Why I Love Fashion, But Hate Shopping.

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I am writing this blog post after a full day of shopping in Birmingham, or, lack of it.

It is no secret to anyone who knows me, that I love fashion. I love wearing it, styling it, writing about it and I even intend to work in the industry when I’m older. However, when the opportunity arises to go out to a big shopping centre, although initially keen, I often shy away and never leave with anything that I want. Sometimes I even buy stuff that I don’t even like, just so I leave with something and not feel as if I have wasted a day.

I’m not sure when my shopping habits developed like this. At the age of eleven I would have jumped at the chance to go to a big shopping centre and spend money on clothes. But at the age of seventeen, I struggle to leave with one piece of clothing without doubting myself. Perhaps it is my hesitation to spend money (as it is my own and I have the ever impending threat of budgeting at university), my picky style or even my lack of self confidence.

Since my early teenage years, my perception of myself changed. It is still changing and evolving. This is true of both my style and opinion of myself. Obviously, as I have gotten older, I have refined my style of clothing and have in consequence, become more picky in what I buy. Meaning, there is less clothing available that I like enough to buy. Sometimes, I can become narrow minded in my shopping, I have a particular style (that evolves during the seasons), that often I scrunch up my face and scoff at some pieces on the shelves. This does not mean, however, that there is nothing for me to buy. But I still leave shops empty handed.

Why do I do this? I think perhaps the biggest  obstacle to my shopping experience is my ever building self doubt. About both whether I love the piece enough to commit to buying it, and whether it actually looks nice and compliments my figure. Clearly, my lack of enthusiasm to spend money does not help, but I think my problem is how I view myself. You cannot enjoy shopping until you learn to love yourself.

Every time I emerge from Topshop changing rooms, the wish that I had a thinner body and a fatter purse circulates around my brain (which is rubbish!). Coupled with the busy atmosphere of shoppers, I often feel flustered and rushed. I then give up on the day and start to feel tired and overwhelmed at only 1 o’ clock. I then go home, and regret that I did not buy anything. I even avoid sales, because the amount of people rummaging and the vast number of clothes that are hanging half off of hangers, scares me.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I will buy lots when shopping, but I often find it difficult to find a happy medium. I either leave with lots of clothes (some that I am not even that crazy on), or I leave with nothing at all. I follow fashion closely, and in my mind I know exactly what kind of clothes I want and what my style is, but I can never find that in shops. For these reasons, I tend to sway towards online shopping, as I get to examine all of the brands and styles, without the pressure of shopping centers. However, with this technique I often disregard the concept of saving money, as it is a lot harder to visualize the amount of money you are spending. Plus, half of the fun of shopping is browsing clothes and trying them on.

As aforementioned and probably evident from my previous blog posts, I am a major follower of clothes and fashion. My distaste for shopping has developed from my lack of self confidence and budgeting issues. In order to tackle this, I have come up with simple steps…

  1. Look online before you go at the sorts of clothes/the style that you want and where to get them.
  2. Make sure you are not feeling low on body confidence. Try on some more daring outfits, you never know, it might suit you!
  3. Go with somebody who does not mind going back and forth to shops as you doubt and become indecisive on what you want to buy.
  4. Have a good breakfast and lunch to keep you fueled throughout the day.
  5. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes!
  6. Go to the best shopping place. If big shopping centers are not your thing (they definitely aren’t mine!), then go to a smaller town with good shops that is perhaps a bit more open (do some research on shops local to you).
  7. Relax! Don’t try to find something you love, but rather something you like and you will practically wear. Do not, under any circumstances, buy something you do not like just for the sake of it. If all else fails, there is always online shopping!

I have put together this blog post after a long reflection on my shopping habits. I must not be the only person who feels like this. In the hopes that this helps people who are feeling the same way, please let me know if you also experience this. Remember, fashion is great but shopping is something completely separate, it can be an enjoyable experience. Try and slowly get back into it by entering with a different perspective.

