Sunday, 25 September 2016

Book Haul | 9

I realised the other day that I hadn't done a book haul on this blog since April! That's a very long time and it's safe to say I've purchased numerous books since then so I figured it was about time I shared some of them with all the fellow book lovers out there!

I actually read this book years ago in 2012 when I was in holiday in France. I'd gone away with my friends family and hadn't brought any books with me, thinking there wouldn't be any time for reading. It turns out her whole family were avid readers and her mum kindly lent me this book to keep me entertained in our down time by the pool! I remember absolutely loving it. I laughed, I cried, I fell head over heels in love with it! And of course I went and saw the film adaptation that was released a few months back, and loved that just as much! Seeing the film reminded me that I didn't actually own a copy of the book myself so of course I picked one up! I'm pretty sure most of you will know the story but just incase you don't, it's about this girl called Louisa Clark who gets a job as a carer for this man named Will, who was in a motorbike accident and is now completely paralysed. It's a love story and honestly, it's absolutely amazing.

Part of the reason I picked up Me Before You is so that I could reread it before diving into the sequel! This came out a while ago but I didn't want to purchase it as a hardback as I like my books to match, so when I saw the paperback copy available online I snapped it up. I don't want to say too much about this as it will completely ruin the first book for anyone who hasn't read it, but I'm honestly so excited to read this. I'm curious to see how the story is going to carry on and whether I'll love it as much as the first one!

When I first heard the synopsis for this story I was super intrigued to see how it would be written and what the story would involve! It's about this woman called Evie who passes away at the age of 82 and when she goes to her own private heaven, she finds that she can't get through the door and that she must unburden herself of any secrets she's kept in order to pass through. The story then follows her as she reveals each secret and revisits her past! I was very curious to see how that story would be told and also the cover is absolutely gorgeous!

I love Rainbow Rowell books. I've read two of her novels but I own every single one and I'm so excited to read them. They're just nice, easy, feel good books that I really enjoy reading and all of the covers are beautiful. I'm not sure if this is true or not but I've heard that Carry On is actually a 'carry on' from Fangirl? Correct me if I'm wrong! But because I've not read fangirl yet, I refuse to look at the blurb for this book so unfortunately I can't tell you what it's about! But Rainbow Rowell books are always enjoyable for me so definitely give one of them a try if you haven't already!

As well as Rainbow Rowell, I love Gi Fletcher. I think she's an amazing woman and I own all of her books. Her writing has definitely improved as she's written more and more novels, my favourite being Dream A Little Dream, which I actually did a full review for a while back which you can check out here! Always With Love is the sequel to Billy and Me, which wasn't my favourite book of hers but I'm always going to read anything that lovely woman publishes and I am pretty excited to see what this book is like after how much I enjoyed Dream A Little Dream. 

What books have you bought recently?


Friday, 23 September 2016

Vichy Dermablend Review

Apologies for this blog post being a few days late, this week has been crazy busy but thankfully things are calming down now so I can start to find my feet again! 
I've seen a lot of people in the blogging/youtube world talking about the brand Vichy and how good it is for covering up acne scars and pigmentation, so when I was offered the chance to try out the new foundation and powder I absolutely jumped at the chance! I've talked about my struggles with acne in depth on this blog and even when my skin clears up for a few days I'm left with scars that look just as bad as the acne itself. I need a high coverage foundation so this seemed like a perfect one to try out!

requested the lightest shade of this foundation, 05 Porcelain, which is actually still a little bit too dark for me but that's not surprising as I have ridiculously pale skin and I always find it hard to find foundations that match! It blends out really well though so as long as I carry the foundation down on to my neck it's all good. Compared to the current foundation I have on the go (Bourgois Healthy Mix), this does seem to give more coverage and if you build and layer it you can achieve a pretty flawless look. I was super happy that it took much less product to achieve the same amount of coverage! The only issue I had with this foundation is that it was slightly too drying for me (I have combination skin and my cheeks are super dry and prone to flaking), however I found that using this foundation for my first layer and then building Nars Sheer Glow on top gave me ridiculously good coverage from Vichy but the formula of Sheer Glow kept my skin feeling dewy and the dry patches at bay! I would recommend this foundation for all skin types as the coverage is super good but if you're more on the dry side I would definitely try building with another foundation that you know works on dry skin! 

I was super excited to try out this product as I've never used a loose powder before and I was very curious to see if it would be better than pressed powders. The powder itself is a very good product. It's translucent and applies really nicely, without looking cakey but still giving a matte effect. I didn't notice much shine around my t-zone throughout the day which is saying something for me as I'm usually topping up 24/7 so I was very impressed with that! The only thing that let it down for me was the packaging. You access the powder by tipping the tub upside down so the powder can fall through these small holes and onto your brush or sponge, however because I suffer with acne, I need my makeup to stay completely in place and I use a lot of powder to do this, but I found that it took ages to get a sufficient amount of powder onto my sponge as only a slight amount fell through at a time. If I can manage to remove the lid that covers the powder so I can access it directly with a brush I can definitely see myself using this powder every day, and if you're someone who doesn't like to use that much powder but still wants their makeup set in place, this is definitely a product for you!

