These earrings get a lot of love so just in case you like them, you can get them HERE. 

These earrings get a lot of love so just in case you like them, you can get them HERE

"If you want to grow your hair, we're going to need to cut about an inch off today..."

"WHAT?! WHY?! NO. I'm trying to g-r-o-w it I don't want it to be even shorter. That's the most counterintuitive thing I've ever heard! Don't cut it, PLEASE." 


Welcome to every trip to the hairdressers, ever. This is a conversation that most of us have had a million times before. I had it once ever three months or so as a child and it was probably why I developed such a distinct mistrust in adults for the entirety of my teenage years. It just did not make sense to me. I hated hearing it and would do anything I could to avoid it, namely and most effectively, the minute I was old enough to organise my own appointments: I stopped going to the hairdressers. Why would I pay someone to cut it off when all I really wanted was to grow it.

And for a number of years this actually worked pretty well for me. By the age of 16 my hair was long and thick. Even when left 'natural', curls would fall almost to my waist and if I had split ends I hadn't noticed, I don't remember ever going to the hairdressers during that time, which only reiterated what I already thought I knew to be true: if you want long hair don't cut it. 


But then, since a bad decision about seven years ago that lead to me deciding to cut all my hair off and opting for a much lighter hair colour than the natural, darker shade that I was born with, I have to admit that it hasn't grown anything like as long as it was in the days pre-highlights. Although it does grow, it is considerably shorter than it once was and in much worse condition. Obviously the colouring doesn't help, I'm sure my hormones have something to do with it and then of course there is the worry that it simply isn't growing because I get it cut so often, simple science indicates that I'd be better off leaving it alone. Or does it?

I have always wanted to know if there was truth to the rumours: does your hair actually grow 'faster' if you get it trimmed regularly or is this just a line fed to us by hairdressers desperate to stay in business? I've done some digging and I finally know the answers.


As you suspected, cutting your hair does NOT make it grow faster, for the simple reason that your hair grows from the follicles in your scalp and it has nothing to do with what is happening at the other end of the strands... obviously. 

However. Cutting your hair makes it look fuller and thicker and healthier, which, in turn, makes it look longer. This is because of split ends, something I was always warned about but never really understood, so what are they? They really are self explanatory; it's a split at the end of the hair which can make it look frizzy and dry. If you take a strand of your hair and look at it, you may notice that at some point it splits into two parts, like a fork in the road. Realistically, you need that to be cut off.


Just as an FYI, you can get split ends from all sorts. One of the things that we are warned about the most is using heat products on your hair and it's true, straighteners, curlers, etc are a main cause. It can also be broken by 'improperly' detangling your hair (brushing it when it's wet) or yanking it out. Weather can play a big part and so can how you tie it up: if you use elastic bands to pull your hair back with, scrunching it up, then you will break it. I have noticed a definite improvement in the condition of my own hair since I started using scrunchies and using a tangle-teezer rather than a regular hairbrush. I also recently got the Dyson Hairdryer which seems to be doing good things, not least of all because it is easier to style it properly with that, meaning that I am considerably less reliant on my hair-straightners, which as we have established, are devil products. 


What can start as a millimetre long split end can keep getting longer and longer until eventually you've got split ends a foot long that make your hair look dead and broken and ultimately, short. If you get it trimmed regularly you stop the split ends from creeping too far up and that saves the next haircut needing to be numerous inches being removed rather than the millimetres that could have been removed if you'd gone sooner. The expression: 'nipping it in the bud' seems appropriate here. It will make your hair appear to grow faster because the hair will break less and thus, grow longer in a shorter amount of time. 


For a long time I thought that I wanted long hair, no matter the cost. But I realise now that actually I would rather have slightly shorter hair if it means that it can be healthier in the end... pardon the pun. As we come into winter and the air gets colder and everything (apart from the pavement) gets dryer, it's time to get serious about haircare if you want it to be any longer by next summer. My hair never looks, or feels, more unhealthy than it does by January, so this time I'm going to deal with it before it becomes a problem. I'm going to go for very regular trims.

Although there are undeniably some great products promising all sorts of great things on the market right now, and we are desperate to believe in them and spend a fortune on them (because we will do anything for an easy life), there is a cheaper and more effective alternative: drop your pride, do as you're told and cut your god-damned hair. 



Today marks the start of Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month. This month you can expect to hear all things vaginas from Pretty Normal Me as I team up with the Eve Appeal to end the taboo surrounding gynae issues.

This September the Eve Appeal's main mission is their #IAmAdam campaign which aims to get men talking about gynaecological issues, pointing out that it is very much their issue too and their responsibility to educate themselves. And it can't come soon enough, in a study conducted this year by the Eve Appeal, they found that over half of men (56%), say that they are not comfortable discussing gynaecological health issues with their partners. They found that 21% of 18 to 44 year old men confessed that they simply found it 'too embarrassing'. Almost 1 in 5 men say the they know nothing about gynaecological health issues and don't feel that they need to know 'as it is a female issue.' 


Most worrying at all though? The study found that 50% of the men asked couldn't not correctly identify the vagina on a diagram and nearly two thirds of them (61%) were not able to point out the vulva. THE VUVLA GUYS?! 

When you take into consideration the fact that 21,000 women a year, 58 women a day, are diagnosed with gynaecological cancer and that only 19% of women said they would like to talk to their partners about gynae health issues they may be experiencing, it is more important than ever that we end this taboo. 


There is such a stigma attached to vaginas. To everything gynae-related really. Over half the world has one and the fact that it is still considered so taboo makes me so angry, it actually makes me feel a bit sick.

Reading an article published in the Daily Mail yesterday, revealing these findings, I was shocked and disgusted by the comments. An ignorant bunch at the best of times, this lot of losers have seriously out done themselves. Take a look at what this group of trolls, disguised as normal, nice, family men had to say about something as serious as cancer when you throw a vagina into the mix:

"Man shaming article"

"This is not stuff men need to know..."

"Well, if women would not keep covering up their bits all the time and went about with no knickers on and exposing themselves we would have a much clearer view of what they've got down there"

"As long as you get her knickers off, you're pretty much in the right ball park"

"You don't have to know what i's called. So long as you know what to do with it is all that counts."

"Pss flaps. You missed them off."

"Gimme 10 pints and a kebab. I'll find it then."

"I don't need to name the individual part, I can find the bits I need just fine thanks"

"Easy to find when you want it ;)"

"I'm not a gynaecologist but I'd be happy to take a look if it helps"

"Just follow your nose"

"I prefer to keep a bit of mystery about that zone"

"It's the pink next to the stink - simples!"

"I habe 5 kids, I certainly know where to put my dong-dong."

"Hey ladies, lose the three stone of blubber before you point the finger."

And so it goes on... and on... and on... these were all pulled from the first page.

Sexist, ignorant comment after sexist, ignorant comment. 

It's no secret that we live in a society that is not fair to women at the best of times, but if we still cannot talk seriously about these very real and very serious issues surrounding what can actually be life and death issues, then we do not stand a chance of ending the taboo and helping ourselves and the ones that we love. 

Half of women wouldn't seek help for persisting bloating, one of the symptoms of ovarian cancer, and 15% wouldn't even go to the doctor if they found a lump or growth in their vagina. That rises to 29% among 25 to 34 year olds. For whatever reason women are not seeking the help that they need when it comes to gynaecological issues and it''s not good enough, we have got to remove this stigma and feeling that our vaginas are something that we shouldn't talk about, whether that be to our friends or our partners. Its anatomical, it's not a sex thing, it's not embarrassing, it's just not. 

The Eve Appeal is encouraging both men and women to be more aware of the symptoms and I am BEGGING... this is so important. The Chief Executive, and living legend, Athena Lamnisos said

'These survey results show shockingly low levels of awareness of the symptoms of gynaecological cancer among both men and women. For too many men, women's bodies are still a taboo subject, shrouded in mystery. 

We know from the many calls that we receive at the Eve Appeal from men, that they can play a vital role in identifying the symptoms of gynaecological cancer, prompting their partners to visit the GP. Early diagnosis really is the key and can save lives.

This is not about having better sex! It's about men helping women to look after their health. Gynae awareness and taboo busting are all of our responsibility, men and women alike."

She's right guys. Say the damn word. Know your normal. Educate the men in your lives. Look after yourselves, look after each other. TALK. 


For more information, please visit the Eve Appeal website HERE



When my nails look good, there is very little that I cannot do. At least, that's how I feel anyway. Grownups have nice nails. Women who have their shit together have nice nails. And I've always wanted to be a grownup with their shit together, so for the last year I have shelled out a small fortune on regular manicures.


Up until recently it was mostly just shellac nail varnish worn like nail varnish on my natural nails but then, just before my book came out (and I realised that there would be quite a lot of focus on my hands, at least on Instagram!) I decided I needed them to look even more fabulous than normal and that it was probably best to remove the risk of chipping, so I opted for nail extensions. My nails were really short at the time and I thought a little length would be dreamy. 

Well, I'm hooked. I didn't get crazy long ones for a few main reasons: I live on my computer and typing can be a nightmare if they are any longer than mine are now, I have a dog who requires some serious hands-on grooming and I generally just find long nails to be a massive pain in the arse. The ones that I had put on were only a tiny bit longer than my own but it made all the difference. So for the last two months I have donned some fairy fabulous talons (that people totally think are my own BTW), popping in every three weeks or so to have them filed down and filled in.


But what really are nail extensions? Is it true they are going to destroy our natural nails? And ultimately, are they really worth the hype? 


1) What are nail extensions and how do they put them on?

So when you have these extensions put on, the first thing that they do is cut your natural nail short and glue a small piece of plastic (following the shape of your natural nail) on the tip. It's much too long when first applied but it's filed down to the right length and you then have a gel or acrylic mixture applied to the rest of the nail. 

Gel nails are better for your nails but are fixed on in a UV light box which is a bit uncomfortable (by that I mean painful...) and acrylics dry after a couple of minutes on their own after they are in natural air. After the extensions are on I then get some shellac colour applied on top. It take a long time (probably an hour all told) but it's very worth it: I've not had a single chip and they look pretty natural which I love. 


2) Do they really destroy your natural nails?

Acrylics do, yes. They do not allow your natural nails to breathe underneath them and that does make them very brittle and weak so they will be in bad condition by the time they are removed. If you have very short and broken nails anyway then you might not care too much about this but if you, like me, have reasonably good natural nails, then gels are the answer. 

Gels do not cause damage to the natural nail and can be used to strengthen, protect and promote growth in the nail themselves. They're a spot more expensive but I personally don't really like the idea of killing my natural nails even if I have no intention of removing the extensions anytime soon. Gels it is for me!


3) Are they really worth the hype?

This totally depends on personal taste. There is a big part of me that feels like I'm 'cheating' and wasting my time with these, not least of all because they are now actually the same length as my natural nails underneath them BUT I have to say, not having to worry about chipping my nails and knowing that I can have it on for weeks at a time is actually pretty damn great. Previously my shellac nails would chip after a few days and that just does not happen with these so yes, they're worth my hype I think. 


