Starting off: Blusher

Wow, this is mega late! I’ve been super busy at work and a bit ill recently which has delayed my blogging significantly. So massive apologies fellow SO Project bloggers!!

I really wanted to start this weeks post off with a clip of Sarah Millican’s makeup shopping story. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a clip on the interwebs so it’ll just be me again.

Blusher is used to add colour back in to the cheeks; to give you a nice healthy rosy cheek glow, and to stop you looking pasty and like one of the Cullens’. I’ve not really bothered with blusher in the past as I’ve got very sensitive skin, which often results in me having very red cheeks. As I don’t like to wear full cover foundation very often, I tend to avoid blusher too.

However, last year after having discovered Estee Lauder double wear, I decided I clearly needed blusher to stop me looking so pasty faced. I researched for hours  before finding me some good advice on which shades would go well with my skin tone. This is what I found: for pale skin, lighter shades are better. Pinks & peaches or pinky peaches are good, but AVOID anything more coral coloured, it will be too dark or harsh. They are much more suited to those with a darker skin tone.

With this in mind, I went on a sopping mission and  found myself this:

Boujois shade 37: Rose Pompom.

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So to apply blusher, you simply brush on to the cheek bone and blend outwards towards your hairline; simples! If I ever feel like I’ve put to much on, I try and blend over with the makeup sponge I used to apply my foundation, normally it has small amount on non absorbed liquid on there and simply helps to tone it down. I’m sure there are better ways to do this, but that’s just my routine.

So that’s it, not much else to say really. Don’t apply too much, make sure you pick the right shade for your skin. I’m not an expert on that unfortunately.

For anymore information and application techniques please check out: The Makeup Chair and Goss Makeup Artist this is where I get all my videos from and they are full of wonderful tips and techniques. Don’t forget to subscribe while you are there!

Next week: Mascara

I will be enlisting the help of my good friend Bird for the next couple of weeks as having awful eyesight means I can’t apply eye makeup too well without my glasses on and I can’t wear contacts or get laser eye surgery, so I don’t tend to buy much or spend much money on it. She is a wealth of knowledge to me in this department.

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Forums and social networking: the good, the bad and the (I’m pretty sure they are) ugly

This may or may not come as a bit of a shock to those who know me, but I have very little confidence and possibly even less self esteem. I can often be heard to say “I hate people” but in fact I only really ‘hate’ people (in general; you are all lovely individually…okay, most of you are) because people are my biggest phobia.

I live in constant fear of new social situations; am I being polite enough, would it be best to make a joke, should I not say anything at all? When I’m out and about if someone I don’t know starts talking to me about the weather or road works or anything in general I tend to panic and have a full on physical reaction – racing pulse, shallow breathing, shaking and nausea.

Despite all of this, lately I’ve been attempting to branch out in order to reach a wider audience and also to seek advice, and talk to like minded people. So far, most of the experience has been positive. I’ve chatted to some very lovely people on Twitter through the SO project, and (hopefully) made some new friends. Unfortunately, I’ve also hit the downside pretty quickly too. Allow me to fill you in with a LONG (possibly dull) story…

I’ve always been interested in photography; I can’t go anywhere or to any kind of event without a camera, whether that be my phone or my point and shoot. It makes a good tool for blogging (as you other bloggers will know) and I also think I’m pretty good at it – composing shots and the like. I am however, a complete amateur and have recently decided I want to upgrade my camera to either a bridge or a DSLR in an attempt to learn the art of photography properly.

I went about it in what I felt was a sensible way; asked a few friends (by a few, I mean one) and once I knew what I was after and my budget, I looked at some forums. Several others seemed to be asking for similar advice to myself and I noticed a lot of responses were a bit harsh, such as there not being enough detail about budget or what the camera would be for. So, I took it upon myself to write out a fairly lengthy post, stipulating what I needed, what my budget was, my skill level (zero) etc. I thought I’d hit all the important ‘marks’; oh how I was wrong…

I mainly got cocky replies, very few being helpful. These included pointing out that bridge cameras are not DSLRs (I had noticed thank you, especially after specifying I’d prefer a bridge to a DSLR) as well as several cameras that I should buy instead that are out of my stipulated price range.  Thanks for nothing! I spent more time defending my position than receiving advice on what to buy.

I chose forums and specifically the boards aimed at beginners so that I might get patient advice from others who would appreciate I am a complete amateur and, considering the others on the forum should (in theory) also be amateurs (yes some a lot more advanced non-professionals, but still) I thought there would be some patience there. I expected some queries maybe asking for a few more specifics; am I prepared to buy second hand etc and a few suggestions of what features I should/should not be concerned with.

