also recommended to this shop by a friend, this is definitely the best way to find places to go when travelling from my experience, and it was probably (definitely) the best vintage shop I’ve ever been to. It was huge and the choice was incredible, from costume dress to the most incredible vintage denim. This is where I picked up the jeans I’m wearing in this photo, they’re by YSL and cost me a mere £20. I have pretty much always been looking for the perfect pair of white jeans and these are them. I had to get them taken up, which wasn’t expensive, but altering is definitely always worth it as a piece that fits you properly will mean you want to wear it more often and longer.

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

I realise I’ve spent the first half of this post gushing over these two shops, they’re seriously worth the fangirling though, so I’m going to move on to what this post is actually about, why shopping sustainably and independently is important. We all know the horrors of fast-fashion, from horrendous factory conditions to the colossal environmental effect, so I’m not going to guilt-trip you with any statistics. Especially because I still very much buy clothes from fast fashion retailers, it’s the most convenient and affordable way to shop and as much I’ve tried to avoid it, I just can’t at the moment, partly because financial reasons and partly because of selfish ones. So, instead, I’m making a conscious effort to support sustainable and independent shops and brands more often as well.

The most expensive sustainable fashion tends to be the brands who have built themselves on this ethos because it’s expensive being ethical in every single way and that’s just the way it is. I’m talking about the likes of Reformation and Everlane. The 8pm Store falls into this category of store though and although it’s more expensive than your average high-street store, it’s still really affordable. The top I’m wearing in this photo, which is handmade and of incredible quality, cost me between €35-40 (I can’t remember the exact amount), which is definitely more than I would spend on a piece like this at a high-street store. But I was willing to pay not only for this top that I love, but for the experience of being in the shop and the sustainablity behind the piece. This is something that can be hard to take into account when you put a similar piece from an independent, sustainable designer next to a Topshop piece for a fraction of the piece but I personally think, if you’re able to, it’s 100% worth supporting the former for the reasons I’ve just mentioned.

However, most of the time I’m just not able to buy expensive pieces, which often means I resort to the high-street. But another option is something that I love and have found some of my favourite pieces I own from, charity shops. They’re so unbelievably cheap AND you’re supporting a good cause by buying from them. My favourite pair of jeans cost £2 from a charity shop and the cost per wear is definitely in the minus’ now. Although charity shopping can be time consuming, I’ll often set out an entire afternoon or morning to go and look around the charity shops, it’s so rewarding and can help you save so much money that it’s 100% worth it. I know people are sceptical of charity shops but you won’t believe the gems you’ll find in there and most of the things haven’t been worn or have barely been worn so there is no need to worry about that aspect of it. Obviously, as well, it’s by far the most sustainable way to shop.

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

Moving on to the second part of the title of this post, shopping independently. This is something that I am very good at whilst travelling but pretty poor at when at home. At home I’m all too temped to revert to the trusty high street but on holiday, shopping independently is an amazing way to get to know the place you’re in. The predominant way that I shop independently at home is through charity shops and vintage shops. Both of the places I am based, Liverpool and Manchester, have a great array of independent clothing stores that don’t fall into the categories just mentioned and are a little more expensive but I think it’s just getting into the habit and mindset of shopping there.

Nevertheless though, I still try and make an effort to shop independently because, as I mentioned, there’s nothing better than having an amazing shopping experience and independent shops definitely offer that more than chains do. Plus, they give a place character. Whenever I go away, whether it’s in the UK or abroad, I always try and steer away from what I’m going to call the ‘chain area’ of the city and venture out to the areas that actually feel like you’re in a different place. I’d hate anywhere I live to not have this feel at all and if we don’t support these independent businesses then they’ll no longer exist.

Here’s a list of some of my favourite independent stores, from fashion to all sorts of other things with links to their websites/social media:

  • The 8pm Store, Barcelona (Fashion/Art)
  • Armstrongs Vintage, Edinburgh (Fashion)
  • COW Vintage, Liverpool, Manchester and Various Other Places (Fashion)
  • Utility, Liverpool (Home/Gifts)
  • Chapter One, Manchester (Bookstore/Cafe)
  • Fred Aldous, Manchester (Art/Gifts)
  • Park St in Bristol has the best independent vintage shops, I can’t choose just one from the one time I’ve visited (Fashion)

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and that it’s given you some encouragement to head down to your local independent clothing store, or try and shop a little bit more sustainably! You won’t regret carving some time out to visit your local charity shops or vintage shops to grab a bargain. Even if you go high-street shopping afterwards, you’ve probably saved yourself some money by buying something second-hand and you’re helping to save the world a little bit at the same time, so it’s a win-win. I’d love to hear your favourite independent shops or the best ways, in your opinion, to shop sustainably in the comments or on social media! As mentioned, I’m by no means perfect with this and am not claiming to be so any tips and recommendations are very welcome!

