I Have Embraced

If you're as deep in the Body Image Movement (body positivity, self-love, body image confidence etc) as I am, then there's no way you've escaped seeing the trailer for this movie online: 



Needless to say, when I found out Taryn was bringing screenings of Embrace to the UK and doing a Q&A at the premiere, I bought tickets immediately. I've been waiting for this film since the Kickstarter was up and running. 

After all, who doesn't need a good, healthy dose of body image love in January, when every diet on the earth is jammed into our faces?

Embrace Taryn Brumfitt


Taryn's film is kind but alarming; I know women talk badly about themselves (I've been there and done that) but standing on *this side* of the body acceptance fence, looking back to the other side is shocking. It's comforting to see how far I've come over the last couple of years but horrible to see that so many people, women in particular, still say terrible things about their bodies to themselves and to others.

She interviews a broad range of women from all over the world about their perceptions of themselves and their bodies; not all of it is negative, some is so fabulously positive that it brings you to tears (Harnaam Kaur is so fucking fierce that it's unreal and Nora Tschirner is my new favourite person EVER).

Embrace is essentially a love letter from Taryn to her daughter, Mikaela, encouraging her to not waste her lifetime stressing about getting the *perfect* body and to simply embrace the one she has and live her life to the fullest - a message that every woman (and man, for that matter) can benefit from hearing and taking onboard.

The UK premiere was in Covent Garden, a red carpet was set up for anyone who wished to have their photo taken with Taryn to do so. I was almost last in the door as I was rushing over from work, but walking in to a cinema foyer and seeing these two amazing women immediately set the tone for the night:


Body Image Movement


That's Megan, you might know her as BodyPosiPanda on Instagram, she's fabulous. Look at her hair!

The Q&A afterwards was almost as emotional as the film itself, with many questions being posed about how get in the right frame of mind for embracing your body, how to inspire daughters, younger girls in schools ... hearing the voices of women break as they asked for help and guidance really brought home how important this film is and the changes it can make to the world if we all take heed of the notion and begin to make the first change with ourselves.

Embrace screenings are happening all over the UK right now, and they're demand-based, so if you don't buy tickets, they don't happen. I cannot recommend this film enough. I wish something this positive was out there when I was starting my body acceptance journey 2 years ago, so if you're just starting out, or on the way, or looking to support others on their journey it's well worth a watch.

Tickets can be purchased here (or here if you're in Ireland) and you can get involved with the Body Image Movement here

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You Beauty (part IV)

It's time for a long overdue beauty post as I've been testing out a good handful of new products since I wrote my last beauty post (in July, where did that time go?).



Skin

In my never ending quest to try every primer on earth, I got a free sample of the MAC Prep & Prime Face Protect Lotion SPF 50. 

MAC Prep & Prime  Face Protect Lotion


Sounds like an SPF but is a primer, I promise. It looks just like a moisturiser and it smells like good SPF but it does prime well. I think I'm use to ones that feel super matte and smooth on my face so this one felt weird on application but as it settles in it makes your skin feel like it's been brushed with soft powder. It feels luxurious. I wouldn't buy it, as it's almost £25 for 30mls, but it's been a nice one to test. 

My other never ending quest is for highlighter; something which I wear rarely but when it's on I want it *so bright* that I could guide in ships with the Coastguard. Turns out, I had my ideal one all along, hidden at the back of my make-up box: my Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick. 

Bobbi Brown Shimmerbrick Pink


I have this in Pink Quartz and as much as I don't think it was right on my skin when I bought this (back in 2012 for a good £20) it seems perfect now. Maybe I'm just a bit more on the ball when it comes to highlights, blushes and bronzers these days (I can thank my UD Gwen Stefani blush pallette for that education), but this now seems to really work with my skin tone. Let's also not forget that I'm 5 years older now, and my skin has changed. Either way I'm glad I've not wasted £20. 



Eyes

First up, my product of the decade (no more calls, folks, we have a winner): Wunderbrow. 

