This is going to be a MASSIVE post. #sorrynotsorry

 

It’s been a pretty eventful month- I’m back in Manchester, folks! I was away from mid-December till 25 January, during which I made trips around South Korea with my family and went back home to Singapore for a month. It was good to go home for a bit and see my friends and family, since I was getting really bad winter blues and feeling rather homesick.

The funny thing was that I pretty much brought Manchester weather back with me and it rained the whole time I was in Singapore, with temperatures dropping as low as 20 degrees Celsius. For a tropical country, this is a big deal! I was in long socks and jumpers most of the time.

 

I wish I could say I spent the whole holiday lazing around doing nothing but I had two essays due (6000 words each!) and I was sat at my boyfriend’s house most days, working till 10 everyday and trying to sleep off the cold I caught because of the cold weather (typical 🙄).

I’ve caught up with most of my friends from university and my previous housemates- and made new ones too. I’ve met this lovely gal off the app Hey!Vina which touts itself as Tinder for girls looking to find other girl(friends)! I tried it last year hoping to get to know the local community better, network with other women and get to know some new friends, but a lot of the conversations petered out pretty quickly.

I managed to meet up with one of them after I got back to Manchester though, and we had a lovely tea at Richmond Tea Rooms. We both got the Alice Tea and we weren’t expecting the scones to be so huge! While ordering, the server told us: “You guys know it is two scones each, right?” and we looked at her like… yes? Problem? 🤔

And realised our mistake after the cakes, scones and tea arrived. Lesson learnt: always listen to the server 🙈

She dabbles in photography- check out her Instagram here! Look at this gorgeous picture of our afternoon tea 😍

High tea w/ @evangelskies ☕️💜

A post shared by Nicole Marie Kitching (نيكي) (@n1kk1e_k92) on

 

with Jade

with Ella

 

So glad to finally meet up with Jade and spend some time with her lovely pets- it’s difficult not seeing her loads this year since we’ve all graduated- she just lives so far away 🙁

Her house is gorgeous though and there’s lots of space for dog walking. It’s not quite the countryside, but it is a lot quieter than central Manchester (and definitely cleaner). We took the train down to Burnley and stayed overnight after the house party.

I am now old and pass out after midnight even without any drinking or dancing.

With dogs.

I count it as a win, because dogs. In a puppy pile. Best way to fall asleep.

 

More Uni updates:

I really like the classes this semester but the strikes have really been affecting our classes- I’m really hoping the schools will come back to the negotiating table and sort proper pensions for all the lecturers so we can get the best learning experience possible.

The new changes mean that university staff pensions will go from being guaranteed pension benefits to depending on investments, and will result in average member lecturer losing £10,000 a year in their retirement. -(UCU site)

If you’d like to find out more about the strikes held at over 60 universities nationwide (along with Manchester, where I’m at), you can read more information here on the Manchester UCU site.

In other academia-related matters, I’ve submitted my dissertation proposal for approval and I’m waiting for the review and for a supervisor to be allocated.

Exciting times!

I’ve chosen to focus my essay on Modernism and Mina Loy– I had such a fun time analysing her Feminist Manifesto at undergraduate level but felt I didn’t properly delve into her life or her other works.

She was so revolutionary and such a ‘mythic’ character but yet has gone largely forgotten in the literary canon- honestly a crying shame. Her feminism was far too radical for her time and it would be controversial even now. She argued against statements saying women were equal to men and instead focused on the differences between gender and their strengths.

I feel like the feminist movement then and even now is too focused with proving women can be just as strong as men– and it’s a criticism Silvia Federici put forth in her “Wages Against Housework” essay. Women have long proven that they can perform the same jobs and excel at them, but yet we don’t give enough value to ‘feminine’ jobs, skills, or traits. It is still shameful to be feminine: you mock someone for crying like a girl, running like a girl, being emotional like a girl. If we recognise the value in these differences, there is no superiority in either.

Yes, I know you are zoning out.

This is just something I’m so passionate in, I tend to get carried away!

On to the next update-

reclaim the night 2018, manchester, women's march, feminism, feminist

This ties in with the next event: I’ve taken part in the Reclaim the Night march in Manchester- it’s the largest it’s ever been with over 2000 participants from all backgrounds! I marched with my friend Ella and her cousin in the women’s block, but there are other blocks for mixed groups and families as well.

