UK Beauty, Fashion & Lifestyle Blog

The hype is seriously real!

Ah, the famous Maybelline Lash Sensational. You're my fave.

This post has been floating in my drafts for probably about two years now and I've just never got round to shining a light on it on my blog, until now.

I used my Benefit Roller Lash mascara (one of my fave high end mascaras) most days for a month or so, but then one day recently I randomly decided to use my Maybelline Lash Sensational instead. I've always loved it but omg, I seriously forgot quite how good it was.

The shade in the photo is Intense Black, but at the moment I'm using Black, which is still soooo black. It's seriously amazing at livening up those lashes! The wand is a really nice shape and size as well. I can wiggle through my lashes really easily and the curved shape allows me to coat each and every one. The packaging is also really nice, girly and sleek, which I love. The colour of the tube always makes it easy to spot in my makeup drawer, so I can find it and pop on my mascara really quickly if I'm in a rush.

The consistency is what makes this mascara so great. It's not too wet that it clumps all of your lashes together and is messy to apply, and it's not too dry that you don't get enough pigmentation and overall wow-factor. It's a nice, relatively thick consistency which just applies so nicely to the lashes and gives amazing (drumroll please...) length AND volume. You know when you put on your mascara and think damn where did those lashes come from?! I am quite lucky to say that I have naturally long eye lashes naturally, but when I have been wearing this mascara, some people have asked if I'm wearing fake eyelashes or have had eyelash extensions. So that's a big green tick for me!

Can it get any better? YES. YES IT CAN! This mascara lasts all day on my lashes. No joke, I go to work in the morning with it freshly applied and I come home and it looks exactly the same. If I'm heading out again, I might touch it up slightly but it's really not necessary at all. I don't know what they've put in this stuff, but my god it works. It stays put all day, it doesn't smudge or crumble under the eyes, it makes my lashes look insane and it's only £8.99.

Here's what the mascara looks like on my lashes (hey huge pic of me)...

I've repurchased this mascara many times and I will 100% continue to do so. Maybelline, I salute you!

Have you tried Maybelline's Lash Sensational mascara? Do you love it as much as I do?

xo, Hannah

If you study a media or media-related degree, like myself, you've probably experienced that famous stigma at least once in your life. Don't get me wrong, some people totally get media degrees and how it can open numerous doors. But others, not so much...

The main reason behind this stigma is that some people don't really get what a media degree entails. They think it will open zero doors, that your career is basically dead already, oh and that it's a complete doss subject that you chose just because you wanted to experience 'uni life'. Well let me tell you, it's complete BS. 

I found my love for media at school, which started as an interest in media production, but also learning about how the media impacts the way society views certain things and how it creates and delivers messages. And let me tell you, A Level Media Studies was no easy way out. I spent many hours writing essays, researching and analysing numerous theories, oh and lets not forget planning, filming, producing, directing, starring in and editing a short film alongside that - which also involved going out to re-film and re-edit multiple times. So to people that thought Media was an 'easy' subject at school... just no. U are wrong. K?

I liked A Level Media Studies no matter the stress and challenges it brought me because it was so interesting and current. And I like to say I was pretty good at it? This is why I wanted to continue this interest at university. I steered away from Media Production as I wanted to do a more theoretical degree as opposed to a practical one. Plus, I knew I didn't really want to go into TV or Film. So, I went for a Communication and Media degree, which puts together a wide variety of different aspects of the media industry, such as communications (obvs), journalism, marketing, PR, advertising, media within society, and so on. Perfect for the student like me who was really interested in the industry, but wasn't sure of my niche just yet. 

Let me tell you, I've had an array of digs or weird looks that have been sent my way when I tell them I'm studying 'Communication and Media'. My 80 something year old neighbour always digs at me by saying I will never get a job. Charming, eh? He automatically assumes I only want to work for big buck worldwide companies or want to be a TV presenter on ITV. Like no? I usually just sarcastically smile back at him but one time I did bite back and say how I had already secured my placement year and how there ARE opportunities out there to grab by the horns. Why you gotta be so ruuuuude?

A doctor (who wasn't a polite one on this particular encounter regardless of this) also sort of scoffed at me once when I told him what I was studying. "Oh, so what you gonna do with that then?". Um, well how about go into Marketing and help launch campaigns for the latest product releases, or go into PR and secure coverage in newspapers and magazines for a national business? 

The reality is, just because it's seen as a more 'creative' subject than perhaps Mathematics, History or Law, it deals with so many theories, both past and present, and helps us to unpick all the coding that huge companies and organisations create. And as I said, the transferable skills I have learnt throughout my degree and during my placement year as a Marketing Assistant are going to open so many doors in my chosen career. 

