Tuesday, 29 March 2016

E.l.f. Contouring blush and bronzing powder review

Last summer I was searching for a bronzer that would work for contour rather than just for warming up my face. Without much beauty knowledge or experience this proved quite a difficult task that included plenty of trial and error. My biggest problem was that I was scared of getting it wrong and appearing in public with what looked like muddy marks down my face- this proved to be my bronzer downfall. 
In fear of getting one too dark I went to the other extreme and picked the lighter shade of any product I bought. However, I hadn't realised that, in many brands, the lighter shade was more orangey toned (to reduced the overall depth of the brown) so I was buying a lot of- on my skin tone- orange based powders. In my bid to avoid an overly contoured face I'd actually achieved a maximum tangerine makeover. 
This was only enhanced by my next massive error, "Is it showing up, I don't think it is; it must be too light-better apply more." I had successfully become an Oompa Loompa and was about to take up perminent residence in a chocolate factory before I finally saw a photograph of myself. One word: mortified. But at least I'd finally come to my senses. 
What I had unknowingly been doing was applying a bronzer designed for warming my face where I was trying to contour, giving my face zero dimensions and achieving exactly the opposite of what I'd intended. 

Enter e.l.f. contouring blush and bronzing powder. I actually bought this on our trip to America from the less than sophisticated makeup supplier- Target. However, on this first day food shop I found myself wandering down the makeup isles staring idly at the 50 different shades of pink lipstick. It was in this jet-lagged, blurry-eyed and I'm-never-going-to-find-the-pop-tarts haze that I stumbled across a blush and bronzer duo that became my countouring saviour. How did I know- because it said the word 'Countouring' on the packet. I know, and no one was more distressed than me that my gradual descent into satsumaville could have been averted by a simple reading of packaging. But dwelling on the past was not going to help me so I took a big step and layed my 3 dollars out on the line for another new bronzer. 

And it was worth it. Although this bronzer is warm toned I no longer look like I've been rubbed in a bad shade of fake tan. It is buildable and easy to use, even for a beginner and I actually find it works! (Something I'm seriously not used to on the face front). It has tiny bits of shimmer in it which warm my face and give me a healthy glow without making me look like a disco ball and it does create a successful shadow beneath my cheekbones and around my temple. It blends really nicely to give me a more natural definition without totally disappearing sparking the dangerous 'I need more' cycle I found myself a perminent inhabitant of before. 
The blush is also a lovely colour, it's a bright and warm toned pink- perfect for spring and summer. It is also buildable and easy to blend and has more shimmer in it than the bronzer, doubling it as a highlighter. I like to wear the pair together and separately, both combinations create natural, glowing results. 
They are definitely not matt powders and are both warm shades for my face resulting in them getting the most use in spring and summer when my face gets a bit more colour. 

The packaging is simple and solid, it is easy to transport as both powders are pressed and in the same compact. It also has a large mirror in the lid that I use for touching up my makeup when I'm 'on the go.'

It does not contain a brush which makes the packaging smaller but means one has to be carried around separately. This does not bother me personally as I always carry the body shop miniature brush set in my bag anyway. 
Overall I was very impressed with this product, especially considering the price. It saved me from my bronzing disasters which had been haunting me from my first bronzer purchase and has taught me a valuable life lesson- always read the packaging! 

I hope this has been useful to anyone on a budget looking for a new bronzer and has reasured you that bronzing isn't as easy as everyone makes it look! 
If you'd like me to do a review on the body shop brushes or any other makeup I carry around with me  please pop a comment down below. Also, if you have any other bronzer recommendations please let me know and I will try and test them out! 
Love Ruthie xx
Ps- This was not a sponsored review

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

School Stress, Survival and Shut down


I really wanted to write a post on this topic the minute I set up my blog as it is something I am very familiar with and have experienced a lot of difficulties managing. 
I just want to start by saying I'm not a professional psychologist or have any scientific background, these are simply tips which helped me and I rely on them for ways to cope during exam season. 
School can be a very stressful time for young people, especially in later years when we're constantly being told that we must plan our futures and that our whole life rests on one month of exams. These kind of comments really get into my head especially, and once you lose control of rational thought they can become exceedingly difficult to cope with. 

The bottom (and unfortunate) line is: exams are hard, but there are ways of dealing with them that can make them manageable. This is a list of tips that I have developed over 5 years of high school to cope with the stress and pressures school and exams constantly present. 