This event takes place every year to raise awareness of the amount of street harassment/ assault/ rape of women on the streets of Manchester. The march starts at the Fallowfield campus (UoM) where it is particularly bad for the amount of rape cases.

You can look up the crime in your area on the police website and it is honestly saddening to see how many cases just get closed after a month. Even with evidence, the perpetrator can claim it was consensual and it turns into a “he said she said” gridlock. It frustrates me so much. Everyone deserves to feel safe on the streets.

And before anyone cries misandry and exclusion, Manchester has the highest amount of male rape victims. Clearly something has to be done! It is so important to stamp out stereotypes and let victims feel safe to come forward about the ordeal, to feel like they will be believed.

And that’s why we march.

Everyone was so lovely and united, women, men, children, everyone from all races and backgrounds and ages collectively standing up for something they believe in.

reclaim the night 2018, manchester, women's march, feminism, feminist

when you hungry for justice but also serving lewks

Fashion talk

It’s extremely dangerous for my wallet being back here- shopping is so much cheaper compared to Singapore, and I’ve been updating my wardrobe rather optimistically with spring wear. And obviously I have barely worn any!

The ‘Beast from the East‘ has swept Europe so I don’t know why Primark is stocking bikinis on half of the second floor- you’re not going to get summer weather in Manchester anytime till April at least! I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to warmer weather- we got the first hints of sun last week but of course it’s all gone to shit this week. I’ve stayed in all week since I got back from Mansfield (Nottingham) for Lee’s birthday party.

My favourite is the Escher Knit Wrap Dress in red motif by Maeve on the Anthropologie site. It’s so comfortable and I can see myself wearing it all summer! The sizes run rather large in my opinion, if you are a UK 6-8 you should go for the XS.

I’ve been in mostly comfy knits and my usual trusty black Primark jeans, but I’ve stocked up on off-shoulder tops and comfy coulettes. It’s too cold at the moment, so I’ve been wearing knit tights under and they still look great!

 

 What's in my wardrobe at the moment...


I’ll be making another post with food-related updates and Feb-March Favourites/ Empties that I’ve seen some beauty bloggers doing!

Until next time!

  1. I was recently gifted this duo by my best friend, which she bought during her solo trip to South Korea. These can be bought as a set or on their own, and I’ve included a couple of links to sites where you can acquire them for yourself in this post.

These two products claim to help to improve the elasticity, radiance, and the moisture of your skin with egg white and yolk extracts-I used to use egg whites on my nose and cheek area to tighten/firm, and these products ought to work the same way. I’ll see if they really do hold up to their claims!

egg mousse pack and soap, too cool for school

The Egg Mousse Pack: a whipped foam facial mask made from egg white and egg yolk extracts- smoothens and brightens skin.

Description:

This whipped, meringue-like mousse facial mask enriched with egg white and egg yolk extracts instantly transforms rough, dull skin into a smooth, radiant complexion in as little as five minutes. Egg white extract purifies and brightens, while egg yolk extract leaves skin hydrated and silky smooth. This unique, frothy facial mask deeply moisturizes and enhances the use of other skin care products for beautifully luminous skin. It contains no Sulfates or Phthalates. (Sephora.com)

My experience:

Out of the two, I was least impressed with this one. It left my face feeling soft, but I wouldn’t say it was any more hydrated or radiant than it was previously. I wasn’t really a fan of the smell, either. It smelt like grapes for some reason and I felt a mild tingling sensation.

I tried two ways of applying, since I looked up reviews after my first application and apparently it is recommended that you continue to massage the mask in instead of applying and leaving it on (like a scrub). I didn’t notice any difference, honestly.

I will probably continue to use it, but it didn’t wow me in any way. I did like how the mask expelled in a nice blob of foam (you only need to press the nozzle a little, it is very sensitive) and it was the right amount for my face. I love Lush’s face masks, but I’m not a fan of the constant dipping- especially with long nails, the mask gets trapped under your nails and it’s honestly quite unhygienic. No fuss with this one 🙂

egg mousse pack and soap, too cool for school, kbeauty, korea

The Egg Mousse Soap (facial cleanser): A whipped egg white mousse cleanser infused with egg yolk extract that gently hydrates, purifies, and replenishes your skin.

