Highlights of 2014

Prom
Florida; Swimming with the dolphins
Christening
Prom with my best friend


Meeting Union J
  1. Meeting Union J- Union J have been my favourite band for a while now, ever since I fell in love with them at Judges Houses. This year, I finally got to meet them at a perfume signing, and it was one of the best days to date. I'd only decided to go the day before and leading up to it, I wouldn't allow myself to get excited in case I couldn't meet them which made the whole thing really surreal, and I didn't quite know what to think or do. Unsurprisingly, I got starstruck and pretty much forgot how to speak, meaning I more or less ignored them when they spoke to me. On top of that, my camera wouldn't work properly so the only picture that worked was the one with Josh. Despite both of these things, it was definitely a favourite moment because it was something I'd only dreamed of doing, and it was such a great experience to meet my idols. This is definitely a day I will remember.
  2. Getting back in touch with an old friend (Jess) and becoming closer- This year, I also got back in touch with one of my (now) closest friends who I hadn't spoken to for at least a year, I think. Since then we've done a lot more together and speak to each other a lot. This is one of my highlights of 2014 because she is a friend that I'm sure I will be friends with for a long time, and one that I love speaking to.
  3. Staying with one of my best friends (who's like a long distance sister) in Germany
    Germany
    (Runa)
    - I also got the chance to stay with one of my best friends for a week in Summer. This was an amazing experience, it was the first time I flew both on my own, with friends (without a parent/teacher/adult) and on my own, own. It also gave me chance to spend time with someone I would consider to be like a sister, who I could always talk to as well as some of my other friends who live in Germany so I don't get to see them very often. We had a great time, just spending time with friends and doing what we wanted to do.
  4. Strengthening my friendship with my best friend (Georgie)-This year, I have also strengthened my friendship with my best friend who I now do things with most weekends. We have always been good friends, but this year, we have grown a lot closer, and I hope that stays the case for many years to come in the future. 
  5. Prom- Prom was a great experience, it was an evening for me to celebrate with my friends, after 11 years of school. It was a great end to my school life, and made me sad to be moving on but also excited to start the next chapter of my life, where I had more choice and freedom to do the things I want to do.
  6. GCSEs- Getting my GCSE results was definitely a highlight for me, as it showed that all the hard work I'd put in throughout my whole school life had paid off.
  7. NCS- This was an amazing experience for me, not only did it give me the chance to meet some amazing people but, it improved my confidence massively. My confidence may not be that
    NCS Graduation
    great now, but NCS definitely helped to improve it. By doing it alone (not knowing anyone beforehand), I got the best experience out of it possible, improving my confidence in myself and my confidence when speaking to new people. It also helped improve so many other skills that will help me in the future. Most importantly, I had fun, doing something worthwhile. This is something I would recommend to any 16 or 17 year old and something that I would do again and again, if I were to go back in time. 
  8. Christmas with my family- Christmas is always one of my favourite times of the year, everyone spending it with the people they love and doing the things they love. This year was no different, I love spending the day seeing my family and doing all our traditional Christmas things, like the Christmas Dinner, the evening buffet, the visit from Santa that makes all my younger cousins incredibly happy and the quiz that always causes controversy over who is cheating and who is not. I wouldn't swap my family Christmas for anything.
  9. Florida- In Spring, I went on holiday to Florida with my family for the second time, and it was just as magical as the first time. My favourite day of the whole trip had to be the day we visited Discovery Cove, not just because we got to swim with the dolphins (ours was called Marea) which is something I've wanted to do near enough my whole life, but also the whole experience, which involved a lot of eating, swimming with fish and rays, feeding otters and birds, and just having a great time as a family, doing something that makes everyone happy.
  10. Becoming a Godparent- Last but not least, is the day I became a Godparent for the first time, to my second cousin Louie. This was a special day as it was the day I was given the responsibility and excitement of playing an important role in his life, to help guide him and support him in life.
Looking back on 2014, it held some amazing and unforgettable experiences. I'd forgotten how much I'd done and achieved this year. There have been many other moments I have enjoyed but these are ten of my highlights.

