The issue of period poverty has been making waves in the media recently, after reports surfaced of schoolgirls in Leeds missing school because they could not afford sanitary products. One teenager told the BBC she taped toilet roll to her underwear and missed school “every month” because of her period.

Many families in the UK can barely manage to cover costs for food, bills and rent; and the monthly expense for sanitary products is an additional burden. Women who are homeless are most affected- they cannot afford to pay for these products, and they lack the amenities to change their pads or tampons, clean up any leakage, etc.

Periods are unfortunately still a taboo subject in society, despite media sites (Buzzfeed, Mic. AJ+) trying to norminalise talk about it. It is a crying shame that period poverty is still an issue in a first world country!

The Monthly Gift is a campaign started in July 2015 that aims to make sanitary products (tampons, pads, etc.) accessible to people who are homeless/ experiencing poverty. Donations are forwarded to charities and organisations helping people in need of such necessary (not luxury!) products.

It was initially designed to be a week of raising awareness, but two years on, it has gained overwhelming support and continues to grow and grow!

The Monthly Gift donates to local charities and food banks helping people experiencing poverty and you guys can get involved in these ways:

  1. Follow them on their social media pages- on Facebook, TwitterInstagram (@monthlygiftmcr)
  2. Hold your own collection and donate to your local charity! be sure to tag @monthlygiftmcr the picture. There are other campaigns that deal with period poverty as well: @HomelessPeriod_, @nomoretaboo, @FreetobeOK, @everymonthmcr, @CrimsonWaveOrg, @HPLiverpool, etc.
  3. If you live in or near Manchester, you can head over to Oklahoma in the Northern Quarter and TMG will help forward them to local charities on your behalf.
  4. Alternatively, you can donate to them via GoFundMe.

I really want to encourage people who are not based in Manchester to donate to their local charity or food bank too. Poverty is an issue everywhere and as long as there’s poverty in the world, there’s period poverty!

A pack of tampons or pads may not cost much to me or you, but to a girl experiencing period poverty, it could mean not being able to go to school for a week. Missing one week out of every four means they are placed at a disadvantage for their studies and it is crucial that we work together to help stop period poverty in the UK!

Periods may not be a pretty topic, but it is an important one. Every little action counts and we can help make a difference to people’s lives by working together 🙂

Eve xx

I was craving Vietnamese food and Pho was brought up after my housemate mistakenly assumed I was heading there (instead of I am Pho in Chinatown, on George St).

I looked at the menu online and saw they do a lunch deal from 12-5pm on weekdays, so I thought it was worth a try.

Unfortunately, I faffed about getting ready and made it to Pho just five minutes late 🙁

Missed the lunch deal (£9.95 for a main and starter- menu here) but oh well, I’m sure I’ll be back for food next time.

I decided to get the Phở chín– tender beef brisket slow cooked in broth (£8.75). According to the description on the site: Phở, (pronounced fuh) is the Vietnamese national dish; an aromatic & delicious rice noodle soup served with a side plate of fresh herbs to add as you please.

Phở chín- tender beef brisket slow cooked in broth, vietnam food, food, vietnamese, soup
Phở chín- tender beef brisket slow cooked in broth (£8.75)

Extra toppings like tofu, brisket, mushrooms etc. can be added on for £1/1.75.

I was quite glad to see that the beansprouts were served raw, as is traditional- too many places boil them before and it loses the taste and crunch.

It came with the usual other herbs: mint, coriander(?), chilli- I would have loved to have more coriander and mint, personally, but I think that’s an issue that you could settle by asking the servers for more.

The broth was quite flavourful but just a tad saltier than I would have preferred- still excellent and nearly just like the phở I had in Vietnam years ago!

I think when a dish is taken out of its country of origin, it can be replicated well, but somehow there is a little essence of something that is lost.

There are so many factors: water, ingredients, etc., but I think Pho Manchester does a pretty good job replicating this Vietnamese dish.

Pho’s website says: our broths are made in each restaurant by slowly simmering bones for a good 12 hours & it’s this authentic preparation that is key to phở retaining all its goodness & developing its own distinctive tastes & aromas.

Is there any wonder that this dish is Gordon Ramsay’s choice of a last meal? It is warm, savoury, intense, and filling (I could gush adjectives all day)- one of my favourite comfort foods.

