Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Sunday 19 April 2015

Why I Miss the Way Blogging Used To Be


Sometimes I can't quite believe I started this blog 4 years ago.  I've shared a lot over that amount of time and even though my rambles are mostly beauty related, I see my blog as much more than a place to share my opinions on cosmetics and's become almost like a diary for me.  As silly as it sounds, I often sit and read through my older posts - I find it so interesting to read back and see how much I've changed as a person. Bird's Words has seen me go through so much - starting uni, finishing uni, quitting jobs, beginning new jobs, break-ups, tough times, happy times - I feel like I've been writing this blog through so many different transitions and stages of my life that it's genuinely become part of me and who I am. When I published my first ever post, I never knew just how much of a big part of myself it would become or how many opportunities it would bring me. It became much more than just a beauty blog - it became an outlet and a distraction for me when I was feeling down, yet it also became a place for me to share my personal successes and happiness - it's been a complete joy to write.  For me, my blog is a massive positive and something that I've grown so attached to and proud of during those few years.  I can remember exactly who I was, what I was doing and how I felt even through the shortest blog post about a random lipstick. It's such a nice thing to have and all this time I've been writing, I've been  unknowingly creating this little document containing snippets of my life for the past 4 years. I feel so lucky to have it.

I've always shared the negative with the positive on this blog and although it makes me sad to continue with this post, it's something that's been playing on my mind for weeks and weeks and it seemed silly not to share it - like I'm ignoring a massive elephant in the room. If you've been reading my blog for a long time, then you might have noticed a slight change the past few weeks and I feel as if I should be honest about the way things are -both with myself and my readers.  I guess I just haven't been feeling as motivated as usual to keep up with my schedule - I'm sure we all feel like that from time to time (i stand by the fact that bloggers-block syndrome is real) but this time it feels a lot different. Usually if I've felt a bit de-motivated,  it's been a fleeting moment influenced by working a lot or university deadlines - but this time it's much more than that - it's almost like I'm now at a crossroads in some way where I need to make the decision whether or not to continue doing something I've loved doing for so long, or stop. 

I'll be completely honest and say that at the moment I feel like I'm blogging for bloggings sake. If anybody ever asked me 'when will you stop?' - my answer was always the same - 'I can't see myself ever stopping but the moment when it stops making me happy - i'll call it a day'.  Honestly, I never actually thought there would be a day where I didnt love every second of my little blogging journey - but at the moment I don't enjoy this the way I used to and I'm not entirely sure I'm doing it for fun anymore - it's become more out of habit. Don't get me wrong, once I get into writing a post, I'm reminded why I love being a blogger, but I'd be lying if I said I feel the same as I used to about it.  I've questioned why I'm carrying on despite feeling less than chipper about it and the truth is, it makes me feel so sad to let such a big part of my life go - if you're a blogger you'll understand just how much influence it has over your life and I'm not entirely sure I'm ready to call it quits on something I've loved for so long.  Deep down I don't think I actually want to stop - but there's a couple of things recently that really have completely changed my mindset about blogging and, quite frankly, it's become clear to me that it's impossible for me to overlook these things.  I questioned at first whether or not the way i've been feeling is because of new work commitments and life changes, but almost 3 months later - it's becoming clear as day that it's simply not the case.   The truth is - I'm falling out of love with blogging. There, I've said it.  But I have no doubt in my mind why I've been feeling this way and it's by no means because I've simply gotten 'bored'. 

Blogging is an amazing hobby - you don't realise it when you begin but sooner or later down the line, you're introduced to the whole online community of like-minded beauty enthusiasts that share your interests and it's almost as if a whole new world opens up...your blog becomes much more than somewhere to share an opinion.  You learn new things, discover all sorts you never would have before, open new doors for yourself and what's more - you develop genuine friendships.  Familiar faces pop up in your comments box, a tweet from a favourite blogger or an email from a reader completely makes your day and if you're ever having a bad time - you know that somebody, somewhere will listen. The community spirit surrounding blogging truly has amazed me in the past and I can honestly say there's a select handful of people that I am so glad to have met and spoken to because of blogging...genuine people I've developed a genuine bond with all of which has stemmed from a few words in a comments box - it's amazing.  But as with all things, there's a negative side to it all too.  Everybody always seems to comment on the supportive spirit of blogging - but if you scratch the surface - is it really what everybody makes it out to be? Because I'm not entirely convinced that it is anymore and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only blogger who thinks this way.

There's no doubt that blogging is not what it was a few years ago when I began writing.  It's developed into something way bigger - we now live in a world where people make millions from sitting behind a camera in their bedroom and people have the potential to make good money from their writing.  Don't get me wrong, as a blogger I think that it's fantastic - I'm sure if you're a blogger too you'll know just how much work and time it takes to publish content on a regular basis and I think it's a great thing that people are able to make money from doing something they love and pour so much of their personal time into (let's face it - it can become almost like a second job at times!)  However, I do think it's made blogging a lot more competitive and results focused - it's losing that element of spontaneity as well as slowly taking away the fun, carefree element.  A blog post doesn't stop at scribbling down your opinion anymore - it seems as if it's more about who can take the best photographs,  who has the best layout, who has the most followers or comments and who gets noticed the most...everything seems to be focused around follower numbers and popularity. For some reason, it all seemed much more genuine to me at the beginning. There were no unwritten rules and it all seemed a much more positive, friendly and supportive place to be. I guess i just miss the spontaneous nature of the way things were 3 or 4 years was much more humble and there were no pressures whatsoever to blog a certain way. You just did what you wanted to do - you created your blog your way, there wasn't so much focus on sharing your entire life via social media and if someone stumbled upon your blog - then great. Everybody who blogged was blogging for the same reason - simply because they wanted to and loved doing it. There was no competition or rivalry whatsoever. Is it just me who sometimes misses the simple days of following a blog via GFC? When Bloglovin' was introduced, everything shifted in my opinion. If a blog didn't have a follow button I simply added it to a bookmark on my computer regardless - now it seems that your blog only gets noticed if you have a full set of social media icons and a bloglovin' button with an impressive number. 

