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Gaffa Tape Sandy Interview

Interview with Gaffa Tape Sandy for The Argus. First published October 2018.

7 Things I Learnt From My First Year At University

So I've come to the end of my first year at university and let me tell you that it's been quite the learning curve. From remembering to wash up the previous night's dishes through to dealing with an unnecessary council tax bill, first year has taught me a lot of things. And because I received my final assessment grade this morning (a cheeky first, thank you), it seemed fitting to write a post summarising some of those necessary, and not so necessary things I've learnt this year. 


Living with people you've never met before is quite an experience. Boys leave the toilet seat up, people 'forget' to pay their portion of the bill, and more often than not, the kitchen will look like an absolute shithole. Oh, and how could I forget arguments over whose turn it is to buy toilet roll or bin bags? You'll bicker and argue and fall out because everything's new and you're finding your feet, but you have to remember that you are all finding your feet together. 

I lived with two guys for the first half of the year, and let me tell you what an experience that was. Privately renting and living outside of Brighton limited my social circle a little. Without a forty minute bus journey into town, the only people my age who I was able to see would be my two flatmates. So if you're in halls, you're quite lucky that there are people above and below you who you can go and see if you want some wider social interaction. Living with people who you wouldn't consider your closest friends can be pretty isolating, especially when everyone's running on their own agendas. But making time for the people closest to you can make even the shittest living situation seem better.


This point doesn't even need explaining. We've all said it to someone and then not followed through, leaving the meeting until everyone's back home for the holidays. But the truth is, organising a cross-country uni trip isn't easy on a student budget. Public transport is expensive, and unless your car's at uni, you're a little bit stuffed on more affordable ways to make it from Brighton to Newcastle. Sorry gals. 


To begin with, bills are confusing. What's included in our rent? What's do we have to pay for? What date does the water need to be paid by? I had no idea about TV licenses. What the hell is council tax and why is there a bill sitting on my doormat demanding £1,500? The list goes on...

There are apps which can help you and your flatmates divvy up the bills, but to be honest, my flat just couldn't be bothered. We decided on the 'everybody takes one bill and we'll sort the money out later' approach, which has had its pros and its cons. In a smaller flat like ours, it works, but if you're in a flat of five, six or maybe even seven, using an app like Glide might be the better option. It's all a bit of a minefield but there are plenty of websites which offer advice and of course, your parents are a good source of knowledge on stuff like this.  


It's no secret that money is tight at university. With a student loan that hardly covers your rent for the year *inserts upside down smiley emoji here*, students become pretty good at making their money last. That is unless you go on big nights out every week. But there's nothing that summarises the student life better than arriving at Lidl twenty minutes before closing time to snap up the already discounted bread, that's now going for 27p rather than 42p. They say it's going out of date tomorrow, but if I keep it in the freezer it'll be fine for weeks. 

Even with a part-time job, which can be pretty challenging to juggle alongside university life, money is still an issue. I chose to continue working back home during the holiday periods, and although it means I have a healthy amount to return to uni with, I still have to scrimp and save my way through each term. 


Something I now know all too well is that there really is no place like home. Some of your friends are still there, your family are there, and everything back home is incredibly familiar to you. At university, you quickly learn to appreciate how brilliant, if not slightly dull, your hometown is and find yourself yearning to go back and visit. During the first term, I'll admit that I came home far too much. If I'm being honest, I've probably spent more time at home this year than I have in Brighton. There's nothing wrong with that (apart from the fact I'm still paying a stupid amount of rent for a room I'm not living in), but for me, being at home is just where I'm most comfortable. 


There'll be one module that will see the course population drop like flies even before the first term has ended. There's always one compulsory module that nobody has any interest in, and as a result, by week seven, there's only four of you left. And it doesn't really stop there. People stop turning up to lectures after week two because if we're being honest, why the heck are we paying thousands of pounds for a couple of very basic powerpoint slides? Exactly. We'd all rather stay in bed and catch up later. 


Whether it's because you've missed the bus, flopped in a module, or realised you've got no pan to cook dinner in, throwing a strop about it will become a daily occurrence. And constantly cussing at every possible opportunity comes part and parcel of that. Even the slightest inconvenience requires a muttering of disapproval. It's just how it is. 


Interview with Jorden Lindsay

Singer-songwriter Jorden Lindsay has dealt with his fair share of troubles over the last few years. After suffering from vocal issues during the early days of his career, his new music is allowing him to move past that and laugh in the face of adversity. Having recently moved from his home in Somerset, this summer sees him explore previously unchartered waters, one of which being Milford’s Music and Arts Festival. Issy Aldridge spoke to Jorden about his debut single, upcoming EP, and everything in between.


I write ‘moody’ pop music, taking hints of Folk, Soul, R&B and melding them together to create a mashup of sounds similar to John Martyn, Eva Cassidy, Newton Faulkner, and the likes of Ben Howard. It’s all very rhythm-driven with percussive guitars, dynamic vocals and a bit of live looping.


So when I was living in the Canary Islands I was gigging up to five or six nights a week. I underestimated the importance of vocal health and looking after yourself when placing that sort of demand on your body all the time. Eventually, I’d worn my voice to a point where I couldn’t sing and that’s when I booked the next ticket back to Somerset. Thankfully there was no permanent damage but it was certainly a big slap in the face and it was something I realised I had to address if I was serious about pursuing a career in music. 