There is a small part of me that feels like I'm a fraud these but there is a bigger part of me that doesn't actually care enough to stop - they look great, they make me happy and it really helps me to feel like a grownup with her shit together... What more could a girl want eh?!


As a teenager, my skincare routine was truly diabolical. My mum, bless her, did everything right, buying me whatever face wash, wipes and moisturises were being best advertised in Boots at the time, but to no avail: where my face was concerned, I was inherently lazy. (Actually, I was pretty lazy about most things....) I would remove my makeup with face wipes, something I hate myself for (read about why you must throw yours away immediately HERE) and let the remaining products sit, unused, pretty much unopened, in my wash bag.

Although I was lucky to have never suffered with acne, my skin was pretty terrible for most of my school days and I was so unhappy with it. I would have bad spots, be really oily in between my eyebrows and at the side of my nose and then have the driest skin on my chin and cheeks, but despite all of that, I was never really proactive enough to do anything about it. 

When spots appeared, as they inevitably did, i was quick to try everything: like the Thunderbirds getting ready to save the world, I would release my lotions and potions from my bag and apply them ALL. Toothpaste, sudacream, tea-tree oil, I used it all. Due to a total lack of any ongoing routine however, all of my attempts would fail. 

My 'problem' skin remained a problem for years, far beyond my days as a teenager and even the point at which I believed I would turn into the spot-free, clear skinned, glowing grown up that I thought I deserved to be. 

Mum continued to drop hints regarding skincare, but for years they fell onto deaf ears. I was NOT in a rush to start giving my skin the hydration that it was so clearly desperate for and I'm sure I was still of the belief that when I became a grownup I would have good skin because that is how it works... I continued with those pesky makeup wipes, despite the fact they often made my face sting and dutifully ignored the fact that every time I went outside during the winter, the skin on my face would feel so tight and painful.

Thankfully though, this story has a happy ending as after years of hopelessness, I finally found the answer. A couple of years ago, I met a lady called Alexandra Soveral, a Cosmetic Designer/ Aromatherapist/ Facialist (and now good friend) who insisted that I sort my skin out. For the first time I took an interest and listened to her as she explained what my skin type required and I began to sort my shit out. 

(Before I continue I want to say this post is not in anyway sponsored by Soveral, I'm just sharing my skin-story and the fact that these products worked for me!) 

I started using her Awaken Cleanser to remove my makeup with and would follow that with her 'Moody Skin' (what a great name) Moisturiser - this was the most attention that my skin had ever had and it really thanked me for it, the pain totally stopped. But there was one thing that I had been advised to use, that I had bought even, that I was still yet to try, and that was face oil.

Why, I thought to myself, would I put oil on my skin? I thought oil was the reason I was getting spots in the first place and the last thing I want is more of those...

Although Alexandra no doubt knew her stuff, I was at a time of my life where I just thought that I knew better and I neglected to use it for years. What I didn't realise of course, was that I wasn't going to be rubbing the same kind of oil that could be found at the bottom of a deep fat fryer onto my face. There's more than one kind of oil Em... 

The kind of oils that Alexandra Soveral, and other skin wizards like her are creating, are different things entirely. They are full of good things, vitamins, antioxidants and numerous other impressive ingredients that I cannot pretend to have heard of or understand. My oily skin argument became null and void the minute I realised that feeding your skin oil will actually make it LESS oily. When your skin is lacking oil for whatever reason, perhaps after you've used products that were too harsh (makeup wipes here's looking at you again), it will respond by producing more oil to compensate. 

And it's not just good for people with oily skin, face oils have a tonne of benefits: they've been proven to reduce wrinkles, they properly hydrate your skin, they shrink your pores and they actively banish spots (something I still don't really understand but definitely don't want to question).

I'm not proud of it, but my skin did used to be so dry it was not uncommon for it to come off in flakes. Mmmm. Flakes. (Queue an Austin Powers reference...). It doesn't do that anymore, ever. I no longer have clusters of blackheads on and around my nose and I also get about one tenth of the spots that I used to get and even if one does appear, it is much less red and angry than the kind that used to grace my face. 

The most obvious change though, has been in my complexion. Despite only being 23, I was beginning to develop some quite remarkable wrinkles, most notably a really deep one that appeared between my eyebrows when I frowned, which has now all but gone. I also find that when I am tired (or hungover usually), it is the bags under my eyes that give me away; not always heavy and black like we are told about, but dry, a little red and weirdly wrinkly. I can SEE that they are thirsty and when I give them something to drink, they honestly disappear.

My skin is still so thirsty. It's generally advised that you should only use a few drops but often, especially in the colder months, I find that those have been absorbed before I have had a chance to even reach my hands from my cheeks to my forehead. It's like the poor stuff trying is trying to make up for years of severe dehydration. I got skincare so wrong, for such a long time, and my face really did pay for my laziness.

It seems mad that something so damn useful was not a part of my life for so long and I'm so angry with myself for coming to the party so late. There I was spending a fortune on makeup (that I was then sleeping in and not removing properly) and totally forgetting to look after the canvas on which I was painting.

If you are experiencing problems with your skin than I would really recommend finding a face oil and using it often. I obviously love Alexandra's oils but am aware they are quite expensive. Personally, I do feel that they are worth it, I only get one face and one set (is that what you call it?!) of skin after all, so if you would like to give one of them a go you can have a look here. Otherwise there are so many alternatives out there and I would suggest you did some research of your own, sorry not to be more help in that department! 

I now spend a couple of minutes twice a day massaging oil into my skin and it is glorious. Plus, it doubles as a great primer for my makeup. And it makes me glow. 

I love oil. And you should too. 


It's that time of year again. As Love Island 2017 draws to a close, the unsuspecting, Instagram using, British public finds themselves having to wade through a relentless stream of photos of beautiful men and women (often looking ever so slightly more 'perfect' than they had in the villa not two days before) holding bags of detox tea, calming that THIS is the secret to a 24" waist, a teeth whitening kit; the secret to their blinding smile, a hair mask; the reason that their long glossy hair touches their waist. 

They basically treat us like total fucking idiots. And they do it so shamelessly. But wouldn't you if you were offered £5k for lying through your teeth? Well, I suppose that sort of depends on who you ask. 

In the olden days, you know, like two years ago, contestants went into the villa with the sole aim of winning and bagging the £50k prize money, but these days it might actually serve you better to do a Jess. Get yourself as much airtime as possible, get yourself kicked out early doors, start a rumour and then dance in the flames, exploiting the hashtag for all it's worth, bag as many exclusives as possible and rake in tens of thousands of pounds in sponsorship deals. By now both her and Dom have no doubts surpassed the amount of money that they would have done if they'd seen it through to the end. They know what they're doing, they've learned how to play the game, Jess is already at 1 million Instagram followers and is abusing the #spon tag three times daily. 

And it's about to get worse as the people we've all been obsessing over for weeks, watching their every movement, will be let out into the big wide world and, since they are starting to feel like a very big part of our day to day lives, we'll be gagging for our fixes within a day of their release. We will swarm to their social media pages and I can already here the sound of brands rubbing their hands together, ready to offer thousands of pounds to some very fame hungry people, desperate to milk their moment in the spotlight, completely ready to disregard all integrity and the emotions of those who are about to be blatantly lied to. 

But this concept isn't new, influencer marketing predates shows such as Love Island. Bloggers and vloggers rely on these partnerships to make an income and have been doing for years, the likes of Zoella have made an absolute fortune from it. The idea of paying influencers to influence people into buying your products is the future.

Recently the powers that be at planet social media have changed the rules surrounding these partnerships meaning that, when a transaction of money is made, it must be declared with a tag: #ad #spon. This is of course a good and important thing, for years paid partnerships were going unnoticed and undeclared meaning that thousands and thousands of people were effectively being conned into buying something that the person who recommended it didn't even necessarily like, As a consumer and a fan, a person has the right to know that their favourite influencers are being honest with them. Transparency is the key here.

But what I do wonder, particularly where weightless is concerned, if this isn't actually a rather dangerous method of advertising, even with the tag. Our desperation to be thin must never, ever be underestimated. A fact that I think the companies responsible for paying these people are all too aware of. If you're that desperate to look like one of your heroes, is a tiny little hashtag really going to stop you from trying one last ditch attempt to look like them? 

'Why would they lie? Surely, to advertise it they must have used it at least once. What if it works for me? Surely it must be worth a try?' All these questions, these reassurances, these things that we tell ourselves. When the answer to our weightless dreams looks so easy and a person that you admire is offering it to you, you might as well try it, right?

Using detox tea as an example. I'd actually be inclined to make the following observation: this is the sort of brand who probably does not have a large pool of loyal, returning customers but rather a whole heap of women who decide to 'give it a go'. I've never tried the product myself but a friend, who did fall victim to the Insta-trap said that the tea itself might have actually worked, but only because it made her shit her brains out. Most of these products are just laxatives. It doesn't take a genius to work out that if you cant keep anything in your stomach for more than five minutes, you are pretty much guaranteed weight loss... in possibly the least healthy way possible. Word on the street is people have actually got pregnant after taking it, as their stomach is SO upset they shit the pill out before it's got time to work.... jussayin. 

But in a world where *anyone* can be famous, at least on Instagram, this shit is inevitable. So Zoella with her 11 million Instagram followers says no to posting a photo with it, but that's no problem, because there are thousands of reality stars with 50k followers a pop who are more than ready to pick up the slack. It's easy money after all and is the very reason that so many people are opting to thrust themselves into the limelight. Two birds, one stone: Insta-Fame and easy money. 

People are quick to blame the rise in the #ad problem on bloggers, but I'm not sure that's right at all. Although it's hardly a secret that bloggers work with brands, relying mostly on this income to keep them afloat, I think it would be fair to say that *most* bloggers do have a degree of integrity behind what they post, this is their job remember, not just a byproduct of it. 

Paying someone to rep your brand is fair enough and so really is accepting the fee; girls' gotta eat. But I think it's very important that both the brand and the influencer start taking some responsibility for what they are sharing. 

Putting an Instagram model in one of your bikinis makes sense, paying them to wear your watch, same deal. But paying them to lie about their weightless methods in order to encourage hordes of insecure women and girls desperate to lose weight to buy a potentially dangerous product? That's got to stop.



When it comes to your makeup bag, how good are your morals?

This week I found out that NARS are about to starting stocking their products in China, which means that, in accordance with Chinese regulation, they will need to start testing their products on animals, something that I am vehemently opposed to. 

They are not the first brand to do this, it's no secret that brands such as L'Oreal and Estee Lauder have been doing it for donkeys years. Although these brands claim to be against animal testing full stop, in order to be stocked in China, they are required to submit to compulsory animal testing in government labs before regulators approve products to be sold. We are then invited to read between the lines when the statements on various websites read that the company "does not test on animals and we would never ask others to do son our our behalf. If a regulatory body demands it for its safety or regulatory assessment, an exception can be made."

