Dealing with depression at Christmas

What a jolly title? There are so many festive posts at the moment and I'm feeling so far removed from  Christmas, which is a time I normally love, and I realised I can't be the only one...... so for what it's worth, if it helps here's how I'm crackalacking with my festive dose of depression this December.

To start with, if you know me or have read my blog previously, I've been blighted with depression for a long time (I had my first serious bout of illness with it about 5 years ago, previous post here).

I've been on antidepressants for the 5 years since then, but I recently split up with my husband and with that being a seemingly quite traumatic event (even though actually it seems to be the most amicable split in history) it triggered my anxiety and depression without me realising it and I began to become symptomatic and get quite poorly. 

So, firstly, go to the Doctors! Even if you're already diagnosed as having mental health problems and think "you're fine", it's best to go. If you don't have a previous diagnosis but you are constantly feeling down, like you have no energy, don't enjoy things as much as you normally do, or just don't feel yourself and you don't know why - make an appointment. I carried on for a while without going, but then it got too much and I ended up sobbing at my Doctor.

It's ok not to be ok. Depression is a cruel bastard. But it's an illness. It's not one anyone would choose to have, and you need to take time to get better. I didn't tell anyone for a little while that I wasn't feeling ok, mainly as I didn't recognise it myself. You absolutely do not have to tell people how you're feeling if you don't want to, but it does help to talk. Hugely. I only talk specifically about it to certain people (and apparently on my blog, hiiiii), but I'm not ashamed of it. 

I'm not looking forward to Christmas, but at the end of the day, it's one day. Don't isolate yourself from others. You don't have to take part in all the merriment and frolics if that's painful for you, but being alone is worse. I'm not putting a tree up this year, or doing presents with anyone (mainly as I'm broke and I don't have the energy to decorate my house), but I'm not going to wallow in the fact it's December. I may have the odd rant about something (recently Christmas cards), but I'll still see some of my family on the day, and my friend has invited me to hers in the evening so I'm not sitting at home nursing a Baileys with my cats. 

Probably don't get massively pissed at every Christmas party going - alcohol really won't help and might become a dangerous coping mechanism. 100% go out and have a dance if you've got the mojo. 

Supporting those with depression

It's difficult to know what to do for the best sometimes. It's hard to understand it unless you've been through it. This Buzzfeed article with "Cards your friends with depression will appreciate" is excellent, as really, just knowing someone is there for you is mostly enough.

During a really shitty week recently my friend Kate came round and made me dinner and we just sat and watched TV. Aimee forceable came round to mine despite me saying no, but it made me feel so much better. My friend Andrea, who I actually don't know knew I was feeling shit at the time, held my hand in her car when I was quiet and my Mum has helped with housework as I've just felt pants. My poor friends Laura and James have had me practically move in and sob on them more times than they need to remember. Things like that just make you feel supported and less like you're a total fucking failure of a human (which you're not, you're ill). 

If you know someone who's going through it and don't know what to say, just be there. The worst things to say are "It could be worse/but you have so much going for you/what have you got to be upset about" as none of these are relevant. You wouldn't ask someone why they had a cold, or that it could be worse if they had bronchitis (yes it could always be worse, but the point is, when you feel lower than a snake's belly and mostly about yourself, being made to feel bad about that only makes you feel lower). 

So if you feel depressed this Christmas, you're not alone! Holla to you. It's not all carols and mince pies. Sometimes you just want to stay in bed. You can feel better though. Since I saw my Dr last week I had my medication increased and just by the fact that she listened and acknowledged I'm not well I feel a little better. Talking therapies are great too. I had CBT 5 years ago and it was amazing. Chat to others who have been through depression and got through it - it's not as bleak as it may seem, and knowing there is light at the end of the tunnel can be reassuring. If you're alone and need to talk, drop me a line, or contact the Samaritans if you're really struggling.

If your loved one is depressed this Christmas - just give them a cuddle, maybe cook the dinner, if you don't know what to say visit Mind for some advise.  

