Sunday, 31 March 2013

Super Savvy Me: Venus & Olay

Recently I took part in a Super Savvy Me project, which is a website which offers you the chance to sample and review a certain product. (I’ve been a member of the Savvy Circle for a few years now and have taken part in a few of their projects). The site basically allows you to apply for a project and selects a quantity of applicants to take part in the project depending on target audience etc. 
 You don’t always get selected (I wasn’t selected for the Braun project that ran before this) and some of the projects aren’t always things I’d be able to use or be interested in sampling (Pampers Nappies for example).
Selection is very quick, if you are selected the products are sent out almost immediately, giving you plenty of chance to test out and use the products. The projects run for typically around 8 weeks. The main objective of the project is sampling the products and spreading the word. 
 This one appealed to me, as I’ve been a Venus fan for nearly a decade and distinctly remember getting my first Venus razor aged fifteen. I’ve had every single edition and colour that has been brought out over the years, so the new collaboration with Olay certainly was one I was keen to investigate further.
The Venus quality has always been far more superior to any other brands I have tried, and I would instantly choose Venus over any other own brand alternative. The design is familiar and the replacement head feature has always set Venus apart from the rest.
The new Venus and Olay razor is brilliant – 5 blades provide the ulitmate result and having those extra blades really does mean you are left with a smooth finish.
 The moisture bars (this is where Olay come in) provide lather and mean you don’t need to worry about shaving foam. The first few shaves were perfect, but as the moisture bars began getting used more they did mishape and become a little less desirable - the only problem with this razor being it has a limited time span.
I think the collaboration between two leading brands Venus and Olay is a great one, because together they have produced one great product. 
Alongside the razor, I was sent the Olay Essentials Moisturising Lotion which really surprised me.  Admittedly I’ve always associated Olay with older women, a product my Mum might use, but I was surprised how I soon took to using the fluid. I don’t always moisturise, but I definitely have converted now, a good base moisturiser should be a part of my daily routine
I had no trouble using the product at all, and I found the results to be really great on my skin, the bottle is a good size. The fluid is not too thick consistency (something I dislike about lotions) and the scent is lovely too. I must admit, I have neglected my skin for far too long, and since the arrival of this product I have felt a boost in my skincare.
I was impressed with both products, and enjoyed taking part in this project as I wouldn't usually review skincare/beauty items, so this was a great opportunity to do so.

Disclosure: I was sent the products to sample and review for free, but was not paid to write this. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Disorganised Me

I wrote in my last post how fashion used to be a big part of my life and something I used to love. The thing is, I kind of have a problem...
A messy closet.

It actually pains me to admit I’ve been here a million times before, and each time I convince myself ‘To never let it get that bad again.’  Then as predicted it spectacularly breeds to an even worse state.  I am so messy when it comes to clothes, I don’t care at all if something gets squashed, creased, or forgotten about.  I really am that bad clothes person. 

I also have the worst hoarding nature. I have clothes I haven’t worn for years hung up and I have no idea why. I always dreamt one day I would appear on Gok’s How to Look Good Naked and he would banish all my clothes, tell me off and that would be it, lesson learnt.
The thing is, I am nearly twenty-four, should I really still be throwing clothes around?  Shouldn’t I have got that dream capsule wardrobe by now? 

I have always been like this.  If I try something on and it doesn’t look right, I will almost instantly fall out of love with it, and then most likely it will get shoved back into the closet, and eventually spat out and regurgitated again. 

Have you ever wondered what you would do if your wardrobe was gone just like that… would you ever be able to compensate for the loss?  Or would it give you that fresh slate and opportunity to start all over again...

Clothes can be replaced.  But can bad habits ever change?


Saturday, 23 March 2013

Slave To Fashion

I’ve always loved fashion, from a young age I would collect and cut out my favourite magazine clippings and make my own scrapbooks filled with inspiration.  I studied Elle Girl like a textbook and would always push the boundaries of fashion.  But in my twenties I turned my back on fashion and always opted for the safe option.   

I have also never, ever thought about photographing my outfit. Up until last weekend I wouldn’t have ever dreamt I'd be posting a photograph of myself posing in front of a gorgeous fireplace… 

I did really like this outfit and sometimes it’s nice to get a photograph of what you wore - I'm new to this whole thing.
 Which makes me wonder...
What exactly is a Fashion Blogger?
Someone who photographs their outfits and then posts them online – I think we’ve established that.

Why do it?
It’s a way of recording outfit choices, looks and styles.
It’s a way to build body confidence.
It gets you some free* clothes.
It's fun.
It inspires you to dress creatively.
It opens you up to praise (but also criticism).
It’s addictive.
None, all or some of the above.

Is it hard?
Yes, it takes time, patience and perseverance. I far underestimated just how long it takes to get a decent shot. 

What skills do you need?
There are no formal qualifications needed, just a bit of a flair for creativity. 

What equipment do you need?
The long standing debate of quality, Nikon vs. Canon, but I  firmly believe you don't need the best camera for the best shot. 

Additional Requirments:
 A willing photographer – the general agreement is you need someone willing to follow you around and take your snaps for you. Although a tripod works too – depending how brave you are feeling.

And finally, 
Will real life friends, family and acquaintances ever understand why you take photographs of yourself and post them online?
Probably not.
 Becks wrote a similar (and far more hilarious) post here, it’s very amusing.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Being Brave

Yesterday I returned home from a 4-day trip to a lovely country Manor house in Derbyshire.  I went completely on my own and met up with 11 other girls – who I had never ever met before.  Pretty crazy right?

The story goes I started this blog as an escape over four years ago now, and of course blogging has changed course a lot over the years.  Along that journey I have met so many wonderful people, who I never imagined I would be able to meet in ‘real life’.  The Internet will always provide that barrier from reality.

