Preview: Community Festival 2018

One of our favourite London festies is back for another year this July in Finsbury Park. Organised by Festival Republic, Community Festival is a recently new venture but the all-day rock and indie festival has proved to be popular in its inaugural year and is back in 2018 for another rendezvous. 

This year's line-up features mighty headliners Two Door Cinema Club at the top of the line-up and they are certainly a band not to miss. Inspired by Foals and The Maccabees, the Irish trio will bring their bouncing alt-pop tunes to Finsbury Park this July and you bet the crowd will go wild for it.

The Vaccines will also make an appearance on the main stage, fresh off the back of releasing their impressive fourth album 'Combat Sports'. Recent years have seen band line-up changes and an experimentation with their sound but 'Combat Sports' sees them take it back to basics and just have fun being in a band. Expect heavy guitars, catchy hooks and breathless excitement when The Vaccines take to the stage. 

Having amassed a faithful fan base in recent years, indie giants Circa Waves are the go to band for frenzied live shows and a good time. Their debut album 'Young Chasers' and last year's follow up 'Different Creatures' offers a steady back catalogue of hits for the crowd to chant back at them. Don't miss out on catching them at this year's Community. 

As well as the strong main stage line-up, the festival has a second performance area called the N4 Stage. With an aim of showcasing new music and supporting upcoming artists, both stages bring together people who love creating and listening to new music and that's what the whole festival is about. 

This summer you can catch Ten Tonnes, real name Ethan Barnett, on the N4 Stage. The younger brother of chart topper George Ezra, Ethan has just as much talent and credibility as his elder sibling in his own right. With his name lingering on the lips of tastemakers for quite some time, Barnett is selling out shows all over the place. He has also previously worked with The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach and The Maccabees' Hugo White. Expect all-embracing anthems and heavy doses of charm when Ten Tonnes steps up to the stage this year.

Tickets are available for Community Festival 2018 now.

Words Lauren Wade

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My Experience with Ipsy's March Glam Bag

As a fan of both make up and receiving gifts in the post, it was inevitable that I would find myself signing up to a beauty subscription service at some point. 

I'd previously been put off by the seemingly endless number of choices, all of which promise to send you gorgeous products for a reasonable price. Birchbox, Sephora, Boxycharm, Cratejoy - the options were almost too overwhelming. But one day, fancying a pick-me-up, I trawled through numerous reviews and comparison posts, and settled on a subscription to Ipsy's Glam Bag. 

For just $10, I would receive five products (either full-size or deluxe samples), presented in a cute little bag. As a student, the price was one of the biggest factors in my decision, as, even if the products weren't brilliant, the cost was the same as a couple of coffees (which perhaps emphasises the depressing price of caffeine nowadays more than the affordability of Ipsy). 

I signed up soon after the February bags had been sent out, and so, by the time early March rolled around, I had pretty much forgotten about it, making it a lovely surprise gift - albeit one from myself. I received an email a few days into the month reminding me that it was on its way, and offering me a 'sneak peek' at the products inside. However, ever a lover of surprise gifts, I chose to wait it out. 

The products arrived in a cute make up bag, with some pens to colour in the black and white design. I wasn't blown away by the quality of the bag, and will probably only use it for travelling or storing jewellery, but it was a nice addition.

Admittedly, the only brand I had heard of was Tarte, but I was actually pleased I hadn't been sent products by familiar brands, as I love trying new products. I was also happy with the variety of products I was sent. I had been hoping for a new lipstick, but apart form that, they were all things that I had been 'in the market' for. They also got the colours right for me, which I was especially pleased with because I had a fear of receiving nice but unwearable products. It shows that they actually listen to the questionnaire they ask you to fill out upon subscribing. 

I was initially unsure about the highlighter, as I usually go for more pearly highlighters than the one I received. I've also got to be very careful with applying pink to my face - it can often overwhelm my skin tone, or simply make me look very red and flushed. 

