(A Very Late!) January Favourites

23 February 2015

I know, I know - 'January Favourites' when it's almost the end of February? Ludicrous! Did you hear that, myalgic encephalomyelitis? Ludicrous! But hey, that's what happens when you're chronically ill and can't make it out of bed for weeks on end. 

Recently I was thankfully able to film my favourites from the month of January and I'm so pleased that it's getting such a lovely response - when you're putting so much of your precious energy into something, it's unbelievably nice to receive positive feedback.

A lot of the YouTubers that I follow do separate videos on their beauty favourites of the month and then their lifestyle favourites - some people call it 'non-beauty' - but with my health I knew that two videos was out of the question, so I was strict and narrowed it down to four beauty favourites and four lifestyle favourites. The video was still almost twenty minutes long, but what can I say - I'm a chatty person and I tend to waffle!

CLICK HERE to see my 'January Favourites' video - I express my love for Sam Smith, sing the Pretty Little Liars theme song and show you mine and my grandma's secret PLL hand signal, chat about what worries I had as a teenager and awkwardly have to start whispering because a man from BT is standing right outside my bedroom door...

If you enjoyed the video please give it a thumbs up and leave me a comment telling me some of the things that you loved in January, and don't forget to subscribe here for more!

Do we share any of the same favourites? Would you prefer to see two separate videos per month or do you like it when YouTubers include a few different categories in one favourites video?


I'm Back On YouTube! & Best of Beauty 2014

15 February 2015

So, in December I started my YouTube channel Meg Says - read all about why here - but since posting two videos that month, my health hit a rough patch and therefore my channel hit a standstill. Two factors are at fault for the lack of videos so far, let me explain!

1. ME really doesn't like Christmas. Really. It's like the Grinch of chronic illnesses. Look at it this way - for someone with moderate to severe ME, they barely have one 'event' planned in their diaries a month. Then Christmas rolls around and you've got about ten 'events' in a week. It's exhausting, and it takes a good month just to even begin getting over the festive season. Hence why I wasn't well enough to film for a hefty five or six weeks, despite really wanting to get my 'Best of Beauty 2014' series done. Eventually, I did - and the land rejoiced! Well, I did, anyway. But then something ELSE happened...

2. Our internet gave up on life. Literally, just gave up. I won't say I'm angry, just disappointed. We live in a tiny village that has its own postbox and little else, so its not surprising that the internet connection has always been pretty pants and that's just one of those first world problems that we've put up with for years. Then came the beginning of my YouTube channel, and things took a turn for the worst - I had my videos filmed and edited, but whenever I tried to upload them it took about EIGHTEEN HOURS MINIMUM. Imagine me, sitting up all night with my laptop making sure the screen didn't go black - because that means automatic upload fail out in the sticks - for about fourteen hours, then having the upload fail anyway, usually at about 4am. Then picture the same thing happening multiple times a day for well over a week, and you might be able to understand my frustration and why I started swearing at my laptop like Kim Sears watching the Murray v Berdych match.

But as they say, after the rain comes the rainbow and this week was much better. I haven't been feeling well enough to film anything else unfortunately, but we got BT Infinity installed and I can safely say that watching a video export and upload to YouTube within quarter of an hour honestly made me so, so happy. With any luck ME will give me a break sometime soon and I can begin uploading regularly - wishful thinking, but I'm ever the optimist!

CLICK HERE to see my 'Best of Beauty 2014 - Part One' video - I talk you through my favourite makeup products of 2014, discuss the word 'fleek' and do an impression of Nikki Grahame from Big Brother...

...and CLICK HERE to see 'Part Two' - I chat about the best skincare and haircare (etc) of the last year, get all sassy by throwing Chanel and attempt an Australian accent!

So, there we have it - I'm back on YouTube! With a 2014 Favourites video in February, granted, but filming with ME is extremely difficult and I'm just going to have to take things slowly. Thank you for all of the support so far, it means the world to me!

What type of videos do you watch on YouTube? Do you have any favourite channels?


The Body Shop Haul (& Discount Code!)

10 February 2015

The Body Shop is one of those brands that I've used and loved for years. Half my life, in fact, and I say that with confidence as I distinctly remember going to a 'Body Shop party' when I was about ten - does anyone else remember those? You'd all congregate round somebody's house and a representative would come along with a huge range of products and everyone would sit in a circle and try out face masks and nail polishes. I'm pretty sure I bought some sort of tea tree product with my pocket money, but whatever it was - I was hooked. I remember lusting over the entire range of body butters, and being the very proud owner of a little bottle of their White Musk and one of those bright pink Born Lippy balms.

