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, Twitter, Instagram (@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 ūüôā

Eve xx

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 ūüôĆūüŹľ 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 ūüėě 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!

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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

 

 

*of course, this is MY list, which means it is relative. Definitely, someone else has bought these product(s) and thought they were terrible and worthy of a long rant like I did here, so please don’t come after me with a rusty axe.

This is a post in response to my very cheeky post from 2 weeks ago:¬†Top 5 Most Useless Things I bought from The Body Shop¬†in a vain attempt to ensure I’m not sued. These purchases are things I genuinely enjoy and purchase repeatedly. I stockpile them whenever there are sales on, which means¬†always¬†(there is a sale every week and I don’t understand why, but I’m not complaining. The Christmas sales are the best)- so I end up with a lot of these.

Whoops.

***

1. Body Soaps

I prefer bar soaps to liquid soap. There’s something simply satisfying about scrubbing it all over yourself, and I find you feel cleaner and firmer for some reason?? With liquid soaps it feels like you’re rubbing conditioner all over yourself and it doesn’t feel CLEAN. I give up trying to explain this concept because there’s obviously some science-y mumbo-jumbo and mind trickery that I am no good at so you need to try it out for yourself.

My favourite is the Chocomania bar soap.¬†All the UK and Singapore stores have phased it out, unfortunately- but I stockpiled 5 of them last year during the sale because it was going at only ¬£1 (50% off!). What is it with The Body Shop and getting rid of nice things?? Why can’t we ever have nice things? The US stores still sell it but it comes in the shape of a heart.¬†Wish they’d ship it to the UK ffs- I’m running low and need my soap fix asap.
Edit: went to Canada and they don’t stock it either. Looks like the US is hoarding them all.

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The Chocomania soap comes with little gritty bits in them that serve as an exfoliator. Just like how you expect a cookie to be chocolate chip and bite into a raisin cookie instead, the little gritty bits are actually pieces of coconut shell.
Such heresy.
I wanted to bathe in the ruined dreams of broken chocolate bits.

However, if this isn’t a priority on your list and you’re perfectly happy in scrubbing yourself off with coconut shell, these exfoliator thingamajigs are perfect: you can get clean and smooth at the same time. Especially if you’re really¬†lazy. It’s now winter and you don’t need to get your legs out so you can skimp on full-body exfoliation I guess. Though I still have dry scale-y snakeskin on my legs that show no sign of wanting to budge and probably needs some sort of industrial-strength cleaner, it does slough off some of the dead skin and makes it feel soft.

With the Chocomania soap sadly out of stock in stores everywhere here, I would recommend going for the Shea soap if you liked the scent of the Chocomania one, or the Coconut. I would recommend popping into one of the stores to sniff surreptitiously at them like a drug addict and run home to nab one of the¬†“exclusive” and “limited-time” (read: forever ongoing) sales. It is much cheaper than buying the soaps¬†in stores because you can usually get them for 30-60% off with free delivery even. Sales are best from November-January but you need to decide if you want to hold out for the massive Christmas sale around 20-25 December and risk having the items go out of stock, or get them earlier, but at a lower discount.

I sound like such a cheapskate seasoned shopper gosh.

At full price, most of these soaps are £2. Other ranges can go up to £4-6 if I am not wrong (e.g. the hemp one), but I prefer the basic ones.

2. Ginger Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

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I admit I mostly¬†bought this because I’m a huge fan of ginger and ginger tea. I had occasions of dandruff 2-3 years ago¬†whenever I got stressed, nothing major so I didn’t think it was anything I should worry about. To tell the truth I didn’t think this would help much. You know how products promise loads of things and never actually do any? (wow what a cynical b*tch I am)

Surprisingly, it did help, and it smells amazing. The smell doesn’t last as long as the cheap ones you get from the pound store and costs four times as much but a little goes a long way and I promise you, it makes your hair and scalp feel great. It feels really cooling and a little tingly and I don’t know if I should attribute it to this shampoo- but my hair grows out a lot quicker and looks fuller. Most importantly, I don’t have issues with dandruff even though the second year of uni is stressing me out beyond belief. It would be perfect if it could help with oily scalps (the product claims to help dry scalps) but I guess you can’t have it all!

