Thursday, 28 April 2016

Self Esteem, Confidence and Body Image in the Digital Age

We all have opinions on the way we look. If only my boobs were bigger. If only my stomach was flatter. If only my thighs were smaller, and my bum more round. All familiar comments spoken to ourselves in the mirror each morning, noon and night. But what if our insecurities weren't insecurities at all, and positive body image was a thing women (and men) are blessed with?

It only takes a quick peek at Instagram to see another picture of Kim Kardashian semi nude in all her perfect (photoshopped) glory. Or a glance at Twitter to see Rihanna looking like a perfectly fierce female. Forgetting in the process, that typically their accounts are managed by a PR, edited to publicity perfection, and photoshopped to goddess status. So why do we compare ourselves so much to these "perfect" celebrities - bringing ourselves down in the process?

It's becoming somewhat engrained in our DNA to be jealous, a part of human evolution to compete with everyone; whether it be professionally, personally or visually. I don't know about anyone else, but my cycle of body image jealousy looks quite a lot like this:

1 - Sees picture of a svelte Victoria's Secret model - feels bad about the fact that my only six-pack is glazed in a box in the kitchen.
2 - Wants to eat healthy to look like an adonis, but said kitchen six pack is more appealing.
3 - Eats six pack, feels even worse about self.

It's a cycle of self-loathing. A cycle furthered as mass media promises on the cover of magazines to "make your knuckles sexy" and "drink this wonder ingredient for the best belly button you've ever had." Even for the second that our brain decides to chill and just let us be at one with our bodies, the chance is someone younger, hotter, smarter or skinnier will be thrust into our face. Et voila - back at the beginning. Jealousy causing lessening self-esteem, denting our confidence, and promoting our own negative body image.

The media tells us that our outward image is what's important. We believe it. We eat it up. Of course, their image is distorted, their images photoshopped, videos edited and articles mere excerpts. But the more we are barraged with it, the more like we are to believe it. Of course, no one is merely brainwashed entirely and we do have the ability to choose what to believe in, but as society becomes more image dominated, who are we to question this large ubiquitous force?

My personal self-esteem levels and confidence are barely existent. Even understanding that the women in magazines aren't a realistic portrayal, I find myself feeling I am just a mere, unworthy mortal with my flawed skin, dark circles and the rest. I know I'm not alone in feeling inferior, its a daily struggle for many, especially young women. It would be incredible to all love our own bodies, our faces, and brains - not being told subliminally via social media, magazines etc. that we should aspire to be any different.

Imagine, if you were placed on an island tomorrow. Alone. You live there for 6 months with no one to compare yourself to. You survive. Like you have done every day up until right now. And your body? Its neither skinny, nor fat as there is nothing comparable. No one without stretch marks to make you feel that they are an imperfection. No one extremely confident to make you feel small. And your brain? It's the most damn smart brain on the island - it's keeping you strong. You are just you. You exist without a superior being to make you feel any less worthy. Whether of your own beauty, of your own strength, or your own intelligence...

Regardless of the cynicism we're fed by the media, as long as we are kind, we are worthy of love, especially that from ourselves.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Chanel's Reformulated Longwear Le Vernis and Gel Top Coat

Chanel Reformulated Gel finish longwear nail polish
Christmas Day as a child is probably the only comparable degree of excitement that I felt for these arriving in the post. Sure, let's all mock the girl getting passionate about nail polish. But in the wise words of M&S, these aren't just any nail polishes... 

Chanel Reformulated Gel finish longwear nail polish

Despite the wonderfully chic bottle, and incredibly beautiful shades, Chanel nail polishes are a nightmare in one area - longevity. So upon hearing the news that Chanel were reformulating, releasing a capsule collection of pre-existing favourites with some new additions and a gel top coat to boot, I got understandably excited.

So managing to get my grubby mitts on new shades Organdi*, Mythique* and the Gel Top Coat* and give them a good road test. Organdi is an elegant dusty salmon shade, opaque in 2/3 coats with tendencies to last 3-4 days, with any minor chipping being mostly unnoticeable. (Side note: I find the original range differs largely in formula and longevity. Tapage is opaque in 1 coat on me, and lasts days. Secret can take up to 5 coats and lasts only one day) Mythique, opaque in 2 coats, doesn't offer the same longevity, but the soft burgundy shade is a pleasure to apply, going on smoothly without any streaking.

Both shades lasted an extra day with the Gel Top Coat, which is quite the far cry from the 7 days claimed by Chanel. In my honest opinion, the only way to achieve a gel finish is with gel. It does however make the polish look like an ultra-glossy professional gel nail, offering flexibility and strength to the colour. So if like me, your nails are very much prone to breaking, this extra step is helpful in reinforcing your otherwise weakling nails.

Apparently these shades are more nail-friendly in their ingredients than the previous range. I haven't worn either enough continually to comment on this, so we'll have to take Chanel's word on that one...

I would recommend these to any Chanel fans, and those looking for a slightly longer lasting version than the original formula. If you own some of the cult classics like Ballerina and Pirate but want an extra couple days, of wear fork out a little cash for the reformulated Longwear Le Vernis or Gel Top Coat and you will not be disappointed. For perspective, I'd place the original formulation at 7.5/10 - these being closer to 8.5. These are available in Debenhams now. Retailing at £18 for 13ml.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Best Beauty Videos of Youtube

I don't know about you, but I hate people trying to make plans with me on a Sunday. They are strictly reserved for laziness, Netflix (mulled wine if it's near Christmas) and typically a dose of Michalak blogs.

I'm not a big fan of watching Youtube, I don't personally see the attraction. I know that seems relatively shocking but most just don't cut it for me, of course we have Lisa Eldridge who is simply a goddess, but I rarely find myself branching out. Even Charlotte Tilbury's channel is now something which seems filled with overzealous claims about products and totally heavy makeup application. BUT What if a girl just wants subtle makeup?!

