Thursday, 18 November 2010

Whats all this Big Issue about then?

I first heard of the Big Issue when I was about 15. It kind of helped shape my outlook on the world and the way I perceived society in general. It was set up in 1991 and aimed to help people living on the streets have a means to get back on track. I think it is a wonderful programme. This is what the website says about itself:

The organisation is made up of two parts; a limited company which produces and distributes a magazineto a network of street vendors, and a registered charity which exists to help those vendors gain control of their lives by addressing the issues which have contributed to their homelessness.

It is a legitimate way of earning an income. They buy each copy for 85p. For each issue they sell (£1.70), they make an 85p profit. So to earn £50 a day, they need to sell over 40 copies per day. Rain, shine, whenever. What they don't sell, they don't get to get the money back for it. Every Big Issue vendor I have come across has always been smiley, unhassling, funny and dignified. This job is usually the only one they have.
I have a lot of admiration for Big Issue sellers. Its a bloody hard job, especially in a place like London where people can be walking past hundreds of others each day but won't even look up to smile at anyone.  Its easy to say 'oh in Britain, there is no reason to be homeless' or 'they must all be drunks or druggies'. I've never saw it like that when it came to homelessness. Even if someone is a drug addict or alcoholic, who chooses to be one? If anything, they need help in getting rid of those demons. As with anything, I think life can just get in the way sometimes and people just end up where they never thought they would be. Next time you see a vendor, chat to him or her. They aren't invisible. They all have unique stories to tell. The Big Issue magazine itself is great. Reviews, interviews of pop culture, as well as really good articles on social awareness. Pick one up next time, you know your money will be going to helping someone. Check out their website, its really informative.

The Big Issue is a brilliant concept and I wish there was something similar like this everywhere in the world. Maybe there is, I would be interested to know. But the work it does can only sustain with our help. Giving £2 to a vendor for a magazine instead of picking up a latte on the way to work or school is just a tiny sacrifice in the grand scheme of things.

There is so much more I want to say about little ways of giving charity but I'll save it for another post or this will turn into an essay. I hope I haven't come across too 'preachy' - hate those type of people!

p.s my Big Issue guy stands just outside Pret a Manger on High Holborn, near the station :)

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Saturday, 13 November 2010

Some face washes

I took advantage of the Boots 2 for 3 offer and picked up these three face cleansers. Two I like, one my skin hates.

Like number 1: Neutrogena Visibly clear 2-in-1 (£3.99)
This is a bit of a clever concept. A daily face wash, but also acts as a mask when you want an bit of an extra cleansing for the skin. I like the fact that it only takes 5 minutes to work as a face mask. The texture is like a thin clay mask which helps absorb the excess oils in the mornings and get rid of the dirt. I can see this working really well for those with oily skin. It does leave my dry skin a bit tight when and I have to go in with a moisturising rose water toner straight after. But I don't get a bad reaction from it which is good. At the moment, I'm using it on my t-zones in the morning every few days. But I can see myself using this every day in the summer.
 Like number 2: No 7 Total Renewal Microdermabrasion Exfoliatator (£10.75)
I had tried this as a sample before and I thought it did a decent job.
The grains a very fine and needs to be used very gently or can be a bit too abrasive on the skin. It claims to do great things:
- take away dead skin cells
- smooth and renew skin surface
- produce radiance on first use
- helps reduce appearance of dark areas, sun damaged or blemish prone skin
- evens oil skin tone
I haven't noticed that it does most of these things for me. I use it about twice a week, usually when I have come back all sweaty from the gym so that I make sure that all the dirt has gone. It is very thorough to the skin. On a side note, I joined the gym three weeks ago, and I have only been three times. I'm rubbish

DISLIKE: Johnson's face care nourishing cream (£2.99)

You'd think Johnson's understand sensitive skin right? All the writing and look from the packaging seems like this is going to be perfect for my dry skin. But alas, my face hates it. The product does look nourishing, and very sparse, small beads which I thought I'd like as I was looking for a gentle wash for the mornings. Something that doesn't scrub or exfoliate, just something that washes the night cream off. When I first used it, my skin felt so tight and stripped of any moisture. I tried it again and my skin felt so uncomfortable until I used my rose water and glycerin toner. But then, the skin around my cheeks started developing those annoying bumps. Maybe its not this wash, but I'm not risking it just to use up a £3 product so I'm going to give this away. This product is just not for me.

So my search for a gentle, basic face wash continues... sigh
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Saturday, 6 November 2010

One hour shopping damage

I had been trying so very hard not to buy any clothes at the moment as the sensible thing would be to wait for the sales. Also, with the whole redundancy thing looming, and my plans to do South America next year, money is pretty tight at the moment. But I relapsed earlier this week. We had a train strike a few days ago and I thought I'd wonder around oxford circus for a bit until the crowd dies down. My mistake. I was only out for an hour, and this is what made a dent in my bank balance.

First up, H&M. I picked up a few things from there.
I have been eyeing this dress up for ages, and it was a pretty good price for under £25. The reason why I was umming and ahhing about it for ages was because I don't really go out places where I can get really glammed up anymore. So I thought it would be another dress in my wardrobe which I love, but never wear. But now, its on sale for a FIVER!!! How could I not pick it up! Its a very snug fit for a size 10, but I love it so much that I am prepared to journey down to the gym to lose a few pounds for it. Its pretty short so some thick tights, accessorised with ankle boots, chunky dirty gold jewellery and a short black jacket (leather maybe) - and I've got my new year's outfit!

This casual t-shirt actually cost me more than my dress by a few pounds. I got this in a size six as I wanted it to be snug fitting with a pair of black skinny jeans. 
As I have to wear smart at work, I love being more casual outside of it as I used to be all the time. It makes me feel that I'm not completely not sucked into the corporate world :) Army clothing/colours were something I wore a lot as a teenager and the fact that this is khaki coupled with animal print, it makes me one happy, nostalgic person.
A couple of basic stuff for work, a top and a cardigan (sold separately)

I then wondered over to Zara and bought myself a brown casual top which I will layer over with a white vest top. I just really like the frayed detailing of it. 
Over at Bershka, they have the most amazing printed t-shirts and leopard print tops which I'm going to buy with my next pay packet. I settled for one top in the end.

The detailing at the bottom is a knot at the middle and sits at just the right place on top of my skinnys. This is one of those tops you kinda get once you wear it. I'll try to remember to take a picture next time I'm wearing it. I think this cost me £16.99.

Lastly onto Uniqlo for a pair of black skinny jeans. Bargain at £15! They are so comfortable and easy to move around in. I would recommend going a size smaller though as the assistant told me that they do kind of stretch after a little while.
My total shopping budget ended up to be just over £80. So actually, I did pretty good considering I have seven pieces to show for it!
P.s I am ubber excited about the Lanvin range for H&M. I love their designs and they do one of my most favourite perfume EVER.
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Friday, 5 November 2010


It's been ages since I wrote a blog post. Life has been ridiculously hectic. Will try and do some writing this weekend.

Lots of new things bought to be talked about