Wunderbrow Review Blonde


As seen in a thousand viral videos (conservative estimate), I'd heard of this product early last year but didn't go near it for a few reasons; 1) No one believes those videos, they're mugging people off, right? 2) Does it use weird fibres like those mascaras I see people using on YouTube? Not going near that either as I'm far too sensitive for weird shit near my eyes, and 3) What's wrong with my eyebrows anyway? 

Okay, my eyebrows. The concise version is that I plucked the hell out them in 2005/6 as many women did and mine took a LONG time to recover. Like 8 years. Let me be the cautionary eyebrow tale, kids, for when the skinny brow trend inevitably comes around again. Pluck away but be warned: they might not grow back. Mine did, thankfully, they're a bit sparse and I get them threaded once every couple of months to keep them in tidy shape but that's it. 

I'm too lazy to pencil my brows in (and I've forever got my head in my hands, so I would just rub them off), the overdrawn/ overpainted look really doesn't do it for me (personal preference), so my options for making my brows look a bit more *there* when in full eye make up were limited.

Then, Alex, my trusted make-up YouTube guru tried Wunderbrow and it looked great. If it's good enough for her, it's good enough for me. £15 to eBay later and it arrived. 

I bought the blonde shade (coz blonde) and it's a little darker than you'd think. It's certainly not suitable for those with brown hair as it is on the light side, but blonde eyebrows are hard work with anyway (as they colour change with the seasons like the hair does) so you have to go heavy some days and light others. This blonde shade seems to cater to that and you can layer up for a darker day or an even more defined look. 

Wunderbrow Blonde Review
One on, one off. Making my natural brows look *so shit*

It's magic. I never realised how much a good brow makes such a difference! It's very easy to apply (clear the majority of the product off the brush and use small strokes to build) and it stays put until you take it off. See the photo below? That's New Years Day on very little sleep after taking all my make-up off and the eyebrows stayed put. 

Stay classy, Marshall


A couple of eyeliners for you: 

Urban Decay eyeliner YSL Eyeliner


The Urban Decay Ink For Eyes pen is a liquid eyeliner with a very fine tip. Good for precision lines and outlines for flicks (not filler) but it's not hardy enough for me. If I'm using liquid I want it to stay on for the day and I want it to stay completely black. This one does fade and grey out a little within a few hours. It stays on well, but not as well as I'd like.

In stark contrast, the YSL Waterproof Eye Pencil is a stayer! I'd describe it more as a pure kohl than a pencil and it is super-black. When sharpened to a nice point it can do the most amazing flicks (I have asked people if they think I'm wearing liquid some days when I'm wearing it) and it's great for smudging and blending on more low-key eye days, as it's such a soft product.


Hair

I'm still growing my hair, with very little effort, it's just cracking on with it now. I'm still getting it trimmed every 12-14 weeks (and I usually lose between half and one inch each time) but it's growing well at the moment. Usually the winter period is a very slow period for my hair growth, but this year there's been no stopping it. I occasionally get pangs to cut it all off but they're very rare and I wouldn't have the patience to grow it back again. Anyway, onto some products: 

Blonde Illuminator


The Garnier Blondes is responsible for me staying light blonde this winter. If you're a natural mousey blonde (or dirty blonde, as my hairdresser calls it) then colour can get dull in winter. You can reach for the dye or you can try a natural route. This year I thought I'd give the natural route a try and this shampoo is it. 

Beachmate conditioner is a residual summer product, given the name and it's designed to condition your hair after you've abused it at the beach. It feels exactly the same as the Miracle Moist conditioner, it smells different (more summer-ish?) but I think it's the same product underneath it all. No complaints as Aussie conditioners are in my top 5 beauty products. 

These two came as a freebie from my friends over at NoScrunchie

OGX Argan oil & Shea Butter


I use OGX conditioners frequently (I love the Coconut Water one) and as much as these are not neccessarily designed for my hair type, they make it feel amazing. The shampoo makes my hair soft and the coniditoner is so rich that I only need a teeny amount on the ends of my hair. Plus, as with all OGX products, they smell amazing. 

