A Dandelion in the Spring (+Full face of Glossier review)

London had always felt like home long before it ever actually became my second home of sorts.

I have missed it enormously, often longing to be back in the land of £11 salad bowls and avocado toast almost nightly.

The instant I stepped off the train at Paddington Station, breathing in the crisp – albeit polluted – morning air, I just felt this oddly refreshing and relieving reassurance. It’s a feeling that slowly began stirring towards the end of last month and has now fully emerged into this overwhelming positivity that not even I can explain.

As I write this, nestled comfortably in my De Beauvoir Town lodgings sipping Horlicks and semi-watching Netflix’s Madeleine McCann docu-series, I realise how incredibly lucky I am to be doing this whole “writing-shtick” full-time again. So much of the past few months have been consumed by my struggle with depression which left me riddled with self-doubt, I rarely got the time to fully switch off, relax and just enjoy the things that I am passionate about without second-guessing myself or worrying about someone else’s opinion of me.

I am wary that I have the tendency to sometimes come across as one of those ostentatious city creatives and for the most part it’s a stereotype I jokingly wholly embrace, but I want to save the long philosophical pretentious spiel about finding myself and delving into my mental health in detail for another really special post that will be up at the end of the month. Instead, this is more of a housekeeping update on general news, my travels and to share some things I’ve really enjoyed as it’s been age since I’ve done a post like that.

Wearing: Alexa Chung Smock Dress (Size 6) £295 [OUT OF STOCK]
Make-up: Glossier (specific products listed further down) and Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal in 001 Black

Firstly, before I delve in to all that babble, I want to let readers know about a significant change that has happened. Books By Females, my little side project that revolved around promoting female authors and their work, really took off and has now been renamed! I’m still championing female orientated literary content and all previous posts are still available, but they can now be found at the project’s brand new home: Literary Women – complete with a snazzy makeover!

There’s no grandiose story behind the name change, I was just beginning to tire of the old one and felt it wasn’t quite as catchy so I figured a little rebranding wouldn’t hurt. Plus, it reminds me ever so slightly of the classic novel Little Women now. Finally, a big thank you to the thousands of you that have joined us over on the new page and continue to support the project!

I want to reiterate how wonderfully appreciative I am of everyone who supports any of my writing ventures. It’s been a wild ride since I started blogging at age fifteen, but it’s all coming into fruition and I couldn’t be happier. I truly do feel like the luckiest girl in the world when product packages or boxes full of books from companies arrive at my doorstep or even when I see my name and review quoted in a publication. I just feel so disheartened that I allowed myself to be away from it for so long.

I’ve been seemingly everywhere these last months, emotionally and physically. I don’t regret trading in London for the brief time I spent in Bristol and as much anguish as I was in at the time, I am extremely grateful for it forcing my hand to go back home to rainy Wales for a little bit. As much as I slander my tiny Welsh town to my mates, it is always there to provide me with much needed solace in times of turmoil.

Since returning to my hometown, I’ve had the space and time to really meditate. I spent a lot of time with friends seeing different cities, drinking a ton of alcoholic beverages, broadening my horizons and making all sorts of discoveries.

Before I post some shots of my travels, I want to give a shoutout to Glossier. I’ve always struggled with eczema prone skin (as evidenced by the occasional visible eyelid flare-ups that I have – especially when I cry which I’d been doing a lot up until recently) and therefore, make-up has always been something I approach with caution. I don’t want a repeat of the fateful incident where I accidentally used liquid eyeliner my face didn’t agree with and my eyelids got so swollen that they resembled golfballs! So when I find a product that doesn’t irritate the hell out of my skin, I will staunchly use it pretty much until I die. Glossier is about to be one of those brands.

From left to right: Wowder Brush £16, Lidstar in Fawn £15, Lidstar in Cub £15, Perfecting Skin Tint in G8 £20, Stretch Concealer in G8 £15, Generation G Matte Lipstick in Crush £14, Cloud Paint in Storm, Haze, Dusk £15 each, Wowder in G8-G10 £18 and Haloscope in Quartz £18

Now, I’m not a beauty guru so I’m not going to wax lyrical and pretend I know what I’m talking about. All I can say is that I have been using Glossier for a few weeks and I absolutely adore it!

Because I’m very wary with trying brands outside of my comfort zone, I’m not someone who ever really got into heavy make-up trends with all the lashes, bold liner and crazy contour etc. I find a simple approach is best for my skin and for someone with oily-combination skin, I tend to notice that usually after a long day of wearing it, even the most minimal of make-up feels almost cakey and can look quite shiny. However, I haven’t run into this problem with Glossier’s products. They’re very sheer and while super moisturising (so great for dry skin!), I think the Wowder does a fantastic job of matte-ifying it and stopping any shininess with my skin type.

