Saturday, 19 March 2016

What's on my Face? | Make up Haul

Hello gorgeous readers! This weeks post is a simple everyday make up look. I'm going to give you a little glimpse into what's in my make up bag this season. This time it's mostly drug-store products, along with a couple of old faithfuls from slightly pricer brands. Let's get into it. 


As most of you know, i'm a poor student, so buying high end every time isn't really an option. I've gone for mostly mid-range beauty bits in this haul, featuring products which will look amazing without breaking the bank! I have always had issues with acne and so it's especially important that I take care of my skin when it's acting up. Cleanse and moisturise... You know the drill. First up, I picked up this No 7 'Airbrush Away' primer a couple of months ago. It is pore minimising and completely mattifying, giving your skin that velvet finish, allowing your make-up to glide on smoothly! Like Porefessional by Benefit, but a little cheaper (and usually on a 3 for 2 deal in Boots).

Because of my generally bad skin I need to use products which a mid-to-full coverage  (usually something like Mac's Studio Fix/Sculpt). Recently I picked up this foundation by L'oréal. It's their Infallible 24hr Matte base in shade 11, vanilla. This product is amazing. The colour is a perfect match and doesn't come off too yellow toned, perfect for my pale complexion! It's v high coverage and really reminds me of MAC's studio sculpt, but thankfully for my student budget, it's half the price!

Next, something a little more pricey. To combat any blemishes i've returned to my trusty 'boi-ing' by Benefit. This is a pretty heavy duty concealer and it really works. The consistency is perfect for targeting breakouts, hiding those nasty red spots without looking cakey. This product also has healing properties so works to visibly reduce inflammation throughout the day. It's a little more expensive, but it really works and still cheaper than its high-end counterparts e.g. Laura Mercier 'Secret Camouflage'. I picked this up in shade 01.

Finally, I picked up a couple of No 7 goodies: it was three for two after all! I've got the Perfect Light pressed powder in Translucent. A handy compact which works to reduce shine and hold that base in place all day long. As well as this I picked up a cheaper bronze/highlight duo. This was an act of necessity as I touched pan on my Charlotte Tilbury 'Bronze and Glow' this week. To prolong wee Charlotte's shelf life, I decided to grab this dupe for everyday use, and I love it! The product comes in a similarly gorgeous rose gold compact. The bronze is extremely warmed toned and looks natural/not too shimmery. I may actually prefer the bronzing portion to B&G, and that's saying something!! (less than half the price!)


Next up it's eyes/eye brows... For my lids i've gone back to L'Oréal and their gorgeous nude eye palletes. This one is from the Colour Riche range in the shade 'Les Ombres'. These warm and shimmery shades make for the perfect, warm, every day eye look. I find myself coming up with dozens of looks just using these shades. Gorgeous neutrals that can be amped up with the application of defined eye-liner.

Liner wise, I always go for a felt tip applicator. This mechanism allows for a more precise application, allowing me to create the perfect cat eye time and time again. This one is No 7 'Stay Precise' in blackest black. I follow this up with No 7's Velvet Lash mascara in the same shade. (I promise i'm not sponsored, just can't resist a bargain!)

Lastly, it's brows. This is my favourite Benefit product, their Browzings kit in 'light'. The kit comes with two applicators, tweezers and of course the brow colour itself. I first apply the wax to carve out that perfect brow arch, then fill in the gaps with the soft powder. I used to use (abuse) this product when I first started using make up, and I have to say, less is more with this ladies. BUT if you want to achieve that perfect Lily Collin's brow definition, this is the way to do it.


Last but not least, on the lips it's got to be my old faithful - Twig by Mac (which I have written about before). The perfect colour compliment for a more neutral 'every day' look.

So, that's it - my everyday face! Let me know what you think/if you think there's any other products I should try out!


Monday, 14 March 2016

Moonfish Cafe | A Review

Recently, I visited the gorgeous Moonfish Cafe restaurant in Aberdeen. This relaxed and stylish eatery is located in Aberdeen’s merchant quarter, offering a tasteful injection of sophisticated dining in the heart of the city. We were lucky enough to snag a table at Moonfish on Friday night, after weeks of waitlisting. And, i’ve got to tell you, it was worth it. 

The restaurant is intimate. Stylish. Clean lines only disturbed by packed tables. Featured artwork. Shelves populated with their extensive Gin collection. Features which establish their effortless aesthetic dissolving any fear of pretentiousness off the plate. 

Portion sizes at Moonfish are small, but perfectly formed. Delicate and innovative twists on traditional courses, accompanied, naturally, by a G&T. Despite the unfortunate guarantee that while sipping on an Edinburgh Gin my judgement is a little compromised, I can assure you the first portion of the evening was gorgeous. However, post bottle of Pinot Noir the desert may be a little hazy… I’m kidding! The whole evening was delish. 

So, what did I eat? To start, I opted for the Confit Salmon with Crab, fennel and lemon. Followed by the Fillet of Beef, accompanied with leeks, nettle pesto and salsify. And the Chocolate, pecan, orange, oats to finish. 

This medley was the perfect dinner out. The portion sizes meant that, despite the elaborate nature of the meal itself, I wasn't over stuffed or burdened. The flavours were adventurous yet grounded in the familiar. An absolute treat and a gorgeous night out. 

