Still Plodding On – Just!

I have been struggling for quite a while and I have been in what feels like a year long hibernation.

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I have been working hard on trying to gain control over my symptoms and start to recreate a world from the dusty, smashed pieces of my life left behind after my relapse couple of years ago. However, I have hidden from my blogging in spite of the comfort it used to bring me as I felt like a fraud. I wanted this blog especially to be a positive space but for well over a year I have found little to be positive about despite my best efforts. I have also been struggling with accepting the physical damage that my relapses has brought on over the past decade and I have not been able to look in to any mirror bigger than a compact size without crying, and or, having a panic attack. Due to this insecurity I felt I could not talk about makeup etc. I felt, and to be honest still feel, ashamed. I feel I have failed in life and this time I felt I could no longer mask it with makeup and positivity, so I hid away.

I still don’t want this space to be a whining list of little miseries and self indulgence but I also want to be honest about the challenges of having multiple chronic conditions. I have avoided writing about this last year as it still very painful to admit and examine and I am still worried about how people would react when I have to admit that I have been struggling, that I am not as strong or as OK as people think I am. I am still worried about not being strong enough, of failing. When I am struggling to get dressed or brush my hair I do feel like I am failing like being ill is my fault that it represents my failing, my weakness. I know that it is not logical to think that way, that no one asks to be ill and that illness is not a fault or failing but the weight of chronic illnesses can drag you down into those murky thoughts and make you feel that you do not deserve to be around, to be seen.

I have had another biggish flare a few weeks ago and I am fed up. Fed up of waiting for things to change. I want to move on and I want to get better and I want to start re-engaging with the world again, so I thought I should start back in a space that I have felt comfortable and surrounded by diverse and understanding  people. So I hope to keep posting and start trying to be me again. So hello to those of you kind enough to read this and I hope to start posting in my usual way again. I may be in pieces but hopefully I can start to put them into a new beautiful picture, a mosaic if you like -cracked but just about holding together. x

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I’m a Tarteist, pleased to meet you.

 

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I first heard about the brand Tarte through some of the American beauty bloggers that I follow. I heard many enthusiastic reviews and saw many posts of bloggers fervently awaiting  the latest product releases so, of course I was intrigued. Intrigue quickly becomes want especially when you realise that Tarte is not readily available in the UK. As I couldn’t get hold of Tarte I carried on skipping my way around other beauty treats and put Tarte to the back of my mind. So I was pleasantly surprised to see Tarte popping up on QVC UK.  I don’t know how long they’ve been available on QVC but I’m so glad I’ve found them now..

I love QVC beauty so I am bamboozled at how I missed Tarte’s entrance but at least now I can find out what all the fuss is about. I watched a few shows and the more I saw the more I wanted. I was unsure what to try first but opted in the end for the Tarteist Contour Pallette. I have avoided the contouring craze as, to be honest, I never really understood it and  I also doubted the use of dark powder on my very pale skin but the Tarte palette looked so gorgeous I just wanted to give it a go.

The demonstrations by Tarte on QVC are fantastic and they showed how easy the palette was to apply. The powders in the palette are numbered and a paper diagram comes with it to show where to use each powder so it’s totally fool proof – thankfully! The powders are so soft and feel as if they are creamy when they are blended seamlessly onto the skin. The palette is also huge and comes with an amazing double-ended brush that is super-soft and effective. Great value for £31.20from QVC. http://www.qvcuk.com/tarte-tarteist-Contour-Palette-with-Double-Ended-Brush.product.212128.html?cm_sp=VIEWPOSITION-_-7-_-212128

I gravitate towards brands that use pure, natural ingredients and with Tarte’s products it’s all about the natural, using as its base Amazonian clay. After trying the Tarteist Contouring palette and its techniques, especially the tip of putting concealer on in a ‘v’ formation under the eye and then smoothing it in and up, I am now a contouring convert. This one product from the Tarte range has made me feel more like a makeup artist and has completely demystified contouring for me. The Tarteist does make you an artiste. Tarte is fastly becoming a fave and I love watching the demos on QVC as I’m learning so much. I now want more much more from this brand.

I’m a Tarteist, pleased to meet you.