In my opinion it's slowly changed the way blogging used to be.  Without giving this too much context, some of you might be aware that I found myself at the end of some accusations at the beginning of the year - and I have to say, that was without a doubt the turning point for me and I've never really felt the same way about blogging since if I'm being completely upfront and honest.  It was like a switch overnight. Before it all, the thought of stopping never crossed my mind and I was so enthusiastic and motivated with my blog - probably more so than ever. But it's completely altered my thoughts on the blogging world and has made me feel so negative and down about the entire thing and try as I might, I just cannot shift it. Everybody has a negative comment from time to time but this was different.  I just really don't think the same thing would have happened a few years ago and it's a shame that blogging has developed such a side to it. Over the years, I've seen a few bloggers find themselves at the receiving end of criticism for one reason or another - some of them I would have classed as favourite reads of mine. I've watched them completely drop off the scale and quit blogging almost instantly and I find it so sad that a comment or two on a computer screen can have such an effect on someone.  I often wondered why they would stop all because of a few words but I have to say - I completely understand now. When blogging is such a big part of your life, of course it's going to effect you on a personal level when negative things are said.  When your integrity has been questioned also - as mine has - it's extremely difficult to move on and forget...especially when you literally can't do a thing about it (and believe me, I've tried). It's so incredibly frustrating - I can't even begin to put it in to words. I've had people I've always noticed pop up in my comments box completely disappear, I've read things about myself and my blog that simply aren't true in the slightest - in fact, I'm pretty sure I've read posts on the subject - and if you haven't had it happen to you then it's hard to imagine how it feels. You can't not take it personally. 
You can read a thousand positive comments on your blog but still only remember the negative ones and I'm not going to sit here and pretend it's not bothered me - because it has.  I've actually sat in tears on my boyfriend's sofa telling him about all of this and I've had endless conversations with friends and colleagues and it's just made me think - if this is what blogging has become - is it really worth it? Some might say that's dramatic and it's silly to read so much into a negative response or comment, but I'm just the type of person who doesn't take well to things like this and as a result, I've lost all enthusiasm for something which I used to love overnight. Not everybody on the internet has a thick skin and I think that's important to remember. It really has gotten to me on much more of a personal level than I would have imagined and I completely salute all the 'big' bloggers and Youtubers out there who have to deal with hate, accusations and gossip on a regular basis.  I raise my hat to you. I couldn't do it.  The internet can be a cruel place.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm not entirely sure what the future holds for Bird's Words anymore and that there are reasons why I feel this's not because I've gotten bored, or can't be bothered, or that life has got in the way, or even that i particularly want to stop...and I guess I just wanted to highlight that fact. I still plow through my reading list on my lunch break, I still buy products and 'save' them because I want to photograph them looking all pretty and I still find myself jotting down ideas for posts - the beauty obsessive blogger is still here somewhere - but I'm struggling at the moment to take the plunge and get back to where I was. Of course, if I do decide to take a break then there's no reason why I might not come back or start again in the future once I feel ready - I like to think that I would  - but I hate doing things by halves.
I still have a few posts I want to write so I won't drop completely off the face of the earth, I just reckon it might be time to step back, re-evaluate and twiddle my thumbs for a while until I know where I stand with my blog and the bloggosphere in general. 

Anyway, before I ramble on any further, I shall end this post here (I've written an actual book here haven't I?) I have no idea where I've been going with this if I'm completely honest - I reckon I'm writing it more for my own benefit (isn't it funny how blogging can be a form of therapy!?) - I guess I just wanted to be completely honest about the way things are.  Like I said, I've always shared the negative with the positive and I just wanted to let other bloggers out there who maybe feel or have felt this way in the past that you're certainly not alone. I really hope that a little downtime will do me good and I'll be back to my old blogging ways in the near future.  Before I tottle off, I just wanted to say that your support has not gone un-noticed. Honestly. Thankyou so so much to those of you who have carried on reading and commenting - you're the reason I've continued despite feeling less than chirpy about the blogging world and you really have spurred me on... thank you to each and every one of you for making writing my blog such a wonderful experience.

*P.S - I apologise this post was so long - I did try to cut some jibber-jabber out but it made sense for it to just be a completely honest ramble - not planned :)

Lots of love xx

Monday 13 April 2015

The Spring Smokey Eye | New Arrivals from Yves Rocher

Yves Rocher is a brand I've recently been introduced to.  After falling in love with one of their summer fragrances last year, I was quite excited to give some of their cosmetics a try.  As France's number one selling make-up and skincare brand, Yves Rocher uses home-grown botanical ingredients to create affordable, natural beauty products.  I've been putting some of their new arrivals to the test the past couple of weeks - a selection of eye make-up goodies perfect for creating a Spring Smokey Eye.  I have to say I instantly fell in the love with the  eyeshadow palette...the colours are simply perfect for the season and I couldn't wait to get creating some looks with it.  Anyway,  I shall refrain from rabbiting on and just get into the nitty gritty... Here's the lowdown on some of Yves Rocher's latest bits and bobs...

Intense Kajal 100%  / £9.95* / Link
Now then, I'll be honest - I've never quite cottoned on to these 'kajal' liners. I see them reviewed quite a bit and for the most part they're always well liked - but I just can't seem to grasp the concept.  I prefer a smudged line underneath my lower lash line as opposed to a clean line anyway so it does work for me in that sense - the product is soft to apply and provides good pigmentation and the shape of it means that it provides a soft and sultry look.  However, I'm a bit confused as to what happens once the tip has worn down slightly as I already find it a bit difficult to use. I reckon I'll end up using it as an eyeshadow stick for when I'm going a bit heavier and smokier with the eye makeup - i think it will make a nice base product.

