Monday, 1 October 2018

5 Podcasts I'm Currently Loving

5 podcasts i'm currently loving

Up until fairly recently, I'd never listened to a podcast. It just didn't really appeal to me; I'm all about getting the tunes on and having a sing-song when I'm driving, but when I stumbled across Emma Gannon's Ctrl Alt Delete podcast a little while ago it totally changed my commute. Now, on the days I'm not really feeling the music, I'll whack a podcast on and end up feeling inspired instead.

I thought I'd run through a few of the podcasts I've been loving lately, to give you some inspiration if you're looking for something different to listen to on your commute, when you're cooking dinner or even when you're walking the dog.

Ctrl Alt Delete by Emma Gannon

I just have to mention the podcast that got me into them in the first place. Ctrl Alt Delete by Emma Gannon (writer and author of the book with the same name) is probably my all-time favourite podcast because each episode Emma chats to a guest about their relationship with the internet. The majority of her guests are self-made and built their empires through the internet, so this podcast never fails to leave me feeling really inspired about what I can achieve on the World Wide Web. Guests on the show include Zoella, Lena Dunham, Dolly Alderton, Jojo Moyes and Dawn O'Porter. It's definitely worth a listen if you're an aspiring entrepreneur or simply love all things internet.

At Home With by Lily Pebbles and Anna Newton

I know Lily and Anna way back from the early blogging days, so to see how far they've both come is amazing. When I heard they had a podcast I simply had to give it a listen, and now I'm ever so slightly addicted! Each episode, Lily and Anna visit the home of someone in the beauty/fashion/content creator industry, and have a snoop around their house whilst chatting about their career, how they came to be where they are and their interior style, of course. They've chatted to some amazing women, including makeup artist Lisa Eldridge, Tanya Burr, Patricia Bright, Callie Thorpe, Nails Inc founder Thea Green MBE and Liz Earle herself. A must-listen for beauty, fashion and interior lovers!

Full Coverage by Harriet Hadfield and Lindsey Kelk

Beauty lovers rejoice - this podcast is most definitely for you. Hosted by makeup artist Harriet Hadfield and self-confessed beauty junkie Lindsey Kelk, Full Coverage is perfect for anyone keen to hear the lowdown on the latest launches in the beauty world, find out about the top trends in beauty and hear from guests in the beauty industry as they share their current beauty faves. Previous guests include Elemis founder Neolla Gabriel, writer Sali Hughes and the queen of skincare herself, Caroline Hirons. This podcast is fresh, funny and never fails to make me smile. I love how the podcast shares honest reviews on the latest products whilst also discussing hot topics like the relationship between influencers and brands.

Bryony Gordon's Mad World

Ever since reading 'Mad Girl' by Bryony I fell in love with her and everything she stands for, so naturally I had to give her podcast a listen - and I wasn't disappointed. Each episode Bryony chats to a different guest about their experiences with mental health, starting off by asking them how they are, really, feeling right now. It's a breath of fresh air to listen to people speak so openly and honestly about mental health and Bryony is a big character with oodles of enthusiasm, making her a total pleasure to listen to. Anyone who has ever struggled with their mental health simply must give this a listen.

The Emma Guns Show 

Another must-listen for beauty addicts, The Emma Guns Show is an incredibly popular podcast with over 3 million (!!!) downloads. I can totally see why it's a hit - I find Emma super easy to listen to and whether it's her on her own talking all things life and beauty or with a guest, she always keeps me entertained. I love that Emma mixes beauty chat with more in-depth conversations about life, mental health and everything in between. She has had some amazing guests on her show, the majority of which are in the beauty industry in some way. She's spoken to the likes of Sam and Nic Chapman, Caroline Hirons, Lisa Potter-Dixon, Lily Pebbles, Sali Hughes, Ruth Crilly... the list goes on. If you're interested in the world of beauty, "influencers", entrepreneurship and mental health then this is the podcast for you.

So there you have it - my top five podcast picks. What are you listening to at the minute? Let me know!


Wednesday, 5 September 2018

The Lash Lowdown: False Lashes vs. Lash Extensions

Anyone who has been following me for a while will know that I am a self-confessed lash addict. I love the way long lashes make me feel, and I'm not ashamed to say I've become a bit dependent on them - my eyes just look so much bigger, brighter and better with them on. I naturally have really sparse, stumpy lashes that even the best mascara in the world struggles to beautify, so wearing lashes on a daily basis has become the norm to me.

