Sunday, 24 June 2012

Sunday: Road Runner

Everything I need for a run.

Most Sundays bring a bit of a ramble post on The Beauty Stash.  A few times recently I've mentioned my intention to be healthier, and the past couple of weeks have seen me exercising daily - no kidding!

As a complete and utter novice, running has been hard.  Getting form, breathing and momentum right when you're too unfit to actually do the running takes the whole task into the ridiculous; but I've stuck with it.  I tend to go at night when it's beginning to get dark, so I can run around with minimal viewers, although with my iPod blaring out top tunes it's not like I'd notice them anyway!  I'm still taking fish oil supplements daily to try and help my joints (I have really bad knees!), but often I have to stop running or have a day off with the pain, which is very frustrating.  I don't think road running helps too much, since the hard surface means greater impact upon knees, but running on my local fields ends up a game of 'dodge the hole'... Breaking an ankle would hurt more!  Aside from the running, I've been keeping up with the hula hooping too.  I've still got bruises around my hips, but once I've stuck the music channels on and get twirling, my attention's elsewhere, so I don't notice them.

Outside Beauty, Inside Health wrote a great post about 'Fitspiration not Thinspiration' this week; the image stating 'Sweat Once A Day' is a rule I live by now.  There's nothing better than an increased heart rate and sweating to ensure your heart stays healthy!

Do any of you run?  Do you have any tips for beginners!?

Friday, 22 June 2012

Thierry Mugler's 'Womanity' *Debenhams Special Offer!*

Purchased at the Manchester Debenhams for £25.02.  Offer not showing online.

I mentioned a while ago that I really, really wanted this fragrance.  It's everything I want in a perfume, and I find it really addictive.  So, when I was in the Manchester branch of Debenhams and my best friend pointed to the gift set on offer, I couldn't say "no".  And bought two.

The gift set includes a 50ml bottle of EDP (normally £50 rrp alone), 100ml of body lotion and the cutest, substantial gift bag I've ever received in a set.  All of this was £25.02, reduced from £50.04.  With both purchases, it basically equates to buying 100ml of EDP for the price of one 50ml bottle, so I'm absolutely smitten!  Not to mention the fact that the bottles themselves are refillable, meaning that when I've used them up, I don't need to pay top whack for another (as refills are, of course, cheaper) - unless I find another bargain gift set!

I'm not sure if all Debenhams are running this offer, as it's not showing online, so you'll have to run to your nearest branch to see.  Either way, the Manchester store had a huge tabled piled up with them.  It took all my strength to only buy two...
Don't miss this bargain if you love it like I do!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Summer Make-up

I don't know if everyone's like me, but once the temperature begins to rise, my laziness with make-up does too.  After I've cleansed, toned and moisturised in the morning, I can barely manage to do anything else to my face: cue, summer make-up.  I'll no doubt be cracking out some variation of this over the next few months - especially whilst abroad, where I'm laziest!  I do love the 'no make-up, make-up', and these products do the job just right.

17 Blusher (First Kiss)

The only addition to this whilst abroad will be La Roche-Posay's Anthelios XL Tinted Face Fluid, which I mentioned in my May Favourites.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Sally Hansen's Long, Strong Nails

Sally Hansen Double Duty - £4.16 (at Asda)
Essie 'Cute As A Button' - £7.99 (at Boots)

Can you believe this photo shows just a week's wear of my new Essie polish?  I always paint right up to the cuticle, so you can see how much my nails have grown!  I know there are a few bubbles on my thumb (I'm not sure at what point these appeared, I don't usually get them!), but I have no wear on my tips at all.  As this is my first Essie polish, I think I can safely say that I'm now in love with the brand.

