Knowing Your Self Worth

One of the most important lessons I’ve learnt recently is to know my own self-worth. I’ve been through a lot of knocks in life, as has nearly everyone, and it can be hard to pick yourself back up and not blame yourself for whatever’s happened. However, knowing your own worth means that you know when you’re not being treated how you deserve, and when you need to get yourself out of a situation.

I didn’t have the best school years; I wasn’t exactly bullied, but I also wasn’t liked by the majority of people. Part of this was due to being ‘too nerdy’. At school, it is much too often considered a bad thing to be clever and top of the class. It is looked at as boring, and many fail to appreciate that people who work hard and achieve good grades do also have a personality and have fun outside of their school work. Then there was the fact that I was also not considered to meet the definition of pretty. By that, I don’t even mean that other people had better natural beauty, merely that I did not wear ‘enough’ makeup to be ‘pretty’ or ‘cool’. Perhaps this issue was heightened because I attended a girls school, but the fact that for my first couple of years at secondary school, I had no interest in makeup caused even fewer people to bother to make an effort with me.

However, I’m not saying this to put out a sob story. I’m saying this because I now have a job with the world’s leading beauty company. Me?! Me that was constantly put down for not being beautiful, not caring about my appearance and not wanting to make an effort to look good now has a job in the beauty industry?! Crazy stuff eh. It’s made me realise that the opinions of all those people in school were, to put it plainly, just wrong. I am beautiful, and I am worth it (guess the company).

I have also recently become single again after spending a couple of months in a relationship where I really wasn’t happy. At the time, I guess I thought I was. I wasn’t treated badly by any means, but I just felt that very little effort was being made on the other person’s behalf and they seemed unbothered by whatever I had to say. I wasn’t made to feel special, but because I was invested in the relationship, I didn’t want to leave. I’m not a quitter and I wanted to make it work, but I learnt that not everything is under my control, and I can’t make another person feel for me the way that I felt for them.

Although sometimes I feel like I wasted away a good few months that I could have spent searching for better, I have to remind myself of how much I learnt in that time. I learnt not to settle. I learnt how I deserve to be treated. I learnt that I should listen to my friends when they tell me I deserve more. I learnt that I am worth more than a person telling me I’m too much work, because for the right person, being with me will be far from a burden.

Never, ever, ever let yourself believe that you are the problem in a situation or relationship. The right people will never make you feel like that, and that’s who you should spend your time with and energy on. If you haven’t found those people yet, keep searching. During my first year of university, I struggled heavily with finding people I connected with, but I’m proud of myself for how I handled the situation. I didn’t blame other people for not wanting to be friends with me – that’s fine, you can’t be friends with everyone, they’d clearly decided I wasn’t their type of person, and if they cut me off then equally they’re not my type of person either. I made my way around sooo many different friendship groups, before finding out that the people on my sports team were who I had been looking for all along. I now have an amazingly strong group of friends, and I couldn’t be more thankful for their endless love, support and laughter.

You are smart, you are beautiful and you are more than the voice telling you that you’re not good enough – whether that voice is the one inside your head or the voice of someone else. Never lose faith in who you are, and don’t change yourself for anyone.

Em x

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Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018

Hello everyone, it’s been a while since I’ve written a post, but after a couple of poorly days in bed, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on 2017, and decided to share my thoughts on the year, alongside my goals for 2018. I’m not one to set resolutions, but a bit of new year inspiration never hurt anyone.

One of the highlights of my year was landing a dream placement with a dream company of mine. However, when I rang my parents to tell them, all they had to say was ‘when will you be home?’. No ‘congratulations’. No ‘well done’. No ‘we’re so proud of you’. On the other hand, when I told my friends they were delighted for me, and my uni flat mates even decorated the flat and threw a little party for me when I got back. In 2018 I’m going to stop attempting to seek validation from my parents when I know I will never achieve it, and instead strengthen my relationships with those who I know support me.

