2015 Favourites

This post is cliche, overdone and a little late, but I was watching one of these videos on Youtube the other day – I do enjoy watching them actually – and it made me wonder what my favourites actually were from the previous year. I like Make Up, I always have and though I wouldn’t call it my raison d’etre as some people do, I definitely got more into it last year.

Therefore, here’s my list.

Mascara: L’Oreal Volume Million Lashes
Just finished a tube of this, but I bought this a few times, looking back, and I definitely did enjoy it.  am currently using the L’Oreal Voluminous Extra Black Mascara, which I can’t find a link to but I did buy from Boots. I think I like it a little more, but it’s early days yet. And I’ve not really kept track, if I’m honest…

Liquid Eyeliner: L’Oreal Super Liner Perfect Slim
Easy. This is the only make up item I’ve ever bought multiples of and had back ups of. An absolute favourite.

Pencil Eyeliner: Rimmel Scandaleyes Kohl Pencil
Mainly the one in black, I do have the one in Nude but I definitely use the black one more for days where I don’t want a cat eye.

Blush: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Diffused Heat
This was a birthday splurge that I regretted as soon as the money left my bank account. However, SpaceNK was unable to cancel my order and instead I had to suck up the fact that I have a shopping problem. When it arrived, it couldn’t resist giving it a little try, telling myself if I just tried a corner I could still send it back. But I kept trying it, and I fell in love. It is such a nice blush, and the amount of times I’ve worn it make it worth the money. As my mum always says: “It’s only ever a waste of money if you don’t use it!”. Glad I kept it. I would like more, but maybe not for a while….

Bronzer: Revlon Desert Bronze Matte Highlighting Palette
Plllleeeeaaassseee bring it back! I’ve used this loads, and I don’t even really like bronzer. I saved up for the Nars Laguna Bronzer and I’ve barely touched it compared to this one. Finger crossed they’ll have it back for the summer. Note: after that display of dramatics, Boots apparently still stocks it online, not seen it in store though.


Palette: Stila Eyes Are the Window Palette, Mind
Used this far more than I really thought. Love the matte colours, and looks great with winged eyeliner. Some shades are better than others in terms of quality though.

Foundation: Mac Factor Miracle Match Foundation
I got this because it said ‘Blur and Nourish’ on the bottle, and my skin was very dehydrated at the time. I do enjoy this, you can get shiny and I didn’t even know it was supposed to be a ‘Miracle Match’. Works fine though!

Eyebrows: Kiko Eyebrow Expert Styling Kit
Everything I need, not used anything else. Love the fact it’s not orange like any/all Maybelline Eyebrow Products. I think I have the one for ‘Deep Brunettes’ despite not  being a deep Brunette. I find darker eyebrows work better if you have glasses though.

Contour: Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Medium
Second part of the birthday splurge. I do really like this, but it has been a steep learning curve. You need a light touch my friend, a light touch. Many a time have I left the house thinking I looked Ok, then looked into a mirror and discovered I have a beard. Not great. Note: Does this come in other colours? I swear I’ve only seen the medium, but I’m pretty sure I would need Light. SpaceNK seems to imply that it does, but I think it might be an urban legend…


Lipgloss: Maybelline Color Show Elixir Lip Gloss in Caramel Infused and Rose
These just live in my hand bag now.

Lipstick:
I have two.
Firstly: Nars Audacious Lipstick in Audrey
On the whole, I haven’t worn this that much, but it is absolutely beautiful when I do. Another major reason for picking this is because my grandmother, Audrey, passed away this year. The shade is one I;m sure she would have loved – red was her colour – and it reminds me of her when I wear it.

Secondly: Mac Plumful
This is interesting because I hated it when I first got it. I bought it because of youtube, then I realised that what looks good on other people doesn’t always look good on me, no matter how much people insist that they think it would “look good on all skin types”. However, I wore it nearly ever day in Autumn. A nice soft plum, edging towards pink (probably what put me off initially), it;s easy to wear and a little different.