Sumptuous Colour Eyeshadow Quad Palette in Red Hot Brown / £12.50* / Link
Yves Rocher have created a series of these quad eyeshadow palettes with a variety of tones and colour options.  Naturally, I opted for 'Red Hot Brown' - I'm such a neutrals obsessive after all.  Firstly - I love the simplicity of this quad - it has everything you need to create a variety of looks and it's lightweight and compact in size… the elegant gold casing and large mirror finishes it off nicely.  The first time I swatched this palette I was blown away by the consistency and pigmentation of the shadows.  They're incredibly soft and buttery to the touch - even the matte purple/brown shade is super creamy and pigmented. I usually find mattes to be a bit more chalky in texture but this palette really has got every shade spot on the mark… I certainly wasn't disappointed.  Whats more, the shadows can be applied wet or dry.  Applied wet, they create a more intense, metallic sort of finish.

I've been using this on a daily basis since I got it - the champagne shade is perfect for the inner corners of the eyes or for using across the lid, and the taupe shade is a gorgeous everyday sort of colour.  I adore the rust gold/brown as it really seems to bring out my eye colour - and I can definitely see myself wearing it on holiday with the dark brown blended onto the outer corners for a super quick and easy summer smokey eye. The slight purple hue is so pretty. The colour stays put really well on my eyelids (i always use a primer first) and stays looking smooth and radiant for a good few hours.  Overall - this is a fabulous little palette and totally worth the £12.50* - I've bought drugstore palettes for similar prices in the past but Yves Rocher really have stepped it up a gear with pigmentation and consistency and I definitely think it rivals my higher-end favourites.  I reckon this might be jetting away on holiday with me (not that I'm planning already or anything…) - the colours will be perfect with a tan!

Mascara Volume Vertige  / £11.50* / Link
I've heard good things about Yves Rocher mascaras in the past - I remember when they launched their 'Sexy Pulp' mascara a while back and reading a tonne of fab reviews so I couldn't wait to give this one a whirl.  The Volume Vertige mascara is enriched with a fixing botanical extract which helps lashes hold a curl for longer - something I always look for in a mascara as my lashes are straight as straight can be. The brush is also a unique 'Reservoir Wand' - which disperses product evenly and prevents clumping. I've only used this a couple of times so far but it seems to separate the lashes really nicely - creating natural looking volume and definition...not a clump in sight. It also seems to do a fab job of holding a curl but so far I've been using this mostly at weekends - I'm yet to see how it holds up through a whole day at work which will be the true test here... my lashes seem to lose their 'umph' a little when I'm at the office! It's worth mentioning that it removes easily - always a plus point in my opinion! Nobody likes scrubbing their peepers of an evening do they?  So far, so good.

Fixing Eye Primer  / £7.50* / Link
I always like to use an eyeshadow primer.  Ever since I discovered the benefits a few years ago it's become a part of my daily makeup routine.  Not only does it lock in colour and keep it in place for longer, it also helps to intensify the colour of your shadows.  Enriched with Camellia Oil, this primer smoothes and fills wrinkles and imperfections, creating a smooth base for your eyeshadow. I've only used this a couple of times so far as I'm trying to save it for my holiday in July - the tube is so lightweight and is perfect for travelling with! I really like how smooth and easy it is to apply and it makes my eyeshadow much easier to blend as well as helping it to last through the day.  It seems to prevent it from creasing in the upper lid which I seem to struggle with after a long day at work.

Overall, a really nice little selection from Yves Rocher.  If you were going to treat yourself to anything I'd say go for the eyeshadow palette.  It really is a little gem of a palette and looks so much more expensive than it actually really does rival some of my high end favourites and it looks set to go in my suitcase this July.  You can find Yves Rocher makeup online here - all products are really reasonably priced and I can't wait to treat myself to couple more things from them... their powder blushes look very tempting!

Have you tried anything from Yves Rocher? What would you recommend I try next?

Wednesday 1 April 2015

The Glamour Spring Beauty Edit Box

When I heard through the grapevine about the new Latest in Beauty 'Glamour Spring Edit' box - I knew it would be a good'un.  With contents totalling a whopping £99, there was bound to be some beauty gems in there - and I wasn't wrong.  There's definitely some big names in the Spring box - Moroccan Oil, Nuxe, Kiko and Revlon to name a few.  It's safe to say that I couldn't wait to get my mitts into this one...

Packaged in a pastel coloured box and wrapped in dotted tissue, the Spring Edit box  is a pastel, girly treat containing 9 different products. Here's what I received in my box:

  • Model Co Creme Rouge Cheek & Lips in Just Peachy
  • Moroccan Oil Intense Hydrating Mask - 75ml
  • Beauty UK High Brow Kit
  • Rimmel Oh My Gloss! Lip Gloss in 'Snog'
  • Revlon Colorstay Nail Enamel in 'Full House'
  • Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy Diamond Top Coat
  • Nuxe Creme Fraiche De Beaute Mask, 50ml
  • Kiko Long Lasting Eyeshadow Stick in 07
  • Elie Saab L'eau Couture Perfume sample

A delightful mix of hair, makeup, skin and nail goodies I'm sure you'll all agree! The box also comes with a 12 month subscription to Glamour magazine discounted by 62%...all for £16.99*.  I have to say I reckon this might be the best Latest in Beauty box yet... I've bought a few of them in the past and I've never been disappointed but this one really does top the mark for me!  As far as beauty boxes go - Latest in Beauty have to be my 'go to'... Yes, you loose the element of surprise slightly but you're never left feeling disheartened and there's always a fabulous variety of products to try.  I often check the website to see what's coming up...

I won't go into detail of each individual product as I'm still working my way through trying and testing all of them - let's face it, there's a lot to get through (i predict there might be a couple popping up in a monthly favourites sometime soon...) Personal favourites so far have to be the ModelCo Creme Cheek and Lip tint in 'Just Peachy'.  It's a stunning bright coral-red perfect for the summertime - I reckon this will be a holiday favourite for me.  As I'm thinking of booking a holiday abroad soon I'm sure I'll get plenty of use from this over the next few months.  I love a good versatile product too so the fact that it works well on the lips to is a nice fruity bonus!  