Looking at the colour selection on Ipsy's website, I think one of the other shades may have suited me better, but nonetheless, I was pleasantly surprised by how nice this highlighter looks when applied. It doesn't look too pink, it doesn't go on too thick, and it leaves a nice glow. I've added this into my everyday make up routine, because it's actually more subtle than the highlighter I was using before. 

I used the SLMISSGLAM brush to apply the highlighter, and I'm very pleased with it too. I was automatically won over by its appearance - pink, glittery and bedazzled; Ipsy make the right choice with this product for me. Its light and fluffy touch does a good job at applying highlighter, as it helps to achieve the natural finish. Again, I've continued to use this most days, especially because it works well with the highlighter.

The eyeliner was a hit too, especially as 'buy pencil eyeliner' has been stuck on my shopping list for a couple of weeks, and Tarte is no doubt a better brand than the drug store pencil I would have bought myself. It has a fine tip, making it easy to apply a subtle line, yet it also blends well. Thanks to the delicacy of the product, I haven't accidentally recreated the make up of my 'wannabe emo' 15 year old self (thank god...). I also love that it is a twist pencil, so it doesn't need sharpening. Although it wasn't a full sized product, I think it will last me a long time, as I don't wear eyeliner very often, so while I'm pleased with this, pencil liner lovers may be a bit disappointed.

Ipsy certainly got my shade right with the Doucce Freematic eyeshadow I was sent too. The shade, Ariana, is one that is usually incorporated in my go-to make up look anyway, making the Doucce sample a welcome new addition to my collection. As for the product itself, it's well pigmented and blends well, but it's nothing revolutionary. Retailing at around $10, I would probably choose one of the many cheaper alternatives I can easily get at the drug store, especially given the rather humble size of the product.

I took the final product, BRTC's Foaming Cleanser, with me on holiday, as the sample size was perfect for my carry-on requirements, and it definitely did a good job for the week. Its name isn't an understatement - this cleanser makes a mighty foam, but personally I think that's a good think, as it means that very little product is needed for a good lather. 

Usually, I'm not a massive fan of foaming products, as they often take too long to wash off than I can be bothered to deal with at the end of a long day, however this one washed off well. It also had a lovely smell, and most importantly, kept my face fresh and didn't cause me to break out. However, the full-sized product is difficult to find online - strangely, even Ipsy doesn't stock it at the moment - and my skin currently needs something a bit heavier duty.

So, all in all, what dic I think about my first forage into the world of beauty subscriptions? I was impressed by the quality of the products: they all work well, the brands are beyond your average drug store make up, and I've enjoyed using them too. I also think that Ipsy did well at providing products that matched my tastes and tones, which was my initial fear.

The price, which was the main factor that led me to try Ipsy over the other subscription companies, is affordable and makes it a nice feel-good, self-care treat. For $10, I think I got quite a lot for my money! It certainly wasn't a perfect experience: the bag isn't particularly impressive and many of the products I was sent are difficult to get hold of beyond the samples, putting me off from fully incorporating them into my regular stash of cosmetics. However, I've kept my subscription, and I'm looking forward to seeing what April's bag has in store for me. 

Ipsy currently doesn't ship to the UK, so with only two months left of my year abroad in America, here's hoping that they expand across the Atlantic soon. 

Words Sophie Clark

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An Honest Review: Glossier

Now the hype and general chatter has died down a bit, it's time to weigh in and give my verdict on the best of Glossier's products. The cult American beauty brand launched in the UK back in October 2017 and has gone down a storm on this side of the Atlantic. 

Some of their products are arguably better than others but you have to be impressed by the way Glossier have marketed the brand. The 'millennial' pink aesthetic, bubble wrap zip lock bags and barely there vibe of their products has made them one of the brands to try. 

Since originally writing this post I've had to come back in and edit it as Glossier have released their exciting new eyeshadow formula, Lidstar, that give less shadow and more glow. It's a product I'm yet to try but I'm excited to see if it lives up to its promise of not needing to use a primer before applying. 

Here's what lives up to the hype and what is best to miss out on. 

