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Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Graduate


Just a little over a week ago, I graduated from The University of Nottingham with a 2:1 in English and American Studies (Joint Honours). Whilst I'm aware there are probably an abundance of graduation posts currently flying around, I thought it was important to me to post about the day and my experience with University in general. 

The ceremony itself was so well organised, impressive and somewhat overwhelming. The hall in which we graduated had been transformed into a Harry Potter-esque environment, and the stage looked really majestic, with two HUGE screens next to it to capture each student's walk across. Naturally, as a highly clumsy and uncoordinated human being, I was terrified about falling or doing something stupid, but luckily my moment went without a hitch. It was lovely to be reunited with my friends on my course, especially my pal Jess who really kept me sane throughout the three years at Notts. It was also a little sad not to be graduating with a few friends who went on a year abroad to America (who will graduate next year) and those on the English side of my course (I graduated with my home school-which was American Studies). 

'Dress as if you were going for a job interview' was what we were told in an information package sent before the day. I chose to totally disregard this advice, and go with an outfit that made me feel totally fucking awesome, because that's how I wanted to feel when I walked across that stage after three years of really really hard work!! I firmly believe in the mantra that if you feel confident in what you're wearing, you will come across as more confident on the whole, especially in those extra nerve-wracking moments. The skirt is from Warehouse; somewhere I rarely shop but sometimes spot the odd piece. I just paired this with a little River Island crop and some classic Zara strappies. Makeup wise, I painted my nails with Essie 'Fiji' and went for my fail safe look of a darker eye and nude lip (but let's not even talk about the epic fake tan FAIL- I am definitely not a pro in this area hahaah!). 

If I am being completely honest, (and that is what I aim to be on here!) University was a massively bittersweet experience for me. I think we as young people are propelled into this mindset that Uni is the only path for us and that whilst we are there everyone around us is having the time of their lives, which in my opinion just isn't always true. Don't get me wrong, I am so glad I went to University, and loved my life at Nottingham (if any of you are considering studying here, DO IT!!!). I met some amazing people, did some really cool things, and came out of it with a degree I am so proud of. But along with all the good came some not so decent people (cliques of girls in first year can be shitty), a very tough work regime, and some other struggles which I guess many 20-somethings go through. It can also sometimes be a bit difficult being so far away from home, although I eventually learnt to enjoy my independence and thrive in the freedom living outside of a family home can bring.Some of my happiest moments came with the girls I met & lived with in second year, and through the work I did in third year with the University magazine, Impact. I will forever miss the partying, girly chats, and even the exam-cram all-nighters which I shared with my beautiful flat 6 girls last year (you know who you are!). Special mentions also to Jess and Hannah, my two best course friends, who are just the biggest babes ever. When all is said & done, I will desperately miss life at Nottingham and the amazing people I met along the way. 

I guess what this post is trying to explain on the whole though, especially to people who are about to go to University, or are already there and finding it a bit tough, is this: University is a wonderful experience, but it can be full of downs as well as ups, so take it as it comes and know that if you are not "having the time of your life" 24/7, or going out partying every single night, you are most definitely not alone. 

LASTLY, as a literature graduate, I wanted to search for a piece of writing which talks about University life from a writer I really respect. If you are a recent graduate I urge you to read Marina's Keegan's short essay 'The Opposite of Loneliness'; it's one of the most beautiful (and tragic- Keegan was killed just days after her own graduation) things I've ever read and just makes so much sense.



P.S. If you've got this far after my massive ramble, THANK YOU & WELL DONE 

Monday, June 30, 2014

The perfect contouring trio for pale gals

For me, contouring has always been a bit of a mystery. The world of blogging (along with Kim K of course) introduced me to the art of this skill, but it has taken me a good while to get the hang of it. I remember doing the makeup for a shoot at Impact magazine (at uni), and one of the models asking me how I was doing her contouring. I got a bit tongue tied and sort of made something up, because I wasn't all that sure what I was actually doing. In truth, I'm still kind of not, but I think I've definitely improved in this area! This post will talk about good contouring products, rather than techniques. If you want to learn how to contour, however, YouTube is full to the brim of tutorials, so head on over. 

The main problem I used to have when attempting to contour was the lack of suitable products that are available to buy. Just to give you some context about my skin; despite having dark eyes and naturally dark blonde hair, I still nearly ALWAYS have to get the palest foundation at a makeup counter. Lots of bronzers and contour powders are not exactly ideal for paler skins, as they are too brown, dark, or shimmery. It's also difficult to know which tools to use, or which style of highlighter to go for (cream, powder, shimmery, non-shimmery...the choices are endless!). The good news is if you have pale skin, I've done the hard work for you ;) After trying LOTS of products, I have finally found a winning combination for contouring. 