I'm also a fan of the Rimmel 'Oh My Gloss' lipgloss.  It's so smooth and glides onto the lips easily with next to no stickiness at all. I love the shade as it pairs well with my '90s' nude lipstick shades - I love it over Mac's Velvet Teddy at the moment! It just adds a bit of dimension and the pink hue is really flattering.

The Moroccan Oil Intense Hydration mask is also a winner in my books.  I love a good hair product and I'm always reaching for deep conditioners and masks like this one - I'd like to do a full review of this soon so for now I shall keep it short and sweet - but it's made for a very welcome addition to my hair cupboard.  I'm also super excited about the Nuxe Creme Fraiche De Beaute Mask. I've heard amazing things about this face mask, and after reading a few reviews of this box it's clear that it's been the star of the show. I can't wait to see what it does for my skin - I've been burning the candle at both ends just recently so to say it could do with a bit of pampering is an understatement...

I was also chuffed to see Kiko make an appearance in this box - i've always wanted to try something from the brand so this lovely champagne toned eyeshadow stick will make for a nice introduction. As for the other products, the BeautyUK eyebrow palette is a must-have in my collection. I actually already have this from a past beauty box but I've got a tonne of use out of it so it's nice to have back-up ready and waiting.  The Revlon polishes are a lovely addition too - I particularly like the blue shade as I think it's going to look amazing with tanned skin through summer.

Overall, I'm so happy with this box.  There's not a single thing in there I wouldn't use and I think it's been the best LIB box so far for me.  The mix of products is really well thought through and I like that the shades of the products are quite neutral - meaning i'll get plenty of use from them on a daily basis.  You can grab the Glamour Spring Beauty Edit box on the Latest in Beauty website here for £16.99*.

Have you got your mitts on this box yet? What was your favourite product?

Sunday 29 March 2015

Finding a Job After University // Tips & Advice

Image: Source // Edited 

There's no doubt that finishing uni is both an exciting and rewarding time - but it's also a worrying one.  I always knew it was going to be the beginning of a tough few weeks or months of job-hunting for me but I don't think I was quite prepared for just how much it would take it out of me on an emotional level.  I'm sure we've all had a little moan and a grumble about our jobs from time to time, but honestly - when you're out of work and struggling to find anything to even apply for let alone bagging yourself an interview, you really do realise just how much having a job effects your emotional wellbeing.  I don't think I'll ever take it for granted quite so much again - in the space of a few weeks I was plagued with self-doubt and sounds dramatic but if you've been there, i'm sure you'll know the feeling. It's so unbelievably frustrating. 

I know it's probably the wrong time to publish this post but if you've graduated earlier last year and are still struggling, hopefully this might help somewhat. Getting my foot on the career ladder was most certainly one of the most stressful things I've ever had to do but I persevered and got there in the end.  I definitely made a few mistakes along the way - i'm by no means i'm saying I regret them because things have turned out exactly how I wanted them to - but I thought it might be of some use to share my experiences and exactly what I learnt along the way. I know it might seem easy to reel off a tonne of tips and advice now that I'm settled in a job, but after trying to help a fellow graduate of mine find a job recently I've spent quite a bit of time reflecting on my own journey and what worked for me... Here's a few things to remember if you're struggling to find work after finishing your degree.

1. Remember that nothing happens in an instant.
Did you know that on average it takes a graduate up to 9 months to get a job in their chosen field?  My tutors warned me it could take this long but I think I just assumed it would be a lot quicker than it was and I simply waved it off thinking 'surely it can't be that hard?'. Well - it is. Reality hit me like a brick in the face as soon as I left and all in all, it took me 5 months to get my foot on the ladder. Admittedly, I could have accepted something much earlier than this but I was a bit of a dare-devil and waited for something perfect to come up. Risky move - but just bare in mind that a job offer is not going to fall into your lap the moment you get that degree.  

2. Strike whilst the iron is hot...
Yes it's slightly daunting and nobody relishes the thought of job-hunting, but to give yourself the best chance possible it's best to start as soon as you can and bite the bullet.  The more you wait around the harder it's going to be - both in terms of your own motivation and also in what employers will think should you ever start applying for jobs in your field. I graduated in July and began job hunting straight after a holiday in August - I had a couple of weeks off to relax and then got straight on the case.  

3. Use social media to your advantage.
I actually got my job via LinkedIn. So many people ignore it and it's such a wasted opportunity if you do.  I made sure i kept it updated on a regular basis and I searched their job pages weekly. My advice is to keep your profile as open as possible - have it set so other professionals can see you when you've viewed theirs.  I got lucky with this - I had prepared a list of companies I'd like to work for and began looking through LinkedIn to find relevant contact names and numbers/emails etc.  A few days later, I had a message from one of the profiles I'd viewed and it turns out they were starting to think about looking for a new graphic designer.  Less than a week later I was sat in the interview and I got offered the job the next day. This was all because I'd done a bit of research, been a little bit nosey and got myself noticed by the relevant person. You never know what's going to happen so get on it and start networking.  I also used Twitter & Facebook to promote myself and my work (i set up professional pages and never used my personal one) - a lot of companies will sometimes turn to social media before they start spending time and money advertising to fill a position.

4. Take every opportunity that comes your way.
Follow up every email or offer of an interview you get - even if you don't feel as if you're too fussed about the job. Apply for placements, apply for temporary work and if you're a fellow creative like me, consider searching for freelance projects to keep you going.  I was kept busy for a good couple of months through placements and freelance work and I'm so glad that I did this - it really did round off my CV and it's attractive to employers if they can see you've kept yourself in the loop whilst you're out of full-time work. 

