Saturday, 8 November 2014

Why the phrase "man up!" makes my blood boil

Image from timeshighereducation.co.uk

Recently I got reminded of something that irritates me so much that I couldn't help but take to the Internet to have a good old rant. The subject of my disdain? The phrase, "man up!"

This all started when I was watching X Factor the other week. One of the contestants had been poorly the week before and took to the stage to sing. When he was done and Dermot turned to the judges for their feedback, one of them kindly reminded the contestant that we all get ill but he just has to get through it and "be a man".

I've deliberately not named names because I don't want the focus of this blog post to be an attack on the individual that uttered the phrase. Instead, I want to highlight how, in this day and age, people still find it acceptable to invalidate another person's experience based on their gender and this happens both ways.

Men cry, men get scared, men sometimes lack in confidence. As does everyone. However, phrases like "man up!" belittle these normal human experiences as being almost shameful because they do not adhere to "manly" gender stereotypes. Just as men wolf whistling at women on the street reinforces stereotypes of women as objects, using the phrase "man up" reinforces stereotypes of men as tough and bolshy, which they cannot be all the time.

I would call myself a feminist because I strongly believe that, as a woman, I should be offered exactly the same opportunities in work, in the home, indeed in life as my male counterparts.  I think most women and men I know would agree with this principle, even if they do not actively define themselves as "feminists" or have their own take on what the word "feminism" means. However, there is still a lot of work to be done, no matter what anyone says, in the name of feminism. As this shocking article reports, according to a UK study, women earn 15% less on average than men, which is totally unacceptable. However, as I hope I have shown, women are not the only ones suffering from restrictive gender stereotypes. While women often feel like they have to choose between their career and their family, men often feel like the don't have the choice, as their paternity leave is limited and they are expected to play the role of a strong, tough-skinned "manly" man, who provides for his wife and family.

To stamp out sexism once and for all and to offer everyone equal opportunities, we need to eliminate traditional gender stereotypes which hold back women in the workplace and put unfair pressure on men to be relentlessly bolshy, self-confident and tough-skinned. And a good place to start would be by abandoning ridiculous phrases such as "man up". 

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Sunday, 5 October 2014

Your eyebrows look FABulous!


I recently read a post by a blogger called Hannah Gale called 36 things all women in their twenties are obsessed with. Top of the list is:

1. Eyebrows. Eyebrow products. Eyebrow colours. Eyebrow shapes. Cara Delevingne’s eyebrows. EVERYTHING ABOUT EYEBROWS.

As much as I hate how lame it is, the above statement is painfully accurate in my case. I think eyebrows can absolutely transform your face shape and I prioritise well-groomed eyebrows over most beauty routines if I'm in a rush to get out of the door in the morning. I also don't understand how Cara Delevigne's eyebrows are so amazing. Jealous? Very much so.

I have been having my eyebrows threaded for about a year and a half now, after looking in the mirror one day and realising I had been over-plucking them and they were completely mismatched. During my most recent threading appointment, my beauty therapist recommended Fab Brows as the perfect way to fill in and define your eyebrows at home. She tried it on me and I was so pleased with the result that I couldn't resist buying a kit myself. I can't find an official website but you can buy the kit in a range of different colours from eBay for £19.95.

The kit contains:
  • eyebrow colour
  • brush
  • three stencils to help you create the perfect shape
  • mirror
  • instruction leaflet
The kit comes in a handy box which can be popped into your handbag
Peekaboo! This is the inside of my kit in 'Chocolate' - the ideal colour for those with dark hair
Stencils (from top to bottom) in Slender, Pure and Exotic. Excuse my messy nail polish - you can't have everything

My favourite stencil is the 'Pure' one as I like to keep my eyebrows a bit thicker, but there is something to suit every preference and face shape. It makes it super easy as someone who is amateur at beauty to achieve a shape that looks like you have walked straight out of a salon. 

Fab Brows also claims to be smudge-proof and waterproof and (for the most part) it is. However, it is worth running a little hairspray over your finished eyebrows with your fingers if you want them to stay sleek and defined from morning until night.

I would thoroughly recommend Fab Brows to anyone who, like me, likes to give their eyebrows a whole lotta love.

Have you tried Fab Brows? Or do you know of any other eyebrow grooming products that are worth a try? Please do let me know!

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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Just so WILD about Beauty!

Hello all!

No real excuse for the lack of post in the last month - just been super busy and lacking inspiration. But hey, I'm back again and going to review Wild about Beauty's Nutrilips lip balm.

