So Here's The 4-1-1

So Here's The 4-1-1

So I'm back. I abandoned Five Foot Seven (again) am now returning with my tail between my legs, unsure if there's even anyone still milling around here. The last post on Five Foot Seven was on the 6th of January this year. Ten months is a long time to not do something, and if there's something I've learnt in that time it's that I really love blogging. I've missed the whole process of running a blog - from taking the photos, through to interacting and reading the comments. Sadly, the short break I had intended to have, actually turned into a mini hiatus. I'm not usually one to try and make excuses but on this one occasion, I'm going to, and my excuse is this. It's been a hectic few months. I know, I know, you're thinking that it's a stupid excuse, and it is. I'll be the first to admit it. People run successful blogs and work full-time jobs without having any trouble, so what gives an eighteen-year-old student a right to complain? It doesn't. But it's the excuse I'm using to try and fool my guilt-stricken conscience into thinking that it's been ok to take time out.

My final post of twenty-sixteen was one where I set myself some goals for the year ahead; one of those being to complete my A-Levels. I won't lie and say that my A-level journey was a smooth one, but I can now say that nine months later, I've come out on the other side with three A-Levels and an AS qualification to my name, all of which have helped me gain a place at university. Yes, the girl who said she didn't want to go to university has now ended up at university. I've left the family home, left my friends, boyfriend, and work colleagues, all to move to Brighton and study for a Music Journalism degree. Living alone isn't too different from what I expected it to be but it's definitely a change that's taking some getting used to. As every student does, I've quickly learnt just how expensive food is, and that a pint at the pub is not worth the four-pound price tag. Freshers week was surprisingly chilled and laid back, unlike how many describe it to be. But I've just wanted to settle in and find my feet in this completely new environment.

Aside from all of the academic achievements I've had this year, another life thing which consumed a load of my time was learning to drive. Driving was something I was scared to do, and whilst all of my friends were able to drive and be independent, I still found the whole prospect daunting. But in February, I finally gave myself a kick up the arse and started to learn to drive. By mid-May, with only twelve hours of driving lessons under my belt, I passed my driving test. Since then, I've bought my first car - a Ford KA which has a special place in my heart and is referred to as my little 'shit tin'. The boot leaks if it's raining, the engine overheats pretty much every week, and sometimes the interior mirror falls down, but there's something special about getting your first car, even if it is a little bit shit. 

But the main reason for there being no updates on Five Foot Seven is that I got myself a new job, working at a local holiday park back home. Whilst I was still at college, I was only working two nights a week, but as soon as I left, I was working five days of the seven, consistently pushing fifty hour-weeks. It seemed that when I wasn't working, I was doing one of two things. Either trying to restore my sleeping pattern or driving to McDonalds at three in the morning to treat myself to a Chicken Legend and a social life. This left practically no time to sit down and write over summer, and even now, a month after I left work, this is the first chance I've had. It feels good to be able to get back to blogging, as I've said time and time again, and I hope that now I'm finally settling in at university, I can do more of it.

With moving to university, of course, meant moving to a completely new area of the country. I'm now living and studying in Brighton, which is only about three hours drive from home, but I've always lived in the same small town, so moving to a city in a different part of the country is quite a big change. After a month of living here, however, I can happily say that I've settled into my new home and in a way, my new life. It's strange to think that I'm technically leading some Bond-esque double life... with one established life back home, and a brand new and exciting one here. But Brighton is quickly forging a deep relationship with my heart, and I hope that I'm going to spend many happy years here in this city, with all the new people I've already met.

So that's a basic rundown of where I've been, whilst Five Foot Seven has gathered dust for the majority of the year. But looking forward, I have plenty of ideas as for what this blog will become over time. I feel like I say it at least twice a year, but things around here are going to change. My content is going to change. My schedule is going to change. The design is going to change. And I hope that my writing is going to change for the better. I want Five Foot Seven to become something far more than just another beauty and lifestyle blog. Studying for my degree is likely to fuel my passion for writing more of my own music journalism, and I'm sure it will become more of an integral part in Five Foot Seven. Beauty and Lifestyle posts won't change; they'll still be frequent features, but I want to showcase my work as I learn throughout my degree. Everything I write will be based on something that I'm passionate about, whether that's music, beauty, or anything else for that matter. But I want the content on this blog to be of a higher standard and of better quality than it was previously. 