The first product I use in the process is Mac's Prep and Prime highlighter in 'light boost'. It is a perfect combination of glow and concealer, and really reminds me of the YSL touche eclat. I use this at the very tops of my cheekbones, and create a 'triangle' shape, similar to that of the infamous Kim K style, but smaller. I don't use a brush to blend it, as I find it works best with my fingers. Next, I use a contour powder in the hollows of my cheeks. For this I have been using Mac's Harmony blush. It is a muted plum/taupey shade, which means brown or dark undertones can be avoided. I actually heard about this from Tanya Burr in one of her tutorials, so can't really take the credit for its discovery. I use this with a Mac 168 brush, which is described as a 'large angled contour brush'. I'm pretty sure if you shopped around you could find cheaper versions of this, but ideally look for an angled brush which is small enough to be used easily in the hollows of your cheeks. The last step is blush. I find that matte blushes sort of ruin the contoured look which has been created already, therefore the best type to use for this is a blush/highlighter hybrid. The one I am in love with is Estee Lauder's Illuminating Powder Gelee blush. Annoyingly, this was a limited edition product last summer (I'm sorry!) but a brilliant dupe for it is Benefit's Rockateur. As long as it's a glowy, highlighter-y blush, it should work well. I use this with my real techniques blush brush. After this, I dust a bit of NARS laguna bronzer over my face and some matte powder on my T-zone, and my face is done! 

Sorry for the rambling but I hope this post may come in useful to my fellow pale folk, let me know in the comments which products you love to use for contouring. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

(Shoe) Booties


Jumper: Pied a Terre @ House of Fraser (sale-old)
Belt: River Island (with trousers via asos here)
Skirt: Urban Outfitters (in store, not online)
Shoes: Urban Outfitters (sale, different colour here

I am so crazy in love with these peep toe boots (or 'booties' as my all time idol Leandra Medine would have me say). I could not believe my luck when I saw them in the sale for FIFTEEN POUNDS (down from £75) in UO in Nottingham. How could I say no at that price? I have since worn them out in Nottingham with a check print dress where I admittedly looked like I was attending an 11 year old's birthday party, but I kinda liked it (see my instagram for the full outfit!). Their grey cousins are up on the UO website and linked above, which I feel are equally as cute, despite being a little pricier at £25. I also picked up this slip-esque skirt whilst in Urban, and have styled it here with my favourite oversized extra fluffy knit I picked up from a pricey brand in HOF which was having a sale. With the boots and a belt to finish off the look, I feel this outfit is a perfect combination of pretty and tough. 

In other news, I am pleased to unveil my new blog design. I have been working with the wonderful Jen at Magic Feather Designs for a few weeks now to get what I wanted, and am really pleased with the results. If you are considering a re-design, get in contact with Jen (via her website) as I could not recommend her enough. Secondly, it's also worth mentioning that last week I received my results for my degree, in which I have been awarded a 2:1! I am so relieved and over the moon to find out I have got the mark I have so desperately been working towards; such a lovely feeling. I will talk more about uni life and my experiences in a graduation post which will go up next month. Lastly, I thought I would mention that I am going to live in Amsterdam for a few weeks from this coming Thursday as I am interning out there. I will be staying at my Dad's beautiful apartment on the canal, and can't wait to get to work as well as go and hang out at some of my favourite spots in my spare time: Vondel Park, Foam museum, the Nine streets and that breakfast place down the street that I always forget the name for. If any of you live in Amsterdam or are out there whilst I am, please get in touch! Wish me luck! 


Saturday, June 14, 2014

White


Shirt (old): H&M 
Jeans: Topshop
Shoes: River Island 
Sunglasses: Topshop (similar here)

How much does my resting bitch face syndrome come across in these photos? I literally forgot how to smile. So big apologies for that!! Also sorry if these photos are a little dull, I will forever be useless at editing! White is everywhere right now, and personally, the best way I have seen it worn is through 'white on white' layering. So I dug out an old sheer white shirt from the back of my closet, and paired it with my new ripped Leighs from Topshop, and these gorgeously ugly slider/mule hybrids from River Island. Am I the only one who feels like RI are having a moment right now? Everything online is totally gorgeous. It was never one of those shops that I ever felt catered to my taste/style, but recently they have been so on point! I have also been pretty religious in my wear of these jeans recently. They are sooo comfy and include my go-to jean feature: the ripped knee. Only problem with wearing all white...SPILLAGES. I am so messy when I eat/drink, so basically I need to wear a bib when wearing so much white...tragic. Hope you are all well.


Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Floral


Crop: River Island
Skirt: Topshop (sold out-similar options here)
Shoes: Topshop (old) 


Hi guys! Long time, no blog! (and when I say that I really mean it- my last post was in April!!) I have been monumentally busy with the end of uni, but as of now I am finished which is a nice feeling. I am definitely going to be putting in more of an effort with my blog over the summer though. This will include lots more style & beauty posts, as well as a re-design in the next month. 

Since handing in my last piece of uni work, I have been shopping, partying (lots), sleeping (also lots), working with Impact magazine some more, preparing for my work in Amsterdam and travels in August, as well as beginning to think about plans & work for when I come back in September. I have also been on the hunt for outfits for my 22nd birthday (yes I'm a Grandma) and my graduation next month (I will keep you posted on these!)

As I haven't blogged in so long, there are so many things I have been naughtily buying which I want to show you guys, including this beautiful Topshop skirt, which I bought back in March (ish). I remember it sold out almost instantly each time it appeared online, but I was lucky enough to see my size one day and just pounced on it. I've paired it with a simple River Island crop top with the loveliest neckline known to womankind ( there are lots of colours on their website!), and the highest heels I own. I plan on wearing a version of this outfit to my friend's wedding next month, but perhaps with a pair of shoes I can actually walk in!

If you want to catch up on all my new posts in the next few weeks, please follow me on Bloglovin' here, or on Instagram and Twitter, which I use very regularly! 


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