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

 

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

Top- Dreamers Not Allowed

Jeans- Vintage YSL, Armstrongs Vintage

Shoes- Vans

Sunglasses- Mango

Hair Clips- Accesorize

Necklace- Alex Monroe

Girls on Film: Natalia

Girls on Film: Natalia

Today on my blog I’m introducing a new series called, as you can probably guess by the title, ‘Girls on Film’, where I interview girls/women in my life about themselves. I have so many amazing female friends in my life and I thought this series would be an amazing way to celebrate them. I personally love reading posts getting to know random people with a series of (slightly invasive?) questions and I hope you enjoy it too. I also wanted to do something more with my love of film photography so with these interviews will be photos of the girls in question taken on my film camera. The first interview is with one of my closest and longest friends, Natalia. We actually did this interview well over a month ago (maybe even 2 months ago) so apologies for the lateness. The photos I initially shot of her were lost in a roll of film that came back empty so there has been some delays. But without any further delays, here is the interview…

A: What are you currently up to in life?

N: I’m off to a Sports Ball tonight, which I’m looking forward to! I study Drama & English Literature (at university)…yeah.

A: I obviously already knew these things so I didn’t really need to ask them but… (laughs). Do you have any plans over summer?

N: Just chilling (laughs), I’m going on holiday in July for a week to Spain, near Gibraltar. We’re not going on holiday this year (with family) because we’re going to America next year.

A: Where?

N: Well, either that or we’re going to Bali because it’s my Dad’s 50th next year! So Bali or America but we’re not going on holiday this year because of that. We’re leaning more towards Bali but (if we went to America) we’d go to like the West Coast, because we really want to go to California and stuff.

A: Amazing! Where do you feel most yourself and/or what’s your favourite thing to do? 

N:I prefer being at home and I come home from UNI quite a lot. You can’t talk about things at UNI that you can talk about at home.

A: Yeah if I’m ever explaining anything to friends at UNI I have to provide back stories to everything. Ok, so if you were guaranteed survival and were given basic needs, what 5 things would you take to a desert island?

N: My dog, to keep me company. I’d want to take my phone but only to listen to music. I’m not sure what else…

A: Well think of it as if you’re going to be on your own for the rest of your life… if you were going to take one book?

N: The Girl on The Train, I love that book. The book’s so good, it blows your head off more than the film. You’re shocked and then shocked again and then have to retract the first experience of being shocked…. I’d also take a bottle of wine! And a speaker, can I have a speaker? That’s it, I’m done!

A: So what was that? Your phone, your dog…

N: Phone, dog, speaker, wine and the book.

Girls on Film: Natalia

A: Who or what inspires you the most?

N: Probably my dad. My mum does too actually! But my dad ever since he was was 14, when he’d work, he’d get up at like 4 in the morning to do jobs since he was 12, because they didn’t have enough money or anything so he’s built it up for himself. And he works really hard now, I barely ever see him because he works away so much. He’s always in Scotland or in Lincolnshire he’s never at home, he has to get up at 4 in the morning every single day and he just plods on with it. And I don’t think I could do that.

A: Me neither, especially for his whole life!

N: I know! But both of my parents are really inspirational to me.

A: Where do you hope to be and what do you hope to be doing in 10/15 years time? So, what I mean is when you’re ‘settled’?

N: So I’d be 35!! That’s not okay. My mum had had me and Ben by then.

A: But on HQ (trivia) last night it says the average age that people get married is 35, so people are doing it a lot later now.

N: People are waiting till their older now aren’t they. When my mum and dad got married my mum was 21!

A: That was the norm though!

N: She met my dad when he was 19 and they got engaged 6 months later (laughs).

A: But if someone met someone when they were 27 and they got married to them when they were 29, that wouldn’t be unusual! The norm has just changed!

N: 35… I would want to be married by then, I don’t know if I would have had kids by then. I feel like I’d be about to be settling…

A: Where do you think you’ll be?

N: Down south, London.

A: Like city centre?

N: Yeah, hopefully acting on the stage. But I’d probably do another job first to save money because acting isn’t a solid job.

A: What would be your dream show to be in?

N: Anything on the West End, I’d love to be in Wicked! And only because it’s amazing… West Side Story.