5. Try and stay positive.
It's hard - and believe me I know how much you seriously want to throttle any person that tells you to 'just stay positive' but it really is true. Do whatever it takes to keep your spirits up - for me, it meant spending one heck of a lot of time around my friends (thanks Fran - I know you'll read this) - I'm not saying I didn't have any teary moments (believe me, there were many of those...) but try not to wallow in the frustration. Every day is a new day and try not to take it too personally if you do get knocked back.  Allow yourself to have a few down days but never let the feeling of disappointment stop you from continuing to try - it also goes without saying but don't go into interviews with a defeatist attitude either.  Postive thoughts - always.

6. Trust your gut instinct but don't be too fussy
I was maybe a little too fussy. Some would say this was my biggest downfall and I most certainly got a few gasps when I told folk I'd turned down job offers - but all in all, I'm glad I stuck to my guns - it was just a risky move to make. I turned down a few opportunities but by doing so, I came out much better off for it - I got an amazing freelance opportunity and ended up getting the job I really wanted for the sake of an extra 3 months or so.  That being said, 3 months is a long time when you're unemployed and there were many times I wished I'd just taken opportunities when they came.  My advice would be to weigh up the pros and cons properly - you've spent 3 or 4 years working towards this and at the end of the day, you need to feel comfortable and happy with whatever it is you decide to do -  you don't want to spend all that time studying and end up in a job you simply don't enjoy but be aware that you might have to take something you're not entirely in love with to begin with. Which brings me on to my next point...

7. Know that your 'dream job' probably doesn't even exist
Oh but wouldn't it be lovely if it did?  I spent far too much time dreaming of my 'perfect' job and was wayyy to narrow in my search in the beginning.  I actually changed my mind about what my 'dream' job would be during my search after going to different interviews, completing placements and discovering more about the industry - so keep in mind that what you think is the right thing for you, might turn out not to be. Widen your search, keep an open mind and don't focus on 'the perfect job'... more often than not, it just doesn't exist and you're only narrowing your own chances by being too focused on having everything 'just so'.

8. Make the job-hunt into a job itself...
I got up early every week day and spent time searching job sites, newspapers and LinkedIn - making notes, crafting CVs and making check lists/plans. I rarely had a day where I did absolutely nothing and I made sure I treated the job-hunt seriously. My career path of choice is notoriously difficult to get into and there were weeks and weeks where there was next to nothing to apply for - but get into a routine, stay ahead and you'll find you uncover a few things to keep you going.  I signed up to all the job sites and agencies there was and I constantly updated my CV and professional networking sites.

9. Tailor your CV and covering letter for each job.
I have an entire folder full of different versions of CV's on my laptop - I always tweaked it for each company. Really study what they're looking for in the job advertisement and take time to research what sort of company they are and what sort of 'personality' or approach to work they have.  I changed certain key words and played up certain skills or attributes for each one.  This also goes for your covering letter.  I made myself a batch of about 4 or 5 templates and edited whichever one I thought was most suitable - I don't think I ever sent out the same covering letter or introductory email twice.   It's easy to forget just how many people are applying for the same job that you're applying for.  The moment you slip into the habit of churning out CVs and covering letters without really putting much thought or 'heart' into it at all is when you're going to lose out.  

10.  The importance of placements...
I'm not sure if this is the same for everybody but in my field of work - having a number of placements on your CV proves to be so valuable and mine provided me with some amazing opportunities such as further paid work.  I built a number of them up over 3 years but if you're struggling to find full-time work, now is a great time to apply for internships and fill some of the gaps in your CV. I'd done a number of internships and placements at creative companies before I finished uni, and not only did this make getting my job a lot easier, but I also had a very good insight into how these companies go about employing staff and I picked up a tonne of good tips and tricks.  Having a few placements under your belt is always good so ask around.

11. Contact companies even if they aren't hiring & get on people's radar...
Like i said, the company I work for weren't advertising for a new designer when I stumbled upon the job - I just got lucky and viewed their profile on the day they were starting to consider hiring a new member of staff.  Ring people, email people, take a few chances and use your initiative.  If you send, say, 50 emails out to companies you might like to work for - even if they aren't advertising - you never know your luck do you? At best, they'll have your name and CV on file should they start looking for someone new in the near future - and your initiative and confidence to introduce yourself will stand you in jolly good stead.   At the end of the day it's the law of averages.  Apply for more jobs, and your chances of getting one are going to be higher. I actually scheduled a meeting with a company who weren't even hiring just to introduce myself and get on their radar.  You never know where things are going to lead.

12. Include your blog on your CV.
OK - so this won't be relevant to everybody but I did find that having my blog helped me to stand out against other graduates when applying for jobs and it certainly helped me get my current one. Bare in mind I'm in the creative industry so things like photography, web layout and branding, as well as 'creative' writing, social media communications, PR and general hobbies are often of an interest to companies within this field. On the whole, it just shows you can be dedicated to something and that you use your spare time creatively and positively (and don't spend the entire time down t' pub...) If you're serious about your blog and it's a personal success for you, don't hide it! It won't get you the job but it will certainly help you to stand out against the competition. 

13. It's not what you know it's who you know
Oh how true this is.  I got a good bit of help/advice from my university tutor and I've kept in touch with them since graduating - it's always good to stay in contact with people who've helped you along the way. If something comes up and they get to know about it - they might give you a heads up. Past graduates are also good to keep in touch with - I stayed good friends with a couple of people who had graduated a year or so before I did and I often dropped them an email or text for some advice on things.

So there we have it, just a few little tips and advice for when it comes to finding work after you finish your degree - I'm aware that some of these points are probably more relevant to my field of work but I'm pretty sure it's a similar story for most.  Trust me when I say I know exactly how you're feeling if you're still struggling to find work but I promise that you'll get there in the end if you persevere... Please don't give up. Just know that the situation you're in will not be forever. Things have a habit of working themselves out...

Have you got any tips for finding a job after finishing university? How long did it take you to find work after you finished your degree?