Skincare:
Not much stood out to me, I have been trying new things but not for long enough to call them a favourite.

Moisturiser: Simple Kind to Skin Light Moisturiser.
Used this for years, still a favourite. No SPF because I use this day and night.

Face Wipes: Boots Botanics All Bright Facial Cleansing Wipes
Best face wipes ever, and almost always on offer. Yay!

There you have it, cosmetic favourites of the last year. It was pretty interesting to look back on and see what I’ve actually used, and when. I could probably do a separate list for nail varnishes, if I’m honest. Too difficult to narrow down to one!

Best,
Jess


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Chat: This Week

This week has walked the tightrope between being ‘not much’ and ‘an awful lot’.

I’ve ticked off two things on my ‘to do’ list for the year – I went to a ballroom dancing class. So much fun. I was nervous about it at the time but it was rewarding to do, if only because I felt so proud of myself afterwards. And I discovered that I actually quite like dancing. I’ve had my suspicions on this for a while, normally my inhibitions and anxiety hold me back. But if I left them go, I can actually enjoy myself. Who knew. 

I went to a yoga class after much trials and tribulations. My confidence of yoga seems to dissipate the second I try to do it outside my room. For some reason, I found doing this more fraught with worry than the dance class I did. I tried to go to one on Wednesday and didn’t manage it, tried again on Saturday and really enjoyed it.  I did a handstand! I haven’t done one in years.

I haven’t managed to post much this week, which I feel bad about. My goal is to post at least once a week, and whilst I seem to have many ideas, I have trouble bringing them to fruition. My camera remains untouched despite buying batteries and cables and tripods and all the things I need. So I’m frustrated about myself in that aspect.

Also, I’ve been panicking about finishing university and about the fact I don’t know what I want to do. I’m scared that I’ll never achieve anything. Then some days, I think about how glad I’ll be when I’m not up til 11pm 7 days a week trying to write essays and prepare my work for the next week. I don’t know what I think. Or what to dooooo.

On that note, there’s my week. A mixture of pride, frustration and crippling anxiety. Woo!

P.S. Still watching Dickensian I;m actually into it now, definitely wasn’t expecting that. But I feel so sorry for all of the characters because I know what’s going to happen! Heart breaking.

New Years Musing

Well, I know it’s not New Years day anymore…but it’s still the new year. And watching Claire Marshall’s video on her reflection on 2015 I was inspired to do the same.
2015, to begin with a cliche, had its ups and downs.
And for a long time, I could only see the downs, but part of the change I wasn’t to make is the ability to see the good, even when it’s clouded by the downs.

In January, I took my sister to her first concert. It was brilliant, having a six year age gap between us means that we haven’t often in the past had a chance to go out on our own. But we had a different type of freedom that we hadn’t experienced before. And I got to part of something that kindled her spark in music, since then I’ve seen her perform live several times. I’m really proud of her.

I turned 21. A milestone. I’m not at a place I thought I would be a this age, but I;m trying to realize I’m ok where I am. The thing that stuck out to me so much about my birthday, is the amount of people I had in my life willing to come out and spend time with me, or send me messages.

I lost my job due to redundancy, and unfortunately, some people I thought were friends didn’t stay in touch. But then I took part in the most amazing internship, were I met new people – new friends – who I am still in touch with. And i took part in a project I enjoyed so much that I stayed as a volunteer for several months after. I had to do things I’d never done before, and I proved to myself that I could do them.

I came of my antidepressants. It;s not easy, some of my relationships have changed: for better and for worse. But I feel more like me – someone who dreams, and is creative, and thinks –  than I have since I was fifteen. Which is amazing.

My grandma died in September.It’s been a year of deaths, unfortunately. And it culminated in this one for me. I now have a very small family, losing three members in the past year. The fact that she’ll never see me graduate, get married, achieve the things I hope to is awful. I miss her so much. But I am glad for the family I have left, and glad she is at a place where she can have peace.

