Wednesday, 27 May 2015

A trip to Smithills Open Farm

Usually after getting in at 8am from work I love nothing more than collapsing into bed and napping for a few hours. However, my sister Kirsty invited me to tag along for the day at Smithills open farm and I couldn't miss the opportunity to spend some time with my niece and nephew.
Spring is the perfect time to visit the farm as you can see all the new baby animals as well as letting the kids do a list of activities. With this in mind I grabbed my new camera to take some photos that Kirsty could keep as a nice little memory..

When we arrived at the farm it was cloudy and dull but boy was it busy. We headed into an area of hay bales where the staff were doing talks about the new arrivals. They brought out baby lambs you could bottle feed and baby chicks and rabbits to hold. At the end they ask for volunteers to hold a gigantic 12 foot python. I remember doing this on a previous visit with about 5 other people and that thing was heavy! Highly enjoyable though as I love snakes.

We walked around the farm feeding all the eager calfs, goats and piglets which was a task in itself as those buggers will straight off pinch the entire bag of feed. Aly made me laugh shouting at the goats "NO, you've had enough, its this one's turn now!'. Andy (Kirsty's fiancee) spent a good five minutes perfecting the ultimate selfie with a cow.

Once we came out of the main area, Aly saw the donkeys and insisted she NEEDED to go on them. For £1 a ride we could hardly say no and she was excited up until she got on it where she then pulled her face the entire duration of the ride. After coming off the donkey she told me "I wasn't scared or anything"... complete lies. The fear was real haha.

After the donkey ride we visited the reptile house which housed a huge tarantula and frogs much to my horror. We then took the kids to a big indoor play area filled with bouncy castles, toy tractors and other activities. Aly and Jacob were thrilled when they had the bouncy castle to themselves. Jacob spent the entire time trying to stand up but then endlessly falling over much to the amusement of us adults.

Once all our feed bags had been well and truly emptied we decided to call it a day and head back. Running on a mere 3 hours sleep the previous night I was piratically day dreaming about my bed but the kids were less enthusiastic as they didn't want to leave at all. Overall we all had a really enjoyable day and I'm glad I traded in my sleep to spend time with my family. Family is important, don't ever forget that. I'll leave you all with a few more pictures :)

Thanks for reading. 
What did you do this weekend? Leave me a comment and don't forget to add your blog links so I can take a peak 

Photos & words - Sammeh Williamson

Friday, 22 May 2015

Bleaching hair from home - Achieving that bright red look

Ever since I was a teenager I have abused my hair in so many ways to achieve a more edgy look. I've gone from the most basic of browns to pink, blue, purple, even bright orange at one point (it wasn't as bad as you think). However for the past 6-7 years I have stuck with being a full blown red head, and I don't mean your typical Karen Gillan type of look, I mean vibrant in your face "look at me" red hair.

Its not easy maintaining bleached vibrant hair. A lot of effort goes into ensuring you don't make a total mess of it. Back when I first started using bleach I was naive and didn't take the proper precautions and gradually it fell out to the point it barely came up to my shoulders. It took a good year or so for it to grow entirely back to how I liked it and since then I have always put the most effort into looking after my hair.

Based off that past disaster and now being older and a bit wiser I thought I'd share how I bleach my hair the correct way. I have maintained this look for 4 years and haven't had any problems. In fact, my hair has grown even longer!

First things first if you're using any new kind of bleach or dye you should always do a patch test 48 hours prior. If you suffer with any discomfort or irritation then do not proceed. Also note that I am in no way, shape or form a professional so always make sure you follow the correct guide lines/instructions. Bleaching hair is not something you want to take lightly.

Now that the boring parts out of the way I'll explain what I typically use.

1x Sachet of Jerome Russell's high lift powder bleach
1x Bottle of Jerome Russell's maximum lift cream peroxide (40% Vol 12% peroxide)
1x Mixing bowl/tub
1x Tint brush applicator 
1x Directions "Poppy Red" hair dye
1x Pair of gloves
1x Towel you don't mind getting ruined

All these products are easy enough to get a hold of. I picked up the Jerome Russell powder and peroxide from Boots. You could even buy the gloves, applicator and tub from there too but I saved some money by buying them from a pound shop instead.
I picked up the directions dye from my local alternative shop but I find that most tattoo and piercing shops stock it as well. If that fails you can always resort to good old amazon/ebay to home deliver.