Wednesday 25 March 2015

Beauty Haul | Mac, Zoeva, Stila & Pixi

It's been ages since I posted a beauty haul over on the bloggles.  I must admit I've been quite controlled with the ol' purse strings over the past few months even though I'm waaayy overdue a little splurge, but I still seem to have accumulated a few bits and bobs (I'm a beauty addict after all).  On a recent weekend away in Liverpool/Chester, me and the boy ended up having a mooch around the Cheshire Oaks shopping outlet.  I'm not sure if any of you have ever been (really recommend!) but I was very much a fat kid in a sweet shop around the beauty store they have there.  They had lots of discounted beauty goodies including the likes of Mac, Bobbi Brown and Smashbox to name a few - and I have to say I really did have to restrain myself.  I think i deserve a pat on the back as I only walked away with a couple of Mac bits but let's just say - if I hadn't have had a little inward chat with myself about my bank balance, the results could have been disastrous! Anyway, here's some of the newest additions to my makeup stash this month...

Mac // Pro Powder Blush Pan in "Taupe' // Link
I'm swiftly running out of my beloved Illamasqua Contour palette and have been after a similar shade of blush for a while now.  I saw Mac's Taupe and knew it would be the perfect replacement. Again, I picked this up cheaper than the £15.00 it costs normally so it was a complete bargain!  It's a gorgeous contour colour which is just perfect for carving out those cheekbones and I know I'll get a tonne of use from it.

Mac // Eyeshadow in 'Woodwinked' // Link
Why on earth I haven't owned this shade before now I will never know - but Woodwinked is such a cult beauty blogger favourite and I'm chuffed to bits to finally have it in my collection.  I bought this to create a brown smokey eye look with on a recent evening out in Liverpool and it's so perfect. It's a lovely antique gold sort of shade which brings so much definition to the eye area.

Mac // Pro Longwear Paint Pot in 'Groundwork' // Link
I got this for £10 instead of the usual £15.50 at Cheshire Oaks.  I have to say it's never really been a main item on my wish list but after a quick swatch, I knew I had to have it in my life.  It's a gorgeous neutral beige/taupe colour with just a hint of sheen and is the perfect shade for everyday wear.  I've used this non-stop since I got it and I can just tell I'm going to get a tonne of wear from it.  It's so versatile too as it can be worn completely on its own or as a base for a smokey eye or to keep powder shadows locked in place for longer - which is exactly why I love the Mac paint pots, they're so long-lasting!  It's great to use on days I'm at work as it's so quick and easy to apply - I don't even need a brush as all it takes is a quick smudge/blend motion across the eyelid and I'm sorted for the whole day. Love it!

Zoeva // Luxe Petit Crease Brush // Link
I've had my eye on this brush for ages now.  It's perfect for creating precise definition in the crease of the eye and it blends eyeshadow like a dream.  It's so soft and easy to use.  The Zoeva brushes have received quite a lot of praise for a while now and I can totally see why - I really can't wait to purchase a set of them! I love the fact that each individual brush you buy comes in a little pouch too - so handy if you're taking them away with you on holiday.

Stila Smudge Sticks in 'Stringray' & 'Lionfish' // Link
After my smudge stick in 'Damsel' finally died a death, I set about finding a replacement as I simply cannot live without it.  It's more or less impossible to find the shade in the UK unless you purchase the 'In the Light' palette which is how i discovered it in the first place.  'Lionfish' seemed the closest match - a lovely dark brown with a hint of gold sheen running through it.  Usually I prefer a matte finish to my liners but to be honest, you can hardly see the shimmer in it once applied so it works really well for me and I'm totally in love with it.  I also picked up 'Stringray' - the matte black shade - as I'm partial to a black liner when I'm going for the smokey eye look.  I really do love the Stila smudge sticks - if you're after an eyeliner which doesn't fade, bleed or make you resemble a panda at the end of a long day then I really recommend giving them a whirl.

Pixi // Endless Silky Eye Pen in 'Black Cocoa'  // Link
Like i said previously, I've been on the hunt for a replacement for Stila's Smudge Stick in 'Damsel'. Pixi is by far the closest match I've found - it's a beautiful deep brown/black shade.  I love shades like these for the daytime as it's just slightly less harsh than black and seems to work better with my skin tone.  It's the first time I've tried these Pixi liners and I have to say I'm completely hooked! They're so incredibly soft and smooth to apply - super pigmented and really long-lasting.  They resist smudging really well too.  Worth every penny - I'll definitely repurchase.

Swatches L-R //  Mac Groundwork // Mac Taupe Blush // Mac Woodwinked  // Stila 'Lionfish' // Stila 'Stingray' // Pixi 'Black Cocoa'

So there we have it - just a few little treats I've picked up this month. The best purchase by far has to be Mac's 'Groundwork' - it's one of those products that doesn't look much in the pan but once you have it, you question how you ever lived without it! 

Have you tried and loved any of these products?

Sunday 22 March 2015

Topshop Makeup at Feel Unique | A Few New Favourites...

I've always been fond of Topshop Makeup.  I reckon part of it is down to their quirky, monochrome packaging (such a design geek) but I've definitely found a few gems since they launched their cosmetics a few years back now - I really do think they hit the nail on the head when it comes to affordable, unique and on-trend makeup.  They're constantly updating their range and whenever I'm in town I always pop in to have a little nosey as to what's new.  However, as I no longer work in the town centre, I don't get as many chances to pop in for a browse.  This is why I was a very very happy bunny to discover that the Topshop Makeup range is now stocked on FeelUnique - as I don't get as many chances to shop in town anymore, it's very handy for me to be able to stock up my beauty bits online! I was lucky enough to get my mitts on some of their new additions just recently and I have to say, I've found a couple of new favourites... Without further ado, I'll give you the low-down on some of the latest Toppyshoppy offerings...

