British Books Challenge 2017

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I’ve decided to sign up for the British Books Challenge…This means reading twelve books by British authors throughout 2017! My blogging’s been quite non-existent for a while, so this should motivate me to write/read more! I love supporting British writers and I loved events like YALC and the UKYA/MG extravaganza in past years, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find books I’ll love and enjoy!

The books I’m thinking of for the challenge at the moment are:

  • Wing Jones (Katherine Webber) – Wing Jones
  • Frozen Charlotte (Alex Bell)
  • Unconventional (Maggie Harcourt)
  • Lying About Last Summer (Sue Wallman)
  • Sunny Side Up (Holly Smale)
  • Girl Online: Going Solo (Zoe Sugg)
  • Songs About A Girl (Chris Russell)
  • How Hard Can Love Be? (Holly Bourne)
  • The One Memory of Flora Banks (Emily Barr) – The One Memory Of Flora Banks
  • Silence is Goldfish (Annabel Pitcher)
  • Good Me Bad Me (Ali Land)
  • Paper Butterflies (Lisa Heathfield)
  • All Of The Above (Juno Dawson) – All Of The Above

Good luck to everyone attempting this, it’s my first challenge so who knows how/when it’ll end for me, but I shall try! Thanks to Tales of Yesterday for hosting it this year, I can’t wait to see if I manage it!

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Why Quitting Make-Up Was Good For Me

Since I was about eleven/twelve, most of the girls I knew were wearing make-up. Most were only wearing eyeliner/mascara and lipstick, but some were already starting to use foundation/concealer etc. When I was about thirteeen, I wore an interesting attempt at eyeliner pencil on the eyelid and under the waterline and honestly it was tragic, but it was to fit in. It worked because through year eight until halfway through year ten, I had quite a large group of friends (shocker, only two were real friends) but then I was left behind again when everyone else started to wear false eyelashes and some were even contouring at the age of about fifteen. So, after not much thought at all, I bought a load of make-up, watched a load of online tutorials and piled it on. Surprisingly, my attempts were pretty pathetic (I’m way too pale for high street foundations and I can’t afford the expensive ones, so I remained oimg_20151116_220315range for a while).

 

From year ten, I wore that much, gradually developing my skills, but not dramatically…I can at least flick eyeliner now and I got more experimental, using a cream blush to tint my eyebrows pink to match my hair. After I left high school, I told myself I’d stop wearing it, but I didn’t have the courage and at college, everyone wore it there too, so I didn’t stop. Five years after first putting on that dodgy eyeliner, I completely stopped wearing it at the start of August 2016.

The first reason was because my skin was an absolute mess…before make-up, I didn’t even get spots and if I did, it went away very quickly. I was lucky but I ruined it with make-up. I had spots regularly and because of that, there is now a scar from a spot on my face that wasn’t there until I stopped my skin breathing by plastering it in foundation daily.

The second reason was the expenses of wearing make-up every single day. A standard, high street bottle of foundation costs around £8. For me, they lasted about two-three weeks. Add to that the setting powder (about £4) which lasted about two weeks, and anything that I ran out of (mascara, eyeliner, blush, eyeshadow, lipstick, bronzer, highlighter, lip balm etc.) then it becomes very expensive for someone without a job. There is also always the chance that I’d drop a setting powder and smash it, or ruin a lipstick in the rare British heat. I quit my job at the end of August, so even though it was only a small part-time job, I would have less money.

Another reason was the time and effort it took to wear make-up. It took me twenty-thirty minutes to do my make-up in the morning, more if I wanted to do something fancy! That’s fine but I’d have to carry a small make-up bag around with me in case I smudged my eyeliner, or wiped a patch of foundation off, or if a dog licked my face and smudged lipstick across my nose. And yes, all those happened, multiple times. It took up so much space in my room and in my bags, as well as all the time it took.

