A Love Letter to my Antidepressant

CW: this post is all about antidepressants. There is SH mention, suicide mention, and slight ED mention. Also, please see footnote for a commentary on this post.


Dear citalopram,

It’s world mental health week so I just wanted to sit and thank you for everything you have done for me. We’ve been on quite the journey together, and before that I was on quite the rollercoaster with your predecessors, and today I am thankful that I always have you with me.

When I was prescribed an antidepressant for the first time, everything in my life became very real. I knew I was unhappy, I knew I was anxious, I knew I was stressed, I knew I wasn’t the person I used to be (even at just 18 years old), but Prozac was something that I knew to be the butt of the joke on American sitcoms, something that highly strung, rich, middle-aged women took to calm themselves. It just didn’t seem like something an 18 year old girl overwhelmed with Uni coursework and park time work living in Glasgow should be taking.

Turned out, it wasn’t.

Prozac helped a little (after a month of hell when first starting it), but mostly it just made me tired, thirsty, and gave me hot flashes. I thought because that’s what I had been prescribed, that is what I had to take. I didn’t know there were any other options out there. And it sucked. It sucked to the point that I just came off them completely on my own (NOT advised) after a while because I hated it so much.

A few years later I was on a different SSRI I don’t remember the name of. Again I didn’t feel great on it, and that one I came off of MUCH quicker.

And then came you, like a shining angel into my life. I was hesitant, I didn’t feel like anything else had worked so I didn’t see how this would. The first couple of weeks went by (the hardest in starting antidepressants), and I honestly felt okay. Okay as in, not different. Depressed, anxious, but no other symptoms.

And then I kept feeling okay. And then I realised before I knew it that since you, the emptiness, the hurt, the intrusive thoughts, had lessened without me even having noticed. You made life feel bearable again, like I could be a good mother, a good wife, a good friend.

I took up hobbies, I hung out with people more, I started doing more of the things I enjoyed. And for once in my life, at 23 years old, I felt normal.

And then I -once again- did exactly what you should not do. I came off you.

I had come off antidepressants twice on my own before because I didn’t enjoy them, but now I was coming off something I did enjoy because I became arrogant. I thought my depression was over. That medication had kick-started my journey to wellness and then I had done the rest of the work myself, so now I was just going to be happy forever and ever.

Foolish.

Things were not so bad for a little while, but, the more time that passed, the more I felt the darkness creep back up on me. The intrusive thoughts were back, the panic attacks were back, the nightmares were back. Oh god, the nightmares.

And that’s when I decided I needed to once again go back and admit defeat. But this time, the doctor didn’t just pop me on pills. I was sent to a psychiatrist.

My first appointment, I felt sick to my stomach. You see, my mental illness tends to make me feel like I don’t belong anywhere. Even in mental health communities or places I can go to seek the help I need. It always tells me I’m not good enough, or I’m not ill enough, I’m not crazy enough, I’m not suicidal enough, I’m an attention seeker, other people have it worse, nobody believes you, you’re just a bit sad suck it up. So when I went to see the psychiatrist for the first time, I was sure he wasn’t going to say all these things to me too.

I remember him being very cool and charismatic. He was wearing black skinny jeans and had long hair pulled back in a pony tail. He was very nice, and within a few minutes I felt very at ease. I told him about everything I felt, and all the behaviours I exhibited as part of that.

That day was the first day I was given an actual diagnosis.

Everyone else had just prescribed me pills without really saying much, telling me to, “see how [I] go”. But he was different. He took a piece of paper, and started drawing graphs on it. He showed me the difference between depressive episodes (which unfortunately affect 1 in 4 people in the UK), and persistent major depressive disorder. That was the first time I knew there was a name for it, and the first time I discovered that my depression might not ever go away.

We also talked about my anxiety and how that went hand in hand with it, and he also diagnosed me with generalised anxiety disorder. My anxiety and sleep were affecting me the most at that point, and he prescribed me Trazodone. I loved it; it helped with so many things and it ran its course and then I felt like I didn’t need it.

And then two years ago, I was back in a pit. It took me months to go and see my doctor, and in that time my intrusive thoughts had become unbearable, I was suicidal every single day, and self-harming regularly. By the time I could finally admit I needed you again, it felt like it was almost too late.

That was the day I realised that I couldn’t go on like this. That was the day that I vowed that I never wanted to feel like that again. I was given psychiatric appointments, I started taking you again, and was assigned a therapist (despite the waiting list being so long). In the meantime, in the long wait, I had you.

Therapy helped me more than I can express. I had a wonderful therapist who I clicked with and appreciated so much, and whom I still miss sometimes! But at the end of the day, there’s one thing that keeps me ticking over and that’s you: medication.

Citalopram, you make me able to get up in the morning.

You make me be productive instead of lazy.

You make me able to socialise. Yes, I’m still super anxious every time I do, but without you I couldn’t do it at all.

You make me able to put up with some of the drama in my life.

You let me know that it’s okay to eat without my intrusive thoughts berating me.

You stop my intrusive thoughts telling me to hurl myself in front of a car when I wait at pedestrian crossings.

You made me throw out my razor blades.

You make me be a better wife, a better girlfriend, a better mother.

You stop me being snappy.

You stop my crying fits every single night.

You stop me from thinking that I need to drink a bottle of wine a day just to feel numb like I did before you.

You stop manic mood swings that cause me to hate everyone in the world before ultimately realising it’s myself that I truly hate.

You’ve allowed me to explore self love.

You’ve allowed me to feel like I am worthy of life.

You make me feel, for the first time, like I can be something close to normal.

Antidepressants aren’t for everyone. And there are so many people that get discouraged by them when they can’t find the right one (I’ve been there). And citalopram doesn’t work for everybody. And it’s not a cure-all tool.

I still have anxiety, I still have depression. I still suffer.

But you take the edge off. You work for me.

I’ve been on you continuously for 2.5 years now, and I have finally accepted that there may never be a time when I’m not on you. And that’s perfectly fine for me.

Thank you, citalopram. For giving me my life.


Hey guys, I just wanted to take the time out to note a few things at the bottom here to follow up on this post:

– antidepressants aren’t for everyone. Every single person is on their own mental health journey and discovering things that work for them and it isn’t always medication. I understand that.

– much as it may seem like it from this post, I don’t work for any pharmaceutical companies lol. I’m not actively promoting citalopram, I am just talking about the effect that particular medication has had on my life.

– there is no shame in taking medication for mental illness, particularly long-term. It’s an illness. It’s the equivalent of taking an antibiotic.

– medications aren’t cure-all. The improvements in my mental health in the last 2.5 years have involved a lot of hard work, a lot of therapy, a lot of introspection. IN MY OPINION this is eased and works well alongside my medication. And even then, I still have really, really bad days.

Happy mental health week guys. I hope that we can use this week for listening, understanding, and not slapping a sticker on people and then pretending to be there for them. It happens too often.

Kirst xx

Ps. Be grateful to our NHS and support the funding of mental health initiatives.

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HOW TO BE A POOR SHOPAHOLIC/WEEKLY SALE HAUL

Here’s the thing: a lot of us like shopping. I am not immune to that. I love that feeling wandering around town, or even just a local shop, picking things up, smelling things, trying things on, testing out makeup, making wish lists in my head and picking out all the things I would buy if I had the finances to facilitate it.

I also love shopping by myself. Sure, if I’m with someone that can be fun too. I remember teenage days of wandering the shops at the weekend with my friends, and I also happen to have a shopaholic mother too… but my greatest joy is shopping alone.