This year I am going to do things to make myself proud, not to make others proud. I have no need to impress others; instead I want to do the things that I want to do; the things that make me happy, and work towards the goals that I aspire to achieve. Those that love me will be proud of me for my accomplishents, and I am going to learn to allow myself to be proud of what I have achieved. 

After years of setting weight loss goals, this year I have realised that the body I aspire to have is in fact toned and muscular, so losing weight is going to get me nowhere! Instead, this year I am focusing on the way my body looks and feels, rather than the number on the scales. I want to eat healthily to feel good, and exercise to feel powerful.

Last year I learnt that change can be scary, but also a wonderful thing. After a load of things didn’t go to plan, I was forced to return to halls in my second year of uni, with a new group of people that I didn’t meet until move in day. However, I have met the most amazing people, including Emily, who I now consider my best friend. In 2018, I will not be disheartened when things go wrong, for I have learnt that the best things in the world can come out of the worst situations. I will not be afraid of change and I am excited for what is to come.

But most of all this year I want to have fun. I am an extremely hard working and grades focused person, but I have so much planned for 2018 and I want to feel free and love the life I live. I’m going to relax more and stress less, because I know I am capable of achieving the grades I want, and enjoying myself, at the same time.

In March, I will see one of my favourite artists in concert. In April, I will go on holiday (maybe to Disneyland!) with my best friend from uni. In June, I will move to London and start my year placement with a global beauty company. In August/September I will go on holiday with my best friends from home. And so so much more that I haven’t planned yet.

2018 is going to be my year and I can’t wait.

Em x

End of Year Picture

No7 Skincare Review

With Christmas fast approaching (which I am already overly excited for!), I thought now was a good time to post a review on these skincare items, which I actually got in my No7 advent calendar last year. I’m not going to review the whole calendar, but I will say that it was excellent value for money, and I would definitely purchase it again in the future. A lot of the products were full size, and there was a good mix of makeup (including some brushes), skincare and body care. I woke up excited to open a new door every morning, and it helped me to mix up my skincare and makeup routine as I was trying new products every single day.

no7 lying down

no7 diagonal

The trio of products I’m going to focus on today is the Perfect and Protect Intense Advanced Day Cream and Night Cream, and the Beautiful Skin Eye Makeup Remover. All of these are miniatures, but they all contain a really good amount of product; I’ve taken them with me on every night away for the last year, and there’s still plenty left in them.

I’ll go in the logical order and start with the day cream, which also happens to be my favourite product of the lot. The texture is quite thick, but I found that it smoothed over my skin really nicely and gave me a really smooth base for applying my makeup. The formula itself doesn’t feel particularly moisturising as you apply it, but I find that my skin still feels super soft at the end of the day, so I guess it must be doing something! It also contains SPF which is great for me because I can never be bothered to have an extra step in my skincare routine to apply SPF, but I do like to have my skin protected.

The eye makeup remover wasn’t as much of a success. It’s one of the dual layer ones where you have to shake it together first, and these are the only type of eye makeup removers that work for me, so I had high hopes. It does do the job, and I can get fairly heavy makeup off with it (and very heavy makeup with a bit more of a struggle), but I just found that it didn’t do it as quickly, or as well as other eye makeup removers that I use (for reference, the Garnier one is my favourite). I continue to take it away with me because its a convenient little bottle, but I won’t be buying the full size version when it runs out.

The night cream is pretty similar to the day cream, just with no SPF and an even thicker formula. It does feel quite heavy on the skin when you apply it, but I have never had any problems with it causing breakouts or anything like that. I apply quite a generous layer and always wake up with lovely soft skin in the morning. I’ll definitely be looking into the full size version of this when my current night cream runs out, since I find it hard to find a really intense moisturiser for the night time that doesn’t overload my skin with oil.

no7 with mug

All in all, I really enjoyed the day and night creams, and have already been having a little browse to see what other formulas No7 do that I can try. The makeup remover was a bit more of a let down, but I have tried a lot of different ones, so I do have quite high expectations. No7 is kind of like a bridge between drugstore and highend products, and although it’s an own brand, the quality of its products are generally really good (I’ve tried rather a lot!). If you are wanting to try any of their products, there are often £3 off makeup or £5 off skincare vouchers floating around – I rarely pay full price for anything. This makes it such good value; I’ve used the No7 beautiful skin toner religiously for years, and it retails at £8, but with the vouchers I normally get it for £3!

no7 half up half down

Thank you for reading, and I hope you found this review useful! Let me know what your favourite products from No7 are in the comments!