Have you tried these products and if so, what are your thoughts?

*This post contains PR samples. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

What It's Really Like To Struggle With Acne | My Experience

For a while now I've wanted to start writing lifestyle posts that are a lot more chatty and discuss topics which are either important to me, something I have an opinion on and want to share or just general things that I'd like to chat about. This blog has always been my outlet for anything going on in my brain so I figured it was about time I started these doing these types of posts! One thing that I've wanted to talk about for a long long time is acne. I've suffered with acne for a very long time now and I have a lot of experiences and thoughts to share with people out there who might suffer with acne as well, or people who might have clear skin and not really see what all the fuss is about. I'm going to split this post into sections starting from when I first got acne to everything I've done to fight it and everything in between. This might be a long post but if you're interested please read to the end as this is a topic that's very important to me and I'd love to talk and discuss it with other people!

I first noticed that I was getting a lot of spots when I was around 13/14. I have memories of people in high school making comments about my skin, some people even making fun of me because of it which isn't a nice thing to have to deal with when you're a young teenage girl. One of the comments that seems to stick out the most to me was people telling me they could play 'dot to dot' with the spots on my face. That was crap. I was already a shy person, but the spots on my face just made me even less confident than I already was. I started using makeup pretty young and went to school every day with my face covered in foundation, powder, eyeliner and mascara and I probably haven't left the house without wearing makeup since then. When I was in high school, certain teachers would walk around handing out makeup wipes to any girls that looked like they were wearing too much makeup. Luckily I only ever got given a wipe once or twice, but I have distinct memories of me thinking that the teachers would have to send me to the headmasters office or send me home because there was no way I was taking even an inch of the makeup off my face, which coming from the goody-two-shoes teenager I was meant my skin had to have affected me pretty bad even back then when it was definitely nowhere near its worst.

There have been many occasions where I've had people comment on my skin. Once when I was in college I had a girl (who I wasn't particularly close friends with) feel the need to tell me she thought I looked 'plastic' and 'fake' because I'd put too much makeup on my skin to cover my spots. This was just before we went into a lesson in which I then pretended I had a headache so I could go home and cry over her comments and my disgusting face. I've had many people share their opinions on my skin with me, but the worst thing that ever happened to me occurred when I was 18 and my skin was the worst it had ever been. I was in my second year of college and extremely conscious of my skin. I had severe acne all over my chin and cheeks and no matter how much makeup I wore I could never cover it. As horrible and disgusting as my skin made me feel, I still tried my hardest to make an effort and not let it stop me doing things. So, one night my friend and I travelled down to Liverpool to go and see One Direction (yes, I have no shame in saying I like 1D!), and stay overnight in a hotel so we could also have night out and go to some bars and clubs after the gig!
It was all fine and dandy, we went to the concert, had an awesome time and went to a few clubs near our hotel before deciding to head back around 2am. We were making our way back to the hotel when these two guys approached us and started making conversation. We were surrounded by bars and clubs full of people so we didn't feel threatened or scared, they just seemed like two lads on a night out attempting to chat up two girls, which they were. One of them took the lead and basically got straight to the point and asked us if we would go back to their hotel with them. We replied with no that was not going to happen, and then things turned ugly. It seemed this guy didn't like being rejected and decided to get angry with us, or more specifically, with me. He felt the need to try and act as if he didn't really want us to go back with them and started to shout at me how ugly I was, asked me why my face was covered in spots, asked me did I never wash my face, and then worst of all, he spat in my face. 
Even re-living this memory now is making my heart race and my eyes start welling up because of how horrible that experience was. I'm not quite sure what happened after that. I think my friend may have shouted at the guy and pushed him away, before grabbing my arm and dragging me back to our hotel as fast as we could go. That guy proceeded to shout after us for a good five minutes after but luckily our hotel was close by and we reached it pretty quickly. I was a complete mess of tears by this point and walking through the lobby was difficult. Almost every member of staff and every person sat in the lobby came up to us to ask what was wrong, to which my friend briefly told them what happened and I think some people may have gone outside to make sure the guys weren't nearby, I'm not sure I can't quite remember that bit. My friend took me back to our room and was amazing. She spent the next hour or so talking to me and calming me down, reassuring me that the guy who did that was worth nothing and couldn't handle being turned down by girls he'd attempted to chat up so just got nasty. She was amazing but even now that night still comes back to haunt me when I'm having bad skin days and all I can think about is how awful it looks.

