Dear 2018: Thank You, Next

What a year 2018 has been! Am I the only one who can’t believe how time has just flown by?! When I look back and reflect, I definitely didn’t think I would be where I am now. One Twitter user asked people to share life lessons they had learnt this year and I couldn’t help but share a few pearls of wisdom.

growth

These pearls of wisdom are the focus of this post. So I will be elaborating on each lesson learnt and how I believe it has helped to make me become a better person. As always, I encourage you to get involved and share your own lessons from 2018 and of course, your hopes for 2019!

fine

Lesson 1  – I am stronger than I thought I was 

My faith and my entire existence has been tested so much this year. You know what they say about things coming in three’s? Well, that’s exactly what happened to me. I won’t go into too much detail but it all started the day after I came back from Venice. Never have I had a holiday glow disappear so quickly! At the time, I actually believed the three trials I experienced had come to destroy me and staying positive was incredibly hard. One day, I came across a quote by Maya Angelou which said ‘ You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated‘ and I was able to relate.

I’ve stared defeat in the face so many times and for those of you who have struggled with mental health problems like I have, the temptation to just give up often rears it’s head. Thankfully, I was able to overcome the difficult season in my life. It doesn’t mean that I am immune from tough times but I was surprised by my strength, my resilience and the power I had to accept what was happening and also to strive to make things better for myself.

Lesson 2 – It’s OK not to be OK

In 2018, the stigma around mental health significantly reduced. People are a lot more open about their struggles, myself included. Tuning in with your mood is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Just be honest, be your own best friend. If you are having a bad day, acknowledge it. If a negative mood is consistent, you may need to speak to a friend or go to your GP. Self care isn’t just about eating great food and having spa days, it’s about taking proper care of you.

Every single person on this earth has a bad day, so when you’re feeling down don’t alienate yourself from your emotions. Going to therapy for the second time in two years made me feel so ashamed. I spent many nights crying my eyes out and thinking about people who I felt would need therapy more than me. I remember telling my therapist that I shouldn’t be sat in front of her because I never used to feel down or depressed. I remember being the bubbliest person in the world but reality is that as you get older, life comes at you fast so open up, talk to people you trust and work towards having a better, healthier outlook on life.

Lesson 3  – Live your best life

This year for me has been all about experiences. Whether it’s holidays, concerts, nights out with friends: I really have lived in 2018! It’s amazing how one trip to Amsterdam made me want to travel more. I have had the pleasure of going to Berlin, Prague, Paris and Venice this year. A goal of mine for 2019 is definitely to travel more as I have a few destinations in mind. I definitely want to go back to Paris again as I just had so much fun and it was my first solo trip. A friend of mine said there was no way I could travel solo and I saw that as a challenge and then booked Paris. When the train was leaving St Pancras, I started to well up a little because I realised what I was about to do but you know what? I’d do it all over again if I could.

When it comes to living the life that you want, don’t have a heavy reliance on others. Maintain your friendships but don’t let anyone stop you from doing what you want to do. Take yourself out to eat, visit another town for a day, go to the movies by yourself. Enjoying your own company does not mean you are lonely. You learn a lot about yourself when you experience different things. Plan things in advance and also try to do something that you’ve never done before. Personally, I hate being outside of my comfort zone but once I’ve done new things, I feel really good after. Some of you may be able to relate.

Lesson 4  – Sometimes, no matter how hard you want to hold on, you’ve just got to cut certain people off

Why is it that whenever you appear to have your s*** together, someone from your past decides to try to make a reappearance into your life? There are probably so many answers to that question which I’m not going to go into now but it is a thing. People from your past can smell progression and happiness and all those lovely things, so they decide to come running back. I love to give people the benefit of the doubt but one day, I had to take a good, hard look at myself in the mirror and just admit that I need to let go of certain relationships in my life. Having people who are no good in your life can seriously disturb your aura.