What were your favourite moments of 2014?

Love, Steph x

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What I Got For Christmas 2014


I hope you had a great Christmas and spent it with people you love and doing what you love.
I thought I'd share with you some of the things I got for Christmas as, I personally love to see what other people get, so I thought some of you might be interested too.
Disclaimer: I don't want to seem like I'm bragging, which I hope it doesn't some across as, I just thought it might be something interesting to share.

Music
  • Taylor Swift- 1989
  • The Script- No Sound Without Silence
  • Olly Murs- Never Been Better
  • Frozen Soundtrack
  • McBusted
  • Now 89
  • Olly Murs Concert Tickets
I love all these CDs and have been listening to them a lot since I got them, I think the Frozen CD will be going in my car as I think it will be great to listen to whilst driving. I am so excited for the Olly Murs concert, especially after hearing his new album. I know how difficult it was to get them as well, and I really appreciate the effort it took.

Books
  • Under The Dome by Stephen King
  • The Maze Runner Collection by James Dashner
  • 5 Seconds Of Summer: Hey, Let's Make A Band
I requested Under the Dome after watching and loving the TV show and I think the book will be just as good, although, it's very thick compared to the books I usually read, so it may take me a little while to finish. Again, I requested the Maze Runner books after seeing the film and thoroughly enjoying it. I wanted the books so that I could find out what happens next without having to wait for the next film. I also love to read the stories of the lives of my favourite bands so of course I got the 5SOS book.

Films
  • The Fault In Our Stars
  • Maleficent
Unsurprisingly, I fell in love with The Fault In Our Stars the first time I saw it (and read it) and cried most of the way through, both times I watched it at the cinema, so I couldn't wait until it came out on DVD. I'd never seen Maleficent before but I do love a good Disney film, whether it's a classic or an original, and I really liked this film, even more than I expected.




Beauty


  • Soap and Glory Set (Sorry, I can't remember the name)
  • French Connection Mini Pamper Collection
  • French Connection Nail Varnish
  • Rituals Diwali Delight Foaming Shower Gel Sensation
  • Ted Baker Butterfly Wings Body Wash, Body Lotion and Body Scrub
  • Bath Collection Chilly Millie and Chilly Willy
  • Lush: Melting Snowman Bath Melt, Star Light, Star Bright Bath Melt, Holly Go lightly Bubble Bar, Northern Lights Bath Bomb Baked Alaska Soap
  • John Frieda Frizz Ease Hair Care
  • Calvin Klein Euphoria Perfume and Bath and Shower Creme
  • Dirty Works Get Set Gal Mini Luxuries
  • The Pampery Bath Set
  • Ecotools Kabuki Make Up Brush Set
  • Make Up Bag (Sorry, I can't remember the make)
The soap and glory set is so cute and handy, with a toiletry bag and various mini products which make it perfect for travelling or to put in a gym bag, and they smell amazing. The french connection pamper set is very sophisticated, it smells lovely, quite fresh, yet delicate. I also love the nail varnish colours, which are perfect for the Winter season especially, with colours for day and night. I am in love with the scent Diwali Delight by Rituals, but I will be doing a separate blog post on this product, so keep your eyes peeled :) Last year, I got a set of the Ted Baker butterfly wing collection, and I loved the scent so much that I asked for it again this year. This has to be one of my favourite smelling products, and it feels great on your skin. I love Lush, and I love all the products I got, I'm looking forward to lots of nice, relaxing bubble baths. I haven't tried that John Frieda Frizz Ease Hair Care before, but as I have very curly hair, I think it will be very useful. I really like the serum in this set, which really helps my hair. My mum has had Euphoria perfume for a while now, and I've always commented when she wore it, as I love the smell so I'm so happy to have my own, part of me wants to spray it all the time, and the other part of my never wants to use it, so it never runs out. The Dirty Works Mini Luxuries and The Pampery Bath Set both smell amazing, and again, are ideal for travel or to put in a gym bag, I'm excited to use them. The Ecotools Kabuki Make Up Brush Set is adorable, the size and design are really cute, and the brushes are very good at applying make up. they are also small, which makes them easy to transport when needed, and feel great on the skin. The make up bag is a really fresh, fruity design, that I think will be perfect for spring.