I’m painfully shy, and lack such confidence in myself – which would deem this whole trip impossible for someone like me. I have been reading some of these girls blogs for years, that and the fact we have bonded over letter writing and other shared interests, I feel a real connection.  (I know non-blog folk, may think strange of it, but the bonds we form through the Internet is quite astonishing).
(Me and the lovely Char)
For me this adventure was about being brave, doing something I have never done before and digging deep for some confidence.

I knew we were in for a real treat staying at Norbury Manor (amazing choice Alex), I enjoyed every single minute of escape, because no phone signals and being located in the middle of nowhere can be a blessing.

The initial meet and greet was pretty nerve-wracking, and I think I wasn’t alone in feeling a little bit anxious.  Some of the girls I had known for quite some time, but some only recently.

I’ve had my struggles over the past year, and I try not to let it ruin my life, or affect every aspect of it, but you know sometimes it’s incredibly impossible to not let it wear you down.   This weekend has taught me that I can have fun, if I allow myself to.  And not just a little, a LOT.  Allowing that cloud to shift makes everything so much clearer.

(Me and Gem from Fat Frocks)
The other 11 girls have shown me it’s okay to be ‘me’ – all this self-doubt and negativity in my mind is nothing but that.  I punish myself when I get rejected, or have a knock-back, I forever question my ability, my appearance, my weight, even the smallest details, I forever criticise.  But I’ve finally realised – it’s okay to be me.

I laugh far too loud – and far too much, (cue hysterical uncontrollable laughter), but that is me.  I have a sense of humour where I genuinely find sometimes ordinary things really quite funny.  
 I don’t have perfect hair, and sometimes don’t even bother wearing make-up – but that’s okay, because sometimes perfection is overrated.  My fashion sense is a funny one, because I’ve never really done the whole fashion thing on my blog.  Yet it may surprise you when I tell you how much I used to love fashion, and clothes...

When I left college, I gave up dressing creatively and as I’ve got older I’ve felt a great gap grow in my wardrobe.  At each Birthday, I’ve convinced myself I’m too old for ‘fashion’ (which I now know sounds ridiculous).

There’s always been a part of me longing for the old me.  The girl who would wear stripe tights and statement necklaces, and even make her own DIY clothes – it’s hard to believe how far you can alienate yourself from the old you.
This weekend the thought of staying with fashion bloggers scared me a little, wondering what the hell I could possibly wear to not look like a complete alien.  I don’t spend a lot on clothes (literally no more than a couple of pounds here and there), fortunately I work at a charity shop so that’s pretty useful, but you know the feeling of wanting, but knowing there is no possible way of having.  That’s always been my relationship with clothes.

Guess what? I managed to bundle some bits together in my case, and I actually really liked what I chose.  The irony is that my scarf only cost a £1 in Primark the week prior to my trip and I wore it all weekend long, my Wellibobs (a bargain from eBay) which I’ve never been brave enough to wear  outside before were my saviour and the other bits in-between were mostly second-hand.

If I can jumble together a decent outfit (I felt comfortable and happy in), then why don’t I bloody do this more often?  Why do I spend the rest of the year dressing so depressingly?

I knew this weekend might involve some photo sessions, and in normal life I would usually sit out of this one, but with this trying something different lark, I gave it a chance.  Trusting someone (the oh so lovely Sophie) to take photographs is quite a big step for me.  Normally I am quick to dismiss a photo, and hate the idea of someone looking through a lens at me.  But I’ve realised we all as a collective group pretty much felt the exact same way… impossible to photograph yourself, yet amazing results when you enlist the help of a friend.  Even the obligatory group shot was fun... #TeamNorbury

I’ve realised we are all different, we all have different circumstances, life’s beyond our blogs, but the one thing we all have in common and enjoy is our mutual love for our creative outlets –be it fashion, crochet, craft, baking, knitting, writing and that is ultimately what made this weekend so special in my eyes.

I need to remind myself that it’s okay to be brave.  It’s okay to try something new, do something different, take a risk, and most of all stop beating myself up for all of the ‘not so good stuff’.  One day I will get there, we all have our own struggles, our own battles to fight, however small or great; we can still live our lives to the full potential, and be happy with what we do have and most importantly remember to have some fun along the way.

A heartfelt thank you goes out to: Alex, Char, Sophie, Rosie, Bex, Lucy, Sarah, Sarah, Gemma, Maria and Chloe  for helping me see the real me again.


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Five Pence Romance

I've been a little bit absent lately, but I couldn’t not share a recent charity shop find with you all…
At the charity shop I volunteer at I recently stumbled across some Brambly Hedge videos for my dear friend who just adores the little mice. Luckily Simon could convert them onto DVD for me, which meant I managed to send her a little package just before she moved to her new home.
The general consensus is that nobody wants videos these days – nobody still owns a VHS player and videos are simply something of the past. My charity shop has been swarmed with unwanted videos, and have had to start turning large lots away, because we simply cannot shift them anymore.  Over the past month we have had to start taking them to the tip and recycling them, so the selection we have on the shop floor is usually only ever say 10-20 tapes at a time, so to stumble upon the Brambly Hedges ones was quite a lucky find!
When I was there last week, another video captured my eye – Romeo & Juliet, I adore this film and have seen it countless times, but it still pulls at my heart strings. What intrigued me more was the beautiful box and contents. The limited edition pack contains a 35mm film cell, collector cards and a 1999 calendar, aswell as the feature film. I know it’s a little outdated and Romeo & Juliet is so 90s, but I couldn’t help but fall for this rather sweet ensemble.
What’s more is the fact my charity shop only charge a very humble 5p per video, so I bought both my Brambly Hedge videos, and this Romeo & Juliet set for all of 15p!
p.s I’ve missed you.
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