In my second year of college, just before that incident happened, I had a consultation with a dermatologist and was prescribed a very intense drug called Roaccutane. I had been on every single cream, gel, and pill that the doctor could give me and nothing had worked so they decided it was time to refer me to the dermatologist to get something stronger. I was also put on the combined contraceptive pill because Roaccutane is such an intense drug that you 100% cannot get pregnant whilst taking it because of the seriousness of the things it could do to unborn babies. Every month I would have to go back to the dermatologist for a pregnancy test and also a blood test, because they also need to monitor your cholesterol levels and check that the drug isn't causing you any serious harm.
I was quite lucky when taking the drug and I didn't experience any of the serious side effects (it can cause depression and suicidal thoughts). I only experienced the common side effects like extremely dry skin, lips and eyes and things like that. I am not an expert on this so if you're someone with severe acne who is considering seeing a dermatologist to prescribe you this drug, make sure you do proper research first to make sure you're aware of all possible side effects. I can't remember exactly but I think I took Roaccutane for around 6 or so months and by the time I left college, my skin had completely cleared up, and I mean completely! I could wear makeup every day, I could sleep in makeup, I didn't even have a proper skincare routine back then and none of this would ever give me spots. Not even a tiny one. I think I went without a single spot on my face for around 2 whole years, it was absolute bliss. I was still covered in scars but my confidence grew incredibly. Seriously, if you have clear skin and only ever get the occasional spot, don't ever take it for granted. I can't even express how happy and confident I felt in those two years and it was worth every side effect that drug gave me. 

As I mentioned in my Life Update post, this January was when it all went wrong again. I was put on a new contraceptive pill and it completely destroyed me. I'm not going to go into everything that pill did to me as I'm considering doing a full post on hormonal contraceptives in the future, but it basically brought all of my acne back ten times worse than it ever was. It not only caused the acne to return all over my cheeks and forehead, but I was now dealing with these painful under the skin cysts all along my jawline. I felt like I had a disease. Needless to say I came off that pill as soon as possible but the damage was already done. I've now been dealing with severe acne again since January. This time it's actually caused me to avoid going out with friends if I'm having a particularly bad day, it's completely destroyed my confidence and it even stopped me attending university lectures because I couldn't bare to have people see my skin. Some days are better than others, and my skin has calmed down as that pill has gradually been leaving my system but it's still worse than ever. The amount of new scarring this acne has caused is unreal and I'm full of doubts that this will ever fade. I am booked in with the dermatologist so hopefully I get back on another course of Roaccutane and my skin will clear up. I can't believe I have to go back on that pill again and I can only hope that this will be the last time I have to struggle with acne. I've had so many people say to me 'they're just spots, everybody gets them', and I totally understand that, but unless you've had your face covered in massive red spots to the point where the thought of people looking at you makes you feel sick and want to cry, you don't understand what it's like. I'm hoping with Roaccutane I can manage get my skin under some sort of control and finally start to feel like myself again. 

If I am put back on Roaccutane I'm thinking of doing a little series of updates on the side effects I have and how my skin changes throughout treatment but I'm not sure so if that's something you might be interested in reading please let me know in the comments. Acne is a horrible thing to deal with so if any of you reading this struggle with it then please leave comments, message me on social media or feel free to email me if you just want a chat with someone whose experienced the same thing.
If you made it this far down the post then bloomin' well done and thank you for taking the time to read it! 


Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Hand-Me-Down Haul

So a little while ago my lovely sister kindly surprised me by turning up at my house with a massive bag full of clothes she'd decided she no longer wanted and was passing on to me! I thought it was such a lovely thing for her to do and so I figured it would make a nice little post to show you guys some of my favourite items in this 'hand-me-down' haul as I never really do fashion type posts because usually I have no fashion sense whatsoever, so hopefully with some of my sisters' influence I might look a little better! 
I was very chuffed to find numerous different cosy jumpers in this bag as autumn finally starts this month (I am SO excited for this time of year!), but I think my favourite has to be this massive oversized pale pink one which I've actually already worn quite a lot because it's just so darn comfy. I wore it with a pair of fitted black and white patterned trousers and pumps and I loved it! I also really love the light blue knitted jumper as well because it's cropped and looks really nice with a pair of high waisted jeans. I pretty much just live in jeans and a jumper so these clothes work so well for me! I'm curious to see how I'll try and make the denim shirt work. Whenever I've tried to style these in the past they never really seem to suit me so if anyone has any suggestions let me know in the comments! The rest of the clothes included some skirts and some comfy house clothes but these were definitely my favourites. Getting hand me down clothes is definitely one of the perks of being the younger sister and I've told my sister if ever she fancies a clear out again I wouldn't refuse another bag full of clothes!

What are your current favourite items of clothing?


Sunday, 11 September 2016

A Fresh Start

If you read my last post, you'll know that life has been pretty hard for me recently. This year has just been going from bad to worse and I just got to a point where I needed to step away from everything. I took some time to just sit be miserable and cry and get as much as I could out of my system before trying to get back to normality again. If I'm being completely honest, I still feel incredibly low and some days I wake up and start my day in floods of tears, but I feel like I've got to a point where I can't sit and wallow in it all anymore and I need to find something to distract me from everything. That's where this blog comes in! I've missed blogging so much this past month and I need something to focus on until I get to a point where I feel okay again, so, as of today I'll be back to uploading a new post every Wednesday and Sunday. I'm going to try and get back to normal as much as I can with this blog so that hopefully I might feel more normal myself. I also start my second year of University this month so I'm hoping that keeping myself busy will help to stop my mind constantly thinking about all of the crappy stuff. I've still got a long way to go until I feel okay again, but fingers crossed it's upwards from here!
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