The first time my morals were called into question regarding my makeup bag was when I found out that MAC, despite them claiming to be "working toward a cruelty free world" on their website, is a brand that stocks in China and therefore has their products tested on animals by the regulatory body. Despite loving the brand (and not just since my first grownup makeup came from there), I have tried to studiously ignore makeup reviews featuring their beautiful products and even passed up on buying and trying Fleur De Force's collaboration lipstick that I wanted so badly, putting my morals ahead of my makeup bag for the first time. 

Since then I have kept one eye on the labels, to check that I wasn't accidentally endorsing a company that was putting an animal through hell and the other eye, I'm ashamed to say, on reviews and palettes, creams, colours that I want to badly.  

The brands that I use ARE cruelty free, in that they don't test on animals at all, but the confusion arises when you consider the fact that many of these brands are owned by companies that do. Take Urban Decay for example, and The Body Shop who are owned by L'Oreal, Too Faced are owned by Estee Lauder and then of course NARS, previously cruelty free but owned by parent organisation Shiseido, who are not.

To explain: the parent brands, whist perhaps not directly testing on animals themselves, are stocked somewhere that requires them to do so. Can we hold our favourite brands to account because of what their parents do and boycott them? I don't think so, not least of all because I would hate to be held accountable for everything that my parents had ever done, as it is of course totally out of my control.

But it gets more complicated still with the announcement this week from NARS. This is where my morals are put to the test, because I ADORE this brand. Their foundation and concealer are two of my every day obsessions and I've always loved and owned their bronzer and blush. But do I love them enough to turn a blind eye to the fact that they are now knowingly having their products tested on animals? No, in short, I don't. 

But it's an interesting question nonetheless. 

The good news is that the use of animals to test cosmetic products or their ingredients is banned in the UK and all EU countries as of March 2013. Unfortunately, there is no ban on it in the US, so companies can if they want to and then of course in China it is a legal requirement. 

Suffice to say, research needs to be done and depending on how strongly you feel about the matter, a judgement call needs to be made. Personally for me, the fact that NARS have sold out, after years of priding themselves on being 'cruelty free' is enough to make me say goodbye to the brand following this decision. I'll finish with the products that I already own, and bought from a company who was against animal testing, and then begin the hunt for a CF brand that is yet to sell out.

But is that as far as it goes?

My morals have been called into question AGAIN this week, following an explosive scandal surrounding Jeffree Star, the creator of a highlight that I adore and liquid lipsticks that my sister wears every single day. The products are totally vegan and cruelty free, but what do you do, when you find that the face of the brand is actually a bully and a racist? The drama is actually too much and too complicated to explain, but to put it shortly: he has attracted more than his fair share of bad press. Past videos of him have emerged being racist and sexist, he is famed for his temper and recently described another YouTuber as a 'rat' on Twitter. He has this week posted a video on his channel titled 'racism' and in it he apologises for the comments he has made in the past.

And whilst this might be enough for some people, for me, I'm afraid it was too little too late, and much like with NARS I will finish with the products that I have and will not be buying from him again.

I think the thing for me, the bottom line, is as follows: there is not, to my mind, any product good enough to get me turning against what I believe in. A good foundation is, at the end of the day, a sacrifice that I am more than happy to make if it means I am not supporting a brand, or an individual, who I do not believe to be good. 

Whilst I understand that brands such as NARS find it nearly impossible to turn away the billion dollars market that China opens up the them, I personally cannot support a brand that has put money before ethics and have gone back on the promise that made them so popular in the first place.

Ultimately the fault here lies with China and their government for requiring this, but until it can be accepted world wide that no animal should be subjected to testing, I believe that it is the responsibility of a brand to do the right thing. As for Jeffree Star? I simply cannot support a racist, apology or no apology.

I'd be interested to hear your views on this if you have any...


For as long as I can remember, I have been frightened of yoga. The thing itself scares me. Despite the fact that everybody in the whole world seems to do it (and shows us this every day through the medium of Instagram), it's something that I was absolutely sure that I could never do. Even though the aforementioned Insta-Yogis made incredibly difficult manoeuvres look like the easiest thing in the world, their amazing bodies, dedication to the sport and my few drunken attempts at the exercises myself, put me right off. 

I love the idea of it. I would love to be a yogi, I would love to be strong enough to do the crow and be able to show off to my mates about the fact that I just 'don't feel myself until I've done my yoga watching the sunrise'. But the realities of it, scared me half to death. Not least of all because I have never met a person who was bad at yoga. Everyone I know that does it now has been doing it for ages and loves it, my boyfriend included (although when we talk about that we have to call it broga...). I think I thought that everyone who does yoga has been doing it their entire lives. I've never seen a 'beginners class' advertised anywhere or spoken to someone about their first time doing it. I didn't want to be the worst, I didn't want to be crap at it, I didn't want to stick out from the crowd or be laughed at, I didn't want to embarrass myself.

But I did want to do it. And if I was going to make that work then I was going to have to get over the rest of it. So yesterday morning, that's exactly what I did. I booked myself into a class, I woke up at 6am. (6AM?!?!?!) got dressed, had a cup of coffee and then looked at myself in the mirror. SHIT, was the exact thought that I had. I'm going to yoga for the first time to a 6.30am class that will no doubt be full of countless beautiful regulars and I look a mess. An actual mess by the way, it's not just me being self-depricating: the immense heat in London has meant that every morning I wake up with a bird's nest on top of my head where my hair used to be, I have sleep in my eyes and a sever case of pillow face. I was NOT going to go to yoga for the first time looking like this, today was going to be hard enough, I wanted to at least feel confident enough to try this properly. 

So I did something I thought I would never do, I put makeup on just for my gym trip. I thought I'd feel shallow and pathetic but was surprised to find that I actually felt empowered and quite impressive. So THIS is what it's like to be a yogi eh?? I didn't go mad with it, I went for what I think we'd call a 'no makeup, makeup look' using the Nude by Nature collection (which was made with exactly this in mind btw), I put a bit of foundation on (it's very light and dewy so I didn't feel like a cake), did my best with the bags under my eyes using a concealer, contoured ever so slightly, to give the illusion of a cheekbone, applied a spot of highlight to make me look healthy and yoga-ey and then powdered the shit out of my forehead because it was already 22 degrees and I foresaw sweat.

It can't have taken more than three minutes but the difference was massive. Rather than avoiding mirrors on the way to the gym (something that I normally do) I was happy to give myself the appreciative head-bob as I caught my own reflection. Walking in I didn't feel like the biggest fraud of them all and totally out of place (even if I did have to put my hand up at the beginning of the class and admit to my novice-status), of course no one in there was looking at me, they probably wouldn't have given two flying fucks if I'd come in in my pyjamas but for my own anxious, over-thinking mind, this made all the difference, I. felt. good. Which is something I will rarely say about ANYTHING at 6.30 in the morning. 

The class itself? You know what? I fucking loved it. There was a LOT that I could not do. When the instructor told us that we could 'jump' between positions rather than stepping I ignored her, when she instructed us to attempt the crow I adopted child's pose (basically lying down with your arse in the air) and when something got too difficult or too confusing I simply stopped doing it. No one noticed me, no one even looked at me, I was left totally to my own devices. 

I am going to go back. it's going to become my Tuesday morning thing. I think it's going to be great. I have even set myself the challenge of mastering the crow by September so now I know I can't bail. I can't believe I'm saying it but I think I might become a yoga-er. (I'm not going to say 'yogi', as much as I would like to be one of these I don't think that will ever really be me.)

And I'm also going to keep wearing makeup, I'm going to start wearing it to all of the classes that I've been scared to get back into. I know that it was all in my head but psychologically I felt so much stronger, better and more confident because I knew that I looked good. I'm sure this won't last forever, I'm sure that within a couple of weeks I'll feel secure enough to walk in to the gym with my #justwokeuplikethis face on but for now, I'm painting. 

Confidence is 90% of everything. And if makeup helps you to feel a little more confident than you gotta do it. I wrote yesterday about my relationship with makeup and how, despite the fact I keep being shamed for wearing the stuff, it's my face and it helps get me through the day, this totally applies here. And so just in case you're on the hunt for some products that are natural as hell, subtle and actually very good for working out in, check out Nude by Nature a totally cruelty free brand that make beautiful products that I love: p.e.r.f.e.c.t for summer! 


What is it about makeup that makes us all so weird?

Almost daily, I am shamed for my makeup choices. Normally it happens on Instagram. When I don't wear makeup for a selfie (and then have the brag about my 'bravery') I lose followers by the dozen and then, when I do, even stranger things happen: I find people, women, relentlessly commenting on every 'made up' photo asking the same thing: "why so much makeup???". I am told that I am prettier without it. That they wished I didn't wear so much. That I shouldn't be wearing it in the first place. I can't do right for doing right it seems. I don't wear it, people jump ship and abandon me forever. I do and then someone shames me for making that choice. What's a girl to do? (Other than simply say 'fuck it, it's my face, leave me alone' I mean...)

Let me tell you about my relationship with makeup. Sometimes I don't touch the stuff at all. Sometimes I feel like I look great without it on and decide to embrace my "natural beauty". Sometimes I don't wear it and for every second of that day I hate my face so much. Sometimes I put it on and instantly regret it, feeling that I've either ruined a perfectly good canvas or that I have, in some way, not remained true to myself. Sometimes I wear it simply because I want to. Sometimes I put it on because I am bored and it's fun and therapeutic. Sometimes I don't feel myself without it on. Sometimes I feel like I should wear it to impress someone or because I feel that it is expected. Sometimes I put it on and get angry that it hasn't made me 'perfect' and end up resenting my face. Sometimes it makes me feel totally beautiful. And then sometimes I just need it. End of. It is complicated, to say the least. I don't understand it at all, but there is one thing that I know for sure: it is incredibly personal. 

The makeup that I do, or do not, put on my face is there, or not there, for a very good reason. I don't always know what that reason is but I do know that it is not, I repeat not, a conversation for anyone to have, but me. Commenting on someone's weight/shape/height/colour is, by most, considered inappropriate. Although it still happens (GRRR), normal people know that that is not an acceptable thing to do and our opinions are often not welcome. And yet, for some reason, where our makeup choices are concerned, people feel that their opinions are CRITICALLY IMPORTANT. Not only appropriate but totally necessary. They comment as they please. 

But my choice to wear makeup is so much more than just fancying it on any given day. I've chosen to wear it, or not to, for a reason, whether or not I really know what that reason really is. I am creating a face to present to the world, it is a reflection of me in that moment, it's often the thing that gets me through. If makeup is, like my boyfriend says, warpaint, then it is vital to my success in battle that day. Battles that change daily, but that happen daily. Battles that represent me, that are part of me and my life. Battles that are complicated and personal and important. Battles that you can't see, that you don't understand, that you're not a part of. And with that in mind, I'll ask, do you really think it is appropriate to tell me not to wear my makeup?

