For as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed feeling scared. I used to love watching Are You Afraid Of The Dark at sleepovers. And reading Goosebumps books under my quilt. Ghost stories would have me terrified of bedtime. And I vividly remember watching my first Horror film. Fear was uncomfortable, but exciting.
Growing up meant my fears have obviously changed. I’m less concerned with ghosts and more likely to threat about work. Worrying about adult things is far from enjoyable. I never relish in it. And wouldn’t seek it out. But this is where my love of Halloween comes from. I love remembering those feelings.
Something which stood out for me in Svalbard, was serious nostalgia for those times. Hiding under my quilt, or too scared to repeat an urban legend in the mirror. Longyearbyen was a magical place. But some of the circumstances made the mind wonder. In the same way 8 year old me would have been frightened, I found myself genuinely scared. And I have to admit, I enjoyed it.
The upshot to blogging about makeup and beauty, is always being in the know when something new launches. Occassionally I get sent products to try. And every day I read other blogs, featuring various products. Naturally since blogging about makeup, I’ve accumulated more. But every so often I have to remind myself that I don’t need that latest release. It’s ok to be selective and hold out for things you love. The last eyeshadow I found myself hitting pan on was Sin, from my original -& beloved- Naked palette. The one which was released in twenty-ten. SEVEN years ago!
This photo is how makeup should look. Battered. Used. Like it’s been shoved unceremoniously in many a handbag, suitcase or drawer. Not exactly the normal blogger aesthetic. But real. And the sign of a much loved product.
Maybe if I had given in and bought the latest Anastasia Beverly Hills palette -Subculture- I could have improved that pan hitting ratio dramatically (shade intended). But I’ve refrained. And intend to do so, until i’m hitting pan on a lot more of my products. All makeup should get this much use. Every product I’ve raved about on my blog should be too wrecked after a year to photograph for the blog. If it’s not, it hasn’t been used enough. And I probably could have lived without it!
Sell By Dates
Makeup is largely not self preserving. And should be thrown away after a while. I’ve heard various horror stories about using old makeup. But in all honesty, I never pay attention. Mascara and lipstick being the exception. Some of my lipsticks I’ve kept for years. Others go off and have to be cut or chucked. I hate wasting stuff, so do this only if it’s needed. Mascara shouldn’t be kept for more than 6 weeks, which is why I never buy high-end mascara. Although if I’m honest, I keep mine for a lot longer than the 6 weeks advised.
I’m not suggesting anyone else should do this. Purely that to me, throwing out perfectly good makeup is incredibly wasteful. I exercise common sense, if it looks gone off, fine. If it still works, smells / looks normal … Why would I throw it away?
I bought some of my MAC brushes 10 – 12 years ago. The MUA told me that if I looked after them, they would last for 10 years plus. I took this seriously as at the time, they felt extortionately expensive. After years of careful care, they are still going strong. Although I have to admit they’re so much better made than the new brushes. Especially the duo-fibre ones which lose hairs constantly.
Every few years I have a big clear out. And I’m always horrified at how much makeup I don’t use. I’ve got a lot better with this in recent years. But it’s so easy to buy something and not like it. Or use it as much as you imagined. I’ve become a lot more sensible with purchasing. And regularly gift things to friends, or sell if unused.
I love having a nose at other blogger’s makeup collections. But some videos / posts can feel so obnoxious. Think extreme hoarders. Only with expensive, unused makeup. I admire the bloggers and influencers who get tons of PR sent products. But who make sure they donate them. And pass them on, so they’re not wasted.
Falling For The Hype
With so much excitement around new launches, it’s easy to get caught up. I’ve stopped buying products on their launch dates. As that can really go either way! I loved the Naked Heat palette I picked up, without swatching. But was so glad I didn’t rush into buying SubCulture. As I have a feeling I may have been really disappointed.
As I’m always saying, makeup is so subjective. The best way to avoid buying items you won’t use, is to check them out fully yourself before buying. The trend of limited edition releases is showing no sign of going anywhere. Brands creating panic by limiting stock, so everyone rushes to get one. I’m personally fed up of this. Especially from huge brands who it’s pretty obvious have no concerns about their stock selling. And who will release run after run after launch.
I’m not buying anymore makeup, unless it falls into one of two criteria. It’s a refill for something I use all the time. Or it’s especially special. Something which after consideration, I still think worth getting. These items should be few and far between.
I want to actually use the products in my collection. To enjoy them, not hoard them. There will be tons of eyeshadows in each palette I’ve barely used. Enough to fill several new palettes over. I want to force myself to use colours I’m less comfortable with. And to get excited about new purchases again. As they’ll be more of a rarity.
My Tarte In Bloom palette is one of my most used. I’m venturing towards hitting pan on a few shades. So of course got really excited about the upcoming launch of a new one, the Tarte Toasted palette. However the shades are incredibly similar to that of the Naked Heat palette. And various others I own. This would be a prime example of a wasteful purchase for me. So it’s one I’m going to try and avoid.
I’ve written it on my blog. So I now have to stand by it. I’ll check in next year and be totally honest about how well I stuck to my self-imposed project hitting pan, spending ban.
