Monday, 22 September 2014

Operation Supervixen: Roller Derby

Some of you may remember that way back in July, I posted all about my new blog series I was embarking upon: Operation Supervixen. My initial plan was to post at least monthly updates on my progression towards a happier, healthier lifestyle, but of course, that hasn't ended up happening.

Naturally then, it probably comes as no surprise that my progress towards my goals has been excruciatingly slow. Admittedly, I've made little attempt to alter my diet and figure out an exercise routine. I've stopped talking back to myself when I haven negative thoughts, particularly nastiness about other people. I am definitely not using my free time productively. My secondary income has fizzled out to nothing. In fact, the only progress I've made has been quitting smoking - I haven't been keeping exact track but I think I'm around the 6-8 weeks mark now - hooray!

Of course, one of my goals was to keep a record of my progress and this is what I am doing now. Although I have begun this post on a negative note and admitted that I have been dramatically backsliding, I think it is important for me to be honest about this. Real transformation does not happen overnight. I am not a failure because I didn't write my first Operation Supervixen post and change instantly. I spend a lot of time beating myself up for the things I don't do and as a result, ignore the things I do do.

One thing in particular makes me feel more like a supervixen than I ever have before...

And that's roller derby. 

What is roller derby I hear you cry? This video explains it much better than I can:

Currently, I am what we refer to as "fresh meat" - I have not yet passed my minimum skills which means I cannot play as main league on a team yet. That's fine by me because I kinda like being alive! I don't want to get on that track until I know it's safe (as possible) to do so!

That being said, the hour and a half I go training each week is my favourite and best hour and a half each week. For an hour and a half each week, I am guaranteed to not feel like shit. In fact, for an hour and a half each week, I feel amazing. For an hour and a half each week, I forget about everything that bothers me. For an hour and a half each week my smile does not leave my face. For an hour and a half each week, it doesn't matter what has happened before, it doesn't matter what I'm dreading in the future, I can forget and just be ME again.

Training is truly addictive for me. Every single week I improve and every single week I go back wanting more, to see what I can pull off that week. When I compare that Bambi-like girl I was way back in March when I first put a pair of skates on to the girl I am now, I am so goddamn proud.

It's not just the sport itself: the wonderful Wiltshire Roller Derby team and my fellow fresh and smelly meat really make it worth it. They're such wonderful people. They make everyone feel so included, no one ever feels stupid because they can't do something (yet), the whole atmosphere is so encouraging.

Before high school, I loved my sport. In primary school I played both football and netball and I would have loved to carry netball on into high school and play on an actual team. Unfortunately, the sporty girls tended to also be the incredibly bitchy girls and PE and associated bullying at high school completely put me off physical activity.

I think I love roller derby because it's the exact opposite of my high school netball team. All ages (well, over 18 anyway, safety first guys!) are welcome, all genders (although we have separate mens and womens teams, we all train together), all backgrounds are welcome and everyone gets along, everyone helps each other.

Not to mention, I was also very surprised by just how physically challenging roller derby is AND how much that challenge has made me adore it.

At the end of the day, not mastering an exercise routine doesn't matter so much when I know I walk 40-80 minutes a day, plus do an hour and a half of intense activity each week. I do want to fit some strength training exercise in there to help me with sticky and backwards skating, but other than that, it's not like I lead a totally sedentary lifestyle!

As for my other Operation Supervixen goals...I'll get there. Prior to roller derby, my misery would last 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Now I know I get at least an hour and a half each week of relief from that. It also gets me out of the house and in the company of people which is another bonus.

No doubt roller derby is going to play a huge part in my personal transformation and hopefully, I will have some positive Operation Supervixen progress to share soon!

My advice to others today? If you can find a sport or physical activity that makes you feel great: do it. If exercise really, really isn't your bag - just find a real hobby, preferably one that involves other people. So far, I've not found a more effective anti-depressant!

Do you have a favourite sport?

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Primark Haul

So, throughout September, I have been amazingly, incredibly short of money. Today's post and video is 50% of the reason why! Oh yes, I've been a-haulin'...

I Bought...
Lots of frilly socks!
Floral Pyjamas
Leopard Print Nightie
Black and Pink Workout Shorts
Pink and White Shorts
Black and White Polka Dot Top With Collar
Pink and Black Top With Collar
Pink Dress With Collar
Yellow Dress With Collar

Black and White Lace Dress With Collar

I've already featured the black and white lace dress with a collar here, and no doubt the rest will follow!

