Sunday, 31 December 2017


Hello my loves and welcome back to my page. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and have a Happy New Year, how on Earth is it already the last day of the year? 2017 has been such a difficult year but I am looking forward to turning over a new page and going into a new year, leaving this year as well as all my teenage years behind me.

I have not only achieved a lot, but I have learnt so much throughout this year that has allowed me to mature and grow up very quickly. Although there has been tricky patches throughout this year, I am closer than ever to both my family and my partners family. I have proved myself wrong with being able to tackle harder issues than I have ever had to deal with before and I have learnt that I am stronger than I believed.

Looking back on my resolutions from last year, I have barely achieved any of them but having said that, I have also realised that I was headed for the wrong direction to where I wanted to be in life.

Resolutions for 2017:

Quit Smoking - Believe it or not, I have actually managed to quit smoking but am currently using an e-cig. However, I have managed to cut my nicotine down from 18mg to 3mg so have nearly managed to cut down completely. I have learned though, that someone telling you to quit smoking wont help you quit, it will make you want to do it even more, you have got to want it to be able to succeed. 

Getting my Provisional Licence and starting to learn to drive - This is one that I haven't yet managed due to not changing my medication that would allow me to drive. I haven't actually wanted to learn to drive over the  past year and didn't want to force myself into doing it without being ready. 

Finishing Sixth Form with grades that I am proud of - This is another one that didn't exactly go to plan, I left Sixth Form in early January to focus on my health and haven't yet managed to get back into education but I have learnt that sometimes the best thing you can do is take time out to focus on yourself.

Saving money - I wouldn't say that I have achieved this goal either most likely because I didn't have anything to save up for and decided to use shopping as a way to cheer myself up. I must try harder to save money, will it happen? Who knows.

Continuing my recovery and being able to manage and cope with my illness better - I would say that I have achieved this goal, I have had relapses but that is all part of recovery and I feel that I am able to control and deal with some aspects of my illness better.

What I did achieve during 2017:

I saw Olly Murs Live twice and was able to enjoy it without feeling uncomfortable with my surroundings. 

I didn't have extended sick leave off of work which is so good for me considering I did twice within the first year of my job.

I have grown an even bigger make-up collection and probably have enough make-up to last me the rest of my life due to my impulsive money spending. 

I turned twenty years old which is such an important milestone for me considering how rubbish I have found my teenage years.

Despite DBT not working out, I learnt so many new skills that have come in very useful when trying to avoid self-destructing habits. 

One of the best things I did throughout 2017 was a Skydive to raise money for Mind. It was such an incredible and eye-opening experience and I would love to do it again. I would recommend Skydiving to anyone as it really doesn't compare to anything I have ever experienced before.

Lastly, I have managed to get back into some of my old but favourite hobbies such as sewing and reading which I lost interest in after having difficulty concentrating.

What I hope to achieve throughout 2018:

Start learning to drive - I actually mean this one this year, all of my friends are driving and I just wish I could drive to be more independent and have more freedom. It'd be so useful and i'd be able to see my friends so much more considering that they live all over England. 

Join the gym/get back into exercise - If you know me personally, you're probably laughing at this one as I am currently the most unfit person however, I did used to be very sporty until I was about 16. I miss sports, I miss playing football and jogging and I want to get back into it not only to feel better about my body and shape, but to feel better within myself. Having said that, the gym is such an anxiety provoking task for me as they're always so busy and I hate the thought of people judging me.

Find a new job - Don't get me wrong, I love the job that I currently have and I adore the people but I feel like I am outgrowing the place and would prefer a more 'adult' job with shifts that fit in better with my life. I would love to stay where I am, but other places have better pay for the same or even less work, I don't feel like I will ever move up or get anywhere where I am and I would love a job that is the average weekdays with evenings and weekends off. I know that to some, that can sound impossible, but even if I find a new job with just one of those things, I'd be happy.

Visit Disneyland Paris - This is something that me and my boyfriend have been set on doing for some time, but we had to put a hold on it due to Birthday's and Christmas coming up. I would love to go to Disneyland Paris and am hoping that in 2018, we can make that happen. 

Cut my hair short for charity - Cutting my hair off, is something that I have been planning since summer and that I am definitely going to do, it is just a matter of finding a hairdresser that I trust which is more difficult than it sounds. Saying that, I am excited to cut it all off and even more excited to donate it but I can't help being nervous that I'll hate it.

I hope to get back into education or at least look into it - Education is so important, I just found it impossible to do well within my education whilst also severely struggling with my health. I hope to be able to go back into education with the motivation and mindset to be able to do as well as I am capable of. 

My 2018 Blog Schedule:

I am also going to be trialing a new schedule throughout the beginning months of 2018 as I feel that some of my favourite things to talk about manage to get hidden or pushed aside to make space for other topics. If this schedule works well, I will continue it and if not, I will try to change it up. It's also important to know that I will also be uploading other posts here and there that don't fit into my schedule, I just didn't want to add a ridiculous amount of pressure onto myself.

Monday - Mental Health Related Posts
Wednesday - Book Reviews
Friday - Beauty Product Reviews

That is all from me today, I do hope that you enjoyed. How has your year been? What are your New Years Resolutions? What are your plans for this evening? Have a good one and be safe and sensible.

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Holly Bourne: Am I Normal Yet? (The Spinster Club 1) | Book Review

Evie wants nothing more than to be a normal sixteen year old girl, she is desperate to put her OCD past behind her which led to her being admitted to a psychiatric hospital. She is starting to live a life without mental illness, she is coming off of her medication and has even started a new college where nobody knows her as "the girl who went nuts" but there is one thing missing from her so called normal life, a boyfriend. 

We all know that relationships can be tough, and I know for one that relationships whilst you're recovering from mental illness is extremely tough but that's not to say that it isn't do-able. This Young Adult Novel explores the stigma around mental illness, feminism, friendships and adapting back into the 'normal' world. We equally know that 'normal' isn't a thing, everybody has their own issues and we just need to embrace ourselves for who we are.

