Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Review: Lush Solid Shampoo Bar - Seanik

Since getting my hair cut with more layers in it and since my obsessing over model and instagram sensation, Alexis Ren, my quest for beautiful beachy hair is seemingly endless.

I am well acquainted with salt sprays as you well know from a previous post but I do find that too many consecutive days of overloading my hair with spray leaves my hair getting greasier quicker. I also find that the current climate of the Netherlands being extremely cold, rainy and windy means my scalp is going overboard on the oil production. My normal shampoo just has not been cutting the mustard lately so I ventured into my local Lush store.

I'd heard about their solid shampoos before and at first wasn't interested in trying them. They looked like a total hassle and, me being like most of us here, I am a creature of habit. Venturing from liquid shampoos to the solid variety seemed to me like too much of a change and a weird thing to be doing when I have a perfectly functional normal detergent for my locks. However, recently I looked at what kind of crap was in my average shampoo and I was shocked!

I don't know if you've ever looked at just how many ingredients are in your average shampoo but there are a lot and I have an increasingly sensitive scalp. So when I looked into vegan alternatives for shampoos in order to get both an ethical alternative and one which would do well to combat grease I was pleasantly surprised to find Lush met both those requirements with a relatively simply made up shampoo bar.

Lush Seanik

I settled for trying Lush's Seanik to begin with as it has the most positive reviews. 

Things I loved:
  1. The smell is great! Almost citrusy and quite unisex for people that share shampoos across the sexes. 
  2. It lathers up extremely well and then washes away with NO residue. Incredible considering it's vegan I was convinced it would either be not foamy at all or too heavy. It was perfect. 
  3. While at first you think it dries your hair out it's actually very gentle. Quite good for a dry scalp although not entirely the best. It leaves your hair with plenty of volume which is great if you're after a beachy effect like I am. 
  4. The packaging is so small which is perfect for travelling. 
  5. If I'm travelling and don't want to take much I find this double up perfectly as a body soap for shaving. I have sensitive skin and this was no bother. 

Things I didn't love quite so much:
  1. Takes a while to dry the product after use. If you don't dry it, it sticks to its case and makes a bit of a mess. However, just leave it to dry in the lid of it's case for a couple hours and it's fine!
  2. Not as conditioning as some shampoos are. 
  3. While it is gentle enough on my dry scalp it could do more to banish flakiness. 

All in all I think this is a very good shampoo. It's perfect for everyday if you're into daily hair washing and it does the beachy job I was after. I would award it a 7.5/10

Have a good rest of the week folks!

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Cutting Out Toxic Friends // My Experience

This post will be entirely different to the norm. It's about my experience with toxic friends. This explains why my posting is sporadic. This explains why right now I can't do outfit posts as I want to or do a room tour posts or Uni decor posts despite how much I want to. It may sound petty and like nothing but this was and still is a hard time to navigate through, one which is only just now coming to an end. I am posting this because I need to express it in some way. Please comment below if you have had a similar experience and how you dealt with it. I would really appreciate it. 

My Story

I've mentioned before that I attend university in the Netherlands and being a brit that can be relatively challenging due to the language barrier. Thankfully for the most part I have been loving my time here and I'm a whole year and a half into my studies at Liberal Arts college. For the past 8 months, however, I haven't been truly happy with a certain part of my life here. That part is coming to a close now thankfully but I wanted to at least talk about it in case anyone else is feeling the same way. 

When I first moved here I moved into a shared house with 3 other guy students. My room was a cosy size and I did love it when it eventually looked my style and I felt at home there. The rest of the place that was communal was a complete tip but my room was my sanctuary. Then after a while I moved in with my closest friend into an apartment just for us. My room was the size of Harry Potter's cupboard under the stairs and didn't have its own lock but I didn't think anything of it at the time. The flat was beautiful and light and perfect with a lovely big living room, offsetting the fact that my room could fit only my bed in it. I thought I would be just lazing in the living room mostly with my lovely boyfriend and only using my room for sleeping in so I didn't have a care in the world. 

We moved in the weekend of my birthday in May and this is the point where everything went South. My Mum came to visit for the weekend of my birthday and took us both out for dinner and then just me. She helped me move my stuff and I had a wonderful time on my first birthday at Uni. The week after my Mum went home and I went back to spending my time at the library completing my readings and assignments during deadline time. At this point I received an angry message from my flatmate and friend saying we needed to chat. The chat was about how this past weekend and following days I had spent no time at home and that it had made her angry and I had to do something about it. I tried to explain that it had been my birthday but this chat wasn't about my explanations or my point of view. Just about her opinions of my behaviour which was having a nice birthday and studying at Uni. 

