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Saturday, 28 February 2015

Review: 'Glam Glow' SuperMud Clearing Treatment.

As I mentioned in my #BeautyChatLIVE post last week, my little spending spree in Brighton's Space NK meant I walked away with a goodie bag full to the brim with some seriously wonderful products. I was honestly so excited at first I wanted to try them all at once... but I suppose that would have completely defeated the purpose.
So I've been gradually working through my bag like a normal, rational person and finally gave into the temptation of 'Glam Glow''s SuperMud Clearing Treatment this morning. This stuff is seriously old school, a mud mask that paralyses your face for the full recommended twenty minutes. It's charcoal grey in colour which dries a rather odd shade of green on your face. Like I said, seriously old school. In terms of smell, the only way I can possibly describe the scent is minty dirt. Yes, you read that right - 'minty dirt'. You wouldn't think that was particularly appealing but I actually found this product really satisfying to use. You spread a thin layer over the skin and then wait while it works its magic. I've always been a big fan of mud masks, I find them so therapeutic to use while also providing you with an excuse to pamper yourself. If only I had thought to invite the girls round to watch movies in our pyjamas - oh well, maybe we'll reenact that cliché next time.
Personally, my skin usually feels a bit lack-lustre after a night out - or maybe that's just the slight hangover talking. Nonetheless I felt in need of a pick-me-up this morning. Throughout my teens, my complexion was constantly oily and prone to break-outs. Weirdly enough, now that I'm about to turn twenty I've noticed a real change in my skin. It's a hell of a lot clearer and even gets dry in places - shock horror, had you told me this last year I would have laughed in your face and continued torturing my skin with 'oil-free' facial scrubs.

No shame: trying to pull an expression with a concrete on your face is tough. 

Having attempted to remain expressionless for the recommended time, the mask was really easy to remove and left my skin feeling cleansed and clean. I first got into face masks in my pre-teens and became addicted to the Superdrug own brand equivalent, in 'Raspberry Oatmeal' of course. As amazing as I remember them smelling (not an ounce of 'minty dirt' here), they would leave my skin feeling stripped and tight. A side effect which we all know results in your skin over-compensating in oil production to repair itself. Whoops.
The SuperMud Clearing Treatment, in turn, has left my oil-free all day. My skin had such a nice glow to it that I decided to have a make-up free day so I didn't spoil it by filling my cleansed pores with all sorts of products - a First World Problem if I ever heard one. The sample was teeny-tiny so I'll probably only get one more use (two if I really push it) but this is definitely being put on my birthday wishlist. Because every girl needs a mud-mask in her possession, am I right?
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Friday, 27 February 2015

Ted Baker's Done it Again.

I've had my iPhone 6 for just over two months now and it's safe to say that I have devolved into that clichéd teenage girl with her phone surgically attached to her hand. My only defence is that it's like holding the contents of your life in your palm. My phone contains my social media, my bank details, my music, photos, books, movies, magazines, and all that malarky. Equally, it's like a comfort blanket. Find yourself in an awkward situation? Whip your phone out and avoid eye contact. Bored on your walk home? Listen to your favourite playlist. Waiting for the train/bus/cab? Check your Bloglovin' feed. Sounds pathetic but I'd be lost without it.

