April. The sun has officially come (and nearly gone again) and the winter candles are swapped for bright fresh flowers. I think it's time for this months new ins and very loved products.

Skincare:

A few new in products from the labs at No7.  I'm a sucker for anything that tells me I'll look younger (at 22) so this firming cream sounds good, and my mum has put her name down on the dark circle one already. If they're decent, you'll know next month (or whenever I write the next BE, unpredictable).

Image skincare is a new brand for me, and one you'd be more likely to find at a spa. I headed down to one of their product launches and with a very intimate (5 of us!) talk from one of the leading faces of the brand, I learned just how much I needed, and what everyone else was already loving. I have a shopping list ready to go. I was kindly gifted the wipes and face mask and was told to use the wipes to take OFF the mask. Can you believe it. What an idea. The mask doesn't dry all horrid and flakey either and the wipes are WET. Very nice, yes.

As a Dermalogica 'Skinfluencer', I'm sent various products every now and then to try out. Recently I was sent their new Prisma Protect cream that I used before one of their primers that I LOVE and so far I've had a few compliments on my skin already. A smooth base is your first goal to happy makeup. 

Makeup:

My current, and long time favourites. The cheap and very cheerful Makeup Revolution Foundation is one I cannot stop shouting about. I've stopped using my Nars and wasn't too sad when my Urban Decay one ran out because I had this to fall back on. And fall back I'll be doing as it is WONDERFUL. My number one drugstore foundation for sure, and maybe number 1 or 2 with that UD one in the mix. I love it. Buy it. You need it (probs not).
Eyes wise, I cannot get enough of the Better than Sex mascara by Too Faced. There is no other like it. I've been through tubes and tubes and when I received a little one in a gift set at Christmas, I was very happy. The Kiko eyeliner is literal perfection for small lines upon the lid and a small (or large, whatever) wing too. The only one I could ever use and actually flick with. It's magic, basically. *Paid for myself.

A place to go...

An avid Duck & Dry fan, when I was invited down to their new Primark Duck & Dry Express, I was thrilled. My booking was at a different time to what it should have been, but nevertheless I sat patiently for my new time. Still asked to wait after the time had passed, I overheard the manager (I assume?) tell the eyebrow lady to do hers next (perks of the job ay). I finally sat down and and kindly said to eyebrower that they didn't really need shaping, just a clear up of the extra hairs around the side. She told me to stop speaking and that she was a professional and will do what she needs to do. First eyebrow down after what seemed like 10-15 minutes (legit). She added a bit of pencil in the gaps and all was well. She then started on the left brow and did. not. stop. I have never been in so much pain on my face. I'm used to threading and waxing, but she would thread and rethread and over again of the same spot until I was bleeding. After a while I hear "there's nothing there" "it's so thin". Let me tell you; I have NEVER had thin eyebrows in my life. I came out of the womb with big fluffy brows and they are a staple on my face. To hear the word 'thin' made my stomach turn. Yet she carried on. Plucking and plucking with her tweezers like there was no tomorrow. 

Below is the photo I sent to a few pals once I'd properly seen what she had done. After filling in the left one and showing me a mirror, I could have cried. When she said my eyebrows were "too close together" I thought she'd thread the middle bit and be done with it, as that has never been said before. But mrs 'professional semi permanent tattoo brow artist' had literally made one a few cm higher than the other. The photo shows the height difference but not the thinness of the left brow. Once I'd got home I took the brow pencil off and was left with an eyebrow half the thickness of the other. Just after it was done I went to lunch with my cousin and even HE pointed it out. I was, and still am, horrified. A week later and the little hairs are starting to grow back, but far higher than my eyebrow (where they're actually meant to be) which means I'll have a gap between what I've got, and what is now growing.

Before: BUSHY EYEBROWS WITH A NATURAL ARCH

After: UNSEEN THINNESS OF LEFT BROW AND MUCH HIGHER THAN THE RIGHT ONE

My friends asked if it was permanent, and were mortified that someone could claim they were a professional and tell me not to tell her what needs doing, could do that. I'd understand if I'd have paid £2 on a stall in a shopping center, or I was one of her first customers but not this. I haven't spoken to anyone at Duck and Dry about it yet, purley because I love the brand so much. And on that note, I'll be a tad calmer and tell you about the hairstyle I was also given...