A: Yes that would be the best one! Especially if you were one of the Puerto Rican girls, that would be so much fun! What about kids, do you want them? 

N: I want 3. But I feel like I’ll have one and be like… NO MORE (laughs).

Girls on Film: Natalia

A: Okay I just have one more question, what are you reading or watching or listening to at the moment?

N: Hell’s Kitchen! Me and Joe are obsessed with watching Hell Kitchen, it’s hilarious. I’ve been watching baking shows, I have no interest in baking. Nailed It, Great British Bake Off, just started that yesterday, Hell’s Kitchen. Nailed It is hilarious because it’s people who can’t cook or bake for their lives and they make awful cakes and compare them to really extravagant, professional ones!

A: Oh that’s amazing, I’d love that! Are you listening to anything good or anyone knew at the moment?

N: Avelino.

A: Oooh… I’m just checking that it’s recording because I don’t think I’ll remember that name (laughs). Are you reading anything? I was only going to ask for one out of the three but I’m just gonna go ahead and ask them all…

N: Not leisurely, but I’m reading The Lonely Londoners (by Sam Selvon) for my course about race in the 1950s.

A: Oooh, is it good?

N: Yeah! It’s good!

A: Anyway Nat I’ll let you go because I know you need to!

Girls on Film: Natalia

The conversation then inevitably continued for 5 minutes before she left but it’s nothing that’s relevant to this post! But I hope you’ve enjoyed this post as there are more ‘Girls on Film’ posts to come! I actually interviewed my friend Ellie at the same time as interviewing Nat so expect to see that very soon. I’d love to hear your feedback on this series and be sure to let me know of any more questions you’d like me to ask in future! Do you want it to be more personal, more about a specific topic? Let me know in the comments or via social media! Thanks for reading and you can follow Nat @nattiewilliams on Instagram.

 

June 2018 Favourites

June 2018 Favourites

I thought I’d share some things that I’ve been loving throughout June and maybe make this a monthly thing. Quite a few of these things I mention I actually started using in May but have grown to love throughout June. Also, just a quick disclaimer, this bag is not one of my favourites as I only bought it last week but I just thought it made a cool background. So, with that, here are my favourites from the month of June:

June 2018 Favourites

1. My Burberry Perfume

I recently rediscovered this perfume after getting home from UNI and having a big clear out. I knew I still had it’s box but I thought the perfume was long gone so I was really excited to discover that I had half the bottle left. I’ve been using it a lot recently and, although it reminds me of the winter a bit because it was a Christmas present, it’s definitely a classic scent that can be worn at any time of the year. And I really like the packaging too, which is always important.

June 2018 Favourites

2. Francessca Woodman

When my friend Maisie came to visit for a day out in Liverpool, we went to an exhibition on the phtoography of Francessca Wooodman at the Tate Liverpool and it was incredible. I’d never heard of Woodman beforehand but I’ve become obsessed with her work ever since this exhibition. Her photography is all black and white and shot on film so it’s provided me with a lot of inspiration and I’m definitely hoping to shoot on black and white film soon! There are a lot of elements of fashion photography in her work which I really like as well. You should definitely take a look at her work if you haven’t already and, if you’re in the Liverpool area, go to the exhibition at the Tate!

June 2018 Favourites

3. This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray

I bought this on the plane on the way to Corfu and I’ve been loving it so much. Going to bed often makes me feel really anxious because nighttime is when many of my more panicky moments have come on. So a really relaxing bedtime routine is essential for me. I’ve been using essential oils all year to help me sleep and have wanted to invest in this sleep spray for a while now but the price tag put me off, so buying it duty-free felt like the best time to do so. It has really helped me sleep and the ritual in itself makes me feel relaxed so it was definitely worth spending the money on. I didn’t really like the smell at first but it’s definitely grown on me and I really like having a smell that I associate with sleep and relaxation.

June 2018 Favourites

4. Le Specs Sunglasses

These sunglasses have been another rediscovery of mine as I bought them over 3 years ago now and haven’t worn them for the past couple of summers. But they’re my only pair of black sunglasses and probably my biggest pair too so they’re really great for those days when I don’t want anyone to see my face. The lenses are also much more protective from the sun than some of my other pairs which means they’re perfect for sunbathing, so I’ve been wearing them 24/7 on holiday and during this heatwave.