Of course, strip lashes aren't the only option for people looking to get long lashes in their lives. Lash extensions are another option, and one which I have flirted with in the past. But how do you know which is the best option for you?

Strip Lashes vs. Lash Extensions

Strip lashes and lash extensions are, in my opinion, the best way of getting long, voluminous lashes. However, they are two very different ways of achieving long, thick lashes, with different cost implications and varying things to consider. I'm going to run through the pros and cons of both options to give you a better idea of which is right for you. 

Strip Lashes 

Strip lashes are my most commonly-used method of achieving big lashes, and they are also the most readily available - pop down to your local Boots or Superdrug, pick up a pair and you can be wearing them within minutes. They are affordable too - a pair will cost you around a fiver (or less if you love Primark lashes like me - you're talking £1 a pop!) and can be used over and over again. Yes - you read right - you can wear lashes more than once. A lot of people new to lashes seem to think it's one wear and get in the bin, but this is totally wrong. Look after your falsies and they can last you ages, so that £5 can go a long way when you think about cost per wear.

Another great thing about them is there are so many different brands offering strip lashes now, in a multitude of styles. Want thick, uber long, mink-style lashes? Perhaps you're feeling fluttery, feathery lashes today, or something more natural? Whatever your lash style, there will be a pair out there for you. My personal favourite brands for everyday wear are Eylure, Primark, Ardell, Eye Candy and Kiss. For going-out styles, I love House of Lashes and Certifeye, who offer fake mink styles.

Of course, strip lashes aren't for everyone. They can be fiddly to put on for starters - I've only just about mastered getting them on relatively quickly, but that's after years of wear them every day. Top tip: wait a few minutes until the glue goes really tacky before applying. Also, remember to trim them down to fit your eye.

As well as struggling to apply them, some people find them uncomfortable or too fake-looking, or just generally a bit of a faff to wear. So, I can see why extensions would be an option for some.

Lash Extensions

Lash extensions are another very viable option when it comes to long lashes. While they aren't as affordable as strip lashes, once they're on, they're on for the long-haul and can save so much time when it comes to doing your makeup in the morning. You'll need to book in at a salon to get them done, and I really do think it matters where you go for something like lash extensions. Check out the reviews for salons in your area - most salons share before and afters on their social media pages so you can get an idea of the kind of styles they're good at. Nouveau Lashes are pros in the world of lashes so if you choose a salon that has those, you can be pretty sure you're in good hands. 

Once you've picked your salon, application takes about an hour and a half for that first full set. In terms of pricing, it can be anything from £40-£60, depending on your area. You won't have to pay this every time though - infills (which take around 45 minutes) cost around £20-£30 and you'll need to book in for these every three weeks. 

The results you get with a good lash technician are amazing - you can choose the kind of style/volume you'd like, and walk out of the salon with full, fluttery lashes that look as natural or full-on as you'd like. I do find them on par with strip lashes in terms of comfort, if not slightly more comfortable, and it's amazing waking up in the morning with no makeup on and still having long lashes. 

There are downsides to extensions, however, which are my main reason for not wearing them all the time. Firstly, they are obviously not cheap, and upkeep is something you need to bear in mind. Also, you need to make sure you're really careful with your extensions - try not to rub your eyes, lie on them and oily skincare is an absolute no-no. Stick to oil-free makeup remover and you should be fine, but if you're a fan of lots of oils and rich skincare, extensions probably aren't for you. If you wear liquid liner a lot (like I do) they can also be a bit of a pain - I have to use a cotton bud with eye makeup remover to take mine off without damaging my extensions, and I do feel like with extensions I'm not giving my face as thorough a cleanse as I normally would. Also, whilst they look incredible when you've first had them done, over time you do lose lashes and they can start to look a bit ratty if you don't look after them (regularly brushing them is an absolute must!). 

So, which is best for you?

To be honest, I really think it depends on the individual and what kind of lifestyle you have whether or not you choose extensions or strip lashes. Strip lashes are great if you're only looking for that 'big night out' style, or if you have time in the morning to spend a little longer doing your makeup. Extensions are perfect for holidays (and I will always get them whenever I go away for this reason) but you have to be prepared for the upkeep and the potential skincare issues that wearing them long-term can bring. If you want longer lashes 24/7 though, or don't have much time to do your makeup in the morning, these are perfect. 