So we're back in business, let's make the rest of twenty-seventeen fabulous!


Crosley Cruiser Turntable Review

Crosley Cruiser Turntable Review

Crosley's portable turntable has been a market leader for the last couple of years, but is it really worth the purchase?

With vinyl sales on the rise for the sixth year running, young people are on the lookout for budget friendly record players more than ever before. Not only are they after one that does what it says on the tin, but they're also after one that looks good too. Step up, the Crosley Cruiser, sitting pretty on the shelves of Urban Outfitters whilst surrounded by impressionable teenagers gawking at it's retro-style and Tumblr-esque looks.

I should start by saying that I fell into the category of teenage Crosley gawker. I recently bought one without having done much research, only going off the fact that it had four star reviews on Amazon and Argos. It felt like the obvious choice since they seem to be featured everywhere online, but I wish I looked further into what people were saying about it before I bought one myself.

Looking at the design of the Cruiser, it's easy to understand why they're selling so well. The retro style is compact, with it's suitcase design making it portable and easy to position on any surface within a room. The range of colours is impressive, coming in a variety of different colours such as orange, brown, red, navy and pink. Everything looks as it should, but when you start using it, it's easy to see some of the flaws the product has. The cue lever does not seem sturdy at all, feeling like it could fall apart at any moment when lowering the needle onto the record. 

One thing that the Crosley Cruiser excels at is it's ease of use. Within ten minutes of opening the box, everything was set up correctly and a record was playing. All there was to do was plug it in, open the lid, place the vinyl down and voilà! Although I didn't have the highest hopes for the built in speakers, the tinny, bass-less sound still disappointed me. Considering that it is marketed as a portable turntable where "you can listen to your music without having to connect it to a speaker system", I wasn't impressed when I realised how poor the sound quality was. There is the option to use separate speakers, but that just counteracts one of the main plus points of the product.

Another flaw with the Crosley's design is that the cartridge has a high tracking weight, meaning that over time, your records will become worn far quicker than they would on other turntables. After researching, the weight of the cartridge on the Crosley was seven grams, just under three times heavier than the average weight (two-point-five grams) on other players. 

The Crosley Cruiser is in theory, a great idea. With three speed options (33 RPM, 45 RPM and 78 RPM), a retro-design and accessible price point, the principle makes it sound like a winner. But sadly, this trendy and portable turntable just isn't up to scratch, with it's heavy tracking weight a huge point of concern for anyone with valuable records. If you want to keep your records in good shape, don't play them on a Crosley.

** Since writing this review, the Crosley has been returned, meaning that all images in this post are not my own, but are in fact from this blog, here. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post however, are my own.


Let's Set Some Goals For 2017

Let's Set Some Goals For 2017

Image Source
I've learnt that New Year's resolutions aren't really my thing. I always set them, telling myself that this year is going to be my year and that I will stick to them unlike the years before. This never really works out, as by January 2nd, I'll have already broken two of my five resolutions and be wallowing in the self-pity and guilt that comes along with breaking them. Whilst we nurse 2016 to its end (which cannot come soon enough in my opinion), I thought I'd write up a little post about what I want from 2017. It gives me something to look back on this time next year, and hopefully see how many of these goals I have achieved.

Learn to Drive
With most of my friends already driving, it's made me realise that I should really get my arse in gear and start learning since I've managed to put it off since my birthday in April. I'm someone who worries a lot, so the whole processes of one-on-one lessons and being in control of something as powerful as a car is something that I find incredibly daunting. I'm determined, however, that 2017 is the year I will learn to drive.

Get good A-level grades
It's safe to say that Year 12 has been my worst year in education so far. To put it simply, I was completely out of my depth in one of my subjects and my AS results didn't go quite as well as I hoped. Moving forward though, I want to complete my A-levels and, as every student does, get a good set of grades that will see me into university.

Expand my vinyl collection
I currently own a handful of vinyl records but I want to get more and grow my collection. I know that this is a bit of a trivial goal, but music is one of my greatest passions and there's something about vinyl which is far more special than listening to a track on Spotify.

Travel more
I feel like everyone makes this their goal, but I want to travel and explore more. I visited Scotland for a couple of days in May, but other than that, I haven't done as much travelling as I would have liked. Even if it's just hopping on a train to a place I've never been before, I want to explore more and step out of my comfort zone in 2017.