I adore the way that this novel is written, Bourne has turned into one of my favourite YA Authors and her style of writing is both addictive and unique. We learn on the first page of this novel that Evie is in therapy for her mental health problems, we take on the journey of recovery with her, through the ups and downs and even through a heartbreaking relapse. Alongside The Shock Of The Fall, this is one of the most relatable books I have read, regarding the fear of being judged for your mental illness, trying to start a fresh life whilst recovering, and the frustrations of a relapse. We even learn about the side effects of Evie's illness, the side effects of her medication and how "my drugs had made me a bit...puffy."

This novel holds a whole roller coaster of emotions from start to finish, I was gripped into this book almost instantly and could not put it down. We learn about every aspect of Evie's life and one of the main focuses is her new friends, Amber and Lottie who have no idea about Evie's illness due to her being too afraid to tell them but when they do eventually find out, they have no problems with this and support her unconditionally. 

Despite this, the three girls have built up an inseparable bond and have even created a group called "The Spinster Club" where they discuss the modern day issues surrounding feminism in an attempt to become stronger and more powerful women in today's society. 

Like almost every Young Adult/Older Teen novel written, there has to be some romance within this novel and we follow Evie's journey on dates with a few different guys, we experience with her, falling head over heals for some of the boys and absolutely messing up other dates, something that I am sure most teenagers have experienced. 

Overall, I fell in love with not only the story, but Holly Bourne's talent and I am eager to read the following books in this series. If you're looking for something relatable and about mental health problems, then this is certainly a book to read. I can't believe how much emotion was in this novel and I can't wait to read the next Spinster Club novels. I rated this book five stars on Goodreads, I can see this novel being one that I read over and over again. 

Reading Next: Holly Bourne: It Only Happens In The Movies

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

What My Teenage Years Taught Me

"Your teenage years are the best years of your life, don't wish them away", says every adult but are our teenage years really the best? You don't have bills to pay and you don't have an overwhelming amount of responsibility but being a teenage is tough, especially in today's society. Considering that tomorrow is my 20th birthday, I thought that I would reflect on what I have learnt from being a teenager before I leap into being a fully grown adult (maybe just a half grown adult). 

Its safe to say that for me, being a teenage was quite a disaster from beginning to end and I am more than thankful to be putting these years behind me. My teenage years have been spent in crippling anxiety and depression, spending more time wishing I was dead than alive, numerous visits to my local hospital, trying to grow up and become independent and trying to find the best way to balance my illnesses and a life worth living. It's tricky. But I have almost made it out of this part of my life so without further ado, let's get straight in..

  • People come and go, even the ones that you didn't expect to and this isn't always a bad thing. I cannot express this enough, I have friends who I have grown up with and known almost all my life but who I rarely speak to now and it isn't either of our faults, we have just drifted apart and gone separate ways in life. There is no point in holding grudges over something that can't be helped. I still hold a special place in my heart for these people and do still consider them as friends but you never know, we might cross each others paths again in the future. It is so important to remember that in regards to friends, quality over quantity is the best approach to have. During school especially, I had a huge amount of friends but only a couple that I was extremely close to. Some of these people are no longer a part of my life but I have also met other friends along the way, again some of which who have left but others who I am more close with than I ever have been to friends before and who I couldn't imagine my life without. I have also realised that some of the people who walked out of my life, despite it hurting at first, was for the best as I am much better off and happier without them.
  • Although education is important, your health is a bigger priority. I spent too many years allowing my health to deteriorate in order to make my education succeed. Funnily enough, I was still failing most of my subjects and in the most recent years I have learnt that being alive and healthy, is far more important than getting amazing grades. This realisation only hit me when I missed six months of year 11 (essentially, the most important school year) to focus on my health and receive intense, 24 hour treatment. I sat my GCSEs in hospital and only passed five of my subjects, each one getting a lower grade than my target. Your education can be redone at any age whereas there is no redoing life if you end up dead.
  • If you've noticed that you constantly feel rubbish or are struggling with your mood or school, you must tell and talk to someone, no matter how hard it seems. I know that everyone says this, and it is hard to believe that telling someone will help, but it really will. I wish that I had spoken to someone when I first realised I wasn't well because it could have prevented things spiraling even further downhill. On the other hand, you need to realise that there isn't a quick and easy fix and there will be people who you put all your trust in for them to leave your life, leaving you wishing that you still had your secrets. There will also be people who have helped you just by supporting you and who you with be thankful for throughout your future, despite losing contact with them. Talk to someone, your parents, a friend, a teacher, a doctor or anyone that can support you with starting to get help, it'll be so beneficial in the long run.
  • Not everyone understands, but it isn't always their fault. Throughout my teenage years, I have come across so many different people who simply don't understand me or my illness. I have had friends who have left, because I was too much to handle and they didn't know how to support me which isn't their fault, because how can they support someone who won't let them in and tell them what's going on? However, I have also come across many professionals who don't understand. I have had teachers who was certain that there wasn't anything wrong with me and that I was just attention seeking, I have had doctors refuse to give me pain relief because I did this to myself, I have had other doctors tell me that I clearly don't want to die if i'm receiving treatment and I have even had fully qualified mental health professionals tell me that I am going to be this way forever and there isn't anything that they can do to help or support me, unless I know what I want or what will help, which I obviously don't know because if I did, I wouldn't be there in the first place.
  • High-school is hideous. I despise high-school, it was such a bad time in my life and I think that people can be so cruel without even realising that they're doing so. High school is full of drama, rumors, bullying, judgement, bitching and hormones. People can be mean and comments can be easily made that can affect others so negatively. Luckily, I didn't have an awful time at high school, the only rumor that got around about me was that I was locked away in a nut hut, but I suppose that meant that I didn't actually have to tell people myself, so I am quite thankful for that one. However, I wasted so much time worrying and being upset over small, irrelevant things that really didn't matter, so irrelevant that I can't even remember most of the things I used to get upset about.
  • Alcohol is over-rated. I didn't really start drinking alcohol till I was about 16, and even that was only at parties. When I turned 18, I didn't really see the hype and realised that the majority of the time, alcohol makes me feel worse, especially considering that I am on medication that I'm not supposed to drink with. I think I can count on my hands the amount of times I have been clubbing, it's just not as good as people make out, but it's one of those things that you've got to try for yourself, just don't drink too much because being sick isn't as enjoyable. 
  • Drugs are illegal for a reason. It's no secret that I am against drugs, I have seen what they can do to people and as someone who has struggled with mental illness, I don't think that having a good night is worth gaining long term mental illnesses. Everyone thinks that it'll never happen to them, but it really isn't worth it, they are illegal for good reasons, even the ones that don't have direct side effects of death. Don't use drugs out of peer pressure, even if people laugh at you, walk away and leave those people in the past because they clearly aren't good friends.
  • Family is everything, and so important. I can understand why not everyone will agree with this point, I am very lucky to have the relationship with my mum that I do but it wasn't always that pleasant and I, like most teenagers, did go through a phase (quite a long one) of despising her. We clashed a lot, she was trying to help me when I didn't want to be helped and she didn't let me do everything that I wanted to (funnily enough). But we got there in the end, and I would be so lost without my mum and brother.
  • The only person that can help you, is yourself. This is such an important phrase and it is so true. If you want to get better, the only person who can fully change things and help you is yourself. Doctors and professionals can support you along the way, they can give you coping methods, medication and therapy but in the long run its you who have to do all the hard work and you who have to want a change. If you don't want to get better or for things to improve, then it's not going to happen. It is hard, everything about recovery is hard and there are good and bad days, but it really is down to you to want things to change. It also takes a long time, it isn't a quick process but it will happen.
  • Independence is freedom. Being independent is something that I have only been able to do recently, mostly due to the fact that I had to be checked on and watched to ensure that I was keeping myself safe but it is essentially freedom, you can go out when you want, you can make your own choices and decisions and within reason, can do what you want. I couldn't imagine going back to being young and having to tell my mum everything that I was doing, although I do still tell her everything, both bad and good but the difference being, that she no longer tells me off and instead tries to guide me in the right direction. Trying to be independent can be daunting and difficult at first, but it gives you so much privacy and space. Having said that, it is important to know that your family will always take you back in if things go wrong.
Thank-you for reading, Tay x