Strangely enough, when I became single, I came to the realisation that certain relationships in your life can drain your energy if you are not careful. You need to discern which ones do. Forcing relationships is something I have refused to do in 2018. Time also doesn’t determine the quality of a personal relationship, this is another lesson I have learned. Sometimes, cutting people off is just the right thing to do. Cutting people off isn’t about proving a point. It is about acceptance. Acceptance is just about seeing things as they are and moving forward with grace.Evaluating all relationships in my life has now become something I do on a regular basis. If something or someone just isn’t adding value to my life, they have got to go.

Lesson 5  – Don’t rely on the validation of others when it comes to being your true self. BE authentic, BE you!

Seeking validation is the most exhausting sport anyone can engage in. Trying to be everything to everyone will never bring you the joy you desire. As I sat in conversation with my therapist, we talked about seeking approval from others. It is funny how most of our less than perfect traits can be linked back to our childhoods and I do remember a few events where I was made to feel like I had to be a certain person in order to be accepted.

Addressing this in therapy was one of the best things I ever did for myself. Knowing who you are and developing a sense of self worth will take you far. You are valued, you are important and you are loved and you should never forget this. Hold on to that truth and don’t let anyone tell you anything different. If you live off the approval of others, you can never be your authentic self. Something will always hold you back and your confidence will take a hit. Understand why you seek approval and find a way to change your perception of yourself.

I know this post has been a lengthy one but 2018 has been a very eventful year. Here’s to a fantastic 2019.

What are some of the life lessons you have learnt in 2018?

I always love to hear from you all so do like, comment and subscribe.

Kel xo

Advertisements

Beauty Focus: Natural Lipsticks

Natural lipsticks are having a bit of a moment. Industry experts all over the world are hailing this new beauty phenomenon. Millions of women apply lipstick every day but many aren’t aware that the majority of lipsticks contain harmful ingredients such as lead. Lead is a neurotoxin and can be dangerous even in small doses. According to Health Line, lead can cause mental and physical impairment.

However, lead is actually not listed as an ingredient on lipsticks so it may be hard to identify which lipsticks have it and which ones don’t. If you do decide to adopt a conscious approach when choosing a new lipstick, here are a few reasons why you are doing the right thing:

1) Safe to use – natural lipsticks use herbal products which make them completely safe for use on the lips

2) Paraben free – it has been reported that parabens can cause hormonal imbalance in women

3) Lead free – as mentioned earlier, lead has been linked to mental and physical impairment so you won’t need to worry about any exposure to the metal when you are eating or drinking

4) Healthier lips – because of the natural ingredients, your lips will look and feel healthier and they will be deeply hydrated too – that’s an added bonus!

5) Not tested on animals – the components of natural lipsticks are actually not tested on animals. Commercial lipsticks are tested on animals unfortunately.

These are some pretty amazing benefits right? So, that’s why I was really excited to try the new 100% natural lipsticks from Burt’s Bees! In addition to the 18 stunning shades, each lipstick is made from natural ingredients including moringa oil, beeswax (community sourced), mimosa flower wax and raspberry seed oil.

I was sent three shades: Doused Rose, Russet River and Orchid Ocean.

(L-R: (513) Doused Rose, (533) Orchid Ocean and (532) Russet River)

Thoughts

If you are after a long lasting natural lipstick, then this is the one for you. It’s easy to apply and I can honestly say that my lips felt soft and hydrated throughout the day. As you know, I tend to prefer matte lipsticks but I’d happily consider using natural lipsticks instead. My only con is that I wish the shades were more pigmented but other than that, I would definitely wear Orchid Ocean and Russet River during the week. Doused Rose is a bit too light for my complexion.

(Orchid Ocean)

(Russet River)

(Doused Rose)

The Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Lipstick is available to purchase from John Lewis, Boots, Feel Unique, Burtsbees.co.uk and Look Fantastic and is priced at £9.99.

Diversity For Women of Colour: Is this a never ending battle?

Hi guys, welcome back to my space.

This post is a collaboration between me and Charlotte from Memoirs and Musings.

We are both very passionate about addressing the lack of diversity within the beauty industry. In this post, we will be praising the brands that we feel are getting it right and exploring why we think some beauty brands are still failing to provide a diverse product offering.