I went to Italy with my friend. It was difficult, just after her death. But I still went – an achievement of itself. I flew on my own for the first time – I cried. From the plane or from grief I don;t know. But I made it back, and I saw things I’d been dreaming about for years.

Then it was back to the grind, for my final year at university. Both terrifying and exhilarating. For the first time in my degree I love my modules, I love what I’m learning, perhaps because I am more willing to see the good. The though of finishing scares me, for the first time in my life I don’t know what I’ll be doing a year from now. I hate that uncertainty. But I’m just going to have to embrace it, because it’s happening regardless.

Not a lot happened between October and December. Life. Essays. Birthdays and the inevitable flurry at Christmas. We had my granddad down for the first time ever. I slept on the floor for a week, but it was worth it.

New year occurred in my pajamas, on the sofa with my mum and my sister. A world away from my big night out at the end of 2014. But it gave me chance to reflect. Thus year I wan to push myself more, experience more, be brave. It’s a vague resolution, but if I break it down into little steps, I can do it. I want to be a better person by the end of the year than I am now, for whatever that means. One week in, and it;s hard, the temptation to forget as we just get on with life is strong, but I know that inevitably I will end up different to how I began.

So, if anyone is reading, and you find it difficult to see the positive. I understand. You’ll get through it, we all will. Think of what you have done so far. Happy 2016.

Five Places to Look for Yoga on Youtube

These ‘Five things’ lists I can see are going to become a thing for me. As a follow up to last weeks post on Why Not to Dismiss Yoga (Link here) I thought I would give some tips on the best Yoga youtubers to check out.

I am more or less entirely self taught on yoga from following these videos, and they’re a really good place to start if you’re feeling nervous about going to a physical class. They also only cost as much as your wifi, which is pretty good.

Here we go:

5. BadYogi
Not a huge catalogue of videos on here just yet, but Erin Motz can be found on other areas of youtube. A good yoga youtuber for beginners, with lots of short explanatory videos and quick flows that you can do alone or with others for a longer session. The great thing about Bad Yogi is the attitude of the channel, Erin understands frustration, failure etc, and really embraces it – almost poking fun at the people who take yoga (and maybe even life) too seriously. Definitely one to check out.

Yoga with Adriene
This is great channel for beginners. Adriene is chatty, accessible and funny. She is very gentle coaxing you into the poses, bringing a lightheartedness to the flows. She has lots of videos to chose from, some of my favorites are the ones for headaches and nausea, which can be quite difficult to find. She is undoubtedly a firm favourite in the Yoga youtube community. She is also doing a 30 Day Yoga Camp to break you into the New year.

3. Kathleen Holm
This is channel that hasn’t been used for while, but if you want some good, comprehensive short flows – this is the place to go. Often when I am rushed for time, but still want a little flow this is the place to go. Kathleen Holm has some fantastic 20 minute well-rounded yoga flows which are the perfect length if you are short on time – I often find that the 10 minute flows on other channels are just too short. With Kathleen Holm you only have one video to watch. All have a very rapid start, so be prepared, and wack your volume up high as the videos all seem to be really quiet – but this is a really good, underrated channel.

2. Ekhart Yoga
Esther Ekhart was the first yoga youtuber I found, and was my favourite for many years. Unfortunately she has stopped doing her longer classes on youtube, but she does now have a subscription site if you want more of her work. She has a lovely, calming voice, a patient manner of explaining and several good short flows, with some other shorter videos explaining specific poses. A great thing about her channel is the abundance of yoga professionals appearing on it, so there is always someone new. The short meditation classes with Esther Teule are really lovely and there are loads to chose from.