Improve my Mental Health
Something I've struggled with this year is my mental health. Without going into too much detail, I want to take the time next year to make sure that my mental health isn't being neglected, and hopefully continue to work on improving it again.

Go to University
Until very recently, I didn't even want to go to uni. I was so against going, fearing that I wouldn't like the course or that the amount of debt I'd be in wouldn't make it worth it. Regardless of these worries, I found a course I think I will love and applied just before Christmas. Hopefully, I'll be accepted, get the right grades and will be moving away from home to start a new chapter of my life as a broke and stressed out university student.

Grow Five Foot Seven
We've had a pretty good year here on Five Foot Seven; collaborating with some amazing brands, surpassed 50,000 page views and grown a lovely little following. Five Foot Seven is one of my proudest achievements and I hope that we can continue to grow so that next year, I can look back again and be proud of what I've achieved. If you're a new reader, then you won't be aware that Five Foot Seven is in a little transition period where I'm figuring out what type of content I want to produce. You can find out more about my plans for Five Foot Seven in this post.

What do you hope to achieve in 2017? Leave your responses in the comments and all that there's left to say, is here's to a great year!

ALSO: I'm hosting a giveaway over on Twitter where you can win £30 worth of makeup of your choosing. All you have to do is follow me and Retweet the tweet to be entered. The giveaway closes on the 31st Dec. so you still have two days to enter! You can enter by clicking here.


The A-Z of Beauty and Skin Care

The A-Z of Beauty and Skin Care

Do you know your illuminator from your highlighter? With various different products, techniques styles and influences, it's easy to find yourself overwhelmed by beauty and skincare. This A-Z will demystify some of the jargon that baffles so many, introduce you to new products and actually tell you what the difference is between an illuminator and a highlighter.

A - Applicators
Brushes, sponges, mascara wands, pencils, sticks, doe-foot applicators, foundation spatulas - the list is endless. Without them, we'd still be applying foundation with our hands, which, due to the natural oils on our fingers, can make our makeup come off faster. Applicators, we salute you!

B - Baking
Baking is by far, one of the year's oddest beauty trends. The concept of packing powder under your eyes to set foundation and concealer is something that I am yet to understand, despite many claiming that it does wonders. 

C - Contour
A saviour for many and a way of sculpting a jawline to perfection. Contouring emphasises the natural shadows on your face, giving the illusion of a more defined bone structure. Products like the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder or the Topshop Contour Cream are best because they give the appearance of a natural shadow. 

D - Dry Oil
A big trend for fake tanning over the last years, Dry Oils are sprayable oils that give a mist over the skin without leaving a greasy residue. The oil attaches to the top layer of the skin making the moisturising ingredients adhere to the skin so that they can be absorbed into the skin. 

E - Exfoliator
A key part of any skincare routine is exfoliation as it unclogs pores and removes any dead skin cells. Depending on your skin type, it's recommended to exfoliate once or twice per week.  

F - Foundation
The basis of any makeup look is, of course, foundation. With different formulations catering for different skin types and more finishes than can be counted on one hand, it's sometimes a little overwhelming as to which one to go for. Some personal favourites are the Revlon Colour StayMAC Studio Fix Fluid and Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation.

G - Glitter
Glitter eye looks are always popular around the festive season, but the metallic trend this year has seen glitter become even more widely used. 

H - Highlighter
Applied on the tops of cheekbones, brow bones, down the centre and the tip of the nose, cupid's bow and inner corners. Highlighters attract light to the high points of your face, showing off some of your best features. 

I - Illuminator
Not to be confused with highlighters, illuminators give the appearance of a dewy complexion and are generally applied beneath your foundation and concealer. Illuminators can also be mixed with a foundation for a more subtle glow. 

J - Jojoba Oil
One of the most versatile products, Jojoba Oil can be a saviour for both your hair and your face. Applied to damp hair, it can tame any flyaways and smoothe the overall appearance in a similar way to Keratin, but when used on the face, leaves skin softer and suppler. 

K - Keratin
Keratin comes in the form of a treatment but also in products too. A Keratin Hair Treatment is a straightening process that tames frizzy hair into straight and healthy hair. Using a part of straighteners, the Keratin treatment is infused into hair, sealing the cuticle and repairing previous damage to your hair. Some styling products are infused with Keratin to imitate the appearance given from a treatment session.