 

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You Beauty Discovery Beauty Box – Jan

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This month’s You Beauty Discovery box is full of lots of little goodies and a full-size lip balm from Balmi in a gorgeous scent (Roseberry). With this beauty box you choose two products from a list that changes every month and you receive one or two little surprises in trial sizes. The box costs £6.99 a month which includes delivery and can be cancelled any time.

The two items I chose were:

Balmi Super Cube Lip Balm in Roseberry (full-size)

Lord & Berry Pailettes Eye Pencil in Sparkle Black (deluxe sample size)

My two bonus samples were:

Perfection Gel Cushions (1 pair)

Dr Organic Organic Snail Gel

This month’s box has a great selection. The lip balm (Balmi) has a gorgeous sweet jasmine-like fragrance and comes in a very bling gold cube but it was not as moisture-rich as I hoped but as a caveat I do have extremely dry lips due my Sjogren’s. The Lord and Berry eyeliner is very smooth and soft which surprised me as it does contain glitter. The glitter effect liner is not at all bling but very subtle and will make a nice alternative to the classic black liner.

The Gel Cushions will make a nice addition to my handbag armoury and then there is the Dr Organic Snail Gel. The Snail Gel sounds hideous but once you get past that it’s amazing. I have already been using Dr Organic’s Snail Gel and the Snail Gel Serum for months and it is so dewy and is great for firming and smoothing skin. I use the Snail Gel Serum to seal in my moisturiser at night and it has made my skin look much healthier despite of my many flare-ups. I can’t rave about it enough. The Dr Organic range that can be found  http://www.hollandandbarrett.com/shop/brands/dr-organic/#so=sort_topseller&totalNumRecs=225 has some great products that contain great ingredients at a great price.

http://www.youbeautydiscovery.co.uk/

 

One Year On

I have had a very bad year – the worst one, certainly health-wise. Due to several flares of my various conditions I had lost my part-time education job, was unable to take up a Masters course that I have wanted to do for years, lost my car that I had also waited years for and there were also family struggles to contend with. My pain increased and became unbearable. Due to last years tsunami of events I developed depression and anxiety. I know that, sadly, depression and anxiety are quite common amongst those of us with Chronic Illnesses and Chronic Pain but this was the first time I had suffered them on a severe and clinical level. Despite my rational brain telling me that it is a common experience and diagnosis and that there is no shame in having those conditions I still felt too uneasy about mentioning it on my blog, of saying it out loud.

I have not posted for almost half a year due being uncomfortable about what to say. I wanted this blog to be a positive and light-hearted space that I, and hopefully a few others, could escape to that focused on the ‘lovely’ side of things. However, I found that I couldn’t face writing as my mood was so far from what I wanted to create and nurture on my blog that I felt I would’ve been a fraud if I tried to carry on as before. I also felt ashamed about cowardly avoiding the topic of depression and anxiety, especially as many on WordPress and other platforms speak powerfully and openly about their experiences in order to support each other and break the stigma attached to those conditions.

I became annoyed at myself as I was happy to talk about my Lupus etc. but when it came to my mental health conditions my reaction was to hide to feel embarrassed. The addition of the word ‘mental’ with regards to illness should make no fundamental difference to the tone of the chronic illness/disability debate, Chronic Illness is just that a chronic illness, but it left me uneasy as I didn’t want to make a ‘drama’ out of it but I felt a bit of a fraud about not recognising these new aspects of my health. In ‘hiding’ I was hindering the great work that many on here have done in educating and de-stigmatizing Mental Health issues and denying to chronicle my ‘true’ experience of Chronic Illness that I hoped would help understanding of our hidden and complex lives. So, my name is Lore and I have Depression and Anxiety, nice to meet you.

Next, I’ll move on to the pretty stuff – beauty boxes!

Oh, strangely,the day I felt able to blog again is the same day exactly one year ago that I started the blog!

You Beauty Discovery Box – July and August’s

Due to my pesky health issues I wasn’t able to put July’s box on my blog so in order to catch-up I will show you what I received in the July and August boxes.

With You Beauty Discovery boxes you get to choose two samples from a monthly selection of skincare and makeup goodies. The two products I opted for in my August box were Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner and Strivectin’s Intensive Illuminating Serum. The extra treats that every subscriber got in their boxes this month were a Sienna X Gradual Glowing Self-Tan sachet and an extract from a book entitled The Mortal Instruments 1: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.

