Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Dear August: I Don't Care What The Weatherman Says

Dear August,

I am starting to think that you are a little bit confused about what part of the year you live in. So, just to catch you up August - you are in the summer. Not spring, not autumn, definitely not winter but summer. And yet, today alone we have had sweltering heat, downpours, thunder, strong winds and hailstones.

We also need to talk about the leaves August, why are they changing colour already? Autumn is still so far away and as much as I love autumn, I'm not ready for it just yet. I want to cling on to your warmth for as long as I can. I want you to wrap me up in your great snuggly arms until my skin turns brown.

But then, this is the thing August.

We Brits are pretty renowned for moaning about the weather, and it is completely understandable when I don't even think you know what you're doing half the time. But, you know what? I wouldn't have you any other way.

I like that we don't just have 90 days of hard-core sunshine. I like summer rain. In fact, my fondest childhood memories are of being on holiday in Snowdonia in the drizzly rain (or what our family calls "Welsh Rain"). As an adult, it doesn't feel like a proper Welsh holiday unless we have experienced a full day of drizzly rain, and there is nothing more awesome than going waterfall hunting the day after some heavy rainfall.

So, let us clarify, that yes I do moan about the weather - particularly during you August - but I wouldn't change it for the world.

Love you, no matter what the weather,

Kat xx


Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Dear August: Whirlwinds and Chester Bennington

Dear August,

I honestly cannot believe that it is that time of year when I can write to you again. I have missed you old friend. The past twelve months, since our paths last crossed, have been a bit of a whirlwind. Life has been so busy and I don't know if I have really stopped long enough to completely catch my breath.

Don't get me wrong August, I adore being busy, but sometimes it kind of catches up with me and I realise how exhausted I am from constantly doing stuff. Sometimes it is nice to just sit down and reflect on how far I have come since we last met.

But that's not what I want to talk about August, because I feel that we need to talk about Chester Bennington, but I don't think that there is anything that I can possibly write that hasn't already been said by so many of the amazing people who have shared their feelings about the passing of a man who brought so much happiness to my life. In the face of such tragedy, I personally have found the amount of love and support across the internet to be so incredibly overwhelming.

For some time now, Linkin Park has been the target of a great deal of negativity, generally because of their change of overall sound, so to see so much positivity following his absolutely awful and premature death has been nice to see.

Over the fourteen years that I have been a fan of the band, I have seen them live three times and met them at a Meet and Greet once. I've never really known what it was about their songs that I felt so connected to, but I think I have figured it out.

It is that their songs are about being human, being broken, picking yourself up and dealing with life.

In fact, I think the letter Linkin Park themselves wrote to Chester sums up how I feel better than I can:
"We're trying to remind ourselves that the demons who took you away from us were always part of the deal. After all, it was the way you sang about those demons that made everyone fall in love with you in the first place. You fearlessly put them on display, and in doing so, brought us together and taught us to be more human."

I don't think the death of someone I don't actually know has affected me this much since Heath Ledger died. It feels so weird, because even though I did meet Chester, it was one time and I didn't even have a conversation with him, it was just a case of getting him to sign my Hybrid Theory album cover and moving on to the next person.

The most important thing for me, that has come out of Chester's death has been that it has forced people to talk about mental health, and most importantly - suicide. This is the problem, there is so much stigma about mental health and people are too scared to talk about it, so if nothing else good happens, I hope that it will encourage more people to open up and together we can change the way mental health is dealt with on a personal and wider scale.

Needless to say August, July hasn't been the best of months, but I am ready to put that behind me and face you head on this year. I have so many plans and so many experiences to share with you.

Let's do this.

Love, Kat xx

Dear August is a series of posts that I started writing back in 2013, inspired by a Letters to July series a YouTuber used to run. I like to check in with them every year and see how far I have come. If you want an insight into why I chose August, you should check out my original Dear August: Why I Love and Hate You.


Saturday, 29 July 2017

Make Up in Film: Star Wars (Rey and Jyn)

Back in 2012, I wrote a Make Up in Film: Star Wars blog post looking at the very different make up looks used by the main female characters in the Star Wars films (Princess Leia, Queen Amidala and Padme). Since I wrote that, a heck of a lot has changed for the series, with a brand new main film in The Force Awakens, as well as a spin-off in Rogue One.

As you'd expect both of these films spawned strong female leading characters in the forms of Rey and Jyn Erso. Personally, I love both of these characters for very different reasons, and it's so nice to see women continuing to play such big roles in the Star Wars films.