Topshop Beauty | The Concealer Palette | £12.00* | Link
I love concealer palettes like this.  I find them very handy to pop into my handbag or to take away with me thanks to the variety of shades all in one place, but I rarely find one that ticks all my boxes - good quality packaging, a creamy consistency with a good bit of staying power and a good mix of shades for different purposes.  I've tried my fair share (Soap & Glory, Elf and Makeup Altier Paris to name a few) but Topshop's version has to be my favourite - hands down. The palette contains 3 shades of creamy concealers as well as a handy setting powder and mirror all contained in a nicely designed, slim case.  The concealers are all super creamy and provide such good coverage.  The middle shade is absolutely perfect for covering dark circles of a morning - the peachy undertone helps to cancel out dull tones and the thick yet smooth consistency means that it stays put on the skin, instantly covering imperfections and blending into the skin with ease.  I sometimes find that thicker concealers can be too cakey and slightly drying but Topshop really have got the texture just right.  My main concern has always been dark circles and this palette really does blow the others i've tried out of the water in that respect.   I think they work best applied with fingers and dabbed onto the skin - the warmth from your fingertips helps to blend out the product and makes for a more seamless application. My only quibble is that I seemed to have hit pan rather quickly - but then again I may have been over-applying at the beginning whist I was getting used to the consistency. Overall though - if you're after a good quality concealer palette which will help camouflage dark circles, discolouration and imperfections then I really do recommend this. I'll definitely be grabbing another one of these!

Topshop Beauty | Cheek Jelly in 'Sibling' | £7.00* | Link
The concept of a cheek jelly really intrigued me as it's something I've never really used before.  I do love a cream blush but this product just offers something a little different - it's like a stain but in a more subtle, sheer and blendable form akin to that of a lip stain in a pot.  I have the shade 'Sibling', and although it looks rather terrifying in the pot, it's much more wearable when swatched.  I've tried this on a couple of occasions now and I'm not sure I'm entirely sold on it just yet.  I'm not sure whether or not it's just the shade that doesn't quite work for me but I much prefer a standard cream blush.  I've actually started using it as a lip stain just patted on throughout the day for a 'just bitten' look - I can't deny the fact that it's a fun and versatile product but I think i'll take a little more convincing with this one.  I can see these being a winner through summer when I want something very lightweight and sheer to wear on hot days so for now I shall reserve judgement...

Topshop Beauty | Lip Polish in 'Gallery' | £8.00* | Link
I absolutely adore this colour.  I feel as if I've got to start weening myself off the vampy reds now that spring is coming around the corner, but I refuse to put them down just yet.  Especially now that this little beauty has landed in my collection! 'Gallery' is a beautiful deep burgundy shade with a gothic edge. Topshop's lip products have always impressed me anyway but I really have enjoyed their 'lip polish' formula.  It has a buildable, slightly glossy finish which provides amazing pigmentation along with a gel-like texture that simply glides onto the lips.  It feels so moisturising and smooth to apply.  Once swatched, the colour isn't as dark as it appears in the bullet but oh-my-goodness - it's gorgeous! Its like a slightly glossier, less full-on version of my beloved Mac Dark Side lipstick. You do need to use a lip liner with it as the colour can bleed slightly through the day, but once the colour is on it's so long lasting and even if I don't top up through the day, it's still visible after I've finished work.  I have to say this has been another winning discovery for me and I really can't wait to stock up on some summery shades.

Swatches L-R | Concealer Shades - Palette | Cheeky Jelly 'Sibling' | Lip Polish 'Gallery'

Overall, a fab selection of products from the Topshop range.  I reckon I'll be stocking up on some more bits as soon as pay-day rolls around - I'm dying to try some of their highlighters and a few of their lip crayons so keep your eyes peeled for some more things popping up on my blog very soon! Do leave me your recommendations as I really do seem to have fallen back in love with the brand just recently.   You can find a wide range of Topshop Makeup on

What's your favourite product from the Topshop Makeup range? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday 18 March 2015

Bourjois Colour Boost Lip Crayons | New Spring Shades

I'm a big fan of lip crayons.  They're perfect to throw into your handbag for on the go and I often have one sitting on my desk at work as they're so easy and fuss-free to use - no mirror required.  Personally, I prefer ones that have a slight glossy finish or moisturising quality to them as opposed to a matte, fully opaque coverage, but finding one with a good bit of lasting power as well as a consistency that is comfortable on the lips can often prove a bit of a challenge. I was so excited to try Bourjois' new additions to their 'Colour Boost' range - I'd never actually tried any of their crayons despite them being largely raved about last summer and it was about time I found out what all the hype was about. Promising 10 hour hydration as well as radiant, glossy colour and a 'bare lip' sensation, these crayons sounded like they'd be just my cup of tea...

Firstly, the three new shades are just perfect for the time of year as we're transitioning into Spring/Summer - 'Proudly Naked', a subtle, neutral pink/nude, 'Sweet Macchiato' a warm berry/rosewood sort of colour and 'Pinking of it' - a bright, fresh fuchsia.  My favourite has to be 'Sweet Macchiato' - it's a stunning brick red/berry shade which gives a nod to a statement lip without being too over the top.  I've been after a colour like this for absolutely ages - it's been my go-to shade for work just recently and it definitely has that on-trend '90s' vibe going on due to the slight brown undertone it has. It makes a nice alternative to your average berry reds.  'Proudly Naked' is also a winner for me - it reminds me of Mac's 'Creme Cup' and is so easy to wear. It's the perfect everyday shade.  

The colour is surprisingly long lasting despite the glossy finish. I drink copious amounts of tea at my desk and the colour is still left on my lips even after a couple of mugs throughout the morning - it appears as more of a stain as opposed to a full on glossy look after a couple of hours but the colour really does stick around.   I really like the fact that these crayons don't compromise on colour pay-off despite their more moisturising formula.

Swatches L-R // 07 - Proudly Naked // 08 - Sweet Macchiato // 09 - Pinking of it

Overall, I have to say I've been completely sold on these Bourjois crayons.  I can really see why these beauties received so much praise when they were first released. I haven't got the foggiest why on earth I didn't try them sooner and I really can't wait to grab 'Peach on the Beach' (one of last year's shades) in time for Summer. I'm so chuffed that Bourjois have added more shades to the range this season - 'Proudly Naked' and 'Sweet Macchiato' are perfect additions for neutrals fans like myself. The Colour Boost Crayons retail at £7.99* each and are available in 9 different shades.  You can find them online here.

