Sunday, 28 February 2016

Q&A With Tara Neill

When I first came across Tara's blog I instantly knew I wanted her to take part in my Q&A series because I simply wanted to know more about this amazing girl, and I'm so thankful she agreed to take part with this post :) Her blog is called and consists of posts about her thoughts, what she's been up to lately, and her passion for dance. I truly think that everyone will enjoy her blog, so please check her out if you haven't already!

Here's the gorgeous girl herself! 

1.  What first inspired you to share your thoughts and start a blog?

            I started my blog in 2013. That was one of the most important years of my dance career thus far because that’s when I started dancing at a pre-professional ballet school. Lots of the information I learnt that year, wasn’t on the web, and I wanted to share my knowledge with more than just my dance mates and friends I made at performances.
            The other inspiration was my friend Maddie, who is also a blogger. Her blog gave her a huge name around the school we went to and I was hoping that starting a blog would do the same for me in the dance world.

2. At what age did you first gain a passion for dance, or have you always known it would be a huge part of your life?

            Dance has always been a part of my life. When I was a toddler I was always moving and dancing around so when I was 5, my mum decided to put me in lessons. After a few years, it was very apparent to people that I had a passion and a God-given talent for dance. I started dancing only ballet when I was eight but I didn’t take ballet super seriously until I was fourteen. I started doing dance competitions that year as well as professional performances, which is what elevated my love for ballet. I started reading books on ballet, watching movies about it, bought lots of ballet performance DVDs and studied them etc.

3. Do you have a favourite quote, and what does it mean to you?

            My friends know me as the crazy quote girl. I have too many to single out one as my fave. My top two are, “If you don’t look for light in the darkest of places without stopping even when it seems impossible you will never succeed.” ~ Dr. Amelia Shepherd (Grey’s Anatomy).
I know that seems harsh but it’s a reminder to me to always look for the silver lining in the dark points of my life.
            The quote that is really personal to me is, “I may be small but I’ve got giant plans. To shine as brightly as the sun.” ~ Astonishing by Louise Dearman.
This quote (and song in general) means so much to me. I am small for my age (18 and only 5ft) and I have giant plans that will help me shine as brightly as the sun. I want to help save lives in the form of being a psychotherapist. I know that my help may not be as direct as a surgeon, but if I can help a client not commit suicide, then my life goal is completed.

4. I know there may be many, but what has been your absolute highlight in your dancing career?

            Again, I can’t choose just one. I probably would have to say winning 1st overall at four national dance competitions was a huge highlight for me. I never ever expected to be the best dancer in my division, and it was a huge honor to have one that award, not once, but FOUR times.
            My other major highlight was originating the role as the Mother Nature Fairy in the original ballet, Fairy Garden. It’s not a world-know ballet but it was super well known where I live because the director of this ballet has done variations of this story a few times before and everyone absolutely loved the shows.
            The part of getting this role that means so much to me is that I didn’t dance at the studio the director is from. She could have chosen any one of her students to dance the lead, but yet she choose me instead.

5. Has someone ever told you some "wise words" that have really stuck with you?

            The words that have stuck with me for years, is “Don’t think. Just do.” My old dance teacher, Justine, told me that during a solo practice once day. I tend to over think everything, from dance combinations to problems in my life. This quote reminds me to not think so much. Just do and be present.

6. Who is your biggest inspiration, and what would you say if you ever got the chance to meet them?

            My biggest inspiration is my aunt Sunayana. She was so strong, positive and courageous during her battle with leukemia and even though she is not longer with us, her strength will aways stay with me.
            As stupid as this may sound, my other inspiration is Amelia Shepherd on Grey’s Anatomy. Her strength during a hardship she had on the show is what got me through my grief when I went through a very similar hardship in 2014.
            I don’t really know what I would tell her, if she were real, other than, “Thank you for being so strong during your time of grief. It helped me stay strong too.”

7.  If someone told you 5 years ago that you would be where you are today, would you believe them?

            If someone had told me, by the time you graduate high school, you will be a four time national dance champion, an inspiration to dancers and people alike, have originated the lead in a ballet and a psychology major I would have told the person, “You’re nuts” because back then I had no interest in psychology, let alone medicine. I was completely focused on ballet and joining a professional company right out of high school (which is what you have to do if you want to dance professionally because professional dance careers last 10-15 years. Dancers who join a company typically retire in their early thirties…then they go off to teach or start college).
            I am very pleased with where I am right now, even though I still would have loved to join a professional company, or at least have done a summer intensive at one.

