Writer’s Block

beauty, blog, inspired, life, lifestyle, mindfulness, question, self improvement, Uncategorized, writing

In case you hadn’t realised, I have been attempting to post content every day this week. I spent today trying and failing to write several different posts and couldn’t seem to complete any of them.

So in the end, I decided to write this one. Basically, I’m cheating my way into being able to say that I’ve posted every day for a week. I felt this was the only way to really get myself back into blogging on a regular basis. The truth is, it’s hard to constantly be coming up with new content whilst simultaneously finding a direction to take my site in. I think moving forward, a realistic approach would be 2-3 blog posts per week.

Do you ever struggle with motivation when it comes to hobbies? It’s a strange thing to not be able to come up with content when a million ideas hit me on an hourly basis! The difference between that initial thought and actually sitting down to write a post is vast to say the least. I’m keen to know what you guys do to get yourselves out of a ‘writer’s block’ or whatever your equivalent may be. Help me out and give me some suggestions!!

Hopefully tomorrow will be a little more interesting.

Sophie

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Lust List: The Skin Edition

beauty, blog, face, highend, inspired, life, lifestyle, london, look, makeup, review, skin, skincare, trend, Uncategorized

So I know my posts recently have been a bit mixed in terms of content but I thought I’d get back to a bit of beauty today. Recently, I’ve been making a more conscious effort to use up my current products before buying new ones. Of course there are a few exceptions, but for the most part I’ve been pretty good at ‘shopping my stash’.

Whenever I discover a new product that I’d like to try, I add it to the notes on my phone. By doing this, I can refer back to it once I’ve used up a current favourite. So here are the skincare/makeup items I’m lusting after right now. Let me know of any others you think I should try!

Glossier Skin Tint – As a self confessed lover of full coverage, this may be somewhat of a suprise addition. Having seen Anniecherrymakeup feature this lightweight foundation regularly in her videos, I am keen to give it a go.  Perfect for evening out discolouration, this appears to be the solution to no makeup makeup. One downside to point out is the small shade range. Whilst it does appear to cater to a range of skintones, there are only 12 shades within the range, minimal compared to the likes of MAC and Fenty.

Ole Henriksen Bananna Bright Face Primer – This particular product has been raved about by a number of successful influencers over the past few months. Packed with Vitamin C, it promises a ‘dewy, healthy-looking glow’.As someone who isn’t massive on primer, this product appeals more so for the promise of radiance. This is one of many products from Ole Henriksen that I’m keen to try.

Khiels Daily Reviving Concentrate – Admittedly, I have used this serum before but at £38, I haven’t yet been able to justify a repurchase. As a massive fan of the Midnight Recovery Serum, I was hopeful that this would deliver on the same scale and it did. Definitely time to add it back into my routine!

Do you own any of these products? Anything you think I should be trying instead? Tweet me @sophieaiken.

Sophie

Boots First Feel Good Session

beauty, blog, celebrity, event, inspired, instagram, life, lifestyle, london, reflection, review, self improvement, social media, trend, Uncategorized

Last week I was lucky enough to win a ticket to the first ever Boots Feel Good Session thanks to an Instagram competition ran by the wonderful Megan Jayne Crabbe *bodyposipanda*.

Upon arrival I was greeted by some lovely ladies who pointed me in the direction of a wall of positive quotes. I grabbed one of these in exchange for a free drink at the bar and readied myself to take part in a Body & Image Workshop.

This particular workshop was hosted by Natasha Devon MBE. Natasha is a body image activist, writer, speaker, campaigner and all round genius to be honest with you. In just fifteen minutes, she gave us a run down of how our brains work and the ways in which we view ourselves. In my last post, I told you all about how I filter my social media, below is a list of body positive influencers composed by all those who attended the workshop. So if you feel like you want a bit less filtering and facetune and a lot more real life, check them out.file-2

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend thePhotography Workshop hosted by Alex Cameron. Alex is a renowned confidence photographer who focuses on the use of natural light in her work. She has a beautiful portofolio and is well worth a follow!

