Parenting, the dark side – Like versus Love.

Let’s be clear, love is not like

Being a mum is so difficult.

There is no manual; there is no textbook; there is no 30 days free return policy.

Then, there you are, suddenly mum (or dad) and baby. Get on with it.

I love my children, to the ends of the earth. In fact, I don’t know a mother who doesn’t (I know really decent people). I look at my children every day and watch them grow, spread their wings, look at how beautiful and how individual they are becoming… the light side of parenthood.

What is all too often not discussed and swept under the carpet as taboo is the dark side of parenting, the side that brings out the human being in all of us. The side that makes us question our parental capabilities.

Children playing in autumn leaves

Love versus Like.

Let’s be clear, love is not like. I can love someone with all of my heart: an inexplicable and immeasurable need to ensure somebody else’s happiness, wellbeing and safety. Love is putting someone else’s needs above your own without reason or explanation. I love my children and I would go to any extent to ensure that they have everything their little hearts desire (to my own detriment at times) as long as I possibly can.

Love is the intense, involuntary, incomparable and unconditional affection you feel for someone else and in this case, how I feel about my children: a feeling beyond words, beyond measure, beyond explanation.

Just because I love my children, doesn’t mean I always have to like them.

Children are only small human beings after all and humans CAN be annoying. Why would your own children be any different? When you put a group of unique and individual personalities into a small space for a prolonged period of time (18 years plus), there is bound to be some head butting – That was a description of a family unit and not a prison might I add, though at times not dissimilar.

I am the first to admit, with love, that there are times that I do not like my own children. This is not a permanent state of dislike, I am not going to reject their justification nor will I ignore them as a result of this dislike (if it can be helped) but all too often, mothers are expected to forget who they are as a human being and be the epitome of motherly perfection instead, I am sorry, I am just not that mum.

I know that I can love my children without actually liking them; the two feelings are not mutually exclusive.

I can almost feel the judgement as some people would read that line and wonder how can I say that about my own children, those perfect mums I’ve already mentioned included. Disliking my daughters when their actions are unlikeable is by no means a reflection of my love for them, nor is it a reflection of my ability as a parent to raise likeable human beings. Likeability is subjective, what I may consider to be likeable is highly likely to be annoying and offensive to most, so who am I to dictate to my children how they should or should not be when it comes to being socially accepted. In fact, through life they are going to encounter people who dislike them, colleagues who dislike them, mutual friends and romantic interests who dislike them. The way I see it, I am teaching them a valuable lesson:

Not EVERYONE will like you. Not everyone will like what you do, how you act, what you wear, what you say. This is not a bad thing, how boring the world would be if we all liked each other and had nothing to tweet about. I have accepted that there are a lot of people that do not like me (including my young human beings sometimes) and I have learned that this is a good thing, I no longer have to force myself to be around people who don’t appreciate all of me for me. They too deserve to learn this lesson.

Children looking at the locks on Bristol bridge

Behavioural dislike.

Unfortunately, dislike for your own children is likely to stem from behavioural concerns, this as they navigate the treacherous hormonal paths in front of them. No, I don’t like my six year old when she is bursting into tears every 5 minutes about unnecessary things. Nor do I like my eleven year old daughter when she is giving me a side eye and talking over me as she is being reprimanded for once again not doing something completely, so she may race back to her Snapchat story.

I am very fortunate in that these are normal behavioural changes for children of their ages, they are forming their own identities; they are being influenced by their peer groups and they are learning who they are and who they would like to be in this, a digital age. Just because these changes and moods are to be expected, doesn’t mean I have to like it – I am allowed to wear my own brat hat every now and again, no matter how many times I am told my children are well behaved and adjusted.

Social Expectation.

 

As a parent, it is very difficult not to feel like you are failing when you log into Instagram and see pictures of your friends’ happy, bubbly, posing children or when you go onto Facebook and the updates are only positive ones. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I myself am guilty of only pushing the positive online versus the negative, though I feel that this (Moonsomnia) is the right platform to look at the dark side (and sometimes light side) of parenting and start the conversation.

I feel that social media and society do create this expectation that we have to be this perfect mum above all else. Slowly but surely, we are getting to a point where we are pushing back; acknowledging that we are not actually mum’s first. We are human beings first and being a mum is one of the most important opportunities we have been gifted, it does not define who we are and we make mistakes, we don’t have perfect child-parent relationships (show me someone who does) and we are no longer afraid to talk about the darker elements of being a mum. It isn’t all daisies and roses.

