Inside my make-up drawer: Benefit “That Gal” brightening face primer

**Disclaimer – I’ve purchased these products for myself. All opinions are my own and 100% bluntly honest**

Benefit "That Gal" Benefit "That Gal"

Benefit “That Gal” brightening face primer 11ml/£22.50

Benefit says: ‘Our silky pink primer takes your complexion from dull to darling! Simply blend it on for the look of brighter, smoother skin. Contains light-reflecting pigments to help brighten all skin tones and raspberry & camomile to soothe skin.’

I honestly think this product solidified my love of Benefit. It’s one of my favourite primers and I was gutted when it ran out a couple of weeks ago. I wore it just about every day from purchasing it in February until it eventually ran out in July. That’s not a bad life for 11ml! My skin has been acting up horrendously recently, but this product covered any bumps or spots naturally and it really did soothe my angry skin.

I applied it all over my face using a flat foundation brush from a small dollop on the back of my hand. It’s a twist application to get the primer and I found I only need a couple of twists to get enough to provide a light, even coverage. It went on easily (novice here remember) and it minimised any natural shine or blemishes with a soft, dainty glow. Exactly the look I prefer! I rarely wore blusher with this product unless I was going out in the evening to play up the healthy glow. My foundation powder applied evenly on top of the primer and I felt like it provided a substantial coverage throughout the day at work or at uni.

Another thing I loved about this product was the smell. It’s delightful, like strawberries and cream! It always put a smile on my face in the morning and made me feel ready to face any challenges that might appear.

If you’re looking for a spring/summer primer or one to add a soft feminine finish to your make-up, then I would highly recommend this product. I know it’s not the cheapest primer option, but the price is justified (at least to me) by the long-levity of the product. I would definitely consider buying this again next spring/summer (or once my current tube of POREfessional (see this review) runs out).

  • Coverage: 5/5
  • Application life: 5/5
  • Value for money: 5/5
  • Overall: 5/5

Have you used this primer? Comment below with your thoughts or if you have any other primers that you would recommend!


From a lifestyle change to a 10k run…

I don’t intend for this to be too sentimental or clichéd but I still feel amazing after yesterday. I’m not going to repeat too much of what has already been mentioned on this blog in the past, but running the whole 10k yesterday made me realise just how much I have achieved since I decided back in January 2012 that enough was enough.

It has never been a diet or a set plan, instead I kept a record of what I ate and made a conscious effort to make better choices with regards to my health. I have been incredibly fortunate in the copious amount of support and encouragement I receive from my family and friends. My dad was going through a similar change and it had a massive influence on my attitude towards the whole thing. We supported each other and shared tips, recipes and morale. I guess I had my own little support group free of charge! I had considered joining a slimming group but the local ones in Liverpool all clashed with other commitments. In my own way I created a healthier lifestyle that suited my student budget and busy schedules. It hasn’t been easy, but since then I have lost four stone and gone from a size 16-18 to a 8-10 (UK sizing). When I joined Hope University, I was happy, but there were occasional body-conscience moments, something I have experienced throughout my life. Now I still have the occasional twinge, but that’s all down to personal vanity! I feel happier than ever and delight in trying new styles and make-up. I’m still the same shy, slightly awkward bookworm that I have always been (and I have no intention of changing that!) but I feel more confident in how I appear to the rest of the world.

I love looking through old photos and seeing the changes to remind myself that I have come a long way. Now my focus is to keep the shape I currently am – I love my curves and I’m proud of them – and to remain active. It’s always difficult when I return home as I don’t cook all my meals and I don’t walk as frequently as I do when I’m at uni because home is more isolated. However I have every intention of joining a local running group when I return and I’ve bought a set of resistance bands to try some different workouts. Of course I will also be doing plenty of walking with Mabel and Marvin and once the weather improves I’ll be back on my bike. By setting out my goals, it gives me something to focus on and I know that I’ll succeed. Like I said, I never felt unhappy before, but I prefer my current lifestyle.

Anyway, back to yesterday’s run. After months of training (Hannah was better at that than I), we found ourself on the starting line (or a good five minutes from it seeing as we were in the slowest group of runners) and we were both nervous and elated that we had succeeded in getting that far. Once we crossed the start, we set a good, steady pace and we said from then that we were determined to keep running throughout the 10k, regardless of our speed. By 2k, there were a fair few who were alternating between running and walking and between 3 and 4k, we were lapped by one of the elite men, who finished the whole thing in 31 minutes. And still we kept running. It felt like an age before we reached the half way point which was the water point. We stopped at the side of the road to refresh although I barely drank anything, the main focus being to try to cool down, as I find it uncomfortable to drink and exercise and my low blood pressure was a concern. Back we went, again at a steady pace, and in a way it was quite relaxing. Sometimes we chatted, sometimes we just absorbed the scenery and enjoyed the atmosphere. It was a cracking route and the public were excellent, very supportive! We had to stop briefly around 8k because my body had a hissy fit and I felt a little nauseous but after a couple of mouthfuls of juice we were back on track and the end was once more in sight. We put on a spurt of speed once we spotted the finish line and our official finishing time was 1 hour, 13 minutes and 33 seconds. The combination of amazement, disbelief and exhaustion just about floored me but we collected our goodies bags, located Hannah’s fiance, who was our bag boy and supporter, and settled down on the grass to catch our breath. I have truly never felt as proud of myself as I did lying on the grass trying to cool down. We had done it. We ran the whole thing, despite a few hiccups, and my goodness did it feel amazing! I think our Nike+ apps said our average pace was just over 11 mph, which was slightly slower than our usual running pace, but the furthest we’d ran together was just over 2 mile, not the 6 and a bit we did yesterday, so I think that was a perfectly acceptable pace. Especially when you consider the work load we have both been balancing! We have decided that we will continue to do organised running events, alternating between Liverpool and Newcastle, again something I never thought possible. I’ve been bitten by the running bug and never again will I mock others for the madness I now truly enjoy!