We then moved on to the main event in which Megan, Natasha and Alex were joined by Youtube sensations Hannah Witton and Gary Thompson as well as Scottish footballer Claire Emslie. The panel spoke all things confidence with a particular focus on social media. The discussion was open and varied and really reflected the common concerns of six prominent figures. A big take away from the day was about learning to live in the present and making the most of where you are right now. As I mentioned earlier, there was also a focus on the use of social media and the ways in which we can make our own platforms as positive a space as possible.file-4.jpeg

And now for the best bit. The goody bag. As I looked through the contents, I couldn’t help but feel like some kind of trendy influencer. Full size products from the likes of Urban Decay and The Ordinary. Absolutely over the moon with that and I cannot wait to give them all a go.

I’d really recommend taking the time to watch the full panel discussion here.

If you do watch, let me know your thoughts!

Sophie

D.I.Y Disaster

beauty, celebrity, hair, lifestyle, look, lookback, review, Uncategorized
Excuse the hair!

The long black days – when I look at these photos now I don’t even recognise myself. It looks like a wig!

How many times have we heard the stories. Girl decides to dye her hair at home to save some money. Hair does not come out looking like the picture on the box. Girl ends up paying far more than she would have in the first place to fix self dyed hair…

Believe me, I’ve been there. Not just once, but several times throughout the past 10 years. I just never seemed to learn my lesson. I have now. In fact the events of August 2016 have put me off hair dye forever!!

Since the first box of  semi-permanent auburn hair dye, I have had every hair colour going. At University I decided to go black and at the time I loved it. However, I was the worst kind of hair offender because as the summer approached I would want to go lighter and so every few months an expensive trip to the hairdressers to desperately strip and bleach my hair would take place.

Eventually I got sick of this, cut my hair short and settled on brown. This meant I could

I loved my hair when I first went short. It was a healthy, warm brown. It would even look good when I woke up!

use semi-permanent brown dyes on my hair at home and with regular hair cuts it would look pretty good. In August, for whatever reason I decided to pick up a ‘dark brown’ shade. Well, as I dried my hair I soon realised I was back to black. In twenty minutes, my hair had transformed into the old me. And I did not appreciate it!!

In a panic, I drove straight to my local Superdrug and purchased a box of Colour B4. If you ever find yourself reaching for this on the shelf. DON’T! It is the most horrific product I have ever used! At the time though, I had seen their ambassador Katie Price swear by Colour b4 saying it was the easiest way to remove the black dye from her hair. I’m ashamed to admit that I was totally suckered in by the celebrity endorsement!

I followed the instructions on the box fully. I did everything I was supposed to do. Let me just say that I have never smelt anything like this in my life! Colour b4 honestly smells like chemicals, garbage and donkey piss all combined and set on fire. Awful. At the time I thought that this was temporary and obviously accepted that as it was stripping my hair it would have to be somewhat invasive. However, this smell lingered for over two weeks and no amount of washing could remove it!!!! The first box removed a fair amount of the black but there was still some in the ends of my hair so I went and bought another one. God only knows why! I applied this mainly to the ends and the final result was a fairly boring brown with just a hint of warmth. Perfectly acceptable.

blog5

Frazzled and kinky despite being my natural colour – the result of too much heat!

After the first wash though, I noticed my hair get darker and after the second wash it was pretty much back to the original black. After one more box of Colour b4 (I honestly don’t know what was going through my brain) I threw in the towel and went to the hairdressers. The consultation didn’t take long. They wouldn’t touch my hair with a barge pole given the damage the product had done. The ends were frazzled, the hair felt weak and there was no way they would do anything but cut it for me. So I was left with one option…leave it alone!

