Thursday, 27 February 2014

my playlists

I'm pretty sure that every human on the planet loves music, it's as if it's drilled into our brains from birth. Whether it's Lionel Richie you're humming in the shower or heavy metal blasting through your headphones, everybody has something that makes them feel happy. Having said that, if you're in a bad mood it's very therapeutic to put some depressing music on and feel sorry for yourself for a few hours. I'm in love with the idea that you're favourite songs are almost a 'soundtrack' to your life; admit it, we're all guilty of staring out of the window and pretending we're in a movie when a good song comes on in the car.
I savour the moments when I have spare time to put my earphones in, even just for a few seconds as it provides a similar feeling of 'feeding an addiction' (not that I'd know as I'm pretty sure the only thing I've been remotely addicted to is Diet Coke..). I think music taste is a big part of someone's personalty, so in order to share more about myself I'm going to share a few of my favourite songs; depending on the situation.

My favourite 'Bus Songs'
Yes: I do have a playlist named 'Bus Songs' although it is also 'Train Songs' so maybe I should rename it 'Things I listen to on public transport'.. catchy.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Fall Out Boy? Recently I've been gravitating towards their music more than usual, so usually I'll just put the band on shuffle every morning.
I tend to turn to more upbeat songs before school to wake myself up, so this playlist contains lots of rock music with the occasional pop song thrown in.
Paramore were my favourite band from year 6-7, and I rarely listen to them anymore but I do love 'Ain't It Fun' from their new album. It's very uplifting and a generally good song.
'Pumped Up Kicks' is a song that everybody seems to know, yet its still so good! I also love how it sounds amazing yet has a very complex meaning.

Happy/Uplifting Songs
Music for days when I feel happy, or when I need an extra boost of motivation.

'Dog Days Are Over' was first introduced to me in the advert for 'Slumdog Millionaire' and I instantly fell in love with it. It's very (hate to use this word again) uplifting!
Any song from P!ATD'S album 'Pretty Odd' is bound to make you smile, I love how they change genres every album.
Everybody seems to think 'Awake My Soul' is depressing, but it puts me in a good mood whenever I play it!

'Guilty Pleasure' Songs
The songs we love but don't like to admit it..

I know, I'm also ashamed of myself. I have to admit, 'Baby' is such a good song! It's so catchy, the kind of song that you can't stop yourself from singing along to. I'm not a Bieber fan, but I must admit to playing this on repeat occasionally.. As for 'Cupid's Chokehold', I don't think it's that bad.. Whilst singing it under my breath the other day my friend gave me the look as if to say 'You actually like that song?' how can I not?! Patrick Stump sings the chorus!
Something I don't think I've admitted on my blog before is my intense love for country music.. I don't know why I like it, but it makes me feel so unnaturally happy..  it's scary. 'There's Your Trouble' is basically what I sing in the shower, along with 'Giddy on up' by Laura Bell Bundy and of course Lionel Richie.
If anyone ever thought I was cool, they've changed their mind now.

Nostalgic Songs
Music that reminds you of a time in your life.

'All About Us' was my favourite song in year 8 for a while, but I kind of hate it now. The lyrics sound awful to me, but at one time I really liked it.
'Knock you down' also reminds me of year 8, a songs that is also kind of terrible.
I actually really like 'Stingin' Belle' although not that long ago, it reminds me of March last year when I saw them in concert with my sister. They're so good live!

Songs that make me think of people
I don't think there's a nicer compliment than 'this song made me think of you!', although it depends on the song..
'Gold Rush' makes me think of my friend Leah, who introduced me to Ed Sheeran and this song, which I'm thankful for as I love his music.
I seem to be in the 1% of the population who likes 'Bound 2' by Kanye West. Although the video is terrible, I love this song and it's something my friend and I sing along to.
'One Thing' reminds me of my friends who I saw One Direction with. At the time of booking the tickets I didn't know any other songs properly so this one is kind of a joke between us.

I apologise for how rambley this is! I hope you enjoyed finding out about my weird music taste (and haven't lost any respect for me.. haha).
What are your favourite songs?