That's it for this time, folks. I doubt I'll get enough products together for another beauty post until much later in the year, but if I try anything new I'll be sure to let you know. 
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The December Round-Up

Well, December certainly upped the celebrity death game.

source

I didn't intend to open my round-up with a discussion about death, but then the universe decided to fuck with Carrie Fisher, so all bets were off. Her passing made my heart break, she meant a lot to me (and to millions of other people) and then Debbie going the day later ... your heart then breaks for Todd and Billie. 

And Gary, obviously. 



Sigh, we're done, right? Please let this be done. 

Anyway, before this shitshow happened, I did the rest of December. 



I had my work Christmas do at a few venues around London. We ended up in Lucky Voice in Soho, and if I'm honest I had no clue how it was going to go, but it was one of the best nights I'd had with my colleagues ever. It was hilarious. We all sang our little hearts out. 



I blasted through The Crown on Netflix and loved it. That show makes you up your accent game! John Lithgow as Churchill was the standout in the casting, and speaking of which: 



I went to The Churchill Arms, the most Christmassy pub in London, apparently. I went because it was my friends old local. Bloody great thai food there, too. 

Onto my favourite Christmas tradition: Brian & Robin's Christmas Compendium of Reason (which I've reviewed in previous years starting here). This year alongside brilliant science we got treated to Public Service Broadcasting and Duran Duran, it was fantastic! 



I spent Christmas in the North with my folks, which was lovely. I did lots of walking with my mum and lots of laying down, which is just what I needed. I've been fighting a cold since before Christmas and it's not giving up, but neither am I!





After that break, I went to Paris for a day to meet up with a friend who was visiting from Canada. We went to Musee D'Orsay to look at art and then to the top of the Eiffel Tour. 









It was cold but beautiful. 

Tomorrow, it's the New Year and 2017 cannot make an appearance a moment too soon. I did a lot of amazing things in 2016, so it is a great shame they've been overshadowed by bad things, I'm going to make an effort today to remember all the good things before the year ends. 

For 2017 I have hope. Hope is neccessary. A great film this year has taught me that rebellions are built on it and I think next year is the year when we'll all need to pull together as rebels and make this world a great place to be. 



Bye 2016, you goddamn shitshow. 

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Just Write: December

You know what I am? I'm that person who moans that no one blogs anymore. I mean old-fashioned blogging; a general post full of life chit-chat which allowed people a little glance into your world. I fill a lot of my end of month Round-Ups with little bits of that, but it's rarely wordy, and I LOVE being wordy. 

Being a firm believer in the expression sometimes if you want something to exist you have to do it yourself, I'm starting a old-fashioned blogging tag called Just Write, as that's what I'm going to do. Here's a post full of the things I'm doing and thinking about at the moment.




House & Home

I treated myself to a new bed base at the start of the month. I had a divan in my bedroom previously but I wanted one with space at the bottom, albeit not for the usual reasons (to start filling under the bed with things, I don't have enough things to do that, thankfully!) but to allow heat and air to circulate better around the room. My house keeps the heat in well, so it's better to allow it to circulate to feel the benefits. My old divan was creaky as hell too, which meant if I moved, it creaked. ARGH. Nothing disturbs my sleep more than a noisy bed.

Warren Evans Black Friday sales FTW. I'd been waiting for this bed to drop in price so that I could snap it up.



I have to praise this company so much. I ordered online, they called me to confirm and give me instructions about recycling my old bed. I selected my own delivery day, they gave me a 4 hour window and a courtesy call on the day to say they'd be there within the hour. To top it all off, they removed my old bed and fully assembled my new one in eleven minutes. ELEVEN!


Work

I had my annual appraisal last month and it went really well. Better than I thought it would, anyway. I've been a bit low on motivation this year at work, due to personal life stuff, redundancies and then a colleague dying, so it's understandable but not excusable. The industry I work in has been quite quiet as well, but things have started to pick up again, which is good news. My boss knows me really well (joys of spending 40 hours together each week for over 5 years) and therefore he can see when my motivation wains. He suggested I try something new and put my energy into something else over the next year, which will be hard work but ultimately very rewarding. I like learning new things and it's great to top up your CV with new experiences.


