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Does wearing makeup make me less of a feminist?


The answer to the question I've used to title this post is both complicated and not - I really don't think wearing make up could ever make you any less of a woman, any less real, any less anything. There is no set criteria for what makes someone a feminist other than wanting equality and harmony between the sexes. The real issue lies in why we would ever have made such a ridiculous claim to begin with. There's been a lot of talk over the last couple of weeks over the relationship between make up and feminism, and while I really don't care to write an evidenced-based essay on which side of the fence I fall, I thought I'd talk a little about what it means to me.

As a twelve year old with a very, very oily T-Zone and a monobrow to rival a werewolves, I found myself purchasing cheap W7 powder and lipgloss from a local market stall. My friends and I would sneak this on during lunch at school. It made us feel a little more comfortable, just a little more grown up.Prior to this I only really had those cheap, sort of pretend make up sets that I would apply strictly at home and pretend to be a Spice Girl or a member of S Club 7. Cool, huh?

During my early teens I got a little wacky with make up thanks to a gothy stage, with white face powder (I know, ridiculous), black and red eyeshadow a la My Chemical Romance and as much chipped black nail varnish as I could get my hands on. I also finally tackled the wolf brows and embarked on a MySpace selfie series to rival all others. I enjoyed using make up more like face paint and yeah I was a tad weird but I feel like that period of self expression is something I needed to go through. It helped me identify with a culture.

I mostly moved on from this once I hit year 11 and Sixth Form, and actually went really minimal for a while in terms of not really bothering with eyes and lips. Even in my first year of uni I didn't go particularly overboard and always stuck to cheap brands like 17 and Rimmel, which a few years ago weren't exactly game changing with their products.

The rest of uni was spent too wrapped up in books to be wholly bothered by make up, but I did develop a signature look involving winged eyeliner that made me feel like I'd at least made half an effort and kept a little of my former edginess.

These days make up is partly about making my skin look its best - the stress of working and moving as well as some baaaaad eating habits have not been kind to me and I have to admit I long for the virtually spot free if slightly shiny skin of my late teens. I do enjoy experimenting with different looks though and have been investing more in quality products but I don't ever take make up too seriously.

I know there are probably are people out there whose relationship with make up is a little unhealthy, but what that has to do with feminism is totally beyond me. Wear make up for you, nobody else. If you do that you really can't go wrong!

How do you feel about your relationship with make up?

Feeling the Burn: How to Make Your Candles Last Longer



Candles can be expensive, but with the dark nights creeping in they feel like the perfect way to snuggle up and keep the home feeling nice and warm. Whether your candles cost you £2 in Primark or £40 in Jo Malone, it can be hard to get the most from then and it's disappointing when burn times don't live up to their claims (insert joke about getting on your wick here). Since investing in the to die for Melt Autumn candle however I've picked up a few tips and tricks to avoid disappointment.

The first burn is the deepest - Literally. The first time you burn a candle creates the indentation that future burns will follow. The first time you light a new candle try and burn it for as long as possible - a good couple of hours if it's a big candle.

Trim ya wick - Every time you burn your candle, trim the wick before you light it. A long wick causes the wax to burn away too fast so cut it down to 4-5mm to slow things down. Don't cut too short though, or the wick will drown and the flame will whither away!

Avoid a breeze - Drafts can cause an uneven burn and eventually lead to the collapse of the candle. Try to burn candles away from windows and doorways, and rotate them a quarter turn each time you light.

Go it alone - Putting candles side by side may make your space look like a magical fairy grotto, but the heat from a neighbouring flame can cause the candle to become unstable on one side and lead to collapse. If you must burn more than one, try to space them out as much as you can.

Now go forth and enjoy a snuggly, candlelit evening or two!

York in a Nutshell

Our anniversary trip to York could not have come at a better time as my new job has been quite demanding and sometimes stressful. We gave ourselves from Sunday morning until Tuesday evening to make sure we got the most out of the city. We didn't have to rush, and staying at the beginning of the week meant things were a lot less crowded and we didn't have to queue for the main attractions.



One thing I will say is that most museums and attractions charge a fair amount for entry. We paid anything between £4-10 each for things like castle towers, the Yorvik Centre, York Minster etc. Some things were better value than others. Luckily we got our train tickets fairly cheap due to booking in advance, and there is a lovely new Travelodge on Picadilly very close to the centre of York so we saved on that side of things!

Dining



We ate a cheap and cheerful breakfast at Wetherspoon's each morning as it was literally attached to our hotel, but opted to indulge a little more where lunch and dinner were concerned. On the first night we chose the Hollywood Bar and Grill on a whim and were not disappointed! A fairly priced menu, yummy food and funky cocktails helped us gear up for our ghost walk. The second night we ate at The Golden Fleece, the most haunted pub in York. Our meals were hearty and huge even if the place did give me the heebie jeebies a bit!


A trip to York is also not complete without a trip to Betty's Tea Rooms. It's pricey and a little snobby as it's a 'phone free zone' but we just couldn't resist! Another hotspot is the Trembling Madness off-licence, which boasts a truly hipster-worthy pub upstairs. The Shambles Kitchen also do some kick-ass pulled pork rolls that carry less guilt than a giant Yorkshire pudding.

Shopping

York boasts a great mixture of highstreet, designer and boutique shops, and while they were by no means the centre of our trip we definitely enjoyed exploring.



My absolute favourite store was The Imaginarium, a crazy trinket and home store with faux stuffed animals, bizzare portraits and amazing scented goodies. We took home this Autumn scented Melt candle and dang is it good. The shop was an offshoot of it's neighbouring parent store, the Yorkshire Soap Company. Think Lush but quintessentially British. 

Sights

A little bit of tourism never hurt anybody, and having never visited another British city for fun apart from London I was keen to explore. The city is enclosed within an ancient wall first built by the Romans, and the buildings are a hodgepodge of ancient, Tudor, Victorian and modern architecture. The result looks pretty impressive and a stroll across the city walls is not only a must but totally free of charge. You can also walk up The Shambles, the oldest shopping street in Europe, which was probably JK Rowling's inspiration for Diagon Alley.


I can also thoroughly recommend a walk around York Minster - the place is huge and absolutely beautiful. We spent about two and a half hours here while the rain came down.in sheets. The Yorvik Centre was a short experience so a little disappointing, but still one to tick off the list!



Two free attractions I would highly recommend are the castle gardens, home to the very creepy remains of St Mary's Abbey, and the National Railway Museum, which is impressively huge and surprisingly interesting.

The Ghost Walk




By far the coolest thing we did on the trip was a ghost walk. There are loads run by different operators around the city but we were recommended the original and best. Our ghost hunt guide meets the public every night at the top of the Shambles for 7.30pm and the tour lasts about an hour and a half. He never leaves character and operates come rain or shine which is pretty impressive! It was more hilarious than scary thanks to his little jokes and tricks, but the stories told are all bonafide York ghost legends and as the most haunted city in the country you can't help but get sucked in!

If you're looking for a traditional city break that won't break the bank as much as Paris or Rome but packs in character and style, York should be at the top of your list!