A 2014 article in The Guardian by Media student Enya-Quin Jarvis sums it up perfectly: 

Media studies isn't about watching films and reading newspapers, it's about actively engaging with media practice, theory and production. It's about working within the industry and requires skills like good project management and critical thinking.

If you know anyone who has a dig at Media degrees, do us a favour and link them this post. :) Rant over. 

Have you ever suffered the stigma of a Media (or related) degree? 

Woah, we're going to Ibiza! ...Well, I went, and I wanna go back. Please? Why do holidays have to go so quickly?

Last week, me and Aaron got back from a week away in Ibiza and it was absolutely amazing. It was our first summer holiday together on our own for two years, so it was really nice to get away. The trouble is it goes so quickly! I've posted most of these photos on my Instagram, but I thought it'd be nice to include them in a blog post and go into more detail about where we stayed and what we got up to.

We stayed at the Grand Palladium Palace Ibiza Resort & Spa (5*), situated on Playa d'en Bossa. Honestly, the hotel was out of this world and we knew instantly that we'd done well with choosing the hotel as soon as we walked in. We were greeted with refreshing towels and mocktails! It really was that 5 star experience. We stayed all inclusive so I was already so excited about the unlimited food and drink to follow over the next seven days, haha!

On our first day, we ventured around the hotel to explore and also headed down to the beach (Playa d'en Bossa). We discovered that there were gates in our hotel that led straight to the beach, so it was about a 5 minute walk, which was amazing! The beach was so gorgeous and the sea was sooo nice. You could just walk straight in without feeling cold and it was so refreshing. 

What better way to start the holiday than with making the most of the unlimited cocktails by the pool?! Look how big it is! I couldn't get over the size of it when Aaron brought it over to me, I definitely wasn't complaining though. Tequila Sunrise (pictured above) is definitely one of my favourites, but then I discovered a cocktail called a Pomada. It was gin with a cloudy zesty lemonade mixture, with some fresh lime as well. I can't tell you how refreshing it was. I got through a fair few of those!

This was the lovely view we had from our sunbeds by the pool. We stayed in this spot for most of the holiday as it was nice and close to the pool and had a great view of the resort. That wooden decking got soooo hot in the sun so the closer to the pool, the better! There was always something fun to watch and get involved with by the pool, whether that be a dance performance, aqua fitness, water polo, water volleyball, etc etc. I'm not very sporty at all so I just stayed and chilled on my sunbed, but Aaron had a go at some of the activities a few times and he said it was great fun. 

As I mentioned, the beach was absolutely gorgeous and it was a really nice chilled vibe. There were a lot of bars right on the beach that served food and drinks throughout the day. You could actually pay to sit on one of their fancy sunbeds (you know those ones that look like a huge double bed) but we didn't go for that because it was a fair bit of money just for one day. So we just sat on our towels on the sand and listened to all the nice music. 

Our hotel did give out some head/back rests to take with us down to the beach, which made sitting on the beach much more comfortable. And it was included in the all inclusive price, so win win! One of the beach bars was called Coco Beach. I saw this nice little photo back drop so hey, why not take a snap? My bikini here was River Island from a couple of years ago.

A lot of the beach bars did actually close around 9pm, which we thought was quite odd as bars here in the UK would never shut that early. I guess we're not really used to the day bar culture that they have in Ibiza. However, one of the bars did stay open until 2am, so a couple of evenings we went down there for a few cocktails as a treat. These cocktails were from Nassau Beach Club, a bar just outside out hotel, which was full of really fancy chairs and tables and had a DJ too. It was really cool! The cocktail I had was called a Mediterranean Breeze, which was a vodka cocktail with lots of fruity flavours. Delish! Aaron's was a creamy cocktail made with rum, and it had a marshmallow on the top! Yum.

A lot of the evenings we just made the most of exploring our beautiful hotel, enjoying the hotel entertainment and sipping cocktails. We'd never been to a hotel before where there was so much to do and see, so we really made the most of it. There were so many pretty photo spots, but this was one of my favourites. The lighting was just perfect as well because it was golden hour (apparently the best time to take photos?) so I just had to take a snap. My top, shorts and shoes are all from New Look.

