The Beauty Products I Wish I'd Brought Travelling

19 February 2019

 Considering how thorough, how methodical and how diligent my packing process was when it came to deciding which beauty products I'd be relying on for a trip lasting the best part of a year, it's kind of crazy how many changes I'd make if I could go back in time. I guess I never could've known what I'd miss or what I'd need until I actually experienced backpacking... and in the words of Michael Scott, I should've had hindsight.

Just for the fun of it, and in the hope that this will aid any other fellow beauty and makeup lover who are embarking on a long ass trip of their own, here are the products that are currently sat at home in the UK, unused and unappreciated, whilst I'm sat in Asia missing them deeply. Mama loves you, kids.

BECCA x Chrissy Teigen Glow Face Palette
This actually made my final cut but I took it out at the last minute - so close, yet so far - as it was so big that it wouldn't fit in my makeup bag. I'm mainly missing it for the colours: it has a bronze with the perfect non-orange tone, a pinky-coral blush, a peachy highlighter and my pick of the bunch, the BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter in 'Rose Gold' which is my favourite thing makeup-wise when I'm in a hot country. I'm also missing it for the huge mirror, as doing your mascara in a teeny Benefit Hoola mirror gets old fast! I sooo wish I'd just stuck it in my bigger toiletries bag.

Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look In A Palette
Perhaps even more useful than the BECCA x Chrissy Teigen palette would've been this neat wee number from The Tilbs, as it has the same big sturdy mirror that stands up by itself and pretty much everything you need to create a day or night look. All you'd need aside from it - if you're a makeup lover like me, of course - I'm sure most people don't think about it that deeply! - would be concealer, mascara and lippy. So compact and convenient, and worth the price tag also as you're guaranteed to use every product down to the pan.

Maybelline Color Tattoo 24-Hour Gel-Cream Eyeshadow
Specifically in the shade 'On & On Bronze' - 'Bad To The Bronze' in the States - which has been one of my go-to eyeshadows for years as it's such a failsafe product! Simply swipe onto your lid with your index finger then get to work with a window-wiper motion using something like the Real Techniques Oval Shadow Brush and hey presto, the perfect bronze eye that lives up to its 24-hour claims! Instead I brought MAC Tempting, and find that the lasting power just isn't there nor is it as easy to apply.

Braun Silk-Epil Epilator
A tool rather than a product but something I'm missing all the same is my epilator, as trying to stay on top of hair removal whilst travelling has been a shock to the system and I'm tempted to take inspiration from the hippies I'm surrounded by and just let it grow! I didn't bring my epilator as it felt like a lot of faff what with the charging cord and extra weight, but constantly buying razors isn't great for my purse or the environment - plus the underarm stubble reappears way more quickly.

It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream
This is a weird one as I've never actually tried this product before, but after a few months of backpacking (and reading a ton of blog reviews) later, I've come to the conclusion that it'd be the perfect base product - something that sits in the middle between coverage and SPF, that isn't a foundation or a tinted sunscreen. I'm finding my Bioderma too dark and often don't want to wear anything full-coverage now that my freckles are coming out.

Chanel Soleil Tan De Chanel Bronzing Makeup Base
I know what you're thinking: but Meg, isn't that super bulky and would therefore be a bit annoying to travel the world with? Maybe, yes - but so many beauty bloggers having rediscovered it recently and I've therefore been reminded of how great it is. It's such an amazing holiday product that you don't even need any coverage with as it makes you look so beachy and bronzed, and in the most natural way ever too. It's pricey but would've lasted me the entire trip (and beyond!)

Glossier Generation G Lipstick
I packed one bold lip shade, the Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in 'The Queen' which is a stunning cherry red, but am yet to wear it as it as the formulation (despite being lovely!) seems too heavy for hot, sweaty weather. I also think I'd feel too 'done up' wearing it whilst in Asia, and wish I'd brought a lighter option like one of the Glossier Generation G's. They've recently switched up the formula and made the packaging more sturdy, so 'Zip' and 'Jam' definitely would've been in my makeup bag had they made those changes in time.