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Birthday & Christmas Wishlist/Gift Guide 2017

First of all, I just wanted to say how I am sorry for the non-existing Christmas posts this year, I have been so busy and December has just zoomed by. Secondly, a little disclaimer is that I don't expect to receive the majority of the things on this list, but I created it both to give my friends and family some ideas of what I'd like and secondly, so that whatever I do get, will still be a surprise. Thirdly, this is a joint list because my birthday is on the 20th December, so there really is no point in doing separate lists. Lastly, I am aware that this is very late, my family have had this list for a while but I thought it would be a good idea for a last minute gift guide, so I hope you find it helpful. Everything mentioned is listed down below, not everything on my list is included but the main things are. 

Morphe X Jaclyn Hill Palette, £37 from Beauty Bay UK.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Prism Palette, £43 from ABH UK.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette, £41-£43 from ABH UK/Beauty Bay.
Kat Von D Lock It Setting Powder, Translucent, £22 from Debenhams. 
LUSH Cosmetics Snow Fairy Jelly Bomb, £4.95 from LUSH.
No7 Illuminated Makeup Mirror in either Silver or Rose Gold, £19.99 from Boots.
Roberto Cavalli Perfume, £64, most fragrance stores.
Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy Gold Couture Perfume, £50, perfume shops.
Pandora Linked Love Ring in Rose Gold, £40, Pandora UK.
Pandora Disney Expressive Mickey Charm, £55, Pandora UK.
Ikea Alex 9 Drawers, £95, Ikea. 
Disney Classics DVDs in Classic Sleeves, two for £12 in Tesco. 
'T Initial' Mug, £5.99 from New Look, but other places sell them too.
The Locked Ward: Memoirs of a Psychiatric Orderly Book, £10 from Amazon.
Gift Cards for pretty much anywhere, Primark, Debenhams, Boots, New Look, Zara, H&M etc. 

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

Monday, 11 December 2017

Cat Clarke: Girlhood | Book Review

I stumbled across this novel whilst browsing my local library and was instantly drawn to it after seeing the unique cover and reading the blurb. I quickly became aware that this novel was on the Zoella & Friends 2017 Book Club; a club that I trust after previously finding some of my all time favourite novels through it.

This novel follows the life of Harper, who has made the decision to go to an expensive boarding school after the death of her twin sister, Jenna, to escape her past. Harper struggled to explain to her parents why she wanted to go away, "if i'd have told the truth it would have broken them. I couldn't bare to be around them anymore. I could not stay in this house without Jenna." Duncraggan Castle Academy isn’t exactly what Harper was expecting when moving to boarding school but she soon finds herself an inseperatable group of friends, her own sisterhood, a friendship group so close that nothing would tear them apart, or so she thought.

That was until the new girl arrived, Kirsty Connor who took a sudden interest into Harper’s life, a girl who Harper spent a lot of time with and thought she could trust. Kirsty was just like Harper, she wasn’t rich and she had also lost a sister. Little did Harper know that Kirsty’s life was made up of lies, lies that make her fit in. 

When Harper and Kirsty’s friendship grows, it starts to put a strain on Harper’s relationships with her old group of friends, who could see straight through Kirsty and was concerned that Harper was losing her identity, and becoming somebody else who they didn’t like. They knew that Kirsty was trouble and for us readers, it was very clear from the beginning that there was something off about Kirsty. Harper learnt the hard way that she couldn’t trust Kirsty after the news got around the school that her parents are only wealthy after winning the lottery, which ironically happened to her father "the day after his daughter died." Kirsty was one of the few individuals who knew this about Harper. But what do you do when you've put all of your trust into somebody who you feel like you know so well, for their whole identity to be fake?