One of the defining differences between Queen Amidala / Padme and Princess Leia was the full make up and extravagant clothing that was worn by Padme, compared to the much toned down Leia. Even out on the field, Leia felt less "royal" than  Padme. 

At the time it was interesting to compare mother and daughter because they were both raised as royals and both had relative types of power, but the way they appeared on screen was completely different.

In contrast, both Rey and Jyn are very different characters, but interestingly quite similar to each other, particularly in their backgrounds. Both characters have been separated from their parents, and both have essentially been left to fend for themselves. I think this shows deeply in their clothing.

Rey's clothing, I feel, closely resembles bandages, as if she is wearing all that she could afford - in the form of material - and she has fashioned it to suit her needs. Her outfit is practical but screams obvious poverty. I think that this poverty also shows through in the lack of colour in her clothing.

 As you would expect, Rey wears very little make up (I'd say that we're supposed to see her as being completely make up free, but of course actress Daisy Ridley will be wearing something). I feel that this shows that she is a character who doesn't have time for make up. Her main priority in life is survival.

However, for me, the lack of make up also adds another quality to Rey's character. Whilst I don't for a second consider Rey to be a naive character (boy does she have street smarts and boy can she defend herself), however, I do think she comes across quite innocent, much in the same way Anakin was before he became a Jedi.

Of course, I don't know if she falls into the same lineage as Padme and Leia (I am personally hoping that she doesn't), but it's interesting to see how different she is to both of them.

Whilst coming from a similar backstory to Rey, Jyn's costume design represents a very different lifestyle. Whilst Rey was forced to survive as a scavenger, Jyn had a more military-based upbringing and that definitely shows in the clothes that she wears.

I also find the different colour palettes interesting; Rey wears light neutral tones, probably of someone just discovering something big in the world (which we know is true), whilst Jyn's clothing is darker and seems to have been designed to be more functional for battle.
A lot about Jyn's clothing is also about blending in and being undetected.

In regards to make up, Jyn's is very similar to Rey's and that it is understated, because appearance isn't part of Jyn's life. However, there does seem to be some focus on eye liner, which I feel makes her look quite moody - kind of like an angry teenager - which definitely fits her personality and how she feels about her life experiences.

One of my favourite parts about both of these strong female characters is that they are both characters who are allowed to be female, without male personalities. They are women who are never forced to be overly feminine, by which I mean that they don't use the fact that they are women to win their battles (as in, they don't flirt to get their way) instead they genuinely fight for themselves and what they believe in.

I absolutely love the direction that the Star Wars series is going in terms of women. I know that there are a lot of loud voices moaning at the lack of women in the films, in terms of numbers, but C'mon, the ones that we do have are flipping bad ass and such inspiring role models.

Who is your favourite Star Wars leading lady? And do you think the series is doing enough for girl power? Are Jyn and Rey the women that young girls can and should inspire to be like?


Saturday, 15 July 2017

No.7 Beautiful Matte Foundation Cool Ivory Review

Everyone knows that foundation is probably the most important factor in makeup because it's the part that creates the initial blank canvas that you then build up to create whatever you want to.

That being said, it's one of the areas that I have always felt the most nervous about:
  1. I worry that I don't blend it well enough
  2. I worry that it'll look cakey
  3. I worry that the foundation will be too dark/too orange/too wrong for me

And number 3 is the biggest clincher for all three of my worries: I just never feel that I am wearing the correct colour for my skin tone. I can never remember if I need warm or cool, and I always get confused about whether foundations are warm or cool, and 9 times out of ten, I end up with a yellow-based foundation when I end up needing a more pink-based one.

So when I saw that No.7's Beautiful Matte Foundation range has Ivory (my general foundation cool) as both cool and warm options, it seemed the perfect opportunity to test both next to each other. And, as the title of this review probably gives away, yes, I ended up getting the Cool Ivory.

 I personally have never come across a range that actually labels its shades as cool or warm, with the same colour in both options, so that was incredibly refreshing for me.

One thing that bugged me a little about this foundation, is the fact that it cost £15 (which is pretty much the going rate for a foundation), but the packaging just didn't feel like £15 quality to me. It felt cheap, and the pump, in particular, feels quite flimsy. I can imagine it breaking really easily, which is a little disappointing.

Okay, so I started off by applying primer. For this, I decided to use my Bourjois Matte Serum Primer purely because it's about to run out and I just want to finish it. I'm not a huge fan of this primer, as I find it quite "flaky" but for the purpose of this review it was fine.

