Rachel Ellen

Monday, 9 October 2017

Why I love reading

Since finishing my degree, I've not done a whole lot. But one thing I have tried to do more is read and I just wanted to blog about why I love it so much.

While at uni, doing my undergraduate degree I never really read any books because I always had reading to do for my lectures. The thought: "If you have time to read for fun, you should be reading your uni stuff" and, a large majority of the time I ended up reading neither, isn't that just how life goes?

Then during my post grad degree, I didn't have a whole lot of time to read, and because I studied magazine journalism I felt I should put a lot more time into reading magazines (somehow managed to watch through every episode of How I Met Your Mother) 

But anyway, the point of this post wasn't to talk about my procrastination of everything.

I really love reading. I love the time you get to switch off from the world, I love how for those few hours you are somewhere else.

I love when you speak to someone about the same book, and there's differences of opinion in messages, in appearances, because words allow you to bring your own thought.

My ultimate favourite thing though, is when you remember any book you've read, you don't remember being sat looking at words on a page. You remember scenes, you remember images, characters, locations, bright and vibrant as though you actually experienced them.

Credit to the authors for creating those scenes. But also, credit to our imagination, you imagined something that well, that you forgot what was really happening. It sounds way more hardcore than just "reading"

Reading is really special, and a hobby you can enjoy all by yourself. When I put it on my CV, it's because I really do love to read.

Let me know any recommendations of books I should read.

Thanks for reading,

Rachel xx

Monday, 18 September 2017


Well here it is, the long neglected blog.

I finished my masters degree last week in a blaze of couch surfing, terrible diet choices and even worse clothing choices. But what a year it's been.

I won't bore you with me gushing again about how great it was, but as I've said on Twitter, seeing the department talk about new starters kinda hurts.

But now, after a week of not really doing anything, it's time to look for jobs.

I am officially unemployed, and that's the first time in a while. It didn't really click with me until I was watching X Factor, and I realised if I went on to sing, it would look something like this:

(you may have noticed I don't have photoshop on my own laptop)

I feel like I've totally missed summer as my degree ran all the way through, but Autumn is everyone's favourite time of year, isn't it? I actually wore a scarf this morning which was really exciting.

Well right until I realised that it's cold now and I won't be warm again until May.

Anyway, this was only a quick check in and hopefully this is the start of many more blog posts now that I have a little bit of free time.
Thanks for reading,

Rachel xx

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Placement Haul
As you'll see in my last post (here if you missed it) I was at the Good Housekeeping Institute last week for a placement, and what an exciting week it was.

I helped to prep samples that were being sent out to testers, I helped to find future products to test, I helped to taste food ( i know, what a hard week), I attended three PR events and spent my lunch times hanging around Soho.

I just wanted to put together a list of all the freebies I got through the week, can I use the hashtag #blessed yet? (the answer is no)

On the first day we were preparing brow products, and the ladies I was working with let me take home a few of the spares they had, that B. brow cream is absolutely life changing in the brow department, I am in love with it. On the second day, the lady in charge of me had a few spare Palmer's products (as you do) and let me have them, they are such nice products and feel lovely on my skin!

At the end of the third day I was asked if I wanted to accompany one of the girls to a press event for Mary Kay, which of course I did! I've never been to a press event before and it was really exciting. They had rose wine slushies, somebody doing nails, somebody else creating ombre lips, and the most gorgeous set up!

They were very kindly giving out goody bags on the way out, which contained two of their new gel semi-shine lipsticks, a felt tip eyeliner, a body lotion, fragrance mist and shower gel.

On day four I went to two press events, the first had a range of independent companies. One of which was Chocolate and Love who gave us a few bars of chocolate to try (which obviously I ate and forgot to take a picture first). Another was The Handmade Soap Company, they gave us two hand creams each to try out, and they smell incredible!

After that we headed over to the Primark Home press event ( I know, I was SO excited). I got to see all their Christmas stuff, a massive Harry Potter selection and a few beauty bits.

I really can't wait for their Christmas clothes, there are these woolly dresses which I cannot wait to arrive in stores. They didn't have a good bag to give us, but gave us both a little envelope. When we opened it we found it had a £50 Primark gift card!!! I can't even tell you the excited noise I made, I was SO excited! Can I just be a professional PR event attender please?

On the final day, I had no press events to attend, and no spare products, but at the end of the day they gave me a goody bag of products to say thank you for the week.

This has ended up being a long post of bragging about all the things I got, but honestly I had such a great week, I met up with a few friends through the week, I ate amazing food and had this great experience.

Thanks for reading,

Rachel xx

Monday, 24 July 2017

Solo in Soho

Just in case you're one of the people I haven't spoken to about this week, I have a placement at the Good Housekeeping Institute in Soho, London. I've been so excited and so nervous for this for months.

I have never been in London on my own before, in fact this is only the fourth time I have ever been. So this is all quite new to me!

Things I've learnt so far

1. The underground is as scary as I thought it would be, but so far it is so easy to use. 
2. London is massive, I can't even begin to comprehend its size. But you still sometimes stumble upon things, who'd have known Soho was so close to Buckingham Palace. If you fancy having me for lunch Queeny, just give me a call.
3. I once read that going to a restaurant on your own is liberating, well my first experience was terrifying and for some reason the whole thing was so much more difficult.
4. If I ever lived in London (and got over the issue in point 3) I could save money on rent by not having a kitchen. You could probably eat out 3 times a day for a full year and not even touch the surface of the number of food places - but would probably cost more than renting a place with a kitchen.
5. There are people EVERYWHERE.