To tell me that I'm prettier without it? To imply that I'm somehow shallow and weaker because of the choice that I have made?

I think people often make the mistake of thinking that by telling a person that they look better without makeup on they are giving them a compliment. They are, after all, telling this person that they are a natural beauty and that they shouldn't feel that they have to change. but of course what they are actually doing, albeit by accident (hopefully) is telling them that right now, in this moment, they don't look so good. How's that for a confidence booster eh? The other thing that they are doing, btw, is critiquing this person's art work. 'Cos let's be honest here: makeup is art. 

You may well think that a person looks better without makeup on you may hate the choices that they make, you may be SO angry with them, though God knows why you care so much. But you may not comment. Especially when it is clear to see that someone has obviously put the time into it. 

I am lucky, I don't really give a shit. Makeup/no makeup, I know that it's my face. But despite that, it's still annoying me.

If someone puts a 'no makeup selfie' online, by all means, tell them how gorgeous they are. But please do not assume that this is a 'before' photo. Please do not compare them to their made-up self of the day before. In the same way that it is inappropriate to ask another person: "but... why so fat?" "but... why so tall?" or "but... why such an unflattering dress?" asking "but... why so much makeup?" is not an entirely appropriate question. It's a personal question.

Although, if you must know actually, WHY I've worn so much makeup....

I did it because I wanted to. 

NB. Just as I finished typing this a woman commented on a new Instagram photo telling me that she thinks I do too much with my hair. Eyes peeled for a piece on why that's not very nice either...


Don't let these amazing photos fool you, I am not a classic beauty blogger. In fact, I'm not a beauty blogger at all. I like makeup, I wear it, I enjoy experimenting, but I am yet to write about it, for a few major reasons: I'd normally rather spend my money on food or tequila than my fortieth makeup palette, I'm not THAT good at it yet, I'm getting better, don't get me wrong, but I'm no Manny MUA and I do not wear it enough to convince anyone, anywhere, that makeup is in anyway my thing. Despite this however, I love the stuff and when my brand new Urban Decay Heat palette arrived today, I had to write about it. Write about it for all the women who, like me, love makeup, who hop on any bandwagon the beauty bloggers send our way but then, when it arrives, aren't entirely sure what all the hype was about.

So despite my non-expert status in the beauty world, when news spread that Urban Decay were releasing a new palette last week, I knew I had to have it. I have been eyeing up my sister's Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette for months and when I saw the colours in this one, I had to try it (I cannot resist a dark purple). So during Urban Decay's flash sale of the palette last week I joined the queue with thousands of other bloggers clambering to give away £40 of their hard earned cash. 

Today was supposed to be one of my no makeup days (no meetings, no makeup) but when it arrived I knew I had to have a little play. Like I say, like you can see, I'm NOT a beauty blogger, but a couple of minutes playing was just what I needed and I've gone from zero to sixty in the makeup department without even passing go. (But I feel fabulous so give a shit right?!)

Anyway, this palette is great. I already have all three full size Naked Palettes upstairs along with a couple of the mini basics ones and I've always loved them. They're easy to use, the quality is obviously amazing and the colours are perfect. This is no exception and I know that anyone who sees me at a party in the coming months, can guarantee that this is the palette that I have used. (Told you I wasn't a beauty blogger, when I find something I like, I'm loathed to try anything new...).

The only thing I would say is that, if you're not an expert, like I am not, it's not entirely safe. The shades are all incredibly pigmented, this is obviously normally a really great thing, it can just be a little thick and creamy and 'heavy' if you're practising for the first time before darting out for a nice dinner! Despite my ineptness though this isn't really a problem as such and it just took a little extra blending, for most people the pigment is probably an absolute bonus! 

The shades however, are p.e.r.f.e.c.t:

(I did those like two hours ago and, despite the heat and my sweating, they haven't rubbed off so that bodes well eh?!)

All in all, if you are, like me, a lover of makeup but not a pro, I would recommend this. I don't feel like you can go too far wrong with Urban Decay and if we're honest, thousands of beauty bloggers can't be wrong can they??? The colours are gorgeous, the quality is amazing AND you can't help but feel like one of the cool kids when you can #UrbanDecayHeatPalette on Insta right?? Oh. Just me then. 

The palette is currently out of stock but you can sign up HERE to be notified when it comes back in. Not that you have to take my word for it, since I'M OBVIOUSLY NOT A BEAUTY BLOGGER, but I'd recommend it - I love it. 


Was it just me that was SUPER weird about fake tan as a teenager? 

"What, me? No. NO I haven't fake tanned. This is just the colour that I am. I'm really lucky I have such olive skin. Ahaha why would I fake tan? That's so, like, tragic." 

Christ knows why, since all I wanted to be was tanned, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it; the fear of being judged for wanting to look good was colossal, not helped by the fact that the potential to fuck up was massive when you had no money for anything that cost more than £1.99 and no clue how to apply the damn stuff anyway. 

For years I thought to myself that fake tanning was something that I just couldn't do. I didn't want to be fake, to be seen to give a shit, to be laughed at, to stain my bed sheets, to get it wrong. I liked the idea of being a natural beauty (even though I didn't think I was beautiful anyway so that was all a bit daft) and associated fake tan with the women in The Only Way Is Essex, a show that I watched in secret. Trying to fit in and be cool was exhausting. With hindsight the fact that I was smearing a pencil over my eyelids every morning, gloss over my lips and god knows how much bronzer on my cheeks every day but was still too embarrassed to rub a little lotion on the rest of my body has got to be the stupidest damned thing. 

I attached a stigma to fake tan which meant I was either pasty as hell and too embarrassed to get my legs out OR risking third degree sunburn during the summer months and my holidays in the hope that I could absorb enough colour to be seen as beautiful. I longed to wear the stuff, to top it up, to keep the summer going on forever but I worried what people would think about me and, since I would never have admitted to wearing it even if I did, I worried about having to lie to my friends. I worried more that I would lie but then they would find me out and then expose me as a fake when they saw my orange ankles/elbows/hands. 

But this year, I realised something: my tan, or lack thereof is so bloody irrelevant. I went to the pub with a friend the other day who had amazing colour. I told her that she looked so healthy, she said thanks. That was it. Was it real? Had she faked it? Did it matter...? Since I still don't know the answer to the first two, I'd say the third one answers itself. 

So when I was sent a bottle of St Moriz Fake Tan to try, I jumped right in. I was going to a party on Saturday night and I wanted to get my legs out. There was no time to get brown naturally, not least of all because it was raining, so I did what I thought I would never do: I faked it. 

I expected to go orange. I expected to be laughed at. I expected judgement and mockery. I really need to get a grip and stop worse-case-scenario-ing everything. Here's what actually happened:

I got some fake tan. I put it on the mitt. I used the mitt to rub it in. I went brown. Three hours later I had a shower. I got ready for the party. Everyone told me how nice I looked. I went to bed. It didn't stain the sheets. I got on with my hangover, a little bit browner than I had been 24 hours earlier. Maybe I got lucky, maybe St Moriz is just a really good brand. Or maybe, maybe, I have spent the last twenty years making mountains out of mole hills. I think it might be a combination of the two things.

I'm not the best person to give you a fake-tan review, as I quite clearly don't use the stuff much BUT what I can say is that this shit was great. It didn't streak, it didn't smell, it dried in about two minutes and it looks really natural. We're about three days into it and it still looks great, it has totally converted me. I plan on doing it at least once a week for the rest of my life. Or the rest of the summer at least.

I don't know why I was so ashamed of fake tan before, why I was so utterly panicked by it. I suppose it probably has a lot to do with the fact that most of my teen years were spent trying so damn hard to not give a shit, or to not be seen as giving one anyway. But I realise now that there is absolutely no shame in giving a shit. Applying fake tan does not all of a sudden make you shallow and self obsessed, it just makes you a bit browner. And if you're anything like me, a bit more confident. 

Fake it 'till you make it. That's what they say. I have done that, fairy successfully with every other area of my life for the last ten years and I am now going to apply it to this too. So until I can afford to literally spend my life flying between St Tropez and Barbados and getting so brown that I resemble an old handbag, that's exactly what I'm going to do.


Don't ask me why, but three days ago I did a triathlon. Some of you who have been here for a while may remember that I did one this time last year too. No, I'm not insane... totally. Last year I trained for my triathlon. I did an open water swim before hand and visited my local pool at least four times in preparation. I did it with my friend Ross and we had a great time that we remember fondly with the most epic photo of us crossing the finish line together that we each have a copy of framed in our houses.

On the back of last year's excitement, when registration opened earlier this year to do it again we decided to do it, this time signing up a new recruit in the shape of Ross' girlfriend Sophie, who wanted to get in on some of the fun. (We omitted to tell her that the lake smelt like goose shit and everyone weed into their wetsuits to warm up when they got into the water).

But as the weeks and then months past, I didn't go swimming. I find it to be a big faff and I had put this triathlon in a box of things that were happening 'ages away' (you know the box, it's full of things like the date your car needs a service, Christmas and weddings of relatives that you don't really want to go to). A few weeks ago I did my first half marathon, which although I'm so incredibly proud of, kind of fucked me up. I've had a pain in my hip and a really bad knee since then and so, truthfully, I had quietly gone about hatching a well laid out plan to pull out of the tri. First I told my mum that it hurt too much to run (which was true), then I told my boyfriend that I would see how I went and then I subtly dropped the fact that I was toying with the idea of quitting to my friend Soph, who I had planned to do it with. By the Friday I was not going to do it. I had pulled out. I didn't have anything to prove, I told myself. I'm fit enough. I did it last year. I ran a half marathon last month. I can always try again next time. Sophie won't mind, she can do it with Ross. No one will miss me. No one will judge me. That's what I said, over and over again. To myself, and to anyone else that asked. I DON'T HAVE ANYTHING TO PROVE.

But then on Saturday morning, the morning of the tri, I woke up and just knew that I would be doing a triathlon that day. My excuses and justifications were falling on my own deaf ears and I knew I had to do it. For two main reasons. One, I'd kick myself for ages if I pulled out. I'd hate watching everyone doing it, I'd feel like a total loser and would be so angry with myself for not at least giving it a go. (That's FOMO for you). Two, I'd made a promise to Sophie that we would do it together, she would pull me through the swim if I would pull her through the run. I couldn't bring myself to let her down on the day and so, true to my word, I pulled my tri suit on. (Which, if I'm honest, due to it's tightness, showed in excruciating detail. how much more unfit I was this year compared with last...).