I went to bed on Saturday night incredibly upset, with what little confidence I still possessed battered and bruised. My husband, who is possibly one of the kindest and most patient people I know (especially with regard to my many ‘quirks’) told me not to take it to heart and try again in morning. Sure enough, when I awoke on Sunday morning, there in my inbox was a message reply posted on one of the forums. Some kind soul had taken my post for exactly what it was and offered me some constructive advice.

It was on the back of this that I then posted again in the forums and finally saw some pleasantries appear out of the woodwork. I then (in a shockingly brave move by me) decided, on the spur of the moment to join that evening’s LBloggers’ chat on Twitter. It’s (not really) ironic in that this week’s topic was positive vs negative posts, considering I’d already started writing this. There was a good range of opinion put forward and everyone was really nice. I thoroughly enjoyed the chat and spoke to some lovely people.

Roll on this morning then…I decided to put forward the idea of buying a second hand entry level DSLR, which is within my budget. On the first of the forums in question, everyone seemed to think it would be better than any bridge camera I would choose to buy. On the second however, someone suggested I should skip entry level and go for something more advanced, which I can’t afford. They have renamed my budget as ‘my self-imposed limit’. That self imposed limit, folks, is called my bank balance! Then finally, on the third, I got this:

Well, it’s not a bridge camera nor will you find it within your set budget.

Perhaps it would be better not wasting people’s time

Well **** you then!

I am incredibly frustrated, I used to enjoy posting on message boards with like minded people ‘back in the day’, but someone always comes along and ruins the fun, which is why I stopped. This was like a cold, bitter reminder.

It is a shame, as I’ve been a bit more adventurous by joining The SO project and participating in the Twitter chats on a Tuesday night, (and the LBloggers chat as well now on Sunday). This luckily for me has been a mainly positive experience (granted, I could probably be a bit more active in the chat rather than cowering overwhelmed as the links and posts roll in; but I find myself with a million tabs open, trying to read through and comment on as many as possible) and everyone has been lovely and pleasant to chat to, sharing ideas and suggesting new products to try. It was off the back of this new found confidence that I decided to try seeking help in forums. I mistakenly thought the creatures that inhabit them would be just as kind and friendly.

Has anyone else experienced this? Have you had some disastrous encounters on a forum or Twitter or other social network? Do you know anything about cameras? Please comment below!

In the mean time, I’m still very much looking forward to the SO project chat tomorrow night despite me not posting this week and to the next LBloggers’ chat next Sunday!

Starting off: Skincare

Skincare… pretty much what it says on the tin really, caring for your skin. Your daily skincare routine tends to start as a wee nipper, when your mother or some other relative, guardian or carer washes your face with warm soapy water and a face cloth, or as I like to call it, the flannel of dooooom. Generally speaking this is sufficient, but as we get older and skin gets dryer or oilier depending on your age/skin type, it is best to switch this for something a bit more productive/useful.

So the basic 3 step formula I was taught when I grew up was this:

  1. Cleanser
  2. Toner
  3. Moisturiser

I then sort of threw this out the window…okay so really I only  threw step 2 out and for many years step 3, as my skin was so oily, I couldn’t even use a light moisturiser, even after using tough anti blemish type cleanser.

So cleanser then, any kind of face wash you like really, or rather any that your skin likes is good. Personally, I have super sensitive skin and as a teenager tried many brands, but found that they dried my skin out far too much. A lot of brands aimed at reducing spots WILL dry your skin out, I found the best, having sensitive skin, being ones that were gentle, like the Simple range and one or two of the creamier ones from Neutrogena. I remember one Christmas my mum bought me the Clinique anti blemish gift pack, and whilst the other products were harsh, the cleanser was pretty good and gentle. These days for cleanser I stick to products made by Lush. Use this once a day, I would suggest on an evening especially if you wear make up.

I would personally avoid Toner, they contain alcohol and will dry your skin out and make it more irritable, however, Lush do some nice toner waters, especially their Grease Lightning, which is brill for teenage skin. Toner is mainly used to remove any remaining dirt and make up, but really you should use decent make up remover specifically made for your eyes and then your cleanser should do the rest. You can find Lush’s spot treatment/good for spot prone skin products here.

Moisturiser can be a pain to get right as a teenager, but stick with it ’til you find a good one. I used to use Simple moisturiser whenever my skin felt like it needed it, and a lot of the other bloggers involved reading this will probably gasp in horror when I say I didn’t use it everyday; my skin didn’t feel like it needed it and was pretty oily most of the time. If you suffer from similar issues, I’d say moisturise as you feel you need it e.g. when your skin feels dry and tight and remember not to use too much; a little goes a long way!