Shu Eumera Eyelash Curler
If I could have one beauty related thing magically transported to me right now, it'd 100% be an eyelash curler and I'll be making a purchase as soon as I see one. I never use mine at home, but practically every day I wish that I could open my eyes up and look more awake without having to apply mascara. Even more so, I wish that I'd gotten a lash tint and perm - I've heard amazing things about Nouveau Lashes and am truly kicking myself for not booking an appointment in before I left the UK!

NARS Monoï Body Glow
Such an extra one, however something I've been craving is a golden glow. Despite having been away for weeks, I'm not one for sunbathing and nearly always wear long sleeves and trousers so I'm just as pale as I was when we hopped on the plane at Heathrow. A product that gives sheen and shimmer like this one from NARS would be so welcome, just for a little shoulder and decollatage action! Glass bottles aren't great for travelling, but you could decant it into a plastic spray bottle like this - or save the money and make your own by mixing baby oil with a budget smashed-up powder highlighter.

Are there any products you couldn't live without if you were going travelling?

A Week In My Travelling Bank Account: Thailand Edition

12 February 2019



Round up, round up: it's 'new blog series' o'clock, and this one's all about money and travelling. Countless people have sent me polite and tentative "don't answer this if you don't want to, but how much did you save for travelling?" DMs on Instagram, so I thought I'd take the awkwardness out of it for you and start sharing how much I'm spending.

Whatever your backpacking budget, I hope this helps anyone who's in the same boat that I was, e.g. 'I'm leaving home soon and have no clue how much things will actually cost in various parts of the world'. We're kicking things off in the very affordable town of Pai in Northern Thailand!

$1 = 31.45 Thai baht (฿)
£1 = 40.73 Thai baht (฿)

Monday = 1,000฿

Food
Brunch at Fat Cat (90 - avocado toast & salad, 50 - iced coconut latte). Dinner on Walking Street (100 - falafel & salad pitta at Queen Falafel50 - ginger tea & reusable bamboo cup)

Socialising:
140 - 2x rum & coke

Transport
150 - daily scooter hire
40 - litre of petrol

Accommodation:
450 - private bungalow at Paradise (between 2 people)

Miscellaneous:
150 - 2x homemade soap from Re-Wild
100 - 1x supplements from Earth Tone

Tuesday = 610฿

Food:
Brunch at One Fine Day (140 - avocado salad, 60 - iced coconut latte). Dinner at Pen's Kitchen (50 - veg & tofu noodle soup, 60 - beer)

Transport
150 - daily scooter hire

Accommodation:
450 - private bungalow at Paradise (between 2 people)

Wednesday = 850฿

Food:
Brunch at Cafecito (170 - burrito, 40 - mint tea). Dinner at Maya Burger Queen (100 - vegan burger, 60 - large fries, 60 - beer)

Socialising:
120 - G&T at Sundown Playground

Transport
150 - daily scooter hire

Accommodation:
450 - private bungalow at Paradise (between 2 people)

Thursday = 1,450฿
Food:
Brunch at Art In Chai (120 - avocado salad, 60 - chai latte). Dinner at Na's Kitchen (100 - red curry, 60 - tom yum soup, 80 - beer).

Socialising:
400 - wine at fire show
130 - 'I'm drunk and hungry' veggie avocado burger

Transport
150 - daily scooter hire

Accommodation:
450 - private bungalow at Paradise (between 2 people)

Miscellaneous:
200 - reusable water bottle

Friday = 450฿
Food:
Lunch at Paradise (free - kindly cooked by our friends!). Dinner at Food Truck (70 - veggie green curry, 60 - beer). Snacks on Walking Street (20 - pancakes)

Transport
150 - daily scooter hire

Accommodation:
450 - private bungalow at Paradise (between 2 people)

Saturday = 955฿
Food:
Lunch at Pen's Kitchen (70 - veggie stir fry, 30 - honey & lime iced tea). Dinner at Kome Maun (75 - rice noodle soup, 30 - ginger tea)