L - Lipstick
Lipstick is the one product that pulls a whole look together. Once your lipstick is on, you can head out and face the day knowing that your lips look great, (that is until it starts to crack or come off when you eat)

M - Micellar Water
A miracle product that has literally rocked the world of makeup. Micellar Water is a cleanser that removes makeup without the vigorous rubbing of makeup wipes. One swipe from a doused cotton pad means that your eyebrow is gone for the day. A favourite of mine is the Garnier Micellar Water, which I spoke about in a previous post.

N - Nails
Nail polish, nail lacquer, top coat, gel nails, shellac nails, acrylic nails - the list goes on. 

O - Oils
Oily skin doesn't mean that you can't use oils, you just can't use ones with certain ingredients. Oil cleansers work well as pre-cleanse, just to remove makeup before going in for a second cleanse. Night oils work in various ways, offering many benefits with some including replenished moisture, cell regeneration and softened skin. 

P - Primer
The first step to actually applying your makeup; primers, much like oils, have many specific uses and purposes. Some smoothe and fill out pores, some colour correct, whilst others just make sure that your makeup stays on your skin longer. Some of the best include Maybelline Baby SkinBenefit Porefessional and the Nivea Men Post Shave Balm which I reviewed here.

Q - Quads
Eyeshadow quads are the perfect size to travel with and often contain a mix of shades which work well to create the perfect look. Palettes from MAC and Z-Palette allow you to choose a selection of shades and create your own personalised palette.

R - Rose Water
Rose Water is an ingredient often used in facial toners. It is known to tone oily skin, soothe sensitive skin, reduce acne, calm sunburn and repair ageing skin. What more could you want? 

S - Sponges
Makeup sponges like the iconic, Beauty Blender, changed the way we applied makeup forever. Although it takes a little more time, the overall look is flawless from where the sponge bounces the foundation into the skin as opposed to brushing it. A more affordable dupe for the Beauty Blender is the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge

T - Tanning
Fake tanning has enabled those of us with immensely pale skin, to tan without the risk of turning into a lobster. It's brilliant until you tan before bed and then get into white sheets. 

U - Under-Eye Creams 
Brilliant for hydration under the eyes, thicker eye creams can change the way your concealer sits once it's applied. 

V - Vaseline
Vaseline is a beauty staple. This multi-purpose product has uses far more than just aiding a chapped lip. Apply to skin before spritzing perfume for a longer lasting scent, or dab onto cheekbones for a natural dewy glow.

W - Worth The Hype
Anastasia Brow Wiz, Kylie Lip Kits, MAC's Soft and Gentle, Benefit's High Beam, Velvet Teddy, Mary Lou-Manizer, the Naked Palettes.... 

Y - Youth Enhancing
"A beauty buzzword to be cautious of, youth enhancing products can offer a lot of false promises. You’re better off applying your makeup well, drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep." - BBH

Z - Zoeva
Zoeva are a brand who at one point, fell into the 'Worth The Hype' category. Their brushes were featured on so many YouTube channels and Instagram pages that it almost became impossible to avoid them. They took over the blogging and vlogging world with their gorgeous packaging, rose gold handles and marble-esque makeup bags. Now their eyeshadow palettes are in the spotlight and are, sure enough, living up to their internet hype. 

Media Kits: What Are They And How Can I Get One?

Media Kits: What Are They And How Can I Get One?

So you've got traffic to your website and want to start working in partnership with businesses, brands and other individuals, but the big question is, how do you go about getting work? It's a question every website owner has asked themselves at some point during their career, but there's one thing you're gonna want if you wish to secure work with brands, and that's a media kit.

So what is it? To put it simply, a media kit is a portfolio or profile for your website. Just like you have a personal CV containing work experience, personal qualities etc, a media kit is your website's very own version. A media kit can contain a range of things, but the main points to include are your website stats, services and rates, a little bit of background for your website, and obviously, contact details.

You can make your media kit as long or as short as you like; mine's currently three pages long, but generally, media kits range anywhere between one and four pages. I know plenty of people who manage to include everything onto one page, but for those of us who like to make sure the detail is there, it can be a little bit longer (just not like a six-page essay!). When businesses get in contact about possible collaborations, a media kit allows you to send across all the relevant information in one simple document, whilst also presenting a glimpse of your brand to them.

So now you know the basics of what a media kit is, how can you go about getting one?