What are your favourite lip crayons?

Sunday 15 March 2015

Monthly Favourites | February

Crikey - it feels like forever since I've put together a monthly favourites post and I'm even slightly late on the bandwagon with this one...but better late than never, as they say! Although I've been away from blogging for a little while, I've still been your typical blogger testing and trying everything within reach - you can take the girl away from the blog, but you certainly can't take the blogger out of the girl! I've been in my new job about 2 months now and I've definitely seen a bit of a change in the ol' routine.  My focus has mainly been on getting out of the door as quick as possible of a morning so I've been reaching for products which are quick and easy to use.  February saw me fall in love with a couple of past favourites and, as usual, I seem to have gone a little bit blush mad! Here's what I've been loving the past month...

Mac Blush in 'Harmony' // Full Post // £18.00 // Link
I forgot how much I adore this blush! A cult beauty blogger fave, this colour enhances the cheekbones and helps to sculpt the face in just a quick sweep.  Although I'm a big contouring fan, I just haven't got the time of a morning to concentrate on it but this blush makes it so quick and easy to achieve a naturally sculpted look in an instant.  I dust the colour onto my cheekbones and up towards my temples and it instantly makes my face look more defined.  The matte finish is perfect as it gives a smooth, natural look, and the muted rose tones it has to it means that it provides a slight touch of warmth to the face too.  It's somewhat like a hybrid of a blush, bronzer and contour all in one and it's a must-have in my makeup collection. I swear by it! It also featured in my Autumn blush post here.

Nyx Cream Blush in 'Natural' // £5.50 // Link
Ever since I used Benefit's 'Majorette' blush, I've become quite addicted to cream formulas. I love this Nyx offering because it's very creamy and gives the skin a gorgeous, dewy glow.  The pink colour is really flattering at this time of year and awakens dull skin - something I've really been struggling with just recently as I've been burning the candle at both ends! It does have a slightly sticky consistency but it works so well and is super easy to blend - I've taken to using it with a stippling brush, applying it over my foundation before setting with powder.  It really does last through the day and what's more - I've even taken to dabbing a little bit onto my lips to finish off the look.  

Benefit Blush in 'Rockateur' // Full Post // £23.50* // Link
I've already spoken about this blush in quite some depth on my blog - I have a full review and it also featured in my Autumn Blush feature here.  I've been layering this on top of the Nyx cream blush in order to get a longer-lasting colour and the two work so well together.  It brightens up the face thanks to the subtle shimmer and instantly makes you appear much more fresh faced and healthy. I'd class it as a seashell pink sort of shade - it's a beauty!

Bobbi Brown Eyeshadow in 'Toast' // £17.50 // Link
A new favourite of mine, this eyeshadow is perfect for using in the crease or for blending out darker shadows.  It provides the perfect base for a smokey eye and is also the perfect daytime colour when worn on it's own. I'll often wear this for work blended through the crease with a touch of highlight in the inner corner and I'm sorted for the day. It brings a touch of warmth to the eye area and also looks beautiful when blended into a mid-brown shade - it's so versatile.  I have a full review coming soon so I won't say too much, but i really do love this shadow - Bobbi Brown has really impressed me with this one! 

Ted Baker Makeup Bag // Similar Here
This baby pink and a rose gold Ted Baker Makeup Bag has been a firm favourite of mine the past couple of months.  I adore Ted Baker goodies and I was lucky enough to be gifted this for Christmas after spying it in House of Fraser.  As I've been away from home quite a bit recently, it's come in so handy for keeping my essentials all together.  It's big enough to contain everything I'll need but small enough that it doesn't take over my handbag or suitcase. It's so easy to wipe clean if I get any mucky finger prints over it and it still looks as good as new despite the fact I've used it so much.  The rose gold bow is so adorable and I love the milky pink shade - its so girly and it's always a nice one to pull out of your handbag when you're in need of a touch-up.

Benefit // Lolli Tint // Full Review // £24.50* // Link
I'm constantly on the lookout for products which will last me throughout my day at work without the need for touch-ups.  Lolli-tint has become quite the 'go to' the past couple of months.  It's a gorgeous lilac-pink shade which looks a bit scary when swatched but sheers out to a gorgeous petal-pink flush. I've been using it with a stippling brush and applying it onto my cheeks, but I've mostly been enjoying it as a lip stain.  It really does last all day and any touch-ups I need are always very minimal. I'm really wanting to get 'Lolli Balm' to go alongside it as I do find my lips can get a bit dry when I've applied this, but it's such a good layering product if you want to apply a gloss or lipstick on top.  

Barry M Nail Paint in 'Red-Black' // £2.99 // Link
Yes, we might be well on our way to spring but I'm still addicted to vampy shades when it comes to nails at the moment. I've had so many compliments on this shade just recently - it's a gorgeous deep burgundy. You can't go far wrong with Barry M nail paints in my opinion! 

Oriflame // E-Collagen Eye Cream // £10.95 // Link
I received this product in a beauty box quite some time ago and I've really enjoyed using it.  It's targeted towards wrinkles and smoothing out the eye area - not something I would have opted for had I chosen it myself but I heard that starting out in your 20's is the way forward?! I just find it really moisturising and refreshing to apply thanks to the cooling roller-ball application and it's so nice to apply of a morning.  It gives my under-eyes a dose of moisture at the same time as helping me to feel more awake and bright-eyed.  Dark circles have always been the main issue for me and although i haven't noticed a great deal of difference just yet, it certainly does help to awaken the eye area of a morning as well as prepping my skin nicely for a touch of makeup.  It's so gentle and soothing and it's one of the nicest eye creams I've tried so far.

Swatches L-R // Benefit 'Rockateur' // Nyx 'Natural' // Mac 'Harmony' // Bobbi Brown 'Toast' // Benefit 'Lolli Tint'

Have you tried and loved any of these products featured too?