Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Stuff I Love - Cruelty Free Faves

Last month I finally took the plunge and did something I've wanted to do for ages: go cruelty free with my make-up! So many brands I use now are cruelty free as standard now that it just made sense to switch over the final few products I was still using that weren't.

One of the best things about this change has been getting to try some completely new to me brands, and discovering new products from brands I'm already loving. I thought I'd do a run down of my fav discoveries since making the change.

NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick
I've been absolutely loving NYX since they finally became available from Boots here in the UK. Cruelty free, on trend AND kind to your bank balance? I can see my make-up bag filling up with loads more of their products in the near future. I'd already tried their NYX Lip Lingerie Lipstick earlier in the year but those shades are more neutral whereas the Liquid Suede has a much more vibrant POP of colour!

I grabbed my first two in the shades Amethyst (a vibrant purple) and Orange County (a solid orange-red). They're not as opaque on first application as Makeup Monsters (my all time fave liquid lip), but they're good to go with a second coat. They're extremely long-wearing, moisturising and do not budge with food and drink, and they're only £6.50! One in every shade please.

treaclemoon Bath and Shower Gel
First things first, these smell INCREDIBLE. You know when you physically have to stop yourself from eating it. They're that good. The scents are amazing and have an incredible range. At the moment I'm loving Marsh Mallow Hearts which is a light, fluffy and sweet scent. All of them are fragrant but not sickeningly so, and they look Instagram ready lined up in your bathroom.

The company are also awesome, completely vegan and cruelty-free alongside supporting charities such as Bullies Out and their #BeYou project. Basically they're just an all round good egg and you get to float around smelling like a dream whilst simultaneously doing some good in the world. I'm on board!

Barry M: Lash Vegas Mascara, Showgirl Extra Volumising Mascara and Flawless Finish Foundation
One of the biggest changes I made when choosing to go cruelty free was the switch over to a different mascara. I've ALWAYS been a Maybelline girl, but it was time for a change and after a bit of research it seemed Barry M was a good shout for an affordable cruelty free alternative.

I couldn't decide which to go for so I nabbed two seeing as they were buy 2 get 1 free in Tesco. Lash Vegas is extremely lengthening and jet black whereas Showgirl Extra Volumising really gives some weight to your lashes but isn't too great at lengthening and darkening them. So I use both! It's a bit of a faff I have to admit but the two together do provide everything I need from a mascara.

The Flawless Finish Foundation is a new product from Barry M and an alternative to the Too Faced Foundation I'd been using before (amazing product but a little too harsh on the pursestrings!). For £5.99 this stuff is pretty incredible. It's oil free and moisturising and definitely leaves me skin feeling refreshed and not cakey at all. It does take a couple of layers to achieve the coverage I was but once it's on and when combined with a good primer it doesn't budge. I love it and can't believe how cheap it is!

Lunatick Cosmetic Labs High Definition Microfinish Pressed Powder
Let's start off by talking about this packaging. How can you not instantly fall in love with this product? I first saw Lunatick Lab's stuff on Toxic Tear's YouTube channel and decided then that I simply had to have some of their products, and this caught my eye the most so I nabbed it.

I've used a clear white powder for over a year now and find it's the best option as it doesn't mess with anything I've already put on my face colour-wise. The product goes such a long way, I hardly need anything on my brush to do my whole face and hardly have to top up throughout the day - even on a vile sweaty day like this one! I can't wait to grab something else of theirs, I've got my eye on their contouring palette next!

Monday, 15 August 2016

Happy Roller Coaster Day!

Don't you love weird pointless days of celebration on the internet? Happy Roller Coaster Day everyone! Apparently that's what August 16th is, so I'd like to take a minute to appreciate that which has brought me so much joy in my life (as if I need any excuse haha!) I thought I'd take a minute today to talk about something that is actually pretty hard to express, but a question I get asked a lot. Why I love roller coasters. So here goes.

The sensation of riding
Seems like an obvious one, and I'm going to sound really snobby when I say this, but I think you have to leave the UK to experience a truly EXCELLENT ride on a coaster. But when you do my god does it stay with you. Everything about that moment, the smells in the air, the temperature, the people you're riding with. Everything about that moment and how all those different elements feed into the overall joy and thrill of the ride. Sheer, unadulterated bliss. Sadly those moments are quite rare, but when you get one it truly is amazing and reminds you why you took up this crazy hobby in the first place.

A reason to travel
OK, so I know nobody really needs a reason, but I definitely feel like theme parks and coasters give me a sense of purpose with my travels. I know for instance some people want to visit in the world. Something like that I guess, I want to ride every coaster in the world, and thus my hobby has taken me to some pretty amazing parts of the world (and some pretty disgusting ones too, but I guess that's all part of the fun!).

They look amazing
What a marvel of engineering and technology is the rollercoaster. I love wandering around park at work and taking the time to really stand back and admire how truly awesome they are, and how impactful and even artistic they are. The way certain coasters frame and interact with their landscape is truly beautiful. Coasters aren't just thrilling to ride, they're thrilling to behold. Hypnotising the way they twist and entwine themselves around their environment. I've had almost as much fun and excitement watching others ride as I have had riding myself, and I don't think their are many other activities in the world that offer that.