So naturally, I needed something a little special to protect my beloved phone from the wear and tear of everyday life. A little part of me is envious of the people that can go 'au naturel' when it comes to gadgets. I am so incredibly clumsy that anything I touch turns to broken... well not quite, but you get the gist. My phone was an early Christmas present and weirdly enough, I really struggled trying to find a case for it. After lots of internet searching I stumbled upon this pink glitter one from 'Skinny Dip' which seemed right up my street. But I was so disappointed when it finally arrived (Note to Self: never make an online purchase in the days leading up to Christmas). The glitter was a bright magenta shade (and not the dusty pink promised in the picture) and because you're more or less always holding your phone upright, the glitter would congregate at the bottom and just look very sad. Plus, it was so incredibly chunky, it doubled the width of the phone itself. I was not impressed.
So when I accompanied my Dad and sister on a Peter Jones errand a few days later, I couldn't resist a quick look at the phone cases - on the off chance they had something more suited to me. And in true Lydia fashion, I ended up buying another case a mere three days after the first one arrived. But I couldn't resist this 'Ted Baker' design. It's so vivid and eye-catching without being too flashy. And because I'm such a nail polish junkie, the first thing I thought when seeing it was that it would go wonderfully with all my pink/red/purple shades. I'd actually seen this particular design when I was shopping for an iPad case back in August but wasn't convinced that I wanted my iPhone to match my iPad - because that would throw me into full-throttle basic bitch territory and I just wasn't ready for it back then.
The latest iPhone 6 models sit so comfortably in the hand. They're slightly rounded and thin which is great except for one little thing - they're so sleek that my phone was always slipping through my hands when I was being no more clumsy than usual. This case gives me a bit of grip and there have been no more incidents... as of yet. My only qualm is that the gold 'Ted Baker' label has scratched a little but that was always bound to happen. It's not too visible, except when it's blown up on a computer screen. But hey, I can live with that.
For some reason or another, my particular case is no longer available online but some of 'Ted Baker''s newest designs are perfect in time for Spring (this one is a personal favourite). One of my favourite bloggers, Lily Melrose, did a post yesterday about her gorgeous case which she found online. iPhone owners of the moment, you're spoilt for choice!
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Thursday, 26 February 2015

'Gilmore Girls' Life Lessons.

So it took took me two months to do but I've only gone and finished the entire seven seasons of 'Gilmore Girls'. 154 episodes in 60 days, that's not too bad right? Now I'm at a loss with what to do with my afternoons. For those who haven't seen the wonderful show of the noughties, stop whatever you're doing and head over to Netflix. Trailing the lives of mother-and-daughter duo, Lorelai and Rory, as they tackle school, careers, and many many romances, this show is the definition of charming. And incredibly insightful at times.
I first stumbled upon 'Gilmore Girls' when I was 15. By then I'd see every episode of 'Friends' hundreds of times and was on the hunt for something new. At that age, E4 was the only channel I watched religiously and an episode of this quirky show aired everyday at 5pm. And before I knew it, an hour of 'Gilmore Girls' was incorporated into my everyday routine.
In an attempt to justify my binge-watching habit, here's what 'Gilmore Girls' has taught me the second time round:

1.Hard work pays off.

Without sounding like a major nerd, the amount of name-dropping of great literary works that went on in this show always inspired me to read. Now that I've finished all seven seasons it's funny looking back on season one and looking ahead to what the Gilmores achieved. Graduating from Yale and building a business is impressive stuff - meanwhile I couldn't tear myself away from Netflix. Thank god they're fictional. 

2. Things won't always come easy.

One of the things I loved about this show is that, although Rory was presented as a prodigy child, she didn't always get exactly what she wanted. She wasn't chosen for the New York Times internship, she had a wobble in her third year of college (a feeling I know all too well), and she had to choose her personal ambitions over a series of boyfriends. Relatability is rare in a TV show but 'Gilmore Girls' nailed it. 

3. Bad decision-making is inevitable.

As much as I love this show, sometimes the Gilmores were downright infuriating. Getting back together with your married ex-boyfriend? Failing to tell your parents you're engaged and then deciding to go on a road-trip the day of your wedding? At times, it was painful to watch. But it's all about how you deal with difficult situations and how that makes you a better person for it.

4. Family will always be there.

Like any classic TV show, you look back through all the seasons and can't count how many characters have been and gone. Lorelai and Rory are eachother's constant. And that's something I really see in my own life. Often the people you think will be around forever can be the ones to disappoint you the most. Of course it's sad but when it comes down to it, I'd prefer to have a wonderful family over flakey friends. 