Until next time,

Em x

Vanilla and Chocolate Marble Traybake

As the weather is getting a bit colder, I thought I would post the recipe for one of my favourite comfort bakes at this time of year. This cake is super simple, yet super pretty, and it great for packing in your lunch box to take to school/work.

cake complete

Ingredients:

  • 225g of butter
  • 225g of caster sugar
  • 275g of self-raising flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons of milk
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 30g of milk or dark chocolate
  • 30g of white chocolate

Method:

1) Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan), and grease a 30 x 23cm tin, and then line the base with baking parchment.

2) Measure the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, vanilla extract, eggs and milk into a large mixing bowl, and beat until well blended.

cake mixer

3) Use a tablespoon to put dollops of the mixture into the prepared tin. You should leave about half of the mixture in the bowl for the next step.

4) In a mug or small bowl, mix the cocoa powder with 1-2 tablespoons of boiling water to form a paste. Add this paste to the remaining cake mixture and beat well.

5) Again use a tablespoon to dollop the chocolate cake mixture into between the blobs of vanilla. It should look something like the photo below.

cake blobs

6) Use a spatula to swirl the colours together a bit, also making sure to push the mixture to the edges of the pan.

cake swirled

7) Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 35-40 minutes, until the cake has begun to shrink away from the sides of the pan.

8) Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, and then turn the cake out onto a wire rack so it cools more quickly.

9) Melt down the white and milk/dark chocolate in separate bowls, and the use a teaspoon or piping bags to drizzle over the cake. The more random the better!

cake chocolate

10) Leave the chocolate to set, and then cut into 21 slices.

cake drizzle 1

cake drizzle 2

This cake is a favourite in my house, and guaranteed to vanish from the cake tin before I’ve had a chance to have a second slice! It always stays lovely and moist, and is a quick and simple bake that looks like you put a lot more effort into it than you actually did.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe and let me know in the comments if you try it out yourself.

Em x

cake complete

 

L’Oreal La Palette Nude Review

Hello everyone! Today’s post is a review of one of L’Oreal’s eye-shadow palettes. I believe these were launched about a year ago, so are relatively new, and having had mine since Christmas I feel like I’ve now used it enough to give my full opinion on it. Mine is the rose palette which is pink toned, but they also do a beige palette which contains more natural brown tones.

Palette Shut

First off, a quick note on the packaging of the product, which I have found to be really good! Although it’s plastic, the shiny black casing makes it feel fairly expensive, and it’s easy to wipe clean so has stayed in good condition. The pans seem to be fixed into place well too; I’ve travelled with this product a lot and none of them have dislodged or smashed.

Palette Open 2

Now onto the shadows themselves which I have mixed opinions about. Generally, the pigmentation is just not there and the swatches below required several layers to build up the colour. That being said, I find this makes the palette perfect for daytime looks, since it prevents me overloading on eye-shadow. We have all been there when it comes to telling yourself that you’ll just apply a little makeup to freshen up, and then an hour later you’re sitting there with a full face, lashes and all!

Palette Swatches

Because of the lack of pigmentation, I do find I get quite a bit of fallout when trying to build up the colour, simply because of the amount of product I end up having to apply. However, as long as I do my concealer after my eye makeup, this doesn’t really bother me.

Texture wise, like most palettes, the matte colours are a bit more chalky but not excessively so. I wouldn’t really describe any of the shades as creamy, but they do feel smooth. Basically they blend well and apply easily, but you can’t pick up a lot of product on the brush. I think this is part of the pigmentation problem, and is caused by the shadow being packed down so hard into the pan.