It amazes me how many different kinds of coaster there are, even down to the point where I've had full blown arguments with people about what constitutes a coaster. The variety is incredible, and one of the reasons that 'collecting' coasters is so varied and interesting. And I love how every rider has a different 'palette' - like wine tasting almost (only a hundred times less elegant haha!) Everybody has their niche, the quirks they love in a coaster and look for in what they consider truly great, and whilst we rag on each other for our likes and dislikes I think there exists an underlying mutual respect for each individual's favourites. Even if they are wrong sometimes ha!

A satisfying collection
At the end of the day, websites like coaster-count exist because this hobby is ultimately the world's weirdest collection. And there's nothing more satisfying than adding to that collection and watching it grow. Meticulously noting down and cataloguing your collection in whichever way you choose, nurturing it, celebrating the milestones and that feeling of victory when adding a particularly rare or elusive one, or even finally riding that legendary coaster that you only ever heard stories of before experiencing how amazing it is for real yourself.

Losing yourself
I hate to say it, because it is such a cliché, and something I find journalists talking about when they don't really know what a 'thrillseeker' is, but there definitely is a sense of losing yourself when riding a coaster. I hate to call it escapism, because I'm not about escaping my life. Riding coasters isn't some fantasy or dream, it's an actual thing you can actually go and do in your real life, in the actual real world, that is pure, unadulterated joy. How great is that? Machines that are actually made to put a smile on your face and have you screaming with happiness. It's not about escaping the real world, it's about experiencing extreme happiness in the realest way, owning it and feeling every inch of it, pulling into the station, getting off then joining the back of the queue to ride again for a second time.

Like I said, it's a very hard thing to describe, but there's my crack at it! I'll be enjoying Roller Coaster Day doing what I do best and spending my day at a theme park (albeit at work, but still!). Do you love riding coasters or visiting theme parks? What do you love about them particularly? Leave me a comment below, I'd love to have a chat!

Talk later, xoxo

*all pics courtesy of WeHeartIt

Thursday, 4 August 2016

On Nostalgia

Chessington World of Adventures announced this week that the factory is 'Under New Management' and that we'd be saying #ByeByeBubbleworks early September this year. And, as expected with any major announcement by Merlin, there was uproar in the enthusiast world, petitions were flying around Facebook like hotcakes and you couldn't scroll more than a few clicks without some heartfelt status about how this ride affected a fan's childhood in one way or another.

Things like this always amuse me. Why do we cling on to that which we link so fondly with our childhood, even when it is clearly so very past its sell by date as was the case with the Bubbleworks? Ignoring the fact that the true original ride, Professor Burp's Bubbleworks, was retired from Transylvania way back in 2006, it seems mad to me that enthusiasts would bemoan the closure of a ride where, the last time I rode it (just a few months back), the cracks were very visible and the paint was most definitely more than beginning to flake.

Theme park enthusiasts are very lucky in the fact that their hobby can physically take them back into those very places that some of their fondest childhood memories were founded. I can't be the only one hit with an overwhelming sense of nostalgia every time I walk through the gates of Chessington World of Adventures, and in particular turning that corner into Transylvania, getting a whiff of the Bubbleworks factory and casting my mind down memory lane as I reimagine those Golden Arches where Burger Kitchen now sits. I adore the fact that, although many updates and revamps have taken place, there are still token hints and remnants of the place that brought me so much joy as a child. The Count's Cauldron sign for one and the laughably out of date 'Your Nightmare Is Just Developing' sign as you exit the Vampire station (hey, remember when film had to be DEVELOPED?!).

And that's my point. It's 2016. The times they are a'changin', and although it does hurt seeing something so integral to our childhood being removed I try to see the good in it. Many would disagree that the parks are moving on to bigger and better things but surely I can't be the only one that agrees a revamp is what is best for the poor old Bubbleworks. The old girl has given pretty much all she had to give, and whilst it is sad that a true icon of the UK theme park scene will finally be laid to rest, I take solace in the fact that a whole new generation will now be able to experience a similar joy with a ride that is relevant to them and their interests.

There is definitely a selfishness and sense of entitlement and almost, I guess you could call it delusion when it comes to theme park enthusiasts sometimes, especially when it comes to old classics. Yes we had some magical times, yes these rides were incredibly joyful and amazing when we rode them but maybe, just maybe, they weren't quite as good as our fluffy nostalgic memories made them out to be. In fact, in some cases I'm glad the rides I remember so fondly are resigned to be experienced only in my mind. There's nothing worse than remembering something being amazing, only to re-ride as an adult and having to face the harsh truth that, hey, this isn't as great as I remember it being!

Lots of these tidbits are now overgrown with moss and forgotten about, ancient artefacts of a theme park world of old, mostly gone but not forgotten, living on in the minds and nostalgic chats with those who loved them most. And that is most definitely where they're most cherished. Put up on a pedestal and worshipped as they should be, instead of slowly being left to rot and forgotten as a new generation with a different mindset continue to ride and fail to see the magic that made our generation fall in love with this weird and wonderful factory in the first place.

I'm planning on being there on September 6th, with a glass of bubbles to toast Professor Burp's Bubbleworks, to give thanks for all the wonder and enjoyment he gave me as a kid and to give the ride the send-off it deserves. In the famous words of Dr. Seuss: Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened. And when you inevitably ride whatever is set to replace the Bubbleworks, you can enjoy the new experience alongside a wry smile as memories of fart jokes, overbearing scent canisters and ridiculously catchy theme tunes dance through your head.

Talk later xoxo