Skin, Make-Up, Scent & Hair

It’s hard to imagine the days when I would just brush my teeth, wash my face and get dressed… but that was also when I was under the impression that it was ‘bad’ to care about your appearance. There’s a difference between going out with no make-up and bushy hair when you’re comfortable with it and when you’re not. Putting a little effort into my appearance made me a happier, more confident person, so please don’t bash me!

Skin

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As skincare goes, I don’t have much of a carefully created routine with mine. I’ve not got acne, but I have persistent spots, redness and dark under-eyes, and nothing has seemed to improve things for me so far. I don’t like to spend much money on skincare, and if I’m ever experimental enough to use a face mask or rosewater, it’s usually something cheap I nabbed from T K Maxx.

  • I wash my face with Simply Pure foaming cleanser from Superdrug. They do a couple of other variations of this, but I find this satisfactory. Smells perfectly nice, and I really couldn’t live without the foam pump. Of course, everything from Superdrug is relatively cheap, and, most importantly, cruelty-free, so it’s a no-brainer. This costs about £2.99.
  • I also use the Let The Good Times Roll face & body cleanser from Lush every other day, usually in the shower. Although you can use it on your whole body, I prefer to keep it to my face. It smells absolutely DELICIOUS – fresh popcorn – but, sadly, you can’t give it a nibble like their lip scrubs. Trust me, I ate more of their candyfloss lip scrub than actually scrubbed with it. I honestly don’t personally see any visible effects on my skin with this – I just use it for the smell! It’s £7.25 for a small pot, though, so not cheap.
  • I moisturise with Simply Pure moisturiser, also from Superdrug. I’ve had a few moisturisers react quite badly with my skin, but Superdrug’s sensitive range usually keep it calm. Again, fragrance free and what’s always important is the SPF. This is £2.99.
  • I’ve pretty much given up on battling spots with creams and gels, but I ought to mention my Grease Lightening spot treatment from Lush. Spot creams and gels don’t work for me at all, no matter what the brand – not a single product has made a bit of difference. However, this stuff smells nice, so in desperate times I slap it on in case it just might work this time. It works for some people, apparently. My only issue with it is the pump is a bit awkward… and it was £6.50! If spot treatments don’t usually do the trick for you, I’d recommend you stay away.

Make-Up

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If you’ve ever seen a picture of me/met me, you’ll know I’m no make-up expert. I only started using it when I was fourteen, unless you count the blue eyeshadow and pastel lipsticks I got from My Little Pony magazines when I was little. I’ve watched about three make-up tutorials in my life, and promptly switched them off after I realise I can’t spend over £50 on just primers and powders alone.

  • I use a concealer stick in light from Superdrug to cover up my spots a bit more. I don’t recall the brand, but it’s the cheapest one I can find – £2.99 – and it makes a bit of a difference, so I stick with it. I’ve tried using more pencil-style sticks but they never work for me.
  • For foundation, I’m devoted to Fresh Nude foundation in ‘chelsea porcelain’ from the Body Shop. I used to use Barry M foundation which I also found to be off-colour until I tested my mum’s Fresh Nude bottle and fell in love. It’s light but gives good coverage and gives kind of a dewy finish that makes your face look fresh and glowy, and is actually pale enough for my skin tone! It’s £15, but lasts a good amount of time and is worth it for the quality.
  • For eyes, I use a variation of different palettes, but I tend to stick with the Venus eyeshadow palette from Limecrime. Mine’s a bit battered and the lettering’s all come off, but that’s only because it’s so well-used. Isn’t the design just beautiful? The shades are perfect for me – reds and browns and creams – but this was a earth-shattering £25! (Okay, I bought it from another seller which knocked off £8, but still very expensive!)
  • I’ve never really payed any attention to my eyebrows but I’ve buckled under the pressure and started filling mine in a little with brown eyeshadow and also a kohl brown eye pencil that I have lying around. Any would do the trick. I’ve not really got any idea with what I’m doing with them, though… my eyebrows just look a little less thin.
  • For eyelashes I simply put a bit of Sparkling Black mascara from the Body Shop on. I found this dead cheap in a sale, and it was probably on sale because the glitter isn’t visible at all. Instead, I use this because it doesn’t clog up into thick blobs like other mascaras and just gives my eyelashes a little more definition. Apparently this was £10 (not when I bought it, of course) but I believe it was only sold around last Christmas.
  • I don’t really like using lipstick but when I do, I use Burt’s Bees lip gloss. I believe Burt’s Bees is cruelty-free but not vegan because some products contain beeswax, but I don’t consider myself vegan yet. I have three nice shades that smell lovely and don’t leave any gloopy white film like so many other lip glosses do.