This was an entry to this contest


In the 80's, people imagined the future as a wonderland of technology; a world complete with flying cars and robots. Although this is nothing like the place we live in today, the technology that we do have has become far more advanced than anyone could have dreamt of back then. It goes without saying that our society has changed considerably in the past 50 years, leaving us much more dependant on gadgets such as our beloved computers and phones. An example of this would be the daily commute to school or work; when people would once engage in conversation, read a newspaper or simply focus on the world around them, the train carriages are now full of silent strangers staring at small screens. Having said this, I am no exception. Having grown up in the 21st century, I am an avid fan of technology and can't imagine a world without its use in my everyday life. You can now have access to traditional means of communication such as newspapers or letters, but in the form of apps and emails which are much more reliable, cheaper and easier. Humans have created a world where tasks that once took days can now be accomplished in seconds, whether you're in an office, on a bus or even in bed.

Although technology is useful for all kinds of necessary tasks, being a fifteen year old girl, I find that the most common use of my phone is the hurried 'was that homework due in today?' texts to my friends, just a few minutes before school starts. Occasionally I'll need to reply to blog emails on the go, or bombard fellow bloggers with tweets, praising their new posts, however upon reflection, neither of these tasks are compulsory and I could easily wait until I got home and had access to my laptop. The problem is (and I think many people will agree) technology is so addictive! I will never understand why I enjoy scrolling through twitter or dissipating precious hours playing flappy bird, but when you're sat in a particularly long maths lesson or on a bus, nothing seems more appealing. I couldn't function properly without my phone. I honestly feel sad on days where I forget my earphones and have to sit on the bus listening to year 7's scream, rather than my favourite songs. If I could, I think I would listen to music every second of the day.

In the fast moving society we live in, I think people often forget to slow down and appreciate the world around them. Everybody seems to be constantly busy or in a state of anger at things that upon reflection,would probably seem insignificant to them. I will hold my hands up and say I am also guilty of this and find myself sighing at slow walking people on a regular basis, even though I know that it's such a small thing in comparison to the rest of my life. As I have come to realise how impatient humanity is, I am constantly trying to break out of the habit of rushing my life, or wasting hours of it playing apps (which brings me back to flappy bird). I've found that you don't have to be without a phone in order to achieve this, as technology is capable of so many things that can assist us in our lives. 

I have a pretty bad memory so it's important to me to find ways of recording important moments in my life, so I can look back at them later. My phone is the perfect way to do this as not only can I use it to quickly snap pictures at any location, but I can share them with my friends via Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. Despite stopping us from communicating in real life sometimes, technology can bring people together this way. For example, my friends and family that I unfortunately don't see very often are able to keep up to date with what I'm doing, without even having to visit. Plus, these photos make me laugh! The bad hairstyles and make up choices paired with stupid facial expressions make me kind of embarrassed, at the same time as being happy that that was once a part of my life. I say: embrace the ugly selfies with friends! You'll be glad you took them in years to come.

What are your thoughts? Is technology bringing us closer together or further apart?
(This post was an entry to this contest)

Thursday, 13 February 2014

the road outside my house is paved with good intentions

Life has been good recently and although it feels like so much has happened, when it comes to sitting down and writing about it, I realise not much really has. As I'm sure any UK citizens know and are sick of hearing, the weather hasn't been the greatest as of late. It's resulted in many days of trying to control my hair with one hand and hold my skirt down with the other, and don't even mention the word 'umbrella' to me as I am 100% done with umbrellas I once trusted turning upside down on me. On the bright side, Valentines Day is tomorrow! Although I am quite obviously forever alone, I am in the minority of lonely people who like Valentines Day. There is always some kind of 'chick flick' on, and not to mention it's the perfect night to relax and eat loads of food, and isn't it the nicest idea ever? Right when Christmas is well and truly over, and the weather is miserable, the world comes out with a day dedicated to loving people! It makes me happy just thinking of the people who aren't spending February 14th alone.
I've spent the week dreading Thursday (which is today as I write this) as I had a College 'taster day' which involved talking to new people and possibly being alone in lessons. However, it wasn't even bad! I enjoyed it alot more than I thought I would and I feel weirdly motivated to work harder at school, even though it confused me as to what I want to do even more. They always say that you'll know if it's the 'right' college for you, and I don't think it was, which scares me! Where else do I go?! After a long day of staring at power points and getting lost on a college campus, I ventured into town for milkshakes with some girls in my year before walking to the bus station in the rain while having a really good conversation with a friend I haven't spoke to in what feels like forever! Overall it was a good day.
The rest of the week has been a blur of cold nights and rose scented hand cream (purposely bought to remind me of summer). I actually made the mistake of leaving my window open overnight a few times, resulting in me waking up wondering why it feels like Antarctica in my bedroom. I don't enjoy sleeping in sub zero temperatures so this time of year is usually met with me armed with plenty of blankets and fluffy socks (although that's an essential all year round). I kind of love bundling up like that though, so the icy wind doesn't bother me too much when I think about going home and getting into bed.
Tomorrow I embark on a car journey to London to see family, which is one of my favourite things to do. I love the hours of road between here and there, especially at night time. Right now I can't think of anything better than sitting in the back of the car at night with my earphones in.
The journey is sometimes more fun than the destination (not to say my family are boring.. haha).
I hope you're all dealing with the weather and not struggling with power cuts or anything like that, and if you're lucky enough to live in a warm climate, please send me some sunshine!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