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Stila is a brand that despite being around for quite a while I had never tried. I’m not sure how I managed not to try Stila but I was pleased to find their eyeliner as an option for August’s box. I received a full-size waterproof eyeliner in Black Amethyst. This is by far one of the easiest eyeliners I have ever applied. I don’t have the steadiest of hands and often have to smudge out my eyeliner to cover my mistakes, which this eyeliner can do, but its thin shape means you can apply small strokes at a time that can take away the fear of big mistakes. The fine tip means it gives definition with precision. As my eyes are often sore and sensitive due to my Sjogren’s Syndrome I can be fussy with eye products but Stila’s eyeliner is so gentle when it’s taken across the eyelid due to its cream-like softness. I have to use eyedrops a lot which can limit my use of eye makeup so I was happy that the liner is waterproof. The colour of the liner (Black Amethyst) is fab and comes out as a dark and sultry purple – great for an alternative take on a smokey eye.

I’ve always wanted to try something from the Strivectin brand as I have heard good things about its wrinkle erasing qualities but as its quite pricey I have had to avoid it. The Strivectin Serum that I received is about skin brightening and illumination. What I’ve heard about Strivectin is that its products are powerhouses when it comes to dramatic results but the first time I used it I was quite disappointed as I found it a little drying and couldn’t see much difference. The serum may need more time to create a significant effect but I don’t feel that motivated to keep going with it especially as Clinique’s Custom Repair Serum showed great results from first use and kept improving the skin the more you used it. I may be being a little hard on the Strivectin Serum as I’m in love with another serum -my new night serum, Dr Organics Snail Gel Facial Serum (my day serum is the Clinique one I mentioned above).

I wasn’t as impressed with the extra treats in this months box compared with July’s box. I don’t use fake tan and whilst I love books I don’t like part of books in beauty boxes but the Stila eyeliner alone makes the £6.99 box great value: http://www.youbeautydiscovery.co.uk/

Below is July’s box and the two items that I chose were Lola Nail Polish in Stone Grey and Wild About Beauty Nutrilips Lipstick. There were bonus treats that every subscriber  was sent which included St Tropez’s In Shower Gradual Tan, a sachet of Emma Hardie’s Protect and Prime SPF30 and a sample of Muesli Breaks Oatcakes.

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The Wild About Beauty lipstick contains mango butter, argan oil and an SPF of 15.The lipstick is in a very wearable nude with light hues of pink and brown and gives a light to medium coverage with a glossy sheen. I have spoken before about my Sjogren’s Syndrome drying out my lips which has at times meant that wearing lipstick was impossible but with brands having started to fuse skincare with makeup I have started to try out lipsticks again. Wild About Beauty is a brand that has the fusion of skincare and makeup at the heart of its products and I found the lipstick to be gentle and extremely comfortable. I have become more and more interested with this brand after receiving a sample of its Rose Water Serum and an eyeshadow from previous beauty boxes.

I hadn’t heard of Lola before but I love nail polish so I gave it a go. It promises a high shine finish and uses Ultra Gel ingredients. I like to try new brands or effects on bare nails without the usual base and top coat sandwich just to see how it stands up on its own and this varnish faired well in living up to its promises. It dried quite quickly and had a very good glossy finish even without the aid of a top coat but I found the colour very dark when it was on the nail and was more black than grey.

The St. Tropez In Shower tanning lotion was a nice bonus as it was in a generous sample size but I don’t self-tan – I never have – so I will be passing it on to a friend although the concept of In Shower Tan does sound quite easy. I’m saving up my Emma Hardie sample for when I’m able to enjoy my skincare routine a little more (when the skin tenderness subsides). Oat cakes were quite pleasant.

You can find You Beauty Discovery Box here:

http://www.youbeautydiscovery.co.uk/

Hello again!

These past few months have been the worst time in my life. I have had chronic conditions for 10 years and have never suffered this bad before. I am still very shell-shocked by it all and I’m extremely weak and confused but I’ve been stuck inside my house (majority of the time in bed) for too long. I am trying to force myself to start to pick up the things that I enjoyed before by doing at least one small task a day. I am trying not to feel sorry for myself but it’s so hard! everyone’s strength runs out at some point. I thought that my blog, make-up and you lovely people would be the perfect place to start my journey back. As a lot of time has passed I have a lot of catching up to do, so how are you all? xx

New CID Lip Gloss Free with Cosmopolitan Magazine (UK, August Ed.)

