I Tried Festival Fashion For The First Time

Festivals. In my mind, they're the epitome of dancing combined with greasy food and unholy amounts of dry shampoo. Hardly as glamorous as Coachella portrays them to be.

I find the idea of them quite unappealing. I'm not very fond of flower crowns or fringing, the idea of sharing filthy toilet cubicles makes me gag and I hate being around many people for too long. That got me thinking...

Could I, with my lack of enthusiasm, come up with a make up look AND outfit for a festival? #notsponsored

I need style and comfort. Ain't nobody got time for blistered heels. Studying my wardrobe I realised I do not own a single band t shirt. Band tees are practically iconic pieces of clothing worn at festivals. Great start.

My taste is a blend of 'gothic/emo/rock chick/whatever' and 'girly'. So my H+M black cut off shoulder top (I had no band tees, I work with what I've got!) with a black high-low flowy skirt from New Look seemed fitting.

Leggings underneath skirts and dresses are necessary for me. More comfortable when sitting/laying down on grass/oddly textured surfaces and less worrying if my skirt decides to do the Mexican Wave.

Paired together, I'm a rock chick princess...lady person.

I threw on some chunky (but very comfortable) buckled heels from SpyLoveBuy to give the outfit a little 'edge'. These cat eye sunglasses from Primark shielded my eyes from the sun.

To avoid the one-dimensional look (I'm too 'edgy' for that, darling) I added a colour splash with a cross body bag by New Look. The body strap is removable so you can turn this into a stylish clutch for evening wear too!

My hairstyle was inspired by the beautiful Daenerys Targaryen (from Game Of Thrones). .

Warrior-queen-looking hair that's easy to do and practical enough to dance in? Sign me up.

I braided the side sections of my hair and wrapped them around the back of my head. I completed the style by running some curls through the remaining hair. 

Braids are almost an essential for festivals for a reason. They are practical, they keep your hair out of your face and disguise greasy strands whilst still looking super cute.

If you want to wear make-up, I highly recommend experimenting with looks in advance. Google and Pinterest images can offer an infinite amount of inspiration. Create multiple looks and take pictures in daylight so when you review them you can see what you like best.

I love ethereal makeup. Galaxy tones with unicorn vibes delight me. I dotted sparkly face gems over a gradient of fuchsia and blue hues. (I used my Make Up Academy Tropical Oceana Palette for this entire look)

I filled in a half moon shape with white pencil and white cream base on my cheek. It took a lot of time, effort and patience to do this free hand. Next time I would definitely use a stencil to make my life easier. I got overly ambitious this time...#classicmichelle

To pull the look together I created ombre blue eyebrows. A gradient look with the pigment concentrated toward the end of the brows.

The struggle of putting together this makeup and outfit was real. But I'm quite proud of myself for doing something new. Plus I actually kinda fell in love with this look. Felt pretty good. #teammichelle

Are you going to any festivals this year? Or have you been to any? Tell me in the comments. See you down there!

Review: Make Up Academy (MUA) Tropical Oceana Palette (& Swatches)

If you went heart eyed over the Urban Decay Full Spectrum Palette then prepare yourself for this one. Because MUA or Make-Up Academy, Superdrug's own affordable cruelty-free make up brand, have released something pretty magical.

With an on point price of just £8 (so if UD's £43 palette is out of your budget then this is a much more affordable alternative!), behold the Tropical Oceana Palette. An ocean/tropical themed palette full of dazzling hues.

Mixing it up with 25 shadows in matte and pearl finishes, this palette's vivacity gives a platform to create endless striking looks.

The hues are organised by warmth via individual rows which I absolutely LOVE. Knowing where to find a specific shade makes it so much easier and quicker to build a look.

I was highly impressed with how pigmented most of the shades were. The matte shades don't have a strong pay off, but they are buildable so it is possible to bring out their pigment if you use a good base. With that, I give you swatches of every shade in this palette! (There is no base underneath them by the way)

Waves is one of my favourite shades from this palette. It's the perfect mermaid golden turquoise-y blue.

Comment below and tell me your favourite shade/s!

*NOT Sponsored!

Review: NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipsticks (Swatched on lips)

I'm not one to shy away from more 'unusual' lip colours. When the mood calls for it, bolder is better. Neutrals have wearability, practicality and versatility going for them. But sometimes I just need something fun.