Star course: The main. The fillet of Beef was succulent and packed with flavour. Tender and more-ish. 

Call them up, book your next meal out at Moonfish. You won't regret it. 

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Imperfect Me | Bridget Jones Syndrome

Hello. Hello to all the wonderful ‘yous' who have stuck around long enough to read this post.

It’s been a few months since my last update. I cannot apologise enough for this virtual hibernation - to you and myself. But, sometimes life really does get in the way. I’ve thought about writing this post for weeks (months) and have convinced myself hundreds of times to delete, clear all history, step away from the screen and back inside my head. But now, if i’m honest, my brain really has reached full capacity. The wires are crossed the hard drive needs to be rebooted and I need to get this out there to another place, another cloud. It’s time to put pen to paper (fingers to keypad) and share a little bit of where i’ve been with you.  

For years I have put the way I am down to what I call ‘Bridget Jones Syndrome’: an unconscious act of very British suppression/general lack of self worth, that typically results in hours spent crying over ice-cream and feeling generally blue. The doctors call this something else. Something more clinical, something less Warner Bros (severe anxiety and depression). This diagnosis does not scare me. I have been through the routine countless times. The very public anxiety attacks. The very private punishment, the very vocal healing. I’ve had years of practice dealing with more than Bridget, and until recently I thought she was part of my past. I classified these Bridget Jones tendencies - binge eating/purging, manic episodes, grey days/weeks and the scars that go with it as components of a past which made me who I am today: someone stronger, someone better. However recently, despite being happier in some ways than I have been in years, she has started to feature more in my life. Like an old friend you spot in a café and try to avoid. 

As I chart the last six months in my head I realise how happy I have been (truly). My friends are unparalleled. Old and new, these people have kept me afloat without even knowing. They are my silver linings and I thank God for their kindness and love. Discounting anxiety, which for me, will always demand a daily strategy ( the constant assessment of what could bring on an attack) my mental health issues have been categorised as situational. This means that a combination of concrete reasons, which I won’t go into but have written about before, have induced my increased susceptibility to feelings of depression. Recently though it’s more difficult to pin-point the whys. I know I have spread myself too thin, I know I have had no time to re-group, to work out where i’m going, I know I have made people happy, I know I have let people down.

And that’s it. That’s the crux of it. By spreading myself too thin, saying yes to everything I have unconsciously sabotaged my own health journey. I don’t know if it’s because i’m a Leo, because I went to a very achievement driven school in my formative years, because I have big dreams, but I connect my happiness directly to my achievements. Whether it is something small - a compliment, validation, a good grade, a role in a production, I calculate my self worth based on accolades, badges of honour that prove i’m not failing. Because, if I can get through it I win, right? Recently someone pointed out the cracks in this strategy. They stopped me in my tracks and shattered the illusion that by functioning I was fine. They realigned my coping mechanism and forced me to understand that I wasn’t actually coping. That by just surviving I wasn’t really living. They did me a favour, but I couldn’t see that. 

My biggest fear has always been letting people down. The past few weeks alone I have had 18 hour days, working in the library, attending rehearsals, eating, learning lines, managing, eating, having attacks, eating, feeling lost, eating. I never even noticed what I was doing until I was told, not in so many words, that I had let people down. Because I wasn’t bleeding or running into traffic I decided I was healed. I decided I was in control. 

The past couple of weeks have set me back. I’ve reacted in ways that were once second nature, making a mess of my mind and punishing myself for being human. "People don’t know how to help you when you’re like this”. “People don’t know how to reach out”. “It’s okay”. “I’m fine”. You make yourself the butt of their jokes, you focus your energy into cracking smiles and deflecting attention, you try not to cry in front of them. You know they love you, you know the good ones will always be there. You go home. You phone home. You realise, you are not okay. You make a list, you start to take care of the ‘you’ you have neglected for WEEKS. You remember someone loves you. You nurse your scars, you cry a little. You are human. You start tomorrow. You take today back, today is yours. Today is for healing. Tomorrow is for change. 

At the start of this year I bought a “Happiness Planner” and since then I have kicked myself so many times for jumping on this ridiculous bandwagon. But recently my friend Hannah told me that she started writing down one positive thing about every day on her whiteboard. Forcing herself to recognise the good that she couldn’t see before (thank you Hannah, for your kindness, for a chat which actually saved me). I’ve decided to do the same, and it’s silly but it’s helping to see, on paper, that in reality that things aren’t as messy as they are in my head. I have friends that I adore, who give me that validation that everything will be okay. 

A nucleus of Annas and Hannahs, and Fionas and Esztis (okay, just one Eszti) and Robs and Cals and Joshs and Sarahs and Katies and Kirstys and Beccys and Carries and Eilidhs and Amys and Roos' and Maxines and Mollys and Kates and Girls Like That  have given me hope. Thank you. But the rest of it is up to me. And if you feel the same way, it’s up to you - to pick yourself up and banish Bridget for good. 

This blog has saved me before, I reckon it might be the thing to save me again. Check back for new posts every week. It's okay not to be okay.

KJ xo
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