5. Never be ashamed of your coffee habit. 

My personal favourite life lesson. It's terrible but I literally cannot function without caffeine. I even used to work in Starbucks - such was the intensity of my addiction! I can't begin to think about how much money I've spent funding my coffee habit over the years, I wouldn't know where to start. But the Gilmores embrace their coffee-loving lifestyle so I'm no longer ashamed. I'm a coffee addict and proud. 

It's easy to understand why 'Gilmore Girls' is so beloved. The internet practically exploded when Netflix announced its debut. It's witty, funny, and emotional watching and I'm almost sad that I've finished the series... again. Who knows, give it another five years and I'll be ready for a third viewing.
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Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Searching for a Signature Scent.

I am currently in perfume no man's land. That awkward stage when you're trying to figure out what your next move will be... while desperately trying to finish off any remaining scents to justify indulging in a new perfume. Yes, I am officially bored of my same old scents.

I'm a serial monogamist when it comes to perfume. Vera Wang's 'Princess' lasted through my early teens, then it was on to bigger and better things with Gucci's 'Flora'. I experimented with 'Miss Dior' for a couple months last year but couldn't justify the crazy prize tag and then settled on Marc Jacob's 'Daisy Dream'. I won't lie though, I was very new to the blogosphere when the latest 'Daisy' scent was released and the hype in the blogging community made it the perfume to have. Like I wrote here (feels like a lifetime ago now - I was staying in a hotel room with no white surfaces!), I somehow managed to convince my Dad to bring me back a bottle from Korea, of all places, without even smelling it. Luckily it was love and 'Daisy Dream' has served me well. But I'm feeling a change. Of course, that might be something to do with the big 20th birthday that's fast approaching. Eek. Plus this scent reminds me of summer days spent on the Cornish coast and who wants that in the middle of February?
To be honest, I'm not too sure I believe in a signature scent anyway. When I was younger I always liked the idea of being associated with a certain floral aroma. But scent is so powerful. Whenever I spritz 'Princess' for old times sake,  I'm transported back to Year 8 school bus journeys and messing around with my best friend Immy who obviously had the same perfume too. We were cool like that. So surely it'd be weird if I was still wearing the same perfume as I did at fourteen? A lot has changed since then, I've changed since then. I guess you outgrow perfumes like you outgrow clothes.
Scent is so personal and finding a new perfume is very intimate - which is what's so great about it. You get to play the field... also known as the Debenhams beauty department. Normally I gravitate towards the same reliable brands, all with similar packaging, and a largely identical product. But when I was in Space NK with my Mum a couple weeks ago, I picked up Tom Ford's 'Velvet Orchid' out of curiosity - Anna blogged about it months ago so I'm a bit late to the party here, as always - and I really really liked it. It's sultry yet sweet, spicy almost. With notes of honey and rum, 'Velvet Orchid' is not something I'd normally go for - not going to lie, it doesn't exactly sound appealing on paper. But it smells divine. Oh and that bottle. For £52, this is not a purchase I'll be making on a whim but hey, I'm open to new things now. I'm playing the field, remember...
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Sunday, 22 February 2015

Lazy Sunday Listens.

The sun is refusing to shine here in Southampton and the relentless downfall of rain has kept me captive in my room this weekend. Not that I'm complaining, why venture outside when you're snuggled up in an oversized jumper, have access to Cookie Crumble 'Pop Tarts', and ten more episodes of the 'Gilmore Girls' to watch? Oh and an enormous amount of reading to do...
Due to my incredibly small number of contact hours, (I'm an English Literature student after all) I tend to spend a lot of time in my room throughout the week. My flatmates can always tell when I'm home as a result of my powerful 'Bose' speakers which blast anything I happen to be listening to, cringey or not, right down the corridor. Music is undeniably a huge part of my life and I have a playlist for every mood. Today feels like the ultimate lazy Sunday so it only seemed natural to share my favourite listens.
1. Taylor Swift, 'Style'
2. Adam Levine, 'Lost Stars'
3. Cat Power, 'Sea of Love'
3. Coldplay, 'Green Eyes'
4. Corinne Bailey Rae, 'Are You Here'
5. Elvis Costello, 'Alison'
6. Gabrielle Aplin, 'Panic Cord'
8. Keira Knightley, 'Like a Fool'
9. KT Tunstall, 'Lost'
10. Norah Jones, 'Turn Me On'
11. Stereophonics, 'Handbags and Gladrags'
14. George Ezra, 'Breakaway'
15. Ed Sheeran, 'Tenerife Sea'

