Friday, 18 August 2017

5 Trinket Dishes That Will Improve Your Flat Lay's

It's difficult to remember a time where flat lay photos didn't fill my Instagram feed, they seem to be such a vital part of blog photography now. Personally I've still not cracked the art of flat laying but I am getting better each and every day at putting together beautiful and instagram worthy images. There is one particular type of item that has had a pivotal role in my instagram and blog photos recently and that is trinket dishes. They are ideal for creating focal points in photos and they can break up an image that contains lots of small items, I really have become quite obsessed with these little dishes! They are also an item that I'd happily use as decor in my home as well, so I don't feel quite as bad when I buy them as I know they won't just be used for photos. So, I thought today I'd share some of my favourites from the highstreet right now, everywhere from Primark to New Look seem to be selling them at the moment so it's the perfect opportunity to up your flat lay game without spending too many pennies.

The catcus and unicorn dishes are both from Primark and they cost about £3.50 each if I remember rightly, I bought them both within the past month so they should still be in store when this post goes out. I've got a few catcus candles from Primark so I thought this cute little dish would be the perfect edition to my catcus blog photo props collection, I had visions of Summer flat lays in my mind. The unicorn dish was just too damn cute to pass by as well, I know I'll get lots of use out of it and it makes a fun addition to any insta photo.

The pineapple dish is from a shop called Flying Tiger, they aren't online but I did find a very similar dish from New Look for those who aren't near to one of Flying Tiger's shops. If you can make your way to one though I'd really recommend going as they are my favourite place to shop for photo props! Most of their stores are in the south of England, so whenever I'm down south visiting family I always make a visit.

The last 2 dishes are again from Flying Tiger and again, as with the other dishes I bought these very recently so they should still be in store. They had a few different styles of this shell trinket dish and I thought I could use it for summer flat lay's but also during Autumn and Winter because of it's dark colour! I'm so excited about creating flat lay's with warm Autumnal colours soon. Finally, the last dish is pretty damn heavy but it was so worth weighing my suitcase down because it is so beautiful. I know for sure that this is one item that I'll be using for decoration in my home as well and as my Soap & Glory Brand Focus post proved, it looks stunning in photos.

Do you have a favourite kind of blog photo prop?

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Brand Focus | Soap & Glory

Ask me to think of a brand with a fun spirit and my reply will always include Soap & Glory, their pink packaging and delightfully fun product names embody everything that is joyful about trying new products, whether it be makeup or bodycare. I used to associate them with Christmas, their aesthetically pleasing gift sets filling the shelves in Boots, back then they were out of my price range but that didn't stop me lusting over them as I shopped for family members. Fast forward a few years later and now S&G is a firm favourite in my bodycare and skincare draws, and finally I've dripped my toes into their makeup range as well. When I was searching through some old blog posts though I was surprised to see that my love for the brand hadn't transferred on to here, with me barely mentioning them over the years and that is how this post, dedicated to them, came to be.

You'll find my old favourites and new favourites all nestled together in this post, my recommendations to you, especially if you've not tried anything from S&G yet!

Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Shine Lipstick in Love & O-Beige | £9 | buy here

Recently Boots shoppers were treated to an amazing gift with purchase offer on Soap & Glory makeup, the perfect opportunity for me (a newbie to the range) to give a few products a try. The gift included this nude lipstick and originally it was the product out of the 3 in the gift that I wasn't too excited about, just another nude lippe I thought! I couldn't have been more wrong though. I was in Leeds at the time when I tried this out and I ended up wearing it for the whole time I was there. It's a very sheer nude but it's the formula that I've ended up loving so much, it feels creamy and moisturising on my lips, the exact kind of formula I look for in lipsticks. I've already got my eye on a few more shades! 

Soap & Glory Kick Ass Concealer Three Piece Camouflage Kit | £10 | buy here

This is one product that I've wanted to try for years after it was raved about continuously, you don't hear much about it anymore but there was a time where everyone seemed to have it and love it. I've also recently found out that my favourite concealer is being discontinued so I figured I better start hunting for an alternative! This is more than just a concealer though, it's a three piece kit made up of a brightening concealer, a on the spot complexion concealer and a transparent setting power. The fact that it contained a setting powder really appealed to me as I travel down south a lot to see family and I always end up taking way too many products, justifying that they all do different things. I don't think I've quite been using this long enough to give a full review but here's my first impressions. 