I don't jump on beauty trends, I've never been the type of person to care if something is 'trendy' or not. But it goes without saying that liquid and cream lip colours have been rocking the beauty world for some time now.

When NYX released their Liquid Suede line their introductory shades included more 'normal' and somewhat neutral colours if you please. I passed over them, not seeing anything that appealed to me. Fast forward some time and they began rolling out more 'adventurous' shades. I couldn't keep myself away from the assortment of gorgeous colours...

This fuchsia based purple called Sway was the first shade I purchased. I already have the long hair so throw in purple lipstick for mermaid vibes that never quit. Or at least that's how I feel in my head, okay?

Purple lipstick can be a challenge to wear but I say just rock it if you like it. You wear the lipstick, not the other way around.

And this is the most comfortable of the shades I own. It goes on smoothly, the purple tones are rich and not disguised by too much pink (as they tend to be in most purple lip colours) which I appreciate a lot.

Jet set was the most problematic. It's difficult to apply because the formula has a tendency to slip and slide. Being such a bold colour, this can result in it looking very noticeably uneven if you're not careful. Still a gorgeous shade of blue all the same!

Little Denim Dress made me wonder whether its sky blue denim hues would suit me. But upon application I pretty much fell in love with it. It's not for everyone but it's definitely for me!

Sadly these do have their downsides.

After some time my lips felt dried out and the colour would easily find its way on to my teeth (even after using preventative measures) or gather on the inside of the lips and in lip lines because the formula doesn't completely dry down. It can also feel uncomfortable if you have dry lips. I like to apply a lip balm and let it sink in completely before wearing these because my lips are on the dryer side and I find doing this makes wearing the product more comfortable. It also minimises the inevitable flaking that happens with these after several hours of wear. Avoid getting these on the skin around your lips because some of them (mostly the bolder, darker shades) have a tendency to stain.

Despite these cons, the pigmentation of these is fantastic, they wear for a long time and perk up any look. I like these to wear for a special event or for just a few hours at a time.

Keep some make up wipes on hand or some oil based remover because these won't come off easily, either.

As far as cream formulas go, I think the NYX matte cream lip colours are much more comfortable than these and they apply and wear a lot better too. But if you're into bold shades and want something fun for a special event to wear for a short time (or re-apply after a short time) then these are worth a shot.

What's your favourite shade of lip colour?

*Not sponsored :)

My Experience With Cervical Screenings (Pap Tests)

This post contains discussion of personal topics including menstruation, cervical screenings and medical experiences. If you are not comfortable with these subjects please check out a make up  or food post instead.

The first time I heard about cervical screenings my mind scrunched itself up in horror. Initially I refused point blank to go for a screening because I hated the idea of a stranger seeing me naked. I guess my reaction was not completely unreasonable. I'm quite confident that not many people like the idea of a stranger seeing them naked and poking them with medical instruments. Unfortunately not many people showed understanding toward me about my fears and made me feel like I was being a 'big baby'. Off to a great start...

My first screening was unplanned and unexpected. I was at the hospital for an appointment to discuss my painful dysmenorrhea (which you can read more about here) when the doctor asked if I had had a cervical screening to check if there were any internal problems contributing to the problems. When I said no, I was offered one on the spot. It was there and then I decided it was now or never. I knew these tests were very important and necessary so I bit the bullet and agreed.

There was nothing dignified about laying on a hospital bed with a paper gown and my lady parts on 'display'. It was embarrassing, humiliating and traumatic for me but I made a point bearing it for the sake of my health. The doctor's attitude wasn't pleasant and unfortunately I ended up having to complain about the poor way in which she conducted the entire procedure. She had been informed prior to the screening of my anxieties but she dismissed them completely. I didn't feel too much physical pain but there was no kindness in her mannerisms, it was all very hard and clinical which, upon reflection, I now know it shouldn't have been. I went home and cried.

This time I had a pre-booked appointment. Walking to the well woman clinic I felt hopeful the experience would be better. The people who undertook these screenings, I was told, were better for the job so to speak because this was their speciality in the medical field. Knowing that these professionals carried out these tests practically all day every day (as opposed to doctors who might not do these as regularly) and would perhaps be a little more kind and understanding put my mind at ease.