Make sure to click through to YouTube and like and subscribe if you enjoy my videos :)

Thank you for watching!

Friday, 19 September 2014

Maybelline Brow Drama [Product Review]

Seeing as I've been using the Maybelline Brow Drama brow mascara since January, and pretty often at that, I thought it was about high time I shared my thoughts about it on the blog.

Despite the fact it's part of my daily makeup routine, I am actually quite disappointed with this product. As you can tell from the images I've shared above, this brow product doesn't do too much in terms of hiding any sparse patches or adding any colour.

I'm not a fan of the odd brush either - again, I've taken a picture for your reference - I imagine it was supposed to be "innovative" but I prefer the terms "annoying" and "hard to work with." It is all too easy to end up with excess product in places I don't want it thanks to that...thing...on the end of the brush.

So, why have I continued to use this? Well, there's actually something it's very good at! Not only does it shape my eyebrows nicely, but believe me when I say this brow mascara sets your brows in place all day. I am not kidding, my brows do not budge when I use this stuff. Currently I use powder to fill in my brows and then use this as a setting gel afterwards and it works like an absolute charm.

Unfortunately I think the price tag, which I believe is around £5.99, is a bit steep for something that just sets your brows in place rather than adding colour as you would expect a product that comes in three different shades to do. For this reason, I won't be repurchasing.

Prior to using this, I was using the E.L.F Eyebrow Treat and Tame, which I sadly never got round to reviewing in full, but this is a product I do recommend. Although the "Treat" side is pretty damn useless and unpleasant, the "Tame" side is great for adding a bit of depth to your brows and keeping them in place.

What do you like to use on your brows?

Thursday, 18 September 2014

The Vixen Thinks: Leaked Nudes

A few weeks ago, the Internet nearly exploded. The reason? A number of nude photographs featuring high profile celebrities such as Ariana Grande and Jennifer Lawrence were allegedly stolen from iCloud and leaked online.

Naturally, there was outrage.

Except, was it for the right reasons?

The morning after this "news" broke, I was inundated with information about this breach of privacy. Being a journalist in the technology sector, my Inbox was flooded with articles about digital security and I logged onto the CMS I use at work to see our partner sites had also sent us stories about the leaked content.

I won't say I was surprised at the amount of coverage I was seeing and quite frankly, I won't even say I'm surprised by the content of articles relating to the security breach - but, I will say: I was deeply disappointed. 

As I logged into LinkedIn and merely glanced at the "Articles Recommended For You" section at the top of my news feed, I was disgusted to see content such as "How To Avoid Doing A Jennifer Lawrence" or "Five Things Celebrities Must Learn About Cyber Security."

ERRRR, NO. Just stop, stop right there. 

In the event that some or even all of these women who have had their privacy invaded DID possess naked photographs of themselves, or even content depicting them performing sexual acts, THEY ARE NOT TO BLAME.

Let me say that again: this is not their fault.

How about we stop shaming women for their personal choices, especially when it comes to expressing their sexuality, and start pointing our fingers at the real issue here: the hackers who thought it was appropriate to go to great measures to access the personal files of these female celebrities.

I haven't seen any news stories called "Don't Be A Dick, Women's Bodies Aren't For Your Consumption" or "Hey, Don't Hack People, It Sucks" - no, all I've seen is digusting victim blaming content.

Women, men, any people of any gender, have the right to take sexual photographs of themselves. They also have the right to keep these images private. Just because a person may have chosen a career path that leaves them largely in the public eye, they still absolutely retain the right to have a private life. A life that is not for public consumption. 

Rather than patronisingly explaining how the cloud works, how two-step verification works, or just outright saying things like "don't take those photos in the first place," I'd like to see people calling these hackers out instead. Some of the reactions I've seen so far are chillingly similar to "women shouldn't [drink/wear revealing clothes/whatever] if they don't want to get raped.

I'm all for locking my front door when I leave the house, I'm all for using passwords with uppercase and lowercase letters, multiple numbers and a few punctuation marks thrown in for good measure - but please, let's stop blaming the victims here. 


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Arbonne FC5 Deep Cleansing Mask [PRODUCT REVIEW]

Arbonne Products are sold entirely through a network of Independent Consultants. I am an Independent Consultant. If this review interests you and you decide to make a purchase, please use my Arbonne ID when asked for your consultant's ID: 441132670. Alternatively, you can use my Arbonne website. Although I am building a business with Arbonne, my opinions of these products are entirely my own and 100% honest. I could never build a business with a company I didn't wholeheartedly believe in. To read more about Arbonne, click here.