I sometimes mix it with cinnamon powder because it smells amazing together and makes your scalp less oily but make sure to rinse it out properly or you will leave cinnamon powder that looks like gritty brown dandruff everytime you move your head.

After I got a light¬†perm 3 months ago I found that this isn’t enough to moisturise my hair, so I’ve been using argan oil (pure argan oil from my old workplace, not the one TBS is selling) and a¬†conditioner¬†from the Rainforest range.

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I usually get the jumbo-sized 400ml ones and I bought far too much last Christmas¬†(three bottles). It’s Christmas again soon and I’m STILL on my first bottle. Huh. Admittedly if you’re¬†buying it for your family it’ll go down quicker, but it is still impressive nonetheless.

Get the 250ml at £4.50 or the 400ml at £6.50.

3. Absinthe Purifying Hand Cream

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This baby is NOT cheap and I would highly recommend going in-store to make sure whatever hand cream you’re getting is something you like the smell of/ works for you. I like the smell of this as it is very fresh and wakes me up but it still needed some getting used to. One of my best friends absolutely loathes the smell though.

I like this one because it’s light enough to not leave an oily film on your hands yet moisturising enough (more than the rose one). I only switch this out for the hemp hand cream (which smells even worse) for heavy-duty moisturising during winter. I even apply it to my nose if it’s feeling really dry and I don’t have any face moisturiser on hand. It’s so light it doesn’t break me out.

In terms of how heavy the different hand creams are, ¬†from what I’ve tried: (heaviest to lightest)

Hemp > Almond > Absinthe > Wild Rose (SPF 15)

They’ve launched a whole bunch of fruit ones but I’ve not tried those yet.

My boyfriend got this for me nearly two years ago (the 100ml one) and it’s still around, though very squashed and crinkled. I’m not sure what I feel about these tubes because they look very pretty, but they don’t bounce back to shape and I’m definitely going to cut the tube to scoop out the remaining hand cream hiding in the cracks I couldn’t smooth out.

Get the 30ml at £5 or the 100ml at £11. I find the 100ml a lot more difficult to misplace, lasts longer, is more bang for your buck and still compact enough to fit in the small pockets of your bag.

 

4. Madagascan Vanilla Perfume Oil (15ml)

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This perfume oil¬†is from¬†the Scents of the World range, which is pretty popular in Asia but is apparently being phased out of a lot of western stores for some reason. I have huge issues with this. The Body Shop discontinued their original,¬†wildly popular vanilla perfume oil to huge outcry and I was glad they brought it back in the form of this perfume oil. However… it seems like this is going the way of the Dodo again. I don’t understand it, they must not want to earn money. Stop wasting money marketing new ranges and please bring back all the good things!

Maybe it’s time to start hoarding bottles when I fly back to Singapore in June.

This perfume oil lasts for ages and is not overly cloying. Standard spray-on perfumes tend to overwhelm upon initial application and fade quickly, but this stays on for hours and hours consistently, which I love.

I often layer this with my Chlo√© perfume because that doesn’t last long, and I like the additional musk. Often, vanilla-based perfumes have the tendency to make you smell like a bakery but this manages to keep the vanilla note without making you out to be a breathing,¬†living cupcake.

If vanilla isn’t quite your thing, you can check out the other scents in this range. They also come in other forms, like a body mist, shower gel, and body lotion. I¬†bought it for $22.50 SGD if I’m not wrong, which is probably around ¬£10-11. I’m not quite sure if you can buy it still but you could try scouring eBay.

5. Vitamin E Moisture Cream

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This is one of the best moisturisers I’ve used and it cleared up my acne for the first 2 months of usage. After that the acne bacteria probably got used to it and developed some sort of immunity? I have zero clue about how this¬†works please don’t lecture me about it thanks #badscience

I got it before they started offering the larger 100ml size but it was a bit¬†cheaper then, ¬£11 compared to ¬£12 (they’ve changed the packaging now to a very patriotic British flag design). I got it during a sale, 50% off so I got it at ¬£5.50. I probably wouldn’t buy it at full price (why is my whole blog post about me talking about discounts? I’m so Singaporean) when there are much cheaper alternatives, but if you’re extremely frustrated with your skin and would like to try a cream that is suitable for combination skin, I would recommend giving this a go.

