Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Beauty - Review of Lush Cupcake Face Mask

Hey everyone!

Before I start, I'd just like to say a massive THANK YOU to everyone who checked out my last post on Friday 12th February last, about skinny shaming. Despite my initial concerns,  I got a very positive response towards it and managed to acclaim over 200 views in just a few hours. Although for me, the best thing was random strangers messaging me saying thank you for posting it and "finally someone gets me". It's nice to know that sometimes. If you haven't checked out you can do so HERE

Anyways, cracking on with this blogpost that has been in my draft folder for what has felt like forever!

Lush are a cosmetic and haircare company that make all fresh handmade products. I absolutely adore their products, because as well as being ethically friendly and against animal testing, they're kind to sensitive skin. Unfortunately, I haven't used too many of their products, because of one simple reason: they're a tad expensive and I prefer to just use cheaper options that do the job just as well. But I couldn't resist anymore and just before Christmas, popped into the Lush here in Carlisle.

At the time, my skin was massively stressed out, with random breakouts all over and a forehead that seemed to be producing enough oil to make a fry on. Makeup unfortunately wasn't making the situation any better (and was sometimes even making it worse, see why HERE), and while I was making adjustments to other areas in my life, such as attempting to get enough sleep (which wasn't the easiest task when you are in university all week and working all weekend) and trying to stress less (again, not the easiest when you have assignments coming from you at all angles), and drinking water, I wanted a quicker option.

If you've ever walked into a Lush store, you know that in most Lush stores that their customer service is second to none. You're barely in the door when you have an eager member of staff up to you to ask you do you need any help, or need any skincare advice, and this was no different. A lovely lady talked me through some of the options I could try out, but it was so hard to decide because they all smelled so good. Literally was just smelling everything for like a half hour - haha! Eventually I decided on the Cupcake facemask I'm going to review in this blog post. As it's made for teenage skin, the lady said it would calm my breakouts and soak up any excess oils on my face, plus my friend at uni tried it out a few weeks before and her breakouts disappeared and her skin was glowing after just a few uses.

So the cupcake facemask contains cocoa butter, linseed and cocoa powder which claim to soften while peppermint and spearmint and sandalwood oils add a hint of freshness to your face. It really does smell like a chocolate cup cake! Sooo good. I usually slathered this all over my face once a week to help me relax. If stored in the fridge, it will stay good for a few weeks. I really liked the  It smells beautiful even when on your face and means it is so cooling and refreshing when applied. It didn't sting at all when first applied, but can be quite messy to work with so make sure you have something to wipe your hands after. It instantly felt refreshed. I usually left it on for ten minutes, after five minutes you can feel it drying in your skin and may find it difficult to move your face, which is an odd sensation! When I took it off, my skin felt instantly refreshed, although I did have to use some moisturiser after as my skin is quite dry also.

However, despite the obvious positives, I'm not convinced it did a great job of getting rid of any breakouts, though to be honest. Maybe my expectations were quite high after spending nearly seven quid on it (£6.80 to be exact). Or maybe just maybe my skin was too tough of a job to do anything on. I'm well aware that this may appear like a "bargain" compared to many other skincare brands, but for me personally, I'm not sure would I be parting with my money for this product again.

What do you think? Have you ever used Lush products? Let me know xxx

Friday, 12 February 2016

Thoughts: Skinny Shaming

Cheryl Cole is a successful singer. After finding fame with Girls Aloud on Popstars, she has quite impressively managed to carve out a very successful solo career, with four albums under her belt, as well as a contract with L'Oreal, fashion and makeup credentials.

She came back on The X Factor judging panel after months of speculation and attended an audition in Manchester a few months ago. She popped a photo of herself wearing a black crop top and trousers on Instagram at the time and received a furore of abuse, being called a 'bag of bones' and what not.
Naturally, Cheryl could not help but respond in her usual fiery Geordie demeanor. I've attached a screengrab of her reply on Instagram for you to check out.

Cheryl did look slim, but hasn't she always? I'm not her biggest fan, but I personally thought her outfit was very cute and suited her, and I loved her hair and makeup.

But most importantly, Cheryl's reply - other than being a source of entertainment for tabloids to gossip about - got me thinking about the whole issue around "skinny shaming" - where women are critised for their slim physiques. Contrary to popular belief, it's not just plus sized women who are being body shamed and made feel ashamed of their body figures. I felt it was a personal issue for me as I am slim, too - probably even slimmer than Cheryl.