So the first thing I do is empty the sachet and peroxide into a tub and mix thoroughly through with the tinting brush until it becomes a nice smooth even mixture. I usually use the 40% peroxide as my hair is so stubbornly dark that it takes a greater amount to strip the colour. I recommend finding the right percentage for the type of hair you have. Putting on too much or the wrong type will result in breakages and ruin your hair completely.

Once the mixture is ready I separate my hair down the middle and using the tint brush I apply a small amount onto the crown of my head completely covering any roots that are on show (as you can see from the below pictures mine are disgraceful). Once the top is done, moving downwards on one side of my head I fold over and paint underneath. I repeat this process by taking sections bit by bit and making sure each part is completely covered. Once one side of my head is done I repeat the process on the other side and then again applying to the back. (Doing the back in my experience can be quite tricky so ask someone to help if you're struggling.)

Once I have completely covered my hair/roots I make sure I leave it on for the recommended amount of time, ensuring I keep checking the process to see how it is developing. The setting process usually takes up to 45 minutes for myself. However I usually speed this up by putting a plastic bag (lols) around my hair as the trapped heat makes it develop much quicker, resulting in less time for my hair to get damaged. Once I can clearly see that the bleach has done its job and my hair is white/yellow  I rinse off with warm water and shampoo. If you're doing this I also recommend using a strong deep conditioner as the bleach will likely dry out your hair.

Once I have rinsed out the bleach from my hair and towel dried I then go ahead and slap the directions hair dye generously all over my hair. Don't worry if your bleached hair is looking a little yellow, the bright hair dye will guarantee to cover this. I repeat the waiting process and leave on for a good 40 minutes or so (again, make sure you follow the correct recommended waiting time if using any other dye).

For the final time I wash, shampoo, condition and towel dry and its done!
 Below is my achieved look.

Once I have completed the entire process I take extra care of my hair. I try not to use too much heat and if I'm blow drying I'll make sure to use the cool setting. I also invest in some good hair treatment masks/oils as I want my hair to stop drying out as much as possible. Dry shampoo is also my best friend. It keeps my hair looking vibrant for longer.

I have been using this process now for the past 4 years without needing to take a break away from bleaching. I never go over the same area twice once bleached and only ever top up my roots. Doing this has resulted in my hair growing naturally and not falling out. I top up my roots every 3 months or so but depending on how quick your hair grows its totally up to you how often you do it. I recommend leaving it for as long as possible though as constant bleaching will only result in damage.

Bleaching from home may seem a daunting process but its honestly a piece of cake once you're fully aware of what you're doing.  There is also the added bonus of saving a few pennies at the hair dressers.
I can honestly say that I love my hair and the time and effort that goes into maintaining the look of it is well spent. I couldn't imagine being any other colour anymore.

What do you think bleaching hair from home? Have you ever done it before? Do you want to? Let me know in the comments section and if you have any questions feel free to ask and I'll get back to you.

Thanks for reading and I hope this helped.

Photos & Words : Sammeh Williamson

Sunday, 17 May 2015

High street beauty purchases - Boots

Getting up at 4.15am nearly every morning for work has its perks. Number one being that I see a little difference in my wage at the end of the month for working unsociable hours.
Now I'm back into writing again I really want to expand on what products I want to test and use. There are so many brands that I have never even contemplated trying just because I am so set in using products that are right for me and that I know work.

With a few extra pennies in my bank account I felt the insane urge (like most girls) to treat myself to something new. I visited my local Boots store and picked up 5 new items. With the 3 for 2 offer on all make-up in full swing it was the perfect time to raid the counters. I decided the first thing I would buy would be the Rimmel Lasting Finish 25 Hour Foundation as I wasn't overly keen on the one I was previously using. Being that it's full coverage foundation it suited my needs and I have to say since trying it, so far so good! Review on this perhaps? Yey or ney?

The second item I purchased was the Rimmel Professional Eyebrow Pencil which for £2.99 is worth having in your make-up bag. Now considering perfect brows are massively popular right now, I'm not the kind of girl who spends an abundant amount of time filling them in. When I give it my best shot they resemble two huge mustaches over growing above my eyes. However, I find this simple pencil super easy to use. Takes all of two minutes to draw in and jobs and good one!