Description: 

This creamy, meringue-like cleanser combines milk proteins, amino acids, and egg extracts to thoroughly cleanse your skin. Tiny particles are able to go deep into the skin, not only to dissolve oil and dead skin cells, but also to nourish for long-lasting smoothness and hydration. Egg white extract purifies, tightens, and brightens while egg yolk extract moisturizes. Your skin is left thoroughly clean, hydrated, and glowing. (Sephora.com)

My experience:

I liked this a lot more than the mask pack. Like the mask, the nozzle dispenses dense, white foam. I liked the scent a lot more, but you should be warned that like most of the products Too Cool for School has, their fragrance is quite strong. If you are someone who dislikes scents in anything skincare-related, I would advise against getting it.

The dense foam meant that I could easily reach awkward crevices and such, which I usually have to use a brush or foaming net to do. The nozzle dispenses a tad bit too much foam in one pump if you’re not careful, so use a light hand.

I rub in and massage, and my skin feels soft and supple afterwards. It is not a heavy duty cleanser, and I use it after removing all my makeup (certainly does not budge my waterproof mascara much).

I like that my skin does not feel uncomfortably tight like some cleansers leave me feeling, but I would not say you can entirely do without moisturiser altogether. Use your regular toner/ serum/ moisturiser after cleansing.

I am currently using the botanical toners from Garnier’s SkinActives range, which I will introduce in my August favourites at some point. I follow up with The Body Shop’s Vitamin E moisture cream (review here).

egg mousse pack and soap, kbeauty, too cool for school

Other similar products:

I have also used Tonymoly’s egg pore range, of which I still use the Egg Pore Silky Smooth Balm (review here). I wasn’t that impressed with the Tightening and Cooling pack or the Blackhead Steam Balm from the same range- but then again, I do not have very visible blackheads. The steam balm and smooth balm smells lovely, which is a huge plus for me since I have to leave it on my face for a while.

If you live in Singapore, you can buy the whole range on Qoo10 here ($5.99/$8.99 SGD).

tonymoly egg pore silky smooth balm

I have also tried the Skinfood Egg White Pore Foam (150ml), which I wouldn’t say particularly impressed me. It was a cleanser that did its job, but that was pretty much it. It was a little drying, but probably more deep-cleansing than Too Cool For School.

I hope this review was helpful for those of you who are thinking about incorporating some Korean skincare options into your routine, or are curious about the benefits of eggs in skincare 🙂

I’ve been eyeing facial cleansing brushes for a while now, ever since they exploded onto the beauty scene a few years back… I could scarcely afford the Clarisonic at an eye-whopping £155 (for the Clarisonic Aria)- and still can’t- I would be immensely reluctant to drop that kind of money on something I was unsure about.

I scoured Google for reviews and comparisons, hoping to find a more affordable alternative, and the Magnitone repeatedly flagged up as a good competitor- some reviews even claimed it was gentler and more effective. The price on Amazon was £50, a third of the price- which I decided was pricey, but not too pricey if it did leave me with toned, baby smooth skin!

 

Magnitone Lucid cleansing brush, mint, facial brush

Magnitone Lucid cleansing brush in mint

I recommend purchasing it on Amazon– it is £20 cheaper than the price on the Magnitone London site. The delivery person just left it outside my front door, in full view of the street. How is that even allowed though? I don’t have a concealed front porch this year and I wish we still did- it was so handy for leaving parcels out for collection and you didn’t need to arrange for redeliveries quite as often.

The facial cleansing brush arrived in a very pretty box, with all the essentials- charger, USB, ziplock bag, and a one year warranty card that you register on their site.

Unpleasant delivery aside, I tried it out that very night and it left my face feeling oddly tight and toned. I had to apply moisturiser immediately since it was almost uncomfortably tight, but I guess that’s the difference for you. I already currently use a foam cleanser to get to all the dirt in my pores, but that probably wasn’t quite enough.

The description on their site states:

“Vibra-Sonic™ Daily Cleansing Brush deep-cleanses pores, tones and beautifully conditions your skin. For skin that deserves to go BareFaced! wherever, whenever. A combination of sonic oscillations + pulsed vibrations to deep-cleanse, massage and tone your skin at the same time, just like a mini workout.”