June 2018 Favourites

5. Missha SPF

I bought this spf for my holiday as the SPF I use throughout the year is only SPF30 and it isn’t waterproof, so it wasn’t really going to work for a beach/pool holiday in a hot country. This one is SPF45 and totally waterproof, smells really nice and doesn’t do any damage to my oily, acne-prone skin. I am so impressed by it! When I was in Corfu, sunbathing and swimming in 30 degree heat all day, I only applied it twice a day and my face didn’t burn once, which is a bit of a miracle as I always seem to burn my face on holiday! This brand is actually a Korean one and has definitely got me thinking about buying more Korean skincare products as this one is seriously amazing.

June 2018 Favourites

6. Alex Monroe Necklace

This necklace has been a firm favourite throughout the month of June. I picked it up at a sample sale Alex Monroe held at Foundation Coffee in Manchester for an absolute steal of £25. I’m trying to invest in my necklaces more as I wear them every day which means necklaces that aren’t real gold fade so easily. This is the start of this investing and a good one if I do say so myself!

Let me know if you enjoy these types of posts and if you’d like to see more! This will be my last blog post until next Friday now as this Friday I’m heading to Barcelona for 5 days and really want to make the most of my time there. Plus, I’m currently working pretty much full-time so there isn’t as much time for me to write blog posts! But I’ll be posting even more than normal over on Instagram because I love a good holiday photo, so see you over there!

 

 

The Best Holiday Reads

The Best Holiday Reads

I’m back with a bit of a different post today, although it is the type of post that I was planning on writing a lot about on my blog, a post about books. As I’ve just been on holiday (did I mention that I went to Corfu?) and it’s summer holiday season, I thought I would create a post with my holiday reading recommendations. I don’t know about you, but when I go on a beach/pool holiday, I spend 80% of my time during the day reading (the other 20% is spent eating and sleeping) and so I’m always prepared with lots of books. I find it a little bit scary taking books on holiday because I’m always worried that I won’t like a book but will have to carry on reading it or, even worse, won’t have anything to read at all. If you feel the same way, this post might be useful in providing you some trustworthy recommendations so you’re not left in this position. My recommendations are split up into three sections, each with some books that I’ve already read. I hope you find this post helpful and be sure to let me know if you’d like to hear more about my opinion on any of the books or, if you live near me, if you’d like to borrow one of the books from me! Here are my categories…

1. The Page-Turner

This category is probably the one that most people’s holiday book of choice falls into. Page-turners are easy-going, addictive and offer some serious escapism, which is perfect for a relaxing holiday where you’re going to be spending a lot of time reading. I always bring book like this on holiday with me because I tend to read more ‘serious’ and ‘literary’ books throughout the year. I’m very aware that this sounds snobby but I can assure you it’s not at all. I HATE book snobbery and people who refuse to consider any book as worthy if it hasn’t been nominated for a Man Booker or was published post-20th century because I think, not only is this attitude offensive to those who read these books and, in many ways, inherently classist, but there’s nothing wrong with reading a book purely for entertainment purposes and nothing else. Plus, these books are often interesting analytically and contextually because of their genre. Anyway, that was quite a tangent. But yes, I always read a book like this on holiday because I do tend to reach for more literary books throughout the year because they’re usually the ones that have been on my reading list for the longest and I’m really eager to read and because my reading time is limited during the year, I really have to narrow down my choices. Anyway, here are some of my favourite page-turners to devour on holiday this year:

My Number One Choice- The Millennium Series by Stieg Larsson 

This series is better known as the one that starts with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. This trilogy is often hailed as the biggest page-turner and if you read it, you’ll find out why. I won’t even try and explain the plot because it’s beyond complicated but they are crime novels and they are so gripping. They’re also pretty long so are perfect for your holiday as they will take you a while to get through if you’re just reading a chapter every night. I’m currently half way through the last novel and am thoroughly enjoying it as a form of escapism (along with my other favourite escapist activity, Love Island). A fourth book has recently been added to the series written by a different author, as Larsson died before the books were published. I don’t really know how I feel about that and whether I read it or not will depend on how much of a cliff-hanger the ending of the third novel is.

Other Page-Turners I Like (Perhaps More Literary Than I Previously Mentioned)-

  • The Power by Naomi Alderman
  • Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  • The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
  • 1984 by George Orwell

2. The Classic Novel That You’ve Never Got Round To Reading

As mentioned, a holiday is a time where lots of reading can be done quickly. So it makes sense to read that book that you’ve always wanted to read but have been putting off due to something like it’s length. You might think that a classic book is a little bit of a heavy choice for a relaxing holiday but I can guarantee that you’ll enjoy it a lot more if you read it all in one go, rather than over a month or so at home, so a holiday is the perfect chance to do so.