1. Fightmaster Yoga
Relatively new to youtube but has a massive catalogue of videos thanks to the 90 days of yoga she did early last year. Lesley is really lovely, working on donations to help expand the channel and maintaining her philosophy that free yoga will create a better world. I wholeheartedly agree. Her channel is perhaps geared to more intermediate yogis, but is definitely accessible for beginners and is a great channel to challenge yourself with. I love her flows with arm balances – my favourites (still working on the inversions though)! Like Esther she has a calm and soothing voice, and a real openness about her yoga journey which is lovely. Definitely check her out – this year she is doing a month of yoga classes for beginners which I put a link to last week.

This is by all means not all of the yoga youtubers (yogatubers?) out there, these are only some that I use regularly, If you have any other suggestions, please leave a comment.

Jess

Five Reasons Not to Dismiss Yoga this New Year

Happy New Year!

For those wishing to start off the New Year with a the resolution to do a bit more exercise (with ya, mate), my personal favorite is Yoga. There is some derision about yoga as an exercise still, but it doesn’t take long after you start practicing it to realize why this form of exercise maintains after thousands of years.

My yoga journey began a few years ago, for me it opened up a path to peace that I didn’t even know existed at the time. It began, quite simply, as being something I could actually do, during a time when I felt like I couldn’t do anything.  I am, and always have been flexible, which gave me an initial advantage that allowed me to feel like I could keep going at it. It took off for me last year though, with Lesley Fightmaster’s 90 Days of Yoga challenge; I didn’t complete the 90 days but it helped me recognize something: I was struggling with low mood at the time, and I still do from time to time, bu what I discovered is that yoga was making me feel better by making me live in the moment, and thus, I started doing it more often. My yoga journey is still going, but looking back I am surprised by how far I’ve come without realizing it, which I why I want to convince other people to take it up too.  My resolution this new year is to go to actual yoga classes (with people! eek!) in the hope that one day I can become a qualified yoga instructor.

But in the meantime, here are five reasons you should consider yoga and join me on this journey…

Five Reasons to Consider Yoga/Five Myths Dispelled

5. You can lose weight with yoga.
No, it may not be as quick as some other high intensity exercises, that’s a given. But it is important not to listen to those people who say Yoga is only stretches, because it can be, but it can also be tough, sweat inducing cardio, depending on how you approach it.

If you are looking at Yoga from a weight loss perspective, however, you are going to need to do one of two things: Firstly, do higher intensity yoga – Power Yoga, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, anything with ‘flow’ in the title is a good place to start. You don’t have to do this all this time, in fact it can be good to mix it with some gentler stretching classes so your muscles don’t get too tense, but the more often you do these types of flows the more likely you are to lose weight.

Secondly, you could combine it with something else, you don;t eat one type of food, you don;t need to do do one type of exercise. Interchange it with walking, running, a weekly session at the gym, something that adds a little more cardio. This can be particularly good if you find the faster flows more difficult (I know I do).. My advice is to start small so you and your body get used to it and you begin to actually want to do it over time.

4. You don’t need to be flexible.
One of the nicest things about yoga is that you can adapt it to suit you. It happened that I was relatively flexible when I began, but don’t let it put you off – I bet there’s loads of things you can do that I can’t. The other thing I can tell you is, after practicing on and off, I am so much more flexible than I have ever been. Start small, build up. If you can’t touch your toes, touch your knees and you will get there eventually.

3. You don’t even really need a yoga mat….
This may be disagreed with my yoga professionals, but honestly, if you’re doing yoga at home, do yoga on the carpet and it’ll work much the same. Yoga mats are nice, however, if you decide you’re enjoying it enough to keep up with it. (As it happens, I did buy one, and It’s disappeared into come foreign corner of my room and I have’t seen it for three years. Such is life.) On another note, yoga, depending on how intense the flow you do, can be done in tracky bottoms. Nice.

2. You can do it at home.
Some people may argue that you should go to a proper yoga class with an instructor in the room with you.However, I know that being overweight, or new to something can be really daunting, and sometimes you just simply can’t afford it. This is the beauty of Youtube. If you mess up, no one is going to see except you; you can, in the privacy of your own home, experiment with different practices and flows, and find out what is right for you and your body. You don’t even need anything (see previous point!).

