Friday, 11 May 2018

A New Leaf

I think we can safely say that Spring has now sprung here in England, I'm sure the weather will continue to be as unpredictable as always but on the whole, the sun is shining and the mornings and evenings are definitely lighter. What better time to sit back and reflect on the last 6 months to a year of my life and think of all of the changes I've made, and ways that I've changed.

If you follow me on any form of social media, know me in real life or have just managed to work it out - I left Sophie's Dad back in November. It was the hardest decision I've ever had to make, though it was fairly mutual and has been as amicable as any split could be, and it was definitely the scariest thing I've ever done. I didn't have a "normal" family life growing up, I didn't know my own Dad until I was 15 and my Step-Dad left when I was 13. So to be tearing my Daughter's family apart was heart breaking. It was no-one's fault and there were no outside influences, I can remember waking up one random Tuesday morning and just knowing it was something I had to do for all three of us.

 I'm not going to dwell on that side of things, or the break down of my relationship. Mainly out of respect for James who is still the Father of my child and who still gave me three amazing years, the most wonderful Daughter and many happy memories. If anyone is in the same position then please do feel free to reach out to me for any advice or just a hug. This post is positive, what I did was brave. It took real courage to leave a relationship where there wasn't a lot wrong, but something wasn't right. And I've never lived on my own before, I've never had to pay all of the bills on my own and I've never not had someone to fall back on if I needed it.

I'm really lucky to have an amazing family around me, I managed to move back into the village that I grew up in. My Mum and her boyfriend live there, my Grandparents live there and my Sister works there whilst living a whole 5 or so miles away. I've never felt more supported in my life.

I also used this experience to push myself as a person, I had to be stronger for Sophie and I felt like I was setting her the best example by chasing true happiness and not settling for anything less. I decided to stop faffing around with dieting tomorrow/Monday/next week/never and just bucked up my ideas when it came to what I was eating. I've lost over two stone since November, it's yoyo'd a little bit after Christmas but in general I feel miles more confident and a hundred times more healthy.  I feel as though I have a much more positive outlook on life now, too. I used to find that the smallest thing would send me spiralling into a ball of negativity that could honestly take weeks to crawl back out of. I suffer more from anxiety now than I ever have, but the attacks last hours rather than days and I can deal with them so much better. I've got through the hardest thing I'll probably ever have to do, I can take on anything else with ease.

It's also made me more career focused. I know that if I want a good future for myself and Sophie then I shouldn't rely on anyone but myself. I am in a new relationship but I've learnt a hard lesson not to use that as a safety net. I'm rebuilding the savings that I lost due to the wedding and I'm consolidating my finances and debts more so every month to make our lives more comfortable. I bagged a cheeky little promotion/extra responsibility at work and I'm doing the next level in my studying. It's all going to be tough but it will be so worth it in the future. Everything I do, I consider the example I'm setting for Sophie, and I hope that I'm showing her how to have it all.

I couldn't have done any of this without Sophie, My Mum, Sister and amazing Brother-in-Law. Also without Keiran, Mike or my incredible Boss. But on the whole it's something I did on my own and I am so proud of myself for that. In the last 6 months I've completely turned my life around, from one where I thought I had everything I ever wanted but was deeply unhappy, to one where on the surface it's a mess but inside I'm absolutely beaming. My confidence in my body, my mind and myself is at an all time high and I have to keep pinching myself that this life is really mine.

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Thursday, 10 May 2018

Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Wear Foundation

I can clearly remember the first time that I ever purchased a high-end foundation, I'd gone into my local department store, sat down and was given the works by a lovely lady on the Lancôme counter. I'll be honest that I can't remember which one it was, although think it was in similar packaging to the one I'm discussing today. What I can remember is the first class treatment, luxurious packaging and heavenly smell. From that first step into the high-end world, I've been around the block a couple of times when it comes to foundation and it wasn't until I was looking for a decent base to see me through the winter that I remember my first love of Lancôme and decided to head back to my roots.

I'm much older now than I was when I first started purchasing high-end foundations, and I'm far more brutal and honest about what I want to achieve from them. I don't have the patience to try something that doesn't offer what I need and so I can be quite fussy. In this instance, I wanted high coverage, warm toned and good staying power. Something that would last a long day at work and also look flawless for an evening out. I'll state for the record now, the Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear Foundation got 2/3 of these bang on. The only one that let it down was the colour, it's too pink for me and makes me look quite washed out. But this is something I struggle with universally, partially because the assistants never seem to believe me when I say that my skin is actually really yellow toned, partially because all department stores seem to love pushing their makeup counters under artificial lights so you can't really see the colours, and partially because I always jump in head first and can't be bothered to take home a sample of a foundation to really test it out first.

So the colour isn't particularly Lancôme's fault, though I'm yet to find a Lancôme shade that is right for me. I can soon warm this up with some bronze or mix it with a slightly darker foundation to achieve the right colour so it's not the end of the world and in the winter when I'm far paler, I can get away with it. The coverage, however, is incredible. It's definitely a medium/full foundation and I don't feel as though I need to build it at all. I apply this with my beauty blender and find it goes on flawless first time, there's no faffing around my nose or having to go back over any redness. I don't even need to touch up any blemishes with concealer (apart from under the eyes, Lord knows I always need concealer under the eyes). The staying power is seriously impressive too, I can be quite bad at touching my face throughout the day (hello, stressful job), but if I'm good and leave it alone then it stays in place beautifully. No breaking up around my nose or coming off on my chin. It stays even and in place. I feel like it holds my contour and other face products in place well too - if that's even a thing?

 It's £32 for 30ml but that's about what you'd expect from a Lancôme foundation, you don't need a lot of it to create a flawless base so you can use it sparingly and it's got an SPF of 15 so particularly in the winter, you wouldn't need to add a separate product to protect your skin. I'd say that the finish is a demi-matte finish, I usually prefer something dewier but know that's rare to find with the level of coverage I want too. For such a high coverage foundation it doesn't look cakey either, sometimes I find that the higher the coverage, the more powder products tend to build up and sit on top and my face ends up looking chalky - not with this, however. It still feels like a liquid and leaves my skin feeling as though it can breathe. If you're looking for a classic foundation that packs a punch, I'd definitely recommend a look at this one. Just select the right shade first!

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