When I finished my brows, I was then asked to wait even longer as only one hair stylist was working. By the time I had gotten on the hair chair, I'd been there for a good hour and a half and still hadn't had my second treatment. I asked the hairstylist for something curly and with volume, which he delivered in around 10 minutes. I absolutely loved the style and am gutted that I didn't get his name. The staff at the express were lovely in themselves mostly. I'm gutted about the brow situation because I'd have loved to come in and treat myself to a manicure or a style after a brow session once or twice a month. I would recommend the hair stylists any day of the week, having tried a few at Spitalfields, Oxford Street and pop ups at events. I wouldn't personally get my eyebrows done there again, but maybe another person would be different?


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All products* and experiences mentioned in this post were complimentary by the brand or PR.




 



I like London. It's diverse, from the people itself to the different feelings from different places. Shoreditch feels new and cool, whilst South Ken is uber classy and a rich person's paradise. I only ever choose to shoot photos in London for this reason, and it's a capital city, so a must see. 

I don't however like a few bits and bobs. Such as:
1. The constant dread of some terrorist driving over you on the pavement, or weilding a knife around like they're cutting a steak. 
2. The slow paced movements of tourists. 
3. The underground. 

I think I'll pause the list to have a tube chat for a second. It is one of the worst things about traveling to and from London. The positives are that it's 'quick', getting you anywhere in the city, and there's one every few minutes. I have sat on many tubes stuck in many tunnels because there are too many trains built up ahead of it. I literally pray to God the minute those doors close that the woman on the speaker comes on like "the next station is..." because I'll know that slowing down is warranted, and not to sit in a black hole for ages. Recently, my friend stated that in the middle of the day, when trains are reduced and a build up less likely, that she was stuck there for a good 7/8 minutes with the lights flashing on and off. 10 Seconds is a long time. Never mind 8 minutes. The second it happens my back feels like someone is pouring hot water down it. My brain feels like it can burst any second and any music or coat MUST come off because I can't have unnecessary things touching me. 

I've never had a full blown panic attack. Tears wise, in this situation. Even on the overground when we stop for a few minutes to let the trains change over or another train start its journey because ours is a bit early, it'll start. At least on the overground I can call my mum and ask her to remember me for years to come. Sometimes. 

I've recently found a tube map which shows the tunnels throughout London. I then used this to come from the East, all the way around to the West. 2 hours of busses and trains, rather than an hour and a bit of near to heart attacks underground. I've never been this bad in my life. Always claustrophobic and stopping did panic me, but never to this extent. And I doubt it'll change either. So I'm embracing it. Planning ahead the day before using the CityMapper app, and checking train status an hour before I leave. I'm happy to get up a little early to leave sooner, to get that slower (ish) train. I've never tried the busses before like I have recently. Most Central London ones are the newer ones too, v swish. 


I think my main point out of the ramble is that London scares the crap out of me for different reasons. The biggest one may have just been given a solution. You'll just know if you're not ok and something needs to change. I did.





Photography by Stacey White Photography



The AMOUNT of times I call myself 'beige and boring' to describe my life. 
The day my school bff went clubbing for the first time shocked me. Our cheese plates and tea dates were over. 

We get called grannys a lot. Those of us who want to be in bed by 10 with a Netflix documentary on instead of being felt up in a club on a Friday night. I've been called boring because I barely drink. If you're buying I'll take one, which'll last for a few hours. I've been called boring because I #saynotodrugs. I knew of people smoking things other than cigarettes, I live in an area of it being a 'normal' smell to come across. Only when I turned 20 did someone admit they did more than that, and it blew me right over. I know people now that do that sort of thing on the regs. A Saturday night snort routine. Lying to their other halves. Being sick and passing out because they bought a dodgy batch and being dragged out by the bar's security guard 10 minutes after we got there. GOD THAT SOUNDS LIKE FUN. 

I've never smoked, never snorted, never injected. I grew up away from anything of the sort, and yet I'll be the one frowned upon for not joining in. Because being conscious post midnight isn't the goal it seems. Anyway enough of the drug rant.