So often, people think they are paying me some kind of inverse compliment by saying I look thin.

"You have it easy" is the one comment I hear a lot, along with "You're so lucky, you don't need to go to the gym." I respond to these comments by asking firstly, "what do you define as having it easy?" Do you define it as not going to the gym? Yes, I do go to the gym, but because from studying health and fitness at college I realise the importance of keeping fit and healthy and the enormous benefits it brings to my heart, bones and muscles.Yes, I'm well aware that many people go to the gym for the intention to lose some excess weight, but plenty of people like myself go to the gym to simply get fit and get the heart rate pumping. I don't see it as a chore like many people do either, or that it's "hard work". I see it as something necessary for my health, like taking a shower, or brushing my teeth, that not only improves my mood and freshens my mind short term but may help to prevent some health issues further down the line too, so while people may say I'm "lucky" for "not having" to go, I think otherwise.

People struggle to understand that as a slim person, you may have insecurities too. The notion is completely foreign to many of them. It may come as a surprise, but many actually do have a lot of insecurities, many of these about our bodies, like pretty much every other human being on the planet. When I was a teenager, thanks to the influence of the media and the rise of "team curvy", I did feel quite insecure about the way I looked. These days, at the age of 23, after recognising that self-loathing really doesn't help and after a lot of growing up and realisation to do, I think I've started to finally accept my body shape the way it is. Don't get me wrong - there are some days I'd love a better bust or an arse to rival the Kardashians, if only to fit into string and strapless dresses, but I try to focus on the positive aspects of my body, and forget the rest. Having said that though, it isn't always the easiest thing to do, and it's something I'm continually working on.

The genes that I inherited from my mother's side mean that I have an incredibly fast metabolism; my mother was the same when she was my age. I went through a massive growth spurt when I was twelve that has just kept on going and has also contributed to keeping my weight at a constant slim level. I don't diet, no, but I do like to eat a balanced diet. With university and work, that isn't always possible - there are some weeks where I live off pasta and pizza and I am addicted to Haribos Starmix sweets - but generally I make an effort to prepare salads or a healthy stirfry as I can really see the benefits in my skin, hair, nails and overall health and have tons more energy (to get these pesky essays done!). I disagree with the use of "diets" anyways. I firmly believe eating little and often, with a good selection of food groups, drinking plenty of water and trying to avoid the bits like chocolate, sweets, pizza and alcohol till once a week, does a better job with both maintaining your weight and works wonders for your health too, rather than these stupid diets, many of which have been proven inconclusive and damaging to not only your physical but your mental health.

I realise that people are people, and by nature, have opinions. I would even go as far as to say that I'm a very opinionated person. But everything I have an opinion on is backed up by cold, hard facts. Even when I wrote about my thoughts on women's rights and abortion debate in my home country Ireland, I wrote about it in a very objective way, keen not to take one side or another side and to not insult anyone that may disagree or agree with the use of abortion, because after all, I don't want anyone to become insulted by what I write. I know it may not appear so, but why I write these "thoughts" blog posts is not to rant, trust me.

But what I can't handle is the way people can be so very forward with their opinions, especially on social media, and for the most part, it's not always in a nice way and completely lacking some kind of facts or concrete evidence. They often feel it's their duty to tell slim people they don't really know (like the person who didn't know Cheryl), to "fatten up and eat a burger" or that they look "sick and ill".

I feel like saying to these people who tell slim people to "fatten up" - "thanks for the concern", but who or what made you their personal nutritionist or mother?

It's even more appaling for me when someone says these things to me, because I wouldn't dare tell someone to "stop eating" or to "go to the gym" or say they are "ill" because frankly - IT IS NONE OF MY BUSINESS!

There seems to be an abundance of people who seem to want to attack "skinny bitches", and the sad thing - like Cheryl said - is that it's mostly women on other women. Whatever happened to "girl power" and supporting others in a feminist act? Clearly that disappeared with Christina Aguilera and leather chaps in 2004 if my daily Instagram feed is anything to go by.

I'm quite active on Instagram as I promote my blog heavily on there, and I constantly read these thin-shaming posts posted by other women: "Real men like curves, only dogs go for bones".

Eh, what?

