An Evening With Ruth Crilly And COLAB Hair

ruth crilly colab hair event

ruth crilly colab hair event

There are blogger perks, and then there are blogger perks. On the scale of blogger perks, going to an event for COLAB Hair to test out their products, drink free champagne, get your hair done by a pro session stylist, and discuss the logistics of Wagamama versus Yo Sushi with Ruth Crilly of A Model Recommends has to be right up there.

Last Thursday, after an intense catch-up dinner at TGIFridays, Sophie and I headed to the Superdrug Beauty Studio in Cardiff's St David's, which was by now completely closed off to the public, and surrounded by a whole troop of security guards. Having given our names, we were ushered on in to the comfortably familiar venue, given a glass of champagne and instructed to enjoy ourselves. We spotted Ruth almost immediately and rushed over to congratulate her on her baby bump, and were so pleased to learn what a sweet, genuine person she is in real life. We talked about baby names and pregnancy hassles as Ruth sipped her non-alcoholic glass of Shloer, while a photographer took some snaps of us chatting.

ruth crilly colab hair event

ruth crilly colab hair event
ruth crilly colab hair event

After getting to know everybody we were gathered round for a demonstration of the new Extreme Volume Dry Shampoo, and shown all the different ways it can be used besides refreshing a greasy fringe; even Ruth got a beehive, and Little Bones got a Dita Von Teese retro demi-wave. After getting our makeovers, and our own sample to take home and play with, obviously it was time for selfies. By this point I'd had quite a bit of the free champagne, so naturally some of the photos will never see the light of day. But I had a blast, and that's what counts. 

ruth crilly colab hair event

Origins Drink-Up Intensive Overnight Mask

origins drink up intensive overnight mask

I don't know if I've ever told you guys this skin is dry as hell. It's so dry that in the winter my lips, nose and forehead start to flake, and I can scrape off fingernails-full of dead skin. Gross, I know. Exfoliation is a must, and I also need to moisturise. Deeply, deeply moisturise, like my whole body is a scar I'm trying to heal. If I don't do these things, my make-up starts to look cakey and terrible, which sort of defuses the whole point of wearing make-up... 

One thing that has been helping my skin get through the winter months is the Origins Drink-Up Intensive Overnight Mask. I love Origins; their masks in particular, are outstanding. I own three of them (I'm sure I'll do another review at some point) but this one is by far my winter favourite. It smells like apricots or peaches or something like that, but isn't perfume-y at all. It smells natural and fresh and isn't overbearing when you cover your face in it. I leave it on overnight, because my skin needs it, but you can leave it on for just a few hours if you want. After using it for the first time I did notice that those little etches on my forehead that I had taken to be my first wrinkles were now completely gone. Turns out I wasn't getting old before my time, my skin was just thirsty.

A Real Woman: Femininity, Shame, and Power

how to feel like a real woman

how to feel like a real woman
Not too long ago, I was having horrible nightmares. In a grey, blurry hospital ward, I would look down at my chest and see bloodied bandages wrapped tight around my torso, barely holding me together. I would scream in pain, grief, and anger as I realized what had been done to me against my will. In some versions of this dream, my breasts were completely gone; in others, they had been crudely implanted with silicone, leaving me terrified to move in case the stitches ripped. I have always been fascinated by dreams, and what they mean. It didn't take me long before I figured it out, and the dreams stopped coming.

It is a loaded issue, this "real woman" stuff. It is so intertwined with other fraught, complex concepts. Gender, and the gender-binary. Sexuality. Relationships. Love. Shame. Rejection. Body-image. Sexism. Beauty. Confidence. Self-worth. Let me define what I'm talking about here when I speak of feeling "real". I mean a feeling of belonging in one's own body; of being more than enough. It is a fragile thing, and is easily taken from us. Perhaps our lovers treat us badly, or comparison has beaten us down. It can be ripped away in one fell-swoop by some cataclysmic event, or dragged out in a subtle but relentless, everyday drip. However this sensation strikes, as it does to most of us at some point in life, it will feel as if your sexual organs have been carved out with an ice-cream scoop and fed to the proverbial wolves. Libido disappears. Appetite dwindles. You struggle to look at your own body in the mirror, and so wrap yourself in a rudimentary cocoon of pyjamas, cardigan, blanket and duvet, so that you don't have to. It is a cold, numb, isolated time. What used to bring you joy no longer touches you. People who approach you in this state will receive the sharp lash of your tongue, or your total indifference. The logic at work in your mind is this: I believed I was enough once, and look where that got me. Never again.

how to feel like a real woman
how to feel like a real woman

Our past selves can begin to haunt us. We feel as though we have lost permission to be sexual, beautiful, or feminine, and having lost permission, shame begins to claw its icy fingers across our emotional landscape. We feel as though we have "run out" or been "used up". This happens because we give away too much power. We have cheated ourselves.