Socialising:
100 - wine

Transport
150 - daily scooter hire

Accommodation:
450 - private bungalow at Paradise (between 2 people)

Miscellaneous:
350 - gel pedicure

Sunday = 1,180฿

Food
Breakfast at market (100 - baguette, fruit and avocados). Lunch at Paradise (80 - fried rice, 40 - iced coconut latte). Dinner at Bebe Spice (320 - curry, 340 - rum & cokes)

Transport
150 - daily scooter hire

Accommodation:
450 - private bungalow at Paradise (between 2 people)


Monday = 2,370฿

Food:
Fruit from market (20 - pineapple, 40 - bananas, 10 - passionfruit). Breakfast at Cafecito (740 - 4x Mexican dishes, also paid for friends). Dinner at Le Reve De Pai (180 - mushroom pasta, 60 - gin & tonic)

Transport
150 - daily scooter hire
40 - litre of petrol
200 - bus from Pai to Chiang Mai
800 - sleeper train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok

Accommodation:
450 - private bungalow at Paradise (between 2 people)

Seven days of spending, done! This reflects an average week in Thailand for me. Some days I'm clearly feeling more frivolous than others, socialising tends to mean more pennies leave my purse and paying for a bus or train to another part of Thailand can be pricey, but on average I spent between £25 and £30 in total per day.

In Pai I paid around £5 a night for a lovely bungalow, ate mostly local food like curries for £2.50 a portion and shared the cost of transport with my boyfriend. As a result, I haven't set myself a daily limit for Asia as pretty much everything is low-cost - Australia will be a very different story! - and I'm earning along the way through blogging, however if you're on a shoestring budget there are plenty of ways to save.

Let me know if you'd like a post sharing money-saving tips whilst travelling (I quite like the idea of setting myself spending challenges) and I'd love to hear your thoughts on this new series also? I thought it'd be a helpful idea for anyone embarking on a backpacking journey or a cost-effective holiday of their own - if you have any suggestions on what I should add or where I can improve, please feel free to leave a comment. Thanks, pals!

Photos by Will Burchill Photography

An Ode To Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser

5 February 2019

 Oh Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser, how I adore thee.

It's one of those products that I tell everyone about (seriously, even the postman has barely escaped my recommendation on this one) and I thought I'd let you know why... you know, just on the off-chance you weren't already convinced by the hoards of bloggers you follow and your equally obsessed pals who are die-hard fans of this beautiful, angelic product.

Glossier describe it as "the ultimate daily face wash" and I agree - I agree with my whole entire heart and soul, I tell you! I'm just so fond of it, to the point where it genuinely makes me looking forward to washing my face. I'll be in bed brushing sleep from my eyes seconds after hitting the snooze button and, when that winter chill hits my feet before they've even touched the floor and I get that 'ugh, mornings' feeling, Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser pings into my mind and suddenly getting out of bed isn't so bad.

The name hits the formulation nail on the head to be honest, as it's a gel that also manages to feel milky at the same time - it's lightweight and creamy whilst being translucent and seriously comforting. As soon as that stuff touches my skin I have to fight back an audible sigh of relief, as it's refreshing and relaxing all at once which leads me to think that it may actually be magical. Okay, maybe not actually magical, but it really is the stuff of dreams.

I use it as a straight-up face wash rather than a makeup remover, preferring to use an oil or balm to 'take my face off' - that's such a strange turn of phrase - first, then follow up with Milky Jelly as a second cleanse. It does remove makeup really well, but I already go through the stuff at an astronomically fast rate and using it for both steps would mean that Emily Weiss has more of my money than I do. You're instructed to apply to damp skin although I usually go straight onto dry as it feels the most satisfying, then I massage for a minute or so - thinking about how much I love it - then rinse off with clean water and pat dry.

The first time I ever used Milky Jelly Cleanser, I'd read hardly anything about it and as a result my untainted, uninfluenced brain/nose immediately thought of the dentist. I don't want to put anyone with dentophobia off as the scent is actually rose, but to me... yeah, it kinda smells like the dentist! Now that my brain/nose knows that it's rose I get that it has a lovely delicate and fresh rosewater scent to it but I think I'll always think it smells like going to the dentist, and I absolutely love it. Is that weird?