A little honestly goes a long way and I would like to see this cream in a pump dispenser, which will be more convenient and infinitely more hygienic than repeatedly dipping my fingers that have touched every surface possible- even if I washed my hands before application, exposure to air/dust etc isn’t very good either. I used a tiny spatula that was originally used for ice-cream to apply it, but it was a hassle half the time.

The original price for the 50ml is £12. The 100ml is £18 (admittedly the better deal).

BONUS: Body butters

This post cannot be complete without the product that probably made The Body Shop so well-known all over the world- body butter!

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Before they started marketing it as such, other brands called moisturisers, moisturisers. Now, every brand is coming up with their own version of body butter in various fruity scents. Sounds fancier, I guess.

In high school, we weren’t allowed to use perfume so the girls would apply these body butters after P.E. (gym) to smell nice. Everyone had their own ‘signature scent’ and when someone happened to buy the same scent there would be inevitable bitching in class with snide remarks (ahh, how immature we were). The¬†class would always smell¬†like a bloody fruit salad after P.E.

Still, at least it masked how bad the guys smelt.

My favourites have got to be the Papaya (limited edition, OOS), the Raspberry, and the Shea (which I have never owned but have always wanted to). These tubs never seem to run out and I have only managed to finish one. I have 6 unfinished ones, because The Body Shop keeps sending me free tubs along with their sales, or I pick up some because they are 60% off or something and I couldn’t resist.

***

I hope this post didn’t end up being a shameless plug for products. These are things I have honestly tried and loved and they worked for me. Of course, I would recommend visiting a store to try them out (the staff members are usually very generous with samples) and please, please, do patch tests for stuff you put on your face especially if you have sensitive skin. I would recommend waiting for sales and purchasing the products online, unless money isn’t an issue and you can’t be bothered with deals and sales.

The Body Shop is definitely more expensive than drugstore alternatives like Nivea, but I like the extra care they put into packaging and their various campaigns to help the environment and people in need. Plus, if you wait for the sales, some of their soaps and moisturisers can be cheaper than the drugstore alternatives too.

Read my other post where I lambast useless Body Shop products here (fairly, of course)!

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Bought these at a steal- only $6 SGD each! (Watsons sells both at $19.90)

I thought I’d be really really impressed by them both because I’ve heard so many raves online, especially about the fuzzy coat, but surprisingly it didn’t appeal to me as much as I thought they would.

All Yarned Up looks better on its own or over a nude colour for some reason.. I expected it to ‘pop’ nicely with a dark base but it wasn’t fantastic. I preferred it on its own. On a side note, this has got to be the most pungent nail polish I’ve had so far. When I opened the bottle I nearly choked up because I was so overwhelmed. I change my nail polish every week, so I’m pretty used to the smell already, but boy,¬†this really takes the cake.¬†

Application was smooth and I did not need to go fishing because the bars are so dense, but getting them to distribute evenly is a bit of a chore as they tend to clump to one end and leave the sides kinda lacking. I think they would look better spaced out over a base but thicker if over a light base/ on its own.

~~~~

Sour Apple is exactly like a lumpier and more muted (less neon) ‘Highlight of my Summer’ by China Glaze, down to the chalky look. I swear they are colour dupes. I got Sour Apple hoping to chance the¬†perfect¬†mint green I was looking for, but was slightly disappointed again. I wanted something more green (I guess that’s technically not mint but a light green), but by all accounts this has been the most perfect mint so far.

Application was easy, took about 2-3 coats. Dried really fast and the texture started coming out only as it dried. It is pretty scratch-resistant, don’t add a top coat for this one or you’ll smooth out the lumps.

I’ve done a quick manicure featuring these two polishes (pardon my short nails, it was a school day) and Glittering Garland from China Glaze as a base for All Yarned Up as an accent nail. You’ll notice that the colour clashes a little but I couldn’t get All Yarned Up on its own, it wouldn’t show up as well using my lousy phone camera if so.

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What do you think about these two polishes? ūüôā

Yay or nay?