Newsflash... you don't have to wear all the make-up because people don't notice it!

Yesterday I ran out of things to watch on YouTube so headed on over to the 'Recommended' section and spotted a Zoella video which saw her challenge her boyfriend to apply her make-up.  I started watching (don't judge me just yet).

(Side note: Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella, is the 'It Girl' of YouTube. She's the bench mark for apparent success and the role model for many a tween and teen who are into YouTube. Her boyfriend of a couple of years is another popular UK YouTuber personality, Alfie Deyes, aka PointlessBlog)

On her channel, Zoe Sugg has countless Get Ready With Me (GRWM) style videos which are basic make-up, fashion and styling tutorials so you can all achieve the "Zoella look". Hell, she's even launched her own make-up and beauty product range but that's all part of the 'branding' she's now achieved. Anyway... there's a number of interesting points in this video that are worth noting.  Here's the video in question so you can watch whilst you read along.

Alfie has to search for a picture on Google of Zoe wearing make-up so that he can attempt to copy the look.
Zoe *shocked face* : I wear it every day
Alfie : But I don't look properly, do I?
Zoe attempts to coach Alfie slightly as to what products are needed whilst he looks bewilderingly at the photo on his phone.  She then hands him her huge make-up bag (which I actually want as it says "WAR PAINT" on the side) and he dives in. There's a fair bit of shade thrown here, there and everywhere by Zoe because Alfie doesn't know exactly what type of product he is using and the way in which it should be applied but he gets off to a good start with foundation and concealer. He then applies a bit of common sense because he uses products which appear to have been well-used. It's also very cute when he realises that applying make-up to one side of the face is easier than applying it to the other and his knowledge of cat-flick eye liner and contouring sucky-face is very endearing. 
Zoe: So we've had bronzer [..] So that's all you want to put on on my cheeks?
Alfie *stares intently at Zoe's face for a couple of seconds* Yeah, what else have you got?
Zoe : Blusher, contour and highlight
Alfie : They're all the same, they're all the same
At the end, Zoe has a closer look and appears to be surprised at what a good job Alfie did on her make-up however, there's a bit of an issue with the eyeshadow...
Zoe : You didn't really do much eyeshadow. You could have really gone to town. [..] I'm just a bit disappointed with the eyes.
Alfie : They're my favourite bit.
Zoe : I can't get over how small my eyes look. It literally looks like you've not put anything on my eyes. 
Alfie : I have. I've put loads on!
Zoe : You didn't.
Alfie : I did. I put so much on.

So what am I asking you to take away from this? 

Over the past couple of years I've written about body confidence, my own battle with an un-made-up face and the way in which the media decide what is or isn't acceptable to look at. Whilst Zoella keeps her public (YouTube) image very 'clean' and she talks openly about her mental health, she is rarely seen without make-up or dressed down. Now, this can be taken both ways; 1. it's important to be proud of your image especially when you are a public figure or 2. your perception of your face in this world is totally different to how others see you.  

Maybe Alfie is entering that 'comfortable' period in his relationship with Zoe where he knows that it's not all about looks but more about the person and who they are to you, hence his lack of understanding about Zoe's obsession with the amount of make-up she feels as though she needs to put on her face.  This also says a lot about how Zoe feels about herself (her lack of self-confidence is well documented on her YouTube channels and her blog) regardless of how she appears in front of the camera - speaking from experience, it's a totally different feeling speaking to a camera lens than it is to a room full of people, and I'm a confident person. 

But, as the title says (and this is the TL;DR bit for you), I think Alfie has hit the nail on the head here. Generally, people don't look at the make-up you're wearing, or the amount of contouring you have (and are even less bothered about the time invested in that process), or even the outfit you are wearing.  Can you remember what your partner or your work colleague wore yesterday? No, me neither! So girls... from someone as old as the hills (me) and someone who is the boyfriend to the most popular person in the UK (Alfie), you don't have to wear all the make-up because there's a possibility that other people don't notice it. Concentrate on being the best YOU you can be!

Be the best YOU you can be


Things I Learnt In July

postcard, barbados
It takes about two days for a postcard to travel from Barbados to the UK.  Impressive!! Thanks to Tanya for my pretty special message in the post.

If I held a fancy dress party and took pictures of all the guests, I'd still have more look-a-likes than this agency (h/t to Popbitch).  My favourites change on an almost hourly basis but today they have to be Katie Price, Hugh Jackson and the fact that there's an "Ant" listed but no "Dec".