My nails have been quite weak for years; I suffer from splitting, and tend to find my 'most used' fingers (index, middle) experience the worst splitting/breakage out of all my nails.  At Christmas I began to square my nails, and had them like this for 3 months until the splitting began again.  I had to cut them really short and have been gradually regrowing them.  I've been using Sally Hansen's Double Duty since then, and my nails are rock hard.  I'm not even kidding! I put this down to Sally Hansen's protection, vitamin supplements and using a glass nail file.  I know everyone talks about OPI's Nail Envy being the bees knees, but honestly, I'll be rebuying another bottle of this when mine runs out!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

May Favourites aka The Skincare Intervention

There's no denying it, my skin is changing.  Gone are the days when I would abuse my face with harsh scrubs, chemicals and 'cleansing' wipes.  Part of the problem was that I didn't understand my skin - or skincare.  Fast-forward to now; I'm 21, my skin is less 'teenage', more balanced and I'm religious about my skincare.  I've ditched medication (which, incidentally, was also damaging my skin) to pursue more natural methods.  It's still a little oily, mainly around my nose and the middle of my forehead.  It's also dehydrated, and before the intervention, it stung, was bright red and so patchy I couldn't apply base make-up.  These days it's more balanced, but still drinks up all the moisture I give it; things are getting better though!

Skincare is subjective; what works for me might not work for everyone else.  Researching reviews and trial and error is the only way.  I'm still adding in new bits and pieces as I go along, but I use these products on rotation because my combination skin changes daily.  I cleanse, tone and moisturise every morning and evening, exfoliate and use masks/peels a couple of times during the week.  The list of products I've been using/enjoying over the past month are:

Both used with flannels and not muslin cloths!
La Roche-Posay Physiological Cleansing Milk (only if I have no water!)



 - And my array of health supplements that I'll post separately on -

Since it was a skincare overhaul, I can't be sure if individual products are having a particularly significant effect.  However, the combination of them on rotation has meant my skin is quickly getting better and I'm very pleased!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Sunday Round Up #11

Say hello to my pretty girl! I was in the middle of sorting my room this week (hence the piles of clothes...) and she came in to say hello :). She's so blinky though, I can never take a good photo of her. Realistically, this is a terrible photo, but she's just soo cute!

I've been so busy kick starting my new fitness regime that despite all my best intentions, blogging has taken a back seat. I'm sure it'll make an interesting diary over the weeks though - I've begun running this week, and today I bought a weighted hula hoop, so y'know. Feeling positive! I spend most of my time in a sports bra, so it can only be a good sign, right? The weight has been gradually coming off though (lost nearly 2st since my heaviest), so I'm hoping that increased exercise will help too. Fingers crossed!

I (accidentally) bought a few new bits at Boots today, so I'll introduce them into my skincare routine and see how it goes. I was thinking May favourites will be a bit different this month - it's been all about the skincare for the past few weeks, so the normal format I use won't really apply! I also wondered, is there anything you lovely readers would like me to write about? Anything at all? :)

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Black and Blue Disco Nails

Umberto Giannini 'Love Letter Blue' as part of Glam Hair Fashion Kit
Models Own 'Juicy Jules'
Sally Hansen Double Duty

Admittedly this polish isn't black and blue, it's more of a blue-black.  'Love Letter Blue' by Umberto Giannini was released as part of the Painted Lady collection for Christmas 2012; I bought it on Boxing Day and like the nail wraps, it's led untouched while I've been at uni.  On first application the colour is probably more akin to OPI's Russian Navy in tone, but with the added layers (for durability, the colour was opaque in one coat), it's become very dark.  Which I like, but it would have been nicer a little bluer!  Maybe I should wear less layers and repaint more, but I'm lazy!

And of course, my 'classic' disco ring finger.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

The Shaving Experiment


After reading The Vagenda's wonderfully brilliant article on female shaving (not necessarily the face, like Jessica Simpson), which gained national coverage (Emer O'Toole even featured on This Morning), I became both fascinated and intrigued by the whole topic.  As a student who has studied gender politics, I get all wrapped up in a complicated thought process when I'm divulging in said issues.  The most base argument that female shaving rests on though, is that women inherently believe that hairlessness is attractive, because society tells them so.  Most men seem to believe it too; although coming across men who believe that women shouldn't look like infant girls isn't unheard of!

As a woman who deals with the trials and tribulations of body hair on a (mostly) daily basis, what I'd read in the article really began to gnaw away at me.  I've mentioned before that I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) which means my hormones are crazy, and my body thinks I need excess hair, much like men do - although thankfully, mine isn't as bad as some, like The Bearded Lady who appeared on This Morning as well... So hair removal is something that plagues me, and always has done.