Scent

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I chop and change perfumes all the time, but the bulk of them come from the Body Shop. I am quite fond of buying little tester gift sets from Boots, though!

  • My main perfume is DKNY Be Tempted. This is just a gorgeous, sweet yet musky scent and my favourite DKNY perfume – I was quite disappointed by Be Delicious. It’s perfect for day and evening wear with both femininity and masculinity, and also comes in a beautiful apple-shaped bottle with a snake slithering around the lid.
  • For deodorant, I just use Sure bright boutique which smells perfectly fine and does its job. I also used to use a strawberry Body Shop deodorant, as well as a Superdrug white chocolate and fruit body spray.
  • I also occasionally use White Musk Libertine perfume, Japanese Cherry Blossom perfume and Apple Shimmer body mist from The Body Shop, as well as small Versace perfumes – my favourite being Crystal Noir which smells dark and coconutty.

 

Hair

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I’ve only very, very recently started using any kind of products on my hair, and this is really only because I’ve been trying to grow my fringe out.

  • After straightening my hair I use my trusty Toppik powder (£8.70) which I mentioned in my trich post, which is just a bottle of keratin that I shake onto the thinning areas of my scalp. It’s a bit like peppering myself. It sticks on for at least two days and barely comes away in drizzle or when rubbed against another surface, but it’s a bit of a nightmare when I’ve got an itchy head. Worth it, though.
  • If my hair is oily – and I am burdened with greasy hair – I stick on some Batiste dry shampoo (£2.00) which makes it a lot easier to deal with. It also smells nice, of coconuts!
  • I’ve very recently purchased V05 Give Me Texture tousled style spray, as I’ve been a bit miserable just having my hair lie flat and limp. It’s never really been long enough to do anything with, but a few sprays of this gives my hair more volume and a controlled bedhead look, which I love. It was roughly £4.30.
  • I also ought to mention I use hairspray – just any old firm-hold hairspray – to keep my fringe in place, which I clip up with hair slides in a middle-part like this:

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Veggie North: The Eighth Day Co-Op

 

The Eighth Day is a vegetarian café and food shop on Oxford Road in Manchester, right near Manchester Met University. I’ve always found it a lovely little place to get simple, tasty vegetarian food to eat, as well as to buy for later. The first floor is a shop, but downstairs is a cute restaurant with a cosy decor. There’s usually plenty of space to sit, and it’s always a relaxed environment.

The Café

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My go-to at the Eighth Day is simply brown rice with veg. I’m a bit of a fussy eater, but it honestly makes for a very tasty, filling hot meal. It’s usually just rice with potatoes and cabbage, although the vegetables change each season. They’re all perfectly delicious! The vegetables are quite buttery, which I liked, although I’m not sure if it’s butter or margarine; you’ll have to check. However, when ordering something with bread, you do have the option to ask for margarine. In fact, if you have any dietary requirements, whether you need something gluten or dairy-free, they’ll be happy to provide it for you.

On this particular day, I had my rice and veg whilst my dad had soup with bread, and this only cost a little over £6 – so not only is it healthy food, but it’s cheap, too. There’s always a soup available, along with selections of pies, roasts and salads – the menu changes every day – and there’s also a selection of natural soft drinks, healthy snacks and, of course, a water tap. Although the Eighth Day advertises itself as a vegetarian café, there are also always vegan options.

Being situated close to the university must be a great thing for vegetarian, vegan and simply healthy students alike.

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The Shop

The Eighth Day also has a vegetarian shop above the café where there’s a wide range of meat-free, dairy-free and gluten-free foodstuffs, as well as a range of cruelty-free cosmetics and skincare products. We personally like to get pesto, soba noodles, meat substitutes, wines and soap from the shop, but there’s so many other vegetarian foods to try! Along with the shelf food, there’s also a bakery at the counter selling freshly-baked goods. Most of the prices are affordable and it’s a real saviour when you’re struggling to find more obscure vegetarian/vegan items in places like Holland & Barrett. The staff are also very friendly and often passionate about the food they’re selling!

(Also, they place good music: today it was Mac Demarco and The Smiths!)

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I’d highly recommend this as a great veggie and healthy place to grab a snack or get some shopping done in Manchester.

The Vegetarian Stereotype

“Oh, God, don’t be one of those vegetarians.”

The vegetarian I’m being right now. God forbid, I’m talking about my diet!