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Due to the worsening of my symptoms I have been stuck in my house all week and most of that time has been spent in bed I haven’t felt up to much but with my Mum’s encouragement and support she has helped me to write some posts. Mum realises that blogging is a good distraction and gives me some purpose. I am so grateful for all of you that read, comment and like. I love blogging and as you know I love a freebie.

The August editions are out but as I’ve been housebound I’ve sent my Mum out in search of any magazine freebies. There are quite a few out there apparently but due to my Mum having almost zero knowledge of beauty products, a dubious memory and poor reporting skills that led to her telling me, “one magazine had some nail stuff and another had what I think is lip gloss”. Faced with those insights I opted for the one magazine whose title my mum could remember – Cosmopolitan, as at least I knew I would like the magazine. I was pleasantly surprised when I found that Cosmo came with a lip gloss and that it was a New CID lip gloss. I have some New CID products already but it’s their lip products that I am most impressed with. I have two of their 3-in-one Lip Wands and they are amazing. The wands are in a long tube that splits apart in three ways to reveal a gloss, lipstick and lip-liner in matching shades. It could’ve been gimmicky but they are quality cosmetics that I can wear comfortably without exacerbating my dry Sjogren’s lips or making them look worse. Annoyingly I don’t think they do the wands anymore but thankfully their lip products are still of great quality if this gloss is anything to go by.

New CID are great at their innovations (they have a light and mirror on their lipsticks to help with application) and with this lip gloss they have a new wand that rolls. The wand looks a little like a tiny paint roller and it kind of acts in the same way, the wand makes application smooth, quick and even and you can get good coverage with one roll, no need to keep dipping it in and out. The shade that came with the magazine is Strawberry Bon Bon and is a true a strawberry mid-tone pink. It keeps its colour on the lips and gives great shine, it is also very comforting on the lips just like their previous Lip Wands. So pleased to get the New CID I glisten gloss and Cosmopolitan was a great read as usual.

GLOSSYBOX June Drop

This is a bit late. I have so much I want to write about but practically zero energy so everything is progressing in tiny steps – very frustrating! But here it is the contents of my June GLOSSYBOX.

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The contents are:

  • MONU Spa Rosewood Reviving Mist
  • Halo Fragrance Free Facial Wipes
  • Kueshi Anti-Cellulite Booster
  • Essence The Gel Nail Polish
  • GLOSSYBOX Flash Tattoos

On first opening my box I confess that I felt a little disappointed as I have only heard of one of the brands that were included and that brand (Essence) is a very low budget brand. I tried not to be too despondent as part of the fun of these boxes is that it can introduce you to new brands. The MONU Spa Rosewood Reviving Mist is lovely and contains essential oils of lemon, rosewood, sandalwood, petitgrain and geranium, so it manages to be both refreshing and comforting at the same time. I love face mists and although Liz Earle’s Skin Tonic is still my favourite the MONU Spa mist is still a pleasure to use and will be well-utilised during the summer. I love to use face mists to ‘set’ makeup by lightly spraying it over my face as the last-step in my makeup routine.

The Essence Gel Nail Polish is my favourite product in the box despite being the lowest priced (£1.71). It’s a really good nail polish and does give that smooth, shiny and slightly domed look associated with gel polish. It’s a great colour and lasted well – it performs far above its price bracket!

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I’ve not yet been convinced about anti-cellulite creams or gels as all of them rely on the product being well massaged in and I’m of the belief that it’s the massaging part that will have more of an effect than the actual product itself. I think as long as you massage the area a simple oil will have a similar effect for the fraction of the price but perhaps I just haven’t been exposed to the right product yet. The Kueshi Anti-Cellulite Booster, whilst being non-offensive, has don’t little to change my opinions of ant-cellulite creams. One useful thing about the Kueshi cream is that it doesn’t have much of a smell so it wouldn’t conflict with any fragranced body lotion or perfume.

The Halo Facial Wipes are handy and I do like the fact that they are un-fragranced. I also didn’t get any negative reactions to the product, other face wipes have left my skin red and stingy. Whilst I wouldn’t advocate using these everyday, for times when I am too tired or need to change/alter makeup quickly they will be useful.

I could quite frankly have done without the GLOSSYBOX Tattoos but I guess I might be in the minority as these types of tattoos are everywhere and they probably do look great if you’re at a festival but they just look a bit daft if you’re in your pyjamas (like I am most days).