Other
  • Whittards Hot Chocolate Set
  • Radley Mug
  • Radley Umbrella
  • Radley Scalf
  • Pyjamas
  • Handbag
  • Chocolates
  • Nomination Charms
  • Car Kits
The Hot Chocolate set contains a variety of flavours, so far I've only tried the white hot chocolate but it tasted so good, it was sweet (as expected), but it wasn't too sickly which I often find white hot chocolate can be. What goes better with hot chocolate than a super cute Radley mug? It's a good size and is just a prefect companion for my hot chocolate. I got two Nomination charms for Christmas, which I collect for my Nomination bracelet. These were really pretty and a good representation of Christmas, to go alongside my other charms, which each represent something.
Thank you so much to everyone who made my Christmas special, I loved spending time with my family and just having a day where everyone is doing the things they love and spending it with the people they love. Thank you to everyone who bought me these wonderful gifts as well, I love every single one, and I was very spoilt!

Love, Steph x

P.S. Thanks for the suggestion Jess ;)

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Rimmel Lasting Finish Pro

'Super durable chip resistant nail lacquer with Shine Release Complex.'

This product by Rimmel claims to last for up to ten days, so I decided to see just how long it would last me before it started chipping.

I actually bought this product in Poundland for (you guessed it) £1, in the shade 260 Gold Silk, which is a subtle yet pretty colour.
Side note: never rule out Poundland for makeup and beauty products because if you look in the baskets, or have a rummage through the products, they often have some great stuff available to buy for much cheaper than it's retail price, and it's, in my experience, of the same quality. 
I am one of those people who loves painting their nails and having them painted, but finds little time to sit and do them properly, allowing enough time for them to dry properly and in many cases, don't leave enough time and end up chipping them very early on. This is why the long lasting nail varnish seemed appealing to see if it would make much of a difference.

I found that it was easy to apply with a practical brush that glides onto the nails easily. I'm not sure if this is the same with all Rimmel nail varnishes as I don't have much experience with them but it was certainly the case for this one. Similarly, I loved the colour, which suited the shape of my nails and went well with my skin tone. It wasn't too in your face, but  it wasn't so subtle that you couldn't see it, it was a nice balance between the two, looking nice in daylight and artificial lighting. This colour also goes with pretty much anything, so you don't have to worry about colour-coordinating your nails to your outfit.

Bearing in mind, I usually chip nail varnish fairly early on by either not leaving enough time to dry or just from daily life, this did last a little bit longer. It remained more or less perfect for about three days at which point, it started to chip slightly at the tips. After five days, it was chipping quite badly and on the sixth day I took it off as it was looking very messy.

The Result: I would rate this 8/10 as it did last a little longer than others and was more chip resistant but, I would quite like it to last a little bit longer. Although, for the price I bought it for, I definitely can't complain, and I did love the colour and finish.

