Tag Archives: Lifestyle

Minimalism: Literally All My Makeup

beautyOh hi, it’s just me again banging on about minimalism & this time minimalist makeup.

A while ago I wrote about 6 things I don’t need – and that list included duplicates of makeup. That point lends itself pretty well to a whole new blog post in which I share all of the makeup I do own. This is that blog post.

These are all Cruelty Free products at the time of writing (see also my post on NARS). Many are old faithful products I’ve bought repeatedly, but a few are newish to my collection and are replacing several pieces of old clutter.

Primer: e.l.f Illuminating Face Primer – I find this gives a really nice shine/glow under foundation or even just concealer, smells delicious & is really cost effective (£7-ish).

Foundation: NARS All Day Luminous Foundation in Montblanc (NARS were cruelty free at the time of purchase) – I’ve used NARS foundations forever and they’re perfect for me, so I’m distraught to discover they’ll start selling in China shortly. Not linking because obvs you shouldn’t buy it any more!

Blusher/Bronzer: e.l.f Bronze Beauty Palette – This palette has 4 shades that range from a cool matte brown to a rosy tan tint, which makes it perfect to double up as a blusher. I use the top left & bottom right pans mostly.

Eyebrows: Sleek Brow Intensity Sculptor (applied with an angled brush) – The actual applicator for this product is insane, but the product itself is great. I just dab a little on to an angled brush and apply that way as it goes on neater.

Mascara: e.l.f Waterproof Lengthening & Volumising Mascara – This is a recent buy and it’s great. It’s about as close to a cruelty free dupe of Benefit’s They’re Real I’ve ever found, so for £4-ish I’m very happy with it. The brush is a little awkward, but it’s worth it.

Lips: I’ve always been fairly low-key on the lip front, but even I managed to throw a few things out. I’ve left myself with Burts Bees classic beeswax lip balm and a Body Shop Coral Blush lipstick, plus the last bit of a Laura Mercier berry coloured lip tint from back in 2012 which has been & will be my Christmas Lip Colour of choice forever).

Tools: Nanshy Masterful Collection & B. Precision Beauty Blender – I’ve had these items for years (dude, I clean them, it’s OK) and they’re great. I apply the primer & foundation with the beauty blender and everything else with a brush.

And although I’m aware this is a fairly wordy post, that is it for my cosmetics collection. Literally, there is nothing else that I own. Although the list is pretty long, I’m hoping the images will translate how little I have. It’s SO freeing!




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Why NARS’ Statement on Selling in China is Bull****


Recently NARS caused cruelty-free chaos by announcing that, although it still really cares about being cruelty free & ending animal testing, it cares about profits more & has decided to sell in the Chinese market.

For those of you new or alien to the concept of cruelty free products, selling cosmetics & personal care to the Chinese markets means that, under Chinese law, the product must be tested on animals. So even if NARS don’t have animal testing performed on their ingredients or products for the European market, they must have the tests done for the Chinese markets – ergo the brand ceases to be Cruelty Free.

Inevitably when companies make a move like this, Cruelty Free advocates get mad & there’s backlash – kind of like there was on Twitter last week when the news broke.


NARS wasted no time, however, in posting a statement on their instagram claiming that, by making their products available to fans in the Chinese market they’re still being dead keen on protecting the interests of animals in the long run, and that actually they still do loads of good stuff. Good stuff is great, but why are they taking a step backwards?

Their post sounds kind of contradictory – they’re super against it, but only if it doesn’t interrupt financial growth? Hmm.
But here’s one of the worst bits – NARS could have always sold to the Chinese market from outside of China without compromising their Animal Testing policy. Chinese Law does not require companies outside of China to test products on animals if they’re shipping into the country – only if they’re shipping domestically from within China. See more on this here. 

I can’t honestly say I know about the cost/profit implications of selling as imported product vs selling domestically, but it seems to me that, if NARS were still concerned with not testing on animals, but also didn’t want to alienate their Chinese fans, then surely this would be a more ethical option?

Is it likely that their advertising opportunities would be limited/restricted/forbidden when selling from outside of China into China? Can anyone shed any light on why they’ve made this decision?