I'm going to admit that when I heard about the brand, I wasn't that excited. The name 'Wild about Beauty' drew up images of cheap make up sets that older relatives used to buy me when I was just starting to get into make up as a teenager. However, after doing a bit more research around the brand and reading other reviews, I changed my mind. The company was founded by Louise Redknapp (whose cover of 'Stuck in the Middle with You' still gets me) and make-up artist Kim Jacob - all cosmetics are paraben-free and focus on everyday essentials with skin-friendly ingredients and beautiful neutral colours. It is actually a very grown up brand which the founders have really put some love and attention into.


Wild about Beauty Nutrilips lip balm (£14)

The nutrilips balm I've been using is in the shade Carmelia and is a gorgeous nude colour. It's a pinky-orangey-nude mix which appears a little bit darker than in the photo below. It's a perfect shade for everyday and gives lips a glossy, kissable finish. It also leaves lips feeling really nourished and, unlike cheaper lip balms, lasts for a good few hours before rubbing off completely. I have also been applying this balm before bed to allow it to work its magic overnight. This stuff really works and I would highly recommend it if you don't mind splashing out a little bit more money on lip balm once in a while!



Have you tried any new lip balms recently which you think deserve some recognition? Or have you tried any other products in the Wild about Beauty range? Do let me know in the comments!

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Saturday, 16 August 2014

Review: W7 Paint the Line liquid eyeliner



Hello and happy Saturday!

I'm a huge liquid eyeliner fan. It's a product I pretty much wear everyday - I don't have time on a day-to-day basis to do anything intricate with eyeshadow (I would obviously rather sleep for an extra ten minutes) so I tend to just stick to a clean liquid eyeliner line and mascara. Therefore, a good quality liquid eyeliner is one of my make-up bag staples.

I've been meaning to try out Body Shop's Smoky 2 in 1 Gel Liner Eyes and Brows but found myself the day before a wedding without any liquid eyeliner, so popped into the nearest Boots and picked up Rimmel's Scandaleyes Thick and Thin eyeliner. Literally the worst make up product I have ever bought. My boyfriend leaned over to me during the wedding reception and whispered, "you have make up all over your face..." I thought he was winding me up but when I looked in the mirror he was not exaggerating. It had smudged all over my top eyelids and somehow made its way onto my forehead?! I gave it a second chance the following day and the exact same thing happened. It's safe to say I threw the product away that night. Make sure you avoid it!

It's then that I found W7's Paint the Line liquid eyeliner in my make up drawer. I had no idea where it had come from and had never heard of the brand before. I must have got it as a sample in a magazine or something. Anyway, it's fantastic. It has a 'precision tip' which allows you to easily create a clean, sharp line and it also stays put all day without smudging. I was even more pleasantly surprised when I found that it's only £4.95 on the W7 website (or £2.93 on Amazon!). For the price, this really is a great product and I shall definitely be buying this again and finding out more about the W7 range.


Have you tried any products from lesser-known make-up brands that you have been impressed by? Do let me know!

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Monday, 4 August 2014

I Spy with my Freshly Cleansed Eye...

Good afternoon everyone!

First of all, a quick reminder that you can still enter my giveaway to win over £50 worth of spa goodies! Just skip to the end of this blog post to enter.

Back to the here and now, I'm on annual leave for the week which is incredibly exciting. I'm not going on holiday unfortunately but luckily the weather is still beaut and I also have a wedding to look forward to on Wednesday so I'm more than happy.

Just a quick post today to share my new-found love of L'Oreal Paris's Gentle Eye Make Up Remover, or as they call it "L'Oreal Paris Gentle Make Up Remover Eye".


I picked this up last week in Tesco because it was half price (probably the main reason I try any new product apart from reading other people's blog recommendations). One thing I always look for in an eye cleansing product is something non-oily as I really can't stand the feeling of having greasy eyelids, no matter how effective the product. However, this particular cleanser feels really refreshing against tired eyes, just like fresh water, and removes waterproof make-up very well. I will definitely be buying this product again in the future, maybe even at full price next time!

Have you tried any new cleansers recently which you have been pleasantly surprised by? Do let me know!

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Saturday, 26 July 2014

Moddershall Oaks Spa Escape and My First Blog Giveaway!

Hello all! So this is going to be a long but very exciting post with the chance to win some amazing Moddershall Oaks spa and Elemis products! Keep reading for your chance to win :)

The first time I went to Moddershall Oaks was the summer between my second and third year of uni. It had been an action-packed year with lots of changes both in my academic and personal life and my mum and I felt like we needed a couple of days to be selfishly indulgent and escape from daily life. After having a quick Google on short breaks in the UK we came across Moddershall Oaks - a country spa retreat in the heart of the Staffordshire countryside. And the rest is history. I've been twice with my mum as well as recommended it to my friends who have also visited for a girly weekend. This time, however, I took the boyf along for the ride.