I like my own company, I like talking to myself (more often than not internally, thankfully) and I like picking up all the zany and wacky things people I do sometimes shop with snicker at.

BUT I am a bargain hunter, 100%. I can’t tell you the last time I paid full price for something that wasn’t a necessity like groceries, honestly. And even then a lot of my groceries you will find with big yellow reduced stickers on them.

I am always, always looking for a bargain. If I go into a shop, my eyes are instantly scanning for a big red sale sign, and that’s the first section I’m going to. I will spend ages filing through racks of clothing looking for something that’s going to scream at me, and then checking the price to determine whether it’s screaming at me enough to pay whatever’s on there for it.

This deal hunting trait was passed down to me by my mother: sale shopper extraordinaire! We still to this day message each other whenever we get a great find to show each other, excitedly asking, “HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK I PAID??”. Even with friends who say, “oh I like your earrings” (for example), my response is usually something along the lines of, “thanks! ¬£1!”

Sale shopping is just something that I’ve always enjoyed doing, but in the past few years it has not just been an enjoyable hobby, but a necessity. As is the case with a lot of people and families, financial situations change, and we’ve now been in a position for the past few years where my husband is the sole earner in the house and I’m a SAHM/housewife or whatever you wanna call it these days. Long story short: money is a bit tight. But I have a lot of ways of getting through, even as someone always on the hunt for little things to buy that make me, or other people, happy. So I thought I’d jot them down for you:

HOW TO BE A POOR SHOPAHOLIC:

1. Always keep an eye out for a sale.

This is the most simple one, but I think is the easiest. If you’re not going for something in particular and just want to have a look through the racks, always hit up the sale stuff first. I know that a lot of people find sale sections messy and infuriating, but it really depends on the store, and you never know what you might find in there! I have found things for super low prices because they only had one piece of stock left and it just so happened to be in my size. I have gotten skirts for 50p before now, and even a pair of Marks & Spencer’s jeans for ¬£2.50!

Even if you are going to a store for something in particular, check the sale section to see if they are carrying it there, or something similar at least. Sometimes you can find exactly what you’re looking for!

2. Keep a gift box

Probably my favourite bit of advice. I have two massive plastic tub boxes in my house which are the bane of my husband’s life, but are such a handy thing to have, and I use them thusly:

When I’m looking at sales in a shop (as we have established I am wont to do), things often catch my eye that I think other people would like. It could be a top, jewellery, scarves, bags, anything. Sometimes you just see something beautiful that you wouldn’t necessarily want for yourself, but it’s such a good deal you can’t walk away from. Well I buy these things and pop them into these boxes, amassing a collection of cheaply-sourced gifts to be given at a later date.

If you have kids this is a great idea with toy sales too, and I keep a separate section just for that. My daughter is six and there have been several occasions where you’re looking at your calendar suddenly thinking, “fuck! She has a birthday party to go to today” but you haven’t sorted anything: this is where the gift box comes in handy.

You can amass a lot by spending a little here and there throughout the year, and be surprised when it comes to things like Christmas and you realise you have half as much shopping to do as you thought!

3. Establish where the bargain bins/areas are in your local stores

Another super important one, in my opinion at least.

As a housewife living in the suburbs I don’t get a lot of opportunities to go into town to do actual shopping, but I am popping into places on a daily basis for errands: there’s a Tesco right by my daughter’s school, the Boots pharmacy where I get my prescriptions, a Matalan, the pet shop… and those are my main go-tos within walking distance. But the one thing that I have sought out is where I can find reductions in all of these stores, because not everything will have big red sales signs all over them.

Take for example in Tesco, my rounds for looking for reductions will be as follows:

– buckets/cage near flower section where they put reduced flowers and plants

– end of aisle reductions in toys and stationery

– small section of aisle with reduced stuff in homeward department

– small section of aisle with reduced stuff in beauty/pharmaceuticals

– sale section of F&F clothing

– extra reduction clothing racks by children’s clothes

– fruit and veg reduction section

– bakery reduction section in bakery

– hot food reductions

– chilled foods reduction section

– “miscellaneous” reduction section which usually has non-chilled foods, beverages, and household bits such as fabric softener.

All those places are there, but usually a bit hidden away, or at least not pointed out with big reduction signs. Sometimes you go and there’s absolutely nothing, sometimes you go and they’re brimming with products. It’s all to do with luck of the draw and the time of day (if it’s food). But knowing where these sections are means you can at least stroll past to see if there is anything there.

4. Remember that most things get reduced eventually

This one is particularly about clothes and seasonal products.

I know the feeling: you go into a store and you see something, something that just catches your eye and sings out to you, a piece that you think just BELONGS in your wardrobe and you’re desperate to put there. This happens to me all the time, and I go up to it, swallowing as I reluctantly turn the price tag over: ¬£30! I’m not paying ¬£30 for it. Not only do I probably not need it, but I don’t pay ¬£30 for expensive stuff I DO need.

“But I waaaaaant it!”

Just remember: it will probably get reduced. Now, this IS a dicey game to play. And I’m not saying that people shouldn’t pay whatever price for something if they want it and can afford it, I’m just saying that I don’t even allow that kind of thinking to be in my mindset. Not everything does get reduced, and not everything will go down as much as you want it to. But if it is something you don’t really need and just want, or you can’t really afford, then it’s probably just best to leave it and keep an eye out.

5. NEVER bankrupt yourself

Even if something is a great deal, if you can’t afford it, you can’t afford it. Even just today I had to walk away from an amazing bargain that would have been great to put in my gift box because right now I just don’t have the funds to be spending any excess cash anywhere else.

It happens. And it’s okay. It’s better to keep yourself safe and look after yourself financially and swallow down the sadness of walking away from a great bargain than being left short.

WEEKLY BARGAIN HAUL

So another thing I wanted to begin doing, which you may have seen on my insta stories (@thequeerhousewifeuk) was to share some of my bargain finds with you guys on a weekly basis, just to show you an example of the things you can find when you’re in the right places at the right time. I’ll go through each one with a little explanation and price comparison too.

CYO concealer quad (RRP £6.50, bought for <BF> £1.50)

My skin is very pale, and over the winter I’ve been using a Revolution concealer that just doesn’t work for me now the warmer weather is coming in and my freckles, redness, and tiny bit of colour my face gets is coming out. So finding this was great, and I can use the darker concealer shades as contour, or eye bases for darker makeup looks.

CYO Metallic Eye Sticks (RRP £4.50 each, BF 50p each)

I’m not usually a fan of eye sticks. All the ones I’ve used in the past have great colour payoff but are very smudgy and messy to use and/or disintegrate well before the rest of my makeup does. I thought I’d take a chance on these for being such an amazing steal though, and I’m glad I did! Firstly, they swatch beautifully:

Secondly, I knew within a hour of swatching these in the shop that they were great when they hadn’t rubbed off my hand, and didn’t smudge at all when I rubbed over them with my finger.

The copper shade lasted all day at a kids birthday party on Sunday, and the silver one even lasted me through a bawling sesh watching Avengers Endgame last night!

I would say they’re well worth the money even at the RRP.

My Mood body buffing scrub (RRP £4, BF 50p)

This one was in the clearance section of Boots because there was a slight leak and some product was on the side of the packaging, however the packaging was intact and there appeared to be a full jar of product inside.

This was just another one I bought to try, especially because I’m trying harder as I get older to exfoliate my body more as well as my face, particularly in these months coming into summer.