Being a parent doesn’t come with a ‘HOW TO’ guide and we are all fumbling along the way, making mistakes and learning from each other. It is still foreign to me that stigma in this day and age is STILL A THING and there is a stigma attached to admitting that there are times you dislike your own child.

That doesn’t make you a bad person; it makes you an honest one.

So the next time your child does something you don’t like, don’t be ashamed to admit to yourself that you genuinely didn’t like it. Don’t be ashamed to talk about it and remember, you are a human being with human emotions and robotic stamina: you are a SUPER MUM (or dad!).

I would love to hear about your dark parenting experiences, help me by commenting below so I don’t feel so alone…

Xx

Shevy

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My PR Media Kit (A parody)

I have read a lot lately about monetising my blog, better understanding PR and working with brands in order to build a business with this baby of mine, Moonsomnia. Weeks of research have led me to the conclusion that a media kit is essential to approaching brands and businesses as I build this little empire. While I will, sometime in the near future, work on having a legitimate media kit created, I had a little giggle at a draft I put together just for fun. It highlights the struggles of a new blog with limited social media following / DA rating but showcases the appeal of a smaller, lesser known blog. 

I take my hat off to ALL blogs who actually have a decent media kit, rest assured I will call on you when the time comes to create an actual one. I hope you will find this just a little bit funny and by no means is a low blow at anyone in any way, these figures are all of my own as of now:

Moonsomnia’s Media Kit:

A draft.

Moonsomnia is the womb of the word-babies cultivated, nurtured and brought into the world by me, Shevy. Moonsomnia is recognisably fun, alternative, eccentric and vulnerable. It is the third wave of a series of blog sites that I’ve been involved in, finally finding my niche in September 2017 when this empire was born. I’m happy to approach any and all topics professionally with an inquisitive mind and original views, though I’ve had dabbled a little in beauty reviews, mental health topics and the alternative lifestyle.

My subscriber numbers as at 15 November are as follows :

WordPress – 118 followers

Facebook – 29 likes

Twitter – 485 followers

LinkedIn – 11 connections

I’m not going to lie, my following is crap but my retweet reach is impressive.

I’ll be blatantly honest with you, I may not look like much, my views in the last two months haven’t yet reached 2000 and my DA is as low as it can go (1), but you know what?

  • I’m hard working.
  • I’m talented.
  • I write with the fervour of a madman.
  • I never turn down a challenge.
  • My photography and videography skills get better by the day.
  • I am professional, just look at my logo / site? (I even have business cards, then it must be so!)
  • My make up skills aren’t half bad.
  • I have an eye for detail.
  • I am one of the most passionate bloggers you’ll ever meet.
  • I also have a MacBook in rose gold that makes a hella good blog prop. Just saying.

So if your business is looking for someone who is not your quintessential lifestyle or beauty blogger, whose sense of humour could put your brand on the map with sarcasm and wit, whose piercings and tattoos and interesting views won’t thwart your opinion, then Moonsomnia is your blog and I’m your gal.

I have a Portfolio page for the little work I have done and a contact page if you’d like to get in touch…

And maybe I’m not right for your brand but you’d like to be my friend? Send me an email anyway.

Xx

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Shevy Moonsomnia in a hat and sunglasses

A leap of faith.

I have chosen a new path that will allow me to realise a lifelong dream, to do what I love and never work a day in my life.

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It has been a while since I took a jump without forethought and planning. Almost all of my life has been calculated down to the finest T, every decision carefully crafted and designed for a desired outcome. I’ve never been an impulsive person, my OCD disallows careless action and I don’t usually do anything without hours of consideration.

 

Until now.

 

Those of you who keep up with this page know that I have had a few medical issues recently; I was diagnosed with an Iliofemoral DVT (as well as clotting in my IVC and lungs) and before that, earlier on in 2017 I had a sub total hysterectomy and bilateral oophorectomy for treatment of Endometriosis and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). It has been an extremely trying year in terms of my health, at the ripe young age of 33 I feel like I have experienced a lifetime of medical concerns compounded by surgical menopause and my faltering mental health, the progressive worsening of my anxiety and the dark hole of depression that opened up, ready to swallow me into a point of no return.

 

Shevy in a witch hat.