I'm no expert in the world of relationships, but I'd assume that if a guy is making an effort to go out with you and wants to be your boyfriend, the pivotal thing is that he should be attracted to your body shape. A "real" man or woman is someone who accepts people the way they are, and doesn't try to change them, and while I'm not saying you should go for someone you're simply not attracted to, surely apparance is a minor issue when it comes to choosing a mate, maybe even 10%? I feel a caring nature and a solid personality is much more important and are personally the things I would value the most in a potential boyfriend. If someone didn't want to be with me based on my body shape, I would just tell them what to do with themselves (that's a nice way of saying it!), there's more fish in the sea, etc etc. Plus, I find the term "dog" more than bit insulting and cannot believe in 2016 that this is even allowed to be printed as some sort of justification for skinny shaming and - worse still - used as an insult between women.

Whilst doing some research for this post, I came across this charming statement that basically implied that because women have a thigh gap it means they are promiscuous. Needless to say that that statement is complete and utter bullshit.

There's no denying that Meghan Trainor's 2014 hit All About That Bass was catchy as hell, but a closer listen to the lyrics showed that it involved some skinny shaming. Again, it's similar to what I've mentioned above about relationships and guys not finding girls that are slim appealing: "boys like a little booty to hold at night", but also constantly referring to slim women as "skinny bitches". Yes, it's quite right to disagree with the use of photo-shop to slim down women into an unrealistic body shape like is the norm in many "celebrity" magazines, but "bitches" is a bit too much in my opinion, and in case many of you may have forgotton, is actually an insult. This is a very concerning notion for me as young people are very influenced by music and lyrics and may believe that this is a true reflection of society, hence adding more fuel to the already burning out of control attack on slim women. I can't help but feel slightly uncomfortable on a drunken night out when this is played and everyone sings it loudly (though quite badly!) around me.

Another image I found online, from the drivel that is "Some E Cards", is the image you will see on the right. Well, where to start with this one?! I'm speechless to say the very least. I felt so angry at this incredibly warped notion that I actually sent a very strongly worded email to this company, whose E Cards I previously did think were humerous - I think it's absolutely beyond the realms of stupidity. The idea that slim women don't make good mothers is absolutely such a ridiculous concept that I'm not going to even expand on how it's all sorts of wrong! Also, to mention the Holocaust in these sort of greeting cards just adds further insult to injury. Girls such as myself being metabolically and genetically slim naturally is completely different to a sadistic event that claimed the lives of innocent million Jews, homeosexuals and disabled people across Europe and I find it horrendous that this company would state that they are similar. And I like to think when I do have a child someday, that I will be slim, not from "starving to death", but rather from working my arse off day and night to make sure they are provided with everything they might require!

I'd just like to clarify that this blogpost is really not an attack on any plus sized women, or any other woman in general. I'm really glad that plus sized women (and men!) are being treated equally in terms of working, fashion and society in general, like it should be. I'd also like to make it very clear that this is not a pro-anorexia blogpost; there is a difference between a girl who is naturally slim and someone who has a psychological disorder and intentionally restricts calories. But these preconceived idiotic notions and negative attitudes towards body figures really need to stop. We need to appreciate that every body is beautiful. Eat healthily, do some exercise if you want or have a pizza and slob on the couch if you want - whatever makes you happy. Just be happy in your own body, because when you're happy in your own skin, you don't have reason to hate on others, and that to me, is what truly makes you beautiful.

Hope you enjoyed this blogpost - thanks for reading! xx

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Beauty - Review of Nivea Micellar Water and Extra Gentle Eye Make Up Remover

As far as make up removers go, I'd quite happily use Garnier Micellar water (review of that product is HERE), for the rest of my life. But, as a blogger, so it's really important for me to always be on the lookout for new things to try out. And a change is always good, right?

When I posted an offer relating to the Garnier micellar water on my Instagram (HERE, please do follow me), a fellow blogger commented that the Nivea version was a far better product. Intrigued, when I finished my Garnier one, I decided to skip into Superdrug and buy this Nivea one. At the time, Superdrug were having an offer on Nivea products - buy one, get one free - so I bought this Nivea micellar water for £4.09 and their Daily Essentials Gentle Eye makeup remover. But now, the Nivea micellar water will set you back £4.09 in Superdrug (it's slightly cheaper at £3.69 at Boots) and the eye makeup remover will cost you £3.59 in Superdrug (although it is £2.58 at a Lloyd's Pharmacy).

I'll talk a little about the micellar water first. First off, you get less product here than you do with the Garnier one; The Nivea micellar water is 200ml whereas the Garnier one is 400ml. I bought the one for Sensitive skin, and it can be used on both face and eyes. The label states that it contains dexpanthenol. Don't panic though, this is actually just an active ingredient that has moisturising properties. It also contans Grape Seed Oil, which also plays a role in keeping skin soft and supple.