The Arbonne FC5 range, particularly the products aimed at oily/combination skin, has been an absolutely livesaver for me - and this Deep Cleansing Mask is no different.

I'm a huge fan of facial masks. Personally, I find nothing more effective at reducing active breakouts fast than a mask and of course, Arbonne's offering is no disappointment in this area.

Like all FC5 products, this mask smells absolutely beautiful. Application is a breeze and although it hardens, it isn't uncomfortable. All though slight tugging is needed to remove the mask, it's nothing too harsh on your skin.

Immediately afterwards, any redness has disappeared and nasty spots have begun to reduce in size. The morning after, my skin feels amazing. No tightness, no dryness, no oiliness, my skin feels perfect.

I adore this mask, and recommend it to anyone wanting fight active breakouts.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Queen of Hearts

Outfit Details:
Dress: Primark
Tights: eBay
Shoes: Primark
Watch: everything5pounds

Today I'm showing off the most recent addition to my wardrobe. August was a very naughty month for me - as I was on holiday for two weeks, staying at my mum's, I got excited about not having to buy food for that period and went a bit too crazy buying new clothes instead. Although I'm paying for that decision now it's September, I'm happy that I've got this little dress to show for it. 

OK, yes, another collar, a bit more lace and a black and white dress is hardly what I needed in my wardrobe but this was just too pretty for me to resist! I love the fit of this particular dress, it's very snug and comfortable without being stupidly tight. The lace overlay makes it just that bit more interesting than a plain black dress as well and for me, the tights really finish it off. 

As it's such a simply little outfit, there's not a lot to say about it. Despite this, it has fast become one of my favourites.

Are you a fan of patterned tights?

Monday, 15 September 2014

How To Reignite The Blogging Passion

Those of you who have been long time readers of my blog, or those of you bored enough to compare last year's archive with this year's, will notice that my blog posting habits this year have been largely inconsistent.

Gone is my schedule, gone is my commitment to even once weekly posting, left instead to sporadic short bursts of posting lots and then disappearing into silence again.

While moving house, starting my first full time job, changing relationships and a constant battle with my mental health have all largely played a part in my poor posting regime this year, I can't blame it all on that - a lot of it is because for a little while there, I simply just lost my passion for blogging.

Last year, I was an absolute blogging powerhouse. I never quite managed to hit my dreams of consistent daily posting but I always blogged a few times per week and my editorial calendar was my bible. I knew what I was posting months in advance and whenever I bought a new beauty product, I would promptly photograph it the next day, edit it and upload it to my Photobucket account, ready and waiting.

In fact, the images I've chosen to include in this post are an example of that. The Maybelline Baby Lips and E.L.F All Over Colours sticks are both products I eagerly recorded during a blogging productivity streak, just to decide in the end, they weren't products I wanted in my collection and gave them away before I had enough experience with them to make them worth reviewing on here.

Anyway, I digress. The point I'm trying to make is sometimes, I flip from superblogger to nevereverblogger. And I don't think I'm alone. Sometimes, I just get bored of blogging.

So how do we fix this?

  1. Take some time away from blogging. Nothing makes me want to blog like not blogging. I noticed this especially when I went away for a week this year and couldn't blog because I didn't have my laptop. 
  2. Read other blogs. Other blogs are a constant source of inspiration for me. I don't even mean this in way where I'll use other bloggers' ideas to form my own posts - just reading other posts that I think are great, or you can tell a lot of thought and care has gone into them, makes me want to do a good job myself. 
  3. Re-evaluate your content. For me, it's writing beauty product reviews and posting beauty-themed YouTube videos that started to suck the passion out of me. Don't get me wrong, I still love makeup, but because I've found a brand I'm happy with now, reviews are getting a little boring for me and I'm changing a lot as a person right now, so I've realised my content has to grow with me.
  4. Learn a new skill, such as a different way of taking or editing your photographs. Whenever I learn something new creatively, I want to show it off on my blog. Whether it's different method of editing or I've got some cute new graphics to play with, it makes me want to blog a little bit more so I can really make use of what I've learnt.
  5. Think about your motivations for blogging. Do the reasons you started your blog in the first place still apply? Have you started blogging solely for an audience rather than yourself? Are you accepting sponsored posts that perhaps you don't really want on your little space on the Internet?
What are your tips for getting out of a blogging funk?