The lady who carried out the procedure wasn't as compassionate or careful as she could have been. I hid my anxieties over the test because so many people had made me feel like I was being juvenile the first time around and I wanted to prove I was a grown woman who could handle her own shit. So I kept quiet. I think she misjudged the size speculum she needed. Nobody told me you have the right to choose what size they use for your own comfort. One that is too big for your body makes the test more painful and can encourage you to spot/bleed after ward. Again, nobody informed me of this and she used one that was too big for my body. It hurt a lot. After ward I was in pain and spotted/bled for a few days.

I ended up calling the clinic and directly giving her feedback. This wasn't intentional, she just happened to answer the call and I decided to be open with her about it. We had a conversation and she assured me she would take my feedback on board and ensure future procedures were better dealt with.

I think it's very important to give feedback on health care you receive. If something goes wrong and you say nothing then nothing can be fixed or improved.

That brings me to my last test which, happily, was MUCH more pleasant. It was undertaken by the same person who I saw at the clinic the previous time. I felt slightly anxious given our past discussions (and my own personal feelings towards these tests, which yes, I know is normal) but this test was a complete breeze compared to the last two.

She used a suitably sized speculum and even though it was a bit uncomfortable still, it didn't hurt even half as much as the last test. She was kind, understanding and compassionate which put my nervous mind at ease. I breathed deeply through the pain I felt and the entire test was over in about a minute. I walked away from the clinic feeling much more confident about future screenings.

And I think all women deserve to feel that way. Sometimes there will be nothing you can do to crush your fears about these screenings but they are very important and necessary. Cervical screenings are not a test for cancer or other serious conditions but rather a method of detecting abnormalities. (Even abnormal results turn out to be harmless and treatable most times!) And detecting serious conditions early on is the best way to fight them.

It's okay to not like screenings. It's okay to feel fear, to feel violated and humiliated. It's okay if you need someone to hold your hand throughout it. You're not a 'big baby' for not enjoying this test or not being able to cope with them well. It's your body, your personal space that a doctor is getting into. You have every right for that experience to be as comfortable as it can possibly be. It's the doctor or nurse's duty to ensure your test runs smoothly and to treat you with kindness and compassion. If they don't, speak up. Give feedback, put forward a complaint if necessary. Find another doctor if one isn't the right fit for you.

I loathe having to complain but if I hadn't spoken up I would still be as fearful and anxious about these tests than ever. Take the steps you need to to make this test as 'comfortable' as possible.

I personally have never found the information on NHS leaflets or the NHS website helpful when it came to these tests. The sweeping statements (like 'just relax' - really now?!!) in them just turned me away completely but I am going to provide a link below. I would personally take what they say with a grain of salt. It's your experience, not theirs after all!

NHS Cervical Screenings

I hope this post was somewhat helpful! Please feel free to share your feedback and experiences in the comments!

Review: NYX Stay Matte But Not Flat Foundation (Porcelain)

I believe, for the most part, that my breakouts are purely a result of having Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Hormonal imbalances are certainly high on the list of causes of those. Tackling them means I have to be cautious of what I use on my face. I am continuously striving to find products compatible with my combination skin.

Drugstore foundations are hit and miss for me. The unfortunate truth is most of them make me break out, extra dry/greasy or oxidise so much so I end up looking orange. That's not to say there aren't any good ones out there, just that I have yet to find any that have worked long term for me.

NYX's Stay Matte But Not Flat liquid foundation carries a water-based, oil-free and scent-free mineral formula and promises a full coverage, matte finish. It comes in a huge variety of shades (approx 21 in total) which is fantastic!

Upon intial application this looks very nice on my skin. One layer gave me medium coverage so an extra layer was needed to build to full. It applies easily and equally as well with a beauty blender sponge as it does with a brush.

I use this foundation in the shade porcelain over a primer and set with a light layer of setting powder which is applied after the foundation has completely 'dried' to prevent caking.

After approximately 5 hours of wear, unfortunately, I start to look greasy in my T-Zone and the foundation begins to cling to the remaining dryer patches. I found it bunched up and creased around my nose too.

If you have normal skin, this will look beautiful on you. If you have oily skin or are prone to breakouts I can't say I'd recommend this foundation. I felt as though it accentuated the worst parts of my skin after a few hours wear. Of course, different products work differently for everyone but for me, sadly, this was a miss.

Did this foundation work for you?

*NOT Sponsored!

My PMDD Story (An Update)

In 2016 I published this post outlining how I was diagnosed with PMDD.