Health

After the virus from hell finally buggered off, I decided to sort my shit out health-wise. This meant actually engaging with my kitchen and doing more cooking. I have no trouble spending a Sunday night cooking nice lunches for the week, but I'm shit at cooking for myself on an evening. Really bad, like I'll just have a bowl of cereal tonight bad. So, I wrote a big list of all the things I want to eat, which is easy at this time of year as it's all comforting game meats and vegetables. I committed to making a few of these things every week so that I wouldn't get bored and would get a decent appetite back for dinner.

So far, so good. I found the recipe on the Wagamama website for my favourite of their dishes: Chilli Chicken Ramen and made that:



I started buying LOTS of venison; meatballs (braised in red wine are excellent with pasta) and sausages, I even decided to have another go at making pizza (because I'll be damned if I'm making pizzas on pitta breads, fuck that noise, I want a proper thin base):



SimplyCook had a little sale on their recipe boxes, so I got one for a bargain £1:



I like this a lot as it takes a lot of faff out of cooking. I'm a bugger for just throw some italian herbs or sriracha on it cooking, so this does actually make me stretch my repertoire, and gives me lots of ideas of how to use it outside the set recipes too. (If you'd like to have a cheap SimplyCook box you can click here and you'll get your first box for £1).


Reading

Reads recently have included Brene Brown's Daring Greatly, because everyone needs a bit of Brene's calming wisdom in their lives, Derren Brown's Happy (still plowing through this one) and I've just started The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, which is based in space and therefore I'm intensely involved in it.

Listening

My favourite new podcast in recent months is Beautiful/Anonymous, which is hosted by Chris Gethard. The premise is simple; Chris gives out a number and someone can call him for a candid chat for one hour. It's anonymous, he has no idea who the caller is, the listeners don't, it's a perfect little window into someone's life. Top episodes recently have been Fail Army Cop and Escape from a Cult.

Doing

I've started getting up a little earlier and having a longer walk to work via the park. I'm sure the extra exercise is doing me some good but mostly I just need to see some more daylight right now as it's really dark by 4pm every day. I do get to see some beautiful sunrises, though.



A little morning and lunchtime walk helps me see more daylight, keeping my Seasonal Affective Disorder at bay for a little longer. Still, the worst of it is done with now, as long as I can survive January then I can survive anything! 

I've also been working on some kind of list for 2017. Not exactly resolutions, not exactly a bucket list, something in between. A good intentions list, I guess. Places I want to go to, things I want to do, volunteering ideas, goals to achieve in my life (savings, spendings etc). I just  need something to look at and think 'the world might feel like it's in tatters, but I'm doing something about it in my life and community to make it a better place'. It's a work in progress. I might publish that next month. 

Anyway, Christmas is looming, I've a lot to write about and have been short on time to do so, hopefully I'll have some time to get all my new content up and running in the New Year. 

Mostly, after the way this year has carried on, I just need a long break. My time off this Christmas is going to be greatly appreciated. 

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The November Round-Up

I'm not going to talk about the thing that everyone has talked about this month on here, I can't bear to hear any more of it if I'm honest. It's not that I don't care about politics (if you've ever gone down the pub with me, or engaged with me on Twitter, you'll be brutally aware of how my political leanings stand), I just cannot watch everyone divide and hate. In my eyes, that's the last thing anyone should be doing and I can't help but think that segregation is what he wants. 

Nope, not in my name, and so we hunker down and crack on with November, together. 



MY TEAM WON THE FRIGGING WORLD SERIES. As it took me weeks to shift that nasty little virus, I was still on a shonky sleep schedule when the World Series games were on, so I kept waking up in the middle of the night and putting a game on. I know, not great, but I got to watch my team win and that's priceless. 



The day after this jersey arrived at my house, Kris Bryant won the NL MVP award. Perfect. 

I read a lot of comics, because I'm so addicted to Thor that it's unreal. I want to be Thor SO MUCH. 



I went to see my friend's band play a charity gig at The 100 Club



My best friend came to stay and we drank a lot of wine and did a lot of gossiping, it was great.