Although these songs are almost always on my 'Recently Played', this playlist feels very personal - I have memories intwined with each and every one of these songs. Equally, they're chilled out listens and make for perfect lazy listening.
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Thursday, 19 February 2015

R.I.P. Topshop Ankle Boots.

Confession time: I cannot live without ankle boots. They are the foundation of my wardrobe and my collection is ever-growing. Because every girl needs four slightly different pair of black boots, right? And as naff as it may sound, I have been wearing the same pair of black ankle boots nonstop for two years now. I remember the moment I first laid my eyes on them in the Kensington branch of 'Topshop' like it was yesterday. I had been stressing out over an essay of some sort (bear in mind, this was back in my A-Level days) and my Mum had suggested a quick shopping trip to ease my mind. She knows me so well. And of course, a shopping trip isn't a proper shopping trip without a look in 'Topshop'.

(My 'Dune' replacement pair aren't too shabby)

I stumbled upon them accidentally and I knew it was love. To most, they're just an ordinary pair of boots. Plain black with a small heel. But they were my first ever pair of ankle boots (I know own more pairs then I care to admit to) and they were perfect. Just the right height to bump me up to 5"5 and so comfortable... after a good few weeks of strenuous breaking in, of course. I wore them for the rest of my school career, they came to New York with me that Summer, and were worn religiously during my first stab at university. After that, I wore them to my job interview at 'Whistles' and they've become part of my uniform as a student here in Southampton. But one fateful night last week when I was having drinks with a friend, the heel broke for the second time and I knew it was over. They've been looking particularly shabby of late, having faded to a grey colour after about a year of use and have many battle scars from big nights out. I couldn't avoid it any longer, it was time for retirement.
Luckily, my oh-so-fashionable mother bought me and my sister these 'Acne' Pistol doppelgängers for Christmas - I think it was her way of hinting that my beloved boots needed to be binned. I do love these boots, they're great for everyday wear and the perfect replacements for my 'Topshop' pair. My only qualm that's taking me a bit of getting used to is the height. They're an inch or so higher than my usual boots and whenever I take them off it feels like I'm walking on air! But what's a little extra pain when they make your legs look longer, eh?

It was only when I put both pair of boots side by side that I realised just how sad my 'Topshop' ones are looking. They've had a great life, filled with fond memories, and a couple of fashion disasters too... like the time I wore them with tiny denim short shorts and an oversize hoodie because I thought it made me look so cool. Note to self: it didn't. I'll see if I can get them fixed when I'm back in London just for old times sake, but for now they're taking pride of place in my cupboard. To be admired and not worn. Goodbye dear 'Topshop' booties, you've served me well...
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Wednesday, 18 February 2015