I quickly realised that I have to make sure my skin is exfoliated and moisturised thoroughly before I use this as it can have a tendency to cling to dry patches because it's a cream concealer, rather than the usual liquid formulation that I tend to go for. I bought this in the shade light but I think the tone of the concealers runs just a little too dark to suit me completely, so fair skinned ladies be wary of this. I really like the brightening concealer for perking up my under eye area and I've taken a real liking to the setting powder too, it's far better suited to my under eye area compared to the usual powder I use all over my face. I'll probably dedicate a full blog post to this but so far, so good!

Soap & Glory Glow All Out Luminizing Face Powder | £11 | buy here

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram then you will have already seen me raving about this product and equally you'll probably have seen that this is the second one I've bought after I carelessly dropped and smashed the first one that I got in the GWP offer. I was pretty distraught when I smashed it, despite only having it for one week at that point I'd already fallen in love with the product. This is by far the best highlighting/luminizing product that I've ever used. The shade is beautiful and compliments my pale skin and the pay off is above and beyond what I expected, it's marketed as a luminizing powder but this is the best highlighter I've tried, I'd even put it above theBalm one. I know for sure that I'm going to write about this in more detail in it's own blog post, but any and every highlighter fiend needs this in their collection. 

Soap & Glory Spritz Me Quick Moisture Mist | £7 | buy here

The other week I was in Boots, browsing the mini products, when I came across a moisturising oil spray. I was ready to pop it into my basket when my Mum told me that Soap & Glory did a very similar product so of course off I went to hunt it down and when I did I was pleasantly surprised by it's low price so, out went the mini product and in went this. It's a body spray and moisturiser in one, delivering a gorgeous scent and a burst of hydration in just a few quick sprays, the speed of application was what appealed to me from the start. You can spray the tube from any angle so it's perfect for getting all those awkward places like the back of your legs covered and it's fast too, it dries quicker than any traditional body lotion I've tried. I've only used it a handful of times so far but already I'm impressed and can see this becoming a staple in my shower routine. 

Soap & Glory Supercat Liquid Black Eyeliner Pen | £6 | buy here

This is the third and final product that came in the GWP offer and despite me hearing a lot of rave reviews over the years it isn't something I'd typically buy myself so I was intrigued to try it. When it comes to eyeliner usually I just tightline, giving some definition and the appearance of volume to my lashes, I've never been able to master anything but that when it comes to eyeliner. I've heard this particular liquid eyeliner being talked about as easy to use though so I figured it would be a good opportunity to try and give liquid eyeliner one more try. I've used this a couple of times so far and I'm impressed by just how black it is, especially considering the low price. It's definitely easier to apply compared to some liquid eyeliners I've tried in the past but I guess time will tell as to whether I can master this art!

Soap & Glory Smoulder Kohl Eyeliner in Superblack | £5.50 | buy here

I'll be honest, I picked this up alongside the Kick Ass concealer so I could spend the least amount of money possible to get the GWP offer, I'm not the only one that does this, right? As I said above though, I do tightline with eyeliner a lot so I'll never say no to trying out something new as it can be so difficult finding something that doesn't smudge. The colour and pay off from this eyeliner is pretty impressive, that was the first thing that I noted. A lot of my eyeliners end up looking more grey than black but this is a strong black colour, and it stays this way for most of the day. It does smudge a little towards the evening but I'm yet to find something that doesn't! I think this is definitely going to be my new go-to eyeliner, purely based on the fact it applies as black instead of grey!

Soap & Glory Archery 2 in 1 Brow Filling Pencil & Brush* | £8.50 | buy here

When I was having a makeup clear out recently I came across a lot of products that I'd either forgotten about or just neglected, choosing my usual favourites over something a little different. One of the products that I found was this, a brow pencil that I was sent by Boots a little while back. At the time I was sure that the shade they had sent me was too dark, this is the shade dark chocolate, the darker one out of the two. When I found it though I decided to give it a try before I got rid of it and found out that actually it suited me quite well, despite being darker than most of my other brow pencils. I was also pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed using it too, the product itself is thin and this makes it easy to achieve a natural look and it felt quite waxy, clinging to my skin and not shifting at all during the day. I'd accidentally found a new favourite! There is also a little brow brush at the other end of the product, making it great for travelling and popping in your bag if you need to top it up during the day. If you're looking for a new brow pencil then I'd really recommend that you give this one a go!

Soap & Glory Original Pink Body Spray | £4 | buy here

Last year in the Boxing Day sales I might have gone a little over the top when it came to buying the half price Soap & Glory gift sets, in fact I still have a whole draw full of products that I bought back then. No regrets though as I've been introduced to so many different things from their range that I might not have considered before, one of those products being their body sprays. I managed to pick up a set of 4 of their body sprays for about £5 at the time and I've been working my way through them since. I have a firm favourite out of the 4 though and that's the original pink body spray. It's a light and fresh fragrance, not too overpowering but strong enough to freshen up your scent with this fruity and floral body spray. It's been my go-to scent since Spring as it's floral and fruity tones compliment the warm weather beautifully. At only £4 a bottle it's a bargain and I'll definitely be repurchasing when it runs out.