take my hand and drag me head first; fearless

this photo does not belong to me

When you're sad it's so hard to focus on anything other than feeling sorry for yourself. It's easy to ignore the sun shining and your friends smiling at you, because all you can do is think about the thing pulling you down. This time of year is kind of tough for me and I find myself in one of these moods often, when the only cure is lying in bed and staring into space for a few hours. Recently I came across an email from a woman called Heather and I don't think it could have come at a better time. I was feeling very low and just reading those words that she typed out managed to put a smile on my face.
Heather is an 8 year survivor of mesothelioma (a rare form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure) who was diagnosed and told she had 15 months to live, just shortly after giving birth to her daughter. She chose to undergo risky surgery and thankfully survived at the unfortunate loss of one of her lungs. After this, she created 'Lung Leavin' Day' which she describes as "a way to commemorate the day that changed my life forever". Heather has every reason to be unhappy, angry and bitter because of the things that have happened to her, but instead she uses them as a way to encourage people to face their fears. Lung Leavin' Day is a day that her friends and family gather at her house to write their fears on plates that they then smash into a bonfire, watching them go up in smoke. In her own words, she says that the reason for this is "One thing cancer taught me is the importance of acknowledging these apprehensions that prevent us from living our lives to the fullest extent". 
On February 2nd, Heather celebrated an amazing 8 years of being Cancer free. Although Lung Leavin' Day has passed, you can face your fears any day of the year and I still encourage you to look at the interactive website she created where you can read more about her story and smash virtual plates (link here).
The thing that amazed me about this story is the way it came into my life while my head was filled with fear. The fact that Heather can continue to inspire people and turn her situation into something that will help so many people is incredible and it makes me wish that I could be more like her. In my opinion, she is a real role model and I'm so thankful that she could contact me to tell me her story. Hearing something like this makes all my worries and doubts seem so small and insignificant and I hope that sharing it can do the same to somebody else. I am currently dealing with the pain of loss and Heather's story has put this into perspective. Rather than letting tears sting my eyes every time I see something that reminds me of it slightly, I should welcome the happy memories into my mind and be grateful that I got to experience them.
When you start to doubt that amazing things can happen in the world, one will come right at you.
Have a great week

Monday, 3 February 2014

battle of the hydrating masks

Since I have extremely dry skin, I'm always on the lookout for hydrating and moisturising products that can hopefully solve this. I've been through countless treatments and masks that claim to have endless benefits to your skin when in reality they do more harm than good. However, when I stumbled across the 'Origins Drink Up Intensive overnight mask' I couldn't resist adding yet another one of these products to my ever-growing collection. As it is not exactly the most affordable brand out there, I decided to do my research (which thankfully was easy as there seemed to be a lot of reviews floating around the blogosphere at the time), and came to the conclusion that I needed it. After receiving a boots gift card for Christmas from my sister, I was able to justify the price and went ahead and purchased it. I can honestly say this is a life saver! I'm sure you've all heard enough about it, but the product itself is incredible and although the scent is a little strong, everything else about it is great. However now that I am gift card-less and attempting to save money, I'm not sure if I can justify spending over £20 for a new one once it runs out. This is what lead me to digging through my drawer to find a mask I mentioned in a boots haul a while ago (which you can read here although my photography and writing was even worse then.. just warning you). I realised that it may be interesting to compare them, as they both promise similar things, yet the Una Brennan mask is £8.99, a small fraction compared to Origins.
Packaging wise, I have to admit I prefer Origins, although the Una Brennan range does look very 'high end' considering how cheap it is. However, it also offers a whole 25ml more than the Origins mask, which is obviously a positive. It's not only cheaper but it smells better and you get more product for the price.
The 'Drink Up' mask include amazing ingredients such as plant glycerin, hyaluronic acid, apricot kernel oil, avocado oil, mango butters and Japanese seaweed. The instructions advise to massage onto clean skin at bedtime once or twice a week and to tissue off excess (something I never do as I find it does sink in quickly enough). This is probably why it works so well, the ingredients combined work miracles for your skin.
'Rose Hydrate' contains white willow extract (known to enhance skin cell turnover) vitamin E, urea and marshmallow extract to 'hydrate, plump and replenish skin'. The instructions are slightly different and encourage you to apply once or twice a week (again, to clean skin), leave for five minutes before removing using warm water of a soft flannel. I prefer leaving a mask on overnight, however I also think this method prevents it from clogging your pores.
Top - Una Brennan
 Bottem - Origins
The Origins mask wins on texture, being alot thicker, however the Una Brennan mask has a nice light consistency.
Overall I prefer the Origins mask, however if you're looking for a cheaper alternative, I recommend the Rose Hydrate mask from Una Brennan as it does work very well and is a lot easier on your bank account.