At times throughout the novel, it is clear that Harper feels a large sense of loneliness, especially when she thinks of how she was meant to be having all of these new experiences with her twin sister by her side. However, she always feels alone to some extend at boarding school, as though she doesn't fit in due to her background. "They don't care about money, because they've never had to think about it." 

As we read through the novel, we learn more about Jenna and about her Anorexia, which ended up killing her. Harper blames herself for her sisters death, making her grief much more difficult and keeps her from telling people the truth. "It's too tiring, telling the story over and over again. Working so hard to make sure you don't tell the whole truth." I believe that Jenna's illness is an important aspect of this story as it proves just how dangerous eating disorders can be, and how innocently they can start. We learn why Harper blames herself and she often talks about how she could have prevented her death, if only she caught onto her twin sisters eating disorder sooner. "My twin sister was fifteen years old when she died. She weighed just under five stone. It had started as a post-Christmas diet. A diet that was my idea." Books that show mental illness in their true forms are some of my favourites, as awareness is essential. Anorexia is such a serious disease that does kill, and more people need to be aware of it, as well as how easily and unintentionally it can start. Anorexia isn't the only modern day topic that needs more awareness to be included in this novel, a large mention of LGBTQ+ as well as Sex and Anxiety are spoken about and all of the characters are so understanding about all of these issues, this is how the modern society should be. One extract in particular that I noticed within this novel, was when Harper explains how Jenna had sent an 'after' photo of herself to one of her 'ana' friends, who praised her on how she looked. We are all aware that there are various websites that promote self destruction and mental health problems, we all know to stay away from them but unfortunately some people do fall into their traps and this does allow other people to promote and worsen their conditions, in Jenna's case, leading to death.

This novel is overwhelmingly full of emotion, you experience everything with Harper, her anger, sadness, loneliness and guilt. You feel not only her loss of her sister, but of her friends as they all go through the highs and lows of being teenage girls, all living together. It has been a while since I found a book as emotive as this one. The tension and mystery within this novel is used in such a unique way that you really don't know what direction the next page will take you in. There are definitely highs and lows and at times, the emotion really did feel raw and real. I really love the style of writing used, this novel was addictive, exciting and so easy to read, I loved not only the writing, but the variety within this book, the characters who were so easy to relate to and even the cosy, stereotypical boarding school setting.

I must admit, one thing that puts me off loving certain novels is their ending. I usually end up so disappointed with endings of novels as I usually hope for it to be different. With this novel, I had no idea what to expect at the end, it was a complete mystery to me and I couldn't have guessed, I actually did enjoy this ending. I adored this novel the entire way through and am keen to have a read of some of Cat Clarke's other books. Have you read this novel? What did you think? I rated this novel 4.5 stars out of five and would highly recommend. 

"One day, I hope to leave the shadow behind me. I choose to believe in the possibility, and that's enough. For now."

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Christine Hurley Deriso: All The Wrong Chords | Book Review

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher Flux, via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review. This review may contain spoilers.

"Before Liam died, nothing was less complicated than feeling happy. Now, nothings more complicated". 

Scarlett Stiles and her family are going through a difficult time after the sudden death of her twenty one year old brother, Liam. How do you prepare to get over the death of your brother? How do you learn to live a normal life again. "I have a feeling the rest of our lives will be divided into Before and After".

Scarlett is desperate for a change of scenery but spending the summer with her grandfather where she can deal with the tragedy whilst also preventing her grandfather from driving due to his declining health wasn't exactly what she had in mind. Luckily for Scarlett, after almost knocking down a bicyclist name Zach and her grandpa taking the wheel again, she soon discovers that Zach is in a local band and he invites Scarlett and her grandpa to one of his shows. 

Throughout the first few chapters of the novel, we begin to understand the cause of Liam's death, whilst learning more about him. "I've been in town long enough now to know that "heart failure" is the Oakboro version of Liam's cause of death, thanks to Grandpa's spin. And technically, it's correct. I mean, when you fatally overdose on drugs, your heart definitely does fail. But it's kinda like blaming kidney failure when someone's been shot to death." Scarlett questions whether her grandfather is embarrassed or ashamed of Liam's drug addiction or if he just doesn't want to face the truth. We also learn that Scarlett and Liam were very close, Liam was in a band and Scarlett actually played in the band after following her brothers footsteps in having a love for music. She lost interest after Liam's death, "one of the hardest things about losing Liam was losing everything about him, losing him wasn't a single loss: It was a million losses, all at the same time."

"I haven't pulled my guitar out of its case since Liam died, and I haven't been able to listen to any of the songs we used to play together", Scarlett remembers on her way to watch the band play, who we soon discover are called the Beastings. It doesn't take long for Scarlett to notice the 'hot' and 'gorgeous' lead singer of the band called Declan, who she can't take her eyes off. Scarlett isn't one to fall in love with boys but the one time that she does, of course he is more interested in her sister. Declan learns that Sara plays the keyboard and invites her to join the band before being turned down as she is only staying at Grandpa's for the weekend. Instead, she explains how Scarlett plays the guitar and states how she should hang out with the band at some point. 

Whilst reading further into the novel, we soon learn that Declan is the stereotypical 'player' who isn't interested in any one girl but instead likes to lead a dozen on at one time. It is frustrating as a reader, because we know that Declan isn't right for Scarlett but she can't resist chasing him and trying to win him over. You are almost resisting to scream at Scarlett to look around because it is so clear that an almost perfect guy is standing right beside her, but she is too blind to see. Zach is an absolute gentlemen but she is too engrossed in Declan to even notice Zach.