I'm boring because once my meds wear off, the cold sets in and my joins tense up. New years eve: 11.20pm. I mean I wasn't exactly wanted there, nor did I really want to be there anyway. I'd ran out of Lambrini and went outside to put the bottle away, and within seconds it hit me like nothing before. I sat down, and for the next hour tried everything to not let the sleep take over. I literally felt my body go from party party to reality-let's-feel-like-dying-xx. I was also freezing, legs were purple to match my dress and my hands stuck in a claw shape. Anyone who bothered to check on me had the answer. I wasn't bored or angry, upset even. I physically could not stand up and socialise, never mind dance to the songs I'd requested a few hours earlier. I just wanted to cry. 
I was branded as being boring, like I could help the situation at all.

Anxiety wise, if I have nothing to say I cannot say anything at all. Literally, I cannot. I have to be in fight or happy mode. Flight or freeze will just seal my lips shut and allow for one word answers. It happens with my in laws, my boss, and namely my other halves friends I don't care for.

Here are some reasons I'm not actually boring at all:
1. I work full time PLUS I'm studying for my degree PLUS running this fabulous blogging empire
2. I go to many amazing events as a result of the empire
3. I work with many amazing brands as a result of the empire
4. I don't remember the last time I paid for a drink (refer back to point number 2)
5. My wardrobe is a treasure trove open to pals
6. I'm a laugh
7. I'm a qualified mental health person so I know things you don't know about why you do things you don't know you're even doing yet. 
8. I always have food on me e.g. kinder eggs at parties

In conclusion, boring is fun drugs are bad. Good night. 







I thought as I'd write this the sun would be shining and my grass would start to turn a little greener. In fact, we've just had a huge hailstone storm and the washing has been dragged in more than once today after the downpours start-a-coming. It is however just over the middle of March, and Spring officially starts the day this goes live. In the hope of warmer weather, here is a few of the transitional staples I'll be wearing over the next month or so, until a thin jacket is enough and the knit wear is packed away.

The roll neck
A thin top, and one to block the wind down the back of your neck. I have these out all year round, as someone who felt the cold in the middle of the Cyprian summer last year. My shades are of course while, beige and brown, with the rare grey for days I'm 100% sure I won't sweat through it (we've all been there). 

The midi skirt
Being petite, I first thought that midi skirts would be more maxi on me. I've come to realise that I love them, and if paired with some see-through tights, will take you through the end of the winter into spring with ease. Oh, and this I Saw It First one is hitting those snake print trends too. 

The mid heel
I love these heels all year round. Not a kitten heel, but a more blocked version. I can walk places, drive in them, and they look far dantier than I first thought. I have many versions in many colours, and these New Look slingbacks have done me very well so far. 

The trend bag
I'll never be able to afford a Dior, so this New Look saddle bag will happily do to cover this year so far's "it bag". 

----Shop the post----







 


It was two years and a week since I last few the 30 minute journey to Amsterdam. If you read my last post from 2017, then you'll know that my 3 day visit was a tad different to this year's version. This time we boarded the plane for a friend's birthday, and it included three couple total. Two of the couples stayed at an Air B&B and one at a hotel not too far away. I wish I'd had gotten more photos of this place because I really could not complain at all. The host lived upstairs so was waiting by the door when we arrived. The apartment was clean, with a large living/kitchen area, two bedrooms and a walk in shower/loo room. It was situated just west of the Rijksmuseum and Museum square. We walked everywhere instead of the trams, which I actually think along with the bikes, have gotten far scarier than I remember. 

Sunday saw our arrival, a 20 minute uber ride to the apartment and my first proper realisation on what a 'coffee shop' really is. I lasted 30 seconds by the door with my coat across my face before gagging in the street and calling my mum for comfort. Weed smells, it's not my thang. We visited the Anne Frank House on Monday morning and if I'm honest, I expected more. It's so very much hyped up, but the only feeling I got from it was that of claustrophobia from the many many queues inside as people walk around extra slow. The house itself is rather large, some parts rebuilt for museum purposes clearly, but literally nothing in there. I'm aware that the Nazi's had all the furniture removed after the family had been captured, but having nothing but the walls led to it feeling like one big empty room. Anne's part of the house was across two floors, a little staircase and boarded up windows. I wanted to feel something, like emotionally, but with only photos of recreations, and nothing actually in the room, plus the amount of people inside, left me feeling quite disappointed. It's something to say I've done though. 