If you're worried you or someone you know is affected by depressed, you can read more about the signs and symptoms here or on the NHS website

Happy Halloween

I was challenged by Ocean Finance to turn my home into a #screamhome for Halloween. We often spend a lot of money trying to create our dream homes, so they wanted to set this challenge to some bloggers to see how scary they could make their homes. Now, I'm not really one for decorating my house for Halloween, save for a pumpkin tea light holder (which is awesome), but I do love makeup, and in particular weird and scary makeup. So I thought I'd take a turn once again at turning my face into something scary to scare any trick or treaters who dare knock my door tonight, therefore making my home quite frightening (well that's the plan, I will have sweets). 

I've done quite a few gory looks in the past, so I wanted to do something a bit simpler this time, that focused more on the makeup, rather than gore, and could be transformed for a normal daytime look with a few simple steps. So after a bit of thought, I decided on a fallen angel, as these tend to be quite gothic looking, and had the idea of adding perhaps a bloody tear to make it a little creepier (though I ended up adding a bit more blood, as I couldn't resist). 

To start, I just did a normal face of makeup, but I went for a dark grey smokey eye and a bold lip (Charlotte Tilbury's Glastonberry). That way, you could wear this all day long, then transform it later on for a party.

Photo of L'oreal Infallible foundation, clarins instant concealer, charlotte tilbury filmstar bronze & glow, soap and glory peach party, charlotte tilbury glastonberry, Nars Deep throat, Kat Von D Tattoo liner, Lights Camera flashes Tarte

Photo of blogger Vanessa Wilson The Other VW wearing Photo of L'oreal Infallible foundation, clarins instant concealer, charlotte tilbury filmstar bronze & glow, soap and glory peach party, charlotte tilbury glastonberry, Nars Deep throat, Kat Von D Tattoo liner, Lights Camera flashes Tarte

To turn it into a bit more of a gothic look, I added some Barry M "23" fine glitter dust into the crease and under the lower lash line. I also added some red shadow from NYX box of eye shadow under the lower lash line and smudged this in. To highlight the inner corner of my eyes, brow bone and cheekbones I used an old Bourjois pigment (I know Sugar Pill do a similar one). I also added some silver glitter onto my lids.

I wanted to make it look like I'd got some broken veins around my eye and mouth and then on my forehead. To do this I used a very fine brush (one from a nail art kit) wet with a grey and blue shadow from the NYX box and drew on fine lines. I stippled some blood around my mouth and hair line and added a bloody tear.

Photo of Blogger Vanessa Wilson the other vw as fallen angel gothic makeup, broken veins

Photo of Blogger Vanessa Wilson the other vw as fallen angel gothic makeup, broken veins

Photo of Blogger Vanessa Wilson the other vw as fallen angel gothic makeup, broken veins

Photo of Blogger Vanessa Wilson the other vw as fallen angel gothic makeup, broken veins

Photo of Blogger Vanessa Wilson the other vw as fallen angel gothic makeup, broken veins

Previous halloween / fx makeup posts:

This is a sponsored post. 

Veet EasyWax Electrical Roll-On Kit

I tend to shave my legs, but I much prefer the finish of waxing. The results last a lot longer and the finish tends to be a lot smoother. But it's an expensive business maintaining regular waxing appointments, so I was happy to try out Veet's EasyWax Electrical Roll-On Kit*

Photo of Veet's EasyWax Electrical Roll-On Kit

The kit comes with a self heating device with a cradle to allow it to stand up (so you don't get wax everywhere between use) and a 50ml roll-on wax refill which can be used on legs and arms. You also get 12 non-woven strips for removing the wax and 4 Veet Perfect Finish wipes to remove any wax residue after waxing. 

You simply pop the wax refill into the self heating device, and plug it in for 20 minutes to allow the wax to warm up. 