At 10 years old my body was embarking upon puberty, and I had the hairiest legs on a child I'd ever seen.  They bothered me that much that my mum let me shave them, and I've continued doing it for the past 11 years.  After reading the article, I realised that I'd always shaved/waxed/plucked and preened because I thought I should, not necessarily because I wanted to.  Which is exactly my point about the problem with female shaving; we all do it because we're told that attractive women aren't hairy women.  And this is what I have a serious problem with; I'm never one to shy away from going against the convention.  Brazenly stating I don't want to get married, have children or be an oppressed woman is just the tip of the iceberg.  Realising that shaving was just another thing that we women do to be 'sexy' for men really annoyed me, so I decided to tackle it head on.

So as an experiment, I decided to see how long I could last without shaving, but more importantly, how I felt about it.  All about my body, for me.  As my body hair grows quickly, it wasn't long before I was fighting off the urge to remove it all.  Every time I looked at my bare legs something in my brain immediately went, "Ew!  You've got some seriously unsexy legs!".  But every time it happened, I felt alarmed and genuinely sad that I couldn't look at my body in its most natural state without feeling disgust.  Surely looking at our own natural bodies should be the most acceptable way to see it?  I actually found it frightening that I am so mentally conditioned that my brain thinks culturally first - in other words, I think what I'm told I should think, rather than what I want to think.  And that's something I realised that The Shaving Experiment needed to tackle - in fact, the most important thing it needed to combat.

I lasted about a month without shaving my armpits; I was going to an event in London and couldn't bear the thought of wearing a vest top with hairy armpits.  It sounds crazy, but although I'm doing the shaving experiment for myself, I was unable to show it off to the general public.  There's this inherent fear that strangers will point, stare and laugh.  That you'll be mentally noted down in their list of Western hairy women, after Julia Roberts.  Who am I kidding - no one gives a crap about what I do!  Yet there's something that makes me consciously decide whether I'm brave enough.  The armpit hair is probably the hardest - I wear a lot of sleeveless tops, so I was continually reaching for jackets and cardigans, although it was always a conscious decision.  I also think its proximity to eye level (in comparison to legs) makes it much more of a brave statement to parade around.

Legs are less difficult.  I wear jeans most of the time, so I only ever get to flash my leg hair to my boyfriend, my (male) housemate or my family.  My boyfriend in particular has informed me he really couldn't care less, which is nice!  He found armpit hair a bit weird; he accidentally stroked it once and screamed.  Maybe he thought I was smuggling hamsters?  My mum, it turns out, is actually a beacon feminist - she hasn't shaved her legs in weeks and still wears skirts, but I wonder if her diminishing eye sight is more the cause than a feminist agenda...  My sister, on the other hand, is a tough cookie.  She got an epilator for her birthday and has been threatening to do us both in.  "I seriously hope your hairy legs aren't some feminist statement," she proclaimed.  Well, sister, it kind of is.

In the hot spell last week I even donned shorts.  And went out in them.  I'd be lying if I didn't say that sometimes I feel nervous when I think of someone pointing them out.  But at the same time, I also have a sense of smug nonchalance.  Like not caring, but pride in not caring, because they're my legs and I can do what I want with them.

Despite caving in early doors with the armpits, I am proud to say that my legs are still going strong.  Intriguingly, I've found the skin on my legs is much healthier sans shaving, which made me really question how damaging shaving is to our epidermis.  Yet we brush off scaly legs, thinking that smooth legs are too sexy to say 'no' to.  I'm not sure how much longer I'll manage to completely not shave for, but I'm the kind who loves a challenge - I complete challenges with a sense of gleeful determination.  The Shaving Experiment is almost a challenge with no end.

But I can definitely say the experiment has changed how I think and feel about my own body.  Mainly, that I do have choice.  I don't feel like as soon as hair grows, it needs to be removed; I'm comfortable with it being there, because whether people find it unsexy or repulsive, it's mine.  My body is for me.  I have such a relaxed attitude to body hair now that I almost don't believe how different I am.  My mum mentioned how fuzzy my pits were this week - I genuinely hadn't even noticed!  Ultimately, I'm much more comfortable in my body being in its natural state, and slowly, my culturally-washed brain is beginning to change.  So I'd say The Shaving Experiment has been a success, and I'm incredibly happy about it!