Well, I'm not claiming these are natural, but they are super pretty, are filled with tons of amazing tips, and are my go-to for inspiration (or just my absolute favourites for when boredom strikes) let's get to it...

Monika Blunder and Phoebe Tonkin go ALL BRONZE EVERYTHAN' - We all know how much I love Phoebe Tonkin. And with Monika's soothing voice and expert knowledge, this is ideal for me. Looks so healthy in the skin then completely sultry on the eyes - perfection!

Lisa Eldridge does boyish - so far from the traditional makeup you see on YouTube, yet so beautiful. This is minimalism at its finest, and ideal if you, like me, need the perfect combination of masculine and feminine on a daily basis.

Monika Blunder and Karima McKimmie recreate Emilia Clarke look (think Mother of Dragons meets Mother(s) of Makeup) - More beautiful makeup courtesy of Monika. Can anything honestly beat those stunning brows and striking eyes?

Shameless Fripperies werks a Super-Speedy Bronze Look *sassy hair flip emoji* - Another bronze look, but ideal for inspiration when you're more pressed for time. 

Glam and Gore transforms into Lana Del Rey (and a zombie?) - Not at all a daily look, but techniques always translate, right? And if you have a weirdo inside you wanting to get out her channel is everything you'll ever need. Seriously this girl is freaking awesome. Can we be best friends, already?! 

Totally enjoyed compiling this post with some of my favourite Youtube videos. It'd be really interesting to see who else everyone else watches regularly, or standout videos from specific people. Leave them below so we can share in the Sunday Youtube entertainment...

Thursday, 26 November 2015


Blogging has started to feel so much like a distant memory. Blogger has plopped off my most-visited sites, been somewhat replaced with "Citethisforme" and "Womens Health" (yes, really). So I guess if I make what can only be described as a come back, I may be somewhat inclined to kick myself up the bottom and blog more? Let's try... 

For the sake of catching up before we hopefully start producing some real, lipstick-filled content, I thought I could do a bit of an update incase you don't follow my ridiculousness on Twitter...

Where have I been? I don't know, honestly. I've been starting my second year of uni, but bar that and therapy, I've been lacking all motivation. I totally hope to get an exercise regime started soon that'll boost productivity because I need out of this slump!

What have I been up to? I kinda mentioned this, but let's essentially cover my cultural updates, shall we? So, Netflix has had me binging Narcos (so addictive) while American Horror Story has had me getting excited about television again (this could develop into a highly passionate rant). I've been feeling mostly mortified that I've been enjoying Justin Bieber's music... and even more mortified I admitted it online. I watched the last Hunger Games film a week ago and despite how ridiculously amazing it is, I'm still feeling a little in mourning. I'm not excited for Christmas yet, but if anyone would be opening to installing a mulled wine dispenser in my bedroom I would absolutely be up for the festivities.

Anything else? I don't think so... telling you my favourite beauty products when I could do a full post would be a little boring, wouldn't it?

I did, however, head down to Banyan in Manchester Corn Exchange a few weeks ago, to sample some of their menu and partake in a cocktail masterclass. The evening was spent with other lovely bloggers, press and had me feeling very, very full climbing up the Victoria station stairs for my train... 

We were given a much-needed gin and tonic on arrival, before being shown to our room for the evening... 

We were shown how they make three of their bestselling cocktails before being given the chance to make one of our choice... I went for the fruity, tasty Geisha Girl as pictured above. Mine didn't look as glamorous...

After a cocktail or two, they brought out samples from their menu. We indulged in a LOT. The salmon skewers were divine...

And the mini cheeseburgers and chicken burgers meanwhile stole my heart... 

Can I live on Banyan's food in the future please? 

- See you soon! 


Thursday, 10 September 2015


You might have noticed i'm currently in the middle of a little bit of a hiatus. Not just from my blog, but also from Instagram and Twitter. I feel so uninspired by the whole thing. And with the recent, death in the family, I've never felt more like I, frankly, don't give a shxt care about the whole, seemingly selfish community. While I'm still pinning like a crazy person, I feel like all my other platforms (blog included) are me trying my best to produce content, spending a lot of time and effort to create something people would enjoy to read only to feel underwhelmed with the result. Don't get me wrong, I'm not making this a thing about numbers, but I feel like no one is reading my blog, like no one is even interacting anymore. I don't think I'm the only person to feel this way recently, but everything just seems so boring and dried up.

I don't think this is me signing out for good. I've achieved and accessed so many opportunities from my littler qualm I currently have, however, is my lack of endless lipstick supply. I can afford new lipstick, sure. I can afford two new lipsticks if I wanted them. The thing is... I don't NEED them. I have lipsticks I love, I have a mascara I love, and wouldn't dream of replacing it with anything else. So what happens when the material dries up because you're using the products you know work for you? I'm not going shopping for drugstore makeup because I'd be talking about things I don't care about it, and I've more moral integrity than that. And I'm also not going to buy products I don't like because it's trendy. (Contour palette? You have one face, do you need so many different shades? Not really.)  

I don't think this is me signing out for good. I've achieved and accessed so many opportunities from my little creative space of the internet which I call Lyon Notes.

I think this is me mostly saying I think I'm mostly over beauty blogging. I want to make the move over to fashion, because it is, and always has been where my one true passion lies. (My inability to leave Pinterest proves this.) But it isn't as easy as a white background for beauty photos, and I'm not sure if anyone would even be interested?!

At the moment I feel like this break might have been the best thing for me, and i'll still probably be absent for another couple of weeks. Hopefully logging my thoughts publicly gives me the kick up the backside I needed to go and shoot some outfits outside? We'll see...
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