Eleven years have passed and I'm still pretty in love with The Body Shop. Their strong moral ethics are well-known - see their current campaigns and various values here - and for me, their products have stood the test of time in my 'beauty lifetime'. Despite loving their products I hadn't made an order in absolutely ages, so with the extra push of a cracker of a discount code I browsed, read reviews, 'add to basket'-ed and purchased.

The first thing that caught my eye was the word 'NEW!' - immediate 'ooh'-ing - followed by 'Wild Argan Oil' and some seriously pretty packaging that screams 'your limbs are gonna be sooo nourished!', and I was sold. The whole range looked great, but I went for the Wild Argan Oil Body Scrub (£13) and the Wild Argan Oil Miracle Solid Oil (£8). The word 'miracle' must've made me overlook how many grams the product is, as I was expecting a standard body butter size and eagerly opened my package to quite a measly flat tin the size of my palm. Both products smell all kinds of wonderful however, and I'm sure I'll be back for more from this range - my eyes are on the Radiant Oil, which sounds beautiful.

Another 'body product' that I got was a new hand cream, and I plumped for the only option I could find with SPF - the Wild Rose Hand Cream (£5). Not sure why when I barely leave the house, but hey! I also repurchased a back-up of their Coconut Hand Cleanse Gel (£2.50), which I always have in my handbag. Hashtag immune dysfunction probs.

I kinda went to town on skincare and picked up nearly all of the items that have been on my wishlist for months. The first was the Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil (£10), it's already got pride of place on my bathroom shelf and I'm really enjoying it so far - expect a rave review very soon! The Vitamin E Overnight Serum-In-Oil (£13) went straight into my basket, and I really can't wait to try it and see if it matches up to my high expectations. I've never tried a face mask from The Body Shop but I've heard amazing things, so I scouted around the site for a while looking for the perfect candidate. I was tempted by the Seaweed Ionic Clay Mask (£13) and the Drops Of Youth Bouncy Sleep Mask (£22), but I thought the latter was a tad expensive and I own a couple of clay masks already - so I went for the Aloe Protective Restoring Mask (£13) as I thought it sounded lovely and gentle, and unlike anything else that I already own in my skincare collection. I'll report back!

The 'Essie Button effect' took over and I had to purchase the Aloe Lip Treatment (£5) - which is amazing, I've been using it non-stop - as well as the bestselling Honey Bronze Bronzing Powder (£13) in '01', because doesn't every beauty blogger and YouTuber seem to love this? I've heard fantastic things, so I'm excited to try this out and see if it's as good for pale skin as everybody says it is! I had a little look at the Colour Crush lipsticks but I wasn't in the 'googling endless swatches' mood, so I left it there for makeup and moved onto another hyped-up product - the All-In-One Instablur Universal (£14). I always hear Gabby aka Velvet Gh0st talking about this and as I have trouble with my base and shadow staying in place, I decided to try it out along with the All-In-One Instablur Eye (£10).

So there we have it, a pretty big haul to keep me going and give me some new products to try out and review! I'm really happy with everything that I got from what I've tried so far - I wish I'd chosen the Wild Argan Oil Body Butter (£13) over the solid oil as it wasn't what I expected, but I'm still excited to try it out and if I fall head over heels for the scent then I may just have to pick up the butter to add to the little argan family. Testing = commenced.

I purchased more than I usually would thanks to the pretty hefty discount code that The Body Shop are currently running - £10 off when you spend £25, and a huge £25 off when you spend £50 - using the code 'TREAT'. You can find the T&Cs of the offer on the website.

Do you have any favourite products by The Body Shop? I'd love any recommendations - do let me know if you'd like an individual review of a particular product, also! 

Pinch, Punch, I've Been Absent All Month

1 February 2015

Hey! So right this second at 5pm I'm in bed, with a fresh cup of tea and a buttered scone, feeling all jittery and sleep-deprived, and basically just well and truly 'done' with today.