We were recommended the Spa Escape package which Moddershall Oaks describes as follows:
Arrive at 3pm for a tour of the spa facilities and check into your suite, enjoy a two course evening meal served in our lakeside restaurant, stay overnight in a 5* suite with cooked breakfast, relax with a 25 minute back, neck & shoulder massage or 25 minute Elemis Customised facial and take full advantage of our spa facilities with complimentary use of robes & towels as long as you can.

From the moment we arrived, the staff were extremely friendly and attentive, making sure that our stay went as smoothly as possible. On arrival we were shown to our room, given a tour of the facilities and handed our itineraries which told us what time our table was booked in the restaurant and what time our massages were booked in for the following day. It was great to know that that was all we had to think about for the next 24 hours.

The first afternoon we spent in the indoor spa which includes a swimming pool, hydrotherapy pool, reflexology pool, experience shower and steam room. As well as all these wonderfully relaxing water features, we were particularly fond of the stone heated loungers on the poolside and definitely fell asleep a couple of times.




Next was dinner. I opted for the Catch of the Day (which was hake) and the 'Oops I dropped the Strawberry Sunday' which included macerated and fresh strawberry jelly, strawberry mousse, crushed meringue, lemon cheesecake quenelle and Madagascan vanilla ice cream. Needless to say, it was pretty damn good.



 After a good night's sleep and a hearty cooked breakfast, we had a walk around the grounds. MO owns a large area of land around the spa site which boasts a beautiful lake and a short woodland walk. While my mother would've insisted on the walk, we spent more time looking at the fish by the lake.


While waiting eagerly for our massages, we tried out the outdoor spa. This only opened in mid-June so it was my first experience of it too. The setting was absolutely gorgeous; a wooden cabin complete with jet pool and sauna overlooking endless green fields. It was at this point that we decided we didn't want to leave but were all too aware that the working world was approaching the next day *shudder*.


(We weren't actually there at dusk but I felt a bit uncomfortable about taking pictures of other people trying to relax so MO kindly provided the photo for me!)

After our massages (which used Elemis oils and were amazingly relaxing), we spent our last few hours chilling out and reading in the dedicated relaxation room. You can stay in your robes and slippers and cuddle up in the huge sofas and have drinks and deli food brought to you. It truly was the perfect end to the most blissful 24 hours. We felt refreshed, happy and ready for anything (which was a good job because it turned out that I'd booked us on the wrong train journey back so we had to re-buy our tickets - may bad).


AND NOW IT'S COMPETITION TIME!

As a massive fan of Moddershall Oaks having been three times, I was super excited when they agreed to help me set up a giveaway to give my readers the chance to win some spa goodies.

It's a lovely selection of gifts including an Elemis spa gift set, a Moddershall Oaks teddy and rose massage candle and a SpaRitual nail polish (worth approx £55 altogether). All you need to do to enter is follow myself and MO on Twitter and tweet a ready-made message about the giveaway. And that's it I promise! 

Please also note that this giveaway is open to UK RESIDENTS ONLY


The giveaway opens on 27 June 2014 at 12am and closes on 10 August 2014 at 12am. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Moddershall Oaks did give me a media rate for my latest visit. However, I have been a full-paying guest twice previously for a spa break so please have absolute confidence that this review is 100% truthful and I would recommend this spa to anyone!

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Friday, 25 July 2014

Feeling dressy

Hello and Happy Friday!

Just thought I'd share with you a couple of dresses I've bought recently for very little money. This is one of the many things I love about summer - while in winter you end up splashing out hundreds on warm coats and boots, in summer you can put an outfit together for under £30 reasonably easily.


The first dress I bought is this little orange number from Florence & Fred at Tesco. My housemates and I were at a huge store buying homeware for our new flat when I came across this. I thought at £18 it would be rude not to. F&F is a funny one - I wouldn't go into Tesco just to buy clothes as some of the range is quite tacky. However, often when you're not looking, you come across a great find. I absolutely love the colour of this dress and the material is so light and cool. The one downside is, as with most dresses that button all the way down at the front, if you sit it any sort of slouching position, you end up flashing a cheeky bit of tummy as the material between the buttons is pulled tighter. This encourages good posture I guess?!

The second dress I've bought recently is this one from H&M which I'm super pleased with at £5 in the sale. I've had so many compliments on it and it's really versatile - it can be worn for a day in the park or dressed up with a blazer and pumps for a smart-casual office feel. However this dress also has a downside (although this one is avoidable). It is a little bit see through and therefore nude underwear is a must. But hey, at £5, there had to be something a tiny bit inconvenient, didn't there?

Have you picked up any summer bargains recently or can you recommend any other stores where you can pick up a dress for under £20? Do let me know in the comments.

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