Before you even begin to think about designing a media kit, you need to gather your statistics and any other relevant information. Take a look at your blog and social media. How are your stats looking? Note down your number of followers and have a look at your analytics. Where are your readers from? What's your demographic like? How many unique and monthly page views is your blog receiving? Google Analytics is a great place to start, or even just the Statistics tab in Blogger if Google Analytics goes over your head.

As for social media, if you're a business account on Instagram, you can view the number of impressions your posts are getting as well as your reach and engagement levels. It's all really useful information for a media kit. Twitter has a similar feature which as far as I'm aware, can be accessed and used by everyone. Just remember that it isn't all about the following. Sure, you can have a large following but what use is that if you're not getting engagement from them? Remember, brands won't want to work with you unless they can see that you have an engaged and active following, big or small!

Settle on a template design that you want to use

There are two options when it comes to designing and creating your media kit. You can either use a pre-made template or you can sit down and design one from scratch. There are plenty of pre-made templates out there if you search for them, and they allow you to just pop in your stats and photos and be done with it. The second way is a little more complicated and time-consuming, but if you want to you can design your own template with design software like Photoshop. To be honest, my first media kit was actually designed on a Microsoft Word document which I then converted into a PDF. It didn't look horrific; in fact, I stuck with it for several months until I needed to drastically update my stats. If you know your way around Photoshop then this is an opportunity to get creative and make something that is a true representative of your brand.

That's one of the most important things to stress with media kits. The document has to represent your brand and it's aesthetic. If your blog is fairly simplistic and minimal, then make sure to mimic that over in your media kit - hopefully, the overall theme of your blog is reflected across your social media platforms. If you're wanting to design your own but you're not sure where to start, then you can always look on Pinterest. There's so much out there, and I even created boards of some of my favourite graphics and media kits which I wanted to use as inspiration for my media kit.

Fill Out Your Media Kit: The Basics + Contact Details, Previous Work Credentials and Products/Services and Rates,

This is probably the simplest part of creating a media kit. All you have to do is decide what statistics to include and add them into the designated spot you've already made. Write a small section about yourself. Your blog's history, when you started, what you write about and a little bit about yourself are just a few of the things you can include in your opening paragraph. Remember, selling yourself here is key, as potential clients/customers will want to get the facts straight away- no waffle. As well as this, remember to include your contact details: eg. email address, phone number, blog URL, social media handles etc.

Something that I feel is beneficial to include is a list of some of the previous projects you've taken part in or brands you've worked with. It lets potential clients know that you have prior experience as well as assuring them that you know what you're doing. This brings me onto my final point and it's the whole reason as to why said client will be reading your media kit - What can you offer them that's so much better than the hundreds of thousands of other bloggers out there?

In my media kit, my final page is solely used to list and explain my services, what they include and how much each one costs. Clients are going to want to know the ins and outs of what they're paying for, so just writing something along the lines of 'one blog post for £30' isn't going to cut it. This is the main section of the document which can be more detailed than the others, so make sure that you've included all of the necessary information and laid it out clearly. If you are advertising a blog post for £30, is anything else included alongside the blog post? Does the £30 include social media shares? Is there a certain word limit on that post (eg. no more than 1000 words)? Will it include back links to another website? These are all things to include and consider on this page since it is probably the most important page of the whole document.

As I've mentioned, there are other guides, templates and resources to help you make a media kit if you want some more advice. If you have any other question, feel free to either tweet me or drop me a comment and I'll try my best to answer it.


I'm A Bad Blogger

I'm A Bad Blogger

It feels like it's been a while here and it has. I've come back to blogging with my tail between my legs and my head hanging low, having to admit to the fact that I am indeed a bad blogger. It's been almost two months since I've uploaded a post that sits in with my schedule, but recently I've found myself in a bit of a blogging rut. There's been quite a bit going on lately and I've just found myself quite caught up and overwhelmed by it all. In one of the posts I wrote way back in August, I kicked up a fuss about how I'd finally found a blogging schedule I could stick to... well... that didn't quite transfer. Well, let's just say that life has caught up with me since going back to college and that a-levels have hit me like a tonne of bricks. I thought I'd come back to explain myself and let you know what's going to be happening with Five Foot Seven in the foreseeable future. Let's just say that there's going to be some changes.