Last night, I met my blogging heroines - Anna and Lily of 'Vivianna Does MakeUp' and 'Lily Pebbles' - and as you can probably tell from my overexcited expression, it was seriously surreal. When the beauty duo announced that they were taking 'Beauty Chat' on the road just last month, I knew I had to go. An evening in Brighton spent sipping champagne and perusing the isles of my favourite beauty store? Yes please. This small branch of Space NK is situated in the Lanes, i.e. the city's trendiest shopping destination.
Space NK rolled out the five star treatment for us bloggers, with champagne upon arrival and macaroons dotted round the store. After a quick browse of some of the new beauty releases, Anna and Lily joined us for a Q&A session. Without reciting every cliché in the book, the event had such a nice atmosphere. It was very chilled and relaxed. Although I was pretty starstruck (did I ever mention the time I bumped into Lily in Oxford Circus and the only thing I could think to say was how much I loved her?), it felt like one big girly chat, a room full of people with a shared love of beauty. Having answered some questions from Twitter to 'break the ice', the floor was open for us to pick the brains of our favourite beauty bloggers. Questions ranged from Anna and Lily's thoughts on the new Benefit 'Roller Lash' mascara (Lily's a fan, Anna - not so much) to asking advice in finding the perfect red lipstick for fair skin... the answer is to go for a blue-based colour, in case you're wondering. I plucked up the courage to ask their advice when it comes to balancing student life and also running a blog - I had always felt inspired by Anna and Lily as they started their separate blogs while still a university. Both said to take the pressure off posting everyday. After all, a blog should be something you enjoy doing and not a chore. They advised staying consistent with posts and that you can always find something to write about in the depths of your make-up bag. Great advice for a blogger on a budget.
After some intense questioning, it was time to shop and I made an immediate beeline for the NARS counter. Like I wrote in my Lip Pencil Review a couple of days ago, my beloved city Southampton is in desperate need of a NARS fix. It's safe to say I made up for lost time, however, leaving the event with two new releases in hand. My first purchase was the 'All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation' which I'd been eyeing up for quite some time. I was even sneakily colour matched in my local Space NK this weekend, but wanted to wait for #BeautyChatLIVE before I indulged. Both Anna and Lily reviewed the foundation on their Youtube channels and the general consensus was that it provided more coverage than the cult classic 'Sheer Glow' and also had a more matte finish. Personally, 'Sheer Glow' never agreed with my oily teenage skin - although my lacking make-up knowledge back in the day probably had something to do with my dislike of this best-selling product. Now that I'm fast approaching the big 2-0, I've noticed a definite change in my skin of late and I'm hoping that this foundation will be a good match.

I couldn't have been more predictable in my second purchase - it was always going to be another Lip Pencil. 'Sex Machine' is my third 'Velvet Matte' pencil but easily the most wearable. It's a feminine, soft pink with a subtle shimmery base. The ideal 'I'm not wearing lipstick' lipstick! Discovering NARS' pencils reminds me of when I first started wearing Topshop's 'Leigh' jeans.
It's an addiction, once you've found your ideal fit you can't help but want all the styles/colours/patterns. The same goes for lipstick. That's the only way I can justify my ever-growing need to own all the colours and all the formulas.

As a result of my little beauty splurge (Space NK makes me forget I'm a broke student), I was given a rather massive goodie bag to take home with me. Bursting at the seams with samples of luxury products, the ladies at Space NK were incredibly generous. They even included a Tangle Teaser, i.e. one of the only hairbrushes to successfully tackle my unruly locks. Out of the many products that were included, I'm most excited to try the 'Oskia Renaissance Mask' - a product Anna and Lily are constantly citing but always felt a bit out of my reach in terms of price. Who knows, maybe I'll be converted. But for the foreseeable future, I'll be spoiled for choice when it comes to skincare. I've already set aside some of these treats for my Mum and my sister - I'm sharing the beauty love!
Although it was only a quick trip to Brighton (I only wish I could have stayed longer - but university calls), meeting Anna and Lily and treating myself to some good ol' retail therapy made the journey so worth it. I got the chance to chat to them a bit after the Q&A and they're even lovelier in 'real life' - we shared a common love of 'Whistles' and even started comparing nights out in our respective university cities. They're genuinely lovely and their advice only reminds me of how much I love this online world of all things beauty.
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Monday, 16 February 2015

A NARS Lip Pencil Love Affair.