Anyway, I ate my breakfast, packed up a bag and, with as little preparation as is probably possible, we headed to the event. After a quick nervous wee, a couple of nervous cigarettes and a huge battle with my wetsuit which hadn't been out of the cupboard since last year, we made our way down to the lake. It was here that it hit me for the first time that I was about to go swimming for the first time since this day last year, and I panicked. Whereas last year Ross and I had entered the water with excitement, this year I freaked, I was nervous and scared. Getting in the water it was freezing and I felt my chest getting tighter and tighter. Thankfully Ross and Sophie stayed nearby and my friend Sally, a superstar athlete who does this kind of stuff all the time talked me round. As the whistle went I started swimming, slowly, very very slowly. I was too afraid to put my head under the water and was all to aware that the more I swam the harder it seemed, it was taking a crazy long time to do and no matter how hard I worked, the finish line just didn't seem to be getting any closer. (Not helped by the fact that my goggles were so steamed up I couldn't see my arms, let alone something 750m away). Ross, Sophie and Sally all stayed nearby though and with their constant encouragements I somehow made it out of the water. 

Ross and Sophie ran ahead and Sally and I made our way up the bank to the first transition area. Exhausted, I got myself totally stuck in my wetsuit (might have been funny last year but this year it just got me stressed) and couldn't think of anything worse than a 20k bike ride. Nevertheless I was raised to adhere to the 'I've started so I'll finish' rule of thumb so I persevered. Ross and Sophie had gone by this point but thankfully Sally stayed with me (and I do mean thankfully otherwise I would 100% still be sitting in that transition now trying to remember how to do up my bike helmet!) and we did the cycle. Not entirely in keeping with the competitive nature of the event we kept things light and chatted the whole way round, stopping occasionally to let me drink some water (because no, I still can't confidently take my hands of the handlebars) and even got told off for 'drafting' at one point - funny when you realise *quite* how little that would have helped our pitiful time away. 

And then, thankfully, we were onto the run. This is something that, despite my left leg totally hating me at the moment, I don't mind doing at all and, following Sally, who has done about 100 marathons in her life (and even had the Guiness Book of World Records for doing the fastest marathon dressed as a piece of fruit), I ran the 6k. I finished in 2 hours 7 minutes, slower than last year but at least it was done. I found the rest of my team, Ross and Sophie who had come in a couple of minutes before me, Alex had actually won his category (oh to be superhuman eh?), my mum who had beaten last year's time and the other fab people who we had done it with. 

And although it was hard, really really really hard, I am so pleased that I did it. It wasn't the same as last year, it wasn't as fun and it wasn't as easy and I hadn't done anything like any training for it but despite that, I'm so happy that I did it. As it turns out Sophie didn't need me at all, but for my own brain and confidence, doing it for myself was very important. Yes it would have been easier if I had trained, yes it would have been more fun if I was fit enough to keep up with my friends, no it won't go down in my book of all time favourite days but at least I did it. I have something to be SO proud of, I proved to myself once again that I am capable of so much more than I thought. 

If there is anything that I have learned over the last few years of saying yes to ridiculously difficult sporting challenges, it is this: life is very easy in your comfort zone. Spending your Saturday morning like a normal person, nursing a hangover and drinking coffee is great and important and lovely and sometimes it is enough. But it's easy. Sometimes too easy. Spending your Saturday morning up to your eyeballs in geese shit isn't easy, it isn't fun and when you compare it to the aforementioned coffee morning, it's not nearly as tempting, but it's so much more satisfying, so much more interesting, so much more fulfilling. I'm not a natural athlete, I don't love training that much, I don't love doing things that makes my body hurt, but I do love the feeling that comes with it. The sense of achievement, the endorphins, they're things that you simply can't find anywhere else. Pushing yourself to breaking point doesn't sound like much fun, I grant you, but it's what keeps you alive, keeps you fresh and proud.

For me, these events have nothing to with my fitness and everything to do with the challenge. Em of five years ago would have done anything for an easy life and would have purposefully avoided challenges at every opportunity, but this Em, me now, lives for them. Having pride in yourself is an amazing thing and to have earned it? Well that's just unreal. 


One in five people suffer from IBS. I am one of them. As too, are many of my friends. In fact, of my seven closest girl friends, four of us have something wrong with our stomachs in some capacity. We have, what you could call, irritating bowels. My bowel is incredibly irritating, I have IBS, or FIBs as my mum labelled it last year (fucking irritating bowels). A few years ago I stopped being able to eat gluten and dairy due to a bad reaction which was eventually diagnosed as IBS by a doctor last year after the pain got so severe that I was bent over in pain with a constantly upset stomach. 

Where my FIBs are concerned, I don't have an awful lot of shame - it's totally natural and something that I can't control at all, I have never kept it a secret and I am rarely embarrassed about it. The fact that I have to be relatively near a loo when I have a hangover or that sometimes I'll react to something so badly that my stomach swells up the size of a beachball is not something that I try to hide, why would I? I can't help it. Apparently it's not lady like to talk about poo. Well it's not very nice to shit your guts out for hours on end either and that's still happening, so here I am. 

So what is IBS? Well to be honest, it's a bit of an umbrella term for lots of stomach issues. It is something that is acknowledged by the medical profession but not totally understood as the cause is still widely unknown. What brought mine on? No one has any idea. It looks like it may have had something to do with a lack of good bacteria in my gut but really your guess is as good as mine. IBS is an illness that has no specific cause, no distinctive pathology and no single effective treatment. The symptoms vary massively from person to person and even in the same person different times. 

Women are more likely than men to get it (3:2) and it normally occurs in your late teens or early twenties and is something that can affect you for the rest of your life. It is often managed by a change in diet (at least that helps in my case) and can be made worse not just by certain foods but by stress or tiredness. (I can almost feel my stomach growing as I do something stressful, which is of course a huge stress in itself, it's a total catch 22...). There are a wide spectrum of symptoms including tiredness, nausea, heartburn and indigestion, backache, a need to pass urine frequently, headaches, muscle pain, anxiety, depression as well as of course, a swollen and upset tummy or constipation. Basically, it includes a bit of everything.

Which makes it hard to diagnose and is probably the reason that a lot of people avoid going to the doctors. If you're a little bit tired, have a headache, a sore neck and an upset tummy that are coming at different times and not totally frequently, you're not going to rush the doctors, probably out of fear that you will be labelled a time waster. I know that was the case for me. Although I'd had an upset tummy for ages I didn't really think to do anything about it and mostly hoped that if I waited for long enough that it would go away on it's own. I also sort of thought that it was normal. 

Looking back I kick myself, for living like that for much longer than I should have done and now I spend a lot of time encouraging anyone with an upset stomach or any cause for concern to go and talk to a doctor or at least try to determine what is causing these 'flare ups' in the first place, often the answer is staring us in the face, but we are loathed to admit that we know for fear that we will never get to eat a pizza again. 

So lots of us have it. But not that many people talk about it. And that's what annoys me. I have a friend with IBS who once told me about it as her biggest secret ever, as if I wouldn't be friends with her once I found out. I have another friend who never speaks to their boyfriend about it all. I hear a lot about their conditions, I think to a lot of people I am now the poo-guru, but for these girls to announce it at a dinner table? Not a chance. For so many people it's something to be embarrassed about, not talked about, ashamed of.

And that drives me up the flipping wall. It's a medical condition, one that causes a lot of pain and frustration and annoyance and yet a lot of us suffer in silence. Blokes the world over have talked about, shared photos of and had pride in their shits, in front of us, for years and yet as women we feel that our faeces is something to be embarrassed about.

I remember when I was about 11, someone told me that the even the queen poos. I honestly could not believe it. The idea of our great leader so vulnerable and stinky was just beyond my comprehension. But it did help me to realise quite how natural pooing was. Do you know why a dog makes eye contact with you whilst they are having a poo, normally looking sheepish as hell? It's because they are looking to you for protect them whilst they are vulnerable. Two things, first of all, that is adorable, secondly, if dogs in the wild can ask for help when it comes to taking a poo, then why can't we?

No, it's not the sexiest thing in the world. You don't see women in films farting all day long cause they had some bacon at breakfast and you can't imagine the likes of Mila Kunis having to rush to the loo to shit her brains out every hour but that doesn't mean that it doesn't happen to them. Pooing is vital to survival and IBS is a huge annoyance that you actually can't do anything about, let alone be ashamed of. I know it's not pretty, I know it's not ideal but it something that is going to happen whether you like it or not.

Since giving up gluten and dairy and more recently avoiding whole nuts and seeds I have felt a million times better, I don't have to talk about my bowel movements with every single person that I come across and I can almost be guaranteed a whole day of being out without having to know where the nearest bathrooms are and that is great. But on days when I'm having a flare up, I don't want to have to hide that, to be modest and ladylike. Sure, I don't want to photograph the damn thing and upload it to, but to be able to excuse myself from the dinner table for a bridesmaids-esque moment in the loo without shame is something I definitely am within my rights to ask for. 

Basically what I'm saying is this: if you suffer with IBS, please don't do it in silence. Women only don't talk about poo because women don't talk about poo. The only way that we can change that is to actually, you know, talk about poo. And if you don't suffer with IBS? Please take me at my word when I say it is the single most annoying thing that my body does and every single sufferer out there could seriously do with as little judgement as you can manage. 


I haven't been able to eat gluten or dairy for three years and it's so funny how different people deal with that. Although there are times when I think OH HOLY SHIT I COULD MURDER A DOUGHNUT RIGHT ABOUT NOW, most the time I forget what I'm missing. Yes it is really annoying to miss out on pizza night, no I don't 'like' having to have a salad with no dressing every time, but I make it work, cause that's what I gotta do. 

But then sometimes a company pops up that makes something that I can eat and I get more excited than you could ever know. The first time I tasted dairy free chocolate after I'd had to banish cows milk? I cried. Same story with Firezza's GF and vegan pizzas and that moment in February when I found NOM bars for the first time. The excitement of finding something not only naughty but also delicious when you have your diet limited for whatever reason? Well you don't know until it's happened to you, but take it from me, it's pretty damn magical. 

How often did you eat Cookie Dough as a child? We did it ALL the time and when I remember sleep overs with my friends, I'm pretty sure it was there every damn time. Although I loved it, when I was told that I had to give up all yummy foods, the sudden absence of this did not spring to my mind - sure it was a pain but I'd be alright. I didn't think about it and I didn't really miss it, until last week when I was very kindly sent a batch of what I can only describe as HEAVEN from the company Angels & Cookies. I don't remember what 'real' cookie dough tastes like anymore, but if it's anything like this then I CAN confirm that I have been seriously missing out. 

If you can eat gluten/nuts/dairy/eggs/soya etc then this might not be for you (you are lucky enough to have delicious food available to you in every aisle of every shop) but if you are, like me, deprived - please read on...

So Angel Cookies come in three flavours, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Fudge and Ginger & Spice. All three are delicious both raw (not sure if I'm supposed to do that...) and as cookies. The ones in the photos are Ginger & Spice because I honestly can't remember the last time I had a ginger bread man and the nostalgia really got to me when I smelt it. 

Normally if I want to do free-from baking it's a huge faff, smaller supermarkets very rarely stock the ingredients that I need and I end up spending a fortune and a whole heap of time either online or trekking to bigger shops for certain things. Obviously the benefit here is you still get the fun of baking (albeit the easiest thing in the world) and you don't have to rip your hair out looking for complicated ingredients. 