We wandered the streets on the sunniest day of the trip, canal photo taking and popping to an Irish pub for a drink. We sat outside in a little bar cafe with a Coke and chips (boys with beer obviously) and people watched for an hour. We found a corner shop sweet shop, and spent a good 25 euros or so on pick and mix. When in Rome *Amsterdam. Heading back for a nap (4 or so hours of one) before myself and Jay walked down to the Rijksmuseum and it's bar for some photos. Dinner that night included an Ubereats delivery of the best chicken strips and chips we've ever had. Period. Once everyone had eaten, we walked down to the Red Light district. Tourist central and an odd experience if you've never seen it. Full of lads trying to convince their pal to part with their cash, and semi naked ladies waving at your boyfriend out of their windows. Lovely. 

Tuesday began with a pancake hunt. We sat down for maybe 3 seconds in an Instagrammable, hipster looking place, with a queue out the door. It's very healthy, no soft drinks menu wasn't for us and we began the 20 minute walk to the place I'd visited last time for some unhealthy comfort food. We sat down at The Pancake Bakery and I'd ordered what I had a few years ago, the chicken, cheese and mushroom pancake, whilst Jay finally got his nutella and strawberry one. The place is 10/10 in it's cosy little shop next to a canal. We walked to Museum square for a quick drink at a German ski bar before heading back to decide on dinner. We decided to cook our meal since our b&b was self catering. A fancy looking steak (or chicken for me) dinner with candles for the ambience. Also quick tip, the Albert Hein is similar to our M&S and you can tell the quality was better than the other supermarket we went to for supplies on the first night. They also let you squeeze your own orange juice from real oranges. Fancy.

In the evening we went to the Three Sister' pub, the one I'd been too last time. The town was so quiet this time, bar the football watching punters. We then headed back to the square for a drink in the only pub we'd seen with a pool table, sussed out on our earlier trip, but once the English football games started and the place became rammed, we wondered for a bit before settling in a lovely little *no football playing* bar, with a few middle to older aged people. Bliss. We grabbed a quick Burger King on our way back, just a brownie (of dreams) for myself, before heading back to bed.

Up at 8, we had packed and were ready to leave the apartment for a while as the owner kindly allowed us to keep our bags there whilst the cleaners were in. We had a last little walk around town before grabbing a tacky keyring to add to my collection, and sitting in McDonalds before grabbing everything and heading to the airport for a 6 hour wait for the plane. And I think that sums it up really.

I realise now that this trip was full of food and drinks. All for the culture no?









Jumper is Gant / Skirt is New look / Boots are Boohoo / Bag is Mango 


This post was a gifted [unpaid] collaboration with Gant. You can gab 15% off the site with the code KATIEC15

Premium high street is something I can very much get behind. Investing more in longer lasting pieces has been at the forefront of my mind for a while, so this Gant V neck jumper fitted perfectly into my plan, but also my wardrobe. When I hear the word jumper, I think of winter, a big puffy coat and the thickest jeans I own. But here I opted for a... skirt. A short one too. This beige one is from New Look, with last year's tortoise shell button trend steaming into SS19. I think it matches perfectly. The jumper is very soft, and I'm very protective about folding and hanging it, and I'll be heading to the dry cleaners from now on.

Tights tights tights. Wear them. I used to call them my 'tan tights' because even the literal see through ones would still give my pale legs a slight colour. They also smooth everything out and feel a bit like you've Facetuned them without the hassle. Not that anyone needs to smooth them, I just fancied it. 

As we are all very much aware, I wear white everyday, near enough. So what do you match a white jumper and beige skirt to? More white is the correct answer. These Boohoo boots have done me very well for the past month or so and I regularly walk to work in them (and a certain cobbled streeted light district in Amsterdam recently but that's besides the point). Love a good 60s vibe. The bag is Mango and one I've shown many, many times on my Insta.  M a n y  t i m e s. 

I'm very happy with this little outfit, and am just waiting on the wind to stop, Storm Garath to leave, and the rain to stop being a bother, to wear it more often. 









Jacket by New Look / Jumper by New Look / Bag by New Look / Jeans by Stradivarius / Boots by Boohoo

There's been A LOT of press recently on bloggers. Namely what they're doing wrong. From various new guidelines from the last two years being said to have been made because bloggers "aren't doing it right", to the most recent: The Times' pooy article. Let's have a chat.