 

So much medical jargon, boring I know. It sounds so very dramatic and admittedly like I am trying to baffle you with bullshit. I’m not. This is my reality, a few lifetimes of medical madness made manifest in the body of a weakened human being. I had lost a sense of who or what I was while trying to clamber to any semblance of hope for the future, all the while juggling being a mother, a wife, a friend and a career woman. Up until recently, I was solely focused on surviving, choosing a path of forced existence over choosing to live.

 

Since my teen years, I have had the same career all of my life. I studied Travel & Tourism at the school of Tourism at Damelin in Johannesburg, South Africa for which I received a diploma. Afterward, I walked into a reception position at my first employer, a corporate travel agency who took a chance on an 18 year old girl with but a piece of paper and an ill fitting skirt suit. I progressed quickly and climbed the ladder, promotion to promotion, which ultimately saw me leading and supervising a global, 24-man team, which operated 24/7. I have always been good at my job because I have always enjoyed it, I am good at what I do and had built up a great reputation in the travel industry in South Africa… until I cracked.

 

Shevy up the stratosphere in las vegas

 

One day, I woke up and I just couldn’t anymore. I could not walk into a company (a well known global travel company) and make them a fortune at the expense of my sanity, the stress levels were immeasurable and night after night I would come home in tears, weighed down by the pressure of bringing in an income to help support my family. My husband and I sat down and talked it out and I made the decision to resign from my managerial position, I then moved to a smaller agency where the stress levels paled in comparison, my biggest gripe was wearing a uniform and not making enough commission.

 

It was shortly after this that I decided to make the move to the UK, a little over 3 years ago now. I was hired by my current employer – via Skype interview may I add – and no more than a week later I was on a plane to jolly old, ready to start a new adventure.

 

Since December 2015, I have been a full time business travel consultant working from home; most would say my job is ‘cushy’. I earn a decent wage; have the advantage of working at my home and therefore not being delayed by a commute and have a good idea of what I am doing after having done it for 16 years as a career. This is who I identified as, a travel consultant. Travel is in my blood, it is what I do, it is all I have ever known… but it doesn’t mean it is what I wanted.

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Mascarun 2014, Reunion island (centre)

Since I was a young girl, I would find myself writing. Anywhere, on anything I could find. Poetry. Songs. Stories. My solace was in my imagination and the magic wand was the nearest pen or pencil. I have never fancied myself as someone who could write very well (I have always been my worst critic) so I used to read… ALL… THE… TIME. Reading and writing, the earliest of education that is taught and the only things I cared for throughout my entire school career. There was a time, toward the end of high school, I considered going into a writing career but outside influences led me to believe that I would not make enough money to survive, I wouldn’t be good enough to make it in a ‘word eat word’ world. I chose a different path instead and every day I have regretted it since.

 

This year, after my harrowing diagnosis in October, I had a very frank discussion with the specialist who ultimately expressed his concern about the stressful nature of my job. Though you wouldn’t think it, what I do is definitely not for the faint hearted. I may work from home but from 08:30am in the morning until 18:00 in the evening; despite a lunch hour being imposed I seldom leave my desk. Call after call, email after email. It is a constant go, go, and go in a seated position – Not ideal for a DVT.

 

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Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

 

At the start of my situation, I was initially booked off work for two weeks however when I ended up back in the emergency room a second time and the doctors realized that my diagnosis was worse than originally thought, I was booked off work for a full four weeks longer. Shortly before my four weeks was up, I was back at the doctor and I was booked off for another four weeks with the possibility of extending further. With all of this time booked off ill and trying my best to recover, to be more mobile and to deal with the ongoing financial stress and not being able to work, I knew it was time to make a decision. I knew it was time to take a leap of faith…

 

I am so grateful for a lifelong career that has allowed me to raise a family, has eased financial strain and has taught me how to function in a corporate world. It has taken me this long to realise that my health MUST come first and it is about time that I act selfishly, that I forgo the luxuries and comfortable lifestyle I have become accustomed too in search of a new path, one that allows me to recover so that I can be the best person for my people that I can be. One that allows me to do what I love every day and with each passing moment, presents me with a new challenge to excitedly overcome. I have chosen a new path that will allow me to realise a lifelong dream, to do what I love and never work a day in my life.

 

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Rand Airport, SAA photo shoot.