Photo of Veet's EasyWax Electrical Roll-On Kit

Photo of Veet's EasyWax Electrical Roll-On Kit

The refill has a roller which allows the wax to dispense exactly where you want it to. You can also get refills with smaller dispenses for bikini waxing. 

It's extremely straight forward to use, and the application is neat with no mess or wax getting anywhere except where you want it. Obviously removing the strips is a little painful, but that goes without saying where waxing is concerned. 

I found when removing the strips, the majority of hair was removed, but not entirely. I had to go back in for a second wax in places to ensure all hair was removed. It terms of pain, that's not ideal, but compared to a salon wax, I don't think the wax gets quite as hot and doesn't seem to be as sticky so perhaps doesn't adhere as well in the first instance (even though you should press down on the strip firmly several times before pulling it off).

The wax itself is made with a resin derived from pine tree and shea butter of natural origin which is known for it's soothing properties and claims to leave the skin feeling moisturised and touchably soft. My legs did feel soft afterwards once I had wiped away any residue with the Perfect Finish wipes, which remove wax perfectly. 

Photo of Veet's EasyWax Electrical Roll-On Kit

The product claims to deliver long-lasting smoothness for up to 28 days. I think that's a little generous a claim, I am also possibly part yeti, so even a salon wax would struggle to deliver results like that for me. 

Overall, this is a really easy product to use at home. It's quick to use, not at all messy, delivers and is reasonably priced, it's £29.99 from Boots for the kit, a refill is £10.50 and it's £3.67 for 24 wax strips. I'm not sure how long the refill will last, but it's still going after doing both legs, so £10.50 is less than one leg wax in a salon, and you only need pay the initial cost of the full kit once. Ensure to use each strip more than once, so you get the most for your money (I know it sounds gross, but it'll still pick up the wax). 

*Product sent for review purposes.

Carbon Laser Toning at Enliven Skincare

I was recently invited to Enliven Skincare by it's owner Sarah to try a Carbon Laser Toning Treatment*. Now, I won't lie, I was a little hesitant as anything with the word "laser" in, sounds a little terrifying. So I had a chat with Sarah about the treatment and visited her website as well as doing some further reading about what the treatment entailed.

What is Carbon Laser Toning?  

Carbon paste is applied to the skin and allowed time to penetrate into the skin. Carbon paste (or powder) is highly absorbent so this allows dirt to be drawn out deep within skin's pores. 

The carbon paste is then removed with the laser which breaks the carbon down as well as any dirt and oil within the epidermis. The procedure stimulates skin cell and collagen fibre renewal by means of the skin's natural repair function. The result claims to be a reduction in fine lines, wrinkles and spots. It can also help to reduce pore size, improve radiance, skin tone and texture. 

Here I am with the carbon paste applied before the laser removal (sexy look).

Photo of blogger "theothervw" with carbon paste for carbon laser toning for enliven skincare

What does the laser feel like? 

You wear dark googles to shield your eyes from the laser during removal of the carbon. The laser itself makes a clicking noise whilst working. You can feel it on your skin, but it's by no means painful. It mostly feels warm and slightly ticklish in certain areas, I particularly found this around my nose and chin. I was concerned my face would be red after the treatment, but I was assured it wouldn't be, and it wasn't. There is no "downtime" after treatment, you are simple advised not to wear makeup for the rest of the day. 

Sarah told me some people say the laser feels more like slight pins and needles, so it may be a little more intense for some, but it's very mild.

Photo of Carbon Laser Toning from Enliven Skincare

What are the results?

Immediately after the session, my skin felt incredibly soft, particularly around my nose (which is often quite bumpy). It was almost glass like to the touch, with the exception of any preexisting blemishes. You can have the treatment fortnightly, and I think to see any dramatic improvements of fine lines, regular sessions would be required, though this isn't something I could particularly comment on as it's not something I suffer with as yet.

Sessions cost £50 per treatment with £15 per area to add additional areas such as neck and chest. A six month course would be recommended to target fine lines and wrinkles, at £325 for 7 treatments or £625 for 13.