Soap & Glory Hand Food | £5.50 | buy here

Let's finish where I started shall we! I think the Soap & Glory Hand Food must be one of the most popular hand creams out there, stock is always running low whenever I'm browsing the shelves in Boots and there is a good reason for that. It's a simple and basic hand cream that does what it says on the tin! I've tried many alternatives since first trying this years ago but nothing has come near since, especially in terms of how affordable this is compared to offerings from other brands. They've since brought out a Sugar Crush version of it which I equally love and a hand pump version perfect for your bathroom too. I always have a mini version of this in my handbag and one in my bedside table, that's how much I love it, and I can't see that changing anytime soon!

I think it's safe to say that Soap & Glory are one of my favourite beauty brands right now and I'm really excited to further explore their makeup range in particular over these coming months! 

Do you have a favourite Soap & Glory product? Leave me some recommendations in the comments!

Saturday, 12 August 2017

My Relationship with my Powerchair

Last June marked one whole year since I got my powerchair, one year of independence and freedom. One year since friends, family, fellow bloggers and strangers changed my life by raising thousands of pounds for me to claim back my independence, after being left housebound most of the time due to not having a suitable wheelchair.

I remember when I first got my powerchair, I was nervous to use it but excited as well. Up until that point I'd been reliant on family members to push my manual wheelchair, meaning I often only left the house once a week, if that. When I did go out I had no control over where I went either, with someone else in control of  me. Suddenly a whole new world had opened up to me when I got my powerchair, I knew that there would be challenges as well though. One year on and it feels like that first day of having my powerchair was a lifetime ago, much has changed since then and I've learnt a lot. I thought I'd mark the year by writing a little about my relationship with my powerchair and how it has developed. The post idea was suggested to me by one of my lovely twitter followers, so thank you Tiffany!

At first I was really excited to use my powerchair, I'd spent so long being trapped inside my home so the idea of being to go out whenever I wanted (pain permitting) was such a foreign but thrilling idea. Underneath all of that was nerves though. I was nervous about how people would look at me and treat me. I was nervous about navigating busy shops, getting the bus and being faced with accessibility issues. It took me months just to build up the confidence to get the bus on my own.

I finally did it though and it was nowhere near as bad as I had built it up to be, the freedom that getting the bus gave me far outweighed the nerves that had once consumed me. The thing with confidence is that it can be knocked though, it can disappear as quickly as you build it up. As you've read on my blog getting public transport as a powerchair user can go really well or really badly and for the past year my confidence surrounding getting buses and trains has almost been like a rollarcoaster. A good experience would leaving me feeling like I could go anywhere and do anything but a bad experience would leave me wondering why I bother going out. The rollarcoaster is beginning to stabilise though, I've built up confidence. A different kind of confidence though. I now speak up for myself, complain when things go wrong and I make sure that my basic rights are met. I'm still nervous when I go to get the bus but I know that I have the tools to deal with any situation that may arise.

When it comes to my powerchair itself though, I love it. People have this assumption that wheelchairs are bad but I love my powerchair because it lets me do so many things. It allows me to go shopping, see family and friends and attend charity meetings. I've achieved and done more in one year thanks to my powerchair than I've done in the previous 18 years of my life. Wheelchairs are not a bad thing and they certainly aren't a prison sentence. They can be freeing, they can open doors that you thought were locked forever. I owe so much to my powerchair and the people that donated money towards it.

My relationship with it is ever changing though. As my health has worsened my powerchair has become unsuitable for me. It's too basic now, the one thing that is meant to give me freedom is what can often hold me back now. The seat can be uncomfortable, the suspension isn't good enough and it doesn't have the tilt and recline features I now need. I've outgrown it. It's given me a whole year of independence that I wouldn't have had without it but it's time to move on now. It's looking like NHS wheelchair services aren't going to be able to help me again so I'm looking at needing to raise over 7k this time for something suitable. It's another hill to climb, another battle to win but it's necessary if I want to continue living as independently as I do. However, when the time comes for me to wave goodbye to my current powerchair I'll do so in the knowledge that it's served me well and given me a chance at living again. I'll never begrudge it for not being completely suitable for me, I will always be grateful for the chances it gave me and I really hope it goes to someone who will benefit as much as I have from it.
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