 

A little over a week ago, I handed in my letter of resignation to a company that has stood by me for three out of sixteen years and it was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do. Not only am I turning around and walking away from a fantastic employer, a steady and substantial income, a job that I know like the back of my hand and not to mention its stability. I am walking away from a lifetime of the travel industry in order to pursue a business that means more to me than all of the perks that being a career woman has afforded me. I have been so fortunate over the years, I have been able to travel the world throughout my career and I have met so many amazing people, been recognised with some of the best in the industry and have loved every minute of it but it is now time for a new chapter.

 

My initial priority is to get better; my health is first and foremost the most important thing for me to focus on. I have days where I wake up and it feels like I can take on the world, one hand tied behind my back. Other days, the pain is so intense that I can hardly make it from my bed to the sofa. This is my rollercoaster and it has become a theme park for which I have an annual pass, I am learning to accept its twists and turns. Thereafter, my next priority will be to put myself out there in the New Year as a content writer and influencer, my blog remaining one of my primary focuses. Moonsomnia is imperative to my success, it is the platform that allows my vulnerability and versatility and it is a showcase of who I am and all that I encompass; a visual and textual representation of who I am now and who I look forward to becoming in the future.

 

moonsomnia logo black

 

Since handing in my resignation, a weight has truly been lifted. A renewed sense of hope has flooded the hole of darkness and I have something exciting to focus my attention toward, other than my incessant ailments and frustrating setbacks. The stress and anxiety, though not altogether gone, have been lulled into hibernation for the winter of my recovery. The financial strain brought upon my family as a direct result of my decision is one that escapes me however I am ambitious and I will not give up. I will do what I need to do (within reason and legality) to ensure we don’t have to compromise too much in order for me to live my truth.

 

The future is unknown. Have I made the right decision? I will never be able to tell. The only certainty is uncertainty itself and that petrifies me, it also does something to me that not many things have been able to do recently in my career, it excites me.

 

I am excited for 2018; bring on a new year and a renewed sense of purpose. ‘Until you spread your wings you will have no idea how far you can fly’.

 

Xx

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Abu Dhabi life.

The Liebster Award

My first award from my fellow bloggers and the amazing blogging community over on the Tweeter ! Thank you so much Tina, you are an amazing blogger and I love to read about your day to day life.

For those reading, you can follow Tina over at her Lady traveller of Malta. You can also follow her on Twitter and on Instagram. Tina originally nominated me for this award, you can read the questions set for her and answers on her Liebster Award post.

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Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their post.
  • Answer the 11 questions they asked you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers, with your own set of questions.
  • Tag your chosen 11 bloggers, and don’t forget to tell them as well!

As this was my first Liebster award, I wanted to find out a little more about it. I came across this post on the Wording Well’s blog site dating back to 2013, seems this blog has gone around for a while : The Liebster Award: The Official Rules + My First Blog Award and a Few Personal Secrets Revealed

11 Questions chosen for me by Tina are :

What’s your favourite drink and why?

If it is non alcoholic, I am addicted to Orange Juice but if we are referring to an alcoholic beverage, just add vodka (To anything). The standard bar order is double vodka, lime, rocks, short glass. What? It sounds classier than it is.

The song that makes you’re day better?

At the moment I have been listening to a lot of In This Moment. The new album, Ritual, features a song called Oh Lord. Here is the YouTube link, because I am nice and wish everyone listened to Maria Brink as much as I did. Warning, this is a little bit crazy chick metal!

What do you do in your spare time?

At the moment I am well into all of my Netflix and Sky Box sets series. I am a binge watcher, that is a thing. If I am not working on my blog or spamming social media (Apologies), I have been doing a lot of blog research and reading, reading of blogs on WordPress, drinking coffee and taking artsy photos of inanimate objects.

What was the most challenging moment in your blogging journey so far?

Getting people I know to like, share, comment on and interact with my writing. Like most bloggers, I rely on many forms of social media to share my posts and in turn rely on the people following those accounts to share / retweet / comment on and interact with these posts. Unfortunately, only a 5th of my friends on my Facebook actually like my blog Facebook page, very few people I know like my Twitter / Instagram and no one I know is on Pinterest or Google +. It can be very disheartening when you don’t get the likes and shares you want but then I remember that what I do is not for everyone and I cannot expect everyone to like my writing or want to share it on their personal accounts so I let this go…

Dogs or cats?

Self confessed CAT lady. Cat mum to Ragnar Lothbrok (Black moggy) and Dorian Gray (Sphynx).

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Dorian being loved by Ragnar

What makes you most happy?