Love, Steph x

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Current Favourites



Beauty:
  • Soap and Glory The Daily Smooth Body Butter- scented with 'mist you madly', this smells divine. It has a fairly thick consistency meaning you don't need a lot for it to do it's job and it leaves your skin feeling nourished and hydrated. This is currently my favourite body butter/moisturizer that I use daily and still love the smell and texture as much as the first time I used it.
  • Maybelline Master Graphic- as mentioned in a previous blog post, I love this eyeliner, it's so easy to use yet effective. I couldn't not include this in my favourites.
  • Lush The Melting Snowman- I am a huge Lush fan, there are so many products I love, but my favourite, especially at this time of year (although if I could have it all year round, I would), is definitely 'The Melting Snowman'. It smells like Christmas, with all the spicy scents (I'm also a massive cinnamon fan), and it leaves your bathroom smelling lovely for several hours after the bath has been unplugged. It also leaves your skin feeling silky soft and smelling delicious. I can't fault this product.
  • Lush Candy Mountain Bubble Bar- this product is another of my Lush favourites, smelling deliciously sweet without being too sickly. It turns the water a fantastic colour with plenty of bubbles for a perfect bath. It has a similar scent to Snowfairy and is another product that leaves your bathroom smelling great for hours.
  • Taylor Swift Wonderstruck Perfume- this perfume is one of my favourites all year round, with a scent perfect for any occasion, whether it's day or night, summer or winter, I feel like this fits all. I'm not very good at describing scents but what I can say is that I love it and, you can usually find some within my perfume collection at all times.
  • Zoella Soak Opera Bath Soak and Shower Cream- It's no secret that I'm a Zoella fan, so of course I've tried some of her beauty products. I have tried the Fizz Bar and the Soak Opera and loved them both but, as you may have guessed from the title of this blog post, my favourite is the Bath Soak and Shower Cream. I use this product daily- usually morning and night (although I do occasionally swap products) - and I have been doing so since I bought it over a month ago, and it's still nowhere near half gone. The Bath Soak lasts a long time and smells lovely. The scent is very subtle and delicate but beautiful all the same. Definitely a product I will be repurchasing. 
  • Collection BB Secrets with BB technology- I have been a massive fan of this product ever since I bought it. It is a great alternative or addition to foundation although I use it instead. It's a lot easier and quicker to apply than foundation and is of a lighter coverage, feeling thinner on your skin, but still covering any areas you want covered. After trying this, I'm reluctant to go back to using foundation on a day to day basis as, it feels so much nicer and lighter on my skin, without compromising the coverage, which makes it ideal for in a morning before college when I don't have a lot of time.
Music:
  • You Got It All (album) by Union J- I am also a massive fan of Union J and have been since their X-Factor journey began. I've loved every single they've released and their first album, so I wasn't surprised to find that I also love their second album. I especially love Central Park, I Can't Make You Love Me and All About A Girl, three slightly different styles and tempos, but I love them all the same. That's not to say I don't like the rest, in fact I love all of them on the album but these three would have to be my favourites. Their vocals are to die for, especially in I Can't Make You Love Me, even more so when it's sung live, which they did at the Jingle Bell Ball 2014. You can find it here if you want to see for yourself just how great it was.
  • X (album) by Ed Sheeran- not much to say about this guy and this album except that it is perfect, containing hit after hit. I especially love Take It Back, Thinking Out Loud and Don't. I have been listening to this album a lot since I bought it in Summer, and I still love it just as much as I did the first time I heard it. A killer album by a killer artist.
  • New Kinda New EP by Bethan Leadley- I'm a big fan of Bethan's tone of voice and I think the songs on the album are great. My favourite definitely has to be Left the Broken which I have listened to so many times since I purchased the album and haven't tired of hearing. If anyone is looking for someone new to listen to, I'd recommend giving this album a go.
TV Shows:
  • Pretty Little Liars- I love this TV show, it has been a favourite of mine for over a year now. The characters, plot and well... everything about it is perfect. It has you constantly on edge, constantly thinking and wondering about who could possibly be A. The characters are well developed that I almost feel as though I'm there with them, feeling what they're feeling and joining in with the plot- which I definitely wouldn't want to do in real life.
  • Melissa and Joey- I recently found this programme on Amazon Prime and have since watched the first two seasons and loved them. I find the humour very relatable, containing a lot of sarcasm and wit. Good for light-hearted entertainment.
  • Under the Dome- I'm going to be honest now... I spent a whole day in the October half term watching the first season of this show. From early on in the first episode, I was hooked, after finishing the season, I then couldn't sleep as I was too busy thinking of possible events that could occur in season two. I haven't had chance as of yet to watch season two but it is definitely one on my list of things to watch.
  • Friends- obviously I had to put this in here, who doesn't love Friends? This is a programme that I can watch whenever, whether it's on in the background or I'm sat down watching it properly, it's amazing never the less. Nothing ever comes close to the genius that is Friends.
What are your current favourites?

Love, Steph x

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Master Graphic Maybelline Review


I may not be the biggest beauty fanatic; I don't know all the technical terms and I don't do tutorials or anything like that but what I do like is finding a product I enjoy and find ideal to use. I am also a big fan of winged eyeliner, and finding the perfect eyeliner has proved a little challenging. I have found some that have done the job but I've never found one that I've loved. Until I discovered Maybelline Master Graphic.

