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/

 

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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.

A little quiet

I just wanted to explain why I have been a little quite and why there may be a delay in writing posts/replies. I had a very rough night on the Friday just gone and an ambulance was called for me Saturday morning. I refused to go into hospital (it always makes me sicker) so after consultations I’m being treated at home. I’ve finally been given stronger pain medication, which is helping a bit and a few tests/assessments are being fast-tracked. I’m exhausted, frustrated and my immunity is very low but I hope I can post/comment soon as talking to you all helps to make me feel a little better. I’ll pop in and out when I can.

In the meantime this little one has been a wonderful nurse and is keeping close to me.

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Contact

I’ve only just realised that I haven’t properly written on my about page – duh! I really thought that I had written one but it only shows my Gravatar and not one specific to The Modern Girl’s Guide. As I haven’t I will do. But until I write one properly if anyone would like to contact me my email is elliesimaginaryfriend@gmail.com

I will sort myself out one of these days! x

The Importance of Information

Yesterday I had a health assessment in my own home to see if I qualify for a UK benefit called PIP (Personal Independence Payment). I have been stressed and anxious at being ‘tested’ and I was in a lot of pain yesterday. I am still in pain today. That pain is being worsened by another ‘test’ that I have been summoned to take on June 18th. I have spoken to quite a few of my followers who have been going through similar things; applying for welfare, seeking medical support, financial worries and dealing with prejudice relating to their conditions. I have also been amazed at how despite some people I have talked to being from countries outside the U.K., even as far a-field as Australia and America, their experiences are so similar to ours in the UK. And I have also been shocked to find that the institutional and societal prejudices that have been increasing in Britain regarding chronic illness and invisible disabilities are also present in other countries.

In the belief that key to The Modern Girl’s Guide to Being Sick is the importance of information and that as knowledge is power, the more we share and add to that knowledge the stronger we become I would welcome people to post any links they have found useful in managing life with their conditions, or share any advice or tips they would give others.

Two links I have found useful the past few days regarding UK benefits have been:

http://actionforme.org.uk/Resources/Action%20for%20ME/Documents/get-informed/esa-appeals-factsheet.pdf

http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/personal-independence-payment-pip/pip-points-system

I have given longer descriptions and analysis of the processes on my sister blog: https://theillrepresented.wordpress.com/

Bright Eyes

Due to my Sjogren’s Syndrome I have a very sensitive eyes. I struggle using some eye makeup and when it’s really bad I can’t wear any makeup around my eyes at all. Everything in and around my eyes can get sore. I have zero tear production so I need to use drops daily and I get eczema around my eyes. As well as this I have concerns over dark circles and redness from the fatigue. I have been given loads of different medical ointments from steroid creams to E45 but the only immediate relief I can get comes from Liz Earle’s Eyebright Soothing Eye Lotion. The lotion uses natural ingredients, the main ingredient being a tiny used in old remedies that was called eyebright (in this instance the old wives new best). The ingredients also include witch hazel water, aloe vera and cornflower extract. It is cooling without stinging and calms any puffiness whilst the eyebright does seem to reflect away any darkness. It is really relaxing when put on cotton wool and laid over closed eyes for 10 or so minutes. I have used it to take off light makeup as it’s very gentle but it wouldn’t take off anything heavy. I am grateful for this modest hero.

http://uk.lizearle.com/eye-treatments/eyebright-soothing-eye-lotion.html?ingredients

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I wish I could be quite so effusive about an eye cream but I am still searching for an eye cream that I can use that gives great results. I have tried creams ranging from a few pounds to £50 and whilst some have been ok I’ve never found anything that makes me go ‘wow!’. I’m using Balance Me’s Wonder Eye Cream at the moment due to having found a deluxe sample in one of my reserves drawers and so far so pleasant. The cream is light to use but keeps the area moisturised all day, I can’t say that I’ve noticed much lift but I have only just started using it. Dark circles are being managed well by the cream so far and it is kind to the skin. The Wonder Eye Cream boasts 99% of it’s ingredients are from natural origin which is something I do try to look for nowadays as I do seem less sensitive to products that are more organic. This is certainly a good cream and one of the best I’ve used but I still can’t find myself able to rave about it – but I can’t really criticise it either. Perhaps I am asking too much from one cream? Most likely my weird symptoms are just too much.

https://www.balanceme.co.uk/face/product-family/extra-care/extra-care-wonder-eye-cream-7ml/wonder eye cream

Oops!

I started a sister blog to this one a few weeks back looking at the social and political issues related to chronic illness and disability but someone has kindly told me that the link I posted hasn’t been working. Oops, this is my fault – I typed it in wrong. Here it is again if you had tried but failed to find it due to my mistake.

https://theillrepresented.wordpress.com/

I hope the link now works. I am no techie and this time last year I would have shied away from anything other than basic typing and internet shopping. I have learnt so much this year about widgets, embedding links, blogging, Pinterest, Instagram etc. but I still feel lost most of the time as I still don’t yet really understand it all. x