Other than being a monumental day for all mankind - it's Harry Styles' (aka the apple of my eye)'s 21st birthday today, obviously - it's also the day that I planned to 'do 2015 over' on. I thought that as I haven't had a great start to the year, I'd just forget that January happened and start February with a clean slate. It was easy to make my mind up, but what isn't easy is convincing your chronically ill body that it needs to sort itself out because you've got stuff to do. Important, worthwhile stuff! But nope, it wants to keep me up all day and night.

Before, feeling all sassy about finally leaving the house 
Insomnia. It's ruling my life at the moment and probably the reason behind this post not being as smooth or cohesive as I'd usually aim for. Brain isn't in gear. Eyes are swollen and sore. Head is pounding. Body feels bruised and battered. You get the point. But it doesn't matter whether I'm out of bed at 6am, whether I nap or not, whether I've been up for just 40 minutes or 40 hours straight - I cannot sleep and it's driving me up the wall. Sleep deprivation is torturous and every tiny thing seems magnified and worthy of sobbing over.

Hence why I'm feeling a bit grouchy and generally 'arghhh' today. Anyway, I thought that writing a post might make me feel a little bit better emotionally, so here I am - typing away.


Okay, January was pretty dire. Just picture me, curled up in a ball in bed, not able to eat or drink much, with the blackout curtains closed from AM to PM and my cat snoozing beside me, and that's about it. I had a couple hours of 'normality' with Hayley - click here! - to celebrate her birthday, but then we both went back to hibernating in the dark again. It wasn't until last Friday that I finally was able to get out of bed - I filmed a YouTube video, then went to see Hayley and our gal Hannah for tea, then yesterday on Saturday my fave guy Dom came over for a catch up, and in the evening I saw my best friend Hannah for her 21st. Phew. I did more in two days than I've done in five weeks - extremely reckless of me, but it happened that everyone came home the same weekend, so I chose to push myself.

After, when ME opened a can of whoop ass
ME has already commenced with its evil revenge on me, and today was a toughie. I still haven't slept a wink - honestly, it's exasperating to be so physically and mentally drained that you can't grip a toothbrush to clean your teeth but for your veins to buzz and your mind to race as soon as you shut your eyes - so I'm not the happiest bunny. Grateful to have seen so many of my wonderful friends, but fed up that I have to deal with this horrible aftermath every time. Not ideal when Will is coming to stay for a week tomorrow, either - you'd think a month of total rest would cancel out a couple of afternoons with friends, but nope! PEM hell, so nice to be reunited with you again. Apologies that this post is quite 'doom and gloom, woe is me', in 'real life' I'm actually quite chipper - as soon as I get any human contact again I can smile naturally, it's these long hours on my own that are hard.

It hasn't been helped by the fact that I've been desperately trying for days on end to upload my latest YouTube video that I filmed on Friday - my 'Best of Beauty 2014' video, by the way - and our shocking internet connection has meant that I've seen the words 'Share Failed - Unable To Publish To YouTube' enough times to last me a lifetime. I've bought a new hard drive, deleted every single file from my MacBook, compressed and exported and re-exported in each different format, everything, but to no avail. Living in the countryside is nice, but I'd trade my soul for an inner-city connection speed right now! It's just been one of those disappointing days. A disappointing month, but I'm forgetting about January now and moving forward. I'm going to finish my tea and watch something on YouTube that makes me feel glad to be alive, like The Shaytards or Hannah Maggs. It is Sunday night after all - anyone else for a spot of #sundaynightwiththemichalaks? I'm in!


As I'm skim-reading what I've written above, it's one of those 'not really sure why I wrote this or if I'll bother publishing it' posts. Hope it's not too boring for you if I do hit that 'Publish' button. Sometimes you just need to get it out, y'know? And it helps to hear from you guys in the comments or via email that you feel the same, and that I'm not alone.

I'll brighten up this blog post with the birthday boy just being his usual beautiful self. No need to thank me in the comments, you are most welcome!

Do you ever have those 'argh' days, weeks or months? If so, how do you deal with them?

P.S. I wrote this post a few hours ago and haven't been sure if I was going to post it or not. I honestly feel WAY better now - writing is so therapeutic to me, and my thoughts somehow make sense once I've put pen to paper or fingers to MacBook keyboard. It makes me put everything into perspective and realise that how I feel is justified, yes, but it's not the end of the world. I'll get through it, as I always do. Just thought I'd mention that - thanks for giving me an outlet and always making me feel better no matter how rubbish I feel. Or maybe it was those gifs of Harry... JOKING. All my love! <3