Thursday, 27 February 2014

Makeup - Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday! Every now and then I shall be doing one of these, so you can see some of the makeup/ body painting work I have done previously. All of these images I did towards the end of 2012 as part of a project whilst studying Fine Art in my second year at university, the project itself was based around Endangered Animals and how animals and humans are closely related, I wanted to create something that was striking and would raise questions from the viewer.. so I came up with these.

The top two images I used myself as a model and painted onto myself, they took about two to three hours each to complete. My favourite is definitely the Leopard, maybe it was because it was my first one I did, but I definitely think it's the most detailed and striking out of these set of images.

The bottom images I used my friend as a model, as I wanted to do more of a design rather than just a head and shoulders shot on myself. It was a simple striped design and not as detailed as the top images, but the placing of the stripes was just as important as overcrowding them would have made my model and the overall look less effective as there would have been too much going on. Collectively I think the images work well together, I have done a few more in the series which I will post up at a later date.

Products Used:
Leopard - Snazaroo Face Paints in colours 'Beige Brown'/ 'Ochre Yellow'/ 'Black' and  'White.'
A dark brown smokey eye, black mascara, black eyeliner and false lashes.

Zebra - Snazaroo Face Paints in colours 'Black' and 'White.'
A big black smokey eye, black eyeliner and false lashes.

Tiger - Snazaroo Face Paints in colours 'White'/ 'Orange' and 'Black.'
A big black smokey eye and black eyeliner.

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Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Stay Strong and Keep Smiling

Stay Strong and Keep Smiling.

These were two little phrases that I kept telling myself when I was diagnosed back in June, during treatment, when I was told I was in the all clear in October and now (especially over the next three years) whilst I'm still being monitored in case my cancer returns.
Every time my parents visited me in hospital, they'd always say 'Keep smiling little Em' as they left through the door. When I reached my 21st birthday last December, my parents gave me some money and I decided to get something that I'd be able to keep forever. I chose two rings from the jewellers Joulberry, which I found online from 'Not On The Highstreet.' What attracted me to these rings was the fact you could get them engraved inside and outside. One ring says 'Stay Strong' with my diagnosis date on the inside (20-06-2013) and the other says 'Keep Smiling' with 'Love Mum and Dad xx' on the inside. They arrived pretty quickly and looked lovely, the only problem was, was that they didn't fit. They were way too big. I'd been into a local jewellers to get my ring size measured and had gone with the size they'd said when ordering these rings online. Joulberry were very good about it and gave me a contact number that I could ring to get them sent back and resized, but now that I had them, I didn't really want to be sending them back and waiting ages for them to be resized, especially as I didn't know how much smaller they had to go.

This is where the lovely Richard comes in from RTFJ Handmade Bespoke Jewellery. I came across Richard in a google search, looking for someone local to me who resized rings, then I stumbled across his Facebook page where he had the best bunch of reviews possible from previous customers. I was sold that he was the guy who could fix my rings for me! I dropped him an email and arranged a time to go over to his workshop so he could have a look at my rings and see if he could do anything about them. My Mum and I went over to see Richard and after he'd said he could definitely resize my rings for me, he set about working on them there and then. It probably took him about 20 minutes to resize them and polish them up for me, he worked very quickly and is clearly a man who knows what he's doing when it comes to jewellery
Once he'd finished with my rings he very kindly said that he wouldn't charge me anything, instead I could put the money I would have spent on the ring resizing towards my Race for Life event in June (which you can read about on my blog *here.*) This was incredibly generous of him, seeing as he'd spent his time, equipment and materials on resizing my rings. None of the engraving on the inside or outside of my rings was disturbed, despite them having to be cut down several sizes and they now sit happily on my middle finger and thumb. I couldn't have found a better person to re-size my rings for me.

These rings are something I will keep and wear forever, they're a constant reminder of what I've been through and if worse comes to worst and my cancer ever decides to return, they're also a reminder of what I've stayed strong through before and can stay strong through again.