On one night, we went out for a really fancy meal at Montauk Steak House located in Ushuaia Beach Hotel, as a belated three year anniversary/end of long distance treat. The decor was stunning and really unique (check out those bum chairs, ha!) and the food, service and all round experience was just amazing. It was an expensive meal but for a one off treat, we didn't regret it one bit. The staff were so attentive and knew the menu like the back of their hand. To start, we chose cured Iberian ham, which was actually carved from the leg right in front of us. It was like nothing I've seen (and tasted) before! We were also given a selection of breads and salts from different parts of the world, one being Ibiza. The attention to detail was honestly phenomenal. Then for main, I had a fillet and Aaron had loin, and they were both cooked to perfection. All in all we couldn't fault it. I wish I could eat it all again!

As I said, the steakhouse was located in Ushuaia, which is one of Ibiza's biggest club hotels. It was very very fancy, but as you can see, it is truly beautiful. Just look at that view!

As I discussed in my previous post, there's a lot of pressure to feel totally body confident in a bikini and look your best. No matter what anyone thinks, I was absolutely going to whip my bikinis out on holiday and let me tell you, I actually felt better than I thought I would! This bikini is from Topshop and I just felt like it flattered me in all the right places. I'm not usually one to take bikini photos, however I wanted to push the boundaries and show people it is okay to wear a bikini and feel proud  of your body in it, which will hopefully make lots of other girls and women out there feel more body confident too. 

Here's one of the other pools in our hotel (I think there were about 4 in total?). It looked so beautiful in the golden sunlight, just before it started to set. Doesn't that water look so inviting?

I LOVE Ibiza! Now this was just screaming photo opportunity. This 'LOVE' sign was located just outside one of the hotel restaurants, against the beautiful river and greenery. Just picture perfect! So many people took photos in front of this sign every night, so I just had to join in. Again, it was at that perfect golden hour time. I have to say all the photos I took around this time just turned out so so much nicer.

There were so many pretty corners of our hotel. I'd never stayed in a hotel with so many gorgeous pink flowers scattered all over the buildings. I think it added such a beautiful touch to all the white. Plus, flowers are a blogger's best friend, so I had to snap a little pic. 

This is the same pool as above, but a little later on in the evening when the sun was setting. The sky was a bit more cloudy on this day. To stay real, I have edited this photo to make the sky look more pink than it actually was. But, I think the outcome of this edit is so cool and I wanted to share it with you! 

And lastly, a little selfie with my favourite person ever. I asked Aaron if we could take some photos together on our little terrace, because when I think about it, we hardly ever get photos together! So, I had to make the most of it. I actually love this photo, especially with all the palm trees in the background giving me all the holiday vibes! I couldn't have asked for a better holiday and was so lucky to be able to spend it with Aaron.

I want to be back in Ibiza already! I wonder where we will go next...

Have you ever been to Ibiza? If so, do you have any recommendations for places to visit there? 

It's that time of year again. The weather's getting warmer and lots of us are heading off on our summer holidays, which means it's officially swimwear season! 

The term 'bikini body ready' is a funny one. As much as I hate the pressure from society to look amazing in a bikini and have my body in its best condition, I can't help but put pressure on myself to look good. This comes down to having a lot of body confidence issues over the years (which I explained in a lot of depth in another post here). But in short, my tummy has always been the main thing that's got me down. I'm only 5ft and am very small in the boob area, so every time I look in the mirror all I see is tummy. So as you can imagine, getting used to wearing a bikini again each summer is a little scary for me. 

Since that blog post last year, I have lost around a stone in weight - however whilst my confidence has improved, I'm still not oozing confidence and my current relationship with the gym is not very good, so I feel a little like I'm letting myself down. I feel like I will almost never be satisfied with what I have? It's really sad when I think about it, but I feel like this is something that will gradually improve as I get older. Accepting my body and the way it sometimes changes is definitely something that is hard to grasp, for me anyway. 

However, I'm doing my very best to accept myself for who I am and I am absolutely going to wear a bikini this summer. Who cares if I don't have the flattest stomach in the world? Who cares if I don't have perky boobs and a nice cleavage to fill my bikini? Who cares if I don't have 'dat booty'?! My boyfriend Aaron always reminds me that there are so many people on the beach and around the pool who don't even know me or might not even notice I'm there. So they're definitely not all going to be staring at me and looking at my body in the same way that I am. In reality, they might be thinking the exact same thing about themselves or just be enjoying their holiday instead of looking at people's bodies! Once I start to tell myself this, it usually makes me feel a bit better about myself. 

Whilst I might not feel 100% comfortable in my bikini, there are a few things I like to do before I go on holiday to make myself feel a bit more pampered and confident...