This is one of those products that really depends on your skin type, as to whether it will work for you. Glossier describe it as a 'lightweight coverage'. It's not really a foundation, but more of a breathable, 'your skin but better' tint that will make you look and feel more awake in the morning. 

One of the best concealers I've ever tried and I've gone through a lot in my quest to find the perfect under eye concealer. It has elastic micro waxes that move with you instead of being caked on top of your skin. The concealer lasts for an average working day and doesn't need to be topped up at all. It's the perfect product for when you don't want to wear too much make-up but still wish to look presentable.

Aptly named, when I first tried this powder I genuinely said 'wow'. This was a relatively new product last year and one I couldn't wait to try and I'm so glad I did sooner rather than later. Wowder eliminates all traces of shine, blurs pores and sets make-up effectively. Sheer, glowy and adaptable - Wowder is everything you need for dewy days.

One of Glossier's most iconic products to date. Cloud Paint makes blush seem less scary and more fun. A pillowy, gel-cream formula, the different shades are easy to blend together on your cheek or wear individually. They create a healthy glow that will last throughout the day and into the evening for prolonged wear.

Similar to Benefit's brow products, Glossier's creamy wax formula is perfect for taming even the unruliest of brows. It's something I don't go a day without using, although I never find I need to top it up throughout the day; like many Glossier products it's incredibly long-lasting. Boy Brow will be your new best friend.

The Birthday Balm Dot Com is a universal skin salve that smells dreamy. Imagine the yummiest Birthday cake you've ever had and that's exactly what this balm smells like. Go wild and use it on your lips, face, body, anywhere you like - it's the balm that does everything for you.

If you like dewy, glowy skin on your face then you'll love the Body Hero Daily Perfecting Cream - it bottles that formula to give you the same results for your body instead. It's good and it works but it's just not the best product of its kind out there. It makes your skin feel loved but it's pricey and brands like Soap and Glory and Lush sell similar creams at a fraction of the price.

If you're looking for a lip colour that's barely there, then Generation G is perfect. The problem is that most people want the colour they put on their lips to actually show; Generation G doesn't do that. With a range of six different colours, Glossier say the product gives the look and finish of 'just-blotted lipstick, without the blot'. 

Cleansers are always a bit hit and miss. As someone with sensitive skin, I find that the Milky Jelly Cleanser breaks me out and affects my skin quite badly. A pH-balanced, creamy gel formula it's supposed to leave your skin feeling healthy and soft but it just leaves an uncomfortable burning sensation on my face.

Another hugely recognisable product that saw UK beauty fans falling over themselves to own, but it failed the first hurdle: living up to the hype. Glossier market the product as light and buildable, but in my opinion it's too light to make a difference and give my skin the moisture it needs to replenish overnight. This made my skin break out too but Glossier do have a richer version available. It's called Priming Moisturiser Rich, funnily enough, and it's said to be much more luxurious.

Saving the best for last, Glossier's first fragrance really is the ultimate personal perfume. Since I started wearing this towards the end of last year, I've received so many compliments. It's heavy on the base notes and the scent lingers for hours after application; what more could you want?

Get 10% off and free shipping on your first Glossier order here.

Words Lauren Wade

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Fickle Friends release the kind of debut album that only comes around once in a while

Formed in the heart of Brighton, after meeting at university, unstoppable five piece Fickle Friends were born and have been blowing up blogs with their vital slices of upbeat pop ever since.

The thrilling outfit have been working on their first release, 'You Are Someone Else' for a number of years and the finished product oozes with smart, ear-catching tunes that sees them make their first full-length mark so confidently.

Opening with 'Wake Me Up', there's little about the number that isn't euphoric but it's one that really shows how well the group have honed their sound, thus serving as a perfect intro to a remarkable album. 

Next up comes 'Glue', the title single of a previously released EP and it practically soars. The sublime synth-led number brims with bouncy beats and lyrics strong enough to worm their way into your head in a heartbeat. Live fan favourite and the track that made everyone sit up and listen originally, 'Swim' makes an appearance and as ever bursts with high octane energy and striking lyricism. 