I couldn't get any noticeable smell off the Garnier one, but there is a smell off the Nivea micellar water; almost alcohol like. I applied it to a cotton pad and used it to remove my makeup. So far, so good. I think I've mentioned before that my skin is dry, but it felt really super dry after using this. After using the Garnier micellar water, I didn't feel the need to moisturise my skin after, however I had to after using this guy. It stung a little around my eye area, but with a strong smell like that, I can't say I was completely surprised.

Probably the most irritating thing about this micellar water is the smell is such that it lingers on your hands after application, and it's quite strong too, so do wash your hands with some kind of handwash before touching food or the smell will obviously transfer. Although a sneaky tip I discovered last week: if your hands get stained from applying tan, a bit of this on a cotton pad should erase that mistake pretty easily!

Right, now onto the Extra Gentle Eye Make Up remover. The smell is quite strong in this guy too, but if you've ever used Nivea products before, you'll know the similar smell they all have. I applied to a cotton pad and used it to remove my eye makeup. However, it stung so so so bad! So much so that my eyes became red and flared. I was wearing contact lenses at the time, so even though its label states it is sutiable for contact lens wearers, I waited till they were out again before trying again on a seperate day. Again, no luck. Nothing but serious stinging. "Extra gentle", my arse! It really annoys me when brands claim a product to be for sensitive skin when they're so obviously not!

Rating: 1/10.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Beauty - Real Techniques Core Collection Review

Hey everyone, and welcome back to Shelly Says So!

Just after finishing my semester one exams a few weeks ago, I decided to treat myself in Superdrug (not that I need much of an excuse to treat myself in Superdrug!) to these Real Techniques make up brushes. I follow a lot of bloggers online, and as a result I have heard so many good things about these brushes from other bloggers, so I decided to give them a go. They cost £20.99 in my local Superdrug, but they'll set you back €29.99 if you live in Ireland.

I bought the Core Collection, which consists of four brushes. From left to right, you have the contour brush, the pointed foundation brush, the detailer brush and the buffing brush. They come in a plastic outer packaging, attatched to a case which can be also used as a stand, which is very handy indeed.

First impressions: they look beautiful.
The gold colour is very pretty and they are super soft to the touch too. But less about the aesthetics and more about the function!

The contour brush, as you may have guessed, is said to be ideal for applying contour on your face. I think the slight precision point at the top of the brush allows the process to go more smoothly and it being super soft and lightweight means it's not an ordeal applying contour.

The pointed foundation brush is supposed to work best with liquid foundations, which is the usual foundation I wear. I had been using Primark's foundation brush (which I'll review very shortly!), but since I had this, I wanted to try it out. As it's quite a small brush, I found it made the foundation application much more lengthy! Which is fine if you have plenty of time to spare in the mornings but alas, I never do (who even does?).  I wondered whether I was simply using it wrong, so I watched a video on about how to use it. I wasn't, but it did take long and it said it is good for light application of foundation.

This again is completely fine if you're after a natural look but I just personally
prefer a medium layer of foundation. With all of this swiping around it also left so much more tell-tale brush strokes which immediately turned me off. I will say that it does work well to get into precision areas such as side of your nose. I started using it also to apply concealer, which it does work well with.

The detailer brush is the smallest and skinniest of the brushes in this set, and as you can guess, it is used mainly for precision applications in small areas. It can be used for applying concealer or lipstick for "long lasting shape and definition". However, I began using it in eye makeup to define my eye crease, and I couldn't believe how amazing it was! Definitely my favourite of all these brushes. The quality of this small brush even inspired me to purchase the other Real Techniques set made especially for eye makeup.

The buffing brush apparently works ideally with powder and mineral foundations. Since I have neither to test that theory out on, I decided to rebel slightly and use it for I for applying liquid foundation, and found that I really liked it. It's obviously a lot bigger than the pointed foundation brush so less time consuming. However I tend to go over the application with Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge (review of that product is HERE) to ensure the makeup application turned out flawless. I also used it for applying bronzer and blush, and find it works well then too.

So the question you've all been waiting to be answered: Are these brushes worth the price tag? Although reasonable by other beauty brush standards such as Mac, these are quite expensive. Although my opinion is bound to be controversial, I need to be honest about my review as I don't want my readers to be rushing out buying these, especialy with limited funds. I think that besides from the detailer brush which was ah-mazing, these guys are simply not worth twenty-odd bucks. Fifteen perhaps, but not twenty.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Fashion - Thrift Shops & My Tips for Shopping in them

Hi guys!