Bayliss & Harding antibacterial hand gel (RRP £1.95, BF 75p)

This was a purchase I bought because it was necessary. This week I started puppysitting, and he’s teething at the minute and very nippy, so I wanted to make sure I had something on hand to clean any teething scratches on me immediately.

For the most part it smells exactly like any other antibac hand stuff, but you do get a little bit of the fragrance after it’s been on your hands a little bit and stops smelling so much like alcohol.

My Mood good vibes phone case (RRP £6.25, BF £1.50)

This was a purchase made just because I wanted it. I was feeling sad and thought I could use good vibes, so…

F&F at Tesco midi pleated python skirt (RRP £20, BF £4)

I haven’t been able to get a good photo of this yet as I haven’t worn it yet, and I couldn’t find a good photo online, but you can see it as the backgrounds of all the other photos listed above.

I bought this one because I’ve been eyeing it up since it was full price, and just happened to come across it (the last one) on the sale rack reduced right down. Gem of a find!

Total breakdowns

Total RRP: £47.70

Total BF: £9.25

SAVINGS: £38.45

Stay safe, stay well, stay loved.

Kirst xx

HELLO AGAIN

Hi, hello, hey, yo, you catch my drift.

My name is Kirsten, I’m 28 and I… run a blog? Well, I¬†ran a blog and then I fucked off for two years and now I am an aspiring… blog-runner…

This is off to great start, isn’t it?¬†Let’s try again:

Hi!

If you remember me:¬†wow hellow pls contact me because how cool are you?? But I’m gonna go with the likelihood that you don’t, so in the interests of you not going through all my previous post histories to find out¬†who the fuck I am (was? It’s been a while…) I’m gonna use this opportunity to write an introductory blog post about who I am now and what the whole blog this is all about! Well, not sure if I have the right answers to those questions either but¬†here we go.

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*freeze frame, record scratch* 
That’s me. You’re probably wondering how I got here…
(okay yeah, the first thing you should know is I try to use humour as a substitute for lack of personality in real life. On we go.)

So, here’s my face ūüôā
I’m Kirsten, I’m 28 years old. I’m a Scot living in England who has an English accent with a west country twang I’m still trying to learn how to love.
I’m bisexual, I’m polyamorous, I’m mentally ill. Those aren’t personality traits they’re just big ole parts of my life.
Oh, I’m also a fairly recently diagnosed asthmatic too. So that’s new.
I’m married, I’m a mum of one (well five actually, but one human), and I’m also in a long-distance relationship.
I have a dog who is 8.5 but actually a baby, three screaming goblins- sorry, I mean¬†budgies, and one hamster who is the least friendly hamster you met in your life (I’m not joking: touch her and you will bleed).
I have an addiction to houseplants I’m trying to beat.
I fucking love pizza.

I love travelling, especially alone, which is actually pretty fucking handy when you have a partner who lives 1.5 THOUSAND MILES away from you. I’ve also taken more of an interest in actualising my dreams to see more of the world than just dreaming about it recently, too.

I’m a fat-positive, body-positive, feminist, liberal snowflake. So you know, heads up on that.

I love fashion and makeup, but I’m completely broke. If you haven’t seen my blog before then I should let you know that a lot of it was exploring these areas, and you’re likely to see a lot more of this again.
My body shape is changing, so I’ll also probably have some posts about navigating that and my feelings towards those changes.

I have short hair now! Probably the first thing you’ll have noticed if you did follow me from before, or happened to catch a glance at one or two posts. I’ve been living the pixie life for a year and a half now and it’s one of the best things I have¬†ever done.

My blog used to be ran just under my name (so imaginative), which as you may guess from the URL, is Kirsten Sargent, but I’m rebranding myself to The Queer Housewife because that name came to me when I had a headache walking the school run and you know, I’ve got to try and be cool and quirky to keep up with the social media gang half my age.

So, what’s it all about?

I’ve been thinking of restarting this blog for a good six months now, and I keep procrastinating and procrastinating. Fighting those old anxiety demons and such. I even had a few people contact me (that I didn’t know!) out of the blue to tell me they had found old blog posts of mine and that they found them helpful, and would I get back into it, etc. I would never have expected to receive messages like that, but it lit some kinda spark in my brain, and so here I am.

I’ll be honest with you: my blog is a mish-mash. It always was and probably will continue to be. Sometimes I wanna talk about mental illness, sometimes I wanna talk about sexuality, sometimes I wanna talk about body politics, and sometimes I just really like my makeup and wanna shout¬†look at my face! LOOK AT MY FACE!

And that’s that.

If you even made it this far, congrats you get a prize.
I’m just kidding, you get nothing. Except for my sincere gratitude ^___^ UwU

I’m gonna stop waffling now.
I hope to see you soon!

Stay safe, stay well, stay loved.

Kirst x

Thoughts

tw: homophobia


Hello people. I would wish you a happy Sunday but at this moment in time that just doesn't feel right to me.

Once again I have to sit here and write on my blog that I'm sorry about and saddened by the state of the world. Not only for the people currently in Charlottesville, but for the people who have to live in this violent reality every single day. I wish there was more to say, but seeing as I don't think I would be able to do any justice to it, I won't.

I also want to apologise in advance for my writing today. I have something in my head I just really need to vent. Today probably isn't the best time to do it, and I am torn about doing so because I in no way want to present what many people may see as a non-problem when there are such scary realities happening right now. I in no way face the same oppression as most people in this world, and I hope I don't present myself as such.

————————–

You may have noticed (or not) that I haven't written in a couple of weeks, and there is a very specific reason for this. If you read my "Pride" post, you will know my romantic… situation, shall we call it? If you haven't, I'll very quickly break it down: I'm polyamorous, which means I don't believe love only has to be between two people, and I don't think monogamy is the only viable relationship option. I'm in a relationship with two people, one of whom I'm married to, and the other I've been in a relationship with for about 8 months and who lives 1.5 thousand miles away.

Last week, I flew that distance to go see them in person for the first time.

We spent 5 days together, and it was one of the best periods of time in my entire life. I was, and am, ridiculously happy about us. After all the frets from others (and the lesser but still existing niggling doubts of myself) of whether it was 'real' or 'safe' or whether everything would be okay, it was perfect.

I'll point out here that since that last aforementioned blog post, I have had discussions with several people about my 'other' relationship. Almost every single person has reacted the same: a little concerned, needing explanations, and in the end, happy so long as we are all happy (and then having a separate conversation with my husband just to double check that he is, in fact, "okay"). I am so incredibly lucky that I have such supporting friends and family, especially when others (my partner included) are not afforded the same.

So, I spent five days away and it affirmed everything I already knew: I was completely in love with them, and they with me. And for the alleviation of doubt, because I know this is what everyone wonders: no, it does not change the way I feel about my husband, and no, it does not change the way they feel about theirs (they are also married).

I was incredibly upset about leaving, and then I missed my transfer flight on the way home, which, on top of already being hormonal and emotional, just made me a fit of tears for the whole day. And then, something completely unexpected happened.

I was with a family member, who didn't yet know about the situation, and whom I actually hadn't even come out as bi to because I just assume people know… and they became the first person who reacted negatively to it.

On a day when I was already upset, coming off the back of one of the happiest times of my life, I was told the following:

 

"I knew there was more to this"

"You've always been so weird"

"I always knew there was something wrong with you"

"I can't believe you've just flown thousands of miles to fuck some girl"

"Does [my husband] have gay tendencies? Actually don't tell me, I don't want to know"

"I can't believe you"

"It's just fucking weird"

"Well I guess it's better you went there than [my daughter] waking up to some bird in your bed"

"So you're gay? I was surprised when you married a bloke"

"So… what? You all just share a bed?"