My Number One Choice- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I’m choosing this purely because it’s my favourite classic book and I’ve read it on holiday a few times before. There are many more chunkier books that perhaps might be a better choice for your holiday but this one is short and sweet and will certainly allow for other holiday reads if the thought of taking just one classic on holiday scares you.

Other Classic Novels I Like:

  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  • Lolita by Vladamir Nabokov
  • Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

3. The Non-Fiction Book That Makes You Think

Once again, this sounds a bit heavy for a holiday. But these are the types of books that need to be gobbled up in one go in order for them to have their full effect. Putting them down and coming back to them just won’t make you think as much as reading them in the space of a few days will. Plus, reading a book like this might be something you’ve been putting off so this is a good time to pack it in your suitcase, leaving you with no other choice than to read it.

My Number One Choice- Sapiens by Yual Noah Harari

I read this book on holiday last year and it’s honestly so brilliant. It’s a reflection on the history of the entire world. Educational and thoughtful, it is the ultimate book to make you think. If you read this on holiday, you will come back home feeling differently about the world and knowing more about it than you did before. I’m looking forward to reading the second instalment to this book on holiday this year!

Other Non-Fiction Books To Make You Think:

  • The Anxiety Solution by Chloe Brotheridge
  • Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
  • I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • Women & Power by Mary Beard
  • We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
  • A Room Of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
  • Revolution by Russell Brand

I hope you’ve found some reading inspiration for any upcoming holidays in this post! All of the books I’ve mentioned I have read and can thoroughly recommend but do do some extra research on any of the ones that I haven’t explained if they sound like they interest you. Happy holidays and happy reading!

My Morning Skincare and Beauty Routine (Cruelty Free)

Happy Friday! Today I’m going to be sharing with you my morning skincare and make-up routine. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m really crappy at make-up so I always go for something natural and simple but I thought I’d share it anyway as I feel like I’m using some products that I love at the moment. I love skincare and find it super interesting but my morning skincare routine is also pretty simple, both for time purposes and because that’s what my skin seems to like. My evening skincare routine is much more complicated but I’m sure I’ll do a blog post on that soon. In case you’re wondering, I have oily, blemish-prone skin but it’s in the best condition it’s been in in a long time at the moment. Anyway here it is…

1. To start, I’ll wet my face with a flannel before using the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser– my holy grail product. I’ve talked about this in detail in my blog post I wrote on the Glossier products that I own but it really is the perfect morning cleanser- so refreshing. If I’m going to be washing my hair that morning, I’ll use this in the shower but if not I just wash it off with a flannel, which works fine.

 

2.  Next, I spray my face with the Mario Badescu rosewater. I’m really not sure if this does anything but I love the smell and the feeling of it on my skin. It’s so refreshing in the morning and, because my evening skincare routine is quite de-hydrating, it’s a good way to really hydrate my skin at the beginning of the day.

3. The final step of my morning skincare routine (I told you it was basic) is this moisturiser from Lush called ‘Enzymion’. I’ve used it for years and, despite trying various other moisturisers, I always come back to it. It’s formulated for oily skin which makes it perfect for me and it smells of lemons which makes it really refreshing. It moisturises the skin without making you feel like you’ve got a heavy moisturiser on, which I like as I hate feeling like I have anything on my face.

4. Moving on to make-up, I’ve just started using The Ordinary Serum foundation in the shade 1.2N and I’m loving it. It’s similar to the Glossier ‘Perfecting Skin Tint’ but it’s a quarter of the price and has much better coverage. I like my coverage to be really light because, as mentioned, I don’t like feeling as though I have anything on my face, so on some days when I’m not really doing anything I do prefer the Glossier one. But overall, this is far better priced and covers up any imperfections, unlike the Glossier product. I usually just blend it in with an ELF blending brush.

5. The next step is bronzer although if I have any breakouts I’ll use the ELF concealer before this. I use the Urban Decay ‘Beached Bronzer’ which is buildable and so easy to apply. It’s not too dark or too light which means applying it is effortless and it never leaves any brown splodges on the top of my cheekbones.

6. After this I’ll either go in with a highlighter or with this Charlotte Tilbury blush stick– more often than not I use this as it’s much easier to apply than highlighter and makes for a more natural look. This one is in the shade ‘Moon Beach’ and it’s a kind of coral-y shade that definitely comes with a glow once applied. Super easy to use (can you see a theme here within my routine…) and something I actually get complimented on fairly often, which is always nice! Plus, it smells really good.