Us commuters relish the last couple of weeks of July because there's no school traffic on the roads. We get fairly complacent during August and then somewhere around the 3rd or 4th of September we wonder where all the traffic has come from...

The word "Bronde" can completely and utterly knob off. 

When you mention to Buzzfeed and one of their staffers that a particular recent article looks awfully like one of yours from a couple of weeks ago, they go very, very quiet and don't acknowledge your tweet.

rick astley, pencils, stationery, etsy,Rowntrees will send you hush money a £1 voucher when you jokingly mention to on social media that you're a bit shocked that most of the wine gums in the packet are yellow.

I absolutely need these pencils.  They might be expensive but at least they're never going to let me down *badum-tish*

Freddie was God. His solo albums still rock.  I've been revisiting Mr Bad Guy and The Great Pretender this week on YouTube.

You could never, ever make a modern version of The Breakfast Club because everyone would just be on their phones, taking selfies, twatting about on Snapchat or playing that stupid pirate game that's so popular at the moment.

Do NOT miscalculate a running route when you're trying to achieve a personal goal (5K in under 35 minutes) because you'll be really, REALLY pissed off with yourself when you realise that the distance you actually ran should have been 3/10 of a mile further.

Every time I see the Samsung Galaxy s6 advert with Rita Ora I think it's my low battery alert bleeping. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME! 

You can win Leeds Festival Tickets and wellington boots kit worth £700 with Hunters Wellies. Find out all the details here. In fact, it's so easy to enter as all you have to do is provide your name, email address and telephone number and a winner will be picked at random. There's also another opportunity to win by sharing your favourite festival story so what are you waiting for? (competition hosted by Mainline Menswear)

Now it's your turn. Tell me what YOU have learnt this week!


How Do You Choose A Notebook?

I'm always interested in the notebooks that other people use and, for a long time, I have been balancing out using analogue and digital note-taking methods to keep me on track during the day.  As mentioned during my Time Management Keynote session at BlogOn earlier this year, I use Google Calendar, synced to my phone, for on-the-go reminders. Everything else is analogue - or handwritten.

Recently, I've had a few questions directed to me about notebook choices (I've no idea why people are asking me *innocent face*) and it's really hard to advise someone because notebooks are most definitely not a one-size-fits-all type of purchase. In fact, Rachel (aka Rachel In Real Life) goes as far to say as there is no such thing as the perfect notebook. Full stop.  I have a feeling that Klair (aka RhomanysRealm on YouTube) would agree because she recently told me that there is no such thing as the 'right notebook' - only the one that works for you right now. 

notebook, tardis, iamtypecast, nickie,

I've always been an incessant list maker.  Both myself and fellow geek, Ruth (aka GeekMummy), agree that there's something satisfying about writing a task list and physically crossing off items as they are done. I do it for reminders in my personal journal and at work when scheduling call-backs. I have a specific system for each requirement and it works for me

It's been hard work finding a size of notebook which fits my needs but I think I'm there... probably. Let me try and explain my systems and see if they make as much sense to you as they do to me.


I use an A5 notebook or day-on-one-page diary. I write tasks to be done on the day they need completing and totally cross them out when they are actually completed. This way, I can flick through the book and see if I need to go back to anything or if I can complete a task in advance.

As I currently work in sales, I also have to record all completed bookings on the day the sale is made so that I can ensure that I am staying on (or above) target and this is noted in a separate diary.  At the moment, this works for me as the career move is fairly new however I could very easily combine the two diary/notebook systems and probably will in the future.


Firstly I have my BOAT (Book Of All Things). This is generally an A5 notebook and is my brain dump.  This year I have the most fantastic notebook which I 'hacked' so that I could use it for planning, note-taking, general jotting and doodling. It's actually working brilliantly for me because this notebook stays on my desk at home and I fill it with all sorts of musings.

Next I have my Travellers Notebook (aka a "Midori"). If you are following my stationery journey then you'll know that I'm no longer using a Filofax *shock horror* and that I've scaled everything down to a pocket notebook or three.

So what about the never-ending discussion about the right notebook for the task (or shall we call this the round-up of some of the questions I've been asked about notebooks)...

how do you choose a notebook, stationery, bullet journal, filofax, midori, After opening up a discussion on Facebook, the Moleskine (in various sizes and formats) was the most popular choice of notebook. They can seem expensive but when you off-set that cost against something that you are going to use for (probably) six months to a year then I suppose it evens out. 