"It's weird that [my husband] is straight. I could understand it if he liked blokes too. Then you could have an arrangement"

"I knew there was something weird when I saw you with some girl on facebook. Actually I didn't even know if it was a girl or a boy. Whatever."

"I'm over it now. Can we go gay clubbing? I love gay clubbing. Guys buy me drinks and then I let them down after."

 

I'll say it again: I don't expect everyone to understand. I don't expect everyone to be okay. I don't expect everyone to want to discuss it and ask questions and get to know them. I don't expect everyone to change their world view to fit mine. I don't even really expect people to even take an interest, for the most part.
At the end of the day, this relationship directly affects exactly five people: me, my husband, my daughter, them, and their husband. And yes, that may be "weird", but to us it feels absolutely normal and absolutely right. We love each other. All of us. I may be in love with them, but I absolutely love and consider their husband part of my family too now, the same way they feel about mine and my daughter.

However

That doesn't make the things I had to hear hurt less. To know that deep down it's nobody else's business doesn't help ease the stabbing feeling in my gut to once again be told in my life that I am weird, that there is something wrong with me. Do you know how many times I've had to hear that?
And yes, I've always known there was something different too, and as I said previously, I have been so happy in finding my identity because it helps me come to terms with that. It helps me understand my past actions, it helps me understand my feelings. It helps me feel that there is somewhere I fit in. And now? I'm back to not knowing.
I still love the person who said those things, because although I was upset, I was not entirely surprised, and I know that somewhere inside it comes from a protective and caring aspect of their personality. I know they love me. I know they are concerned for my safety. I know that my worldview is completely different to theirs.

But If someone felt comfortable enough to say that to my face, what are people saying behind my back? I am so, so, so lucky. I have the entire world in my hands. My husband is perfect, my daughter is perfect, my partner is perfect. And yet…

Here I am. My stomach in knots. Fourteen years old again. Too weird. Something wrong with me. Not worthy of the love I have.

kirsten-xo

July 2017 GlossyBox Review

Oh look! I finally found some motivation to write a blog post!

Good day beautiful people and welcome back to my fave type of post: the one where I can just play with new products and boast/complain about them!

If you read my last Glossy review, you’ll have seen that I was really impressed with my last box, and this time isn’t going to be any different either. I really feel like GlossyBox have been hitting the nail on the head with their products recently, and the balance provided with the range in the boxes. So let’s look at this one together!

Once again we have a¬†special box this month (or what I would call special just because the box is slightly different) and I¬†looooove¬†it. I might have mentioned before that although I love Glossy, I’m not¬†all too keen on their pale pink and black colour scheme, and so I’m always excited to get a box that’s a little different. Especially because I end up using them for other things so they don’t go to waste (seriously, I have about nine in my bedroom being utilised right now).

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This month’s box is coral pink with metallic gold writing on the lid, and inside the Glossy logos, the ribbon and tissue paper are all white. Just a much nicer colour combo (in my humble opinion).

But if you thought the box was gorgeous, wait until you see what’s inside it.

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Once again, the balance of products is great, in my eyes. Last month, we had 3 skincare, 2 makeup and one hair. This month, we have 1 skincare, 2 makeup, 1 hair and 1 brush.
So without further ado, let’s get into it.

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MonuSpa First Defence Soothing After Sun (RRP £19.95; approx. £11.08 for this size)

The good: soothing, smells beautiful, cruelty-free
The bad: none so far

As you may have seen from my Edinburgh post, I went and got myself a little bit burnt. On holiday. In Scotland. Crazy right? So aftersun is probably just what I need right now.

So far I’ve encountered no problems with this. It’s really nice. It feels nice, it smells nice, lots of natural ingredients and cruelty free, and I also discovered from the website that it was formulated down the road from me at Cheltenham Spa… so it’s local too.

I wouldn’t buy it again, simply because of the price point, but it’s a nice product.


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Bella Pierre Banana Setting Powder (RRP £25)

The good: lightweight, non-cakey
The bad: the size

I’ll be real: I’ve only used this once so far so my review of it may not be entirely accurate. I’m gonna have to give it a few more tries before I can truly say.

However, so far I really like this. I had been looking for a loose setting powder for a while, and as if by magic, GlossyBox sends me one. Hurrah!
This banana setting powder is really really lightweight, and after my first try, I really like it. I have a bad problem with powders caking my makeup no matter how I apply them, especially on my little under-eye wrinkles and my nose. This one didn’t, and it feels really lightweight on my face.
It’s a yellow-toned powder so it’s good at combating redness, however I would watch what foundations you put it over, as if you’re really pale like me and use too much, it will just look yellow.

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The only complaint I have with this product so far is that it’s a small amount of product for the price. This is the¬†full size and it’s 4g, which is not much at all for the price.


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Cute Balms Strawberry Tinted Lip Balm (RRP £3.99)

The good: cute packaging, smells and looks nice
The bad: no product info, more like a tint/lipstick

I never know what to say about products like this. There are so many on the market and they all tend to retail at low price points, so there’s rarely things that are distinguishable about them.

This is a cute item to throw in your handbag just in case you want a little colour for your lips or cheeks, but I personally don’t find it moisturising enough to be considered a balm. If I was using it for that purpose, I would need to reapply frequently.

It is however, a nice little product with cute packaging that I’ll keep.


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Papanga Spiral Hairbands (RRP £4.99)

The good: hardwearing, cute
The bad:¬†I won’t get any use out of them

I won’t be able to say much about these, as I really don’t like these spiral headbands. I have some already which I received in a beauty box before, so I already know they don’t work very well on my hair and I just much prefer normal hair bobbles.

The clear one is really cute though and I can see why people wear them as bracelets when they’re not using them! These won’t go to waste though, as I’ll be passing them on to my partner who uses them ūüôā


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Spectrum Collections small fan brush A10 (RRP £4.99)

The good: pretty, soft ūüôā
The bad: none

Yay! I’m always so excited to get brushes in my beauty boxes, and I like that the three I’ve gotten from Glossy over the past year have all been different. But this one is particularly exciting because it’s by a brand I already know and love!

I actually purchased some brushes from Spectrum a while back, which I wrote a review on you can find here (hint hint read it hint hint)¬†and I’m still enjoying the ones I purchases! One of them did break, but I do suspect that’s due to my terrible brush washing skills and allowing the water to reach the glue on the handle.

I don’t have another fan brush, so I was a little skeptical about the application, however after using it today, I can attest to how good it is ūüėÄ It’s pretty great and well worth the price!


Total worth: £50.05

Overall thoughts:¬†This was a fantastic box month! I’m really happy with it and will only not get use out of one of the products, which will happily go live with someone else anyway ūüėÄ

So what did the rest of you think about your GlossyBoxes this month? Would you get one if you don’t already? Let me know!

Until next time ‚̧

kirsten-xo

This Girl Can’t (But Did it Anyway)

Good morning, good morning, and if you’re wondering about the lack of posts recently, it’s because I’m currently on holiday in Scotland! I was actually meant to write and set up a queue before I went, but as happens to the best of us before going on holiday, time slipped away. So here I am writing to you lot at 6am in the morning from the wondrously comfortable bed of my hotel room!


If I hadn’t mentioned this before (I have a brain like a sieve, do bear with me), I am from Scotland. I was born in Glasgow, raised on the West coast until I was 7, moved to England, then moved back to Glasgow at 18 and stayed there again until I was 25. Most of my family still live up here, and this week we’re up visiting my Mum, but she decided it would be nice to go to Edinburgh for a few days.