For reasons I'll never fully understand, the city that is to be my home for the next three years does not have a NARS counter. A MAC yes, Bobbie Browns and Laura Merciers in excess, and hundreds of Benefit hotspots - but as of yet, not a NARS in sight. You would have thought my most beloved make-up counter would have made my university criteria. But alas, it must have slipped my mind. Southampton, I am disappointed.
Like I wrote back in September, Vivianna Does Makeup is one of the few blogs I visit daily and when Anna began raving about NARS' lip pencils, I knew I needed to hop on the bandwagon. Within hours of being home for Christmas, I satisfied my NARS craving with an immediate trip to Liberty's. And there it was, the most perfect red lip pencil just calling out to me. Her name is 'Luxembourg' and we've been inseparable ever since. Incidentally, I received another for Christmas, the gorgeous berry shade named 'Never Say Never', and the classic 'Cruella' is the latest addition to my fast-growing collection. I know in my heart of hearts that I will not be satisfied until I own each and every one. They're just that good.

Left: Luxembourg, Right: Never Say Never - excuse the shameful pouting

Before these beauties entered my life, I was always a bit nervous of a bold lip. In premise, they're a great idea... but in reality, things get a bit more complicated. My first venture into the world of lipstick was at the tender age of 13. It was a pink glittery monstrosity from Rimmel that turned my teeth a lovely shade of yellow. After that I didn't try again till a couple years later. This time I went high-end - Lipstick Queen to be exact. Again, their universal 'looks good on everyone' red, also known as 'Medieval', was great in premise but didn't have the lasting power to win me over. However, these NARS lip pencils are a real game-changer. 
'Luxembourg' is a satin formula which makes for really easy application. The colour glides on, no fuss and stays put. Naturally you lose a bit of the sheen as the day wears on but the formula becomes matte and incredibly long-lasting. I haven't divulged the full extent of my caffeine addiction here on LydiaLulu but it's fair to say I drink a good few (averaging around four) cups of tea and coffee a day. Thus, most lip products fall short of my addiction. But 'Luxembourg' beats the odds. Depending on how thickly I've applied the product, there's naturally a bit of a lipstick stain on all my discarded coffee cups, but the colour really does stay put. This particular shade of red has pink undertones which I think suits paler complexions like my own. I only wish I could tackle those orangey-reds. But I've found my perfect match in 'Luxembourg' - it's one of those lipsticks which makes you feel ready to take on the world. In the least clichéd sense possible.
After I'd discovered my go-to red, I couldn't stop hovering round the NARS counter at my local Space NK. Next I had my eye on this purply-pink berry shade. I wanted something a little more low-key, a bit more effortless. 'Never Say Never' is a sweet, feminine colour which perks up a simple make-up day. I tend to reach for it when I want something more than slick of lip balm or gloss. However, it's a slightly different formula to my beloved 'Luxembourg' in that it's a 'Velvet Matte' finish. The colour doesn't glide on quite as nicely as its 'Satin' counterpart but the staying power is equally as strong. It just means I need to remember to apply lip balm about ten minutes before application otherwise you end up with chapped, strangely coloured lips. Never a good look. Whereas with 'Luxembourg' you draw on one coat and you're good to go, 'Never Say Never' needs a bit more building up which means you can vary the intensity of colour. Some would say this is a con, I personally prefer only a tinge of colour and enjoy having the option of a more dramatic look also. 


Funnily enough, 'Cruella' has come into my possession almost by accident. I inherited my love of all things beauty from my wonderfully glamourous Mum who is also the proud owner of a  Sephora 'Rouge Card'. Anyway, my Mum received a little birthday present from Sephora which included this much coveted colour and she was clearly feeling charitable. Despite only having it for a couple of days,  I feel like 'Cruella' is 'Luxembourg's more sophisticated and sultry older sister. It's a brown based red which is certainly not for the faint-hearted. My experience with these NARS lip pencils has given me the confidence to attempt this colour but had it been the first I'd tried, I probably would have run scared. But that's just my personal taste talking - I'm very girly in my taste and am constantly drawn to pinks and reds. Although I love this sultry shade, I can already see myself reserving it for special occasions and glamourous nights out. Equally, 'Cruella' lives up to NARS standards and its wearability is seriously impressive. If anything, it's almost too difficult to remove - but that's a small price to pay for lipstick with impressive longevity. 