If you have any rings you need resizing or just anything that's jewellery related, I'd 100% recommend that you drop Richard an email. You can find his Facebook page *here*, his Twitter *here* and his website with all his contact details and general information about him and his work *here!*

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Friday, 21 February 2014

Why Having Cancer Helped Me

I know, you're probably thinking how can something as bad as cancer be helpful? A disease that spreads itself around your body, putting you through months if not years or absolute torture, causing you to become reliant on drugs to survive, then if you're one of the lucky ones and you do survive it, there's that constant fear of it coming back and sending you straight back to square one. HOW is that helpful?

Me and Grandad
In February 2006 my Grandad died of cancer. He was my Mum's father and an incredibly talented artist, living up in Wigan. We didn't see him as often as we saw my other grandparents due to the fact he lived so far away, but occasionally my brothers and I would take it in turns to go up there in pairs (we'd have been too much of a handful all at once) and visit. Then when he could he'd make the drive down to us, but obviously this became more difficult as his cancer got worse and his health deteriorated. The last time I saw him was when I said goodbye as he prepared to drive back home, I remember his legs and his feet looking incredibly sore and swollen and after one last hug he set off. After that he became too ill and weak to drive down and eventually he was admitted to hospital, we never went to see him in hospital, mainly because of the long journey, but probably because at 13 nobody should have to see someone dying and bed bound. Then, one day in February Mum and Dad sat us all down in the living room and told us he'd passed away. Death is a strange thing. It's always the gentlest people who seem to be taken first, and no matter how prepared you think you are for that moment when you're told someone you love so dearly has died, you're never prepared enough for the effect it will have on you or the way it hits you and continues to effect you as the years go by.

The following year, 2007, was the year my Granny (my Dad's mother) also died as a result of cancer. The lead up to my Granny's death I remember a lot more of. When the hospital said they couldn't really do any more to help her, just make her comfortable she came to stay with us. Prior to staying with us she had lived down in Brighton and it was the hospital in Brighton, (the same one where I have been treated at) that she had also been in. On one of the few occasions I went to visit her in hospital, (eventually I couldn't handle visiting) we went into the building, up the stairs and into the ward she was in. She was lying on a bed nearer the end of the ward and despite being so ill, she was always so happy to see us. One thing about Granny was that she was always brave enough to smile through the pain, no matter how bad it was. We gathered round her and talked for a while, there was a lady a couple of beds up acting confused and kept asking questions that nobody could answer, simply because they didn't know what she was talking about. Seeing Granny hooked up to tubes was just unbearable, I had to make my excuses saying I needed the toilet and make a quick exit trying to hide the tears running down my face. I made it down one flight of stairs before stopping at a window, looking out, trying to disguise the fact that I was crying from other people going up and down the stairs. Eventually Dad came out to find me and once i'd calmed down we went back in to see Granny. Soon, there was nothing more that the hospital could do for her, so she came to stay at ours. I moved out of my bedroom on the ground floor as it was much easier for Granny as there were no stairs to negotiate with and the window looked out onto the garden, which was much better than staring at hospital curtains or walls all day. While Granny was staying with us I went on a school trip to Poland where we stayed at the Mount Haven Centre and helped out with the children who stayed there. I was only away for 10 days, but to me, those are 10 days I shouldn't have been away, they're 10 days that I will never get back when I could have been at home with Granny. The worst part about it was that each day I was away, was another day she just got weaker, which I was fully aware of. When I got back home, I brought back with me a couple of collectors spoons. Little silver spoons with Krakow and Poland written on them, these spoons from different countries were something Granny had collected for years since my Dad had brought her one back from travelling round when he was younger. I'd bought a hand carved wooden box for her to keep them in and after i'd gone into her room to see her and to give them to her, Mum told me that that was the most Granny had moved since i'd been away. She'd tried to sit up to give me a hug and she looked really happy with her gift. Not long after that Granny died. After Mum had told us Granny had passed away she tried to keep us out of the room, but when she wasn't standing by the door I crept in. Granny was lying there, it was just like she was sleeping, she even had her mouth partly open like she was snoring. I sat in the chair next to her and gently placed both of my hands round her left hand. It was cold, very cold, but I didn't want to let go, I didn't want to and I wasn't ready to. Eventually Mum came in and said I had to let go now and she took me to sit in the living room with my brothers and sister. We had to close the curtains and were told to keep them closed, this was because there were people coming to take Granny's body away and just like that she was gone.