I’ve been to Edinburgh several times, but I would in no way claim to really “know” the City. My husband has only ever been to the zoo, so we thought it would be a nice trip. And so on the day when my Mum and stepdad offered to look after our daughter, I suggested to Ell, “let’s climb Arthur’s seat”.


(We later discovered that wasn’t the highest point)

Arthur’s seat, if you are not familiar, is the highest craggy point in a set of hills that form Holyrood Park, just outside of the centre. The cliffs are the remains of a volcano which shifted several millions of years ago, and the crags are formed of basalt lava flow (the same as the rocks Edinburgh castle is formed on). I’ve never actually gone there, and Elliot loves a good hill walk, so thought it would be the best way for him to see the city for the first time.

I did a bit of research and discovered there were different routes with two for an easy walk, but I also found a website of a guy who runs tours there saying it wasn’t the best way to go for scenery. So even though I’m not fit at all, this is the way we decided to go.



It’s a beautiful walk, it really is. But let me tell you, by half way up I did not think I was going to make it, in any which way. If you’ve ever done this walk, you might find me ridiculous. It’s described as “relatively easy”, but I’m guessing that that is, for the most part, not aimed at 230lb unfit people such as myself.



When I say I’m unfit, I really do mean unfit. I’m not talking “doesn’t go the gym” unfit, I’m talking “doesn’t do anything” unfit. I’m a SAHM, and the only exercise I get is walking my daughter to nursery or to the shops.

This meant that I stopped so many times, I cried, I swore, I said I couldn’t do it.

When we got to the last quarter, Elliot tried to reassure me that we didn’t need to go to the very top. We were at a point where there were already incredible views, we were so near the precipice, and I was having a lie-down because I was feeling sick. 

But I was determined.


It wasn’t because I had anything to prove. It wasn’t because I felt embarrassed about not feeling I could make it. It was simply because I wanted to. I was wrong to do it.

After I had sat for a bit, had some water, and taken in the views already available, I got up and began to climb again. The strangest thing was that I found the last part of the climb most enjoyable. Elliot and I once again decided not to follow the path, and were scrambling up the crags to the peak. And I’ll admit, once I got there, I had a little cry.


I was tired, I was red, I was sweaty, my hair was a mess. It was busy. The views were beautiful. It was windy as all hell. We spent a little time there, took photos, were thankful to be there, and then made our way down. I thought everything was fine.


I was expecting the way down to be easy. It wasn’t.

I lost my sense of direction and which way the route I had looked up suggested I follow, and ended up going back down a way that was extremely steep with a very narrow path. This wasn’t so bad, but what was, was the fact that it was an extremely dry day, there was loose shingle and dusty earth. This made everything incredibly slippy.

I fell twice.

The first time, I was mucking about and I fell and hurt my knee and my butt, but it wasn’t too bad. Elliot shook off my embarrassment by sitting down next to me and taking selfies, pretending it was on purpose (like that scene from Scrubs).


The second time, it was on an extremely narrow bit with a sharp drop to the left, and honestly, if Ell hadn’t been there, I would have gone over. That shook me. And my knees went into a state of absolute jellification. You know that feeling like your legs are vibrating, like you’re bouncing them up and down when you’re actually not? Yeah, that.


I took it slow, and eventually we got to a grassy knoll about half way down. And despite getting to the top of the crag, this was the most idyllic spot yet.


The path we had taken down was really quiet (and now I can probably tell why), and then you reach a grassy bit that has a cliff on the left, looking down at the lower paths of Holyrood Park running down the middle. We were on a bit of short dry grass and lichen which was really soft, the wind wasn’t hitting us as hard now, it was sunny and quiet, and we were watching kestrels hunt right by us. We lay down and stayed there, in perfect happiness and rest, for about half an hour. I could have slept, honestly.


When I eventually managed to get back up, I felt a little better, but still was annoyed by how far we had to go to reach the bottom, but the path was easier now. And by the time we did, I was euphoric.

But then we had to walk ages into Edinburgh. We were meant to be meeting someone, and instead, I was getting the bus back to the hotel myself because I was so ill. I had pushed myself way too hard, and I was out for the rest of the night and most of the next day. I shouldn’t have been so stubborn.

My main point is this:

I do not buy in to the good fatty, bad fatty narrative. I’m no more of a person because I chose to climb a hill rather than go have lunch in McDonalds. I ate McDonalds for dinner that night, actually. And I didn’t earn it either, by the way. Fat people are allowed to exist in all forms, and funnily enough, we all have different likes and fitness levels and activities we enjoy.

There are fat people who could do that walk easily and enjoy it, there are fat people who can struggle the whole way, like me, and there are fat people who could never even dream of attempting it. All are valid and important, beautiful identities.

And do you know what? I’m never gonna do that again. I climbed it because I thought my husband would enjoy it. I climbed it because I wanted to do it once. I’ve done that now, and that’s it. And the next time I’m in Edinburgh, I’ll go and have a nice meal instead.

Am I proud of myself for doing it? Yes. But I’m proud because for me it was hard. I’m proud because I set myself a goal and I did it (something that may seem mundane for most, but is a huge achievement with my depression).

It took us ages. I cried. I threw up a little. Really, I couldn’t do it. I probably should have stopped. But I did anyway because I’m a stubborn cow. And do you know what? If you can’t, it’s okay. I won’t do it again. I’m not built for that kind of exercise. And that’s okay too ūüôā

Kirsten xo

Working on (My) Fat Positivity

tw: talk of mental illness, body issues


Good morning all ūüôā I hope you had a marvellous weekend, and the beginning of the week hasn’t been too rough on you.

Today I wanted to write about something that seems to be a constant topic in my life, because of the online community I surround myself with: fat positivity. Note that I say fat positivity here and not body positivity, which I think to be a different beast entirely now.

Sometimes it feels like I’m dealing with very opposing sides of my brain in the way I approach life. I have the side of my brain that I see as the “actual me” and the side that I see as purely my mental illness. Distinguishing the two can be hard.
Some people choose to accept the mental illness side of them and amalgamate it into one version of themselves, and although to a certain extent I think that can be very positive, I frequently choose not to do this, because –¬†in my own opinion –¬†I see it as normalising abnormal behaviours I don’t like about myself that are a result of my mental illness.

The “actual me”, for the most part, is the me you see here on this blog. The “actual me” is opinionated, happy, weird, loves their body, loves themselves, loves the world, and is motivated to promote and use positive behaviours in their approach to life.
It’s the me that looks at a picture of themselves and says, “wow I look hot”, “look how great my makeup is”, “look at that cute belly roll”. It’s the me that wants to encourage other people to love themselves so wholly and entirely that they don’t feel the need to participate in the performative art that is “fitting in” to societal expectation, whether it be regarding clothing, makeup, weight, sexual or gender identification.

I don’t want to go into what the other side of my brain is like, simply because I don’t want to trigger anyone, if anything. But if you could imagine the very worst things you could say to someone, that’s what my own brain does/says to me on the¬†daily.

(I’m obviously, not at all saying that people who don’t suffer with mental illness don’t suffer from insecurities, have bad days, days where they don’t like themselves or their bodies. All of that happens and all of that is valid too.)