Make my skin silky smooth

It's kind of a running joke within my family that I have 'lizard skin' (lol) - my skin, especially on my legs is just SO DRY. I have to admit, I'm not exactly the best at keeping up the moisturising routine. But before I go on holiday, I make a special effort to keep my skin as smooth as possible. At the moment I've been loving the Baylis and Harding Coconut & Lime Body Butter because it smells amazing and it's really thick and creamy, so it adds a lot of moisture back in to my skin. I also make sure to shave my legs on the reg so I really get that 'wow I'm a dolphin' feeling - hahaha.

Get on my gradual tanning routine

As well as dry skin, I'm also very pale and it takes me a while to build up a natural tan (unlike my Mum and boyfriend who go brown so easily, jealous). I've never actually done this prior a holiday before, but this year I'm gradually fake tanning the week before I go away. Why have I not done this before?! Already I feel so much more confident and am loving my natural sunkissed glow. I've been the St Tropez Gradual Tan Pre Shower Mousse. It builds up so naturally and doesn't go streaky at all. It says to leave it on for one minute before rinsing off in the shower, but I usually leave it on for around 5-10 minutes as I find this gives a much nicer and more noticeable glow, whilst still with the ability to keep building it up over days to come. 

Buy some new swimwear

Sometimes I look through my swimwear drawer and feel completely uninspired. Wearing an old bikini that I don't necessarily love any more definitely doesn't make me feel the best, so investing in one or maybe a few new pieces of swimwear is a great way to boost my confidence. I've bought a couple of new bikinis this year and actually a couple of swimming costumes (from F&F at Tesco would you believe?! Check them out) which I haven't worn since I was probably about 12. But I have to say they look so pretty on and really flatter my figure.

Give my nails some well-deserved attention

Painting my nails can really make me feel like I've got my life together. Looking down and seeing freshly painted nails on both my fingers AND toes is just the best feeling. I just feel more pampered, pretty and put together? I know it's only such a small thing, but it really does make a huge difference. Plus, a summer holiday is a perfect excuse for putting on a gorgeous summery nail polish. I'm going to Ibiza so I might even put some glitter on my nails too!

If you're struggling with body confidence at this time of year especially, I really hope this post is useful and just so you know, you are definitely NOT alone! Lots of love x

How do you feel about the pressure to look good in a bikini? Is there anything you do to make yourself feel more confident and comfortable?  

For the past three years, Aaron and I have been in a long distance relationship. He's been at uni 4 and a half hours away on a coach/train whilst I've been at uni here in our hometown. Can it work? Yes it bloody well can, you just have to want to make it work. 

On the day this blog post goes live, 17th June 2018, is also our three year anniversary. So not only are we celebrating three years together in general, we are celebrating the end of three years of long distance. This also means that the majority of our relationship has been spent travelling backwards and forwards to visit each other (apart from the summer/xmas holidays). I honestly cannot tell you how good it feels to finally get what we want, to both be living at home and able to see each other when we please. 

Long distance relationships work for a lot of couples, but for others they just don't work out. It definitely requires a lot of positivity, strength and love from both sides in order to want to make it work. But even when they do work, it can be mentally draining and quite upsetting when you just long to spend time with your partner. 

I have done a blog post about this before, but since people will be going to university soon (and potentially about to start a long distance relationship) and I now have two more years experience and knowledge, I thought I'd do an updated version with my top tips on how to make it work.

Try to visit each other as much as possible 

Aaron and I visited each other every two weeks, which I know might sound like quite a lot for some people, depending how far away you live from one another. Having a visiting schedule does take the edge off slightly, as you can count down to when you next see each other instead of not having a clue how long it's going to be until the next time. It takes a lot of commitment, because we had to make sure we had enough money to visit each other. With me living at home, I was lucky enough to be able to help Aaron out a bit when it came to train fares and coach fares. We would also often split the cost so it was fair.

Plan fun things to do when you see each other

This really is key as it allows you both to have something to look forward to whilst you're apart. I'd also say this is one of few perks to a long distance relationship because it allows you to appreciate each other's time a lot more. Take the time to explore new places in your area to go for a walk or grab something to eat. One of mine and Aaron's favourite hobbies is to find new lunch spots. You'd be surprised how many cool places you'll visit when you're putting more effort into your days out.

FaceTime when you can

A lot of the time, texts just won't cut it. Schedule in FaceTime dates where you can really talk about your day and have a proper face to face conversation with your loved one. In my opinion, this is so important in maintaining effective communication with your partner and makes it a lot more bearable (what would we do without modern technology, eh!). Me and Aaron usually FaceTime late in the evening just before bed. It gives me something to look forward to and definitely means my day ends on a high. 