Since then, I have not dyed my hair again. I have decided my colour days are behind me and it’s finally time to embrace nature. But one impact I’m still dealing with is breakage. A large amount of hair to the right of my crown and along the parting has broken off. By large I mean it is 100% noticeable and not just a few loose hairs.

To put this story into perspective, it’s now been a year and a half since I dyed my hair.

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This photo was taken 2 months after the previous one. The difference in length and condition is vast but I still have a way to go.

Yes, the dye has all grown out. No, I have not dyed it at all since. But let me be clear, the damage is still so bad that people often comment on it. It was one thing to stop dying it, but I was still mistreating my hair with heat and hair ties. So, at the start of this year, I made the decision to stop blow drying and learn how to french braid. It’s the best thing I’ve done throughout this whole ordeal! My hair has grown so much in just a month and feels so much better. There’s still a way to go, but I can now see an end in sight.

I won’t lie, I’m planning on begging my lovely hairdresser Amy to let me put a few blonde highlights in. But that’s where it stops. 2018 is the year of healthy hair!

So ladies and fellas, if you’re thinking of using Colour b4 or any other at home stripper, spare 2 years of stress and call a professional. In the end, what seems like the cheap option tends to end up costing a lot more in the long run!

xoxo

The 2017 Checklist

beauty, life, lifestyle, reflection

big-ben

I’m not one for New Years Resolutions but I have been thinking a lot about what I would like to do and achieve this year. First item on the agenda…start blogging again!

The number one goal I have set for myself this year is to sort my finances out. It’s a boring one but it needs to happen. I have made a plan to pay off my overdraft and credit card within the next few months. The key to achieving this is that I have created realistic figures to pay back each month. With the help of direct debits and a large amount of will power to stop splurging on makeup, I hope to be free of debt by the Summer!

Recently I have found myself becoming increasingly interested in the concept of Mindfulness. For those that don’t know about it, it’s essentially the idea of learning to live in the present moment in order to clear your mind and calm your life. Perfect for anyone with anxiety! I am currently reading Mindfulness in Eight Weeks by Michael Chaskalson. This book is great as not only is it broken down into short, simple chapters but it also provides mp3 links to help you complete the exercises online. I want to continue to learn more and be able to integrate Mindfulness into my life fully by the end of the year.

Reflecting on 2016 led me to realise I need to broaden my horizons. So with this in mind I’m trying to find myself a new hobby. At the grand old age of 24 I’m thinking something a little more relaxing. Perhaps pottery or knitting? Essentially, I want to learn a new skill and challenge myself.

This year I am determined to spend less time on social media!! It’s beginning to feel like I spend my life refreshing news feeds and for what? One photo on Instagram is not someones reality. So many of us are guilty of seeking what others have based on a single image. I’d rather spend my time absorbing my surroundings and being present in the moment. So I’m going to considerably cut down my time on Instagram and Snapchat to begin with. One week in and I’m actually finding it a lot easier than anticipated. Facebook is next!

I didn’t want to overwhelm myself with ideas so I’m stopping here for now. In order to succeed it makes sense to me to be realistic with the number of things I want to complete. Perhaps in the Summer I’ll create a few more. What are your goals for 2017? If you are interested in Mindfulness also then please share your thoughts in the comments, I’d love to hear them!!

Sophie xoxo

Lolita II

beauty, celebrity, lipstick, look, makeup, review, trend

I warned you in my last post about my love of liquid lipsticks so here is another one for your enjoyment…

The Kat Von D makeup range has been much hyped over the last year or so and it is no wonder. One look at Kat would tell you that galdem knows how to wing that liner!! Unfortunately her makeup range isn’t readily available in the UK so it was at the top of my list when I headed over to the states last year. I picked up the coveted Lock it foundation and concealer and love both. I aimed to grab some of her liquid lipsticks but for some reason I got side tracked and ended up coming home without any. This left me feeling like I was missing out so of course I had to get online and hunt some down.

kvdLolitaIII found Lolita II on Rose’s Beauty Store. This website is a great place to look if you want American brands that aren’t stocked in England (Anastasia Beverly Hills I’m looking at you). I will just say though that the majority of popular stock tends to be sold out and I’m not sure how often it is replenished. Also my packages took a while to be delivered, arrived on different days and I was asked to change an order despite the site showing it was available. However the team were incredibly helpful and courteous when I got in touch and the matter was sorted out super quick! I originally wanted the Kat Von D liquid lipstick in Lolita but this is a well loved shade and very difficult to find in stock. I then saw Lolita II and decided to give it a go.