I love the Arctic. And whilst all Arctic countries have amazing features in both seasons, I particularly love the Arctic in Winter. There’s no way of guaranteeing weather, Northern lights or wildlife. But even so there’s something magical about it. A different feeling in the air. Which is totally different to how I imagined it would be. The polar night occurs in the most Northernmost (and Southernmost although I’m yet to go to Antartica!) parts of the World. And is the period in Winter when the night lasts for more than 24 hours. The further North you go, the longer the Polar night lasts. In December in Svalbard the sun doesn’t rise for a month. Whilst during the same period in Tromsø, there would be two hours daylight each day and in Iceland four.
I can’t imagine what life must be like for those living in the North permanently. I’ve seen children walking to school in high vis vests. Playing in the playground in Svalbard in the darkness. It must be strange. At times depressing and very tiring. However I love visiting during this period. As it’s so different from home, here in the UK. We get our dark evenings, but it’s very different to the Polar night.
The majority of our travel occurs during this period. And every year I look forward to going North in search of the Polar night. This year will be different. And it’s made me reflect on what I will miss most about it.
When one of these amazing sunrises or sunsets appears it’s magical.
1. Colourful Sunrises & Sunsets
Obviously in Svalbard and the North pole, there are no sunrises or sunsets. But slightly less North, the shortened days mean not only is being awake for both easy. But the way in which the sun rises and sets (barely rising above the horizon sometimes) means they are dramatic and colourful. In Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland I’ve seen the most jaw-dropping colours in the sky. It’s totally mesmerising.
Of course, it’s always in the depths of Winter. So most days you get snow clouds. Rain. And general darkness. But when one of these amazing sunrises or sunsets appears it’s magical.
The most beautiful natural thing I’ve seen
2. Northern Lights
Impossible to guarantee. And often illusive. The Polar Night allows for optimum Northern lights viewing. And as you need a dark sky, lengthens the window of opportunity for seeing them. Even when we’ve been unlucky and the conditions haven’t been right to see the Aurora, just knowing they are out there is exciting. The chance to see the Northern lights is always there during the Polar night. And I love spending time looking up at the sky in search of them.
When I have been lucky enough to see the Aurora. I couldn’t believe how amazing they were. Dancing across the sky in-front of my eyes. Without a doubt the most beautiful natural thing I’ve seen. And my most fondest travel memories.
Doing this from a hot tub is even better!
3. The Night Sky
The extended night allows for more stargazing. The Arctic is largely free from light pollution and so the night sky is dark. I love looking up at the stars. Working out constellations. And searching for any slight green tinge. The moon always looks amazing, even when peeping out behind clouds. Doing this from a hot tub is even better!
It gets so dark and cold, the lights really brighten up everything
4. Candles & Lights
To make the Polar night period more bearable, locals decorate with lights, lanterns and candles. It’s so beautiful. I’ve never taken a photo of a house -because that would be creepy- but every window, pipe and ledge is outlined with tiny fairy lights. In Norway and Iceland particularly we saw so many houses decorated in this way. A lady in Tromsø explained there are competitions locally for the best house. Trees, postboxes, bridges and even bikes are covered in these tiny fairy lights. It looks like a scene from a snow globe.
In Iceland we saw lights on a hill so drove to have a look. It was a church yard and inside, all the graves had been lit up with lights too. It sounds a little odd, but it was really pretty. And I can see why relatives would do it. It gets so dark and cold, the lights really brighten up everything.
Outside shops and houses tiny tea lights illuminate paths. And lanterns mark doorways. In Svalbard we had every meal by candlelight. It feels so cosy. The number of lanterns and candles in my house has significantly risen since visiting these places. I would love to cover our home in lights like a Scandinavian house.
The sky is a distinctive blue colour
5. The Blue Hour
Before the sun sets, whilst it sits beneath the horizon, there’s an amazing light in the sky. Almost eerie but very recognisable. The blue hour.
Depending where you are, it can last for longer than an hour. But the blue hour is the period of extended twilight before the sun disappears completely. In Svalbard where the sun doesn’t rise, there is still this lighter period when the sun is closest to the horizon. The sky is a distinctive blue colour. The longer the daylight hours, the more drawn out it is. It can start a vivid baby blue. But it always feels strangely unnatural and exciting.
I’m sure you’ve seen the meme. The one which says something about having two moods. Or two modes and no in-between when it comes to makeup. Maximum glam and a fully beat face. Or vaguely resembling a swamp monster. I always chuckle when I see it because it’s scarily accurate. I’m very much guilty of being all or nothing when it comes to makeup. My ‘no makeup’ makeup look included 7000 products. And took a good hour. My makeup bag consisted of four drawers, filled with products. There was no traveling light. Or just throwing a few things in my handbag to touch up.
Some of my fondest memories of the past few years are from the time I’ve spent traveling with my husband. Although looking back on our first holiday together, I’m amazed we survived. Never mind went on any more.
Spectrum Brushes invited local bloggers, vloggers and Instagrammers to attend their Eyes On Spectrum event in Cardiff. An evening dedicated to their amazing success so far and aesthetically stunning brush collections. We got to watch a live makeup demo whilst gorging on delicious vegan treats (and it was every bit as photogenic as you would expect from the brand who bought us the World’s most Instagrammable brushes).