It’s taken a while to essentially build a new voice, but despite the long journey with many ups and downs, it’s been incredibly enlightening.
I’ve still got a way to go but I’m at ease knowing that I’m making regular progress. Looking back, it was a blessing in disguise and I’m so grateful for it.


My first real love for music came from a CD of Elton John’s greatest hits. It was the only record I could get my hands on and I’d listen to it ritually when going to bed. When I finally had my own pocket money to go out and buy records I discovered the Red Hot Chili Peppers and that led me to find a love for rock bands. I soon acquired a taste for heavier rock music and I was expressing my teen angst through bands like Linkin Park, Thrice, Taking Back Sunday, Atreyu etc. Alongside that, I still loved the old school R&B that was present in the charts at the time, like Craig David, and Justin Timberlake and I think that’s where the R&B influences merge with y melancholy-esque vibes. 

I later came across Newton Faulkner and that’s where I’ve gained most of my inspiration. I’ve always preferred the acoustic guitar and seeing how he uses it in a variety of ways. The incorporation of unconventional techniques really appealed to me, so I’ve drawn a lot of influences from him most recently.


Like a Flower was something I came up with during the vocal troubles. It’s based on a proverb that’s supposedly used in Buddhist culture which reads: ‘The lotus flower blooms most beautifully from the deepest mud’. Essentially, the concept is that a lotus flower starts it’s journey at the bottom of a dark and murky pond, deep in mud, yet blossoms on the surface totally unscathed by its surroundings.

I wrote the song as a narrative describing the thoughts someone might go through when stepping out of their comfort zone and facing their fears. It took me a long time to release because I was never happy with my voice but I put it out and was really pleased with the response for it. The studio version is a little darker than the music I’m set to release in the future.


It’s still early days but I’m so excited about it. There’s no set date yet but I’m aiming to release it by Autumn ready to promote and use at festivals next year.


As I mentioned, I moved here a year ago to explore a new music scene and I happened to move during the same week that the last year’s festival was happening. I was too late to get involved but I got to see parts of it and thought it looked like a great event! Seeing as I’m living in Milford with the festival right on my doorstep, I made sure to try and get involved in it this year and I was pleased to be offered the place. It’s a great opportunity for me to get my name out to local people and surrounding areas.


I’d really love to stick around for a drink and watch the other acts but I’ve got another gig later that night. A little gutted! I will, however, be playing a Sunday afternoon set at The Beach House. I can relax a bit more with that one and stick around afterwards for a drink.

(This piece was originally written for Milford Festival and was first featured on their website.)


i don't know what i'm doing (lols what a shocker)

This time last year I had no clue where I'd be in 2018. I was still studying at college and didn't really know what I wanted to do once I left compulsory education in the summer. I didn't know whether I wanted to take a gap year before going to university, or whether I even wanted to go to uni at all. I didn't know where I'd be working that year, or that I'd meet so many incredible people as a result. I didn't know that I'd learn how to drive, nor did I know that I'd actually leave home later that year. To put it simply, I didn't know what the fuck I was doing. But with the New Year now well underway, it leaves the question: Where are we going this year?

And the answer is exactly the same as last year. I don't have a clue. But I'm optimistic and not putting pressure on myself to know the answer yet. Last year with leaving college, it felt like I had to know exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. There's this seemingly unwritten rule that once you leave education, the path you choose then is the one you will stay on for the rest of your life. And as most of us know, this isn't always the case. But I felt like there was this pressure to know exactly what I wanted my career to be. So I bit the bullet, picked my degree and now here I am in Brighton. 

As I've said many times over on Twitter in the last few months, I love Brighton. It's a beautiful city and one which I feel very lucky to live in. But I still don't feel completely settled here. I yearn to go back home a lot more than I thought I would, but I put that down to the fact that the majority of my close friends still live in or around my home-town. One thing I have struggled with since moving is feeling lonely. I sometimes feel isolated when here in Brighton, and that seems like such a ridiculous thought considering I'm living in a university city. But not having these long-established friendships and connections is something I've never had to experience before. I've always lived in the same area, and thankfully never fell out majorly with any of my friends. I want to find my feet in Brighton and get myself settled properly, especially seeing as it's costing me hella dollar (something every student knows too well).

I'll be honest here. I've had many moments in the last couple of months where I've just wanted to drop out and move home again. I've felt so lost and out of place - as I'm sure many people do when they settle into university and life away from home. But I'm not gonna give in quite yet. I want journalism to be my career, and I think that this is the best way to help me get there. 

Another thing I want to do this year is to write more. Obviously, I'm doing my degree, but more so for Five Foot Seven. I'm planning various post ideas and deciding what I want to write about, and posts may be a little less frequent whilst I try and get myself back on track. I love blogging, and Five Foot Seven is something I'm incredibly proud of. I want to be able to showcase my best work, rather than cringing at some of my 'filler' posts. I actually deleted and reverted a whole load to drafts earlier and it was surprisingly cathartic. But as I have said time and time again, I love writing and working on Five Foot Seven. I'm incredibly proud of what it has become and we're actually nearing its third birthday this month - something I didn't think I'd actually achieve.

With my degree being in Music Journalism, naturally, it's a topic that I want to incorporate more and more into this blog. It's my passion and my hobby, and I want to write about it as much as I can for those reasons. I'm looking for bands and artists to interview and review, so if you know any then throw them my way. And that's just about the long and short of it. I don't know where this year is going to take me, but it's exciting and nerve-wracking, and hopefully, it's the start of great things to come.


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 voilĂ ! 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.


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?

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.


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

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?