‘Self love is the elixir of an immortal heart’

-Amy Leigh Mercree

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Real Techniques Core Collection: Review

Real Techniques brushes are possibly one of the most well known and used makeup tools on the internet. A few months ago, I succumbed to the temptation and brought the Core Collection in the hopes that it would start off my set with the essential brushes needed to do my makeup successfully. To see how I clean my brushes click here.

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Firstly, where to buy this set. After looking in my local Boots, I found the brush set to be £21.99. I decided to sleep on the decision to buy them and went home. However, after researching the set, I found that to buy the same exact set cost £10.76 on Amazon from the Real Techniques Amazon shop. Obviously, I ordered my set online and within 2 days the set arrived at my door.

The only variation in this set from Amazon and the set from Boots, is that the holding cases are slightly different in colour and fabric. This did not bother me however, as I take the brushes out of their case and it still adequately held the brushes.

The Real Techniques Core Collection Set holds:

Buffing brush

Pointed foundation brush

Detailer brush

Contour brush

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The brushes arrived in shape and undamaged. The first thing that struck me (after the lovely presentation and the great colour of the brushes) was the type of brushes included in the ‘Core Collection’. To me, these brushes do not seem like the essentials needed in a kit to get somebody started with makeup. The buffing brush I understood, but being relatively new to makeup brushes, I did not understand the relevance of the detailer brush.

No instructions were provided on the use of these brushes, but the Real Techniques website provides great video tutorials on how to use the brushes effectively.

After some trial and error, aided by google searches, I found out the best use for each brush and what they are meant for…

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By far, my favourite brush out of the kit is the Buffing Brush. After applying my foundation on the back of my hand I dab the Buffing Brush into the foundation and apply it onto my skin in circular motions. It works wonders when blending and hiding foundation lines- definitely an essential in anyone’s makeup kit! The brush is dense, a bit harder to clean but it provides great coverage. The bristles are soft and move nicely when being applied.

I tried applying my foundation with the Pointed Foundation Brush. When trying previously trying foundation brushes, I found this shape works well when applying makeup. However, this brush is very small, making it extremely difficult to apply foundation. The bristles are firm and soft, but the size is just far too small to cover the whole face and apply foundation. So, I tried using this brush to blend and apply concealer, to no avail. The concealer became patchy and did not give an even blend or good coverage. The bristles are hard to maneuver over my under eye skin and blemishes. Overall, I think this brush does not do the job it should and personally, I do not think it should have a place in the kit.

The Detailer Brush caused me the most confusion in the kit. In my experience in makeup, I have never come across a brush such as one of these. After many searches, I still could not find the use of this brush and I am still not sure. On a whim, I decided to use this brush to try nose contouring, and the brush worked well . It was the right size and the bristles were firm enough to get the correct line of bronzer on my nose, applying nicely as well as blending nicely. However, I still do not see how this brush is considered as an essential in a Core Collection kit.

Finally, the Contour Brush. I am new to the world of contouring, and despite my lack of experience, I found that this brush worked well. The brush is still extremely soft after many uses and washes. The bristles move a lot more on this brush and are not as stiff. The bristles are dense and the shape of the brush is slightly pointed, meaning the brush can fit nicely around your cheekbones to provide a good contour. I like this brush and think it works well with the buffing brush in the Core Collection kit!

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The case is also very convenient to hold the brushes and transport them and even has possible space for other brushes. It includes a toggle which you can pull back to create a standing case for easy access and nice presentation of your brushes.

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Overall, the Core Collection kit is good value for money (when brought from Amazon) and I thoroughly recommend buying it for the steal price of £10. Although some of the brushes are slightly unnecessary, it is a good set if you are slightly more experienced with makeup. However, if you are relatively new to makeup or makeup brushes, I would recommend just getting the Buffing Brush, or alternatively, the Expert Face Brush which has multiple uses and works well for all aspects of face makeup application. With soft bristles, a good shape and dense and firm bristles, this brush is definitely a must-have.

‘The right tools are just as important as the makeup itself.’

-Bobbi Brown