NOT having to worry about money. I know, people would expect me to say my children or my family but to be honest, that is a given. Over and above the happiness of my family, I really get happy when I have money in the bank. It can’t buy happiness but it can buy me things that make me happy…

Best gift you ever given to someone?

I have literally bought a gift that will be the best gift I have ever bought but I cannot say because it would give the surprise away. The next best gift would be the sports race day I got my husband for his birthday last year (In his opinion) where he got to drive and race a Chevy Camaro and a Mustang GT.

How much time do you spend on social media?

When I am not asleep. Which is only 4-5 hours a day in total, so a LOT of time.

Where are you in 5 years?

Hopefully by this time, my content writing services are selling nicely. I am writing, running Moonsomnia, running my blog, making good money, having ME time but most importantly happy, healthy and surrounded by my kids (My oldest would be almost 17!) and family.

Cinema or couch at home?

I do really enjoy going to the cinema but I enjoy the couch at home even more, plus the snacks are cheaper.

Your best advice for the new bloggers out there?

Make the most of social media, not everyone is going to support you so you need to find people who will and platforms like Twitter give you all that and more. Blogging is personal so make sure you keep writing and sharing what YOU like, not what everyone else likes. That said, you are not going to arrive on WordPress or Blogspot and suddenly have PR requests flying coming out of your ears. It takes time to build a following, a reputation and a loyal base of people who live to read what you write, you need to be very patient.

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Shevy – Content Writer at Moonsomnia.com

**

I hope you enjoyed reading that and I look forward to reading all of your answers as well. Please tag me so I can read and comment and get to know you a little better.

My nominated 11 bloggers for this prestigious online award are:

(And apologies if you have received this award previously, if so I don’t expect you to re do this response as I don’t think I would be able to do it again if re nominated). That said, if you don’t know these bloggers, please take the time to visit and read their blogs and give them a follow if their writing is your thing #sharethelove.

Chimera Dreams

The Great Big Disconnect

Jack Deyes

Rebecca’s Reviews

Rand0mg4l

The Baby and the Boardroom

Zoezozo

The Rhyming Mum

Autumn’s Mummy

Life of Bee

Oh That Saffron

My 11 questions for you are:

  1. If you could have dinner with 3 people, deceased or living, who would it be and why?
  2. Have you ever lived abroad? If so, where? If not, where would you live abroad?
  3. What is your favourite hobby?
  4. Snakes or Spiders? (Or both).
  5. Favourite meal?
  6. Who do you look up to and why?
  7. What is your favourite quote?
  8. If an actor / actress could play you in a biopic of your life, who would you choose?
  9. Favourite Twitter account to follow?
  10. What is the next item on your bucket list to complete?
  11. Do you have any blogging tips to offer your blogging friends?

I look forward to reading your responses and don’t forget to tag me so I can see!

Have an excellent evening,

Shevy

Xx

Battle of the face masks – Part 4, bonus lip mask review & verdict.

In case you missed it, head on over to Battle of the face masks – Part 3  where I look at the second Lush Jelly mask and a 7th Heaven peel off mask.

L’OREAL 

Pure Clay Detox Mask

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I may not have expressed it enough in the Battle of the Face Masks – Part 2 but I was actually very impressed with the L’Oreal Paris Pure Clay multi-masking play kit and I really wanted to try out the clay masks one at a time, purely because I wanted to have a fully black face mask. I also have a little obsession with clay masks and how they dry out so this Detox mask was a winner for me and with up to 10 applications inside this 50ml jar, I will get many more uses out of it.

Like with the play kit, this is a thick and creamy product. I applied this to my face by hand but if you are not a fan of getting your fingers dirty, I would recommend using a brush (A foundation brush will do). It smooths out evenly on the face and need not be thick at all for desired results, be sure to cover your face in full for an all over cleansing experience.

After only 5-10 minutes, this mask is dry. Literally, from jar to face and the mask is already drying out which is great, it does exactly what it says it will do. In that time, the quality ingredients go to work on your skin, Kaolin -a natural clay- starts work on absorbing any impurities on the skin as well as any excess sebum; Montmorillonite -mineral rich clay- begins eliminating the imperfections and Ghassoul -pure clay- clarifies the complexion. Together with charcoal, the 3 clays draw out impurities, detox the skin and really get into your pores to focus on the nasties. This mask is particularly well suited for blackhead prone skin (ie. Me) – I get very noticeable blackheads in my large pores across my nose, it is a wonder to me how this mask (after drying) illuminates those pores and targets the impurities inside.

