How To Enjoy Even The Shittiest Days

Message Someone Special All Day Long: I love doing this. It doesn't have to be someone you're dating, although those are the best kinds of message marathons; it can be your best mate or a blogger you share a kinship with, or even someone you just met on a dating app. Some of the best conversations I've ever had were with complete strangers who I turned to in seriously hard times. Whether it's a comforting "xx" from your beloved every now and again to get you through a hard day at work, or a soul-baring session with someone you'll never meet, talking (or texting) almost always helps.

Get Ready To Go Out, Even If You're Staying Home: It's very hard to feel like a heavenly creature when you're wearing a ratty dressing gown with peanut butter stains down the front and sporting unwashed hair and sore eyes from staring at your phone screen for 125 hours straight. You've got to put down the packet of carbs, get out of bed, and turn up for yourself. I find it really therapeutic and energising to sit in front of my little dressing table mirror and do my make-up, hair, my nails, or whatever needs doing, even if I'm just going to go straight back to my laptop afterwards.

Sweat It Out: When I'm really stressed, sometimes I just cannot "calm down". It would be a futile endeavour to sit somewhere fidgeting, playing relaxing music, attempting to meditate, and just getting more and more frustrated. So I put on some techno on my headphones, something that really reflects my state of mind, and I dance or go for a run until I can't move any more. It's impossible to not feel at least a little bit better afterwards.

Do Something For Your Autobiography: What would you do if you had more emotional distance? If you didn't have to worry about the consequences? Try doing something, anything, not for what it will lead to or because it's a good idea, but because you want to tell the story of it one day. Some of the most exciting things I've ever done, I did because I was bored, and wanted a new story to tell. On a really bad day, when you're struggling to see the point of anything, take a step outside yourself, and picture your body as the main character in a crazy book you're reading. What would you like her to do next? 

The Beauty And The Bath: LUSH Rose Bubble Bar


When I'm in the bath, I want to feel like either a character from Perfume or a Disney Princess, with my curly hair piled up on my head and a friendly song-bird whistling to me from the windowsill. Of course you can't always control whether or not the bird turns up, but you can make the water a colour fit for a mermaid. Lush feels like pretty much the only beauty brand that sells these experiences just as much as it sells products. I'm sort of working my way through everything they make now that I actually have a bath, and the other day I snapped up my very first bubble bar. It's called simply  Rose, and reminds me of the magic rose from Beauty and The Beast, my favourite Disney movie. I love anything red, pink, super-feminine, or with hearts or roses on (as I'm sure you've noticed from the look of my blog...) and I gravitate towards scents that are girly and edible; this has just enough cocoa butter in it to balance the strong fresh roses scent. It makes the water a delicate pink with glittery bubbles, and you can't get much more Disney Princess than that.

Romantic Treats From The Body Shop


All products*, The Body Shop

Isn't it great when you're gearing up for a dull Valentine's Day, and it turns out to be amazing? Thanks to a few majorly kind brands, I was one spoilt blogger this year. One of the best packages that came through my letterbox was a parcel from The Body Shop, including some lovely things from their new Smokey Poppy range. I nearly squealed with absolute freaking delight when I saw the huge bottle of Red Musk eau de parfum that was inside. It's a gritty, unique scent that is equal measures sexy and elegant; the kind of thing you wear on a date night when you already know you'll be going home together; or underneath a white shirt and black trousers. It has notes of (cruelty-free) spiced musk, cinnamon and tobacco. The bottle is gorgeous too, a minimalist, chunky design that feels great in your hands.

Along with my Red Musk, I also got a Velvet Stick for Lips and Cheeks in the shade Poppy Bronze, and a Smoky Poppy eau de toilette to add to my ever-growing collection of Body Shop single-note scents. I mean, seriously, I am obsessed with those things. I have at least three more on my wishlist, so go check them out if you haven't already. As for the velvet stick, it's a subtle, matte rosy gold that looks really natural on both lips and cheeks. It's a bit more difficult to spread on the cheeks so I'd recommend putting some on your buffing brush and doing it that way. It smells lovely and compliments my pale skin/red hair colouring, which is quite an ask. All in all I absolutely love this range, and particularly recommend Red Musk if you're looking for one of those androgynous, sexy scents that can be so difficult to find from cruelty-free companies.


Soap & Glory One Heck Of A Blot Powder


This is definitely a purchase I made due to the EssieButton Effect. That woman could sell me pretty much anything, even if I hadn't desperately needed a new powder. Until recently I had always just gone ahead and bought whatever talc-based shite that was in front of me, and this is probably the first powder I've ever bought as a result of actually reading good reviews and hype.

It isn't perfectly transparent, so I wouldn't say all skin tones would be able to use it. I do notice it gives my make-up a very subtle yellow-tinge if I use too much, but then, I am exceptionally pale. A little definitely goes a long way, or you risk looking cakey. But it is incredibly long-lasting, easy to apply, and performs well. The only other powder I've ever liked is the Collection one that costs about £1.99, and to be honest, I'm not sure how much better this is, or if it warrants the heftier price tag (it retails at about £13). I definitely enjoy using it and I love the packaging, but as yet I'm unconvinced to repurchase. I am thinking of trying out some of their matte lipsticks next instead, as I definitely want to give this brand more chances to impress. Let me know what you think of S&G below in the comments.