Visit Sarah at Enliven Skin Care here.

*Sarah kindly provided my treatment FOC for purposes of review.

Benefit They're Real Push Up Liner

I wanted to do a post on the Benefit They're Real Push Up Liner I know it's been written about loads, both positively and negatively, so for what it's worth here are my thoughts.

Photo of Benefit They're Real Push Up Liner

I just, DON'T get it?

I have only tried a mini sample, though am sure the difference between this and the full size cannot be of note. But no matter what I tried I could not get on with it. Now, I don't mean to sound full of it, but a winged liner is something I somehow managed to master as a teen (THANK YOU GOD) and I have never really struggled to do them, of course unless I'm in a rush or going somewhere super important and then I revert to the skills of a toddler trying to colour within the lines and get it everywhere..... 

I believe this liner is meant to be the bees knees and make cat flicks simple as, but I couldn't have found it further from that.

Photo of Benefit They're Real Push Up Liner

The nib looks great, a good angle to achieve a nice line and decent flick. I thought Benefit were onto a winner. It was when the product came into play that it went so very wrong. It's a twist up thick cream/gel hybrid. When the product first dispensed, loads came out, so I had to wipe the excess off. Thinking this was because it was new, I tried again, but the same thing happened so I thought I better just give it a whirl. URGH. It's not impossible, but you have to drag the thick gel across your eye, and the rubber nib actually pulls at the lids, which I didn't like at all (hello sagging skin). The product also dries relatively quickly, so you have to get a move on and get it in place or you're stuck with a mess. I didn't find the rubber brush and thick blob of product that came out allowed you enough control - as you can see on the swatches below, one line is super thick and the other is much thinner. So what if that was one eye compared with the other, you'd constantly be going back and forth to even them up. Perhaps the the concept would work better with a liquid, but then it's kind of reinventing the wheel.

I did try this on my eyes, but I didn't take any photos as I hated how it felt so much (the dragging/tugging) that I don't think I even finished a full eye, certainly not both, so I don't have any photos to show.

Photo of Benefit They're Real Push Up Liner swatch

The thick mess. You can eventually get a flat line as you can see, but it's just such effort, and frankly, I have better things to do.

Photo of Benefit They're Real Push Up Liner swatch

So sadly this was an utter miss for me and went straight in the bin. 

Available from Benefit at £18.50, now in a range of shades, if I were you, I'd save your pennies.... but then I do know some people who love it.


Zelens Z Matrix Energy & Moisture Infusion

Space NK NDuldge Deluxe membership is a godsend and a curse..... on my birthday last year they sent me the Zelens Z Matrix Energy & Moisture Infusion as my gift. I was beyond thrilled, and then utterly gobsmacked when I realised it's £85. Never in my life have I spent anywhere close to this much money on a moisturiser, and having now finished this pot of heaven in a jar, I am left bereft as I just don't think I could ever bring myself to spend such cash on such an item. So curses to this amazing gift.

Photo of Zelens Z Matrix Energy & Moisture Infusion

Dr Marko Lens is the brains and creator of Zelens who is a renowned plastic and reconstructive surgeon, so it is fair to say he knows skin. He holds several patents in anti-aging skin care and continues to conduct clinical research into anti-aging, skin cancer and carcinogens, so what he doesn't know about skin probably isn't worth knowing. The brand is therefore at the cutting edge of skincare technology (hence the hefty £ tags) and promises to deliver results.

Z Matrix Energy & Moisture is described as a "supreme hydro-energised infusion for fatigued skin developed using the latest scientific research into the genetics of skin ageing."

Sounds good to me, my skin can often look a little lacklustre and tired and this isn't claiming to dramatically reverse signs of ageing, which at 28 I don't need, but if it can keep them at arms length, I'm all for. 