The first place to start is explaining my absence over the last few months. As I previously mentioned, it's not just been down to one thing but a culmination of many, the main one being college. Over the summer I obviously wasn't at college, meaning that I had lots more time on my hands. I focused all of my time and energy on blogging every day of August, (which turned out to be a complete fail), so much so that I didn't schedule any posts for when I actually got back to college for my A2 year. Since going back to full-time education, the workload hasn't stopped and the time I thought I would have for blogging, had to be used for work. There's been homework, tests to revise for, coursework deadlines and then the prospect of what I'm going to do when I leave the bubble of compulsory education.

Although I've somehow managed to just keep on top of the workload, there have been weeks where my to-do list seems to only grow and not get any smaller. Of course, this means that Five Foot Seven had to take a back seat for a little while, despite wanting nothing more than to open up my Blogger dashboard and write.

Whilst we're having a life update post and since it is relevant, another thing that has been taking up a lot of my time is the thought of what am I going to do next year and with my life. I leave compulsory education next year, and for years I've told myself and others that I don't want to go to university. That was until very recently. Having been so adverse to the idea going to university, I had to turn my thoughts to what I wanted to do instead. That's easier said than done when you still don't know for sure what you want to do for the rest of your life. I looked into various apprenticeships and jobs but decided to look at a university anyway, to make sure that I wasn't just being stubborn. To cut quite a long story short, I've fallen in love with the course in Music Journalism at BIMM Brighton and have now decided that that's what I want to do. This does mean that much of my time recently has been spent locked away in the college library filling out my UCAS application and writing my personal statement. One tip of advice, look at your options early and don't decide at the last minute that maybe you do actually want to go to university... It's pretty stressful.

My third reason is that I've found myself stuck in a blogging rut with very little inspiration to write. I currently have at least six posts just saved as drafts because I've either got half way through and not finished it or started it and not liked the concept. Looking at the pieces I was producing back in August, I'm not happy with everything I was writing. Some of them I'm really proud of, but others, I was only writing because I'd put pressure on myself to upload to a schedule. Over the last week or so, I've read and looked back at every post I've ever written here on Five Foot Seven. I've reverted a load to drafts for future editing and republication, edited a handful but kept them live and also deleted at least fifteen posts which just weren't showing what I was about. It's really difficult to see pieces you spent so long on be deleted at the click of a button, but it had to be done because I wasn't one-hundred percent happy with them.

If you're a blogger you might understand what I mean, but when you're not happy with the content you're producing, you're just not motivated to write it. That's another reason I didn't write. When I looked at Five Foot Seven, I didn't always think, "Yeah, I'm really happy with everything I've written". A lot of the time, I'd be thinking along the lines of, "Meh, that post is ok, but I wish I'd written it this way or photographed it that way". Thinking that about something you're voluntarily doing, makes you question whether it's really worth it at all. Is writing this post really worth all this time and energy? Is it going to be well received or is it going to flop like that other post? I want to write because I want to, not because I feel pressured to stick to an upload schedule where I post mediocre content that I'm not one-hundred percent proud of.

I'm hoping that this is the start of a new chapter for Five Foot Seven. Blogging is something I love doing and if I had the chance, I would do it 24/7. Sadly, that isn't an option because, well, life. But now that this update is out there and I have a handful of posts written and scheduled, hopefully, normality can return to Five Foot Seven.

The Ten Piece Brush Set Every Beauty Obsessive Needs

The Ten Piece Brush Set Every Beauty Obsessive Needs

If you've been stalking through beauty hashtags over the last couple of months, then you'll be sure to have seen the hype surrounding the brand, Spectrum. They've been popping up everywhere, from the pages of Cosmo to Lou Teasdale's Instagram page, as well as being used on the stars of The Only Way Is Essex and Made In Chelsea. I've been absolutely dying to get my hands on a brush set from Spectrum for the longest time, and now that I have, I too understand the hype that surrounds this brand and their brushes.

So what's so good about these brushes? For starters, they're a vegan and cruelty-free brand, only using synthetic hair in their brushes. This makes them super soft, (I'm not the only person to have commented on the softness of these brushes!), and also easier to clean. Another great thing about them is that you can either buy several brushes as part of a set, or you can buy each brush individually. The most expensive individual brush is only £8.99, so they're incredibly affordable, even for students. And on a slightly less practical note, they're totally Instagramable - I mean come on, look at them!