Spend time with friends and family when you're sad

I often feel really sad and deflated on the day Aaron has left. From being so excited and happy on Friday turns into the complete opposite on Monday when I drop him to the train station. Saying goodbye gets easier over time but is never pain-free, and honestly, you just want nothing more than for them to stay. The best way to combat this sadness is to try and keep yourself busy whilst you adjust to life apart again. Arrange to see your friends and try to spend time with your family instead of sitting alone in your bedroom.

Maintain a good level of trust with your partner

This is usually the reason why a lot of long distance relationships end, because, for example, one is worried about all the new people the other might meet and that they might be forgotten back at home. If you have a strong enough bond and level of trust with your partner, this is easy enough to push past as you know they love you and want to be with you. In the long run, this makes your relationship so much stronger and will definitely set you up for the future. 

Be open with your partner

Because you live further apart and don't see each other face to face, you might realise that certain feelings get bottled up from time to time. It's so important to speak to your partner and let them know when you're down about something. Let them know when you're missing them or when you wish they were there with you. It really makes a difference by helping them to feel loved and realise that you're thinking of them. 

I am SO happy that this era in mine and Aaron's lives is over but I am also so grateful for the memories we made along the way and how strong we are now as a couple. Here's to the future!

Have you ever been in a long distance relationship? 

I can't believe I only have one year left in education. After all the great (and not so great) memories from my school days, making new friends and saying goodbye to old ones, getting used to university life and growing up a heck of a lot, it's fair to say I've nearly made it. 

NB: it's gonna be a long one - sorry! 

It sounds SO cliché, but my life has almost been boiling down to this very moment. Education is every young persons norm, through childhood, teenage years and right through to early adulthood. There's always something next. But this time next year, I would have finished this huge chapter in my life and the world will await - hopefully I'll have secured or be actively searching for a job. 

I've had a whole year off uni (I've been on a placement year - a post to come) so the fact that I've gone without coursework, revision and general 'uni life' for an entire year means I've kind of forgotten what it feels like. I'm a bit frightened of going back and not being able to fully adjust to doing assignments. Let me tell you, a year of coming home in the evening and having my weekends free of work has been BLISS. But hopefully once I've done an assignment or two, I'll be back into the swing of things.

Because I've been on a placement year, some of my uni friends are a year ahead of me because they went straight into final year. It's been great to get a little insight into what to expect and advice on how to 'survive final year' as it were. One of my friends gave me some great advice; he told me to simply make the most of your last 'care-free' (minus the coursework ofc) year and make most of the student life. Work hard, but bloody play hard too. I know it's probably going to be one of the hardest years of my life, but I'm hoping to make it enjoyable as I possibly can be. 

Something that I'm finding it hard to accept is that my blog will probably become more neglected in my final year of university. This is my last year of studying, so I want to give it my all by putting my degree first. I absolutely love blogging and it's the best creative outlet, plus it's an amazing asset to show to future employers. I'm hoping that I'll be able to get some content up, maybe a bit more over on my Instagram compared to here, but we'll just have to wait and see.

A huge bonus is that my boyfriend Aaron is graduating this year, so he'll be living at home and can support me throughout my final year. Knowing that I won't have the stress and upset of a long distance relationship is going to make university a lot more of an enjoyable experience for me. Simply knowing he only lives down the road just feels oh so good. (Aaron I apologise in advance for any coursework and diss related breakdowns that you will probably witness).

I've worked in the real working world this year, but to think that I'll soon be in it for good is so exciting yet a little bit frightening. There's a lot of pressure to find a job, because there's so much competitiveness. And in my opinion, I think there's a lot of pressure to make a life for yourself in the big city, specifically London. I get it, there's a huge range of amazing companies based in London with a vast amount of opportunities, but to be frank, London just is not for me. When I tell people I want to stay at home, some people are just like 'Oh, right.' Like, they don't really know what to say. 

Due to my anxiety (and just general personality/loving where I live), I've always been a home girl and I know that lifestyle would just absolutely ruin me. I know people probably think I'm just turning down great opportunities, but heck there's more to life than London. There's some amazing companies and jobs out there closer to home, and just because I don't live in London does not mean I won't have a successful career. Throughout my placement year at home I've met so many successful and talented people who I feel very privileged to have worked with, which goes to show you can make it anywhere. I just wish some people (definitely not all) would understand that there are opportunities everywhere and certain lifestyles do not suit everyone. Who knows, maybe one day I will work there if Aaron and I both found our dream jobs there, but in reality and for now, we both love it where we are and will go with the flow throughout our careers.

If you've made it to this point, give yourself a pat on the back and thank you so much for staying!

Have you recently graduated or will be graduating soon and if so, how do you feel about it? Do you think there is pressure on young people to work in the big city?

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