I heard about this product in Gabby's (velvetgh0st) Mermaid Hair & Makeup: Last Minute Halloween video. Seeing her use it in the tutorial, I decided to go out and buy it.

After trying it, I found that it was perfect for what I wanted; it is angled so that you can apply it across the eyelid which ever way you want to start: out to in or in to out; it's easy to hold and guide due to it being like an angled felt tip; it lasts a long time so I never have to top it up in the day; and it's a bold colour.

What more could you want from an eyeliner?

If anyone is looking for a felt tip, effective but easy to use liner, this is definitely one that I would recommend.

You can buy it from boots here or superdrug here for the same price of £5.99.

Love, Steph x

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A Confession...

Warning, things gets deep quite quickly...

Sometimes it scares me to think that I could just disappear and very few people would remember me or would acknowledge my existence years down the line. I haven't done anything to mark my place in the world, to make a difference. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I don't want to, it's more like I don't know how to. I want to be able to look back on my life and say 'I did that, and it made a real difference' or for someone in at least the next generation to say, 'do you remember Steph, she did this'. But time is slipping away and so far, I haven't done this yet, I haven't even come close.

I often think, in ten years time, twenty years time or however many years in the future, I could be doing 'this' and 'this' could be making a difference. But what about now? The future isn't certain so I'm not certain to get that chance, to make that difference. Yet in this day and age we have to stay in education to a certain age, we have to get the qualifications we need in order to do these wonderful things and make something of ourselves. I sometimes think 'what if we don't get past that stage, and we don't get to use our knowledge to make that difference, then what?' Do we just disappear after living a forgettable life? I don't want that to be me. 

Sometimes it feels a waste going through education after education to get something in the future rather than doing what I want to do now. It's hard to work out if doing something we don't like now is worth it to do something we love in the future, or if we should make ourselves happy now, since that is the only things that's certain, and potentially effect our choices and chances in the future. If we go for the latter option, our quality of life could be poorer and we maybe wouldn't be able to have such an impact on others because we don't have the power to be able to do so. It's like a viscous circle.

I have a lot questions and I don't know many answers, but one thing I do know is, I want to be remembered and I want to do what I love. Hopefully I will find my path, an enjoyable one whereby I can make a difference, not just in the future, but immediately, and make myself happy in the process. 

Love, Steph x

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Getting to know me (Random Questions)

1. What’s a nickname only your family calls you? 
Ladybird (I don't know why, they just do)
2. What weird habit do you have? 
Washing my feet last thing before bed, I hate the feeling of unwashed feet against the bed sheets if not. I know it's weird!
3. Do you have any weird phobias? 
Feet; I can’t stand them touching my bare skin.
4. What song do you secretly love to blast and belt out when you’re alone? 
Any song, I don’t really have a particular one.
5. Name one of your biggest pet peeves. 
People eating loudly and slow walkers (I know it said one but it was too hard to pick between the two).
6. Name one of your nervous habits? 
I fiddle with my hands, fingers and nails.
7. What was your first stuffed animal and what was it called? 
A red hippo which I received the day after I was born and named him Hippo- I was an imaginative child.
8. What drink do you always order at Starbucks? 
I’m not a fan of hot drinks so I go for the mango and passion fruit cooler.
9. Do you have any ‘weird’ body skills? 
I can wiggle my ears.
10. What’s your favourite comfort food? 
Galaxy ripples, I'd eat them all the time if I could/if they weren't so unhealthy.
11. What phrase or exclamation do you always say? 
I start a lot of sentences with ‘wait’ which I’ve stopped doing as much lately but not completely- it does my head in so I feel bad for the people I say it to.
12. Time to sleep- what are you actually wearing? 
Pyjama bottoms with a t-shirt or pyjama top (rarely matching).

I hope this helped you get to know me a bit more. 