I have to say I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to wear NARS any longer, but I’m sure I’ll find a kinder alternative. Can anyone recommend one?


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Facing Blindness | Confessions of a Contact Lens Wearer

Corneal Ulcer - what its like

 Recently, I was faced with the possibility that I’d partially or completely lose the sight in my right eye after developing a corneal ulcer. Due to fantastic treatment and advice from everyone at the Royal Eye Hospital in Manchester, I thankfully won’t lose my sight, but it did get me thinking about the very real possibility of becoming partially blind.

Today I want to share a few thoughts on that very scary prospect, explain what a corneal ulcer feels like, and what the prognosis is…and perhaps urge you all to look after your eyes a bit better.

Since my mid-teens I’ve needed glasses, and started to wear contact lenses from being around 20 (so about 6 years). I wore them almost daily, and always for longer durations than are recommended. I was careless with my use – I wouldn’t always remove them when I was supposed to. Sometimes I would wear them whilst swimming, or even moisten one with water in an emergency. I’m even guilty of having slept in my contact lenses – for shame.

For 5 years this lax approach to eye health didn’t bother me – after all, I’d always been fine. Surprising how quickly all of that nonchalance turns to regret when you realise there is something seriously wrong with your eye – and that it was probably avoidable.

The feeling started with that distressing sensation that there’s a bit of sand in your eye – so because I didn’t have any saline handy, I rinsed my eye with water (this is not advisable). That didn’t help, so as soon as I got chance I bought some lubricating eye drops (I was abroad for the weekend) and persevered with the blurred vision, headaches, light sensitivity, constant streaming, throbbing, sore-to-touch face, swollen and red eyeball and feeling of panic that something was in my eye. Ibuprofen helped… a bit.

When I got home I noticed a little white bubble had formed on my iris, which I assumed was a foreign object – but try as I might, I couldn’t move it (note: I shouldn’t have tried). I called my  GP, and they referred me to an optician, who referred me immediately to the hospital. Immediately. As in, they told me it was a medical emergency. This was no regular thing-in-eye.

I flew through the admin process at the hospital – feeling more worried by the minute – and was eventually advised I’d developed a Corneal Ulcer – and that it was a good job I’d decided to seek medical advice.

A corneal ulcer is often caused when a lens, finger or other foreign object tears your cornea, allowing bacteria to enter your eye. This bacteria causes inflammation and irritation – kind of like a mouth ulcer (google it – I won’t gross you out here). Immediately, the eye feels gritty, light sensitive and vision becomes blurry. Ulcers caught quickly can be treated with drops and disappear without making much impact on vision. Ulcers left to linger can leave scarring on the eye, permanently affecting sight, and sometimes require a corneal transplant to correct your vision. So, it’s pretty serious.

That’s not the only reason you should be careful with your eye health, though. Contact lens wearers who aren’t careful can contract Acanthamoeba Keratitis, which  is a parasite which is actually even more nasty than it sounds.

It’s not just contact lens wearers who should beware too – have you ever shared mascara with your BFF? How about applying freshly sharpened eyeliner pencil to an inner lid line? Whenever you put a foreign object near your eye (especially a shared one), you’re risking introducing nasty bacteria to it. Let me tell you, it’s not one of those things you’re better off knowing from experience. Just take my word for it.

I spent 3 days facing the very real possibility that, if the medication I was given didn’t shrink the ulcer, I may need a corneal transplant, or face permanently having severely damaged vision. Naturally, I started to appreciate all the things I enjoy doing with my eyes – like boxing, or watching TV, reading, knitting, blogging, seeing my dog cock his head to listen to me, knowing what colour my tshirt is, not falling over stuff, driving, having depth perception… the list goes on. In those moments, I would have given anything to rewind the clock and change my eye-neglecting ways.

The good news for me is that my antibiotics started to work, and the ulcer began to shrink. It will still be a few weeks until my vision is back near normal, but I should regain my normal sight completely. I’m in no pain, and I’ve learned a valuable lesson about taking my eye health seriously.

If you’re a contact lens, false lash, mascara, eyeliner or eye drop user – please be careful and follow the guidelines on use for these products! Look after your eyes – you don’t appreciate them until you’re faced with losing them!


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