The reason why I point this out is because it makes writing and promoting fat positivity hard, and I very often feel like a fraud. Because the “negative me” is the one I live with most often on the daily, I have to try really hard to push through and find the part of me that is authentic to be able to write, to be able to interact with people, to be able to look at myself in the same way I look at others online.
I’ve seen many people try to use this mentality to negate fat people’s existences before. To negate their own existences.¬†I have seen people say, “well, you feel this way because you know it’s not right/normal”, “if you’re that unhappy, why don’t you do something about it?”
It’s very hard to try and explain to people that are in that mindset that I am¬†not¬†unhappy because I am fat. I am unhappy because I have¬†depression, and yes, that infiltrates every part of my personality, including my fatness. My mental illness tries to blame my unhappiness on everything, and I mean¬†everything, but itself. But I am not unhappy because I am fat.¬†I am not unhappy because I am fat.

I went on a night out last month. I had had a hair crisis the night before, but I had kind of rectified it, was liking the new hair colour, was feeling alright.

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When I tell you that I had spent hours looking at outfits that day, I mean it. Literal hours. Just to find something, just to find one thing that I liked the look of on me. Those days happen to the best of us. So it goes.
I had this sheer top I bought from Asos last year, but I hadn’t worn it because the sleeves were a little too tight, and I didn’t really like how it looked with a vest under it. I chopped the sleeves off (because why not?) and tried it on by itself and¬†loved it. My partners breathed a collective sigh of relief at the fact that I had settled on something, and I was feeling good.

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But after getting ready, after that smile you see above, after feeling happy and excited to go out with my husband, my daughter got ill, and I was having to go out alone. That’s when the anxiety kicked in.

Suddenly I hated everything again. I hated the outfit, I hated my hair, I hated my makeup, I hated¬†myself. I hated myself with such deep and ferocious intensity that had it not been so close to when I had to leave, I would have not ended up going. But that wouldn’t have been fair. It wouldn’t have been fair to my friend on their birthday. It wouldn’t have been fair to myself.

I want to take a little aside here to point something out: obviously my husband usually takes photos of me for this blog. On this day, I wasn’t taking pics with the intent on blogging them, but simply because I feel like my body dysmorphia is so bad that I don’t get an “accurate reading” of myself when I look in the mirror, and so I make my husband take pics of me in an outfit,¬†before every single time we leave the house, just so I can see myself through someone else’s eyes, as it were. That’s why the pic above was taken, and that’s why the pic below was taken.

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My genuine smile of excitement and happiness, me stood there confident in my bare feet and leggings, turned into genuine fear. I was convinced I couldn’t go out¬†like that, and put on a kimono to cover myself up a bit more (knowing I wouldn’t be able to find another top I liked in time). Obviously the kimono ended up looking boss, cos it looks boss with literally everything. But check that difference in my face.

The point is though, that I still did it. I still went out like that. I still had a nice night. I still spent barely any time clutching my cover around me. And I still saw it as a victory.

It’s not easy to love yourself when you have a voice that tells you literally every day that you’re better off dead. It’s not easy to be positive when you have an illness that tries to strip every bit of light from your life. And yes, when it comes to myself and m body, it is a process. It’s a struggle. It’s a constant fight for self-acceptance. But let me reiterate this one more:¬†I am not unhappy because I am fat.

I am, and always will be, unequivocally, fat positive.

kirsten-xo

p.s. lipstick is the metallic Happi by Lime Crime. Isn’t it wonderful?

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15 Again: A Makeup & Outfit OTD

Good morning!

How’s everyone doing today? What are we doing today? I’m listening to the San Junipero soundtrack and crying. So it goes.

Sharing with you a lil makeup and outfit of the day on this beautiful July day. This was on a cooler day than today, otherwise I would be sweating my butt off. Especially because I was sat in a car for two hours on this day! Okay, maybe I still sweat my butt off. So it goes.

Does the title confuse you? Yeah, me too. Just kidding; I wrote it. Want some context?

Basically, I’ve never really fallen into a particular clothing “style”. You may have seen this already from the eclectic range I’ve provided for you on this here blog. And by¬†“eclectic range” I mean, “mish-mash of no taste”.

I’m always envious of people who have true style, their own look. You know? The ones who you are always going to know what variation of something they’ll be wearing, and who rock their look down to a tee. I think the closest I am to this is “black leggings”.
Look, I’m basic. I fucking love a pair of black leggings. Once I stopped giving a shit about whether I was “too fat” to wear them, I realised the comfort I had been denying myself for years. You know? Cos fat girls are meant to look either ultra femme or ultra butch. We can’t put on sweatpants and messy buns and have it be a lewk like the skinny folks can.

Anyway. There was a time before that in-betweeny¬†I hate my body¬†time and now where I didn’t care what I looked like and just wore what I like. I guess back then there would be times I would try to conform in my own way, some ways I wanted to be like my friends and my sister, and other ways in which I didn’t want to be like anyone. So sometimes I had some¬†weird outfits. But there was an overall go-to for me: a band/rock-looking tee with jeans and converse.

That’s what I thought made me look cool. Do you wanna see how desperately¬†uncool I was?

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There you are. Bask in me in my weird 15 year-old glory. I’m also wearing tights under those jeans. Lord knows why.

Anyway that’s the context. I never did fine that one style, and now I’m kind of coming to terms with that. Much like my music taste, I can never settle for listening to one thing exclusively, I’m trying to not¬†look one way exclusively.

I’ve talked too much. Here we go.

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I’m gonna be real with you here guys: I genuinely think I’ve had these converse since I was about 15 too. If you don’t wear them every day, these shoes fucking¬†last mate. Well, for me they have. My husband has big ole size 12 feet and he walks out Converse in 3 months.

Top | Leggings are Primark | Shoes (this colour isn’t sold anymore tho) | Phone case

The one thing that¬†is different compared to being 15, is being able to actually do half-decent makeup (though I still can’t do my hair).

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Base | Contour | Blush | Highlight | Brows | Eyes | Mascara | Lips

And there you have it. Here’s my 26 year-old attempt at recapturing a little “don’t fuck with me” attitude of over a decade ago. And I didn’t even look like that all the time. I¬†wish I had looked like this when I was 15.

What did you look like when you were 15? How has your style changed? Let me know!

Until next time ūüėČ

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<<Rawr means I love you in dinosaur>>
(any old scene kids in the house?)

kirsten-xo

June 2017 Empties

Good morning all!

Have you ever had one of those times where everything seems to run out at once? That seems to be what’s happening to me at the minute… but it’s actually not so bad because it means I get to do one of these posts, which I have never done before!

So today, I’ll be looking at my empties that have accumulated over the past month, and reviewing what I liked, what I didn’t like, and whether I would repurchase.

Please note¬†that there will probably be things on here I didn’t like but still used all of. This is because I am a cheapskate, and I like to get worth out of products ūüėȬ†I MEAN… I need to use it all to give a thorough and fair review. Yeah, that’s it. Let’s go with that one.

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Let’s go!

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Origins GinZing Eye Cream (£20.50 full size)

A little goes a hell of a long way with this little guy! This sample is only 5ml and it has lasted me¬†ages: I think coming up for a year of using it once a day! Or maybe I wasn’t using enough product? I dunno. I only felt like I needed a tiny amount of this.

This eye cream is not as rich as other ones I have used, and it appears to have very very slight shimmer particles in it, which I didn’t notice on skin at all. I imagine that this is to combat the dark circles thing, however I fortunately don’t suffer with dark circles, so I can’t comment on the veracity of the claim that it helps with that problem.

In fact, for me, I mainly see eye cream as a preventative thing at this point in my life. I’m in my late twenties, and I have started noticing some fine lines underneath my eyes, but it’s nothing major. I don’t know if this has helped keep them at bay or not, really, but I prefer to use eye cream than not.