Despite this, one part of the palette I absolutely LOVE is the highlight colour. This shadow is SO much more pigmented than the others, and the shimmery white makes the perfect inner corner highlight. Since it’s also very neutral toned, I find I can use it to brighten up any look, regardless of whether it’s warm or cool toned.

Palette with Brushes

Overall, although I would lean towards saying I’m not a big fan of this palette, I do find myself reaching for it most days when I just want a simple look, so I guess I must like it more than I thought! However, my favourite is definitely the highlight shade, and if I ever had to repurchase, I would make sure to see if I could purchase the highlight colour as a single shadow rather than buying the whole palette again.

Palette with Brushes 2

I just wanted to quickly end this post by apologising for the lack of content over the last couple of months – my last term at uni was crazy hectic and then I struggled to get back into the flow of things over the summer, but I’m back now and have a couple more posts lined up too!

Until next time,

Em x

The Perfect Oat and Raisin Cookies

Today’s recipe is one of my all year round go to cookies. Oat and raisin cookies have always been my mum’s favourite, so after many batches and slight tweaks to the recipe, I’ve now perfected it. These cookies have a slight crunch around the outside, and are lovely and chewy in the middle: yum!

Ingredients:

  • 100g of plain flour
  • 100g of caster sugar
  • 75g of porridge oats
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tablespoons of golden syrup
  • 100g of butter
  • 40g of raisins

Method:

1) Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan), and grease 2 baking trays.

2) In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, oats and bicarbonate of soda, and then make a well in the centre.

3) In a saucepan, gently heat together the butter and golden syrup until melted.

4) Pour into the flour mixture, and mix well using a wooden spoon. Add the raisins and stir those through as well.

5) Shape the mixture into 12 even shaped balls, then place 6 on each baking sheet, spaced well apart to allow the mixture to spread. Then press them down slightly using a teaspoon.

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6) Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden.

7) Leave the cookies to cool on the tray for a few minutes, and then place them on a wire rack to cool completely.

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These cookies are lovely when they’re eaten fresh out the oven and are still warm, but they get even chewier if you leave them to cool completely, so either way they’re super yummy!

I hope you enjoyed this recipe and let me know in the comments if you try it out yourself.

Em x

 

 

What I Read on Holiday

First of, sorry for the lack of photos in this post, but as a Kindle lover, it wasn’t like I had a stack of books to photograph. Last week I got back from a week of sun, sea, sand and cocktails, and of course, this gave me a lot of time to indulge in a good book. In this post I’ll be sharing my thoughts on each of the books I read.

long ass edit

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Paperback £6.29 – Amazon)

This is a book that took me a while to get into, in fact I’d given up on it before and had to start again. However, once you get through the first quarter, it becomes so gripping. I think the problem is that at the start, there’s too many characters to introduce and the links between them are too complicated to understand, but once you get it, you really really get it and I couldn’t wait to finish. Overall, the was a really good book with a great storyline, but isn’t the best for beach reading as it does require a lot of concentration.

Geek Girl: All That Glitters by Holly Smale (Paperback £3.85 – Amazon)

These books are definitely aimed at girls younger than me, but I absolutely love them and would recommend them to any woman under 25. They’re so funny, such an easy read, and totally relatable to slightly geeky girls like me.

Geek Girl: Head Over Heels by Holly Smale (Paperback £3.85 – Amazon)

Again, this is another in the same series and I loved it just as much. The books definitely link together, so you do need to read them in order. I read books 4 and 5 on this holiday, having read the others last year, so I already knew I would enjoy these books.

Pleasure Island by Anna-Lou Weatherley (Paperback £8.99 – Amazon)

I haven’t finished this book yet, so I can’t give a full review, but so far I’m really enjoying it. It’s the perfect holiday read, which a mix of romance, mystery and scandal. It’s really like nothing I’ve read before, but I think it would appeal to such a wide range of people.

And that’s everything! I hope you enjoyed this post, and let me know in the comments if you have any book recommendations, as I’m always looking for more books to add to my reading list.

Em x