Secondly (and surprisingly to me), a spiral-bound notebook (various sizes) was the next most-popular choice of notebook. This was mainly because the notebook will lie flat (always an important purchasing factor) and can bend right back on itself. One contribution to this suggestion was from a professional shorthand user and it was lovely to hear that shorthand is alive and kicking in this digital world (especially from someone whose shorthand is sadly neglected). 

Quite low down on the list was the 'moveable pages' style of notebook, i.e the Filofax (or other ring binder type planners) and the Adoc and Arc systems - both of which have pages and dividers which "clip" into place on a spiral-style spine. At first it puzzled me as to why this type of planner system was so unloved but then I realised I'd totally fallen out of love with it myself in recent times. 

Kirsty (aka "Just Me Kirsty") asked me when squares are better than lines. To this I'd answer "when using a bullet journal".  In fact, in order of preference, the type of page I like are dot grid, graph paper, lined, blank. The dot grid is a fairly new favourite for me but it bridges the gap of all types of paper because it feels like it could be all three of the others rolled into one as the dots are usually fairly faint (feint? *badum-tish*).  I can't ever remember purchasing a blank notebook through choice and the one moleskine I did obtain that held blank pages was given to my husband. 

My newly acquired friend, Tony, from PocketNotebooks asked me if the Word.Notebook works well for the Bullet Journal system and after clapping eyes on my first Word.Notebook last week I'd have to say that it probably does. The Bullet Journal system uses a simple set of icons to denote tasks to do, tasks that have been done and tasks that have been moved to another day.  You generally use a notebook of your own choice to construct your forever changing to-do list. The Word.Notebooks have taken this one step further with their own icon system (a dot inside a circle) and printed it actually in the notebook. Now, I have my own icons for bullet journalling however I'm willing to give this a go.  

I think it's fair to say that I have a bit of a notebook obsession - although probably not as bad as Kara (aka Innocent Charms Chat) who has a special box for all her unused notebooks. It was Jane (aka Fired4U) brought me back to the actual reason for using notebooks. Writing in them. She has her own preferences but suggests that the notebook itself should make you want to open it and write in it more - and she definitely needs enough space between the lines as she has fairly large handwriting! So I've made a promise to myself to use everything I buy or review. I went through a stage of not writing in 'pretty' notebooks so's not to spoil them however I tend to Just Get On With It now, especially as my new Travellers Notebook system requires the continuous use of notebooks.  

At this moment in time, the Travellers Notebook system is the best option for me, My ideal planning system is a 14-month diary which runs from December to January but who's to say that any planning system has to run for any specific length of time?  Lizzie (aka @Eliza_Do_Lots) has recently bought a 16-month diary which she plans to love and cherish until the very last page.  A stand-alone Bullet Journal doesn't help me with forward planning, and that probably does have to be done in the traditional 'yearly' setting (although I used to use an academic diary when working in an educational environment).  My current system of three notebooks - a bullet journal, a diary, a book of lists - is the perfect combination for me.

Now... as mentioned, I bought a Travellers Notebook cover and played around with the set-up of it (you can see that in this video) and I'm loving using it however I have fallen in love with the Pocket size of notebooks and these are slightly too big for this cover.  So, you know what happens next don't you? Yes, I created a wishlist of Field Notes and Word.Notebooks to try out, managed to get my hands on two sets of them, ordered a new, custom-made cover and I'm now trying to fill my current notebooks so that I can move onto the next and the next and the next...

So, tell me.  How do YOU choose a notebook?


What I Learnt From Using A Pocket Sized Midori Travellers Notebook

I have fallen out of love with my Filofax again. I know, I know, but there is not one road down the planner highway. Whilst a Filofax suits me very well with it's loose-leaf pages and total personalisation and adaptability, I still miss using a notebook. Even though I incorporated my Bullet Journalling into my Filofax I was still lugging a very heavy planner around with me for many reasons.

I recently bought two *Hobonichi-style notebook style covers (aka a 'fauxbonichi' - both from Etsy, one hand-made in the UK and one from Japan) but the planning system didn't work like I had it in my head (no surprise there then...).  Then, after watching a few quite a lot of YouTube videos, I realised that I was after a *Midori traveller's notebook style set up.