I do think that this book is relatively predictable, from about a quarter into the book we all know that Scarlett will end up going for Zach instead of continuing to fall head over heels for Declan. Having said that, I do think that the journey and storyline to reach this point was fun, emotive and entertaining. We learn a lot about Scarlett's grief and we can almost relate and empathise with her, in what shes going for. She manages to become part of the band and she realises that she is still able to have fun, she learns a lot about herself and even more about her brother, who she thought she knew everything about. We experience all of the ups and downs with her. She learns to live again, whilst promising to herself to never forget Liam and all that he taught her; which heavily influences who she is today. She finally reveals the truth about Declan and follows her heart to find the right person. She also realises that she isn't alone with her grief and that there are so many people around her experiencing similar things.

"Maybe everyone needs one Declan in their past to make them appreciate the Zachs in their present.

And their future.
That's what I'm banking on."

Overall, I really do like this book and would recommend giving it a read, it isn't tedious at all and I was so sad when it came to an end. I think that it is different from the average good boy/bad boy drama and is a lovely romance contribution to the Young Adult genre. I think that it explains grief extremely well and addresses how teenagers can feel when placed in these difficult situations. One thing that I did find hard was that the time shifts very suddenly and I often found myself having to re read lines to realise that time has changed. I rate this book three and a half stars out of five and am pleased that I was able to give this book a read. Its also worth noting that I really like the title of this novel, I think it is really clever and so fitting with the story-line.

This book will be published on December 12th 2017 and includes 280 pages, divides into twenty-seven chapters. Will you be picking up this novel? Have you read it? What do you think?

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

Saturday, 18 November 2017

10 New, Exciting & Upcoming Beauty Releases

Hello and welcome back to my blog, today I am going to be sharing with you some exciting beauty products that have recently been launched or are due to be launched very soon. Some of these products are part of a brands holiday collection but I just felt like I needed to share these products with you all. I will warn you now, many of these products do seem to be palettes but there are a few others bits thrown in too! I will leave a list of all the products I will be talking about here, in the order I talk about them if you are wanting to skip some..

  • The Body Shop Bath Bombs & Bath Bubbles
  • Soap & Glory Bath Bombs
  • Too Faced Clover Eye-Shadow Palette
  • Too Faced Chocolate Gold Eye-Shadow Palette
  • Storybook Cosmetics Rose Brush Sets
  • Storybook Cosmetics Wizardry and Witchcraft Eye-Shadow Palette
  • Pur Cosmetics My Little Pony Eye-Shadow Palette
  • Jeffree Star Cosmetics Skin Frost Pro Highlighting Palettes
  • Urban Decay Heavy Metals Eye-Shadow Palette
  • Benefit Foolproof Brow Powder
Firstly, the products that made me decide that I actually needed to write this post are The Body Shop's brand new range of bath products. I am always very torn when it comes to purchasing bath products because I am always asking myself if they'll compare at all with the famous LUSH Cosmetics. I have tried numerous brands of bath products (usually bath bombs) and am yet to find one that I love just as much, or even more. I don't usually buy much from The Body Shop simply because after going far too over-the-top with LUSH Shower Gel's, I have realised that no matter how good they smell, spending over £10 on 250g of shower gel isn't always necessary when they are just as good alternatives in the supermarket. However, these new bath products are only £1.50 each which is an absolute bargain for not only The Body Shop, but also for bath bombs. This new range includes Bath Bombs in the following scents; Mango, Vanilla Delight, Green Tea, Strawberry and Candied Plum as well as Bath Bubbles in the scents Coconut, Moringa and Pink Grapefruit. These products come in the cutest and brightest little packaging and I am desperate to try these out soon. I must admit, after seeing various videos these products do look quite small but if they are anything like the other products that this brand offers then I am sure that they smell incredible. The only fault that I have with these products is that they don't have matching scented bath bombs and bath bubbles, meaning that the two scents could clash. The photos of these products are from The Body Shop's website and are available to buy now.

Sticking on the topic of baths, Soap & Glory have also released a range of three different Bath Bombs, called Fizz-O-Bombs. These products cost £4 each and are in three of their best selling and "scent-sational" fragrances; Original Pink, Sugar Crush and Smoothie Star. These bath bombs appear much bigger than the ones from The Body Shop and I am again, extremely excited to test them out. I must admit, the outer shell of these products are on par with LUSH which is always a good sign. I do like how they brought these products out in a trio with similar designs and these products are available to buy directly from the Soap & Glory website as well as from Boots stores.

Moving onto make-up and starting with one of my favourite brands that I actually have two items to share with you, Too Faced have recently launched a brand new and limited edition eye shadow palette with eighteen gorgeous shades. Of course, this is the Clover Palette and is possibly (alongside the Sweet Peach Palette), the cutest make up product that I have ever seen. We all know that Too Faced are a cruelty free make-up brand and alongside launching this palette, they are donating $250,000 to the 'Best Friend Animal Society'. If you're in the UK, then it probably comes at a downside that this product is exclusive to the Too Faced website which despite promising no custom chargers for international orders, there is always a slightly hefty and annoying shipping and tax charge added to your shopping card before checking out. This palette costs £39 but unfortunately with it's £13.45 shipping cost and £8.84 tax charges, it would cost you a total of £61.29 to get it to the UK so maybe wait until Too Faced do free international shipping which they do every so often. Having said that, this palette is super adorable and I would definitely purchase it if it was available else-wear in the UK. I think that this palette has some super distinctive shades in it and the photos included are from the TF website.

We all are aware that Too Faced have yet again brought out an incredible Holiday Collection (post coming soon) as well as so many new products but the other upcoming product release that caught my eye is one that I actually saw on Twitter and is the Too Faced Chocolate Gold Palette which is launching on the TF website on November 28th, Ulta Beauty on December 3rd and Sephora on December 11th. Unfortunately, I am yet to find information of when this product will be available within the UK at Debenhams stores but lets keep our fingers crossed. This product contains sixteen eye-shadow shades, twelve which are brand new and most of them being vibrant, bold, metallic and shimmer shades. I am not sure of the price of this palette but I imagine it would be around the same price as the previous Chocolate Bar palettes (£49 from the TF website - I swear these used to be cheaper?) And my guess was confirmed, on the Debenhams website they are £39 so I'm not entirely sure if Too Faced have upped their price or if there has been an error. Either way, lets hope this new palette launches in Debenhams stores. The photo for this palette is from the Too Faced official twitter page.