I've been loyal to my Real Techniques brushes for years now, but since these arrived in the mail last week, I can't help but feel unloyal in saying that the Spectrum brushes have possibly taken the top spot. There's something about them that feels so luxe. Whether it's the slightly weightier feel to them, or the softness of the brush hairs, something about them just works for me. In the 10 Piece Essential Set, there are three face brushes, six eye brushes and one lip brush. Basically, every brush you could ever need is included.

F A C E  B R U S H E S
A01 - Large Domed Powder Brush
Not much is needed to be said about this brush as it simply does what it says on the tin. It's great because it's so large, that powder can easily be applied in quite literally two or three strokes. It's also great for blending out bronzer and blush, despite the 'A' coding, suggesting that it is best used for application.

The coding of A, B and C is an indication of how the brushes are best used. They stand for 'A' for Application, 'B' for Blending & Buffing, and 'C' for Contouring.

A05 - Small Angled Blush
The Small Angled Brush, although designed for blush, has become a personal favourite of mine for contouring. It's angled brush shape allows you to get the product into the cheek bones, contouring beautifully once blended out with the A01 - Large Domed Powder Brush. These two brushes together are the dream team and probably my favourite two from the whole set. I've also enjoyed using this brush for highlighting along the tops of my cheekbones.

B01 - Flat Top Buffer
As the 'B' in the name suggests, this brush is part of the Blending and Buffing range. It's perfect for applying foundation, as well as for it's intended use of buffing out certain areas. I like to couple this brush with my Miracle Complexion Sponge from Real Techniques, and I find that I'm left with the most beautiful looking skin.

E Y E  B R U S H E S

A06 - Large Fluffy Shader
I've found this brush most effective when dusting one colour across the whole lid. It gives an even deposition of colour. and also blends slightly because of the fluffiness of the brush, making my life a lot easier in the mornings.

A09 - Angled Eyeliner
Eyeliner has never really been my game. I can't do it well, and I don't think I particularly suit it. So I haven't had the chance to use this brush yet. I think I might try it out as a lip brush in the future, but until I do, I can't give my opinion on it. Soz.

A17 - Angled Brow
This brush really speaks for itself, and I've been using it to apply powder eyeshadows to my brows once I've outlined the shape with my Soap and Glory pencil. I can imagine this brush also working well for pomades if that's what you prefer to use.

B03 - Buffing Concealer
The size of this brush makes it perfect for it's intended use. I've never had a brush specifically designed for concealer, but this one makes blending undereye concealer so much easier. It's very similar to some of my eyeshadow brushes, but the density of this one, in particular, makes it far better for buffing concealer than any of mine could. 

B04 - Small Angled Blender
Perfect for applying and blending product into the crease, the Small Angled Blender brush is just the right size to sit comfortably in the socket of the eye. It is similar to the Large Fluffy shader in the sense that it not only deposits the right amount of product but also blends it too. 

B06 - Tall Tapered Blender
The Tall Tapered Blender brush will be your best friend if you're impartial to a smokey eye every now and then. It is ideal for blending out shadows seamlessly, regardless of the eye look you're trying to achieve. 

                                                   L I P  B R U S H E S

A15 - Lip Liner

Similarly to the Angled Eyeliner brush, I haven't really had the chance to actually try this brush out yet. The only time I have used it is to apply inner corner highlight to my eyes, which it does a very good job at because of the size and shape of the brush. I have a similar brush to this, and I quite like using it to clean up around my brows once I have filled them in.

Have any of you tried the Spectrum Brushes? If so, what did you think of them? I have to admit that I have fallen head over heels for them. They're brilliant brushes, and have already worked their way into my daily routine. Let me know your thoughts.

The Best Things I Learnt From Beauty Bloggers

The Best Things I Learnt From Beauty Bloggers

Of all of the blogging niches, I'd go as far as to say that beauty bloggers take the most flack from pretty much everyone. There's a load of misconceptions about us which I'm thinking about writing a whole other post about, but the reality is that these preconceived ideas couldn't be any further from the truth. Before I even began writing I read plenty of blogs, and many of the tips and tricks I use and share today are from the women that take the flack just because they write about makeup. Anyway, today I'm going to share some of the best things that I've learnt from beauty bloggers, new and old.

L E S S   I S   M O R E
Something I am so thankful to have been taught is that less is more when working with foundations, concealers and eyeshadows. You can always add more if you haven't got enough, but it's harder to blend away if you've applied too much. When I'm having a bad skin day, I'm often tempted to wear more foundation than normal to try and cover the redness of my cheeks, but that is not the way to go, especially if you're using a full coverage product like MAC Studio Fix. It makes the texture of your skin look dreadful and attracts attention to the parts of your face that you don't want it to - Less is more.