The cookies literally take 10 minutes in the oven and are totally faff-free. If I'd have been organised and properly blogger-y I'd have cut them into cute shapes but if I'm honest I made these at lunch time and was just so desperate to try them. I even gave one to Alex who had no idea they were 'free from' - so I can confirm that they are crowd pleasers.

I cannot tell you how nice it is to find brands like this in the world and I'm just so excited that these guys are now on my radar. If you know you've got a slumber party coming up, a tricky party guest or a child with an intolerance I'd say these are defo worth a try. Check out the Angels & Cookies website HERE to order yours. 

(PS. This isn't sponsored, I just bloody loved them and had to share). xxx


If you had told Em of five years ago, or anyone that knew her, that one day she would be doing beauty reviews, they'd probably have laughed until they couldn't stand anymore. Makeup was never my bag and I famously got it wrong for years (shout out to all my girls who were teenagers in the mid-noughties and that damn blue eyeshadow period!), but recently, as I have started blogging more (and since my sister became the world's best makeup applier) I've started to clue up and I find myself overwhelmed with the urge to share my findings. 

So I've tried loads of foundations over the years, I was a total 'drug-store' gal for years, Maybelline, Revlon, Rimmel, whatever I could afford really. I progressed to benefit, then to Laura Mercier, still with no clue what I was doing. Since blogging though it's been easier, I tried and loved the Dior Forever (which although amazeballs I do find to be a spot-o heavy for day to day use), then I went to L'Oreal True Match but realised the coverage wasn't quite up to scratch before I moved onto the Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation & Concealer. Anyone who knows me or reads any of this stuff will know that that was my obsession for ages, and I still adore it. The coverage is unreal and the applicator is amazing - my only complaint as we come into the summer months was that it was quite 'matte' (something I love in the winter but not something I'm looking for in the summer) and I was counting on quite a lot of highlighter to gain a glowy effect. I figured there wasn't any harm in trying something new and now here we are, with the Nars Sheer Glow Foundation - a classic and a favourite for many a beauty blogger, and something that I have TOTALLY fallen in love with. 

Initially, I'll be honest, the name frightened me a little - totally paranoid about my skin and rarely without at least one spot I didn't think I wanted anything with the title 'sheer' in it (same applies to clothes tbh!) and I was worried that the coverage wouldn't be up to much, oh how wrong was I?

I have what would probably be labelled as 'dry' skin, if I don't moisturise my face fairly quickly after washing it or getting out the shower, you'll know about it. I get a bit flakey between my eyebrows and on my chin which has always been a bit of an issue with foundation, it would gather there and I'd always look a bit gross - for lack of a better word - think of the fella in Austin Powers who peels his skin off and saves it... The great thing about the Sheer Glow is that it is SO un-cakey (my professional opinion) that it hardly does that at all and if I've moisturised that morning then there is literally no problem.

One layer, although thin, gives me all the coverage that I need and gives me the 'luminous' look that I just wasn't getting from my heavier favourites. If I know I'm having photos taken or need to hide something a second layer can be applied super duper easily and it doesn't cake at all. 

The only thing that really annoys be about this product is the fact that it doesn't come with a pump at all - I feel like the risk factor is much bigger (leaving the life off and spilling it everywhere) etc and it's a pain in the ass when too much comes out onto your hand but tbh it's not the end of the world and you can buy a pump for it HERE. (Clever Nars stealing more of our money eh?!)

Basically, I'm in love with the foundation, it's P.E.R.F.E.C.T for summer and even survived the sweat that poured out of me during the heatwave just been. On Saturday I left my house at 10am and didn't get home until 1am - I didn't reapply once and I swear down my skin looked cracking all day. (Beer goggles may have helped compound that belief but I'm fairly sure I came home looking just as flawless as I did when I went out). So yes, I recommend the foundation, I really do. BUT, my obsession doesn't stop there.

I made the (financial) mistake of popping over the the Nars counter in John Lewis to buy this foundation to ensure that I got the right shade and whilst there I was talked into trying their Soft Matte Complete Concealer, something that I had heard SO many good things about in the blogosphere. Man they were not wrong.

I didn't think I'd love it, the fact that it was in a pot slightly put me off as I totally assumed that it would sit on my spots and make them look worse (as experience with concealers in pots has taught me...) but I was so wrong and I *think* I might go so far as to say that this is the best concealer that I have ever used. BIG words Em... back them up. 

OK so it's super duper creamy and not drying at all, honestly I've been putting it under my eyes and just feel like I look SO much more awake - it doesn't dry me out at all or sit in wrinkles and it is just moisturising enough that it works with my spots or dry patches rather than sitting on them and drawing attention to the trouble area. A little bit goes SUCH a long way and apart from anything, I adore the packaging. Before I tried this I was loving the Urban Decay Naked Concealer and everyone's favourite cheepies by Collection but this has shat on them all to be honest - it's great and I'm never going back to a stick again. (Big big claims here!).

I'm really happy that I tried these products and know that I will not be branching away from them this summer, I feel my skin looks so healthy and not at all like I'm wearing too much makeup, which is something that I just hate in the summer months! I am wearing the Punjabi shade of foundation and then, because I like my concealer to be a tad paler I have the Creme-Brule shade. The Nars website is quite good for showing you colours but if you're unsure, especially where the foundation is concerned, I'd recommend popping over to a Nars counter if you have the time!

Please let me know what foundations you're using and why you love them! Hope this was helpful, big love xxxx

(Links are affiliated) xxx


Have you ever heard of "Intuitive Eating" before? Me neither. Nevertheless it is a thing and I need to talk about it, so you're about to learn. It was a diet, a lifestyle if you will, that was first made famous in 1995 by nutritionists Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Rescue who wrote a "recovery book for The Chronic Dieter" in which they shared this groundbreaking way of life that they had discovered. They shared their 'stay thin but don't diet secrets' at a time when we all wanted to look like Kate Moss and needed to hear them. It's not new, it's been around for 20 years, but much like Friends, I hear it's making a come back. 

I first heard about this via a friend's Instagram story in which she described it as the new 'buzz word'. Since she is very into healthy eating (she is The Goodness Guru) and I'm sort of, not, I took her word for it, accepted that, much like the Atkins, the cabbage soup and the 5:2 diets, this would be something that I wasn't rushing to try. 

But for the rest of the day I could not get this out of my head. Not only was I pissed off to high hell that we were being encouraged again to limit our food intake (or at least hop on another bandwagon that cost me a fortune in Whole Foods on stuff I don't like that much), I was confused as anything about the name of this one: surely, I thought, by it's very nature, eating is intuitive anyway??? We don't fancy starving to death, so intuitively we eat. We don't enjoy being hungry so, intuitively, we eat. Intuitive right? Eating. Staying alive.

So what IS intuitive eating? (Out of the life and death context and in the health and wellness context I mean)... A groundbreaking way of life that will bring the obesity epidemic to a grinding halt or simply another fad for millions of insecure and unhappy women to buy into on their life long quest for the perfect bikini body? I am of course worried that it is the latter. 

But first things first, let's find out what it actually is. To do this it's easiest to look at the 10 principles from the book which are:

- Respect the diet mentality
- Honour your hunger
- Make peace with food
- Challenge the food police
- Respect your fullness
- Discover the satisfaction factor
- Honour your feelings without using food
- Respect your body
- Exercise - feel the difference
- Honour your health

Theoretically, that all sounds great. I would like all of those things. I should have all of those things. But is a book going to teach me that? Is £££ spent on nutritionists going to teach me all of that? Or is it something that actually, just happens instinctively, that I'm being told that I need to pay for? 

(The intuitive eating method is actually used a lot for those recovering from eating disorders, for that of course it is a great thing, the context in which I am writing about it is as a buzz word!)

The whole idea of intuitive eating, as far as I can work out is that 'not dieting is the key to losing weight' (at least that's what google says) and that annoys me, because it just isn't, at least not for me. Listening to your body is all well and good unless of course your body, like mine, tells you constantly how much it wants chocolate. Weight will NOT just fall off you the minute you STOP dieting, for most of us, the opposite will happen. 

The fact is, if you want to lose weight, you will need to alter the way that you eat, whether that's by using this method or any other out there, and that is, by very definition, a diet. I appreciate that someone has found a way for us to do that that doesn't necessarily mean never eating a carbohydrate again, but let's not beat around the bush with the name of this thing. At the end of the day, even if you're being told that it's not a diet, since you are now watching everything that you eat (and probably paying someone a shit tonne to 'guide you' to the right choices), I'm afraid that you're being lied to. A diet is exactly what it is. At least at the beginning.

What do they say about how it takes eating healthily for 30 day to make it a habit? You may well find after a month of 'intuitive eating' your patterns have changed and this habit has become so ingrained in you that it has stopped becoming a diet and instead become a lifestyle and that is GREAT. But you need to know that when you start, you will be on a diet. At the beginning, it IS a diet. 

By taking on the intuitive eating method, you are turning your back on traditional diets, that much is true. What you are also doing is succumbing to the real 'buzz word' of the moment, which is of course: B A L A N C E. (The word said to you by every single person on Instagram who shares endless photos of themselves looking fierce in a bikini, holding a slice of pizza, that they said they ate because they're all about 'balance', but probably didn't eat because their lifestyle doesn't really permit it). 

In theory, balance, intuitive eating, it's great. Balance is great. Retraining your mind to get you to eat healthily is great. It's something that I wish we had all been taught much, much earlier. So I encourage balance (real balance, not Instagram balance) and I acknowledge that it is a popular choice for people who are watching what they eat. Make the half a loaf of banana bread that you had at midnight last night okay by going for a run today. Eat a shit-tonne of vegetables the day after a night on the tequila. Stick to one pizza a week, that sort of thing. But for ffs, do we have to label that? That's instinctive. That's intuition. That's something that I just know. 

'Intuitive Eating'? I'm already doing that. Trusting my intuition when it comes to my stomach is the thing that has kept me alive all these years and, whilst I love a new hashtag as much as the next girl, I don't really want the way in which I chose to stay alive to become a trend for others to follow on Instagram. #nothanks.  


Any followers of the blog will probably know that, whilst I might not be anything close to 'beauty blogger ready' most of the time, I do like to have quite nice nails. As any woman out there will know, that is an expensive habit to keep up. £25 a couple of weeks ago is not something to be sniffed at and so a few weeks ago I began my hunt for DIY alternatives, surely in 2017 someone has invented a nail varnish that provides salon quality at home? 

I popped into boots and found what I was looking for quickly, the Rimmel Super Gel Nail Polish at £5.99 a bottle (So that's £12 for the bottom and top coat and then £6 every time you want a different colour after that but still cheaper than the salon right?) and picked it up after I saw the description:

• Only 2 steps to salon quality nails
• Up to 14 days of gel colour & shine
• Apply 1-2 coats of Super Gel colour, followed by Super Gel Top Coat to activate curing
• Quick to apply, remove with nail polish remover
• No UV lamp needed

Perfect, I thought. There are about 20 colours available in this range, not unfortunately in the shop that I was in, so I went for something that I would never normally wear (why Em?!), the 023 Grape Sorbet. 