Before we start, we are going to reveal what our fave makeup products are:

Kelle’s Beauty Essentials

Foundation: Black Up CC Cream Multi Action (Complexion Correcting Foundation). 

Lipstick: NYX Professional Makeup Matte Lipstick  in the shade Maison. 

 Mascara: NYX Super Luscious Volume and Length Mascara

Charlotte’s Beauty Essentials

Foundation: Nars All Day Weightless Luminous Foundation (My shade is Tahoe or Macao when I have a tan). I’m NC45 in Mac for reference. 

Lipstick: Mac Spirit is one I have re-bought time after time.

Highlighter: I can’t choose one so I’m gonna choose three… the Make Up Revolution baked highlighter in ‘Golden Lights’ (£3 and looks AMAZING on every skintone), the Fenty Matchstix in Sinamon and Benefit Watts Up. 

1) Before the launch of Fenty Beauty, were you aware of any beauty brands for WoC in the market? 

Kelle: Pre Fenty Beauty, these are the beauty brands for WoC that I was aware of:

brands for woc

In addition to the above, I was also aware of brands such as MAC Cosmetics, NARS and Sleek Make Up.

Char: Fashion Fair, LA Girl, Nars, Mac, Black Up, Iman et al. 

2) Why do you think the beauty industry is ignoring its biggest spenders?

Kelle: The biggest problem I think the beauty industry has is processing and implementing customer feedback. The majority of beauty brands are very happy to go along with trends or emulate their competitors in fear due to their desire to maintain their relevance. As consumers, I think that we all deserve to gain an insight into how brands we spend our money on are using sales figures and feedback from focus groups to better inform their product development process. 

According to the Office of National Statistics, the black and mixed race population will reach 35% of the total population by 2035. The IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising) estimates that WoC spend £4.8 billion on products and treatments! The IPA have also found that WoC spend six times more than their Caucasian counterparts on their hair…

Char: Blatant ignorance to be honest. 

Kelle: I couldn’t agree more.

Char: I always wonder what if I’m away for the weekend and I forget my foundation, if I pop down to the local drugstore and they don’t have my shade what can I do? Nothing. It makes you feel helpless in a way. Beauty should be inclusive not exclusive. The fact that my skin colour exists should be enough for it to be available. I do understand that if I’m going to be in a place for example, Sweden, that darker shades may not be available but why has this become the norm. I’m glad I live in an culturally diverse place like London where I can easily get my shade if I need to, but for those with deeper skintones, it’s not easy. The more sparesly populated an area is, the less likely they are to have beauty products for WOC.

giphy-downsized (28)

Kelle: Exactly! Beauty brands are playing it safe. They want to stick to what they know and as far as they are concerned, WoC can either look for what suits them or take their money somewhere else. With WoC having such a strong spending power, the world needs to stop and take note. Beauty brands just can’t afford to keep thinking this way. 

giphy-downsized (29)

3) What do you think beauty brands should be doing in order to improve on/maintain their offerings for WoC?

Kelle: Firstly, brands should be placing quality over quantity. I’ve walked into shops/department stores and I’m naturally inclined to check out brands that cater to WoC.

I have noticed that there are brands who will launch a new product with an offering of 10 different shades/colours and 5 out of 10 of those shades will all look the same. It’s pointless. I’m actually not alone in my views. 70% of Black and Asian women feel that high street stores don’t cater for their beauty needs (Superdrug, 2016)

Char: 70%?! That’s too high. In my opinion, brands need to research their customer base and find out exactly what consumers want rather than assuming. Yes I’m throwing a little shade, but certain brands need to stop assuming that we want grey flashback in photos… really? …

Kelle: And from the looks of things, even some of our favourite celebrities seem to have fallen victim to this issue…

black-women-wrong-foundation

giphy-downsized (33)

giphy-downsized (30)

4) Do you think that beauty influencers of colour should be fronting beauty campaigns more often?