Left to Right: Cruella, Luxembourg, Never Say Never

As much as I love my NARS, I'm thinking it's probably for the best I don't have immediate access to a counter in Southampton. I'm a student, I don't have the funds to buy up all their lip pencils. At £19 each, these lip pencils are on the pricier side - but for me, they have been totally worth it. Their wonderfully long-lasting formula means you're not constantly topping up your colour and they're small and compact enough to throw in your handbag. No lipstick brush or blotting paper needed. I know I'm not the first to sing their praises, but these pencils really are a standout product. Who knew I could be converted to the bold lip side?
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Saturday, 14 February 2015

Love Yourself this Valentine's.

It's the holiday that singletons worldwide dread, the one day of the year that can make you feel inherently lonely despite being surrounded by wonderful friends and family. Valentine's Day - *shivers*. This time last year I was in the midst of a romantic trip to the North Norfolk coast - one of the most beautiful places in the world. This year... not so much. It's supposed to be the most romantic day of the year, filled with gushing declarations of love and adoration and plenty of chocolate. When you're in a happy relationship, I can't think of anything better.
This is my first Valentine's post break-up, and to be honest, I thought I'd be sadder. Don't get me wrong, it stings a little to reflect on how great I had it a mere 365 days ago. But just because I lost that guy doesn't mean I have to lose myself wallowing in heartbreak. After all, Valentine's Day is potentially the most commercial, made-up holiday of them all! It's fundamentally just a money making venture, a Hallmark card holiday at most. Without sounding like a cynical singleton, it really is just another day.
Equally, it can be a really difficult time when you've recently split with someone. Recently I've decided to take a step back from guys - I'm putting my love life on the back burner and focusing on my own needs. Being single means you have the luxury of being a little selfish. I'm learning to be happy on my own again and there's something really quite liberating about that. I've grown way closer to my friends at uni, I have more time for my family now, and my mind is completely focussed on my school work. If the right guy comes along then that's great, but I'm not going to actively search for him. I have no patience when it comes to figuring out if a guy 'likes' me or not or wondering how long I should wait before replying to his message. The 'chase' is tedious and I've reached a stage in my life where I simply can't be bothered! Which is why I think it's so important to be kind to yourself this Valentine's Day. If you don't have a special person who is lucky enough to be on the receiving end of your love then why not indulge yourself. My foolproof list of ways to treat yourself include:

1.Buying flowers. 

Roses shouldn't be reserved for those in love and bouquets are being flogged off left, right, and centre. I don't care that it makes me a 'basic bitch', a nice bouquet just makes me feel better about life. Always.

2. Indulging in some retail therapy. 

Realistically speaking, this is my fix for any problem! But today I bought a bargain of a dress from Jack Wills and felt invincible. Clothes just have that effect on me. Plus, looking your best on the most romantic day of the year is a small comfort.

3. Chocolate. 

Again, why should the sugary stuff be restricted to couples? Protest and buy a box, ideally Lindt.

4. Spending time with a close friend. 

Going shopping with my mum and spending some quality time with her always makes me feel better. I'm lucky that I can talk to my mum about anything and we share a joint love of all things girly.

5. Remember that your 'relationship status' doesn't define who you are. 

The danger of losing yourself in a relationship is all too real. Being single allows you to explore your identity and grow as a person. It is tough being single sometimes, but at the moment, I'm exactly where I need to be.

If you're a struggling singleton - a phrase I hate by the way - then take comfort in the fact that the dreaded day is almost over. Like a true 'basic bitch', I'm always reminded of this wonderful 'Sex and the City' quote, 'the fact is, sometimes it's hard to walk in a single woman's shoes. That's why we need really special ones now and then - to make the walk a little more fun.' 
Happy Valentine's Day.
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The Big Chop.