Storybook Cosmetics is a brand that I haven't actually tried before but their products are so insane and would definitely make you feel like you're living in a fairy tale. The first product that I want to talk about is their new brush sets that actually come in two different designs and colours, these being What's In A Name Rose Brush Set and Limited Edition Roses Are Black Brush Set. Both sets are £45 and I definitely prefer the Roses Are Black Set as they are just more suited to me but I like how you have the option of two designs. They both contain exactly the same products which are four face brushes; Tapered Highlighting Brush, Angled Contour/Blush Brush, Flat Top Powder Brush and the Dome Top Powder Brush. I saw the internet going crazy other these brushes and so many people related them back to Beauty And The Beast which I can see the similarities and makes me want these brushes despite not needing them. I like how unique these brushes are and this brand as a whole. The photos of these sets are from the Beauty Bay UK Website and they are available to purchase now. 

Upon finding these brush sets online, I stumbled across a new eye-shadow palette from the same brand which I thought was cool and is the Storybook Cosmetics Wizardry and Witchcraft Palette that retails for £45 and contains nine shades that are a mixture of metallic and matte shades. Harry Potter fans, have you seen this palette? Everything about this palette is incredible, the design is so cool and is designed as a book. The only thing that stops me from buying this palette are the actual shades because I don't feel that they are very unique and I could probably find all of these shades within the palettes I own. Most of the shades are deep and dark shades with a few neutrals for a base. I do really like this palette and I love the design, I just couldn't justify spending the money on it when I already own very similar shades. This palette is again available now on the Beauty Bay UK website.

Moving on to a brand that I have heard a lot about, but never actually tried and is the Pur Cosmetics My Little Pony Eye-Shadow Palette which is a palette inspired by the characters and colours of My Little Pony: The Movie. I love this palette, it only costs £25 and the colours are adorable. I think that everybody needs a bright coloured palette within their collection and this is such a good and reasonably priced one to go for. It contains sixteen shades that are a mixture of bold, bright and neutral colours with some being shimmers and others being matte. This is honestly such a cute little palette and I really would love to hear your thoughts if you've tried this palette. It is currently available on the Beauty Bay Website.
An upcoming launch that I honestly cannot contain my excitement for are the Jeffree Star Cosmetics Skin Frost Pro Highlighting Palettes, that's right.. palettes!!! I know that these are part of the Jeffree Star Cosmetics Holiday Collection and I said how I am saving Holiday Collections for another post but I could not resist mentioning these. We all love the Jeffree Star Highlighters due to their insane pigment and large pan sizes but he is finally bringing out not just one, but two highlighter palettes. The two palettes are 24 Karat Gold and Platinum Ice. 24 Karat Gold is designed for and works better on medium to darker skin tones and is gold themed whereas Platinum Ice is completely versatile. Each palette contains six shades; two existing shades and four brand new. The palettes cost $40 each which is actually very reasonable and is about the same price as Anastasia Beverly Hills Highlighter Palettes. They have a gorgeous brushed metal packaging and the pan sizes are still such a generous size. Jeffree hasn't stated whether and if so, when these palettes will be released within the UK. These palettes are launching on November 18th (today) on his website and all of the up to date information can be found in his Holiday Collection Reveal YouTube Video and the photo included is from his Twitter account.

Urban Decay have recently launched a new eye-shadow palette (another eye palette, I know) and it isn't the Naked Heat Palette that the world has gone crazy for or unfortunately a Moondust 2 Palette but is somewhat close enough. It is the Heavy Metals Metallic Eye-Shadow Palette which is describes as "a shadow mayhem in a crushed metal case". It is another limited edition palette and contains twenty brand new and exclusive "amped-up metallic shadows". This palette is even organised with brights on the left and neutrals on the right. The shadows within this palette are all a new formula to create their most foiled eye-shadows yet. This palette costs £43 and is available on the Urban Decay UK website now. I am so obsessed with this palette and I don't even own it. Will it compare to my beloved Moondust palette? Will I love it even more? We'll have to wait and see but I know that this is definitely one that I will be picking up. I can't even get over how pretty it is.

Lastly but not least, the final product that I have to share with you today is an eyebrow product from Benefit. It is the Foolproof Brow Powder and comes in three different shades; 01 (light), 03 (medium) and 05 (deep). This product is £20 and comes in a cute little compact with an eyebrow shaped pan. The product contains two different shades, a lighter one for the inner parts of the brow and a slightly darker shade for the arch to add as much definition as possible. Benefit states that it is a soft filling powder and doesn't leave any harsh lines. We all know that Benefit have released a whole range of brow products over the past year and I am sure that we have all found a favourite.. mine being the Gimme Brow which annoyingly is being recalled by various suppliers. I am intrigued to try this new brow product, I just think that they should have released it in all six of their usual brow shades as I find that shade 01 doesn't really do much to my brows but shade 03 is slightly too dark. 

Other new products that have recently been launched include the Huda Beauty Winter Solstice Highlighting Palette, £40, the Huda Beauty new Obsessions eye palettes in the shades; Mauve Obsessions, Warm Brown Obsessions, Smokey Obsessions and Electric Obsessions, £25 each, Lime Crime HI-LITE Unicorns Palette, £33, Violet Voss The Rainbow Palette, £28 and the Zoeva Opulence Eye-Shadow Palette, £18. All of these products can be found on the Cult Beauty website, if you'd like a part two where I talk in depth of these products then do let me know. There are so many new products being released but I would be here all day if I were to talk about each and everyone. Which products will you be purchasing? 

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

What Does it Mean to Be Recovered?

When you've struggled from long term mental illness, it is hard to imagine yourself 'recovered' because you don't know what to expect, you aren't sure if a full recovery is possible and lets be real, what the hell is life without a poorly head? We all hope to make a full recovery, where our mental illnesses are a distant memory but how is that possible when it has taken up such a big chunk of our lives? I managed to wake up one morning wanting to not be in this world, scared that I was going to live, so why can't I just wake up one day being fearful of death and with an overwhelming sense of happiness? 