Photo credit: Daniel Alexander Harris
'Hard To Be Myself' touches on an issue that many young people are affected by at some point whilst growing up or in their twenties. The track is an ode to feeling like you want to be someone, anyone else to get rid of anxious thoughts and feelings. The three minute cut finds Fickle Friends in a refreshingly honest state and the album is all the better for it. 

Sassy and charming, newbie 'Heartbroken' is another stand out single with lyrics like 'You think everything sucks, I really couldn't give two fucks' that displays a more confident and daring side to the band we haven't quite seen before. 'In My Head' is a vocal triumph for singer Natti Shiner and one which sees them slow the pace for a slight pause in upbeat activities. 

'Rotation' bursts into life with strokes of brilliance. Another new cut, it's the sound of Fickle Friends realising they've got their niche nailed and sticking to it; it's pure pop territory with their trademark tropical synth sound and it works so well. 'Hello Hello' may have been released by the band previously but it works in their favour by adding an extra dose of high intensity charm to an already brilliant album. 

Photo credit: Daniel Alexander Harris
Reworked mid-tempo tune 'Paris' is as tangibly intimate as always and sees Shiner's vocals sail with effortless grace. Luscious finale 'Useless' packs a punch with maximal euphoria and heavenly harmonies. Fickle Friends are pure sunshine and have delivered on a promise they made a long time ago. 

If you're looking for a band that lives up to the hype and outshines it completely, look no further than Fickle Friends. 'You Are Someone Else' has been a long time coming but the wait is justified for a debut like this that only comes around once in a while. 

Listen to: 'Glue', 'Heartbroken' and 'Rotation'

Words Lauren Wade

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San Francisco Snapshots

If you've been following my blog or you follow me on Instagram you're probably aware I recently visited a friend in California. Having already posted a few snapshots from my trip to LA, it's now time to share some highlights of my time in San Francisco. 

Being in the Bay Area, the weather in SF can change very quickly, so layering is key when out and about in the The City by the Bay. That's a lesson I certainly learnt on my trip, which resulted in buying a denim jacket as I didn't take a light enough one with me (you can never have too many denim jackets though). 

There's also a TON of hills in the area and whilst SF is super walkable, parts of the city can get very steep very quickly, so decent walking shoes are a must. It was fun to hop on a cable car every now and then though.

I hope you enjoy flicking through my favourite pictures from San Francisco. It's a truly unique city that has to be experienced in person to see just how incredible it is.

Words Lauren Wade

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PREMIERE: Pop newcomer LENN debuts with 'I Know How'

Bristol-based pop newcomer LENN spent her childhood like a lot of us, wishing she could sing, until puberty came along and granted that wish. Fast forward a few years or so and LENN is now releasing her debut single, 'I Know How'.

Following a short stint living in Brighton, LENN took her passion for music further after 'a stranger communicated an ambiguous prophecy and a series of seemingly foretold events unfolded, resulting in a move to Bristol.'

'I Know How' brims with sass and confidence in equal measures. LENN's powerful vocals do a lot of the leg work but the polished production and pulsing beats plucks attention too. 

In the same vein as Jessie Ware, LENN's melodies are modern and infectious and 'I Know How' provides a devilishly promising introduction to this exciting new talent.

Words Lauren Wade

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LA Snapshots

Back in January I visited one of my friends who is currently living in California (she's so lucky). Part of the trip included a visit to Los Angeles, a place I've dreamt of visiting since I was small and the City of Angels certainly didn't disappoint. 

I remember wandering around Hollywood and saying to my boyfriend: "I feel like I'm in the centre of the universe" but maybe that's because I watch too many TV shows and films set in LA. When you've grown up seeing a city on screen a lot and you finally get to visit, it can feel slightly surreal and being in LA presented me with so many 'pinch me' moments. 

The weather hit the eighties, which isn't anything out of the ordinary for Southern California but it made a lovely change from the dull English weather we'd been experiencing. 

Below are a few of my favourite pictures from LA. It was the most incredible trip and I can't wait to visit again someday (hopefully soon). 