My thoughts? The shade is nice. A peachy/earthy tone. Nothing to scream home about. The applicator and packaging are lovely and efficient. The formula is fairly long-lasting and not particularly drying. But that’s about it. It didn’t blow me away. It’s just a nice, everyday lipstick. Do I regret buying it? Absolutely not. Has it changed my life? No.

What do you guys think? Do I need to try out any of her other shades? Perhaps there is another product in her range I need to give a go? Let me know!!

Sophie xoxo

Liquid Lipstick Love

beauty, lipstick, makeup, review, trend

Disclaimer: Prepare to see a fair amount of liquid lipstick related blog posts on sophiesnooks, they are my current addiction!

Flashback to November 2015. I was in New York and finally managed to get my hands on a couple of the notoriously brilliant Anastasia Beverly Hills liquid lipsticks. I bought Heathers and Vintage. These aren’t the typical colours I would normally reach for but stock was somewhat limited in Macy’s and I just couldn’t walk away empty handed!!

abhHeathersAs soon as I got back to the hotel that evening I applied Heathers and I have to say since then I’ve been a lot more comfortable wearing a more diverse range of colours. Heathers has a very 90s feel to it which is very ‘in’ at the moment. If you want an alternative to the Kylie Jenner mauve/brown lips this could be what you’re looking for. It is a dark reddish/brown shade.This lipstick will literally suit the lightest to darkest skin tones. Very opaque. Very beautiful. Lasts ages and looks perfect with a simple eye and clean skin. abhVintage

The second shade I picked up was Vintage. This is very much a statement lip colour. I cannot speak highly enough of the formulation of these lipsticks, they are so soft yet incredibly pigmented. Vintage is a bright purple and I like to make it the feature of the look when I wear it. One thing I will say is that it’s important to get the application right with these. On one hand you need to take time to make sure that the shape is perfected but on the other if you take too long you risk any mistakes drying and becoming a nuisance to remove! Once on however, they are long-lasting, non-drying and just really lovely statement lipsticks.

Sophie xoxo

 

My Current Favourites

bargain, beauty, celebrity, essentials, life, lifestyle, makeup, review, skin, skincare, trend

Everything is my favourite at the moment, even the word itself. So I thought I’d share some of my current loves with you all. From television to skincare here are just a few for you…

faves-SQScream Queens – I absolutely love this TV show! I’m watching along weekly in the UK so no spoilers please!! From the cast to the scripting this show is everything I love, but what else would you expect given that it was created by American Horror Story genius Ryan Murphy?! Despite the name it really isn’t particularly scary but it can venture into the gory zone on occasion. The show is set in a sorority house controlled by Queen bitch Chanel (Emma Roberts) and sees the cast being slowly picked off by the ‘Red Devil’. Jamie Lee Curtis is amazing as the slightly crazy, hard-faced Dean Cathy Munsch. Basically if you like pretty clothes, dark comedy and plenty of cliché rich white girl jokes then you need Scream Queens in your life!

faves-cliniqueClinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Oil – This stuff takes my makeup off in seconds. It’s amazing. I was using the Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm but found that it often irritated my eyes, not enough to put me off using it but enough to make me want to explore other options. So I did my research and found the Clinique one to be a suitable alternative. I have found that whilst this is a great first cleanse you really do need to go in with a second one to get that fresh, clean skin feeling. For this I have been using an Elemis one (review coming soon). The Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Oil is perfect if you’re in a rush but want to avoid face wipes. 3 pumps for a full face of makeup, a warm flannel to remove and you’re done in seconds. Love. It.