That was the first weekend I really started to feel better (that only took a whole 3 weeks, thanks virus) and I was able to really enjoy some nights out and some wine. Albeit, I then committed to no drinking until my Christmas party (as every drink was making me anxious) and that's been really easy. Turns out I can sit in a pub with a lime & soda and have exactly the same evening as I'd have if I was drinking. Except I sleep better, and I don't feel tired, and I don't get extra booze hunger.  

I took myself off social media this month after the US election, for the reasons I stated at the start of this post (I also don't want to look at that face until I really have to), and that's been nice. I've kept up with Instagram as that feels less anxiety-inducing and I've been making great use of Stories, so if you're missing me, come find me on there.



I finally found my powerbox for my Ikea twinkly lights and installed them in my bedroom. They're very bright, so they're a lovely contrast against my blue curtains. 



I re-started my gratitude practice, as that gives me a good positive focus and reminds me to be grateful for so many little things in life, occasionally it's good to have a little woo. 

Speaking of woo, Doctor Strange, anyone?



Cor, I loved this film. I loved the concept of spiritual powers, I loved the visuals, I loved Tilda Swinton, I of course loved Mads and I even didn't mind Cumberbatch's accent too much. 

I had a day out with my friend Martin at Leicester Space Museum, which I told you about last week.



On the space vibe, I went to see Public Service Broadcasting last week, a band I'd never heard of until I started work at the Science Museum last year. It's basically instrumental music interspersed with broadcasting noise (they do a lot of things involving space missions, or inspired by them). 


I beamed with smiles throughout this whole gig, it was wonderful. I will be seeing them again, oh yes I will.

I wrote very little this month. Sigh. I'm glad that virus has gone, it drained every bit of energy that I had for weeks. There was no writing. There was no nothing. I was coming home from work every night, eating dinner and going to bed (and sleep) at 8.30pm. There's nothing like 11 hour sleeps every night to make you feel like you're dying really slowly. I've never known anything like it, it was horrible. When I had my dentist check-up this month even my hygienist commented that I'd been brushing too fast and needed to slow down. When I told her it was the virus she gave me a pass (after giving me a strict telling off and showing me the correct way to brush my teeth for the billionth time *looks sheepishly at shoes*).

I've also decided to start a new series on my blog next month, and it's about something I complain about a lot, so it's time to do something about it! More on that soon. 

December is here and this weekend is my one free weekend until 2017. Laundry it is, then! December is always so busy with parties here and there, travelling and trying to see all your friends one last time before the year ends, speaking of which I'm going to meet one of my friends who I've known online for a good year or so at the end of December ... IN PARIS. 

I've never been. It's only a train away. I'm meeting a new friend. I'm SO excited. But more on that in the New Year.

For now, I'm just going to keep my head down, keep warm and see my friends. That, and eating Christmas cake with cheese on. HASHTAG NORTHERN.
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National Space Centre

I'm writing a quick post about this (there will be lots of photos, obvs) but did everyone know that we have a National Space Centre in the middle of the country and it's really good? 

I mean, REALLY GOOD.



There's pieces of the Moon there, and Mars meteorite, and the Union Flag that's been to the Moon, and Helen Sharman's space suits, a mock-up Columbus module from the ISS that you can run around, and, and, and ... A ROCKET CALLED THOR. 



I mean, COME ON!

You can go up the outside of the rocket, right to the top in the Rocket Tower (a good 42ft, excellent stairwell cardio).



There's lots of good learning to be done about the US and Russian space races, as well as everything that followed. There's 3D simulators of space flights and lander practice:


(Martin landed the lunar module perfectly. Twice. I crashed it. Three times. Oops.)


And a planetarium which is so good it made me feel a bit light-headed.



There's one of the only Soyuz Spacecrafts in Western Europe right behind the big doors when you go in, along with a Gemini TTV-2 Capsule:



What's really good is that it's £14 entry for an adult, with a Planetarium ticket included. If you're as much of a space nerd as I am, this is such a good day out. Go. See space history. Appreciate how TINY our little planet is in this MASSIVE universe, it's good for your perspective when it seems like society is crumbling around our ears.


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