There are two modes on the facial brush- a normal one, and a toning mode that vibrates in short bursts. There is also an automatic timer that prompts you to move when you’ve been at a spot for too long, and after a minute it switches off completely.

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First-time users may experience breakouts as the gunk is cleared out, like I did, and it cleared up a little after three days. I routinely get bad hormonal acne, and this cleansing brush did leave my face feeling smoother and softer, but didn’t entirely eliminate all my acne woes. Granted, I have only been using it for a little over a week, and I will update this post after observing for a few more weeks.

The battery has good lasting power- I did not charge it at all when I got it, and it is still going strong! I just leave it in my bathroom and take it in the shower with me, and use it with my makeup remover and facial cleanser to take off makeup (it is entirely waterproof, so no fear of water damage!).

I like to use this with the innisfree green tea cleansing foam, as it is a thick paste that foams up beautifully with the brush and doesn’t leave the brush dragging over your bare skin (which might be too much for people with sensitive skin). It targets acne-prone skin as well, which is perfect! If your skin feels sensitive after using the brush regularly, make sure to apply lots of moisturiser, ensure there is enough cleanser and water, and reduce usage to 2-3 times a week or once daily until your skin gets used to it.

Be warned that you should avoid the sensitive eye area- I accidentally dragged it over my eyes once and lost about four eyelashes (laughs), and you don’t want it tugging at your delicate eye tissue either.

Overall, I am pretty satisfied with the results for the price I paid for it- and it is worth scouring eBay to see if anyone is looking to sell theirs for cheap. My friend got a secondhand one that was pretty much brand new at only £25! She paid an additional £14 to get two backup brush heads (for sanitary reasons, but you can well disinfect it yourself). There are other brush options like a larger brushhead for body use, and changing between them is very easy.

I hope this review was helpful- especially when you are dropping £50 on something, you want to do as much research as possible before purchasing it. Do let me know your experiences with this product- has it helped you just like mine did? 🙂

critiquesofacriticrimmelprimer

Rimmel Fix & Perfect Pro Makeup Primer in 002

Usually I can’t use any primers with my Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation as it is a VERY fussy and nitpicky foundation- just smears and slides and looks awful!

I’m so so happy with this 🙌🏼 definitely recommend! Think I got it on Amazon UK for £5+ so it’s VERY affordable. I’ve tried Smashbox primers over the same Estee Lauder foundation and it didn’t work out either 😞 and this is literally 1/4 the price and works so much better!

It goes on so smoothly and does not leave any chalky residue like the W7 Prime Magic Face Primer did. I got the W7 primer on Amazon UK for £3 and it does leave your face feeling deliciously smooth and covers all your pores really well, as if it has been airbrushed, but any application of liquids makes it flake right off. Which is reaaally not ideal. I use it only if I can’t be ars*d having foundation on, but still want my skin to look smooth.

The W7 primer is very similar to the TONYMOLY Egg Pore silky smooth balm and The Body Shop all-in-one instablur, which I did a review of previously here.

It helps manage my oily skin too, which is a huge plus point. In fact, I had to go over with the Mario Badescu facial spray and skip a setting powder because it started looking a bit dry and I didn’t want it to end up cakey.

selfie with rimmel primer

yes my liquid lipstick smeared go easy on me hahah

PRODUCTS LIST

Primer: Rimmel Fix&Perfect makeup primer 002
Foundation: Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation in 2W0 Warm Vanilla + Maybelline FIT Me! Liquid Foundation in 120 Classic Ivory
Blusher: Albeit Cheek Stick in Nectar
Contour: Sleek Contouring and Blush palette
Mascara: Clio Salon de Cara Mascara (Volume x Curling) + Maybelline the Rocket Volum’Express
Lips: Sugar tinted lip balm in Rose under Kat von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lolita II
Brows: The Body Shop Brow & Liner Kit (03)
Eyeshadow: TBS brow powder + Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher Concealer (03)
Spray: Mario Badescu facial spray with aloe, herbs and rosewater
Tools used: Real Techniques sponge + Real Techniques brushes core collection