H E A T   U P   E Y E L A S H   C U R L E R S
An odd tip but if you curl your lashes, you may find that your curlers work best when warmed. I heat mine with a hairdryer for a few seconds and find that my lashes stay curled for much longer than they do when I don't warm them. Obviously, you need to make sure they're not too hot when you actually curl your lashes because I can tell you now, I have made this mistake and it hurt like hell. As long as you're careful, this tip is one of the best that I know and proves to be the most effective. 

I N C R E A S E   P E R F U M E   L O N G E V I T Y
Once you've applied your perfume to the backs of your wrists, instead of rubbing, dab your wrists against one another. Rubbing your wrists together like many people do, apparently according to physicists, breaks down the molecules of the perfume. Dabbing prevents this breakdown of molecules and evenly disperses the perfume across both wrists. Another tip is to apply something like Vaseline to the area you're going to spray. Somehow, this makes the scent last much longer than it does when you apply straight onto the skin.

H I G H   E N D   I S N'T   A L W A Y S   B E S T
Before I really got into makeup, I'd always believed that you got what you paid for. The more expensive something is, the better quality it is. Having got older and tested the water on both sides, I now know that this isn't necessarily the case. There are some great products in Boots and Superdrug that in my opinion, are much better than some of the high-end equivalents. 

Y O U   D O N T   N E E D   T O   W E A R   M A K E U P
This is by far the most important thing I've learnt. I started wearing makeup from a young age, and  I don't just mean a little bit of mascara every now and then. Possibly from as young as twelve, but definitely thirteen, there wouldn't be a day that I would be seen outside the house without foundation on. I just didn't feel comfortable enough to go out without anything on my face.

Wearing makeup isn't compulsory and sometimes your skin looks fine without any; that's something I've only come to accept over the last couple of months. Makeup is fun and yes, does sometimes make you feel better about yourself, but you don't have to wear it every single day. 

What are some of the pieces of advice that you learnt from beauty bloggers?


How To Relax and Unwind Effectively

How To Relax and Unwind Effectively

Everyone has those days when you just want to come home, relax, switch off from the stress that the day has brought and take some time for yourself. After a busy day, it can be hard to get your brain to stop spinning and just take a breather, which we all need to do. For some people, it's easy to switch off and relax but for others like us, seeing as you're reading this post, relaxing doesn't come so naturally. Sometimes it can be difficult to switch off, but there are a couple of things I like to do to de-stress and unwind at the end of a long day or week.

#1: Have a bath
There's something really relaxing about having a bath. The wifi in my house doesn't reach the bathroom so it means I can't use my phone, which in some cases is a good thing. It means that I can totally switch off and because I'm unable to check messages or social media, I usually end up taking a book in with me and reading. With the addition of a bath bomb and bubbles (because bubbles make everything better), it's always a way that helps me to relax before I head to bed.

#2: Leave your phone in another room
This goes along with what I said about taking a bath, but taking a break from your phone for a few hours can actually do you a world of good! If you're part of a manic group chat and messages are going off left right and centre, it can be difficult to focus on anything else. By leaving your phone in another room or even just turning it off, it means that you are unreachable and allows you to take that time for yourself.

#3: Take the time to read
If reading a book isn't your thing then try a magazine instead; just try to avoid using your phone. I find that if I can't get to sleep, reading a book sends me off quickly. If you find a good book and can get into it, then there's nothing more relaxing than ending a stressful day with half an hour of reading.

#4: Listen to music

When I say listen to music I don't mean heavy metal Slipknot. I mean something that's calming and is going to help you wind down. as opposed to something that's going to do the exact the opposite. There are many playlists on YouTube and Spotify which were created to help you relax, full of calming music. Alternatively, you can make your own playlist which is what I chose to do. If you want, you can take a look at my chill out playlist by clicking here.

#5: Reblog! Reblog! Reblog!

Now this one does go against what I said in number two, but there's something about Tumblr which I find really calming. Just scrolling down my dash, reblogging posts here and there is something I love to do before I actually get into bed and try to get to sleep. If Tumblr isn't your thing, try Pinterest; or anything that will just take your mind off work.