Char: Of course, BUT it shouldn’t be because brands or companies need to fill a certain quota aka tokenism. It should be a natural fit and should feel inclusive rather than exclusive. Lately, there was an image from a particular brand *cough* YSL, that showed 3 arms of the three different skintones… and the darkest shade…oh boy! 

I mean look:

ysl

Kelle: The fact that this is happening in 2018… YSL actually had the audacity to swatch their lighter shades on their darkest model…who approved this?

Char: If these brands had an influencer like me for example (I’m not bigging myself up here in the slightest) consulting them, they would realise this is all kinds of wrong. Why would you photograph shades on a deeper skin toned arm where even the very darkest doesn’t match. Get it together YSL.  And since writing this post, Tarte, another popular beauty brand released their new foundation shades. I’ll let this photo do the talking: 

tarte_shape-tape_article

Image credit: Pop Sugar

Kelle: Do these brands not know that women of colour actually use foundation? The ignorance is unbelievable. Tarte used to work very closely with Make Up Shayla. I wonder if she will continue to endorse their products once she sees this…

Char: What’s promising is influencers like Jackie Aina is working with Too Faced to develop and release darker shades of their Born This Way foundation. If only other brands would take note…

too-faced-foundation-mainpic_0

Kelle: It’s actually refreshing to see a brand such as Too Faced teaming up with a darker skinned blogger because some brands recruit mixed race or fair skinned influencers for their campaigns because they have more marketing power. I have noticed that when dark skinned bloggers front beauty campaigns or launch collections, the offering is quite limited (e.g: eyeshadow palettes or highlighters). It’s good to see Too Faced taking a step to change things. To all the brands out there: Take note and let WoC do more!

5) Which products for WoC would you like to see improved/modified and why?

Kelle: I’d like to see foundation offerings improved. There is still a long way to go. Skin types, skin concerns and undertones need to be taken into consideration in order for a real difference to be made. I believe that every WoC needs to be catered to. Times have changed and more brands need to wake up. I think eye shadow palettes need to modified. Personally, I play it safe and stick to palettes with brown shades because I’ve yet to find a brand that caters to WoC completely. This can also depend on preference I guess.

Char: I think we’re finally starting to get foundations, concealers and base products right. There is more options available than ever before and brands are realising than there are more undertones than red or ashy. However, its not just base products that still need to be modified, what about blushes, eyeshadows and bronzers? Whenever I buy an eyeshadow palette, I always find that at least 3/4 of the colours are not for me, I can’t even use the lightest one as a base or brow bone highlight without it looking like the queen of ashiness. Thankfully there are brands like Juvia’s Place, Beauty Bakery who are formulating products right from the get go. 

Kelle: I agree about eyeshadows. I think they do need some looking into. I’ve yet to find a palette with bold, pigmented shades that can compliment my collection. It’s good to see Juvia’s Place filling in that gap in the market but such palettes should be instantly accessible…

6) Which beauty brands/companies do you think are getting it right?

Kelle: The brands that I think are getting it right are IMAN Cosmetics and NARS, Black Up, Lancome, Fenty Beauty, Fashion Fair and Anastasia Beverly Hills. Because I have a yellow undertone, my biggest foundation concern is my face looking red while the rest of me doesn’t.

Char: Nars, Mac, Lancome, Fenty Beauty and Anastasia Beverly Hills. I also have to shout out to some old school brands like Iman and Fashion Fair. Fenty Beauty came out with 40 shades as standard, from very fair to very deep. Some brands launch a new concealer or foundation and have one or two shades for us and I’m probably as dark as they go (*cough* Tarte). What if I get a tan? Then it will be a complete no go for me. It’s not even just the base products like concealers and foundations; it’s eyeshadows, bronzers and blushes too. 

Kelle: Fenty Beauty definitely broke the mould, I agree but Fashion Fair and IMAN did it first. Maybe, WoC will start turning their attention to the old school brands who clearly don’t have a problem giving the customer what they want…

Char: It’s a possibility…

Kelle: Imagine a world where a WoC can walk into any beauty or cosmetics store and find products that were actually created with her in mind? 