Even before I started my blog, I was always on the hunt for a bargain when it comes to shopping. One of the best places to find a bargain when it comes to clothes, shoes and books is thrift (or charity) shops. I know people may have negative opinions about shopping in thrift shops, but there's really nothing to be negative about when it comes to them. I've actually got some of the nicest dresses, skirts and tops from them over the years for very inexpensive prices, so I'd really encourage you to check out your local ones. Not only are you getting a bargain but you're supporting the charity too - guilt free shopping, yay!

I understand though that there's people that just don't know where to begin when it comes to shopping in them, and that's where Shelly Says So comes in with my advice on shopping in them. Some of these tips can also be applied to shopping in general. You're welcome! xo.

Tip No.1: Be patient!
As a rule, charity shops are as organised as can be but they're quite a different experience from shopping in Penneys (Primark for all my lovely British friends!) or New Look. In Penneys you walk in and you see a pretty dress. That pretty dress is all in different sizes, all on the same rail. However, it's quite a different story in  charity shops (with the exception being the British Heart Foundation here in Carlisle, everything is so organised). You see a pretty dress, but it's not in your size and on the same rail there could be up to thirty different dresses. It leads to expected frustration, so you must be patient. Rummage through rails like your life depends on it because you never know, the dress of your dreams could be stuck behind a load of other boring dresses....

Tip No.2: Know when something is a bargain or just shite! 
From personal experience even from shopping in the likes of Penneys, I know how easy it is to get swept up in the moment just because a product is a low price. Charity shop clothes are of good quality, there is no way anything would be allowed through their doors and put on a rail if they had holes in them where there wasn't supposed to be holes or were in need of rescue. But I've lost count of how many times I've fallen in love with what a dress looks like and the low price of it and abandon everything else that's important when it comes to selecting an item of clothing. Yes, it looked nice on the rail and was as cheap as chips, but when I came home and tried it on, wanting to wear it for a night out, I found that it just wasn't the right fit and was drawing attention to the parts of my body I'm insecure about. Therefore it was a mishap on my behalf and felt like money down the drain (a fiver doesn't seem like too much but when you're a student, a fiver is loads to spend and could have been used for other things (like alcomohol haha), and the dress never did get it's night out on the town.

Tip No.3: Think practical!
This kind of ties in with my second tip above, and it's a mishap I'm equally guilty of making when it comes to thrift shopping, as well as regular shopping. Again, I fall in love with a skirt, dying to wear it out, and then realise it doesn't go with anything else in my wardrobe whatsoever. I know fashion is all about experimentation, but fashion is also like a relationship; if it's a strange fabric/material/colour it could be difficult for it to get on and work well with the rest of your clothes. Same thing applies if you have a million of the same type of clothing at home. If you already have a LBD at home that you barely wear as it is don't bring another one home with you - no matter how cheap it is - to hog further valuable space in your wardrobe.

Tip No.4: Try to not get disheartened. 
It's happened to me many times. I walk in one week to a charity shop and I come out with a bagful of bargains, the next week I go into the same one and I'm lucky if I find a book in it I want to read. It's often a matter of luck and being there at the right day and at the right time. Anyways, shopping should be fun, and shopping in charity shops is even more fun, if you let it be that way. This may be a sign I'm getting old, but I enjoy nothing more than spending an afternoon browsing through the rails, even better if I have a friend with me and we can laugh at some of the items for sale in the shop (High School musical calendar from 2005, anyone?). It's such a good feeling when you finally get a good bargain that you weren't expecting that it's well worth it.

Tip No.5: Wash the clothes!
Like I've mentioned already, charity shop clothing is at a very high standard. You'll never walk in and see clothes with vomit or any other bodily fluid on them, but they do have quite a strange smell that obviously transfers to the clothes, so I always wash the clothes after I purchase them, just to make sure all smells are off them and they smell fresh and fancy for your nights or days out.

So here are a few of my charity shop bargains!!

Flowery Dress: NCBI (National Council for the Blind Ireland), Ballina, Co. Mayo, Ireland. Cost €5.

Polka dot Dress (by AX Paris)
: Oxfam Dublin, €5.


Polka dot dress (by AX Paris):
 Oxfam in Dublin, €5.

Shorts: 50c (NCBI, Ballina, Co. Mayo, Ireland).