I got Cà phê sữa đá (Vietnamese iced coffee, £2.80) to accompany my main, and when it first came, the coffee was really watery, weak, and barely had any condensed milk in.

Cà phê sữa đá, Vietnamese iced coffee, manchester, vietnamese food
Cà phê sữa đá (Vietnamese iced coffee, £2.80)

I didn’t want to seem like I was being fussy but I didn’t want to waste it- I spoke to the server about it and she sorted it out for me right away without any fuss.

The second try was perfect, good strong brew and sweet without being too cloying. Kudos for the fast and excellent service!

I will probably update this review when I come back for a second visit with thoughts about starters and desserts (eyeing the Gỏi cuốn [spring rolls] and Chuối chiên [banana fritters])

Granted, I’m a bit disappointed there isn’t much variety in desserts aside from ice cream, since a lot of their sweet desserts e.g. Chè Bà Ba, Chè Chuối, are flavourful and easy to replicate: sweet potato, banana, coconut milk make up the base for many of these and would really allow patrons to experience some local desserts that are popular at night markets and street stalls.

I was initially quite wary about visiting this restaurant since many restaurant chains claiming to do “authentic” food end up doing lots of ~fusion~ dishes catered to local tastes (not that there’s anything wrong with that, since that is the majority of their customer base, but it’s sometimes a little disappointing).

Pho has lots of good veggie or vegan options too (e.g. Phở chay: tofu & button mushrooms in a veggie broth), which is quite good for the diet-conscious who struggle to find variety while eating out.

Try great food that’s delicious & isn’t packed with calories at this popular @cornexchangeMAN eatery @ManchesterPho https://t.co/6skOw4rQ4k

— I Love Manchester (@ILoveMCR) January 24, 2017

They gave me a cute postcard with the bill and now I feel like I need to visit Pho in every city just to collect them LOL. Sneaky marketing hahaha

pho, manchester, uk, postcard, cute, journal

Pho Manchester postcard

***
Food: Very Good.
There is a lot of variety but would love to see more dessert options. Food is pretty authentic.
Service: Very Good. The staff were very friendly and helpful when I requested a replacement. Sometimes it can be difficult to get their attention even though there are a lot of staff standing around just chatting to each other.
Wait time: Around 5-15 minutes. Food was served very quickly and drinks immediately, so I did not feel like I was waiting around with nothing to eat. When I went the restaurant was nearly empty so no waiting around.
Affordability: Very Good. The prices are reasonable but if you are on a student budget i.e. in debt and scrimping to make ends meet, go for their lunch deal (£9.95, 12-5pm on weekdays).

Full menu hereLunch menu here.

Opening hours:

Monday to Friday: 12pm – 11pm

Saturday: 11:30am – 11pm

Sunday: 11:30am – 10pm

Tel: +44 0161 464 9779

Directions:

Edit:

I went back for a second visit for the lunch deal and was not disappointed by the spring rolls- I highly recommend getting the peanut sauce with it- it reminds me a lot of peanut satay sauce I usually get in Singapore hawker centres (oh, how I miss cheap hawker fare) and it was sweet and salty- very flavourful and was a perfect addition to the herby, tangy flavours in the spring roll.

My taste buds were in overdrive and I kept making all these ridiculous sounds, it tasted that good. There were so many flavours going on and I love how there was a perfect balance of greens, noodles, and they didn’t scrimp on the prawns like most places usually do.

I would probably go in for the spring rolls alone since it costs £4.95 and for 4 servings, I wouldn’t mind paying that. The size may be a tad smaller compared to I am Pho (in Chinatown) but given the proximity to the Arndale/Market Street it’s quite easy to pop in for a quick pick-me-up after shopping.

The Pho broth was not as good this time around and I was mildly disappointed given how much I sang its praises on my first visit. Also, real talk- why do they use ramen spoons for Pho?? The spoon was absurdly big, awkward to use, and entirely from the wrong cuisine. 

You use one of these:

 

 
Not this???
 
 
Hoping they change it soon because I couldn’t properly drink the soup off the latter (since you don’t actually drink the ramen broth, that makes sense) and the noodles were too slippery and went everywhere.
 