Granny with my brother Charlie
Nothing prepares you for death. No matter how weak you see that person getting, or how quickly their health deteriorates, nothing prepares you. After Granny's death I really struggled. I knew she'd died because of Cancer, but why? For years I beat myself up about it and I couldn't get my head round it. Why did Granny die? Why couldn't I do anything to help her? Why didn't she stay with us longer? Why didn't the hospital help her more? Why did she get cancer? Why did it happen to her? Why did she stop fighting and just go, just like that?

But you know what, she did all that she could. It wasn't her fault and it wasn't my fault. She'd had enough. She couldn't take any more, physically or mentally. This is something that I realised when I was diagnosed with cancer and during my treatment. Being treated for cancer obviously varies depending on the type you have, but when I was going through my treatment, especially when I was first admitted, it was intense. I was being pumped with multiple bags of blood and platelets pretty much every day. I was put on so many different types of drugs, most of which I couldn't even pronounce and there were times when even I questioned if I'd be able to keep it up. Did I really want to lie in a hospital bed for months on end being pumped with different bags of fluid each day? Was this how I was going to spend the rest of my life? Luckily for me, once I'd gotten through the first several weeks and I began to respond to treatment, the number of bags of blood and platelets I was having decreased and eventually my blood was coping fine without needing extra help.

But going through all of that, finally made me understand. It made me understand that cancer is extremely hard, no matter how old you are. My Grandad and my Granny spent much longer living with their cancer, so for them it must have been far worse. Towards the end of my chemo I began to question how other people with cancer managed to deal with everything for longer periods of time, all the drugs, the chemo, the not knowing, just everything. My chemo was stretched out over about 5 months, but there are people who are having chemo for years and I simply don't know how they do it. I felt so drained and was so glad and thankful when it was finished. It all helped in making me realise that when my Granny and my Grandad died, they didn't give up, they'd just taken all that they could take. They didn't want to leave, they had to, they'd been so drained physically and mentally that the thought of no more pain, the thought of no more drugs, the thought of no more being poked around and no more lying in bed thinking back on how their life used to be, that was what they wanted, they wanted normality and more importantly no more pain, just peace.. and who can blame them?

Having cancer helped me understand that, which is something for me, no amount of 'talking about it' could. No I didn't like having cancer and no, I don't like the thought of it returning. But if anything positive has come out of this, then it's finally understanding that my Grandad and my Granny didn't leave me out of choice. They just couldn't take any more and I wouldn't have wanted them to go through any more either. I strongly believe that if I hadn't have had cancer, i'd still be going round in a destructive cycle, not understanding why my grandparents died. It's an extreme way to understand, but I now know how much the disease drains you and tears you down not only physically, but mentally as well.

They loved me, they loved all of us and even though memories and photographs are all that I have left, those are things that will stay with me forever and they can never be replaced or taken away.

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Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Real Techniques Brushes - Eyes

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the Real Techniques Brushes, I already have 9 of them... and here are 5 more to add to my beautiful brush collection. It is the Real Techniques 'Your Eyes/ Enhanced Starter Set' and you can get it *here* from Boots for £21.99

Base Shadow Brush
This is definitely your go to brush when applying eye shadow, or any starting base colour to your eyelid. The brush itself is about fingernail size and comes to a tapered point, allowing smooth application onto the lid, which you can also use to run colour into your crease line. The bristles are very soft, which allows for give from the brush on application, allowing you to effortlessly blend out the colour instead of having a harsh line along the top of you eyelid.

Deluxe Crease Brush
This is the largest and the fattest out of this set of brushes. Due to it's oversized design, it allows for easy blending in and above the crease line, making it easier to contour your eye makeup and colour to the outer crease.

Accent Brush
This diddly little brush is the smallest in the set. It is essentially a smaller version of the Domed Shadow Brush, which I purchased at the beginning of the month, (details of which you can find *here*) It is minute though, which  makes it incredibly useful for popping on a bit of white shadow in the inner corner of the eye to highlight and doing detailed eye art designs... like if you fancy an alternative look of leopard print eye shadow, then this is your brush... the possibilities are endless with this little gem!