Photo of Zelens Z Matrix Energy & Moisture Infusion

What I adored about the product is the texture. It's a gel formula and feels extremely light and slightly cooling (pleasantly so) on the skin which absorbs quickly. I don't use makeup primers and found this provided a nice base for makeup application (obviously not it's purpose, but always a plus). 

My skin felt instantly nourished and hydrated when using this. Skin was soft, smooth and on days where I wore no makeup it looked slightly more radiant (is that obnoxious to say about your own face??) than without. Basically it just brightened everything up and felt really lovely. 

You get 50ml of product, and I found a really small amount went a long way due to the gel formula allowing it to spread well across the face (plus I don't like to slather too much moisturiser on anyway). This lasted me a good 4-5 months I think, which is pretty impressive. It has a very light refreshing, almost sweet scent to it, but doesn't linger on the skin. 

Active ingredients: Pentapeptide, soy peptides, multi-mineral complex, hyaluronic acid, probiotic complex, rosmarinic acid, Zelens moisturising botanical blend, Omega-6 acids, sodium PCA and marine collagen. See more details here.

All things considered though, much as I loved it, it's £85.... I appreciate the research that has gone into Zelens products and the ingredients are top shelf but it's just not something that's in my budget (sob), and ultimately it does just refresh your skin and give it a brighter appearance. Ok, that's great, but it's achievable with other products, but it's not freezing wrinkles or stopping them dead in their tracks.

Overall what I liked the most was the consistency, application and feel of this product. I hadn't used a gel formula moisturiser before and I certainly think I will look into trying others out in the future. Though it has got me curious about some of the other products in the Zelens range *saves Space NK Nduldge points desperately.....*

Available from Space NK


Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder - "Ethereal Light"

Who hasn't heard of these power house products from Hourglass? This was the first, and remains the only product I've tried from Hourglass (save for another of the Ambient Lighting Powders). 

Available in six shades, these soft focus powders aim to emulate a different source of light on the face be it Dim, Ethereal, Diffused, Luminous, Mood or Radiant.

Photo of Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder  in the shade "Ethereal Light"

The powder is very fine, I do find it kicks up quite a bit in the pan when you swirl your brush in it, so I try not to be too heavy handed. 

Ethereal light is very pale and cream toned, but practically undetectable on the skin. It adds a certain luminosity to the skin and indeed an ethereal sort of glow. I have it in my kit and use it a lot on brides, if you ever want to look ethereal, it's on your wedding day right? I wouldn't say it's good shade on darker skin tones as whilst it does blend with skin well, it is pale and over foundation will be too pale and could look a little chalky so I think one of the darker colours would work better.

Photo of Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in shade "Ethereal Light" swatch

The powder is very finely milled and contains colour correcting particles. It somehow does add a bit of blur to the skin, hiding any minor imperfections, though it's certainly no substitute for a good base (foundation/concealer).

Below I haven't quite blended it out fully so you can still see a hint of it on the skin to see where the product is in comparison to my natural skin. 

Photo of Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in the shade "Ethereal Light" swatch

Ingredients wise, this contains Mica a mineral which allows it to blend beautiful, Boron Nitride - another good mineral product. It's free from talc, which is good to know it's not been bulked out using this as a filler, especially given it's £38 price tag. 

I use this to both set my makeup in place and as a finishing powder, I don't see why you would need two products, and this does both jobs perfectly. I really rate it. With the exception of Diffused Light, all the other shades are much darker, so I would assume you would use these more sparingly, and just where you want the appearance of being basked in their light (so Mood Light on the cheeks, Radiant Light cheekbones etc), but unless I had a play around with them I'm not certain. Let me know if you have them how you get on with them and how you like to use them? 

Available from Space NK.


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Vanessa, 28, Birmingham.
Make-up artist and beauty junkie.

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I disclose any items sent to me for the purposes of review (PR samples or gifts from events). I will do so either by marking the product name with a single * or by stating this within or at the end of the blog post.

All opinions on my blog are my own, and are 100% honest.

I am PR friendly and am extremely grateful to be given the opportunity to review products which are relevant to my blog.

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