Valentine's Day Outfit


Dress, Toast // Clutch, vintage 

I love red. I really, really love red. When I was a kid, my mum asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and I said "red". I have mixed feelings about Valentine's Day and don't really celebrate so much as use it as an excuse to dress up/spoil whoever I'm dating/wear red. By all rights the colour should clash terribly with my hair, but to be honest I think it's one of my best; even if it wasn't, I'd still wear it. I'm not quite sure what I'll be doing on Valentine's weekend (I might be going to the Opera with my paramour, and if so, you'll certainly hear about it) but whatever I get up to, I'm going to wear this dress for at least part of it! I've had it ages and never had the right occasion to wear it. A knee-length red velvet dress is difficult to just throw on, you know, so I'm taking this Hallmark-sponsored shot while I have it.

Life Is Too Short Not To...

Life is too short...not to have the best coffee: No matter what diet regimen I'm on, I will always, always have the coffee I want. Double vanilla syrup? You bet. I couldn't give less of a shit whether a cappuchino has more calories than a latte, or whether skimmed milk has less calories than soya. You got one life to live, and you need good coffee to get through it.

Life is too short...not to have the sex you want: There is nothing more soul-destroying than a sexual relationship that feels like work. Your lover should thrill you beyond belief. Compromise about what you actually DO if you like, but never, ever compromise the passion that drives it all. Passion cannot be forced or faked, and it requires both parties to lose control. Anyone can give you an orgasm. Look for someone who sets your whole body on fire.

Life is too short...not to have the hair you want: It's not shallow to want to look a certain way. Our bodies are the greatest canvases we will ever possess. We all have hair goals and idols, and frankly, why settle for anything less? Don't stress over whether something is a "smart choice" or low maintenance. Shoot for the moon. Do whatever it takes.

Life is too short...not to live where you want to live: For a huge portion of my life, I lived deep in the countryside, and I feel pretty confident in saying, never again. It simply does not agree with my personality, and I found it incredibly difficult to be happy just sitting in a house, reading, and going for walks. For some people that will sound like bliss, and if that's the case, then do it! We're all different and require different environments to be happy. We haven't got enough time to waste on living in a town completely ill-suited to our character.

Life is too short...not to block haters: A while back I was getting quite upset by some of the idiotic and misinformed responses I was getting to my tweets, and I made a decision: If someone disagrees with me, then it's not my problem. If they ask me to explain my opinion or give 50 examples why I hold it, I am not obligated to take time out of my day to educate them on current affairs. I am not a public library. Nowadays, I only really respond to people who's opinion I really respect, and who I will enjoy speaking to. So, use the block button more. It feels amazing.

I Jumped On The Naked Palette Bandwagon


There is a cult for Urban Decay palettes, but I never knew anything about it until I started blogging. Before I started writing TPC, I never would have even considered spending 50 odd quid on a bloody piece of make-up, but that's what blogging does to you; all normal priorities go straight out the window, and before you know it you're dropping £8 on a drink and wasting ten minutes of your life photographing it, just because it matches your Instagram theme.

Back to the palette. The quality of the eye-shadows is predictably amazing, and they are highly pigmented. The shade I use the most is Nooner, a matte shade for shadowing and crease work. I also really love Dust (a light, sparkly pink) and Burnout (a purply-black that's great for lining). I use Nooner in almost every look I create with this palette; my biggest criticism about the Naked 3 is that it doesn't have enough hard-working shades like that one. Some of the shades I never use at all, mostly because I have no idea what to do with them yet! I'm still frantically Googling "Naked 3 palette tutorial" every time I get ready to go out. A big reason I wanted it so much was because I see the amazingly aspirational women on Pinterest (you know the ones, with the yoga pants and the MK bags) that manage to do INSANE artistry with Naked palettes, and a little part of me wants to be one of them. Practise makes perfect, I guess.


The Books That Made Me Who I Am

Through no conscious effort whatsoever, I naturally gravitate towards the gothic, bejewelled prose that women do so well. Sex and sexuality, psychosis, mental health, our relationships with our bodies, rape culture, feminism, jealousy, the strange nature of beauty and attraction, fate and existentialism - these are the kind of themes I see coming up in the books I read over and over again, and they are the raison d'être of female writers. There are a few, very talented men in my list (hats off to you, Vladimer Nabokov, for the creation of such an iconic little girl) but most of it is brazenly, dazzlingly womanly.

"Human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast, obscure, unfinished masterpiece"

Lolita by Vladimer Nabokov: There are lines in Lolita that still lacerate my heart even though I've read them every summer since I was 12. I love that it's uncomfortable reading - not because of the content, the content is very tame - but because of the sympathy, love and understanding we find ourselves having for such an awful abuser. It contains one of the most beautiful paradoxes in literature; Humbert's love for Dolores Haze - his ugly, obsessive, vicious love for her - is his one saving grace. Reading it always reminds me just how far each of us can swing between violence and tenderness.