Pixel-Point Eyeliner Brush

Of course, you can't forget your eyeliner! If you don't fancy using a pencil liner along your waterline to tight line your eyes, then this brush is your new best friend. Pop it into a pot of gel liner and glide along your waterline, or alternatively you can use it along your lashline... or both! The tapered point allows for fine application or a much denser application of colour, depending on personal style/ choice.

Brow Brush
Whether you're after a scouse brow, or just want to lightly fill in your natural brows, this Brow Brush is ideal for both. Due to it's angled shape and densely packed bristles, it means you can easily get a defined arch in your brow and it allows you to fill them in without getting powder everywhere or spilling over, above or below the brow line.

Overall I am not disappointed with the quality or the product application these brushes give, like the larger brushes available in the range they apply product with ease and are a very good alternative, if not better, to other well know high quality branded brushes, which come in at a much higher price range. I love them!

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Monday, 17 February 2014

Barry M - Silk Nail Paint

When I popped into Superdrug the other day (I'll be honest, I never really pop in, i'm always in there for aaaaages) I was greeted by a display of Barry M's brand spanking new range of Silk Nail Polish! Did I buy one? Yes, yes I did... did I need it? Probably not... but I wanted to try it out.


I'd seen rave reviews online and simply couldn't resist trying one out.. and I wasn't disappointed! The shade I bought was Blossom which is a pearly, pastelly, baby pink colour. Altogether there are 6 beautiful pastel colours in Barry M's new range, there's Blossom, Pearl (a pastelly ivory/white/pearl,) Truffle (a browny/beige,) Meadow (a pastelly baby blue,) Mink (a pastelly bluey/green,) and finally Heather (a pastelly purple.)

I put on a clear coat as a base before I started and then applied 2 coats of Blossom. The final result was a beautiful pastel pink, the more layers you put on, the more intense and brighter the colour will be. The polish itself went on really easily, like with all Barry M nail polishes, it simply glided on, no tackiness, lumpiness or blobs like with some cheaper polishes in stores. It didn't take too long to dry either and the overall finish is a smooth and silky, matte sheen. Definitely a polish to pick up if you want to wear pastel shades this season.

You can purchase any of these new Barry M polishes from Superdrug, either in store or online **here** for £3.99 each.

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Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Makeup - Terminator Inspired

Products used:
Mascara - Bourjois Volume Clubbing Mascara
False Lashes - MUA Glam
Eye Shadow - Blush Professional 88 Colour Palette (Black)
Eye Liner - Barry M Bold Black (Pencil)
Eye Liner - Barry M Wink Black Marker
Face - Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Gel Foundation in No 51.
           MUA Bronzer 'Bronzed Perfection'
           Revlon Colorstay Concealer in No 02.
           Ben Nye Nose and Scar Wax
           Illamasqua Liquid Metal in Phenomena
           Snazaroo Special FX Spirit Gum

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Monday, 10 February 2014

Makeup - Gothic Glam



Products used:
Mascara - Bourjois Volume Clubbing Mascara
False Lashes - MUA Vixen
Eye Shadow - Blush Professional 88 Colour Palette
Eye Liner - Barry M Bold Black (pencil)
Eye Liner - Barry M Wink Black Marker
Face - Bourjois Healty Mix Serum Gel Foundation in No 51.  MUA Bronzer 'Bronzed Perfection.'
Brows - MUA Luxe powerbrow in Mid Brown
Lips - Illamasqua Lipstick in Pristine

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Friday, 7 February 2014

MUA Nail Varnish - Fashionista Glitz!

One thing I love in life is a bit of glitter! Recently I was having a browse through the MUA Store sale items. MUA - Makeup Academy are a makeup brand which are cheap to buy but are still high quality products. I absolutely LOVE their makeup range! This glittery nail polish was one of my bargain buys! I painted my nails with a white varnish and then whacked on a bit of this MUA polish, in the colour 'Glitz.' There is so much sparkle and glitter packed into this clear coat polish, that you'll be sparkling all day. The application of the polish is smooth, despite it being glitter and if you just want to use one coat, you still get a decent, even coverage of sparkliness! You can put it over any colour, you could even use it on the whole nail with a simple french manicure, just to add a bit of glitz to your white french tips. The possibilities with this glitter polish are endless!