When I got home I did all the right stuff, I filed my nails, I buffed them and set to work. (I didn't do my cuticles BTW cause who's got the time or the know-how ammi right??) - so what happened?

Day 1 (straight after application)

Initially I was happy with it, it applied easily and dried quickly. It was a tad on the 'thin' side but I think that might have had more to do with the colour rather than anything else. Obviously I'm no nail expert so excuse the slightly shitty job I did. At this point though I was happy and had high hopes for the 14 promised days of perfect (ish) nails.

Day 2:

So not a great start for my poor pinkie nail. The other hand remained perfect though and apart from that one nail everything was fine, I assumed it was my fault as this sometimes even happens after the aforementioned £25 treatment in my local salon. 

Day 3:

So this is when the cracks started to show, pardon the pun. Day 3 and my nails had chipped more than they normally do when painted with nail varnish. In part due to laziness and in part as dedication to this blog post, I decided to keep it on and see if the chipping might stop there...

Day 4:

Yeh no, the chipping didn't stop and at some point I lost the entire coat on my baby finger.

Day 5:

The day that I gave up.

This was last week and I was so disappointed with the results that I actually tried it again this week, just in case it was my fuck up. Sadly, the same thing happened again and so I'm actually booked in at the nail place later today, I've got a wedding to go to this weekend and quite frankly I can't take these with me, even if I did re-apply I don't think I could be sure that it would hold on long enough.

I wanted to love it, to be honest, I really did. I love having nice nails and am all to aware about how lazy I am when it comes to doing them myself, I thought this might be the answer. But for me anyway, it's just not. Your average Rimmel Nail Varnish are all around the £4 mark and so, my advice to everyone, would be to save yourself the extra £8 that comes along with this purchase and stick to that. 

If you're a gel lover it seems the salon is still the place. Having said that, I'm not giving up and vow to try as many as I can on the hunt for a DIY gel nail varnish - I'll keep you posted.


"If you doubt your ability to finish, do not start." - FUCK THAT.

On Sunday, I ran my first half marathon. I'll say that again, ON SUNDAY, I RAN MY FIRST HALF MARATHON, (thank you, thank you very much) and I'm in absolute bits both mentally and physically. I kept the fact that I was doing this event, a bit of a secret. I thought if I admitted to the world via the magic that is social media then I would be held to account and, until Sunday morning, when I found myself on the start line, I was still fairly sure that I was going to pull out if it.

I signed up to the event about six months ago with my friend Sophie and we were going to run it together. About two months ago though she realised that her knees would not support her on this particular adventure and she had to pull out. Secretly I celebrated, thinking: OK, if she's not doing it, I'm off the hook. Unfortunately however, there were still a few of my friends and family signed up so I kept my reservations to myself. I started running a little bit, a three mile run at first, a five mile run the next week and eventually, just before I went to Barbados at the end of March, a six miler. Whilst away though, my training ground to a halt. Rum punches tasted too good and so, as it turned out, did I, to the sea lice that took it upon themselves to attack my feet. Thanks to the swelling and pain I was unable to wear trainers for the week and by the time I was able to again, I had fallen in love with not doing any exercise and chose instead to put my feet up and not set any alarms. 

Once I returned home though I was reminded that I had less than a month to go and, still toying with the idea of quitting, I thought I ought to go out for a little jog to work out how hard it would really be. Unfortunately the day I chose to run on was the day after the London Marathon and I found myself so utterly inspired by the actions of some extraordinary people that I pulled the ultimate Forrest Gump and somehow found it within me to run 10 miles. Honestly, I don't know how I did it, or WHY I did it but I just kept going. With hindsight, this was really fucking stupid. As it turns out, you can't just run ten miles having not done anything more strenuous than reach for a packet of cigarettes in the month before it. 

I ended up having to see a physio last Friday as the pain in my hip was becoming unbearable. I thought to myself: if he tells me that I've seriously damaged myself, it will be the perfect excuse to pull out. If he fixes me then I will do the run because, if I can run 10 miles, then all I will need to do is a three mile walk at the end of that. Unfortunately, he did neither thing, instead telling me that I had some nerve damage or fluid build up or something in my hip and that I could run without doing any lasting damage but that it would hurt like fuck and I would be crazy. (Direct quote.) Turns out I'm crazy, but I had some more obstacles to overcome before we get to that. 

Still toying with the idea of pulling out on Saturday afternoon, I logged on to the event's website where I read the following sentence: "if you have not trained or have a heavy cold or other febrile illness, you should not run.  Do not expect to achieve what you have not trained for. If you doubt your ability to finish, do not start." IF YOU DOUBT YOUR ABILITY TO FINISH, DO NOT START. What twat wrote that? What evil little shit bag thought that that was an appropriately inspiring message to leave on the website for any nervous race-goers to stumble across? Someone that has had one too many protein shakes in his life probably. At this point I was fully prepared to pull out. In as many words, the website had told me to. Everything around me was telling me to. 

Except my fingers it seems as, on 6am on Sunday morning I had my trainers on, my race-number attached to my top and had written the following introduction to the Pretty Normal Me Monday morning newsletter: "Yesterday I ran a half marathon and it absolutely killed me." - knowing that if I got home later that day, defeated, and had to delete those words, I would never forgive myself. So I ran the bloody thing, and here's what happened: 

8am - arrived at the event, had a cigarette, a nervous wee and totally freaked out when I looked around the carpark and saw hundreds of Mamils (Middle-aged-men-in-lycra) looking totally pro and ready to kick my arse.

9am - start line. I had decided to do this run with my mum, since it was my first one and she is not a quick runner anyway. We both plugged in our headphones (running together but not talking to each other) and ran for the first three miles through the town of Stratford. Christ knows how but we did the first few SO quickly, averaging about 10min20sec miles which was a huge surprise to both of us and eventually the crowd thinned as we all settled into our stride.

Mile 4 - I made my first mistake. The volunteers were really kindly handing out water every two miles and, since it was so hot, I couldn't get enough in me. In training I had never taken any water with me and so it hadn't occurred to me that when you are drinking, you are unable to breath. This really screwed me up and I ended up basically winding myself and totally knocking my confidence. After that I couldn't stop feeling the pain in my hip and talked myself into stopping. I told my mum that I was sorry but that I wouldn't be able to keep going and that she was going to need to go on without me. She thought about this for thirty seconds but concluded that you didn't leave a man behind and encouraged me to get going again. This time, with only one headphone in each so we could talk to each other, we kept going, at a slightly slower pace.

Mile 8 - Somehow, the last four miles had zoomed by and, although by this point I did feel that my hip was on FIRE, I had been able to keep going without too much trouble. That was until the we found ourselves running uphill for about a mile. When I am on the bike I can do any amount of uphill because I know that in a minute it will all go back down again and it will be SO worth it. Unfortunately, it is NOT the same story with running. The downhill that we had 'earned' caught me surprise and put me in more pain that I thought possible, it must have been from the added weight that my joints were taking on what with all the gravity but by the time we got to the bottom I was in screaming pain and had to stop to stretch. This was a HUGE cock up.

Stopping was so painful and I realised to my horror that I could barely even walk. I hobbled my way to a drinks station a few hundred meters away and stopped to stretch. Again I told my mum to go on without me, again, she didn't. I set off at a walk again but found that it was just too painful on my hip and randomly, running was marginally more comfortable, so at an even slower pace the running started again.

(N.B. The amount of people that stopped to ask if I was OK was unreal and they were all so supportive when I started running again that it just melted my heart.)

Mile 11 - Officially running slower than most people were walking at this point and it was about here that I hit the ultimate wall. Walking was agonisingly painful but running was not much better. My head kept telling me to stop but every time I did the pain of walking again had me in tears. With two miles still to go all I could think was TWO MILES IS STILL A REALLY FUCKING LONG WAY and found myself rattling off everything that I knew that was two miles away from my house and how there was no way I could get there. The pace was embarrassingly slow and the tears kept coming but my amazing mum didn't leave my side and the hobble continued.

Mile 12 - Somehow the hardest of all of the miles. The pain was unreal and still, a mile seemed like a long way. This was made so much worse as the course became a really windy little loop to add the distance so although I could hear and see the finish line for ages, I was being herded around totally unnecessary corners that were tearing my soul apart. Hip was beyond painful at this point and I was running at almost half the speed of my first mile.

The last 100 feet - it's funny how pain can vanish isn't it? Upon seeing the finish line mum took my hand and together we picked up the pace. I could see Alex and all my friends and everyone was cheering and I sobbed my way up the final stretch.

The finish line - I had a big cuddle with my mum, got a medal, a banana and a bottle of water and realised that I literally couldn't move another metre. When Alex found me and hugged me I told him that he literally wouldn't be able to put me down again as I was unable to walk so he ushered me away from the finish line and plopped me on the grass where I proceeded to sob uncontrollably.  

I then went home, via the co-op where we picked up cider and crisps, because the thought of this was the only thing that got me round, the non-runners and my mum who is more machine than woman cooked an incredible Sunday lunch whilst I showered and then slept. Although everything hurt and I felt like I had been running for a lifetime, by 1pm we were home and able to spend the rest of the day doing what normal people do on Sundays, reading the papers, enjoying the sunshine and eating too much food. The only MASSIVE annoyance that afternoon was realising 40 miles too late that my half marathon brain had caused me to leave my wallet at a petrol station which made our drive back to London just over three hours: NOT what you need when you're totally exhausted.

So, what did I learn? Well, despite the fact I have not painted a remotely pretty picture, I think I loved it. I am incredibly proud of my achievement and, in a weird sort of way, am really looking forward to the next one. Yes, there will be a next one. One that I will train for properly and not do with an injury and one that I hope to do so much faster. I feel like it will be easier now I know what I am getting myself in for. It will also be easier because I will not make the mistake of reading the bullshit website. 

That sentence really, REALLY pissed me off. Because when I read that, I WAS doubting myself, this was an absolutely huge deal for me and reading that really fucked with my head. What I needed to read was something so much more positive, more supportive and more encouraging. I did not need another excuse to doubt myself. But I suppose the good thing that I did take from that is that I turned my doubt into something powerful. Yes, I was doubting myself, hello, even the website was doubting me, but rather than let them win, I instead found myself having to prove them wrong. And if I'm honest with you, it felt really really good.

I know you get asked this all the time but if you can spare anything, please do donate to my Just Giving page, it was not at all easy and I am raising money for a charity incredibly close to my heart: Help For Heroes. Thank you all xxxx MY JUST GIVING. 


One in two of us will get cancer. That's the scary statistic. That is what we are told. Sometimes we get it because are genetically predisposed to it, sometimes it happens because of our lifestyle and sometimes, it comes from nowhere in particular. It's not choosey, it's not fair, it is pretty fucking shit.