If you've previously read my blog then you'll know that the Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder is a favorite of mine and all round winner for most girls. I picked this up to complete my 3 for 2 offer as it is simply something that I always need and use. Its probably the best affordable powder (in my opinion) and is great for setting my look for the day.

A new product I decided to give a whirl was the No7 Match Made Concealer which originally comes in at £7.50. I purchased it for a mere £4.50 with a No7 Boots voucher which they most always provide on your last purchase from the store. I first came into contact with this little beauty while visiting my boyfriend in Huddersfield. One was lying among all of his manly products (I assume it belonged to an old girlfriend or something) and it caught my eye with the cute packaging. Unfortunately they have since changed this but I'm all for this product as it blends really well into my skin and doesn't appear to look cakey. I really like this so far!

Lastly I decided to pick up a new lipstick as my love for big dark bold lips has increased in the past few months (I don't care if spring is here, I will still be rocking plum colours even when it goes out of style). I purchased the Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick and I have to say these are much better than the ones I have been using from the Kate Moss collection. They leave my lips feeling conditioned and fierce with the added bonus of extra staying power. I can't wait to buy more!

So that's everything I have picked up recently. What beauty products have you been splurging out on? Anything you swear by and I should know about? I would love to try anything new so let me know.

Thanks for reading. x

Photos & Words - Sammeh Williamson

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

A New Start - personal post

So, where do I start? 
Lets start by saying I'm really sorry to anybody who gave this blog their attention. When I first started writing back in 2013 I had every intention of posting frequently. This blog was the first thing in my life I felt really passionate about and put effort into. It comforted me in ways other things couldn't because as it grew and grew so did I. It made me more confident and happy and opened up so many amazing opportunities for me. I am still thankful for that to this day.

Who would of thought after less than a year of starting this blog I would of been nominated for an award with Cosmopolitan. I mean how crazy is that? A girl who considers herself a nobody and a bit of an outcast at times to be put in the spotlight among some of the best bloggers in the industry? I still can't get my head around it to this day but it meant the absolute world to me, even if I didn't win.

Come towards the end of 2014 and things started to take a turn for the worse. My moods got really bad. I was lashing out at loved ones and I just didn't feel like myself anymore. I don't even know what was wrong with me. I just felt like everything good in my life wasn't worth doing. Funny thing depression isn't it?

With near enough 6000 readers I put immense pressure on myself to produce high quality professional posts. But looking back at the content I'd produced I absolutely hated it. I hated the writing, I hated the photography. Everything I did never felt good enough. So I decided to take a break. A long break.
In that time things in my life have been a bit hectic. So I hear you ask... Where have you been and what have you been doing with yourself?

Well, first things first. After I decided to take a step back from blogging I split up with my long term boyfriend. This absolutely crushed me of course as the whole "its not you its me" line didn't go down very well and I was left without a real explanation. I eventually went on sick at work as my mental health was worrying and everything was getting on top of me. 
Thankfully this was a really good time where I focused on getting myself better. I took a huge gamble, packed up all of my things and moved into a flat with one of my good friends. It was just what I needed. I instantly felt at ease being in my own space. 

After a month of settling into my new digs I decided it would be the right time to go back to my job. It wasn't easy. I was issued a warning and to this day I am constantly trying to prove myself to them which wears me down immensely. Still, my job is what maintains me being independent and I'm not giving up that easily. 

During Christmas I was starting to feel like myself more and I began speaking to someone new. At the time the thought of even attempting to commit to anyone else sent my stomach churning and I thought this new boy would of been the perfect match for a friend of mine. Jump forward three or four months and it turns out hes a perfect match for me. He has been so supportive and he is a constant reminder that there are good people in this world. So I guess that means there's a new man in my life. Go me!

Jump forward to now and things in my life have improved so much. I finally feel like I am ready to give this blog all of my attention. Writing is a real passion of mine and I don't want to give it up just because there have been a few bumps in the road. My aim is to just be true to myself and what I write. I don't care if the photography's a little off, or that I spelt "their" as "there". I'm not perfect and I'm not striving for this blog to be perfect anymore. 

I truly appreciate everyone who read my posts before my hiatus and I will appreciate anyone who will continue to read them now I'm back. Here's to 2015 and a new start to blogging!

Thank you to anyone who managed to read this far. It was a very personal post to write. Any comments are welcome and don't forget to leave your links! :)

Photos & Words : Sammeh Williamson