My parents were vegetarians, so, naturally, they raised me on a vegetarian diet. My mum got an earful about this before she even gave birth; didn’t she know she was putting me at risk by having a meat and fish-free diet during her pregnancy? Didn’t she know the nutrients gained from meat and fish were essential for my health? My mum had a fantastic diet and exercised a lot during her pregnancy, and, voila, I popped out healthy and almost muscular. I wasn’t in the slightest weaker than other babies. And nor did I develop some kind of animal instinct for meat, since many people believe we’re supposed to be eating meat. I liked my meat-free diet. When I was old enough, my parents sat me down, explained vegetarianism, and told me I was allowed to eat meat if I so wished, but they wouldn’t cook it. Of course I didn’t want to!

Once, in nursery, a trainee staff member was handing out sandwiches at lunch. They were ham.

“I don’t eat meat,” I told her.

She laughed and told her colleague I wasn’t eating my sandwich. Her colleague told her to just give me it and I’d stop being so fussy. So the trainee put the ham sandwich on my plate, and I sat through lunch with nothing to eat. When it was time to play again, she scolded me for not eating my food. What a fussy little girl I was. Why wouldn’t I eat meat like everyone else in the room?

At primary school, it wasn’t long before other kids noticed I didn’t eat meat. I was the only vegetarian in my year group, so I ended up getting my own personal Quorn sausage roll at lunchtime. I’d refuse sweets that I knew had gelatine in them – this made me an ultra-freak.

“Why can’t you eat meat? Are you allergic?” a boy asked at lunch.

“No, I’m vegetarian.”

“Why are you eating chocolate, then?”

“It doesn’t have any meat in it.”

“Doesn’t it have milk in it?”

“I drink milk!”

(I don’t anymore.)

One lunchtime, I was eating my dinners at a table when a boy flung a piece of ham into my sandwich. I couldn’t eat it. They found it hilarious; it became their new game. They would try and slip pieces of fish into my meals or throw meat into my lunchbox and my bag and my hair. Another lunchtime, they threw slices of ham into a bin and tried to force my head inside so I’d eat it.

I almost had a discussion once – my friend was asking me about vegetarianism in ICT and I pulled up a video of animal slaughter to show them my reasons. The teacher promptly shut my computer off and said I wasn’t to click on such things again. Another time, my friend was asking what his sausages were made of. I said they were made of pigs. He didn’t understand how that could be. I said they killed the pigs and ground them up to make the sausage – then his mother swooped in and told me not to tell such horrid stories. Rather than telling their children what went into their food, parents and teachers were trying to protect them from the truth. To children, chicken burgers are and have always been in a box, never a farm.

In high school there were maybe two other vegetarians in my year group, and people were typically less judgemental. But it didn’t go away. Once, I took a brownie a classmate made for the class but after learning it had marshmallows in it I gave it back – I explained marshmallows were made from gelatine, and I was a vegetarian. Just so I didn’t hurt her feelings. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to eat it, it was that I couldn’t. And then:

“You always known when there’s a vegetarian in the room,” muttered a boy at the back.

Never once have I watched someone eat a beef burger and then start preaching like a Jehovah’s Witness. If someone wants to discuss vegetarianism with me, I’ll discuss it. Yet vegetarians are still treated like criminals. I do wonder if it’s insecurity these people who say, “Vegetarians were the villagers who couldn’t hunt” etc feel, or even guilt. Do you want my opinion? I assume so as you’re reading this – they should feel guilty. It’s reasonable to feel guilty. But I don’t go around telling people this.

Vegetarianism is something I’m passionate about, though. I still make general posts about sparing chickens and turkeys around Christmas times. I still repost vegetarian recipes and diet plans around January to inspire people to make a change. But I certainly don’t attack anyone. It wouldn’t work, anyway. Telling people eating meat is bad always receives the response, “I’m going to eat a hamburger because you said that,” or, “But bacon!”. I can appreciate this – telling anyone what to do often makes them want to do the opposite – but what I don’t appreciate is unwarranted abuse.

In my hometown, the community is quite narrow-minded. Right-wing, Leave voters, yada yada. Also, we are well known for pies, and these often contain meat. A group of vegan activists stood in the town centre with a few stalls offering information about veganism and a sign that said, “Ask about veganism today!”. That was it. They didn’t approach anyone. They didn’t say, “Go vegan now or we’ll gut you!”. They offered a discussion. Naturally, on the local newspaper comment section, the locals screamed bloody murder – vegans were coming here to radicalise us, to shove their ideas down our throats! I love my bacon and black pudding! It was absolutely ludicrous.

I can talk about vegetarianism all day. I’ll make a post soon explaining my reasons. But I’m not telling anyone what to do. If you truly believe someone expressing an opinion is trying to control you, you have a lot of insecurities to work through. A lifestyle shouldn’t be a threat. I can empathise with meat eaters. I don’t think they’re all murderers and idiots. But saying vegans and vegetarians never shut up about their diets is the norm.