1. Make a plan. Charging into the mountain of work randomly and spontaneously is only going to stress you out. All night study sessions, cramming and 'I'm never going to be able to do this' meltdowns are all the outcomes of plan-less revision. Take a night to really get to grips with your exam timetable and make a revision plan to suit it. Write down all the dates of your exams; it helps me to put them on a calendar in my room where I can see them clearly with the dates they're on and tick them off when I'm done- very satisfying! 
Then evaluate your subjects- how many you've got, how much you need to cover and 
which are your strongest- and fit them into a timetable making sessions for your weakest subjects more frequent. This will instantly make you feel in control and help you 'portion  out' sometimes overwhelming amounts of work. Once you can see that 'you will be able to 
do it' the revision gains a clear purpose and control and loses its panicked, last minute frenzy.

2. Prepare well. You wouldn't embark on a physical expedition with no preparation and this should be the same for mental challenges. School work can feel long, drawn out and desperately boring, especially revision, therefore it is very important to prepare before you start. 
Think about what you are going to do. You may have your revision plan and be studying physics but you can't cover the entire syllabus in a night, same goes for school projects. Therefore you need to set a goal, what do you want to achieve in this study session, how much do you need to do? Once you have this decided the night is less overwhelming and more achievable.
Next, what will you need? Don't start your work only to find you need a calculator and have
to go find it. Then suddenly you run out of paper. Then you realise you need a pencil etc. This breaks up your studying and prevents you from concentrating and getting in 'the zone'. Look at what you need before you start so when you are working it is productive and useful. 
Mentally prepare yourself. Try not to enter the study period thinking 'I'm so tired' 'I can't do this' because then you will feel tired and you won't be able to do it. Try to be positive and focus on reaching your goal; get into your study mindset and go! 

3. Get supplies. Again, you wouldn't set off on a perilous journey with no food, water or extra socks and the same applies for studying. If you deprive yourself of things such as food and water then your brain won't absorb information as well. Try to eat 'brain food' such as blueberries, nuts and seeds and make sure to stay hydrated with water (tea and pomegranate juice also make me feel more energised.) This will make you feel more alert
 and help you focus during your studying. 

4. Take breaks. My grandma always tells me that in nursing school they wouldn't let them work for more than one hour at a time. This is because the brain stops absorbing information as effectively after long periods of activity. So revision especially works best in small chunks so your brain can 'recover' and be back to absorbing information effectively again. 

5. Shut down. No matter how much work or revision I have, I always try and shut down at 9pm. Then I can have an hour of 'down time' where I can relax and spend time with my family before going to bed. It is important I use this time to try and relax as much as possible because my brain needs to fully turn off from school in order for me to get a good nights sleep and feel rejuvenated the next day. I find that if I work too late I don't sleep as well and I feel worse the following day. Therefore, to get the most out of everyday I have to shut down an hour before going to sleep. This is also beneficial for my mental well being because doing something I enjoy for an hour after a day of work is something to work towards and feel good about rather than being bogged down with overwhelming amounts of work and getting stuck in a cycle of stress and school doom. 

If any of these tips were helpful to you I would be delighted and hope that you can regain some control over your life even in the midst of school and exams. 
If you have any tips of your own please pop a comment down below, I would love to hear how you cope with this stressful period in your life and maybe you know some tips that could help me. 
Also, if you would like me to write another post with some more revision and study tips please comment so and I will compile some more things that help me! 

Thank you so much for reading and I wish you well with your studies xxx.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

This is the first blog I've ever had so, if, by some chance, you find yourself reading this I would like to say, welcome! I'd like to be able to write about whatever I want here, whether it be beauty and lifestyle tips, sharing experiences or just general life. It's really somewhere that I can be myself, almost like a diary, but one that has a purpose, one that someone could read a page of and have it help them in some way or another, even if it's with the littlest of things.
I'd like it to be somewhere I could turn to when I'm feeling rubbish, I could write about it and feel better. And it would be amazing if, in some far fetched fantasy, when other people felt rubbish they could turn to it and feel better too.
Hopefully, every time I do something good or bad I can write it here so I rememeber what to or not to do in the future. Then it would almost turn into a catalogue of life tips, experiences and memories that I could look back through it when I want to remember how I did my hair that one time or how I dealt with a particular situation. In an ideal world, this blog will be somewhere you can relate and turn to too, a place where we can all be ourselves, drop our everyday and online personas and just enjoy life for what it is.
Love, Ruthie Xx