I tried to put it out of my mind and continued being happy but the flat became messier and messier and things of mine kept going missing. Then came a group project in which I worked with her and another friend. This was a nightmare. The first deadline she left me and the other friend in the lurch when she had done no referencing only for us to realise 20 minutes before deadline. Following this I found more and more that only my work in the paper was being "edited" to say the least. Huge chunks of writing were being deleted minutes after I had typed them with no explanation. Any contribution I had made to the paper was wrong. By the end of the project, not one sentence in that paper was my work. It got worse and worse until the day of the final deadline when finally it was over and I went home to get lunch only to find that she had eaten all my food and what she hadn't eaten was opened and thrown back in the cupboard. I was furious and after calming down sent a polite but sharp message asking her to ask me first before eating my food. After all it was the end of a term and like most I was running out of money. The reply I got back stated that she was hungry and so what. Consequently all my friends were told by her that I was over reacting and I needed to stop. I had only told a handful of my closest friends how upset I was. She then decided I had been bullying her and refused to practise for our paper presentation which was the next day. 

This passed and for a while things did get better. However, I was working my ass off cleaning up after her and still items of mine such as underwear were disappearing to the point that every 8 weeks when I went home I was buying a new set of underwear after only having a few left. Decorative items from my room would be taken out when I was out of the house and put in the living room or her room. I kept getting more irritated but bottling it up. I was spending a lot of time at the flat in order to escape criticism from her for not being there but staying there a lot I realised that her mood swings are out of control. She was moody when I wasn't there but when I was she was constantly angry storming around. I would be cooking and turn and see her standing there scowling at me. 

The living room became her space for all her stuff and only if she liked my stuff would it be allowed there. I was unable to control anything in the flat not even in my own room which she would enter as and when she pleased and go through my things. 

Unrelated to the incidents, I went vegetarian and then onto being vegan. This girl, I didn't realise before, is very anti veggie. I was getting teased for drinking almond milk and had all the common arguments where I get asked questions but when I answer them I'm "forcing my beliefs" even though I have no right to be all self-righteous when I used to eat meat too. She also became very anti-feminist claiming that equality isn't a norm we should strive for. It was an attempt at being reactionary I guess. She'd also claim that there was no such thing as right or wrong and then say Hitler was just misunderstood and one action doesn't make him a bad person. I stopped answering to a lot of these reactionary opinions. 

For a while our house was out of action and we were forced to stay with other people for a few weeks. I stayed with my boyfriend and she stayed with a mutual friend. She told all my friends I was forcing her out of the flat we shared and I was getting reprimanded by friends all the time. Even after our flat was back in action I was staying mostly with my boyfriend. At this point I had been keeping what was happening to myself and my boyfriend and I hadn't told anyone else. She on the other hand did not offer the same courtesy. 

I found after this I was being invited out less and less and yet still being asked by her and others why I wasn't going out or why I barely hang out with them anymore. Some of my friends didn't realise I just hadn't been invited. When I was invited out she and another friend would always leave early most of the time without telling me with me wondering where they were. I tried time and time again to keep up with it all organising times to hang out or go out. On one of these occasions she and the other friend said they were too tired to go out but still I got sent snapchats that night of them laced at a party. 

At uni or when hanging out all three of us I was the easy target to be picked on and in response I gave as good as I got turning me bitter and argumentative for a while until I decided to let it go. All the talk was about grades and having good exam scores, an extremely neoliberal belief in education I detest. All the time there was constant competition. As an extremely uncompetitive person I was isolated. I ended up only having my boyfriend as my friend for a while. 

After a lot of stress and upset I decided with the help of my boyfriend and Mum supporting me that I didn't need to try and keep up with them. I could make new friends despite this being a year into the course. In trying to do so I decided to detach myself from such a poisonous mix. This has been working slightly. I have been practising ways to relax my mind because as a result of being exposed to such a tense environment I have become very anxious and cannot spend the night in my own flat. I believe I had other health effects due to too much stress and being on the pill and since coming off it I have been trying to right my body and avoid stress. 

Recently I decided it was time to move as the contract for the flat is almost up. I decided fully when recently she told me I needed to pick whether I wanted to stay or leave and that it would be better for her if I stayed in the contract so that she could live in the flat while I stayed at my boyfriends. I realised then just how selfish she was and decided to start looking for another place. This has prompted her talking to random people at uni telling them that I'm bullying her for no reason and that it's come really by surprise when I was her closest friend. Of course I hear about it all. I recently made new friends and I am enjoying myself a lot more now but I still get anxious about going back to the flat. She tells people she thinks I am an intruder when I go to the flat despite me having my own key. 

Fast forward to now. I am still looking for a place. She is looking for a new flatmate and if she can't find one she too will be moving out. I am trying to detach myself even more from her and the mutual friends we have that more or less took her side as I was unwilling to talk about her to a larger group of people. I feel much better but still not 100%. I will post more on my relaxation techniques and when I move I will be doing more fun posts on my new room and stuff like that. Please comment below if you too have had to cut out toxic friends or if you are struggling right now and we can start a dialogue going on how to help each other out. You don't have to think you're over reacting or you're wrong. If you aren't happy in a friendship then you are perfectly free to end it and I believe you should. What I have explained today with my story is only what I can remember or what I feel really contributed to it but it really is only the half of it. This is not to suggest that my flatmate is an entirely bad person. Obviously at one point she was a good friend or I would never have moved in with her. But just because someone is kind or generous at times does not discount how shit they can make you feel all the other times. 