Anyone who has followed the blog for a lone time will know that I am a huge supporter of The Eve Appeal, a charity dedicated to raising money and awareness for all five types of gynaecological cancer. Working with them I have encouraged women to get to know their normal (our vaginas, we need to get to know our vaginas), so that should something suspicious occur, we know what to look for. But it occurred to me that whilst I've been banging on about fannies and discharge and cramps and bleeding and whatnots, I haven't ever really spoken about tits, and I thought it was high time that I changed that.

I follow an INCREDIBLE woman on Twitter @GirlStoleLondon who has been documenting her fight/treatment/journey (there is no good word) with breast cancer. This morning I re-read her blog post about her diagnosis and before I had even finished it, I found myself frantically checking my breasts for lumps, (sorry for feeling myself up whilst reading your blog Lauren) until it occurred to me... I'm not sure what it is that I am looking for here. And I realised that surely I cannot be the only one who has had this thought, I can't be the only one who isn't entirely what she is looking for...

So, in the interest of encouraging women to know their normal 'upstairs' as well as 'downstairs', I thought I would pull together all the information for you so that you know what to look for the next time you cup a hand round your bosom. 

First things first I want to say this: according to CoppaFeel's website, most breast cancers are first detected through self-checking- if that doesn't get you fondling then I honestly don't know what will! They also say that there is no wrong way to check your boobs so that's great too. Having said that, it will be easier when you know what it is that you need to be looking out for:

Statistics on their website show that one in eight women will experience breast cancer in their lifetime and that 400 men are diagnosed with it every year. Guys, it really is worth checking.

It takes 5 minutes to check your breasts. 5 minutes. And yet so many of us are putting it off, me included. Before today I don't remember the last time that I checked my breasts but I am sure that it must have been over a year ago. Why has it been so long? Am I scared? Would that be so wrong if I was? What if I did find something? What if I find something and I go the doctor and they tell me that it is nothing and then I've basically wasted the time of an already VERY overstretched NHS? Worse still, what if I find something and it turns out to be breast cancer? WHAT IF I HAVE GOT BREAST CANCER? (That's the speed that my mind moves at anyway, I suppose I can't really assume everyone is as loopy as me about these things...)

But really, whatever way we look at this, I think we can all agree that it is better to know. Doctors will not, I repeat NOT accuse you of wasting their time in any capacity. They want you to go in if you are worried, they want you to be OK, they are hoping against all hope that they find nothing wrong with you, so that is one thing that you absolutely do not have to worry about. The rest of it? It's normal to be frightened, but the sooner you check, the sooner you'll know and, God forbid there is something wrong? The sooner you know, the sooner it can be dealt with.

I'm sorry if I sound a bit Daily-Mail-Scare-Mongery, that is absolutely NOT my intention, but I did want to bring this up as it is something that is SO important. Let's do this girls, as often as we can. Please. Maybe not at your desk right now (unless your office is totally chilled with a tad 'o breast play) but in the bath this evening, in bed tonight, in the shower in the morning. Please find the time and create this habit. (I'm going to start putting a little reminder at the PNM Newsletter BTW, either subscribe HERE or put a damn reminder on your phone to go off weekly- tweet those to me, I wanna see you do that!).

Also, if you have a moment, please head over to the Girl Stole London website - it is my absolute favourite blog right now and my adoration for Lauren is never ending, it is well worth a read.


I must have tried every single shampoo and conditioner that Boots has had to offer over the years. I have fallen into the trap of believing every marketing campaign ever done and spent a fortune on bottles that promise to ease my frizz and give me soft and silky hair. Treseme, Aveda, John Freida, Elvive, Garnier, Herbal Essences and OGX are just a few of the brands that have graced my shower floor over the last few years and they have pretty much all dried it out, made it greasy or most annoyingly: done nothing at all. 

The thing that annoys me most about this, is that shampoo and conditioner are an investment. Unless you're washing the stuff out with Moet, the idea of using a brand once and throwing the remaining £8 into the bin is not only incredibly annoying, but totally unrealistic and so please trust me when I say that this process has taken a huge amount of experimentation. Having had the words 'waste not, want not' drummed into me as a child, there has never been a bottle that has gone unfinished and the thing that suffered the most in all of this was my hair. 

After years of dry hair treatments that weren't doing me any favours I came to the following conclusion: the problem must be with me. SURELY all of these brands can't be wrong. SURELY other people are having their frizz eased by John Frieda, otherwise: WHY WOULD IT SAY IT ON THE BOTTLE? Perhaps I just need to accept my hair for what it is and find other ways of dealing with it. Introducing my hair oil phase, otherwise known as the 'hissing' period when my straighteners singed my oiled locks and left me with a broken, greasy, mane. This one ended, thankfully, but it was replaced by the inevitable 'hair up' phase - the one that literally saw me pull every strand to the top of my head and leave it there every day so I didn't need to show the world quite how dry and broken my ends had become. I got to the point where I dreaded going to the hairdressers because I knew that they would tell me that they needed to take 'at least another inch off' and it was being removed faster than it could possibly be growing. 

But then. *DRUMROLL PLEASE* my hairdresser suggested something to me which, since we have already established I'm a sucker for a marketing campaign and basically do everything that I am told, I bought. That was the Philip Kingsley Re-Mositurisng Shampoo and Conditioner. AKA the only shampoo that I will ever use, thank you and goodnight. I'm not going to pretend to know what is in it that makes it so damn marvellous and I certainly haven't been paid to say this, I'm literally just telling you the story of how I made my hair look less beasty and more beauty and in this scenario, Philip Kingsley and his team of scientists were my fairy godmothers. 

Since using it my hair has done the following things: grown, stopped looking so dry, dried in a much more manageable way, been something that doesn't drive me absolutely mad. And to be honest that is good enough for me. But if it's not good enough for you and you like the nitty gritty details of things that you put in your hair, here is the official description of the product: Ideal for coarse hair. Coarse hair is hair that feels rough in texture that there is a lot of. This hair type can be either straight or curly but typically is coarse and can be difficult to manage. Gently cleansers, hydrates and strengthens the hair, reducing breaking caused by snapping. The reviews (which all adore it by the way) are all from women with a lot of long, thick or curly and wavy hair, so I suppose you need to judge for yourself if this is something that you will find helpful. 

The only thing that I will say about this product that you might not love, is the price. They are quite expensive, HOWEVER, a little bit goes along way and after two decades of terrible hair I have decided at this point that I would probably pay anything if it meant I'd have smooth and manageable locks. 

The Shampoo
The Conditioner
The Smooth & Shiny Bundle

And while I am here and raving about Philip Kingsley I feel like it is also a good time to mention The Elasticizer Treatment which I believe is the most popular product in their range for the simple reason that it is AHMAZING. I've talked about this before but it is basically a pre-shampoo treatment that moisturizes your cuticles to boost elasticity and bounce. You leave it in for 20 minutes before your shower and ermigaddd I'm obsessed. I also believe that it is responsible with the fact that my hair has grown so much recently. For anyone who is finding that their hair isn't growing at any particular speed at the moment, I can certainly recommend this. 

Mini Bottle (one in picture) Elasticizer
Full size pot Elasticizer

So YES. There you go. To be honest I do love the whole Philip Kingsley range and since discovering them I have not only recommended them to everyone but have deemed it an expense that I can justify. It feels very good to have found something that works for my hair and my only regret is that it took SO long and cost me so much to try every other brand out there!

If you are on the hunt for new shampoo and conditioner but you have different hair needs, check out the rest of the PK range HERE. My mum uses one of the treatments (the swimcap) and my sister uses a the 'no scent' range for her hair and both of them swear by their various ones so perhaps it's worth taking a look!


When it comes to skincare, I have in the past, been frighteningly lazy. I very rarely cleansed my face, I literally never moisturised and the closest I got to really doing anything was scrubbing my face with a makeup wipe.

I'd keep them next to my bed and always felt incredibly proud of myself if I remembered to use them at the end of the day. Feeling that, when I did, I was being responsible and grown up and an all round GOOD adult. I've always owned skincare products; cleansers, toners, exfoliators, moisturisers but they had all found themselves gathering dust. 

I'd also always had quite bad skin. I was lucky enough not to be an acne sufferer but I was not lucky enough to feel confident ever. I would regularly have huge angry red spots on my chin, my nose was a breeding ground for blackheads and the area between my eyebrows was so dry that it wasn't uncommon for big flakes of skin to become detached from my face. (Sorry that's pretty gross).

Anyway, recently I decided that, as a grown woman in her early twenties, who has a pretty good diet, the state of my skin was not only depressing, but also something that I could fix. And fix it I have. 

First came moisturising. My skin drank this like nothing else and I saw an immediate difference. After that I found facemarks and then face oils, gradually my skin improved but still angry spots were appearing. In a last ditch attempt I decided to change the way that I removed my makeup, I started cleansing, only occasionally at first *who can be bothered to do it every night?!* and then, after a while, I drunkenly used my last Simple Cleansing Wipe and somehow, didn't replace it. I didn't even need to as by this point I was hooked on my skincare routine and the difference was ridiculous.

I genuinely, hand-on-heart, promise to God, have not had a PROPER big angry spot for MONTHS. Sometimes I have days where I don't wear makeup just because I can't be bothered and I am 1000% more confident about doing that. There have also been nights where I've thought 'fuck it' and have slept in my makeup but I think I got away with them.

And initially I felt bad, blaming all of this on some little wipes, but after a bit of research, I realised that makeup wipes really were a huge problem. Yes, it probably is slightly better for your skin than sleeping with your makeup on, BUT, they are still so far from good for you. I know that they are literally the most convenient things ever but I'm begging you to think twice about buying them. 

Here is a list of reasons why makeup wipes are the actual worst:

- They're soaked in some ridiculously powerful chemicals. As in, the stuff you had to wear gloves to touch in chemistry lessons at school.

- They'll sit in their packets in shops for well over a year and so require alcohol and preservatives to keep them "fresh."

- They don't actually remove your makeup, all they really end up doing is rubbing all the makeup, oil and dirt around a bit.

- Since you don't rinse your skin after using a makeup wipe, you'll end up leaving a lot of those horrid chemicals on your face which can really irritate the skin! (This is why I was getting such dry skin!)

- The harsh chemicals can cause premature ageing around your mouth and eyes where the skin is sensitive. 

- They're ruining the environment. Slightly off topic maybe, but there is now an average of 35 wipes found for every kilometre of beach and that is getting worse. If you are going to use them: DON'T FLUSH THEM DOWN THE LOO!

Look, I know that you have heard this all before, I know that this is boring and ridiculous and that you probably can't be arsed with all of this, I don't blame you, I was you, deep down, I am you. But investing in good skincare and making time for five minutes of cleansing in the evening has down my skin more good than I thought possible and there is no way I will ever go back now.

So my advice to you is to at least try. It might be a little ambitious to give them up cold turkey at first, and I know that you won't get it right every time, but it is definitely worth trying! They really are devilish those things...