Char: It’s time to make this happen and we won’t stop until we are given the recognition we deserve.

Kelle: Absolutely!

7) What do you predict for the future of the beauty industry in 5 or 10 years time?   

Kelle: If the battle for diversity within the beauty industry persists (and it should!), I believe that in the next five to 10 years, there will be more beauty brands launching for sure. However, we (WoC, influencers, bloggers, vloggers, writers et al) need to work together as a collective in order to move forward. With cooperative effort,the beauty industry can really be an open place for us all.

Char: I reckon in the next 5 years we’ll be seeing lots more indie brands pop up over the place with products, In 10 years time, I can’t really say what will happen but it will be interesting to observe and watch this industry evolve. 

women

I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading this post. 

Don’t forget to tell your friends about Kelle’s Space and Memoirs and Musings (Char).

And don’t forget to like and subscribe 🙂

Kel & Char xo 

 

 

My Skincare Routine (2018)

Hi everyone, 

First of all, Happy New Year! I hope 2018 brings you everything you want and more.

Yesterday, I wrote about my hopes, dreams and vows for 2018, check it out.

In my first post of 2018, I’m going to be sharing my skin care routine with you all. Over the past year, I have noticed that my skin has dramatically improved. The most challenging skin issue I have is hyper pigmentation. I have the most stubborn dark spots but on a positive note, with the help of the products I am currently using, my skin has started to clear up.

In addition to my desire for clearer skin, I also want it to look healthy, bright and firm throughout 2018 (claiming this!)

My Skincare Routine

When I’ve had my shower in the morning, I wash my face with Dudu Osun African Black Soap.

I’ve been using this soap to cleanse my face for about three months now and I absolutely love it. My skin looks a lot clearer and I’ve noticed that my skin isn’t as oily as it used to be which is always a good thing!

Three to four times a week, I exfoliate. The scrub that I use is the St Ives Even and Bright Pink Lemon and Mandarin Orange Scrub.

There’s a page on Twitter called Melanin Mamis and they have an amazing skin care and hair care thread and this scrub kept being mentioned by a number of tweeters so I decided to read some reviews and give it a try. My skin is softer and brighter and I also like that its made with 100% natural exfoliants so it doesn’t feel too tough like some other brand’s exfoliators do.

After I’ve exfoliated, I use a flannel to pat my face dry. Once or twice a week, I will apply my Himalaya Herbals Purifying Neem Mask. It’s perfect for normal to oily skin and you only need to leave it on for 10 minutes. You do feel a tightening effect but don’t worry, that’s just your pores shrinking. There is also a scrub in the range that’s quite good as well and both products contain Turmeric, which is known for its skin healing properties.

I use a cotton pad to tone my skin with Thayers Witch Hazel Rose Petal Alcohol Free Toner. Whenever I apply this toner, my skin feels soft and looks refreshed. I’ll be the first to admit that for a toner, it is quite pricey but all you really need is a pea sized amount (a little bit goes a long way, trust me). Mine has lasted for over 5 months which is pretty impressive. Another thing that I love about this toner is it does a fantastic job at getting rid of dirt on the skin. If you are looking for a toner to invest in, I definitely recommend this one.

Once my skin is toned, I moisturise. There’s a brand by the name of Irie Rock and they create products specifically for women with oily/combination skin. The Tea Tree and Witch Hazel Replenishing Facial Moisturizer is free from parabens, mineral oils and artificial fragrances. With oily skin, its important to use a moisturiser that is as light as possible as too many ingredients applied at once can provoke the production of sebum (what causes shine). 

One skin care lesson I have learnt this year is: always use a serum. Simply cleansing, toning and moisturising is not enough (even if you have been blessed with amazing skin). Serums deliver many anti aging skin benefits and ensure your skin glows all year round. I’d recommend a serum with any of these two ingredients: Vitamin C and Vitamin E. These Vitamins are your skin’s best friend. I live for Palmer’s Skin Therapy Face Oil

Within weeks, my complexion had started to improve and when I told people my actual age, no-one could believe me. The serum is definitely responsible for this because I’ve always been told I looked older than my years.