Not only can you adorn the packaging with the fab pack of stickers you get in every order - mine is business on the front (tiny pink loveheart) and party on the back (piano keys, red lipstick, googly eyes, peace sign) - but it's travel-friendly plastic and has a pump, so basically it's perfect. Props given, Glossier!

The results speak for themselves: my skin is clear, bright and happy 99% of the time. It feels comforted, soft, nourished, smooth and impeccably clean. I actually couldn't dream up a better cleanser and it's absolutely something that I deem holy grail worthy. The pH balanced formula contains the same cleansing agent found in contact lens solution, which kicks impurities and dirt to the curb whilst still being incredibly gentle. It rinses off wonderfully without that uncomfortable 'tight' feeling, and my skin never cries out for moisturiser like it can sometimes do following cleansing.

For how much joy it brings me I think £15 is perfectly reasonable (Glossier actually have a clever subscription service so you don't have to worry about remembering to repurchase), which is necessary for me as I truly do get the running-low-on-Milky-Jelly fear.

Perhaps one of the key indicators that I'm utterly obsessed with this product and would probably marry it if it was a person is that one of the main things at the forefront of my mind when it came to packing for travelling wasn't visas or vaccinations: it was how many Glossier Milky Jelly Cleansers I'd need to take. I need help. Get 10% off on it here!

The Monthly One #1

1 February 2019



When I first started this blog (in 2014, whilst on medical leave from my university degree) I had a little series called The Fortnightly One. It was an update on anything I'd enjoyed over the previous two weeks in classic 'Meg Says [insert verb here]' format - there was Apply (products), Watch (films, tv series, YouTube videos), Eat (food), Read (books, blogs, magazines), Wear (style), Listen (music, podcasts) and Inspire (quotes).


I thought I'd add Travel to that list (seeing as I'm currently backpacking the world) and bring back The Fortnightly One! Kind of, as it's gonna be monthly instead. For a throwback, see what I was loving aged 20 here, and for right now, let's do this thing!


Travel

I'll always remember Pai as a bubble as that's honestly what it felt like - a rose-tinted hippie bubble in which fire-spinners spun and souls healed. It's the kind of place I can imagine being hit or miss for some, but our month there was free of pretentiousness!

Another 'hit or miss'-er that we've been lucky enough to catch at a really beautiful time is where we're currently residing, Gili Trawangan. Known as a party island popular with teenage backpackers, we unknowingly arrived in wet season which means less drunk Brits in Magaluf vests, more meaningful conversations. Score!


Apply

Asian tiger mosquitoes are the bane of my 2019 so far and despite having our own net, applying plastic-melting repellent and wearing long cotton trousers, I'm being eaten alive and seem to have awful reactions to the bites. Cue me lying in bed (with the fan on full-blast, obviously) and whacking Tropic Tamanu Healing Balm on every single one of the 197 sore, painful little blighters on my body. This lime-green wonder balm accelerates skin healing, helps with the itching and restores a little bit of my sanity.

Watch

Netflix had a real moment in January, didn't it? I had to mute the words 'Bird Box' from my Twitter timeline, and don't even get me started on how hard I fought to avoid Bandersnatch spoilers. I hate to say it but whilst both were interesting, the word 'overhyped' springs to mind (sorry Bullock, apologies Brooker) and I wasn't bowled over by either. Bird Box felt drawn out and I gave up with Bandersnatch in the end - or maybe I actually did reach 'the end', who bloody knows?

'Dan Humphrey being a creep' (something we thought got left behind in 2012 when the finale of Gossip Girl premiered) made a comeback with the arrival of You on Netflix, a psychological thriller that gave me an 'it's kind of crap but I'm enjoying it so much that I can ignore the cheesy dialogue and plot-holes' feeling. Worth a watch!