I'll be honest, I don't normally pay much attention to the directions of products like foundation because I think it's a personal preference how you apply it, but for once, I decided to actually follow it. The directions basically say to:

"Dot a little foundation where you need it most, usually your cheeks, nose and chin. Blend into the skin with a foundation brush in a small circular motion, working downwards and outwards from the centre of your face."

I applied the foundation using the F80 Flat Topped Kabuki Brush from Sigma, which is the only foundation brush I ever use, because I love it so much.

The foundation applied really nicely and evenly, blending well. One of my biggest errors is that I have a habit of applying in layers that are too heavy, but I think dotting a small amount on my forehead, cheeks, chin and nose it helped me to only use a small amount. I ended up applying a second layer that I dotted into areas that were still showing a little redness, generally around my cheeks. I also applied more just below my eyes and above the eyebrows because I think I have a slight tan that hasn't got to my eyes (y'know because of sunglasses) so my eyes are a slightly different tone so I wanted to blend the colour out a little.

The result looked like this (before and after of course):

My biggest problem areas are essentially covering redness, predominantly on my cheeks, hiding spots and evening out the skintone. I don't have any major problem areas, as I am lucky to have fairly good skin these days.

But it's easy to see the difference from just a light amount of coverage.

Overall, I am really happy with this foundation. For the small amount used, the coverage was perfect for me and it blended out nicely and my skin feels really nice. It doesn't feel heavy which I absolutely love in a foundation, because I prefer to not be able to feel that I'm wearing any.

The only thing I will say is that for a product that is "oil free", after a while, my skin has started to feel a little bit oily, so I'm not sure I'd recommend this for use during hot weather, despite the promise of SPF 15 on the bottle.

Disclaimer: Although different angles, both photos were taken in the exact same location, roughly 20 minutes apart so with the same lighting in both. The lighting is through a window rather than artificial lighting, and absolutely no filters and post-editing has been applied to any of the photos.

The product was purchased by me, with my own money.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Barefoot Girl Got Married

This is a blog post that I have been trying to write for the best part of the last 12 months, but for anyone who doesn't know: On May 7th, 2016, I got married. 

A year later and I'm not going to lie, I still don't feel entirely comfortable writing this - it's not that I don't want to talk about it, of course I flippin' do, I could talk the ear off anyone who is willing to listen to me rambing on about it. No, my problem is that ongoing fear that no one really wants to know.

So why am I sharing it? Because I realised that I absolutely adore this kind of blog. I like being nosey and getting a sneak peek into the lives of other people, so you know what? I'm going to let you guys into mine too:)

Where to start?

It really is incredibly difficult to know where to start when it comes to talking about a wedding. However, something that I have learnt over the past year is how much people love hearing a back story. How we met, how long we've been together, how we got engaged, so I thought I would start with a little about Mr Barefoot and myself.

We actually first met in the early summer of 2004. I was home from Uni (between my second and third years) and I met him through a mutual friend. I don't really remember much about that one meeting, but I got with someone else, went back to Uni and it wasn't another two years until our paths would cross again.

When we met we were both at difficult times in our lives. Mr Barefoot was struggling to find work, and I was in that post-University, "what the heck am I doing with my life"? Our relationship started with just hanging out and everything happened incredibly quickly.

We've been through a heck of lot in the eleven years since: moving around, new jobs, redundancies, Mr Barefoot went back to Uni and got his Degree, we spent two and a half weeks apart when I went to Canada (honestly the longest we have been apart in the past eleven years).

How did he Propose?

I will just come out and say it: There was no big proposal.

Nope, sorry to break your heart, but it didn't happen.

Mr Barefoot and I simply decided that it was the next step for us, and decided to just do it. To be honest, I initially saw the whole thing as a joke and didn't really think that we would do it.

It wasn't until Mr Barefoot jokingly bought me a ring from a museum for £1.50 that I started to think that maybe this was serious. He even picked a date (our 10th anniversary), which at the time was just over two years away, which - as you can imagine - flew by.

Was it Stressful?

You always hear stories about how stressful weddings are, but to be honest - mine was most stress-free. Of course, there were a few problems as we were let down by suppliers or people we had hired to create stuff for our big day, but other than that, it wasn't anywhere near as bad as I had expected.

Okay, so at times, I struggled to keep everything organised, but it pulled together so nicely, that in the final few weeks I had barely anything left to do and I felt like I must have forgotten something (of which, I am still trying to figure out!)

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