Everyone loves candles- scented ones freshen up a room immediately and make for great decorations as well. But why fork out £20+ for a Yankee Candle when you can easily make one at home yourself for so much less? You can customise the scent to your own preference and these are beautiful, affordable gifts to make- and oh-so-useful! Your friends and family will thank you (;

Supplies needed

  • Soy wax (you can get this off eBay)
  • Mason jar, glass jar, or any container of your choice
  • Pre-waxed wicks (must be slightly taller than the container)
  • Glue dots or double-sided tape
  • Disposable chopsticks or kebab sticks
  • Measuring jug
  • Saucepan (must be deep enough to sit your measuring jug)
  • Spoon

Optional:

  • Fragrance oil or essential oil
  • Crayons
  • Glitter
  • Ribbons, markers, washi tape, striping tape, chalkboard labels and other decorative items

(*none of these links are affiliate links. I’ve purchased them with my own money).

DIY candle, UK, critiquesofacritic, manchester, crafts, crafty, home, candles, scented candles, coffee

Essential supplies

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Pots and containers

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Decorative materials

 

Make sure your container is clean and oil-free. You can rinse your containers with a bit of dishwashing liquid and leave to dry before starting. Adhere your wicks to the base of the container you have chosen using the glue dots or double-sided tape, making sure to place the wick firmly in the centre.

Make sure the wicks are slightly taller than the container you have chosen, any excess length can be trimmed off afterwards.

If you are struggling to get the wick to stick, or if the container is too tall, you can use chopsticks to carefully position the wick and hold it in place. Certain containers have rounded bases, which makes positioning the wicks harder.

Pour the soy wax flakes into the measuring jug and measure out the amount you want depending on the volume of the container.

Fill the saucepan with water- about two-fifths- and place the whole jug into the saucepan to create a water bath.

Avoid filling the saucepan up with too much water, as it may run the risk of boiling over into your measuring jug.

The water bath ensures the soy wax is heated up slowly- heating the wax up too quickly will cause the finished candle to sag only in the centre, instead of burning evenly. And no one wants a saggy candle! Make sure to stir regularly during heating, and the stove should be placed on the lowest setting possible.

Alternatively, you can heat the wax flakes in a pan directly over low heat, lifting off the stove occasionally; or heat the flakes in a bowl in the microwave.

If using a microwave, first heat for 30 seconds, then in 10-second intervals, stirring regularly, until the wax flakes are fully melted.

Here, we are using a 500ml container, and although the measuring jug is filled to about 500ml with the flakes initially, as it melts, add more flakes in order to adequately fill the container. The final volume should be made up to roughly 400ml in height of liquid wax.

After the wax has been entirely melted, you can choose add fragrance oil or essential oil to the warm mixture. If you are using essential oils, you may need to add more for a stronger scent. I usually find adding 2-4ml of fragrance oil is sufficient for a very strong smelling candle. If you are sensitive to scent, you can skip this step entirely.

Optional:

If you want to add colour to your candle, cut a thin section of a crayon (roughly the thickness of your finger if you want a subtle, pastel colour, or you can vary according to your preference) and stir into the wax mixture.

Worried that it might add harmful chemicals? Don’t worry- most crayons are formulated to be non-toxic as they will be handled by kids.

Add the crayon before the scent if you want a coloured candle- the oils may interfere with the mixing of the colours and create an uneven colouring.

Allow the mixture to cool slightly (but not set) and pour into the container of your choice. Ensure the wick is held firmly in the centre by clamping it between two sticks and leave to set for a few hours.

Jazz up your container with a ribbon or a handy chalkboard label with your recipients’ names on, if you are making a few as gifts! Washi tape and striping tape also make for easy but beautiful additions to a plain glass jar. The pretty glass jar is from PoundWorld and only cost £1 for two containers! Bargain!

DIY candle, UK, critiquesofacritic, manchester, crafts, crafty, home, candles, scented candles, coffee

There are so many ways and alternatives you can experiment with. Now that you have mastered the basics, why not try out these ideas?

glitter candles

Jen from SomethingTurquoise has a lovely tutorial for glitter candles here!

teacup candles

Make your candles extra quirky by using vintage teacups (complete with saucers!) for the perfect tea party. Why buy boring tealights from IKEA when you can make your own?

3-colorblockcandle

These colourblock candles are so easy to make, and look so good in little glass cups!

 

Happy crafting!

Eve