I'm really excited for the rest of my week here, and hopefully by the end of the week, London will be much more comfortable for me and less intimidating!

Thanks for reading,

Rachel xx

Thursday, 29 June 2017

The NARS scandal

Big news in the beauty world this week, NARS are starting selling in China. 

If you didn't know, Chinese law dictates that animal testing is required by any foreign cosmetics company. So, although European law bans animal testing for cosmetic ingredients and final stage cosmetics, some brands aren't cruelty free as they sell in China.

L'Oreal, who own NARS have already been selling in China, among many other brands (honestly, look it up, you'll be shocked!)

But L'Oreal's branch of NARS (NYX too - though they aren't currently selling in China) had remained cruelty free, though many advocates of cruelty free make-up would not include them due to other L'Oreal branches.

But recently, NARS released this statement:

"We want you to know that we hear you. The global elimination of animal testing needs to happen. We firmly believe that product and ingredient safety can be proven by non-animal methods, but we must comply with the local laws of the markets in which we operate, including in China. We have decided to make NARS available in China because we feel it is important to bring our vision of beauty and artistry to fans in the region. NARS does not test on animals or ask others to do so on our behalf, except where required by law. NARS is committed and actively working to advance alternative testing methods. We are proud to support the Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS), a globally recognized organization at the forefront of advancing non-animal methods in China and around the world. NARS is hopeful that together, we can work toward a cruelty-free world. For more on the good work IIVS is doing, see: http://bit.ly/2rVjnwV"

And, of course, everyone is outraged. Many brands are working to stop animal testing worldwide, and L'Oreal are taking a step back.

I think the thing I hate most about this post is how they have made it out as though they had no choice. As though it would be unreasonable to not sell their products in China. They seem to be asking for forgiveness, or for sympathy.

They could have continued as they were, and worked towards removing other L'Oreal companies from markets that force animal testing. Or, at a push just used the brands they were already selling to push the message that alternatives are needed.

Well NARS, guess what? Many people are already boycotting your products and I think more will follow. A lot of respect will be lost for a well loved brand. I think you've really made a big old flop of the PR on this one.

Although my own make-up bag isn't only full of cruelty free brands, I think I need to start working towards that. It's not the most difficult and all my make-up brushes already fit the bill.

What do you think of this?

Thanks for reading,

Rachel xx

Monday, 12 June 2017

Who would think a Masters is stressful?
Ok, so I knew I hadn't blogged in a while but I hadn't realised my last one was the 27th of April, oops.

But, I'm still here, hanging around and hasn't a lot happened.

In my own life, I've made it through the May from hell. I somehow survived through my deadlines. My last one was the 30th May and I'm still not fully recovered from the lack of sleep and lack of decent food. In a four day period I spent 43 hours at uni including an 18 hour day. But, this term I mocked up a whole idea for a brand new magazine and created the website for it, I was tired, delusional but actually so proud of myself.

In the last couple of months I have nearly made it through all 9 seasons of How I Met Your Mother, feelings of achievement and embarrassment. 

My friend and I have an 88 day snap streak on Snapchat (Tasha I hope we make 100). Potentially my biggest achievement this year, it shows real commitment and I might put it on my CV.

I co-edited in our uni production week, and as a class we created this beauty

Had my end of year party (even though we have another terms worth of work) and felt pretty sad that I won't be spending everyday with these three and everyone else.

Me and my boyfriend celebrated 4 years of being together by going to Liverpool. In all my life of living 45 minutes drive away from Liverpool I had never actually been. But I went, bought a mini Superlambanana, and then went to see the real one. I was super excited, as you can tell.

This weekend, I went to Peace in the Park in Sheffield, ignoring a brief spell of rain it was a really fun day!

Somehow, through all the stress and lack of sleep I really enjoyed the last couple of months and everything I've achieved. I really can't wait to start working in the magazine world, but please can we avoid anymore time in the library?

Thanks for reading, I'll try to blog again soon and not leave it a month and a half

Rachel xx

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Help people...

In the lead up to the snap elections in June I wanted to write a quick post about helping people.

When the election was announced I saw people slip very quickly into the attitude of "omg how dare you not vote, educate yourself" but let's break this down.

Firstly, politics is important, to every single person in the country. BUT, not every political element is crucial to every person, and some of it (a lot of it) is just down right boring.

But honestly, you really should vote, I'll help you out at the end of this post, bear with me.

But my problem is when people are urging others to vote, whilst ridiculing them for not knowing enough. And if you don't already know much about politics and how the country works it's hard to find neutral, useful information.

So really what I'm saying is, if you're someone who knows a little bit of something about how the country works, help people. Encourage questions, offer answers or opinions. If you can't, try and advise on where people can find the information. 

There's no such thing as a stupid question.

Especially on social media, and please be aware of the age of people on social media.

I just think it would be really great in this general election if we had a high turn out of voters who are confident in what they've voted for.

I'm not going to tell you what to vote for, but I am going to try and help. Try this quiz, it will take you about 10/15 minutes. It will ask you some questions and how important they are to you. At the end it will give you percentages that show how much you agree with certain political parties. and will break it down even more if you have a click around.

We all love a quiz and it means you don't have to trawl the web in the same way for the answers you want

http://uk.isidewith.com/political-quiz?from=NevfZB3me - follow this link to do the quiz and share it with anyone in doubt. 

Remember to help people and encourage questions, no matter how simple!

Thanks for reading,

Rachel xx