These days my skincare regime consists of cleanser: Angels on Bare Skin by Lush unless I’ve been wearing make up, which I don’t do everyday…I know, I know, please contain your gasps of horror. On those days I use 9 to 5 by Lush or Ultrabland by Lush. I prefer 9 to 5 for ease of use, but sometimes Ultrabland is necessary for removing waterproof mascara effectively and is really good when my skin is really red and sore and having an allergic reaction. As it is so thick, I prefer not to use it everyday as i find it hard to get off sometimes! I follow this up with Neutrogena Multi Defense moisturiser, as another good tip is using a good SPF to help with anti aging! Using sun cream is highly recommended, but I’ve never been able to get away with this so I use this Neutrogena moisturiser which is SPF 25 instead. I’m sure its not as good as a sun cream, but if you’re worried about oily skin, a moisturiser with SPF will do in a pinch. I have however, recently purchased some of this Steam Cream, and will be giving it a go.

I love using Lush products because I have incredibly sensitive skin and am allergic to all sorts of random things. Because Lush is all handmade products from all natural ingredients it means there are no harsh chemicals to bother your skin. I cannot recommend them enough. That’s not to say everything is perfect, I once had a disastrous incident with their Oatifix face mask, which is meant to be super gentle and kind…it would appear I am allergic to one of the ingredients.

Now, Angels on Bare Skin is my all time absolute favourite skin care product. Love, love, love it!

How to use it:

On days when I’m having bad skin or fancy giving it a treat I often buy Lush’s fresh face masks. Catastrophe Cosmetic is brilliant for red, spotty and bothered skin. It is my miracle cure for bad skins days! Last year Clipper tea included vouchers in their green tea boxes so you could go to your local Lush store and have a free face mask making work shop. I went with my friend (whom I refer to as Bird if you’re not a regular reader) and we got to drink green tea while they gave us a skin consultation and tried different products on us (on our hands though, not face in case of allergies etc though I believe some stores did do this as a full facial) then had the opportunity to make a batch of Catastrophe Cosmetic which we got to take home.

Someone else enjoying their workshop:

I honestly think that discovering Lush skin care products in my mid to late teens was my savior! They have genuinely made a massive difference to my skin. Many times I have strayed and tried other brands but always seem to return to them. So if like me, you have sensitive skin that products seem to dry out, but at the same time you have oily teenage skin that seems to be a complete nightmare to buy for, try some Lush! As I said, with them being handmade from all natural ingredients they will be kind and gentle to your skin. The staff are brilliant and know their products well; they can advise you and you can test products in store.

Other tips and tricks you may not want to hear:

  • Drink plenty of water – keep your skin, mind and body hydrated, Alcohol and caffiene dehydrates so tea, coffee and cola type products won’t help.
  • Don’t smoke – smoking damages your skin as it restricts oxygen to the blood vessels which dries skin out and can make it even take on a greyish appearance; attractive! (Not to mention all the other icky stuff it does to your body!)
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol – again, it dehydrates and will help to age your skin.
  • Avoid sunbeds – this should be self evident, if you should wear SPF to stop the sun aging your skin, sunbeds will have the opposite effect and age you well before your time!

Remember, when in doubt, try it out. Test products if you can to see how your skin will handle it, look on websites for free samples and find stores that will let you test them there and then. Everybody’s skin is different so what works for your friends may not work for you.

Back to school shopping…

It’s that time of year again, and as the holidays draw to an end new clothing and supplies must be purchased. So once again, I am after jeans and trousers that will look good, be the right size and preferably the right length.

Dorothy Perkins is having an online denim sale with up to 30% off, which sounded good to me.  I was all prepared to put in an order until I discovered that our local store for collection is temporarily closed during a term of refurbishment. This would mean paying full whack for delivery, and that would mean the discount would essentially not be worth anything.

I popped along to Asda, who unfortunately also let me down. Their selection, whilst quite extensive, is still much to be desired. Their trousers are also lacking in my size, as it would appear that every other woman with my figure have gotten there before me. I must however give Asda some big, and I mean BIG props for adding short and extra short lengths to their bigger sizes of both jeans and trousers. Unless they were in fact sold out in larger sizes, size 20 appeared to be the biggest I could find in extra short length. This is a massive leap forward though for us shorties and also extra shorties who are extra large or extra small.

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M&S have some nice looking jeans in their sale, but unfortunately are also sold out in my size – at least in short length. I am however tempted to buy them in a size smaller in the hope of slimming into them in the near future.

Until then though chaps, I’m still looking for back to work attire as those perfect jeans are still proving elusive…