7. For someone who is lazy with their make-up, I wear eyeshadow disproportionately often, pretty much every day. I’ve never been able to do liquid eyeliner and so eyeshadow is the something interesting and varied that I like to add to my make-up routine. My favourite palette for every day is the ‘Sweet Peach’ palette by Too Faced. It has a variety of different shades but I usually stick to the lighter ones, although I am partial to some glitter. My favourite and most worn shade is ‘Bellini’, which I’m wearing in these photos, which is a shimmery dark pink shade that I think brings out the blue in my eyes.

8. Another holy grail product for me is the Anastasia Beverly Hills ‘Brow Wizz’ in soft brown. For some reason that is completely unknown to me, I have random holes in my eyebrows and this brow pencil allows me to fill them in quickly and seamlessly. I also have bushy eyebrows that grow back quicker than I care to pluck them so an eyebrow brush is necessary for me everyday, even when I’m not wearing make-up. The only annoying thing about the ‘Brow Wiz’ is that the packaging breaks so easily (as you can see here) which means the spoolie brush that comes with it always disappears within the first week of me owning it.

9. For mascara, I *usually* use the Urban Decay ‘Perversion’ which is cruelty free however I didn’t have it with me when I was taking these photos so I’m just using a random tester- sorry about that! I really don’t have much to say about it as a mascara anyway apart from that it works and it’s cruelty free and vegan, which is enough for me! I honestly don’t know what makes a good mascara and usually can’t tell one from another.

10. Finally, I use what is perhaps my favourite beauty product, the Glossier ‘Balm Dot Com’ in the shade/flavour (?) Birthday. It adds a slight shimmer and tastes incredible and is so soothing for my perennially dry lips. I don’t usually wear lipstick day-to-day so I just slap a bit of this on and I’m good to go.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post despite the fact that I am very apparently not that knowledgable about make-up! I do enjoy doing it and I especially enjoy doing skincare, so expect an evening skincare routine very soon where I can go a bit more into depth about my skin and what works for it. Let me know if you use any of the products I’ve mentioned and what your holy grail products are in the comments! Also if you are interested in any of the Glossier products I mentioned, you can click here to get 10% off your order!

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Making Your UNI Room Feel Like Home

Moving into UNI halls is most people’s first experience of living away from home, and what a weird experience it is. It’s the only time in your life when you’re thrown into living with people who you’ve never ever met before and then expected to become best friends with them straight away. Not only this, but your home is literally a corridor. It’s a pretty weird experience when you think about it. It’s a really fun and exciting one too but something I really struggled with (and sometimes still do) is not feeling at home. The amount of conversations I had with people during the first few weeks/months of UNI about the fact that we all felt like we were on a seriously long primary-school residential trip was crazy. Choosing to live in UNI halls means you have little to no choice about what your living space is going to look like, which can make it feel a little weird (especially when you go into your flatmates bedrooms and realise they’re completely identical). This is why it’s really important to make it your own. ‘Home’ is different for everyone but these are some of the things I’ve done to make my UNI room feel a little more ‘me’ and I’m hoping they’ll be helpful for others too (they’re going to be more catered towards living in halls but will obviously work for accommodation in 2nd year and beyond too).

1. Flowers

I only realised the power of fresh flowers fairly recently after I was bought some in February. They brightened up my room so much and  the concept of having something that is alive and growing in your room is such a positive one, even if you’re only thinking about it sub-consciously. They don’t have to be expensive either. These cost £4 from Tesco and will probably last about 2 weeks and you can get them for even cheaper than that. Plus, I didn’t even need to buy a vase as this jug that my flatmates stole from Wetherspoons works perfectly.

2. Fairy Lights

This one is a bit of a cliché for students but for good reason! Fairy lights make your room feel so much cosier and look so much prettier. I particularly love these heart attachments I picked up from IKEA to go on top of them. Since buying these, I’ve definitely started enjoying the appearance of my room a little bit more. I’d also really recommend buying a lamp! It seems simple but it’s easy to forget and having a lamp is so much more cozy and less harsh than having your ceiling light on at all times.

3. Decorating My Walls

This is probably the easiest way to make your room feel like your own. As you can see, the designers of my accommodation decided to go for these prison-style brick walls so I was desperate to get them covered. Whether it’s with posters, pages cut out from magazines or some of your own photos, in my experience, it’s best to cover as much wall space as possible. I picked this poster up on the first week of UNI at the student poster sale (really feeling like a walking, talking cliché in this post) and it was probably the first thing I did to make the room feel like my own. Also, a quick tip, most UNI rooms don’t let you use blue tac so get your hands on some adhesive strips! They work in just the same way and won’t leave any marks on your walls.