On the left I'm wearing strip lashes, on the right I have fresh lash extensions. 

For me personally, I've decided for now strip lashes are the best option, as I can switch them up as often as I like and, as I try out new skincare a lot through my blog, it's always better for me to be able to have a really thorough skincare routine that worrying about ruining my lashes won't get in the way of. That, and the fact I like my lashes BIG, especially for a night out, and sometimes I find extensions aren't big enough. I do always opt for Russian lashes when I get extensions though, which are as big as you can go. 

Which do you prefer? Let me know if you're a lash addict like myself! 

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Beauty Bakerie Metallic Lip Whip Review

I feel like it's been a while since I did a proper 'review' post, so here I am, coming atcha with a review of the stunning Beauty Bakerie Metallic Lip Whips. I hadn't heard of Beauty Bakerie until recently, but as soon as I laid eyes on these I was in love. I know the metallic lip thing isn't for everyone - and for some it will be a winter-only thing whereas other people will love it for summer - I am totally on board with it and trust me when I say these won't make you look like a knock-off tin man but will give your lips the plump and juicy metallic magic they deserve.

So, what are these bad boys all about? Well, they're basically liquid lipsticks but with a metallic edge. Whilst some of them are very metallic (Waffle Cone, the gold one, in particular) others are a little less obvious - it's more of a subtle hint which is definitely a big plus for anyone feeling a little bit nervous about the prospect of metallic lipstick.

These 'lip whips' seriously pack a punch - they are super pigmented and apply like a dream (I much prefer these applicators to some you get with liquid lipsticks) and they last. So. Well. Honestly, these are famed for their staying power and I can totally attest to it - they stay put.

Perfect for summer nights out, I think Waffle Cone looks incredible with a tan and can be applied alone or on top of your fave nude lippy. Berried (the deeper, berry red) is very intense but I can see it looking amazing during the winter months. Apple Crisp (the brighter red) might be my fave because it's so striking and gives you seriously kissable lips (if I do say so myself) and the metallic here is a little more toned-down. Finally, Cinnamon Roll (delicious-sounding, isn't it?) is a gorgeous copper colour that is unique to anything else I've ever worn. It's definitely not for the faint-hearted, but I think with the right makeup it can look incredible.

I personally love these metallic liquid lipsticks and they've definitely made me want to try more from Beauty Bakerie. The best thing? They're currently reduced to £7 on ASOS - the perfect excuse to give them a go!

Have you tried these by Beautie Bakerie before? Or any metallic lipsticks, for that matter? Let me know!

Monday, 2 July 2018

10 Tips for Gym Newbies

If you've never been to the gym before, or are starting out at a new gym, it can be pretty daunting. Especially if you're not feeling particularly confident in your body and/or fitness levels, plucking up the courage to go in and ask for a membership can be hard, let alone actually venturing onto the machines or trying out the weights.

I've been to a few gyms in my life, but it's only really in the past year or so I've started to feel confident about going. Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely not confident in my body (yet), but when I go to the gym I feel comfortable in myself - I know what I'm doing, I tend not to think about what other people might think of me and I just get on with it. I always come out feeling great, so I thought it made sense to put together a little list of tips for anyone new to the gym, or anyone who's not been in a while and feels like they could do with a few pointers on getting back into it. These are by no means '"fitness" tips - more like ways of enjoying/getting the most out of your workout.

1. Have a gym induction

If you've never been to a gym before, having a gym induction is an absolute must. Most gyms will book you in for one when you sign up, but in case they don't, make sure you ask for one. It should be free as part of your membership and will basically just be an instructor showing how to use all the machines. At my gym they put together a little plan for me too, which was really helpful as I didn't have the first idea where to begin. Don't be afraid to ask any questions, that's what instructors are there for!

2. Wear something comfortable 

Okay, so this might seem glaringly obvious but feeling comfortable in what you're wearing in the gym is SO important. It's worth thinking about what you'll be doing in the gym and how what you're wearing will work with that - for example, I've bought baggy tops before, only to find them too short, so when I'm doing certain exercises they ride up and my stomach is exposed - not cool (for me, anyway. Gimme washboard abs and I'm sure I'd be fine having it all on show). The first time it happened I felt really self-conscious, uncomfortable and it completely put me off doing what I was doing. I'd recommend LONG baggy tops for the gym if, like me, you're a bit self-conscious about your tummy area. If you're going to be running on the treadmill, leggings that stay up are an absolute must. I usually rate Primark for their leggings but it's definitely worth going in and trying some on as I have had a few dud pairs that fell down as I was running. Have a little jog on the spot in the changing room and see how they fair! 