Thank you for reading. 

Friday, 11 March 2016

Bikini Inbox // Coulbourne Bikini Review

Hey there!

Yeah I know I haven't really spoken much. Uni deadlines, general laziness blah blah. 

The important thing is I'm back with a new post! And this one is a doozy. 

I mentioned a few posts back that I ordered a Coulbourne Bikini and it FINALLY arrived. 

A little while ago the bikini I wanted went out of stock in my size in both colours much to my dismay but a week after they were back on preorder and I wasn't going to hesitate this time. I went for it and it said it would ship in 3 weeks which is a long ass time but it went by pretty quickly. 

Firstly, the delivery is so fast! I've mentioned before I live in the Netherlands and I was expecting an order from the U.S to take a while, but all the way from L.A to me took 2 days total. Absolutely fantastic. Also you get a tracking number so it ticks all the boxes for me in terms of delivery. 

Here is the new addition to my bikini family: The Coulbourne Bond Bikini

I know. It's awesome. 

The top is a utility-style crop bralet while the bottoms are – let's be honest – a thong. Believe me my ever pale butt cheeks are cringing right now but with the right tan and maybe a few squats, this swimsuit is going to be all business in the front, party in the back. 

Let's have a closer look: Bottoms

These bottoms are very sleek. They aren't seamless which may put some people off but I think given the style of the top and the set as a whole that being seamless isn't a necessity and these bottoms really do feel like they with stay put if a wave hits at the wrong angle. They actually offer quite modest coverage in the front and they aren't cut too high on the sides so they feel very safe and secure and I don't think they will be flashing anything untoward on the beach. 

The bottoms feature a cross on the back:

Here comes some bikini politics so feel free to skip ahead!
One thing Coulbourne have drawn criticism about recently is that while their original Bond style suits were made in the Philippines and featured a stitched cross on the back of the bottoms, they switched their manufacturers to be in L.A. and a second batch was produced with a printed cross on the back. This second batch was reportedly not as good quality as the newer suits and I guess due to some comments they have switched back their manufacturers to the Philippines which means the stitches are back. YAY. 


The top, however, doesn't have a cross anywhere on it and as said before features a zip down the front which does come fully undone so watch out for that. Having said that the zip is secure so I don't think it'll come undone of its own accord. 
It is also double lined which adds support and some extra coverage in case you're worried about nipples showing through or anything like that. 
It definitely is suited more to smaller chested people so please keep this in mind! It kind of squishes and compresses the girls so they are definitely held right in place much like a sports bra so some women may feel they are being flattened. I really don't mind this though as I'm not about maximising chest size. 


Here is the important stuff for you guys. 

In U.S sizing I'm almost always a size 0-2 and I pretty much always get an XS whenever I buy bottoms. However, I didn't order the XS as I had heard that Coulbourne run small and I would agree. On bottoms I would suggest perhaps ordering a size up from normal as you may find the sides dig in on your hips or your tummy which is never fun. I ordered the S in bottoms and they are honestly perfect on me. If you are really stuck on sizing, measure the point on your hips where you want the bottoms to sit and then ask for the exact measurements from customer service. 

For the top their size chart don't make any sense when it comes to actual women's sizing so I will try to be exact. I almost ordered an XS but I am really glad I didn't. I ended up going with the S and that just fits perfectly but any more boob and it really wouldn't. I am a 30C bra size in the UK and occasionally a 32B if I can't find a 30. A 32C/34B on the small side is your absolute limit in my opinion with this top unless you want a 4 boob effect or breathing problems – and even a small 32C will find there is a definite sports bra like push up effect in a S. AA & A cups will have no trouble with this size or the XS it will just depend on your band size. It is quite stretchy so with band sizes it's quite straight forward, it's just when you have larger melons going in it gets a bit tricky. 

Larger chested ie 32DD-E + women probably will have a hard time getting any of the sizes to fit I'm afraid but there is an alternative from ASOS which is very similar in the 'fuller bust' range shown below:

ASOS Fuller bust bikini top. 

I adore my bikini from Coulbourne. It's so badass and despite being expensive I would buy from them again. I often find a lot of bikinis are not my style and really type cast women into wearing florals and pastel shades and neon when that isn't every woman's thing. With this bikini I feel like Lara Croft on holiday or like a Bond girl – very fitting with the name of the bikini. 

With that, I leave you folks! I hope you enjoy your week. 
Comment below what you think or any questions! x

© Summer Seeker
Maira Gall