4. Adding A Personal Touch

Pack as many personal photos as you can when you go to UNI. They’re such a comfort to have around your room and will always remind you of the people you love if your ever feeling down. I put mine predominantly by my bed as I most often feel down when falling asleep but the more around your room the better!

5. Bed Sheets

This is a super simple one as obviously everyone has to buy bed sheets, so make sure you buy ones you like if you can! They’ll be on your bed from the minute you arrive at UNI and will stay there for the rest of the year, so it’s important to have ones you like and, in my opinion, ones that really brighten up your room. I was lucky enough to receive this blanket and pillow hand-made as a gift from my wonderful Aunty Chris specifically for moving to UNI and it’s the best gift I could have ever asked for as it always reminds me of family and, clearly, brightens up in my room in every way possible. (Also, there is no shame in having a cuddly toy or two as exhibited by my bunny that I got last Christmas who has also significantly helped in making my room feel more homely).

I hope you’ve enjoyed having a little look into my UNI room. Living in halls has been a weird experience for me but having a room I actually like has made it so much better and really improved the experience. So take some time to think about what you want in your room and how you want it to look next year as it really will make a difference! I’d also love to here what you do to make your room your own! Here are some more photos of my room if you’re feeling a little bit nosey:

The aforementioned lamp along with my record player, some ‘coffee table books’, and some gold bowls, one of which I got in a charity shop for £1!
If you ever feel bad about your UNI room, just be thankful you don’t have these god awful curtains. Also, top tip, keep fruit as the only food in your room so if you want to snack it’s more likely to be on something healthy!
My studying area is happily an organised mess.
An illustration of the Liverpool skyline that always reminds me of home, along with some great notebooks.

 

Pretty ornaments to make my room, well, prettier. Also, invest in a diffuser! I always get compliments on the nice smell in my room and it really makes me feel like I’ve got my life together.
I keep these photos right next to my bed to remind me of all my amazing friends and family (and my cat of course- notice how frequently he features).

Three Days In Edinburgh (A Mini Guide)

At the end of March, Sam and I spent 3 days in Edinburgh as part of my birthday present and I absolutely adored the city. So, I want to share with you the places we stayed, ate, shopped and everything else that we got up to! This post is coming to you a month after the trip because I was originally planning on doing this post with the photos I took on my film camera during the trip however that roll of film unfortunately came back blank (*sob*) due to issues with my camera. So instead, I’m including this video from the trip of some clips that I took on my camera whilst I was there and have put together. I hope this video makes up for the lost photos, despite the combination of quality that isn’t the best and my shaky hand,and that you find some recommendations from this post if you’re planning a trip to Edinburgh- I’d thoroughly suggest going!

Where We Stayed

Hotel Motel One Edinburgh-Royal: This hotel was in the perfect location. Sam actually picked the hotel and he couldn’t have done a better job. It was right in between Princes Street and the Royal Mile, the areas of Edinburgh where we spent most of our time. We didn’t eat at the hotel as we wanted to make the most of some of the amazing restaurants in Edinburgh (as you’ll see in the next section) but the rooms were really clean and comfortable and we had a great view of Princes Street and the Scott Monument, which was lovely (FYI, though, you do have to request a room with a view).

Where We Ate

Loudons: We stopped here for brunch when we first arrived and WOW did it make a good first impression. I had the most incredible vegan pancakes I’ve ever had covered in chocolate sauce which I’m still thinking about a month later. It was the furthest restaurant from the centre out of all the ones we went to but it was SO worth a little bit of an extra walk. FYI: They cater for meat-eaters, veggies and vegans- something that is necessary for Sam and I as he eats meat and I am vegan, so this applies for most of the cafes and restaurants we visited.

Illegal Jacks: After an early morning and a long day on our first night, we turned to Deliveroo and ordered from this Mexican. It’s similar to Barburitto but they provide a lot more veggie/vegan options including vegan cheese and vegan ‘mince’. It was really satisfying and affordable (although they did mess up my order a little bit, which was a bit of a shame!)

Pumpkin Brown: This was the only totally vegan place that we ate at and it was so good. They aim to provide healthier options which Sam and I were both craving after eating so much ‘junk food’ the day before. We both had their acai bowl which was absolutely delicious and so well-presented!

Dishoom: Don’t even get me started on this restaurant. I wouldn’t stop talking about it for weeks after returning home. It’s serves food originating from Bombay, so is basically a very specific type of Indian. I’m not one for Indian food- it’s probably my least favourite type of cuisine- but the food here was unique to anything I’ve ever tasted and our waitress, Louise, was incredibly helpful. They have a few locations around the UK, mostly in London obviously, and I can’t recommend trying it out enough if you get the chance to do so.