Pho- sort something out please. Replacing the spoons will only cost you a couple hundred quid, please get rid of the ramen spoons and donate them to Shoryu or Wagamamas or something.
 
#rantover

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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

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Whether you are easily distracted, lazy or just can’t be bothered, procrastination is something most of us are familiar with- some more so than others. A 2014 study estimated that 1/5 of adults and half of all students procrastinate. That’s a lot of procrastination going on there! Sometimes, you wonder why you torture yourself with all that stress, but you just can’t seem to change your habits.

1. People don’t understand why you simply just don’t start the task earlier. You can’t help it if inspiration only strikes at the last hour!

2. Nothing is “too late” for you. At least, that’s what you keep telling yourself.

3. You go through an endless loop of steadily increasing stress as the deadline approaches, guilt, worry, and self-doubt.

4. When deadlines roll around, you coop yourself up in your room in an attempt to be productive.

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5. Not that it works, of course. You’re probably on Facebook stalking your ex, your ex’s current partner, enviously scrolling through your friend’s vacation pictures in Spain, aimlessly refreshing your feed in hope of new notifications.

6. You then decide to make a list of things you want to do during the holidays after all the deadlines and exams are over. You even start looking at flight prices and hotel locations.

7. Bedtime is now fair game at any time of the day. You wake up at 5pm, have breakfast at 6pm, lunch at 10pm. Who knows anymore.

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8. You check your phone every few minutes. It is absolutely vital your friends and family do not feel neglected while you complete your arduous task, after all.

9. You make a cup of tea every half-hour because tea is necessary sustenance. Also, having twice as many pee breaks gives you a convenient excuse to avoid doing your work. You can’t hold back natural bodily processes! It’s bad for your body!

10. You decide to make a small snack, and it becomes a five-course meal. COOK ALL THE THINGS!

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11. You spend half an hour making a list of all the things you need to do. You feel productive, and decide to take a quick nap before starting on the first task. You wake up three hours later. Whoops.

12. You refuse to start work at odd times of the day. You tell yourself you will start studying at 8pm, but when 8pm comes and goes, you know you can’t start at 8.11pm. The travesty! No, you will start at 8.30pm. Or maybe 9pm, just to be sure.

13. Your workspace looks like a tornado decided to swallow the contents, and regurgitate them again. After storming through it a few times. Violently. You snap a photo for posterity and put it on Instagram to show everyone how hardworking you are. #work #studying #stressed #help

14. You decide the mess is what is killing your productivity and decide to clean it up.

15. You decide to clean out your wardrobe at the same time. Yay for cleanliness!

16. You realise you have hardly any clothes you want to wear, and you’ve spent two hours cleaning your room, so you obviously deserve a small online shopping break.

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17. How is it midnight already?! You’ve only written the title of the essay and your name.

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18. You text your friends to reassure yourself it’s “not just me” and bond over your shared misery. Two of your friends have already completed the assignment, another is on the last paragraph, and another one is halfway through.

19. You have a mini panic attack.

20. You ring your BFF and cry over how useless you are- and after you have calmed down you start gossiping because interpersonal relations are important and assignments only last awhile but friendship is forever. Duh.

21. You start Googling things like “how to be more productive”, “how to stop myself from getting distracted”.

22. You decide to have a can of cider to relax, because you’re stressed out and you can’t work while being stressed out, can you?

23. You start getting sleepy, so you decide to take a quick shower to freshen up. And exfoliate. And do your nails, because they are gross and chipped. And put on a face mask.

24. You start wondering if it’s too late to join your friends on that night out, because you’ve done nothing all day anyway. You end up not going, because you’re in your tatty hoodie and fluffy socks and you just can’t be bothered getting dressed to go out.

25. You give up and start watching Netflix instead since you can’t possibly work this late, can you? You’ll start tomorrow, for sure.

26. You attempt to sleep with your notes beside you or under your pillow. You don’t really think diffusion works, but no harm trying, right?

27. You manage to scrape through the deadline by the skin of your teeth. You feel like there is a typo in the last paragraph somewhere or a chapter you forgot to study, but you can’t be bothered anymore.

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28. You tell yourself you’ll start early next time. You know you won’t.

Written for Pretty52. View the original post here.

 

 

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