One thing that I have been told numerous times throughout the years is that having structure and routine is two of the most important aspects of recovery, but nobody warned us that no matter how stable we may be, we still feel broken, we still would rather die than live and that things are still absolutely shit. Is this what recovered means? To be stable, away from self-destructive behaviour, not actively trying to end our lives, some days feeling not happy nor sad, just a dull numbness in between and other days spent sobbing over how much we want this pain to end, but can't see a way out other than to end our entire existence? If you're able to go out frequently, face your anxieties, hold down education or a job and maintain relationships, does that make you recovered? Despite the fact that your head is still a busy, overflowing state of evilness and darkness? Despite the fact that you still don't see the point in continuing? Does being discharged from services or free from medication make you better? Do we truly manage to recover? Is it possible? When I think of recovering or being recovered, free from mental illness it just seems completely impossible. I have been in recovery for almost four years now and it is exhausting and so. much. hard. work. but things are still bad and I still wake up with a gut feeling of dread and sadness towards the day. I still am fighting everything inside of me to make it through the day, every single day for things to still be rubbish. 

Being recovered is defined as returning to a normal state of health, mind or strength. The internet is full of articles telling us that it is possible for people to recover from mental illness but compared to all of the people who came out the other side, completely recovered and living normal, happy lives how many people didn't make it? How many people spent their whole life trying to recover and trying to reach that happy and content feeling? How many people lost their battle to mental illness?

Mental Illness is a hard illness because it is essentially invisible despite some of its side effects being very visible. I have tried too many times to pretend that everything is great, to make myself as busy as possible to distract myself from my head, to do forty hour weeks at work just to escape the darkness and emptiness deep inside of me but eventually, it all comes crashing down no matter how hard you try to avoid it. What happens when everything in your life is going amazingly, when you've got a great and supportive family, a job, a boyfriend and incredible friends but everything still feels insanely dull and down? Will it ever go away? Does it ever end? Or does it just end you? 

One of the hardest things I have found so far is that when you become unwell as a child or teenager, the weeks, months and years zoom past and suddenly you're trying to recover as an adult when you really didn't believe that you'd make it this far, you didn't even think you'd make it to your 13th birthday yet here you are, an adult. I am such a different person to what I was pre-illness and so much has changed, I'm not sure if this is due to my illness or simply because I have gotten older but almost everything is different. You hope and expect to return to the person you was before, but you were only a child then and you had so many different opinions to what you do now. You've had to mature and it is really difficult trying to work out how to recover into adulthood considering that the majority of your teenage years have been a blur. I don't know what I want to do with my life, I don't know what sort of person I want to be so how am I expected to recover into normality when I am clueless to what this normality is?

Surely a full recovery is possible because we're all still here, living our lives and trying to get through the days because of hope. There is always hope and there are so many people living proof that it is possible to live a 'recovered' life, its just so difficult to understand how you get there, when every one step forward is thrown back down with three steps back. You may be reading this thinking that I am being so pessimistic but it is such a difficult topic to get your head around after being unwell for so long. How does it work? When will it happen? Why hasn't it  happened yet? But it has already started to happen, it is just a slow process with lots of baby steps but one day those baby steps will all add up into big steps and before you know it, you'll be carefree and feeling alive, despite it all and you might have the same relationships, job and ambitions but it also could all be completely different and it might be what you expected, what you dreamed of but again, it might not be but everything will seem worth it in the end no matter how many months or years it takes, you'll get there, we all will because it has been proven so many times from tonnes of different people across the world. And sure, some people might be pretending that they're fully recovered when they're far from it to give you hope, but among them, there has got to be so many honest people who have made it to the other side, who couldn't imagine their life being any better and who can't believe that some time ago, they were that person who was filled up with anxiety, self hatred and negative thoughts, that they were you. But they've been there and they've got through it and they've shared their stories to inspire and prove to us, that we can and we will do it, we will make it because they were once in the same position as we are, unsure about our futures and who we are without our mental illnesses. 

Yes the bad days, weeks and months still heavily outweigh the good but why give up now? After all the fight you've been through, after all the battles you've won and after all the years of sadness? We're so much closer to being recovered than we were and we've been through too much to quit now, so whilst we're stable and even on the days, weeks and months that we are not stable at all, we must keep moving forward because we have to be the ones to change, we are the only ones who can fix ourselves and we must keep going at it, because if not, what was the point? We have been built up strong and better days are coming, we just have to keep at it because we could be so much closer than we think. We are worth so much more than our illnesses make us, we have potential and we will get through this. Anyone can get through mental illness, it just takes time and dedication. Surround yourself with good people, do fun activities and always talk to people about how you're feeling because it is the best therapy. Go out of your comfort zone and when things don't go to plan, rise above it instead of hiding away. You're worth so much more, just believe me when I say it.

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Lori Perkins: #MeToo | Campaign & Book Review

Disclaimer: Before starting to read this post, I want to just warn you that it does heavily contain discussion of sexual abuse, assault and rape, which can be triggering to some. Please don't read if you feel that this post could upset or distress you.

"For me, this book is my way of putting my time and money where my mouth is. I gave up many nights of sleep putting it together, and my staff worked 'round the clock to get it to you in as short time as possible. The authors donated their pieces for free. Riverdale Avenue Books is offering the eBook for free on all platforms in the hope that it reaches as many people as possible. We want to make sure to reach people in the most permanent ways possible. Print is a little more expensive to produce, so we are offering the book at a cost (which means we sell it for the cost of printing and distribution, and we take no profit). So pass this book around. Share it with your sons, brothers, fathers, your daughters, sisters and mothers, your coworkers and friends. Read passages to them, if they won't read it for themselves. Leave it on the desk of someone who should know better. Help us make this movement more than a hashtag. If you do, we'll do a second and third and forth edition - until things change." - Lori Perkins, November 2017

So, unless you've been hiding under a rock, well away from social media you will be aware that in October of this year, the hashtag #MeToo was trending on various different platforms where people, especially women would come forward and tell their stories of sexual harassment and assault with the hope and ambitions to make a change. "The #MeToo social media hashtag, first coined more than ten years ago by Tarana Burke, exploded in October 2017, after a boost from Alyssa Milano, in the wake of Harvey Weinstein's fall. Its popularity demonstrates that lots of women - and some men - have experienced sexual harassment or assault, and are prepared to go public about it." The sudden movement was resurfaced just last month when Alyssa Milano (one of Weinstein's most vocal critics) wrote "If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me Too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem."