1. The Mental Benefits.
There seem to be a million and one studies which will tell you that yoga is proved to help depressiion, make you live longer, make you taller etc etc. The long and the short of it is, when you are focusing on getting a pose right, you are just thinking about the pose, and often this means your mind isn’t thinking bout all the things you have to do, or the things you’ve done wrong in your life. This kind of mindfulness is something we strive to bring into our everyday lives, for me, I don’t manage it all this time, but I can do it on the yoga mat, and that is why yoga is so important to me.

So there you go, five reasons why Yoga is awesome. So give it a go, if you’re trying to lose weight this New Year (you can do it!) or if you’re trying to start a new hobby – give it a go. I’ll be posting a few good youtube channels to start with soon, but in the meantime Lesley Fightmaster, one of my favourite ‘yoga-tubers’ is starting a 30 days of Yoga for beginners this month, so check it out:

Let me know if you start yoga, or what your New Years Resolutions are.
Best,
Jess

Some Disjointed Opinions on… The Abominable Bride

Really loved it. But I never doubted I would.

~~~~~~SPOILERS~~~~~~

The hype was worth it, easily the best Christmas television on this year. And, whats more, they managed to tie it in with the whole series, which was always the great mystery of this Victorian spin-off.

The Victorian society presented in Sherlock is a ‘Sexy’ Victorian society, unlike, for instance, Dickensian, which is truly grim (review to come!). I guess this is part and parcel of the stylistic approach of Sherlock – whilst it is not nearly as ‘Sexy’ as the Sherlock Holmes films with Robert Downey Junior, which in my opinion are farcical, it is typical of a Christmas production, certainly in the UK, to indulge in the kind of romanticised past. Also: it sells. In this sense, it was never going to fail. The fact that it actually tied into the rest of the narrative: bonus!

It was hugely evident that Moffat, Gatiss and co were having so much fun with this episode, as is evident in the self-reflexivity, I loved the references to the fans, the awareness of the ‘bromance’ of Sherlock and Watson, this kinds reference was demonstrated in the Reichenbach Fall with Sherlock and Moriarty of course.

They were also loving their interesting transitions. A really interesting use of film-making, nearly unheard of in current television, I loved that about Sherlock from the start but it was obvious that the makers simply ran with it this time. I had my doubts at first, but I think the addressing of Sherlock’s drug use (finally!) made the transitions work as part of the narrative – which is always important if you are going to use such obvious editing. They, in the end, worked as part of the story, and in hindsight were truly enjoyable.

I liked the way they finally dealt with the drug use in Sherlock in a way they never have. It was also dealt with in a manner that conveyed a postmodern view of drugs, which I found interesting. I confess, I have’t read many of the actual stories, but it would be interesting to know how the books deal with Sherlock’s drug use to see if/what they changed. (note: drugs are bad kids). I like the blurring of the worlds as well, towards the end. The crossing between modern John and Victorian Watson was a clever way to create this as a psychological imagining, though it does continue to allows the makers to taunt tumblr with Johnlock references… a ‘Ship’ that appears to have not left the harbour just yet.

The Suffragettes, however, people seem to be having issues with. I feel some people on twitter are being necessarily nasty about the use of Feminism in the piece – I really don’t think the producers were trying to say that Feminism was the real killer… –  but I do concede that some type of moral (often glaringly obvious, and slightly weird) is a cornerstone for Christmas/New Year specials. Dr Who has stock in trade of them. I’m not ure how I feel about the use of it in The Abominable Bride but the overall experience was massively enjoyable, and that it what counts: that’s what gets bums on seats, that’s what gets ratings, and as my lecturers like to tell me, it doesn’t have to have a plot to be good…

Finally, it has been addressed: Moriarty is dead. And I believe them, though we all know by now Moffat will have his will. And the final question is… will there be a season 4…?

What did you think? Did you like it? Is Moriarty dead? When will there be another series?