It's gorgeous and for a glitter lover, it is a must have! It's a steal at £1.50 over on the MUA site *here* as it is currently in their sale shop, original price is £5.00 and it's from their latest Fashionista range.

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Illamasqua Nails! Rare!

Recently Illamasqua had a £5, £10 and £7.50 sale on their site. I managed to purchase a few things and one of these, was a beautiful, bright, yellow nail varnish in the colour 'Rare!' It looks bright in the bottle, but after putting on about 3 coats of the varnish on my nails, it did look a lot brighter than in the bottle, almost neon! Even the postman said, "Those are bright nails today! No one will miss you in those love!" Haha!

Just so you can get an idea of how bright this nail polish is, if you've ever drunk Mountain Dew, or seen the Mountain Dew bottle on a shelf in the supermarket, it is very bright and almost neon itself... you can't miss it, the varnish is comparable to that bottle!
The satin finish of the varnish gives it a smooth and slightly shiny look, which I love. I much prefer the satin finish to a matte finish. Overall it is a luxurious polish and the texture of it is very smooth, as is the application, but you wouldn't expect anything less from this wonderful brand! You can shop the Illamasqua Rare polish *here* on the site for £14.50 and if you fancy a wander round the rest of the site, I fully recommend it. They are an extremely high quality brand, with really pigmented eye shadows, a wonderful variety of pigmented lipsticks and beautifully coloured lip glosses. I am really pleased with my purchases and definitely keep an eye out for Illamasqua's sales because you'll get a wonderful product for a bargain price! You won't be disappointed! 

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Saturday, 1 February 2014

Race for Life - Cancer Research

'Because someone we love is in heaven, there's a little bit of heaven in our home.'

I thought I'd kick off February postings starting with my Race for Life event! Race for Life happens every year up and down the country, it's a women - only event and all the money raised from sponsorship goes to Cancer Research and this year I've decided that I'm going to be taking part.
In 2006 we lost my Grandad, (my Mum's Dad) to cancer and the following year in 2007 we lost my Granny, (my Dad's Mum) to cancer as well. Then there was last year, in June 2013, which if you've read my previous posts you'll know that I was diagnosed with Leukaemia, a cancer of the blood. For 4/5 months I went through chemo, tablets and many stays in hospital, it felt like a lifetime. Luckily at the end of October I was told that there was no longer any sign of the Leukeamia and I was in remission. I am so thankful for everything the hospital and the nurses and doctors have done for me and will continue to do for the next 3 years, as every 3 months I have to have a bone marrow biopsy done so they can monitor me closely, incase the cancer comes back.

When I was in hospital the majority of the time I was lucky enough to have one of the side rooms, so I wasn't around any other patients, but I did spend several days and nights in the ward along with other cancer patients. One thing you learn from staying on a ward with people who are 'in the same boat as you' as they say, is that although you're in the same boat... each person in that boat is still an individual. I was lucky that my cancer was treatable and responded so well to treatment that there is now no sign of it, but listening to the other patients talk to each other, you learn that the different types of cancer are as individual as the person they live in. Some have a positive outlook, they can be cured, some aren't so positive, but can be controlled and for some their days are numbered. There is no cure, no miracle drug, they're the ones who have to tell their families that it's bad news, that they might not see their birthday this year, they won't make it past Christmas... they might not even make it past next month. 
Luckily for me, the type of Leukaemia I was diagnosed with was, as the doctors said, "The best type to have, as it is very responsive to treatment." I was fortunate that my cancer was and is curable. But for those who aren't as fortunate with cancers that can't be cured, or treated effectively, I want to do something and this is why I've chosen to take part in Race for Life and raise as much money as possible. All the money that is donated for my sponsorship goes towards Cancer Research UK's life-saving work and continued research into preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer.

If you would like to sponsor me, you can visit my online Just Giving page by clicking **here!** Even if it's just a pound, for Cancer Research every donation helps, so thank you.

If you want to sign up for Race for Life somewhere near you, you can find a location and sign up on the site. But if you fancy something different, Cancer Research have many different events going on throughout the year, which you can also check out on their site *here.* 
Thank you so much for your support. 


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