Love, Steph x

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Response to the Zoella 'Ghost writer' controversy




I am a massive bookworm and a huge fan of lots of different YouTubers, Zoella being one of my favourites. Therefore, when I heard Zoe's announcement about her releasing her own novel, 'Girl Online', I was very excited and pre-ordered it ready to possess and read as soon as I could.

I finished reading the novel the other day, and I can honestly say I really enjoyed reading it, it was an amazing book with a sweet and genuine story that highlighted some important issues. It just so happens that the day I finished reading the book, was also the day I saw the tweets and articles about the alleged 'ghost writer'. Seeing this really infuriated me because not only is it insulting to Zoe whether she had help or not, which if she did is (in my opinion) understandable as a first time fiction author but, 'Girl Online' clearly addresses several issues, one being cyber bullying/negative comments/false stories in the media. This suggests to me that the writers of these articles have either read the book and ignored the message or, haven't read the book, and are writing articles they have little knowledge about.

'Girl Online' showcases the effect online negativity and false accusations in the media has on the people involved. In the novel, Penny struggles and suffers as a result of a story containing false information and incorrect facts drawing negative attention from the media, this results in her taking an internet detox. When she finds the courage and reassurance to face the issue, she responds with a blog post. In her blog post, Penny writes;
'For the past couple of days, I've had total strangers posting lies and abusive messages about me all over the internet. And I've had celebrity gossip sites writing articles about me without even bothering to check their facts... Every time you post something online you have a choice. You can either make it something that adds to the happiness levels in the world- or you can make it something that takes away from them... So next time you go to post a comment or an update or share a link, ask yourself; is this going to add to the happiness in the world? If the answer's no, then please delete it.'

I know these are fictional posts in a fictional book and not necessarily the views of the author but, I believe that Zoe agrees with them to some degree to want to include these in her book and from things she says in her videos. So why are we doing more or less exactly what happens in the book to her, when we should be taking the views on board and thinking more about the implications before we publish negative comments and articles?

Since the articles have arisen, Zoe has tweeted saying 'This might answer some of your tweets! X' with a link explaining the situation by saying:

'Thanks for all the positive feedback about Girl Online and for the doubters out there, of course I was going to have help from Penguin's editorial team in telling my story, which I talked about form the beginning. Everyone needs help when they try something new. The story and the characters of Girl Online are mine. I want to thank all of you who have take time to support the book.'

She later tweeted: 'Bare with me on vlogmas. I'm taking a few days out and off the internet because it's clouding up my brain. Thanks for understanding.' Articles then surfaced claiming Zoe was quitting YouTube or quitting the internet. Which then caused her to tweet 'The stuff press write about is literally ridiculous! I AM NOT QUITTING YOUTUBE. Yet again, twisting stuff to gain views.'

Anyone seeing similarities between Zoe and her character Penny?

I find it disheartening to see that people aren't listening to the important message of negativity shown in the book, and I find it upsetting to see Zoe suffering as a result of it all, when she didn't write this book just for herself, she wrote it for her fans as well.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

Love, Steph x

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Why...

Hi, I just wanted to start this blog by introducing myself and explain why I am joining the blogging world... 

I’m a rather quiet person; I tend to keep things to myself and it usually takes a bit of time to bring me out of my shell. Even when I have things I would like to say, my mind and mouth seem to swell up and restrict me from actually saying them. Once I get to know someone, I start to open up and speak up a bit more but even then I’m never completely honest, never giving away too many of my thoughts. Often when I want to say something, the words just don’t seem to form properly in my mouth, or my mind goes blank so that I can’t even remember where to start. That's where for me, writing is different; I have time to collate my thoughts before putting pen to paper and making them final; I can erase or edit any mistakes before I say them; and I can open up a bit more as I don’t have to explain everything that’s running through my mind in a short space of time. I guess this is why I love writing so much, it gives me a voice and enables me to be honest and get things off my chest that I can’t do through speech. It is my way of expressing who I am, my thoughts, feelings and even fears.

That's why I created this blog, as a way of developing my writing and of voicing my opinions and thoughts on various matters, whether it’s reviews, beauty or thoughts on life in general. 

I hope you will join me on my blogging journey, and enjoy reading some of the things I have to say.


Love, Steph x

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