Some of my past posts offer more background information on my menstrual health if you're new to my blog or would like another chance to read them:

Menstrual Health And Me

The Relief Of Being Offered Period Leave

This post will explore the current status of my menstrual health and my experience with medication. Therefore, this post will contain discussion of menstual and medicinal related topics. If you're uncomfortable with this then please feel free to check out a make up post or a food post instead.

Last year I decided to go vegan and now I am a very happy vegetarian. Ditching most animal products from my diet seemed to result in my periods getting a lot better. Whether that improvement was a result of my diet changing, I can not say for certain, but at the very least it seemed to help a lot.

I haven't vomited as a result of my period since the time I went vegan and as a vegetarian things are still better. My periods were never perfect or pain free. There was one time I was almost sick a good couple of months back and the pain got quite bad but it didn't last as long as it did previously. I stress that because no diet can magically cure any health condition and it's important to be realistic and understand this. Good diet helps, of course, but it is not a miracle cure.

I still have PCOS and I still suffer with painful periods. But the lack of throwing up and being confined to my bed for a few days is definitely favourable to me! I'm not sure if this will last for the remainder of my menstruating life but let's hope so! I still suffer a lot of physical PMS symptoms like sore boobs, headaches, cravings and major fatigue/tiredness. I never stopped suffering those, even when I was vegan. I also am not completely free of PMDD, I still have days where I feel sad,  hopeless, frustrated, angry, etc but this happens a lot less thanks to my treatment.

Because I have PMDD I take medication to balance out my hormones. ('Natural' remedies unfortunately never helped my physical or emotional symptoms in any way) Just recently I found a dosage that has truly improved my life beyond anything I could have hoped for.

I feel like this is important for me to say. Because medication is all too often slapped with negative labels. Some people can be so fast to judge it. I presume because sometimes there are side effects or because some people only feel comfortable with 'natural' treatments. As if, somehow, using medication is 'wrong'. Thankfully, times have changed and people's attitudes have improved greatly so many people are considerably understanding and accepting nowadays which is lovely.

Medication has saved my life and given me my life back simultaneously. PMDD is a condition that tends to worsen with age and mine most definitely has. It worsened to a frightening level. To the point where if I hadn't been so lucky as to have the option of medication, my quality of life would no doubt be horrific right now.

Without medication, I was horrifically depressed, anxious, angry, emotionally exhausted. My body was physically drained constantly from fighting through the PMDD related mood swings. That was enough of a struggle without the added pressures of outside influences on top of it all.

I stopped caring about myself and my life. I refused to do anything I loved because I was sure it was pointless. That I wouldn't get anywhere. I was convinced nobody would care about my work or about me. That other people in my field of work were better, more talented, more worthy and that I was completely irrelevent as a human.

Socialising was a big struggle too. I felt isolated because my condition is not a common one and not many people understand it. Hell, I barely understand it! I felt like I was some kind of 'freak' who deserved to be lonely. And even repeating that back for this post really hurts my heart.

Since beginning a new dose of my medication my life has just kept improving. It isn't perfect by any means but it's doing a lot better.

I'm learning to drive - something I put off for years because I was convinced it was a waste of time for me to put effort into learning so I could have more work opportunities because I wasn't special or talented enough.

I've started a new youtube channel (link is in my nav bar at the top of this page) and I make videos regularly now. I had a channel before but I used to think it was stupid for me to put any effort into it because, somehow, I wasn't 'enough'.

And this very blog right here. I've owned this blog for some years now and it's only within the past 6 months or so that I gathered enough courage to produce content. It has led me to some absolutely wonderful places so far and I couldn't be more grateful. Producing content for this blog makes me feel so incredibly happy. I want to do it for as long as I possibly can.

I have endured the most brutal of storms in my life over and over and thensome. Now it finally feels like there's a possibility of rainbows coming from all that rain. My life is not perfect. Not everything goes my way and I don't always get what I want. I still struggle some days. But in comparison to how things were before to now, I feel much more optimistic.

My medication is the reason I'm able to feel so much better in myself. I had to try several types before I found a good balance so it wasn't a simple overnight thing by any means. But now it's literally given me back my true personality and my life that PMDD robbed me of for so long.

I just wanted to write this post as an update and to demonstrate that not all medication is horrendous. It actually helps some people in extremely positive ways. Don't ever let anyone make you feel bad if this applies to you too.

Be open to finding ways to help yourself because, even though you may not believe it right now, you're important and you deserve a good quality of life.