I’ll apply two drops of lemon oil on my face, ensuring it absorbed into my skin as this helps to prevent your skin getting shiny throughout the day. I talk more about the amazing benefits of lemon oil in this post.

I have the same routine for the evening when I get ready for bed. The only thing that is different is that I apply Liquid Vitamin on my lips (not pictured) to keep them soft and moisturised.

IMG_E6439

IMG_E6440

This skin care routine has really worked for me this past year. In the past, I’ve always followed the crowd when it came to buying particular products but I’m proud to say that I’ve found products that I think work well for me and the needs of my skin.

I hope you have enjoyed the first post of 2018. All links to products are in the post.

Let me know what you think and also feel free to share your skin care routine.

Kel xo 

5 Reasons to Meditate

In this post, I’m going to be talking about the importance of meditation.

giphy-downsized (13)

I came across the practice of meditation around a year and a half ago.

Since then, I have tried my best to meditate at least twice a week. As we approach a new year, one of my resolutions is definitely to meditate a lot more than I usually do. I like to use the free guided meditations on this website. I find myself meditating usually before I go to bed because it usually takes some time for me to fall asleep (there are usually a million things going through my mind as I prepare for sleep).

giphy-downsized (14)

Personally, I find meditation to be quite a liberating experience. When I meditate in the morning, it sets me up for the day and I’m able to maintain positive vibes throughout the day. As I’m more spiritual, when I meditate I like to see the experience as communicating a higher power. I find that I’m able to confidently affirm my hopes, dreams and goals for the present and the future. One thing I would like to start doing is reflecting on my meditations.

Here are five reasons why I think it is very important to meditate…

  • It increases acceptance – When you mediate, you should be able to reflect on all the happenings of your day or week (whether they are good or bad). Practising acceptance is learning to avoid craving. Craving is when we long for something and longing for something that we do not have can make us incredibly unhappy. Acceptance is all about being present, accepting who you are and being happy with who you are and what is currently happening in your life.
  • It improves concentration – As a millennial, I will put my hands up and admit that I do find it very difficult to concentrate at times. There are way too many distractions on a day to day basis (work events, personal life, use of social media etc etc) and meditation allows you to take time out and clear your mind. Never feel guilty for taking 10-15 minutes to put yourself first. That’s what self care is really about!
  • It reduces stress – Year after year, stress has been cited as one of the top causes of sick days for professionals all over the world. It’s very easy to succumb to stress and unfortunately, if not managed well enough, stress can have emotional, physical and mentally destroying effects. To relieve stress through meditation, I would recommend that you focus on your breathing. Take deep, slow and calm breaths. I am a huge fan of the app Pacifica and they are some really good free meditation exercises which focus on breathing. If your not a fan of apps, then YT have a lot of videos that you may find helpful.
  • It improves sleep – It has been proven that people who meditate sleep much better than those who don’t. Meditation increases the production of serotonin (this is the hormone that regulates sleeping patterns). Sound sleep is very important for the body so if you find yourself consistently being deprived of sleep then meditation may be the key. (Have a look at the website that I shared above for meditations for sleep)
  • It increases calmness – The more you meditate, the calmer you will become. People who practice meditation are more likely to shrug off negative occurrences throughout the day. You are able to control your thought process a lot more and you definitely gain the power to pick your battles wisely.

 When it comes to meditation, I would say take your time because it’s not going to have the desired effect immediately. I meditate using YT videos from time to time and there are some I find that just don’t do it for me (and that’s o.k). Do your research too. You may find that something works for a friend but doesn’t have the same effect for you. You can also meditate with a variety of issues in mind such as: meditating for positivity, to forgive others, to make better life choices, to challenge negative thoughts etc etc.

giphy-downsized (15)

Thank you for reading and I hope you have enjoyed this post.

Feel free to share your meditation experiences. Do you enjoy meditating?

Did it have the effect you thought it would? 

Kel xo