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Don’t be fooled by the darker patches after drying, these are not wet spots that haven’t yet dried (Unless you have applied the mask too thick). Instead, this is as a result of the different oils on your skin reacting with the mask – the darker areas indicate your oilier areas, particularly in and around the T zone but anywhere on the face depending on your skin.

I absolutely love this mask. After use, my skin really felt clean and look cleaned too. My nose, despite looking horrifying beneath the dried out clay mask, was surprisingly clean once I had washed the mask off and any visible blackheads I had before I started were long gone. I was left with an allover firm, clarified feel and that is after just one use. The packaging recommends 2-3 times a week using this mask and after a week, the skin will be fresher and more luminous. As a clay mask, this one takes the cake. It is an unrivalled, excellent product and well worth its value, I would recommend going out to buy one immediately if you have the £8 to spare.

  • Price – £7.99
  • Where to buy – Boots / Superdrug (Various)
  • Mask duration – 5-10 minutes
  • Claims – Purer, clearer skin (after immediate use)
  • Mess – A medium messy, dries quickly.
  • Easy to use – Simple application but just in case, instructions on the packaging.
  • Smell – Smells really nice, you can smell the clay and charcoal
  • After use feel – Firm, clean and tight.
  • Number of uses –10 applications
  • Shevy score out of 10 – 9/10

7th Heaven

Dead Sea Sheet masque

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I was hoping that like the 7th Heaven mask I reviewed in Part 3, this Dead Sea sheet mask would not disappoint, sadly I was mistaken. In fact, I would like to start off by saying that I don’t recommend this, which I wouldn’t normally do, here is why.

Coming out of the packaging, the tissue mask is folded which, when undone, is not as fluid filled as other tissue masks I have used, an early indication of an ineffective mask as there isn’t enough product in the tissue to work on the skin. When unfolded, it is quite clear to see that the face mask is huge and doesn’t have any slits allowing for overlap and a better fit. I had only had it on a few minutes but it fell off multiple times and my early annoyance was not going to see me getting scissors to cut it down.

The packaging shows a mask that fits to the face shape with blue waves across it, the mask that came in the package was a plain white sheet mask that does not fit at all. The packaging also makes mention of its calming and cleansing properties thanks to the chopped seaweed, dead sea salt and red algae. Sadly, I was left with unpleasant smelling skin and a tingling underneath my eyes and around my mouth that I was a bit concerned about… after a few minutes, I actually washed my face to make sure I had removed all of the product.

I firmly believe that there are much better tissue masks out there (Including one of my favourites mentioned in the Battle of the masks – Part 1) and a baby wet wipe would better do the job than this one. This is the harsh truth. Not recommended, not at all.

  • Price – £1.08
  • Where to buy – eBay / Boots / Superdrug
  • Mask duration – 5 minutes
  • Claims – Smooth, Hydrated Skin.
  • Mess – None.
  • Easy to use – Very easy to use, not easy to keep it on.
  • Smell – I am sorry to say but it smells like a toilet cleaner.
  • After use feel – Tingling, no visible change.
  • Number of uses –1 application
  • Shevy score out of 10 – 1/10

Bonus REVIEW – PIL’ATEN

Pink Collagen Crystal Lip Mask Membrane

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If you are a fan of keeping your mouth closed or looking silly, this one is for you. I may even use this on my children, as, you know, a treat. 20-30 minutes (Where possible) of silence and breathing solely through your nose in order to have moisturised, plumper looking lips is the name of the game.

I originally saw this on one of my favourite YouTubers Snapchat accounts when she received it and tested it out. Then, a few Instagram stories ago, Grace Davies (Of X-Factor fame) had also been relegated to the no talk zone. I was uber curious and ordered myself one off eBay at the bargain price of £0.99 with free shipping.

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Unfortunately, I couldn’t understand a damn thing on the packaging but after a brief internet search, I discovered that this collagen and strawberry infused lip mask was designed to soothe the lips (You can smell the aloe vera from across the street) and moisturise, some reports even mentioned plumper lips thanks to its collagen base. Pil’aten’s own website claim that this mask is perfect for tired and cracked lips, the strawberry gel and collagen working together to restore moisture.