She happy. She glowing. She thriving.

Glossier’s products are very sheer. If you’re looking for entire coverage that masks all of your blemishes and redness, Glossier isn’t for you. That being said, if you want to achieve that fresh no make-up make-up look whilst embracing your imperfections, give Glossier a go! All of the products are very buildable so you can always add more to achieve your desired look! Also, because Glossier doesn’t offer a bronzer or contour in this range, I used the Cloud Paint in the shade Dusk along my hairline, cheeks and nose where I would usually apply contour and then used the other Cloud Paint shades as blusher.

Alas, I didn’t cop any of the Glossier Play range so I wasn’t able to test out their Technogel Eye Pencil: Colorslide aka fancy ass eyeliner, but I am completely devout to my old faithful Rimmel Scandaleyes liner anyway as it’s the only one I’ve found in all twenty years that is actually hard wearing and stays with me throughout the day without breaking the bank – because sometimes a girl has to eat, right!? I also didn’t try the Boy Brow Eyebrow Filler, but this is mainly because I’m not a big fan of doing too much to my brows at the risk of ending up imitating a caterpillar so I tend to use cheap kohl pencils to fill in my eyebrows. Look, I never said I was Michelle Phan, ok!

Now, I don’t know if it’s the Glossier x Alexa Chung combo in those photos, but I look at them and it fills with me such an overwhelming sense of emotion. Again, I’m sparing the nitty gritty mental health talk for another post, but I find it quite jarring to see the difference in these shots in comparison to the ones taken of myself for the previous post about learning to love myself. Something about the photos in today’s post just radiate confidence. I’d lost so much weight around the time of the last post due to emotional stress after the break-up and the new medication causing me to lose my appetite completely, but changes have been made on the mental health front and while I still weigh marginally less than I did as I was a Size 10 mid-to-late last year and now clock in at around a Size 6/8, I think the lifestyle changes that I have made in order to help better my mental health have really had a positive impact on not just how I view myself, but in how I carry myself. Obviously, the other health issues are still prevalent. However, I actually teared up looking at these photos of me because not only do I absolutely adore this Alexa Chung dress with my all heart, but I also can’t believe how much I’m glowing in them! The difference in them to, say, this selfie, is just incredibly different.

So what changes have I made? Other than just taking the time to realise my own self-worth, I’ve been doing my utmost to start getting out more rather than spending my days being a recluse writer/reader 24/7. I never thought I’d say this, but I’ve started exercising. I know, right?! Every single day for the past month or so, I’ve been doing at least two hours of working out. Usually, it’s a bit of at-home cardio and pilates mixed in with the odd bit of Barry’s Bootcamp. Sam? Willingly doing exercise? It’s more likely than you think.

In addition to this, I’ve been begrudgingly easing back into social interaction which is quite uncommon for us writer types. A few cute Cardiff dates have proved to be a bit of an ultimate confidence booster, it’s nice to feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I’ve been all around the country on many trips over the course of the last month and a bit and I wish I could write about it all. Every sight, every experience, every laugh, but then this would just be the length of the Bible and nobody wants that! So, I’ll highlight a fun trip that sticks out which was when my Tumblr friend (Shoutout to the Matt Daddario net groupchat 2k15, dead but never forgotten!), Victoria, from Boston came to visit as she’s on a semester abroad studying in London. I gladly assumed the role of a rather terrible tour guide and took her adventuring around the pretty cities of Cardiff and Bristol. Here are some photos I snapped of our escapades and be sure to give her Tumblr a follow for me, yeah?

a very stormy Cardiff Castle
The Norman Keep, Cardiff Castle
♫ over the castle on the hill ♫
Professional Photographer Queen Vic
A literature student’s wet dream
Cardiff Castle fancy af
The Ianto Jones Shrine ft. a very adorable duck
Vodka tea parties @ The Alchemist, Cardiff
My former not-so-humble adobe, Goldney Hall, Bristol
Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol
two gals and a globe @ we the curious, Millennium Square, Bristol

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! Once again, thank you for the overwhelming e-mails and messages of support on Tumblr, Twitter, Insta, etc during my breakdown. Thank you to everyone who cared about me in a time when I didn’t care about myself. Thank you to my friends – new and old – for all the laughs and providing hope, love and optimism for the future no matter what life throws at me.

Alternative blog post title: Samantha Kilford is Completely Fine

What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again. ― Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay 🌼

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