Hendersons: This vegetarian cafe has various locations around Edinburgh. I tried it out for some breakfast, picking up a vegan hot cross bun, which was delicious. We then headed back there later in the day to share a vegan brownie which wasn’t the best- it tasted a little bit too much like it was trying to be healthy, which is just not what I was in the mood for. However, I would have really liked to try out more of the food and I definitely think it’s worth a visit for veggies.

Urban Angel: This cafe is located near Princes Street and I had some delicious soup and a smoothie here on our last day. Although the food was good and the interiors are nice and cozy, I do remember this being *slightly* overpriced compared to some of the other places we ate at. Plus, I think the breakfast options looked better than the lunch so maybe stop here for breakfast if you do at all.

What We Did

Sights and Museums:

Edinburgh Castle: This was the first place we went when we arrived in Edinburgh, after eating obviously, and it’s kind of something you just have to do when you visit. If you’re interested in Scottish history you’ll probably find it really interesting but, to be honest, it didn’t blow me away, especially considering that our tickets combined cost almost £40. However the views are really amazing from the castle and it’s nice to walk round and, like I said, something I feel like you almost have to do on your inaugural visit to Edinburgh.

Calton Hill: We didn’t quite make it up Arthur’s Seat, due to time and weather constraints. So, instead, we opted for Calton Hill, which still provides a really beautiful view of Edinburgh and is really easy to walk to and ‘climb’ (I put climb in inverted commas because there really isn’t any climbing involved).

Scottish National Gallery: I actually headed here alone because Sam wasn’t feeling well and I really enjoyed it. I, unfortunately, often feel very unable to appreciate art as much as some other people and so I’m always sceptical about art museums. But this one had some really beautiful pieces as well as incredible interior design, which I very much am able to appreciate.

Camera Obscura: We weren’t sure whether we were going to enjoy visiting this museum of optical illusions but, personally, I thought it was so much fun! It provided lots of funny moments (like the mirror maze and the moment when a man put his middle finger up at the street cameras they have installed for museum-goers to see). And there were also really interesting parts, such as a ‘virtual’ tour of Edinburgh through the mirror the museum has on a pole out of its roof- I’ve explained that terribly but I would recommend it, especially if you’re trying to escape the rain like we were.

The Writer’s Museum: As a lover of literature, I was a little bit underwhelmed by this. It was kind of just celebrating three Scottish authors, which I guess I should have guessed would have been the case from its name, but I was hoping it would have been more of a celebration of Scottish literature in general. It was still really interesting though and would be especially so if you are interested in the authors it is commemorating.

Shopping:

Jenners: Jenners is a huge department store on Princes Street that looks really beautiful from the outside, which is what led us to go inside. If you’ve got a lot of money to spend, this is the place for you. If not, just do what I did and browse all the designer clothes like you can afford them and enjoy wandering around.

Anthropolige: This was the first time I’d ever been to an Anthropologie store as they don’t have any near where I live and it was a beautiful experience. They have such an amazing accumulation of things and I ended up picking up a sausage-dog printed tea-towel for my brother’s birthday present. If you haven’t been to Anthropologie before and are in Edinburgh, definitely go in, their price-range is really wide and there’s something for everyone and even if you don’t want to buy anything, I could have spent hours just browsing the store (to Sam’s annoyance).

PI-KU COLLECTIVE: This tiny little shop sells an extremely curated selection of truly amazing second-hand clothing. I visited after reading about it on Liv Purvis’ guide to Edinburgh. I could have tried on everything in the shop but we unfortunately didn’t have time for that and the clothes I did try on didn’t fit. But if I ever go to Edinburgh I’ll definitely go back because it really was an amazing curation of clothing.

Armstrong’s: This was hands down the best vintage shop I’ve ever been in. We spent ages in here (sorry Sam) and I could have bought much more than I did. I ended up buying a pair of Yves Saint Laurent jeans for £20 (!!!) which I featured in my post about the stigma surrounding blogging.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about what I got up to in Edinburgh and that it’s encouraged you to book a trip to Edinburgh! It’s one of my favourite cities I’ve ever been to and I’m hoping to back in the near future, maybe to the Edinburgh Fringe this time. Let me know in the comments if you have any other recommendations for Edinburgh, have been to any of the places I went or have any questions about them!

If you’d like to see what I wore in Edinburgh you can click here for day one or here for day three (the outfit from the 2nd day didn’t quite make it to the blog).