I still think that as much as the blogging industry is clearly a success, and changed consumerism completely, it will never be fully accepted. To say that I aim to blog as a career, to write for myself on my page without 100 people biting my ear off, is sneered at. To say I want a job in journalism for a magazine where working for myself is a rarity and I'm beholden to many many bosses, is the accepted way of doing things. I'm only allowed to be successful if it's the traditional way of doing it. I think the first time I really saw this whole looking down their noses thing was a few summers ago, when my pal Maria J Blogs went on the BBC to discuss the issue and a woman from a very well known magazine spoke over her, at her and down to her, disregarding any point made and in general, just thinking she and her publication are superior. How nice.

The new guidelines, from the ASA/CMA, put the legal bits and bobs into an easier to understand format, or so I have come to believe. Throwing out the jargon, it gives a clearer view of what's right and wrong, as before this, everyone was disclosing differently. Don't get me wrong, of course many more #gifted are now seen and it's easier to identify an ad now, but I doubt Sally with 3K on her first paid campaign was to blame for not disclosing properly. It's the reality TV stars, the Love Island contestants and their teeth whitening products clearly advertising the brand whilst being paid thousands, and not one piece of disclosure. AND STILL after all this, they don't bother with it. The amount of sheer panic from bloggers and brands there was about following the guidelines and threats of fines, and yet these people with millions of followers are not being asked why they aren't following it. They may be influencers, but content creators? Not a chance.


Now for that article. Before I started writing this, I wanted to have the article to hand to refer back to, so literally wrote "The Times, Influencer" into Google and the AMOUNT of articles slating bloggers  that came up was ridiculous. The words "so-called influencers" and "come clean to freebies" really solidifies their hatred for the business. Back in November, Debra Ross wrote the article "Let’s replace the word ‘influencer’ with ‘detestable freeloader". I won't bother you with the details, but the first little paragraph is available to view on the site before you are told to part with your pennies to grace your eyes upon such a disgusting piece of jealous "journalism". How is THIS allowed to be called a job compared to actual hard work most bloggers put in. I won't waste any money on that site, so I headed to The Guardian instead for their view. The line "the men in their lives are reduced to stage-hands and photographers" really got to me. Do you know how many people are 'reduced' to taking photos which turns into a skill and then a career? I've seen countless new photographers join the ranks in the past year all because of their fashion blogging photographs. Charging anywhere from £25-£90 for an hour doesn't seem quite mere to me. 

Both articles themselves state that residents are complaining that people are taking photos outside of their well kept homes. Not once has anyone complained to me, or my friends, or anyone I know of actually about shooting outside their houses. If you looked at the majority of fashion blogging photos, each house looks exactly the same and could be anywhere in the West London streets, with door numbers usually blurred in the background. I don't agree with doorstep sitting or leaning on cars obviously. But why tar an entire industry because 1% aren't doing it right. The girls in the article said that they were lied to by these newspapers about the context and were asked to stage photos to be taken by THE NEWSPAPER doing the exact thing the 'journos' state is wrong. As for the tents, they're a fantastic idea that makes the entire process quicker, disrupts 0 peoples' day, and means that the local Starbucks's toilets aren't filled up unnecessarily. 

This whole thing of banning bloggers from Notting Hill is simply laughable, and when spoken about on the radio and asked by a parent of mine about it, we both agreed it was a load of rubbish. Places like Notting Hill thrive on the money and tourism that bloggers bring. Peggy Porschen and Farm Girl wouldn't have been half as successful without the promotion of bloggers and influencers. Their queues go on for 20+ minutes on a normal day. Ban the bloggers and watch the businesses drop like flies. How can you distinguish between a blogger and a tourist? One resident was said to have stated that it was the latter who cause issues and not bloggers. We want the shot quick and we're done. No one has the time to lounge about and take in the sights. It's a job, not a holiday. 

To sum up, I think everyone is tired of the backlash from people who don't quite get it. Journalists, magazines, newspapers etc WILL target those they feel threatened by. Legal organisations have to put things in place, and in some ways, should be seen as a positive, that the influencer world is being taken far more seriously now than it ever was. And that's the key, it's successful and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Businesses wouldn't bother if not. 

I don't really want to give any backlinkage to either article, but for reference purposes, if you did want to read it, click here. Ew. 



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