I’m quite a practical person; I do animal management and I spend a surprising amount of time with dogs, so it’s not comfortable to spend the day avoiding touching my face, and maintaining the look of neat foundation and mascara. One day I decided that make-up was no longer fun and it was becoming a chore because I thought I had to wear it to fit in properly.

I haven’t worn ‘face’ make-up in just over four months now, and I’ve never felt better! My skin has the chance to breathe, I can touch my face freely and I have more space in my room. I do sometimes miss it, and I do miss the fun things I could do with it, like cat eyes, ombre lips and exciting eyeshadow colours, but I don’t feel as insecure as I thought I would. I have freckles and now people can actually see them, but that’s okay because they’re part of me and I don’t need to look a certain way to please people because that’s not who I am. I still sometimes wear mascara and fill in my eyebrows slightly, and sometimes wear a thin line of eyeliner, but I don’t wear anymore than that.

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Obviously, I fully respect and understand why people wear make-up, but if you feel like it would help you, you should try giving your skin a break because it feels amazing. It took me a while to have the confidence, but now I do, my skin is recovering and I feel a lot more comfortable now I don’t have to worry about smudging make-up. If the insecurity is too scary, you could learn nail art or dye/cut your hair because having something like that might be a new source of confidence.

You don’t have to look a certain way just because other people do.

Why you shouldn’t give a puppy for Christmas

There are many people who feel strongly opposed to giving puppies as Christmas presents, and they have done for years, but the Dogs Trust has been very opposed to it and very publicly since their slogan is “A Dog Is For Life, Not Just For Christmas”. This year, they’ve created the campaign called Socks Trust of which the basic premise is that you should give socks, not dogs at Christmas. You can actually buy socks which feature a variety of dogs which were handed over around Christmas and boxing day and this money goes to the charity to work towards helping more and more dogs. Unfortunately, the socks sold out within a day, but you never know, they may restock!

Puppy-buying for a Christmas present is dangerous for so many reasons and for many people involved. An under-socialised puppy has more potential to be dangerous than a well-socialised puppy. The same goes for a poorly-trained puppy, or a neglected puppy. A lot of people don’t even realise how much training a puppy needs; it’s not just treats and convincing it to sit. You have to lead-train it, house-train it and of course the basic training like recall, sit and stay. It also needs socialising with dogs, people, strangers, other animals, various experiences and anything it might encounter in its life. This creates a balanced, confident dog.

It is amazing how many puppies are genuinely handed into rescues purely because they grew and they’re not as cute and fluffy as before… Since volunteering with the Dogs Trust, I’ve heard so many horror stories of people handing in dogs around boxing day (that’s barely a day to get used to the dog) because the dog hasn’t learnt to toilet outside overnight, or they’ve mouthed someone and they think the dog’s vicious or nasty. People buy puppies this time of year because children like the idea but children can’t be held responsible for the dog’s welfare, and they can’t anticipate the level of hard work puppies require. However, adults can and should, yet they often don’t and this is where the problems lie.

Imagine you’re a tiny puppy, thrown into a family environment, possibly with another dog, maybe a cat. It’s stressful; you don’t know anyone and naturally everyone wants to hug you and kiss you constantly, so you have no chance to get used to your new home. Then add in the fact that it’s Christmas, with potentially other family members coming round, friends visiting, food cooking, excitable children etc.. It’s really the least ideal time to get a puppy.

Long story short, don’t get a puppy this Christmas. If you’re sure you want a dog and have properly thought it through for a long time, then wait for a few more months and get a rescue dog (most rescues won’t rehome over Christmas). That way, you know you’re sure and you can help a dog that needs helping. A lot of rescues have puppies anyway; Dogs Trust have a scheme called Puppy Partners where you can sign up to be notified when they have your perfect puppy in. The more specific you are, the longer you may have to wait but it’s a lot cheaper, more ethical and means you know you’re sure about getting a dog.

Here are some cute little pups from Dogs Trust Loughborough in August:

Give socks this Christmas.