Words Lauren Wade

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The Power of Female Friendships

Seeing as Thursday 8th March marks International Women's Day, what better way to celebrate than to discuss the power of female friendships and the impact these, often close, bonds have on a woman's life. 

As someone who found it difficult to make close female friendships during childhood, the ones I now have mean the world to me, however the older you get the trickier it can be to form similar bonds with new people. 

Now that I'm a bit older I no longer consider myself to have just one best friend. I adore all of my pals and I'm sure they would agree with the idea that it's okay to have multiple people that you call your best friend. 

That close female friend you made during your teenage years at school will always be an important one to hold close. You may not see each other as much anymore but they will always mean a lot to you and you'll always have plenty of laughs when you're reunited again. I have a friend like this and sometimes when I fear we might be drifting apart she'll text me something hilarious that you'd never dream of sending to anyone but your oldest friend; now I'm certain that particular friendship is destined to be lifelong. 

If you go to university it's inevitable that you'll grow closer to some girls more than others but often it happens in the most unlikely of situations. I met two of my closest university pals in completely different ways. The first was through Instagram, coincidentally we had followed each other on the app for years prior to us meeting for the first time. When we got to know each other better it seemed so funny that we had been liking each others posts the whole time. Instagram isn't all bad, right?

The second girl was someone I met through a mutual friend on the university newspaper. We've been friends for a couple of years now and I couldn't be more grateful for this person entering my life. She's currently on her year abroad having a wonderful time and I'm so happy for her but can't wait until she's home. 

Then there are the girls you're friends with but aren't as close with as you might like to be. One such person in my life is a girl I met through another mutual friend and she's a complete sweetheart. She's been there for me through times of illness and we've had the loveliest coffee dates in the past but I'd like to spend more time with her and get to know her that little bit better in the future. 

Female friendship is a funny thing but it really is so important and you shouldn't underestimate the difference a good pal can make to your life. What are you waiting for? Let your friends know how much you love them this International Women's Day (and everyday). 

Words Lauren Wade

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L'Occitane Meet Up with Lily and Anna

On the snowiest day of the year, so far, French skincare favourite L'Occitane teamed up with the unstoppable Lily and Anna to showcase products from the brand at the new Regent Street Flagship store. 

Upon arrival we were handed flutes of champagne and the most divine macarons (there's a difference between macarons and macaroons, a fun fact I learnt at the event) before finding our seats. The lovely Tara accompanied me to this special evening and we had the best time, especially when we found the photo booth with a giant macaron prop!

Lily and Anna hosted a Q&A session and answered questions about fashion, friendship, the future of blogging and more. Following that we were all given the chance to meet them and have our photo taken together. 

All worries aside about not knowing what to say to two of the coolest bloggers around, the conversation flowed (as did the champagne) and we discussed our mutual love of Redroaster, Caroline Hirons and Buddies. For those of you who don't know, Buddies is a 24-hour restaurant on Brighton seafront that all who visit or live in Brighton will experience at some point in time; it's inevitable. 

I've been a bit hesitant about trying Glossier's new product, Solution, so who better to ask for advice then the two people who got me into the brand originally? Lily advised that it's best just to try the new product out and see if it agrees with my skin, whilst Anna admitted she is yet to try Solution too, so it's comforting to know I'm not alone when it comes to skincare concerns. Side note if you're interested in Glossier, I'll be posting a recommendation of my favourite products from the brand soon.

Bloggers teaming up with brands to host events isn't a new concept but the question in 2018 is how to best to make events like this one relevant. Lily and Anna are the perfect pair to promote the L'Occitane name and they gave the event their own unique twist, whilst tackling modern day issues such as female friendship, career success and even how to find the perfect Mother's Day gift. 

A big thank you to Lily, Anna and L'Occitane for a wonderful evening. I'm already loving the Grapefruit Rhubarb Hand Cream and Aromachologie Relaxing Pillow Mist. The girls also picked a few of their top products from the brand and condensed it into their own beauty bag. It makes the perfect gift, so be sure to pick one up for yourself or someone special. 

Words Lauren Wade

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