In her book, Lori Perkins explains how "there are fine reasons to say #MeToo. Many people I respect have done so. Saying #MeToo supports others who need the courage to come forward. The great chorus of voices can help banish undeserved shame, fear, and isolation that many have lived with for too long. The sense of belonging to a tribe can benefit us here."

#MeToo is such an important movement of such serious topics that need to be addressed. "Within 24 hours of the #MeToo movement, more than 12 million Facebook posts, comments and reactions were made." I personally scrolled through a dozen posts from my own Facebook friends and it really makes you realise how big the scale of the issue is, you're constantly scrolling down your feed thinking 'not her too'. 

Lori Perkins decided that she needed to write a book that includes a bunch of collected and powerful essays of individuals, both men and women, talking through their experiences. Throughout the book, there were a few quotes that stuck in my head. The first being that "women remain silent because we know the statistics, we know that most cases won't make it to court, and those that do won't win." Over the years, I have met many different individuals who unfortunately have experiences of sexual abuse and this quote is very close to home. I have edged people close to me to involve the police and tried to build their courage up to disclose what happened to them only for months later, their cases to be dropped and no charges pressed leaving them with even more fear than they carried before. 

It is important to note that this book is written in America and therefore, all the stories came from American citizens with American statistics. We must remember that this is a worldwide issue and we must start talking. I did manage to find some important statistics of the UK whilst doing some research that I will leave below;

  • Approximately 85,000 women and 12,000 men are raped in England and Wales alone every year; that's roughly 11 rapes (of adults alone) every hour. These figures include assaults by penetration and attempts.
  • Almost half a million adults are sexually assaulted in England and Wales every year. 
  • 1 in 5 women aged 16 - 59 has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16.
  • Only around 15% of those who experience sexual violence choose to report to the police.
  • Approximately 90% of those who are raped know the perpetrator prior to the offence.
  • 31% of young women aged 18-24 report having experienced sexual abuse in childhood.
  • In 2012-13, 22,654 sexual offences against under 18s were reported to police in England and Wales with four out of five cases involving girls.
  • Conviction rates for rape are far lower than other crimes, with only 5.7% of reported rape cases ending in a conviction for the perpetrator.
  • 1 in 3 teenage girls in England has been pressured into doing something sexual by a partner.
  • A third of female students in the UK have experienced inappropriate touching or groping at university.
This is such an important topic and too many people are getting away with abusing innocent individuals. "Our bodies are not the problem" reads another statement within the book and is possibly one of the truest things I have ever read. Mark Radcliff wrote an essay within this book and gave such an important message aimed towards other men. "So the lesson for us men is simple: This is a problem that men have caused. So we can't expect women to fix it all on their own, even as brave and helpful as these posts are. And it's not enough for us men to just not assault women. We have to do more. Not just not be part of the problem, but actively be part of the solution." I thought that this was such a powerful message and everything that he has said is true. This hashtag and people telling their stories is not enough to make a change, we all have to work together spreading awareness and opening up, encouraging others to be brave enough to seek support and file reports on their assaults and working for a world where sexual abuse and harassment doesn't exist or is dramatically reduced. You can't wait for it to happen to your mother, daughter, niece, wife or friend for you to want to make a difference. We need to prevent it from happening in the first place.

In a different essay, Catherine Gigante-Brown explains how she believes that "I was only.." are the three most dangerous words in the English language, "I was only joking", "I was only trying to help", "I was only.." "No. You weren't. You only offer those weak excuses when you are caught. Yes means yes. No means no. It feels good to stand up to myself. For my rights. For my body. At 19, At 29. At 58. And I am still doing it with words as well as deeds. When will it stop? When we finally see each other as human beings. Period. Not by our sex. Not by our skin colour. Not by our religion. Just as people. People with feelings. Rights. Boundaries. People who deserve better. Respect. Kindness. Acceptance. It starts here. It starts now. It starts with us".

Overall, this is a very powerful and educational book. I would highly recommend giving it a read. It includes a whole bunch of passages from various different writers who explain their own personal stories of sexual harassment or abuse. It has 152 pages and is honestly the most inspiring book I have ever read. I gave it five out of five stars on Goodreads and would love to hear your feedback on what you thought of the book.

I have added into this post a guide (on the left) created by Vonny Leclerc who is a journalist and columnist for The National (a newpaper that supports an independent Scotland) and wrote an article featuring the #MeToo campaign before condensing it into a guide of Flirting vs Harassment and how to give genuine compliments.

This book was published on November 3rd 2017 and the eBook of '#MeToo: Essays About How and Why This Happened, What It Means, and How to Make Sure it Never Happens Again' can be found and downloaded for free on the iBooks App and here at the UK Amazon Kindle store (compatible with the free Kindle App) which also gives you the option to buy the £4.99 Paperback copy. Thank-you for NetGalley for sending me over a copy of the book.

"Let's get educated on sexual predators, and on our own vulnerabilities, so that we can help the collective movement towards a better world."

"We are not a mob. We are a movement."

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

The Guardian News Article: Women Worldwide Use Hashtag MeToo Against Sexual Harassment
Rape Crisis UK: Statistics
Refuge UK: Sexual Violence - The Facts
#MeToo: Lori Perkins: Essays About How and Why This Happened, What It Means, and How to Make Sure it Never Happens Again
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