One of the comments I would make about this product is that when I had bad skin flare-ups I couldn’t use it because it stung the skin around my eyes, so it’s not always going to be the best product for people who have sensitive skin, particularly around the eye area.

The full size of this product is 15ml, three times the size of this sample, and I therefore think the price point is incredibly fair.

In terms of repurchasing, I would definitely do so if I had no issues with eye sensitivity, however because I do, I think it’s worthwhile looking for something that works a bit better with my skin.

 

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Caudalie Vinosource Moisturising Sorbet (£23 full size)

I really liked this moisturiser. The texture was a little more “whipped” than usual moisturisers, which meant it didn’t feel heavy on the skin. It also absorbed quickly and was nice for morning skincare, as I could then put other products and makeup on top of it without feeling too heavy or greasy. It also smelt amazing.

This sample size was 10ml and lasted me less than a month using it once a day. The full size is 40ml and I estimate that’s probably gonna last about 3 months, so I think it’s a pretty high price point in terms of that. Obviously there are more expensive moisturisers out there on the market, but I also think there are comparable ones to this at lower price points.

I won’t be repurchasing this for the reasons I talked about when I received it in this post.

 

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Merci Handy Hand Cleansing Gel РNew Wave (£2.90)

This is a nice little hand sanitiser. I always like to carry hang gel around in my bad just in case, and this one smells much nicer than other ones I’ve tried. Other than that, it seems to work in exactly the same way as other antibacterial hand gels.

It seems that literally the only thing that’s different about this compared to other antibac hand gels is the fact that it comes in different fragrances, and it charges you 3 times as much for the privilege. That’s not justifiable to me. I wouldn’t be unhappy to receive this again from someone else or to receive it in a beauty box, but I won’t purchase it.

 

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Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Gel Foundation РVanille Clair (£10.99)

This foundation has lasted me a long time! I don’t use it everyday, but probably a couple of times a week. The reason it isn’t my go-to is because it is incredibly sheer: definitely not for you if you prefer foundation with good coverage, which I tend to prefer because of my acne and scarring. It is good to pick up though if you’re having a good skin day, or you really want a much lighter makeup look.

I have the lightest shade that this foundation comes in, and it’s still slightly too dark for me, but I do find that with almost all drugstore foundations. If you’re incredibly pale it might not work. It’s also quite yellow based instead of neutral, so that’s another thing to bear in mind.

The foundation itself smells nice, it blends well, and it does feel somewhat moisturising on the skin. It’s been a nice secondary option to have in my makeup kit, but I won’t be repurchasing.

 

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Sunday Riley Martian Mattifying Melting Water-Gel Toner (£48 full size)

This toner is unlike any other I’ve ever used. Firstly, it’s applied from one of those compression pumps, where the product is pushed up from the bottom (if you know what I mean). Secondly, it’s bright green. Thirdly, it smells strongly (an unusual but lovely combination of green tea and witch hazel). Fourthly, it has an unusual texture, going from a light gel to a very thin water-like consistency on skin.

At first, I didn’t like this¬†at all. ¬†I think it was simply because it was unlike any toner I had used before, which are usually very water products applied with cotton pads to me that don’t leave any residue on the skin or have other visible properties. This one does.
It’s created for acne prone and oily skin, and it dries very quickly after application and does have a mattifying quality to it, leaving your skin surface feeling more like after you’ve applied a primer.

I applied it once a day using a cotton pad during my morning skincare routine, and it didn’t take long for me to love it. I can’t say that I actively saw it do anything to my skin in terms of my acne, however it did make my skin less oily and I would say works great alone as a primer.

The only downside to this product is that the price point is very high. I would definitely repurchase this, should I have nearly 50 quid to drop on a toner, but unfortunately I do not.

 

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Paul & Joe Moisturising Foundation Primer Р3 Creme (£24 full size)

First off, I absolutely¬†love the packaging of this product. This is just the sample, but it is so pretty, and the full size bottles are even prettier. I just really like the vintage style of it, looking like it wouldn’t go amiss on a 20s dresser.

The actual product itself is runnier than other primers I have used Р very much a liquid Рbut it feels very silky and applies smoothly to skin. It has a very faint but pleasant powdery perfume smell, and a very, very slight shimmer to it which is not very noticeable.

It’s a fantastic base for makeup, and has worked well as a primer for me in keeping my makeup in place for several hours at a time, however it is not one of those primers that have fantastic results by itself in terms of minimising pores or smoothing out skin.
On my skin, it works better as a base primer than the much raved about Smashbox one!

This sample was 10ml, and using it maybe a couple of times a week has lasted me a good eight months. The full size is 30ml, and with the price I think it’s entirely comparable to other primers out there, so I’d definitely repurchase this.

 

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Matthew Williamson Sheer Eau de Toilette

To be honest with you guys, I don’t even want to think about how old this perfume is, but I will tell you this much: Matthew Williamson doesn’t make perfume anymore. I’m actually incredibly sad about this, because I¬†loved his brand when I was younger. I had his wallpaper on my wall, I had his handbags, I wore his perfumes, and I even had the incredibly expensive candles he used to sell because they smelt so good.

I really do wish he still made perfumes, because this one was gorgeous, but luckily I still have my parfum of his which is twice the size of this. I’ll definitely be sad when that one goes!

 

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Elgon Deliwash Cleansing Conditioner (£14)

I’m going to try to be brief with this one, as it’s the one I was talking about at the beginning when I mentioned not liking products but using them anyway.

It’s meant to be a cowash you use everyday. I’ve used 2-in-1 products before, and this does nothing. It’s a rubbish cowash, and it’s not even good as a conditioner in its own right. The reviews are amazing for it, which I’m totally shocked by, so give it a go if you must, but it did nothing for me.

Plus points for the packaging which is cute, and the smell which is amazing. Other than that: trash.

 

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Figs & Rouge Hydra-Activ Smart Nutrient Day Cream (£28 full size)

I absolutely love this cream. When I first received it, I wasn’t that into it, but having used it on my skin for a while now, I have grown to love it more and more.

It smells amazing and it makes my skin feel totally moisturised and silky. If you put slightly too much on, it will end up feeling heavy, so watch out for that, but in general it’s amazing.

This size is 20ml and it lasted me much, much longer than the Caudalie one, as I think it spread better and I needed less product. The full size is 50ml, and so I think ¬£28 is a comparable price point, and if I had the funds I would definitely repurchase. I won’t be doing so right now, as I’m currently testing other skin creams, but we’ll see in the future.


 

So all in all, I’ve finished up a mixed bag of products this month. What do you guys think? Have you used any of these products before too, and what did¬†you think of them?

Until next time folks ūüėČ

kirsten-xo

P R I D E

Note: CW for identity struggles, specifically relating to bisexuality and polyamory. I will be using the terms bisexual/bisexuality as those are the terms I use to self-identify, and I am on the side of discourse that does not see bisexuality as an exclusionary term. Because I am attracted to all genders and not an outdated binary, you may find it easier to see this as being about pansexuality.


It’s now been over a year since I last had a post relating to sexuality on here, the last one being this blog post I wrote about the Pulse tragedy and what that meant to me as a bisexual. But seeing as it’s PRIDE MONTH once again, I felt it necessary to take the time out to write once again about the pride and privilege I have in my own identity.

The thing about sexuality is, that it’s fluid. People can identify one way at one point in their lives, and as something completely different at another. And I feel like this is often an under-represented aspect of the LGBTQ+ spectrum; that it is just that: a spectrum.