So did it work? Well, I managed to keep it on my lips for about 15 minutes after which I felt like it had started drying out and wouldn’t stick to my mouth and lips anymore. While I should have taken my piercings out for better application, I can honestly say that my labret ring was a little tighter on my bottom lip – Did I just give myself 99p lip fillers? My lips felt a little tingly but no more moisturised than they were before I started. A fun little mask and great for a pamper day in with your friends, don’t forget the cucumber.

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VERDICT

I have spent a few weeks and a few £££’s trying out some of the most accessible face masks out there and I started with a favourite which is yet to be out done, the Garnier Tissue mask. As far as the other masks go, based on my views I think it is fair to say that the L’Oreal Clay Mask is a pretty close second with all other masks falling behind. I didn’t think it could get worse after the Lush Jelly Masks, obviously I am not a fan, then the 7th heaven dead sea sheet masque popped in and took bottom spot.

Ultimately, the age old saying rings true when it comes to face masks. You get what you pay for. Tried and tested beauty brands may get lambasted for the prices of some of their products and yet when you can buy them, they do exactly what they say they will do. Ultimately, it is all down to personal preference and what works for some, may not work for others.

That said, buy the lip mask. After all, you’ll have enviable Instagram photos.

Until next time

Shevy xx

Binge watching : The Sinner

This series taps into a very real concept early on, that music and its repetition can be the source of our true happiness or the catalyst for a murderous re-enactment of a psychotic event from the past.

I do love a good crime series so when I logged into Netflix today for a catch up of my weekly release episodes, I decided instead to give The Sinner a try and like a good book or a fine wine, I was hard pressed to put this latest Netflix original down.

This excellently drawn out, 8 part series has all the makings of a hit from the get go. Jessica Biel’s character could not have been better portrayed and there is something to be said for Bill Pullman’s unrelenting determination to find the truth, because after all, that is his job. This series taps into a very real concept early on, that music and its repetition can be the source of our true happiness or the catalyst for a murderous re-enactment of a psychotic event from the past.

Without giving too much of the game away, this series is a must watch! It is gripping yet disturbing from the outset and I found my anxiety levels reaching an unnecessary high as each revelation came to light. Every character has been deeply developed to reveal a piece of a much larger puzzle in Cora’s (Jessica Biel) story and the evolution of the relationship between her and Harry (Bill Pullman) is something to be scrutinised and admired from Part 1, oozing hatred and complexity with each interaction. I’d be loathe not to make mention of Harry’s interesting extra curricular past time that he cannot seem to shake, despite his best efforts. A testament to his ambitious personality and his inability to ‘let things go’ without which, there wouldn’t have been a series to begin with.

Many scenes, especially those of Cora as a young girl and the relationship (or lack thereof) with her mother, father, sister, aunt and God, touched me at my very core. The depiction is so very real and yet so very inappropriate, upsetting and enthralling at every plot twist; turn and chicane. Cora’s husband, the ever brooding Kit Harrington lookalike, is a sucker for emotional punishment and his part to play as the conflicted partner and doting father is a taxing one, cleverly played out in his non verbal characterisation.

 

Sex and lovemaking are an underlying constant throughout the series, visually explored through the eyes and attitudes of the various characters and their relationship with copulation. A psychological look into the world of coitus from as many angles as a non-pornographic series can permit with as many sexual references it can squeeze in for the benefit of abusive character development.

It is an exploration of the dark and depraved, the disturbing and the deranged. 


This series is based on a book of the same name, published in 1999 by German author Petra Hammesfahr and so if you’ve read the book, you know where this series is going. Fortunately, despite a few changes for date relevancy, it has been said that this series stays true to the book – die hard fans will not be disappointed.

If I haven’t drawn you in yet, just watch the first episode and this addictive plot will. It is the story of a young woman who, on the outside appears to be normal. Sane. Living a standard, happy life. It is the story of the same woman cracking and the various disturbing ways she was led to the moment in time that would change her life and the lives of those around her forever.

It is about a murder where even the murderer doesn’t know the motive. A ‘whydunnit’ with a twist.

Happy bingeing Xx



* Stock photos used *


Battle of the face masks – Part 3.

In case you missed it, you can click here for Part 2 where I look at the L’Oreal Multi mask play kit and the gold bio collagen sheet mask.

LUSH 1000 Millihelens

Jelly Face Mask

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I was desperately hoping that this mask would be better than the one I tried in Part 1 (Bunny Moon Jelly Face Mask) but alas, I was not to be proven wrong. If anything, this mask is worse than its predecessor and further strengthens my anti-Lush-Face-Mask resolve.