"Go out in the woods, go out. If you do not go out into the woods, nothing will ever happen, and your life will never begin"

Women Who Run With The Wolves by Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estés: I usually hate reading non-fiction, but there's something so magical and addictive about the way Estés writes about psychology, creativity, and women that has me returning to this book every time I need my passion for living restored. Each chapter begins with a fairy-tale, and using her knowledge of Jungian psychoanalysis and story-telling, she shows us how the lessons within that story can help us lead better lives. 

"I have dreamed in my life strange dreams, that have gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind"

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë: I hate to think that the Brontës gave me my template for great love, but I'm afraid that might be true. I was torn between listing Jane Eyre or Heights in this space, as both would be equally relevant. I chose Heights because I know it left me with a strong understanding that love is not a tender thing, and that people rarely end up with the one they loved most.

"Do not seek the because; in love there is no because, no reason, no explanation, no solutions"

Henry And June by Anaïs Nin: Nin is a real hero of mine, and even though she is long dead, her work is still some of the best erotica ever written. She lived an incredibly liberated life, and was somewhat of a mystery even to her husband. Her writing is just as unencumbered; deeply feminist, sensual, full of beautiful lies and profound truth. She gave me an insatiable thirst for experience and for the deep independence that comes with leading many lives.

"In the end, it wasn't death that surprised her, but the stubbornness of life"

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides: This book, and its adaptation, gave me my whole visual and emotional aesthetic for most of my teens. I had a bedroom filled with white, ripped dresses, dying flowers, miniature unicorns and crucifixes. I lived in a kind of puberty cage, marinating in my own young sexuality. I outgrew the dresses, but that feeling of haunting my life, rather than living it, has always remained.

Sex Bomb

Sex Bomb is this here cutie with the flower that looks like a clitoris in the middle. Yeah, I said it. You know it does. You can't unsee that. Its scent (jasmine on the top) is quite powerful, in a good way; after I bought it I left it in the bag for a couple of days, just lying about in my room, and it acted as a kind of lovely make-shift air freshener. The white one, Butterball, was a steal at about £2, and a real surprise to me. I was expecting to love the cocoa/vanilla scent, but I wasn't expecting how soft it would make the water! Your bath actually becomes much more moisturising and gentler as your bomb dissolves. For someone who has really sensitive skin, something like this is just a lovely, indulgent touch. It also has ylang-ylang in it, which in aromatherapy treats stress, fear, anxiety, depression, and other nasties. 

I'm going to be going back into Lush soon to get some more bath treats, so I'd love some recommendations from you guys. Leave me the names of your favourite bath bombs down below and I'll review the most popular ones.

January Favourites

Trapper hat, Accessorize // bath salts, Kneipp // candle, Yankee Candle Co // buffing brush, Real Techniques // Nylon Magazine, WHSmith // Year Planner, Moleskine // Nights At The Circus by Angela Carter, Waterstones 

It's actually very rare that I do a general favourites post, but I've had loads of amazing stuff piling up from Christmas and my birthday, so it seemed like the perfect time. January for me has been a month of home comforts; long hot baths, intense reading sessions in my armchair, pretty scented candles and stuff like that. In the winter, these things become straight-up necessities for survival, and not really indulgences at all. As you can see from my choices, my month has mostly revolved around keeping warm, ya know what I'm sayin'?

I've never had an easy time sleeping, and so a particularly big shout-out has to go to these Valerian and Hops bath salts by Kneipp. They are AMAZING. Literally like taking a sedative. Whenever I use these I sleep for a good 12+ hours that night, so make sure you're ready for it! My year planner from Moleskine is another thing that I haven't been able to put down; January has been beyond hectic and I've needed to learn some decent organisational skills to keep everything running smoothly. I don't know about you guys but I am so ready for another month to get under way and spring to finally turn up! Roll on sweater weather, and some decent lighting.

My 24th Birthday Outfit


Shirt, Topshop // Skirt, Hollister // Tote Bag, Clarke's

First off, a huge thank you to everyone who sent me lovely birthday messages and tweets on Tuesday, you guys actually made me tear up in Starbucks while I was reading them all!! You are the most AMAZING and supportive online pals in the world, and you totally made my day, so thank you so much. If anything softens the blow of hurtling ever closer to the grave, it's having awesome friends to share the fucked-up journey with. This is just a quick little post to show you what I wore for my birthday (don't worry, I did wear tights and a jacket while I was out...). I've been moaning for ages that I didn't have a grown-up tote I could use for work stuff, and this patent one I got from my Mum is just perfect. It's one of those squeaky, shiny, reflective plastic materials that I'm so crazy for. If I could get a dress in that material I'd probably wear that everywhere as well, although I'd get more stares. Anyway, thank you again to everyone who made my birthday super special, you're all fucking fabulous.