Overall this is not the best GLOSSYBOX I have had but it was generally ok and that’s the way it goes sometimes with the beauty boxes.

The Sisterhood of the World Nomination

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The lovely Kira from https://kirabmoon.wordpress.com/ kindly nominated me for this award. A big thank you to Kira and please take a moment to check out her blog. Many of you probably know how these awards work but the rules are that I answer 10 questions and then nominate 7 other bloggers and ask them to answer the same 10 questions.

First the questions:

Why do you have a blog?

I wanted to connect with people and whilst I can be quite awkward in most social situations I am at my best when I can write. I also wanted to show that being sick and disabled is not an ‘old person’ thing, that it affects people of all ages and that those of us that are inflicted by such things want the same access to life experiences as healthy people – especially the fun stuff!

What inspires you the most?

Can’t choose between two so I will have to say animals and literature.

Favourite animal and why?

Again, I’m going to be a chicken and name two – cats and dogs. I have two cats and one dog. I’ve had cats since I was 9 and they are amazing animals, smart, funny, strong and affectionate. Cats also make you work for their love which I kind of admire.

I have always wanted a dog and when I got my health up to a decent standard a few years back my dog Keats was my reward (unfortunately I have relapsed quite dramatically 8 months ago). Keats was worth waiting for! Dog’s are devoted, loving, sweet, and kind. My dog follows me everywhere (I mean everywhere!) and can never get enough cuddles. One of my favourite things to do was to go on walks with Keats but since my relapse my friends and family now have that pleasure.

What is your favourite colour?

Red! Like the poppies which are my favourite flowers.

Do you prefer the ocean or mountains?

Ocean. I love the sea, the sound, the taste of the air, the enormity of it and it’s movement. I’d love to live by the sea.

Tea or coffee?

Tea. I love the smell of coffee but I can’t bear the taste.

How many languages can you speak?

Embarrassingly only one and that is my native language. I’d love to learn French and Russian but at the moment I struggle enough with English.

What made you happy today?

My animals.

What is your dream?

To have a fulfilling career that enables me to travel and have a house by the sea. If I could get paid to write that would be pretty amazing!

What is your favourite food?

Fishfinger sandwiches. I lived off them whilst I was at uni.

Secondly, here are my 7 nominations:

https://effingfibro.wordpress.com/

https://rhosynmd.wordpress.com/

https://peachteapot.wordpress.com/

https://faloolar.wordpress.com/

https://undiagnosedwarrior.wordpress.com/

http://therheumaticrollercoaster.com/

https://zoerising.wordpress.com/

Learning to be social

Our world’s can become very small we are burdened by chronic illness and people can seemingly drift away from you as you become increasingly confined to your house or bed. It can be lonely, frustrating and incredibly dull! As illness and pain snatch you further indoors the world can seem so distant that it can become alien. When your bed becomes your world Earth may as well be in another galaxy. I had no knowledge whatsoever of social media and only really used the computer for shopping and typing. Technology baffled me, I only opened a Facebook account a few years ago and did so reluctantly.

I am naturally a shy person who feels awkward in many social settings so I feared that as there are much more people online I would find loads more people to be awkward around and 100 more opportunities to make a fool of myself. But in January I became sick of being excluded from conversations and wanted to connect with others. I was and still am often confined to bed so the only course open to me was to use the internet to reach out. I had zero knowledge of social media but after looking around I thought blogging would suit me, so one restless night searching for a distraction from the pain I made my first post.

Blogging has been such a source of comfort for me these past months. I love writing and always felt more comfortable in that medium than any other so I’ve felt less shy and felt more comfortable to express myself. And blogging, best of all, has brought me into contact with some incredible people. As I’ve enjoyed blogging so much I started to think about other social media sites as I know many of you bloggers out there have several other links on your blogs to Twitter etc. My knowledge of how such sites work and how best to interact with them is very poor but I decided to give them a go. I warn you that I have no clue what I’m doing but if you would like to follow or contact me any other way there are some social media icons at the side of this page you can click or you can click these links below or on my About Me page.

Twitter: @moderngirlsick

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/elliesimaginary/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/elliesimaginaryfriend/

My blog will always be main focus but I thought it might be fun to branch out a bit. x