To reiterate, I love Lush. I really do, generally their products are unrivalled and they remain the masters of the bath bomb. That said, I don’t believe their face masks are doing their brand any favours after my experiences. The consistency is just weird, there is no other word for it. The mask is gelatine like in the tub but once rubbed between the fingers for application, forms a gluggy; lumpy; rough paste that doesn’t translate well onto the skin. This application was for more difficult than the last as the lumps that I just could not paste down would fall off my face despite me trying to rub them in. After 10 minutes of fighting with this non user friendly formula, I was left with my face looking like a halloween mask – I was just missing the hat.

The ingredients include witch hazel, green tea and apple juice though I was hard pressed to smell the apple in the product. The green tea was overpowering and not the most pleasant smelling of ingredients. The mask does not ‘dry out’ on the skin so after 5-10 minutes, you will be removing the same gloopy product you applied and left with green tea smelling skin with little to no change in appearance. My skin didn’t feel toned, bright or firm and instead it was extremely dry and tight – Not a recommendation for sensitive skin, or for my skin at least.

While I understand that Lush use only the best ingredients and this will influence the price point, despite multiple uses included in the packaging, I do believe this mask to be overpriced for what you are getting,  It is difficult to work with, not exciting to use and overall a bit of a let down. That said, these products have not completely gone to waste – My 11 year old daughter is now trying them out for herself. Failing that, we will find a way to channel them into slime production.

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  • Price – £6.95
  • Where to buy – Lush UK
  • Mask duration – 5-10 minutes
  • Claims – Bright, toned, firmer skin
  • Mess – So very messy.
  • Easy to use – It wasn’t difficult but it isn’t a hassle-free product either, very messy, streaky on skin, clumpy.
  • Smell – Didn’t smell apple at all, just a strong green tea smell.
  • After use feel – Not much different to before use.
  • Number of uses – 4-5 comfortably, you don’t need to use a lot.
  • Shevy score out of 10 – 1/10

7th Heaven

Dead-Sea Peel-Off Mask

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Oh how I absolutely love peel-off masks and what would a face mask battle be without good old faithful Montagne Jeunesse face mask? I have been buying and using these face masks for years, always affordable and very effective and their peel-off masks never disappoint. I love to be able to peel off the mask once it is dry, as if I am peeling off skin after a sunburn at the beach (This is not an endorsement for sunburn, or skin peeling) and the better the peel, the better the mask.

This peel-off mask is specifically for normal and oily skin so I will start by saying I probably should not have used it, dry skin and all, that said I was definitely not mad about the results. The packaging, however, is a little misleading as once the mask is applied it has a more see through appearance rather than a blue, opaque look. That is my only criticism of the packaging because a small disclaimer about their cruelty free product makes everything else seem insignificant, I love this : ‘We’re vegetarian and animals are our friends, that’s why we don’t bash bunnies or add bits of animals!”

The clear, blue tinged, gloop like liquid is squeezed out of the packaging and then applied to the face avoiding the eyes and mouth (And preferably eyebrows, I am still picking dried gel out of them). It can be a little messy if unprepared but barring the packaging that gets extra sticky, this isn’t the messiest mask I have used. It dries fairly quickly and if given the full 25 minutes, you are left with a sheet that peels off the face in one piece, taking the dirt with it. Careful though, it’ll take any piercings in the way as well – Do not get in and around your nose rings! 

The crushed sea salts, pressed chamomile and chopped up seaweed all work together to leave your skin feeling clean and refreshed. My skin was a little dry afterwards, probably because this mask is not designed for my skin type but that aside, I was relatively happy and felt that this little guy delivered. It is good value for money and definitely a mask I would buy again and again.

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  • Price – £1.08
  • Where to buy – eBay / Boots / Superdrug
  • Mask duration – 20-25 minutes
  • Claims – Cleansing and nourishing, revitalisation.
  • Mess – Very sticky and the packaging gets messy but easy to deal with.
  • Easy to use – Very simple
  • Smell – Clean and refreshing, chamomile infused
  • After use feel – A little dry but definitely cleansed.
  • Number of uses – 1
  • Shevy score out of 10 – 7/10

Six face masks down, 2 more to go.

The Battle of the face masks is ongoing! To be continued in Part 4.