3. Create an awesome playlist

I wouldn't be able to last in the gym if it wasn't for my music. I find music motivates me SO much, and even though they play music in the gym putting my headphones on and having my own energizing playlist lets me go into my own little workout bubble and helps me to get in the zone. I have Spotify Premium and I've made myself a separate cardio playlist with lots of high-energy, fast-paced songs, and then a separate weights playlist with songs that have a bit more sass to them. I can't recommend compiling yourself a playlist enough, it definitely makes my workouts so much more enjoyable. 

4. Get some wireless headphones

So you don't necessarily need wireless headphones to have a good workout, but I do find, especially when it comes to weights, they help a lot as I don't have pockets or anywhere to put my phone and I don't want to get the wires all tangled up when I'm working out. I've tried the wireless earphones but I prefer headphones as they stay in place when I'm running. Just make sure you remember to keep them charged, as there's nothing worse than your headphones dying mid-workout!

5. Download a workout app

Again, this isn't essential, but I do find having an app to track my workouts really helps. Particularly when it comes to weights, I can never remember which weight I'm using for which machine so I use Jefit to keep track of all the different machines/free weights I use. It makes it so much easier, plus you can set it so it gives you a timer to track your rest time between sets. 

6. Get a gym buddy

Okay, so the majority of the time I go to the gym by myself but I think having a gym buddy can help so much. I've been to classes with my boyfriend before and I find it motivates me so much more and we almost get a little bit of a competition going. It's also good to have a bit of moral support, and someone to talk to between sets. If you have a friend who wants to get into the gym, take them along with you. You can support each other throughout your workouts, and if you arrange to go with the other person regularly you'll feel obligated to, so you won't chicken out of going! 

7. Invest in a fitness tracker

If you have some spare cash, I can't recommend investing in a fitness tracker enough. I wouldn't be without mine now - I don't just wear it to the gym, but wear it everyday to keep track of my steps and exercise. I have a Fitbit Alta HR* and I love it so much - it tracks my heart-rate, my steps, how much exercise I do, even my sleep. I've had a heart-rate monitor before but I had to use a separate strap every time I worked out which I found a bit of a faff, whereas this one the heart-rate monitor is built-in. You can set exercise and step goals on it, it tells you how many calories you've burned and when you work out you can see which zone your heart-rate is in. I honestly wouldn't be without mine now! 

8. Try some classes and find one that's right for you

Whilst going to a class on your own can be daunting at first, so many people do it, no one judges and it's a great way to meet new people. I regularly go to a spin class and absolutely love it as the instructor makes it so fun, but I've tried other classes that I've not loved so much - I really struggled with pilates (whereas I love doing Blogilates at home). There are so many fun classes out there now that it's definitely worth heading to a few and seeing what works for you - I'm all about the fun ones where the time flies by (Zumba and Clubbercise are great for this!)

9. Take your makeup off

Obviously, not everyone is comfortable in their own skin (trust me, I've been there) but I've trained in makeup before and find it really does my skin no good at all. When you're in the gym you might feel like everyone is looking at you but they're really not - they're focusing on their own thing. I wear heavy foundation during the day so when I get in I take it all straight off before hitting the gym - I sweat A LOT when I train so I know I'll end up with makeup dripping off my face if I don't. Of course, I totally get it if you want to keep it on - just maybe opt for mineral makeup or something lighter so that your skin can breathe a bit while you train too. 

10. Enjoy it!

Finally, enjoy it! Starting the gym can be daunting and even when you've been going a while finding the motivation to go can be really hard. Stick with it though and you'll find you'll really start to enjoy it - I love the buzz I get from working out. I can have a really bad day, head to the gym and suddenly my mood is totally changed. Try not to watch the clock when you're there and instead just enjoy pushing yourself and seeing what your body can do - it's amazing how quickly your body adapts and you'll find it so much easier as time goes on. 

Bonus tip: ALWAYS take water with you. I've forgotten my water bottle on a couple of occasions and it is the worst. Stay hydrated kids! 

Do you regularly go to the gym? Let me know if you have any tips of your own to add! 
All images and content © Hannah Vickers 2010- unless stated otherwise. All rights reserved.