What products have you been loving lately?

Saturday, 1 February 2014

quiet nights in

Recently I've been an unfortunate combination of stressed and sleep deprived which is down to me playing Flappy Bird until 3am and leaving my art coursework until the day before the deadline. Although this is entirely down to me being lazy, I still like to tell myself that I deserve a 'pamper night' every so often, and put my art coursework on hold in order to spend a night being lazy. All jokes aside, it is important to clear your schedule every so often and have some time to yourself, and I think relaxing with your favourite beauty products is the best way to do this. I have somehow accumulated a small stash of products that I reserve purely for these nights and since I love posts like this, I decided to join in and share my 'pamper night essentials'. 
If you're like me and use too many hair products, you'll know that they can build up in your hair leaving it feeling and looking a little bit 'lifeless'. I love this deep cleansing shampoo because not only does it really clean my hair, but it also leaves it feeling really soft and smelling incredible. I tend to only use this once week as it is very 'deep cleaning' (hence the product name.. 'deep cleanse shampoo') and would probably dry out my hair with every day use.
There's something about hair masks that I associate with pamper nights. After all the stress we put on our hair, straightening, blow drying, covering with hairspray and pulling it into all sorts of hairstyles, I feel like it's important to give some love back to it. I've tried quite a lot of masks, and always come back to the Tresemme 'restore and deep conditioning' one. It's very cheap considering the amount you get (not to mention that Tresemme is always on offer) and it really does work. It always leaves my hair looking considerably less damaged and feeling very soft and smooth.
Although I'm not a big fan of baths, some days all I want is to sit in a huge pool of bubbles with a book for a few minutes. On rare occasions like this, I'll turn to this 'Ted Baker bath foam' which was a gift for my birthday. However on a day to day basis I'm a big shower person and I tend to reserve this L'occitane 'spring cherry' for any particularly tough day. It smells really fresh and nothing like the artificial cherry scent that I expected.
This 'Olive Body Butter' from The Body Shop is probably the best body butter I've tried. I have dry skin so I need something really moisturising and this ticks all the boxes. I managed to get this in the sale for only £5, reduced from the original price of £13, and I have fallen in love with it which makes me sad as I now fell obligated to purchase it again for it's full price. If you like subtle but fresh scents then I'm sure you'd love this.
For years I've struggled to find a product that will keep my dry skin under control and I've finally found it. 'Origins Drink Up Intensive overnight mask' is a miracle worker, applying it overnight will ensure hydrated, smooth skin in the morning. It took me a while to get past the overly fruity scent, however I now actually really like it. The only negative is the price tag which again, makes me sad that I may have to re purchase this and wave goodbye to my money. A cheaper face mask is the 'Quick Fix Facials exfoliating scrub mask', which completely vanishes black heads and makes blemishes go down to a point where they're pretty much gone. I wrote a review on this a while ago but since then I've used it a lot more and realised I didn't do it justice at all. (However if you want to read it you can do so here)
What kind of pamper night post would this be if I didn't include my favourite candle? I would be lying if I said I was a 'candle expert' as I have never purchased any in fear that I would burn my house down. However, my friend got me this for my birthday and I can't wait to burn it. It smells like summer which is the best description I can possibly give it. Next time there's a freezing windy and rainy day, hopefully this can transport me onto a beach somewhere..

I would like to apologise for the terrible photos, I'm trying to improve but it's a struggle for people who don't understand technology like me. I am experimenting with editing and it seems like they've all turned blurry, I will try to fix this! Anyway I hope this could be of use to somebody. What are your favourite 'pamper night' products?