8. Let's face it, we all have songs that are our guilty pleasures, what are yours?

            The majority of all the music I listen to is either Avril Lavigne or Broadway soundtracks. My guilty pleasure songs would have to be the Frozen soundtrack. I know people say that Frozen is stupid and overrated but I will always believe it as one of the best Disney Princess movies ever. I love the message it has about family and that you don’t need a man to save you. Very empowering for women, in my opinion.

9. Is there a specific goal you want to have achieved by the end of 2016, or are you gonna let this year surprise you? 

            My two main goals are to a) get my driver’s license  b) hopefully get accepted into a private college to transfer to Spring of 2017 c) overcome my anxiety and d) become closer to the Lord.
            Other than that, I will get 2016 take me where it wants to go.

10. What message are you trying to get across with your blog?

            I’ve never really thought about that before. I try to show my personality through my blog in terms of what I choose to write about and how I write each post. I don’t write about something, just for the heck of it. Each post is meaningful to me in some way. The Life Lesson’s series hopefully will teach my readers some valuable lessons. I hope that the technique tips in my Ballet Series help people with specific moves in ballet. I hope that my Essential Eats series will help dancers and non-dancers alike make good choices about their food.
            I also hope that, if for some reason, I stop blogging in the future, that it will stay online so  one day my children can read my posts and learn about their mother through something she passionately did for however long she had her blog.

I personally really enjoyed reading Tara's answers because they were so interesting and she's clearly experienced a lot. I love that you can tell she's such a determined person. Thank you so much for taking part Tara, it was honestly an honor having you on my blog, and thank you so much to anyone who's reading this.

Izzy K xxx           

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Mac Velvet Teddy Matte Lipstick

For my birthday I was lucky enough to receive 2 Mac lipsticks from my friends (thank you sooo much guys you really spoiled me) and one of those shades was Velvet Teddy. They know me well because I had my eye on this particular shade for a while because it seems like the perfect nude, as well as being the iconic "Kylie Jenner" lipstick. This lipstick usually retails for around £15.50

The first thing I want to talk about is the packaging. I personally find the bullet shape and black and silver colours very classy. And not just that, the rounded shape of the lid really makes them unique to any other brand and recognizable. However, one criticism I have with the packaging is that all the shades look the same from the outside. That means that without memorizing all the names, it's hard to distinguish between them without taking the lid off. 

For me this is the absolute perfect nude shade. It's dark enough so that it doesn't look like you have concealer lips, but also not too dramatic. It also has a slight pink tint to it to make it look more natural, but even if you don't suit pink (like I don't) it will still look great on you. 

Since this is a matte lipstick, I find that this lipstick has insane lasting power. It's extremely transfer resistant and it even survives throughout a meal without smudging. The texture of the lipstick is fantastic too, since it's very creamy and doesn't dry your lips out which is rare for a matte lipstick.

And last but not least I have to talk about the taste of this product. I found that Mac lipsticks have a unique taste to them, where it distinctly tastes of lipstick but also very yummy if that makes sense! When choosing a lipstick you have to make sure that it tastes good because, well, it's going on your lips. Velvet Teddy definitely lived up to my taste test.  

All in all I would rate this lipstick a 9/10 and I'm definitely gonna pop to Mac for a cheeky little lipstick haul because I was so impressed. Have you tried any Mac lipsticks before, and if so which ones do you recommend? 

Izzy K xxx

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick, Glastonberry

Since I've turned into the biggest lipstick fanatic, I'd been on the lookout for new lipsticks. One particular one that I had my eyes on for a while was the Matte Revolution Lipstick by Charlotte Tilbury in Glastonberry. This bad boy retails for around £23, so I think it's fair to say it's the priciest lipstick I now own!

The packaging on this lipstick is beyond gorgeous. It's rose gold exterior makes it stand out from any other brand, and it looks so classy and elegant. I also particularly like the ridges because I find it feels so nice to hold (if that makes any sense at all).

The shape of the actual "bullet" of the lipstick is rather unusual, but if you ask me it works. The tip of the lipstick is square shaped, which is again different to anything else I've seen. I also think you get a fair amount of lipstick per tube which is good considering it's fairly pricey and you want it to last a long time. 

The reason I wanted this particular shade is because in pictures it looked like the most beautiful berry lip. But let me tell you that pictures of this lipstick do not do it justice. It's the most gorgeous deep berry purple shade, with slight gold undertones. It's not noticeably gold, but I did see that in some lights there were a few gold glimmers which really caught my eyes. 

 And now onto the lasting power. For this price you should expect that it lasts a long time, and let me tell you that it does. Without a doubt, this lipstick will last for hours on end. And not only that, it doesn't bleed so basically wherever you put it on your lips, it will stay put there without smudging. That's so essential for such a dark colour. The fact that the lipstick is matte helps too, and this is by far the mattest (is that even a word?) lipstick I've ever tried.