We are all quick to light up for our partners, or the hot guy who makes our coffee, yet feel somehow foolish lighting up just because. We love receiving sexy gifts, and feel ridiculous buying them solo. This is a dangerous mentality, because with a gift there is always an element of "this is how I see you" or "this is the woman I want you to be" - even when done well, with encouragement and love. If we never do it for ourselves, we lose all input into what is essentially, our own creation as women. It has taken me a long time to realize that my femininity belongs to me, and nobody else. It isn't given to me in miniature, perishable doses every time somebody calls me princess. You have to create, nurture, and protect it, all by yourself. People will try to mold it to suit their tastes, and you must not let them. Falling in love with yourself - when it feels like you are the most unlovable creature alive - is what will fill you up again.

That is what I had to learn for the dreams to stop coming. If I hadn't figured it out, I feel sure that I really would have woken up some day, looked down at myself, and seen a woman pieced together by someone else's desires, butchered by her own acquiescence. If there is sculpture to be made of us, let it be done with our own patient, tender hands.

how to feel like a real woman

How I Take My Blog Photos

I've had a few recommendations for a post like this recently, and thought it would be a good time to show you how I take my blog pictures. I'm not really qualified to tell anyone how to take blog their photos, so I thought I'd just walk you through my creative process, and show you how I like to do it. I shoot all my pictures with a Canon 60D, for anyone who's wondering!

how to take blog photos

I Shoot On Manual: If you own a DSLR, shooting on manual is the best way to learn about your camera. Just by messing around on it regularly, you'll learn a lot about aperture, shutter priority, white balance, and everything else. Avoid leaving it on auto and hoping for the best, and get to know your camera instead. It's not that scary, trust me!

I Use Natural Light: I don't own any kind of lighting equipment, and almost never use flash. If I'm taking a close-up product shot, for example, I'll place the item on a bright/interesting surface (a windowsill, a magazine, even a piece of blank paper will do) and under even light, usually right by a window. If you own a point-and-shoot and can't control the pop-up flash, I used to put a sock over it, to diffuse the light! It really works. I sometimes use this tripod in dim light, as then I can take a longer exposure. When I had a compact, I used to place my camera on a stack of books!

I Flag Pictures With Sharp Focus: Focus is the first thing I look for when I'm starting to choose blog photos. Trawling through hundreds of almost-identical pictures of a mascara in order to find the ones with the sharpest focus - that will still look good once blown up to 775px wide on my blog - is a time-consuming and mind-numbingly boring activity, but I do it anyway. Call me crazy. My eyes aren't what they used to be either, which means I end up hunched over my laptop like I'm welcoming someone to Dracula's castle.

I Use PixlrPixlr is an amazing, free, online editing tool. It can do most things that Photoshop can, and won't cost you a penny. I first upload pictures to Pixlr Express, and do some quick, basic editing, such as retouching a background. Sometimes I add a filter, but dial it down so it's very opaque. After the photo is polished to perfection I'll upload it to Pixlr Editor, the more professional programme, resize it to just over my post width, and save it as a PNG file, as JPEGS lose quality once uploaded to BloggerI almost never do any major editing of my photos, although I love to mess around with light and colour.

And that's how I get the shiz done. Let me know in the comments if you'd like me to give more photography tips on my blog! 

I Jumped On The Real Techniques Bandwagon

real techniques duo fibre brushes

Being late to the game seems to be my forte. I can't stand anything too "trendy" (even typing the word makes me shudder) and if I want to get something that happens to be wildly popular, I usually wait a good while before I finally succumb. Real Techniques brushes are definitely wildly popular. They've become a blogger staple in recent months, and I've read countless reviews in praise of the now-famous buffing brush that comes as part of the Core Collection, as I'm sure you have too. Suffice it to say, that it is amazing, and it's fast becoming my favourite brush since I got it as a pressie for Christmas.

Along with the Core Collection, I got the Limited Edition Duo Fibre set. It includes a large face/powder brush, a contour brush, and a large eyeshadow brush, all with ultra-soft, fool-proof stipple-type hairs. They apply product gradually and seamlessly, allowing you to build colour slowly and make beautiful finishing touches. I've been using the large powder brush to apply blusher, and it works a treat, especially with highly pigmented, bright pink blushes that you want to go on a little at a time! 

real techinques duo fibre brushes

There's been some controversy over the launch of RT's new, much more expensive brushes, and I can see why; the great thing about Real Techniques has always been that they were relatively affordable next to Zoeva et al. Let me know in the comments what your favourite Real Techniques brush is, and what you think of their new, pricier range!