faves-coatMissGuided Padded Faux Fur Hood Jacket– When it comes to jackets, I think I have a serious issue. I just cannot get enough! I feel like I need to have a different style for every occasion (funnily enough my mum disagrees). My justification for this most recent purchase however is that I was seriously lacking in the hood department. This jacket is sooo warm and the giant hood makes it perfect for walks in the rain (a must when you have two dogs). So that’s my reasoning, and I have donated an old one to charity in exchange which is a great idea if you want to rid yourself of a little shoppers guilt. On a side note I just have to say how impressive the MissGuided delivery service is, this arrived next day despite the fact I ordered after 8pm. They also have a great returns policy and bonus points for the 20% discount!!

Adele 25 – Despite spending hours and I mean serious hours attempting to buy tickets to her tour *to no avail* I have made the mature decision to forgive Adele. This new album might actually be my favourite of all her work. Hello is of course the ballad of the year but for me the number one song on 25 is When We Were Young (the video above), I bloody love it! I like the mix of uptempo and slow songs and basically I am just one of millions of passengers riding the Adele train right now.

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge – I wrote about this in a blog post which you can read here. I won’t bang on about it, but I have just been loving using this to apply my concealer recently. I cover the sponge in setting spray, wait a couple of seconds and then lightly bounce it over the concealer until it has fully blended. This is particularly great for the under eye area and once set with powder there is definitely less creasing than when using a brush. Brilliant and affordable at just £5.99, what more do you want?!

What are your current favourites? Beauty or random I would love to know so please do share them in the comments. Or you can tweet me @sophieaiken.

Sophie xoxo

Lottie Tomlinson Inspired Blue Liner

beauty, celebrity, eyeliner, inspired, look, makeup

One of my very first posts was a Lottie Tomlinson inspired look, I bloody love her hair, makeup and style and so when she posted THIS video on Instagram I had to get hold of her blue eyeliner!

I’ve always wanted to try the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on Eye Pencils, but at £15.50 they aren’t exactly budget friendly! That being said I simply couldn’t resist treating myself to one! The beautiful shade of blue that Lottie used is called Deep End. I will just note that the pencil appears as a baby blue matte shade in the video whereas in reality it is a slightly darker iridescent colour. This doesn’t bother me particularly as it is still a beautiful pencil but I felt that it was worth mentioning if like me you choose to buy it online. The quality of the 24/7 Glide on Eye Pencil is outstanding, highly pigmented and long lasting. What more could a girl ask for?!

I wear this on my lower waterlid and keep the rest of the look pretty simple. I’m obsessed with using MAC Saddle eyeshadow as an all over eyeshadow, for a cheaper alternative you can use a matte bronzer (the Seventeen Contour Kit is amazing for this). These two products together are heavenly for green/blue/grey combination eyes! For brown eyes I would suggest trying a purple like the Maybelline Master Drama one in the shade Dark Purple which I also absolutely love!!

Basically this is just a post to say thank you Lottie Tomlinson for inspiring me to venture into the world of coloured eye pencils!! I am officially converted, when it comes to makeup bright colours really aren’t such a scary thing after all! What do you think? Is coloured liner something you would try?

Sophie xoxo

An American Request

beauty, haul, makeup, question

I’m going to New York in a couple of weeks and am making a list of all the makeup I need/want to get my hands on. I’m looking for both drugstore and high end products that are either cheaper out there or hard to find in the UK.

I’ve already got my eye on the Anastasia Beverley Hills liquid lipsticks as well as a number of items from the Kat Von Dee range but what else can you guys suggest?! I’d love to hear from you, what are your favourites from the drugstore? Let me know in the comments or tweet me @sophieaiken

Sophie xoxo