Potentially unpopular opinion incoming: Netflix's version of A Series of Unfortunate Events is better than the movie, and Neil Patrick Harris is a better Count Olaf than Jim Carrey. THERE, I said it! The script is intelligent, the attention to detail when it comes to sets, costumes and storylines is impeccable and I actually 'awww!' out loud at every Sunny scene.

Eat

You know when you try a dish and you just know you'll spend the rest of your life trying to recreate it even though it won't be half as delicious? Khao soi, Dash restaurant, Chiang Mai. My lovely hairdresser Christie recommended Dash to us and my gorgeous friend Callie recommend khao soi, and the two came together in the most perfect way when I spied the coconut curry noodle dish from Northern Thailand on the menu. It's my ideal meal!

I'm sure the 'Eat' section of these posts won't be half as long when I'm back in the UK and cooking for myself again, and I've been truly making the most of eating out in restaurants and cafés for breakfast, lunch and dinner. One dish I got obsessed with was red or green curry soup, then I'd order a plain rice and tip it in. The result? Hot, spicy and fragrant homemade soup with tofu and tons of al dente veggies. Miss you already, Thai food - so much so that tears are about to start splashing on my keyboard.


Read

Whilst in Chiang Mai we stumbled across The Lost Book Shop, a wonderful little store crammed full of used books which is run by an amazing Irishman with glasses on the end of his nose and enviable book knowledge. Having adored The Lovely Bones, I picked up The Almost Moon by the same author, a story about the twenty-four hours that follow a woman murdering her own mother. I expected a powerful, clever thriller and am sad to say that if it wasn't for Sebold's masterful writing and the fact that I had no other book with me on the plane, I wouldn't have bothered reading past the third chapter.

It was mind-numbingly slow, the characters were of little interest and my 'keep going, it might get better!' attitude that the plane journey induced was fruitless. The narrative was haphazard and messy, nothing ever seemed to come to a satisfying conclusion and some parts were just plain weird. I know I'm meant to be talking about things I've actually liked, but I didn't buy a Kindle for this trip (mistake of the century) and so a negative review it is.


Wear

After receiving a bag of clothes back from the laundrette (one of the best feelings you'll have whilst travelling!) and realising that a few items had gone missing, namely a white tee that I wore with everything, I headed to the closest market which just so happened to be Khao San Road in Bangkok. I bought a white ribbed cami top for a couple of quid and have since worn it to death - it's now a funny shade of cream and I have the outline of it on my chest and shoulders.

My go-to January outfit was that cami, these amazing rainbow flared Miss Selfridge trousers in the day or this flattering ASOS polka dot midi skirt in the evening and a pair of trusty Havaianas. Easy, comfortable and cute (despite the rum and coke on the top and the white lines underneath it).

Listen

A Star Is Born, on repeat, every day, all night. I saw it twice in the cinema, desperately tried to track down a screening in the Philippines and saying that I'm obsessed is a true understatement. Look What I've Found gets me up in the morning, Diggin' My Grave has me stomping my feet and Will has politely asked me to go ten minutes without belting out "I'm off the deep end, watch as I dive in!" Each listen of the soundtrack reveals something else to me about the story and I get so excited when I can match a lyric with a specific moment in the film - I feel such a connection with it and simply think it's a masterpiece. Current favourite: Hair Body Face. Yes, Gaga, just YES.

Inspire

A couple of days after January 1st, I had a really nice conversation with someone from Colorado about how the start of a new year makes us feel. She explained that she's always placed huge importance on becoming 'better' in countless ways, practically as soon as the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve, and I said that I've done the same. We agreed that placing that huge importance with such urgency creates huge pressure, as whilst self-improvement is important and necessary, becoming 'the best version of yourself' immediately and without work is impossible.

In the past I've said things like "this year I want to be more organised", not actually doing anything constructive to become more so, then feeling like a failure when I'm, surprise surprise, unorganised. In 2019 I'll be adopting a 'small and often' approach, and feel so thankful to that girl for reminding me that we shouldn't wait for the start of a new week, month or year to do something: life is now!
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