*For those that have never heard about Hobonichi and/or Midori planning systems, please see the notes at the end

Now, for me, trying out new planning systems is all about dipping a toe in the water and not wanting to invest too much money. Again, wandering through Etsy (oh, how I lose hours on there sometimes) I found another 'faux' version for a very reasonable price so I could try out the Midori lifestyle.  I already had some Field Notes notebooks that I was very much wanting to use and I had purchased a Moleskine 2015 diary.  All of the inserts I had to use were A6 size.

I watched more and more a couple more set-up videos and learnt how to use elastic loops to secure a few notebooks within the leather cover and was fascinated at how easy it was to incorporate any type of insert I wanted. I didn't need rings or pockets any more - I could order plastic and cardboard holders that would be held in by the elastic loops. Furthermore, dinky little paperclips and magnetic bookmarks would be my page markers.  I've filmed a little bit of a 'tour' around my new set-up if you like to watch that sort of thing: 

But I promised this would be about what I had learnt from switching to a pocket sized planning system.  So here goes...

  • "Pocket sized" is not the same as A6.  The pocket size notebook is ever so slightly smaller than A6 so the notebooks and diary I'm using at the moment are a smidgen too big for the leather cover.  This isn't a bad thing because it's helped me to get used to finding my way around the order of notebooks (is that the next Harry Potter movie?) and inserts that I need(ed).
  • I've never been able to get to grips with a Filofax smaller than a Personal size, I think mainly because the rings always got in the way of writing on the left hand side of the page.  In a small(er) notebook there isn't that issue and the way in which the notebooks are connected within the Midori means that it almost always lies flat.
  • I don't need as many 'sections' (or notebooks) as I did in my Filofax. I used to have up to 19 tabs in my Filofax (6 regular sections and 13 bullet journal sections) and now I just have two pocket inserts, two notebooks and a diary.
  • It's far too easy to get carried away with needing inserts so knowing that I have to limit myself means that I'm using the notebooks much more effectively.  I'm also probably going to use them right to the last page too - almost unheard of for me.
  • The smaller size fits in my hands and in my bag better. I'm a very tactile person when it comes to my planners (one reason I fell in love with my Kensington Filofax - it was very soft and flexible leather) so to have a bendy piece of leather to wrap around some notebooks that I really wanted to use feels very natural and touchy-feely.
  • This is just the start of my relationship with the Midori. Because you can use inserts that are not necessarily branded or recommended, it becomes a much more affordable and adaptable system.

So where do I go from here?  Well... I am going to invest in some pocket sized notebooks - the Paperways City notebooks from Bureau Direct (first seen here) are the perfect size. There is also a non-dated diary/planner from the same brand that I've got my eye on but at almost £20 it's on the expensive side and having everything in one notebook sort of negates the need for the Midori way of life. Oh, and for all those BOAT (Book Of All Things) lovers out there... DON'T PANIC! The BOAT is still very much in use as a brain dump.  It's great for working through ideas that I jot down in my daily lists, for doodling and for blog/vlog planning.


For those who are not sure what a Hobonichi and a Midori are then please let me explain.  

The Hobonichi (or 'fauxbonichi' for a copy of this planning system) style planning system has only recently become available outside of Japan and they are generally used as a day-to-day diary and journal incorporated into one. Many people draw in them or use them as scrapbooks and their layout is a day on a page with additional sections for monthly planning and yearly planning.  They come with gorgeous covers which have secretarial pockets and business card holders.

The Midori (or 'fauxdori' or 'scottdori' in this case) style planning system is a piece of flexible leather with elastic threaded through it and around it to hold various notebooks together, The leather becomes scratched, used and matures as you handle and use the system and becomes part of the memories in the notebook.


I'm all about supporting products I love so:

Etsy Seller for the Scotdori - Filofabulous (based in the UK)
Etys Seller for the Midori starter kit - PaperGeekMY (based in Malaysia)
Field Notes / Paperways notebooks - Bureau Direct (based in the UK)


Ten Reasons Why I Hate Wearing Glasses

Not so long ago I reviewed my new glasses. They are lush - my first ever pair with light-reactive lenses which makes me more inclined to wear them as I've always struggled when wearing glasses whilst driving when it's sunny. But this review made me think a lot about something I've been meaning to talk about for a while.

Why am I so hung up about wearing glasses?