Now I'm gonna rate this a 10/10. Yes you heard me right! I literally couldn't think of anything that could be added or taken away from this product to improve it. It's without a doubt one of my favourite lipsticks. Thank you so much for reading,

Izzy K xxx

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Q&A With Catherine Bircumshaw

Today I'm very excited to share with you a Q&A with my lovely blogging friend Catherine Bircumshaw, aka the writer of Catherine's blog is somewhere I always go for a bit of positivity, because her posts are so motivating and uplifting. Not to mention she truly writes in an outstanding way. Also, she has a fantastic youtube channel, also by the name of Smiley Central, where she shares her thoughts using her amazing accent. Please show her some support over there because she really deserves it! 

Here are the actual questions I asked her to get to know her a bit better:

1. Your blog name is so creative. How did you come up with it?

I have always been a happy person so I knew that I wanted the word 'smile' in my blog name. I wanted my blog to be a little corner of the internet, a happy place that people could be apart of. My blog was almost called 'Happy Town' or 'Smiley Place', I spent hours thinking of a blog name and when 'Smiley Central' popped into my brain, something clicked. I love my blog name and I am very happy that it is not 'Happy Place' lol.

2. Where do you get your inspiration for your posts, is it from somewhere in particular or just a spontaneous idea?

I get my ideas from real life situations mainly but occasionally an idea pops into my mind, most of them are rubbish but I will get some good ideas for posts. I take some time each night to think of a post I can write in the morning because I find that the time before I go to sleep is a time that I can think of good content.

3. I've noticed that you love sharing wonderful photos on your blog, how long have you been passionate about photography?

I have always had a brain that can spot photo opportunities at any scene so I guess I have always been taking mental pictures. I loved taking pictures on my phone but I truly found my passion near the end of September 2015 when I got my camera, now I can't stop taking photos.

4. The music lately has been absolutely incredible. What songs have you been obsessed with at the moment?

I have recently been loving all of Troye Sivan's music, specifically his song 'Youth', I love so much! I never thought I would say that one of my favourite songs is by Justin Bieber, but Love Yourself is so great! It's probably because it was co-written by Ed Sheeran, he is amazing! I have also been loving the YouTuber Dodie Clark's music, she inspires me musically and I look up to her.

5. Did you consider starting your YouTube channel before you had your blog, or did you get an interest for it through your blog? 

I wanted a YouTube channel for years but I did have the equipment or knowledge to do so. I found out about how Zoella and Sprinkle of Glitter started with blogging, found out how to start a blog and got addicted to hitting publish. Fate put a camera in my hands and I knew it was time for me to start YouTube, I'm so thankful for that camera, it means that I can do YouTube while also blogging.

6. Would you ever consider dyeing your hair a different colour, and if so, what colour?

I like using natural products in my hair and I hardly ever straighten it so that I don't damage my hair so I doubt that I would ever dye my hair. If I did dye it though I would probably dip-dye it blue, pink or blonde or I would dye all of my hair, starting at green then going to blue then to purple, I don't mess around lol.

7. Even though it is a lot of fun, some people find there are difficulties when it comes to blogging. What do you think is the hardest thing about running a blog?

I think the hardest thing about running a blog is that there will be times when you feel as if you could write forever and there will be times when you feel sucked dry, your creativity can't always be consistent but when you're running a blog you have to be. With time and experience, blogger finds ways around the rough parts.

8. Where is the coolest place you've been on holiday?

I went to England in the middle of Winter a few years ago and it was definitely cool, hahaha, I'm so funny. I really did enjoy the experience though, I got to see snow for the first time in my life and I met so much of my family for the first time (I'm half English).

9. It's always for to try experiment with a few types of genres on your blog. Do you have a favourite type of blog post to write?

I don't think I have a favourite type of blog post to write, I think each type of blog post is fun to write in a different way. I love chatty posts because I think those are the posts where my true character comes out, I also get to ramble, if you know me, you know that I love to ramble haha. I love writing inspiring posts because I get a warm feeling when somebody comments on my post telling me that I have inspired them. I love doing photography posts because I can show people other passions of mine. I just love blogging in general.

10. What is the overall message that you are trying to get across with your blog?

I think that main message that I want to get across is that you can be yourself and entertain and inspire others with a blog or just by yourself. I also want my readers to know that they can be happy if they choose to be happy, it's a choice and a good one to make.

Thank you so much for reading Catherine's lovely answers, I hope you love her blog and channel as much as I do (which is a lot). And thank you so much Catherine for taking part, I really enjoyed finding out more about you and it seems we have very similar music tastes lol!

Izzy K xxx