Okay so it wasn't that big in the grand scheme of things but today's haircut was pretty monumental. It was my first in a year and a half. My hairdresser had left Toni & Guy and rejoined the company in the time it took me to book my 'follow-up' appointment. And I have no defence except for the fact that I like my hair realllly long and simply couldn't be bothered/didn't have the funds for a trip to the salon. But there comes a point when you simply can't avoid the chop any longer. For me, I knew I needed a cut when my hair kept getting caught on random strangers in clubs... always an awkward moment no matter what happens. So I used it as an excuse to jump on a train home and spend the weekend with the family. Within an hour of pulling up to Clapham Junction, I had already made a quick trip home to dump my luggage and rocked up to my beloved Toni & Guy with a picture of Zoella's lovely locks in hand and ready for my makeover.

And yes I'm a total wuss when it comes to getting my hair cut. Despite the fact that my hair was completely out of control up until 4 o'clock this afternoon, I had grown accustomed to its crazy length and size. Not that I'm complaining, but having thick hair can sometimes be a right pain in the arse. It's impossible to control, hence why I never attempt anything other than an unadventurous ponytail, and am often left feeling like an extra from an 80s movie. Plus, my flatmates joked that I was growing dreads at the back of my head because I simply couldn't reach that far with a hairbrush. It was time for action. I've had a good four inches cut off and my locks are looking healthy and rejuvenated. But that could also be something to do with the Kate Middleton-esque blow dry.
Like I wrote back in July, long blonde hair has become part of my identity. A break-up chop never even occurred to me... thank god! Having survived my fair share of bad cuts and down-right ridiculous colours throughout my teens, I'm going into my twenties with a style that suits me. It might not be the most drastic of changes but a good cut is the perfect little pick-me-up.
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Thursday, 12 February 2015

Review: Formula X

Red nail varnish - an oldie but a goodie, the perfect little pick-me-up, a hint of old school glamour. Yes, red nail varnish is my kryptonite. I can't even begin to count how many bottles of the stuff I've gotten through over the years... yet alone how much I've spent feeding my addiction. As a result, I consider myself quite the expert. I've tried and tested every brand from the bog-standard Barry M to the shimmering heights of Chanel. I love the stuff and I know what makes for a perfect polish. So when my mother me brought back a red nail varnish fix after her last NY trip, I was far too excited to give Formula X a go. Having read reviews from around the blogosphere, including beauty blogger extraordinaire Lily Pebbles, I had high hopes for this polish.
This shocking candy apple red naturally reminded me of Essie's classic 'A-List' varnish which has been a staple of mine ever since my Liberty Sale Haul back in June. However, Formula X is not quite on the same name game as good ol' Essie and this classic red varnish is rather boringly called 'X Rouge'.
On first glance the varnish looks promising, a very sleek and upmarket design. Unfortunately, the formula and application just don't live up to the design promises. The brush is small and thin which means the varnish collects at the bottom of the nail making it tricker to spread evenly. The polish itself is very thick in comparison to other brands - an attribute which I don't particularly value in a nail varnish. Some like a thick formula, it means you get more for your money and the often laborious process of painting your nails is shortened. You could definitely get away with only one coat of this glamourous crimson shade.
Personally, I enjoy painting my nails. Anyone could figure that out from a quick glance at my mammoth collection. I find it so relaxing and wonderfully therapeutic taking time out of my day to make my nails look pretty. And I'm oh so aware of how ridiculous that will sound to some. But that's why I don't mind taking the time to go through all the steps to a perfect manicure. The never-ending buffing and filing, followed by a base coat, then the first coat of colour, the pause to let the colour settle, then the second coat, etc etc. For me, the formula of this varnish just doesn't bode well. It's far too thick which also means that it takes longer to dry and set - the one part of the nail painting routine I simply can't stand!
For me, Formula X just can't compete with the perfection of Essie. Despite my upmost efforts in applying top and base coats, my manicure is already chipping after a mere two days. My pedicure, on the other hand, is going strong after a week and a half. Strangely enough, I broke my toe on Wednesday morning (a funny story for another day) and there's not so much as a chip in sight. Perhaps this thick formula just isn't cut out for the wear and tear of a LydiaLulu manicure.
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