Gender and sexuality are not binary. They never have been. They have just been perceived as such in history’s eyes. It is not as simple as gay/straight, male/female… and despite all the shit that’s going on in the world, and the oppression that those who do not fit into this binary mould still face, I’m pretty proud to be part of a world that is starting to realise this, and part of a community whose voices interweave as one to shout for representation and the pride we have in our identities.

As I discussed before, it took me a long time to even realise I was bisexual, and even once I had, there was a feeling of “too little, too late” because I was already in a long-term relationship, and thus there seemed like no point in “coming out” or anything.
This can be a very jarring feeling.
My bisexuality is very inherently a part of my personality, and shapes who I am as a human being. I think that that can be a difficult concept for straight people to understand, and it’s something I was struggling with at the time of that last blog post, which I think is evident. I am simultaneously part of a community, and yet excluded from it at the same time. I have even seen posts this year saying that bisexuals in “straight relationships” shouldn’t even be allowed to attend Pride events.

I’m not going to go into a breakdown of a disagreement with that statement. It’s clear I disagree with it, however I do also understand the thoughts that go behind that from the people who would say such. As I have addressed, there is privilege that comes with my identity, and I guess that means that many LGBTQ+ people do not see a cis girl in a “straight” relationship as contributing to the community in any way.

I have thought about bisexual erasure and invisibility* a lot.

As with last year, it hurts, it¬†really hurts, if I feel anyone is in any way trying to strip me of my identity. And I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out why this is. Although I can acknowledge and understand a criticism that comes from other LGBTQ+ people as to why my identity is objectively less important as a cis girl in a relationship with a cis guy, it still feels important to me, and I still feel passionately, intensely, emotionally invested in matters that affect the LGBTQ+ community. Whenever I am made to feel like I’m not allowed to care about these issues, it feels like someone is ripping out a part of me.

Bi erasure/invisibility isn’t always about the under or lack of representation of bisexual (or pansexual) identities. Sometimes it takes the form of erasing someone’s identity completely from themselves. Being married made me feel very excluded from the LGBTQ+ community because lots of people made me feel like I had “made a choice”, and this¬†did not sit well with me.
If you’re bisexual and enter into a relationship, you have not made a choice about your sexual identity. You’re not straight if you’re a bisexual who enters into an opposite-sex relationship, and you’re not gay if you’re a bisexual who enters into a same-sex relationship.¬†Bisexuals are not confused. In either of those relationship forms, we still exist as bisexual individuals.

It wasn’t until this past year why I realised why this sat so uncomfortably with me.

There are plenty of people in relationships, plenty of people in marriages, who are attracted to others, and who do not have a problem with their partner being attracted to others. There are also a lot of people who do. And there are even people who claim not to have any attraction to others when in monogamous relationships.
My husband and I have always been in a relationship of complete and utter honesty. There is nothing I don’t share with him. And I truly mean nothing. I’m not presenting this as in ‘ideal’ model in any way by the way; relationships exist in a dizzying variety of models and this is just ours. But what this means for our relationship is a complete honesty when it comes to this particular subject.
I am completely and utterly in love with my husband, and I also always have and always will be attracted to others simultaneously, regardless of gender. I don’t like to label my relationship by things I am¬†allowed to do, because our relationship is a partnership and not to do with ownership, but the easiest way to describe this is to say it is permissible by my partner for me to be actively attracted to others, and vice versa.

Because I am always actively engaged in attraction to others, I feel like my sexuality is not passive. I’m not a bisexual woman in a relationship with a man and not attracted to anyone else. I’m a bisexual woman in a relationship with a man who is actively attracted to other people, including those of other genders.
Obviously I am in no way saying that if you are in a relationship that sounds more like the former that you are not bisexual, or that your identity is not important. But I do feel that it has an impact on how you are going to react to certain things.
The reason why I bring this up is because I thought this was the way it was for everyone: that active attraction to others was normal, and permissible.

And then something else happened which threw my own identity into a completely different light: I fell in love with someone other than my husband, and entered into a polyamorous relationship.

…. that might be a lot to process; I’ll give you a minute.

 

 

You good? Good.

 

Writing in full details about my other relationship isn’t something I’m ready to do completely at this time. That isn’t because I’m not proud of it, and it’s certainly not something I am ashamed of in the slightest, I just don’t think it’s time.

But what has happened in the past 7 months that I have known this person, is that I have had to acknowledge and accept another part of my identity… and in several ways that has been completely affirming, and completely terrifying.

I am so incredibly lucky that all parties involved in my relationships have made this year so beautifully easy. Granted, it is a long-distance relationship, which in a sense makes things easier to adjust to, but coming to terms with polyamory as an identity, especially when you have never been in a polyamorous relationship before, is understandably a confusing time.
It’s a time where you question yourself, your relationship with your existing partner, your relationship with your new partner, and even your relationship with your friends and family. Polyamory is far from “the norm”, and you dissect every relationship you have with someone to work out whether it’s “okay” to tell them.
Once again, this doesn’t come from a place of shame in your relationship, but rather an acknowledgement that you are “deviating” from many peoples’ moral compasses. It’s nobody else’s business to judge another person’s relationship/s, but first and foremost one must think of their own safety: mentally or otherwise.

Something that many bisexuals have to deal with is questioning their own identity based on the prejudices others have of them. As I already spoke of, the common misconception is that bisexuals are confused, and this is not helped when people want to break down your relationship history.
If you’ve only ever been with someone of the same sex, then surely you must be gay. If you’ve only ever been with someone of the opposite sex, then surely you must be straight.
It doesn’t work like that. You are bisexual if you are bisexual, regardless of the genders of the notches on your bedpost or any short-term or long-term partners you’ve had.

It can feel very affirming, as a bisexual, to find someone of another gender to one that you are used to dating.

That might seem like an unusual thing to say, and in a sense it is rather sad, because you don’t need to be “actively fulfilling” your preferences by actively entering into a relationship with someone.
But the sad truth is that the criticism¬†can bog you down. You¬†can start to feel like you are not who you thought you were, not part of the community you thought you were. Because¬†surely if you really¬†were what you thought you were then you’d actively be doing something that somehow proved it? And¬†surely if you’ve never done that and then marry someone you’ve picked a side and your identity is then inconsequential for the rest of your life?
It’s sad, it sucks, it hurts.

And if you’re in that position, I want you to know that your identity¬†does matter and is valid.

But without lying to you all, when I met my other partner, it was affirming.
I got to a point where in my head I thought maybe, just¬†maybe I was wrong. Maybe all these feelings I’d had for as long as I could remember were aesthetic-based, maybe I just appreciated all genders visually, but not romantically or sexually.
To then meet someone who was not male, who I fell for, who I was attracted to emotionally and physically, was like a revelation. Even though I’ve known it half my life already, it truly was an “aha! I was right!” moment.

The past seven months have been an eye-opening time in my life.

I have learned what it means to be me again, and to have all the things I hated about myself for so long validated.
I wasn’t making it up or imagining it: I like other genders, I am capable of loving more than one person at a time, non-monogamy is¬†okay. And it really is okay. It’s more than okay: it’s fantastic.

But more than anything else, I now feel so truly confident in my identity again.

Hi ūüôā I’m Kirsten, and I’m a mother, a wife, a girlfriend. And¬†that, I say to you now with¬†pride.

kirsten-xo

*bisexual erasure/invisibility: the tendency to ignore, remove, falsify, or reexplain evidence of bisexuality in history, academia, news media, and other primary sources. In its most extreme form, bisexual erasure can include denying that bisexuality exists. [source]