I hope that this has inspired or motivated at least one person to make a healthy change in their lifestyle or to continue with their hard work if they already have. It’s never completely easy and sometimes you may feel like giving up but seriously don’t. Weaknesses are there to be overcome and to make you stronger in the end. Who knows, maybe you’ll achieve something you never thought possible too.

What a difference three years can make! Just a selection of my favourite photos from yesterday

I thought I’d share with you one of my least photos of myself from before I started to lose weight and compare it to how I look now. I felt beautiful on that day in 2011 when that photos was taken, but looking back on it makes me proud to see less of that belly! I wasn’t ashamed or disgusted by my figure then, in fact I don’t believe I ever will be, but it certainly produces a sense of satisfaction and disbelief when I see a comparison like that. It is possible and if I can do it, anyone can! You just need to determination and encouragement. The other picture is a selection of my favourite photos from yesterday. I never said I was an attractive runner and my goodness do I go beetroot when I exercise! I think these photos sum up exactly how we felt on the day and my favourite is still my selfie just after completing the run – knackered but still with a look of ‘who’d have thought I could do this?!’ on my face! So far a total of £108 has been raised towards the RSPCA Newcastle/Northumberland branch and donations can still be made via – a final shameless plug that while I did it purely for selfish reasons (ie to see if I could run 10k) I’m pleased so many people have generously donated towards improving the lives of animals like Mabel and Marvin.

Feel-good Friday – ‘Word Up!’

Happy Friday and I hope you are all doing something sport related for Sport Relief! Normally I participate through Guides, but unfortunately I can’t go to tonight’s meeting. Instead I donated through JustGiving alongside with my #NoMakeUpSelfie to breast cancer research as mentioned yesterday. I’ve wanted to post this video since I first heard it weeks ago, but knew that it would make more sense to post it now. Naturally I was rather excited when I heard that Little Mix would be doing the official song for this year’s appeal, but this cover exceeded my high expectations. I also adore the video – best one yet – it captures sporting spirit in all it’s forms!

Feel-good Friday – ‘Lovestoned’ (Live Lounge Cover)

More than any other week, I’ve needed all the motivation, support and encouragement possible from my family and friends. I hit a confidence wall on Wednesday and I’m still recovering from it now. Mentally that is, I’m not injured or anything, just the typical third year panic I gather. Seeing as that has been about the only thing that happened this week, I’m not going to bore you all with the details of it, so there won’t be a ‘What’s occurring’ post this week.

Anyway, this feel-good choice is taken from one of my recent Oxfam finds – Radio 1 Live Lounge Volume 3 – and the first time I heard this track I just melted. It’s a goose-bump, spine-tingle song when they sing it, but then I get that feeling for the majority of their album, which I still listen to. The Hoosiers (yeah remember them?) covered Justin Timberlake’s beautiful ‘Lovestoned’. I think it’s my favourite JT song from the ‘Futuresex/Lovesounds’ album (another of my favourites). It’s worth a listen to, that’s for sure. I’m currently waiting for four more Live Lounge volumes to arrive in the post after I found them cheap on Amazon, so we’ll see how many other beauts await me.

Chalkboard Monday

Apologies, yet another rather late post! Same excuse as before I’m afraid – I’ve been busy with work for most of the day (although I did manage to squeeze in lunch and a film with the history girls). Anyway, here’s the chalkboard for this week. I particularly like the emphasis on inner beauty and being true to yourself. Just ignore my terrible handwriting (the chalk no longer has an obvious point to write with) and my schoolgirl error of misjudging the amount of space available on the chalkboard. I know this usually happens, but this week it looks particularly untidy!

Fairtrade Fortnight: 24 February – 9 March

Now I am well aware that this is nearly over, but I want to mention this event to raise awareness of the vast quantity of fair trade products that available, particularly in the UK. The first two that usually spring to mind are chocolate and bananas – purely because they are the most commonly spoken about. The current campaign for this year is to Make bananas Fair – you can read about it and the Fairtrade Foundation here and sign the petition here. I’m going to sign the petition after work today – we need to make our voices, and the voices of the farmers, heard and acknowledged. I’ll admit I’m not all that snazzy when it comes to politics, but I truly believe that we need to do more to ensure that fairness is achieved for all.

Now I’m a student. I live on a tight budget. Yet I still try to buy fair trade products as often as I can. I am partly able to do this because I volunteer in Oxfam and our store in particular has a huge selection of fair trade products. It’s not just about food either. As I mentioned in a previous post, you can get Fairtrade lip balms, hand creams, BB creams, condoms, shampoo, washing powder … the list goes on! It’s well worth having a browse online and seeing where you can buy fair trade items. Yes it can be a little bit more costly, but not by a substantial amount and treat it like your good deed of the day! Your hard work is improving someone else’s life and making a big difference to them, their family and community.

The photo contains just some of my favourite Fairtrade products that I regularly buy. The coffee is beautiful and the stem ginger biscuits are simply divine. I always buy a packet for Mum when I go home as they are a household favourite. The dark chocolate, orange and ginger chocolate is my little pick-me-up luxury. I also use some of the household products and the quality is exceptional. It’s worth paying the extra for.

Seeing as it is the start of Lent, instead of giving alms why not buy something Fairtrade every week? Even if you’ve given up sweet treats, there are still many other things you could buy. To make things a little more cost-effective, up until the end of Fairtrade Fortnight (9 March) you can get 20% all Fairtrade food products (excluding the Easter range – yes there’s Fairtrade Easter Eggs!) in Oxfam shops. Go on, make a difference and let’s get fair trading for all!