Nickie wearing glasses, short hair, I grew up in a time of NHS plastic gender-led pink/blue glasses and dreaded the annual eyesight test as I knew I was borderline for being issued with the coloured monstrosities. I managed to get away with not having to wear glasses until I was about twelve or thirteen - I certainly don't remember having to choose a pair whilst in primary school - and the selection was poor.  I probably didn't wear the glasses as much as I should have done because... well... vanity. Plain and simple.

Glasses hold a lot of power in modern (media-led?) society.  Glasses wearers are always portrayed in a specific way in television programmes or films. In comedy, more often than not, the underdog or the geek always wears glasses (and weirdly I chose a silhouette of glasses for my other blog, Geekalicious), girls automatically become sexy when they whip off their glasses and swish their hair about and even Superman hid behind Clark Kent's glasses as a disguise.

One character in 'modern history' who has made glasses part of her style was Deirdre Barlow (played by Anne Kirkbride up until her death earlier this year from cancer). There have been many a style, each fitting in with the current era; you can definitely pinpoint the decade of an episode of Coronation Street just by looking at Deirdre's glasses.  At Anne's memorial service, Bill Roache (Ken Barlow) mentioned that they were currently filming the funeral of Deirdre:
"... I had a scene as Ken where I'm given Deirdre's glasses but of course, Annie wore them for 30 years so you certainly don't need any motivation for the acting."

Obviously, maturity defines the way in which we think about our day-to-day life (and I can't do the hair swish thing anyway as I've always had short hair) so if I don't wear my glasses now I literally can't see enough to drive, read a computer screen or even watch the television. I don't have the worst eyesight in the world but my outlook does need sharpening up.  

I love wearing my contact lenses but find my eyes dry out quicker these day so have to be selective when I wear them. I've also considered laser eye treatment but (a) have heard ALL the horror stories and (b) have you SEEN the cost?! However, I am making a conservative effort to wear my glasses more, especially around my grandchildren because of a very important development.

They both now wear glasses. They both detest wearing them - just like I did. When we go out for walks I call us The Glasses Girls and make sure we have positive conversations about how we can see so much more and find interesting things to look at now we are wearing our super-power glasses. And the need to do this hit home when we were out feeding the ducks on the canal one Sunday evening. The conversation with Megan (age 5) went like this:
Megan (totally out of the blue): I hate wearing my glasses!
Me: Why? They look great!
Megan: I can see perfectly well here [she holds her hands reading distance away from her face] but I can't see all this [she flings her arms open dramatically]
Me: But...
Megan: I just want my old face back.
It's hard finding an answer to that.

With my face furniture, I think hair and make-up are important (to me) and I always find that my glasses 'fit' on the front of my head better if I've recently had my hair cut.  Also, I believe one of the reasons that I always wear strong eye make-up is because I have always feared that I would lose my eyes (my favourite part of my body) behind the glasses. There is a current trend to create a neutral and lined eye and have a bold lipstick. I'm still not convinced this would suit me. 

There's also the fact that I'm sure my face (or is it my ears) are lopsided because whenever I look at myself in the mirror, my frames are slanted down towards the left.  In fact, I saw Tom Fletcher (he of McBusted) mention the same thing in one of his vlogs recently.

So here are my ten reasons why I hate glasses.

  1. I have a constant red mark on either side of the bridge of my nose. And occasional matching ones just above my ears.
  2. I can't lie on the settee to watch television.
  3. I squint at the mirror when I put my make-up on.
  4. I squint at the mirror when I brush my hair.
  5. I squint at the mirror when I straighten my hair. 
  6. I have to turn my head to see something at the side of me. It's the equivalent to tunnel vision. 
  7. I have to have a really good fitting pair for running (or any sport) as they bounce or slide up and down my nose.
  8. I can't rub my eyes or my face without having to take them off. 
  9. I suffer from vlogger-inception when filming YouTube videos due to reflections in the screen.
  10. I can't drink a hot brew, open an oven door or walk in the rain with out having to stop, remove glasses, scrub at the lenses with a loose corner of clothing, slide them back on, adjust and carry on (any Friend's fans remember the one with Chandler in the sauna with Monica's father?).
  11. (Bonus) I have to stumble to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

I do have one top tip though and this is something that I only found out recently. Always chose a glasses frame that follows the line of your eyebrow. Since using these words of wisdom, it's been much easier to choose frames to suit my face.

What are your experiences with glasses? Do you have any woes or top tips to add?

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