2017 - Rachel Ellen

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





Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Should there be a maximum voting age?
Last year brought two shock election results. Many young people are blaming the over 65s for the way the results have turned out, does this mean they are too old to vote? Read on to find out.

On the 23rd June 2016, I voted for the first time at 22 years of age. I was excited, brimming with hope that my vote would make a difference to my future.

On the 24th June, I woke up to a result that I, the polls, and many politicians didn’t expect. In case you have been living under a rock, that result was for Britain to leave the European Union.

When the polls started feeding through the internet, I was shocked and slightly frustrated to see how different age groups had voted.

In two big elections, last year (Brexit and the US Presidential Election) the over 65s have voted vastly different to the younger generation. In Brexit 75% of 18-24s voted remain, but only 39% of those 65+.

In the US election, only 37% of 18-29s voted for Trump, whereas 53% of the 65+ category voted for him. This has created a lot of doubt in the system.

With people living longer and the baby boomers now between the ages of 52 and 70, the older generation is a growing population. The over 65s are the generation that has the highest turnout of voters and many young people are feeling as though their vote has a lower impact.

Following Brexit, there was a wave of media reports and Tweets complaining about the older generation. Headlines in the press included: “EU Referendum Results: Young ‘Screwed By Older Generations” from the Huffington Post and “How old people have screwed over the younger generations’…” from the Independent.

Some tweets from the public are shown below.





Maximum voting age

The older generation were deemed to be “to blame” for, what is assumed to be the “wrong” decision. This is under the assumption that the younger generation overall voted for the “right” choice.

Do people really feel as though these democratic rights should be stripped away once you hit a certain age? Harry Taylor 23, a History and Politics graduate said: “To stop and deny people voting based on age, something beyond their control would be an affront to democracy.

“They (the older generation) will vote in far more restrictive ways and arguably less progressive ways compared to a younger generation, and I think that’s led to a lot of cause for older people to be stopped.”

In an exclusive survey of 94 people ran by myself, 16.3% said they thought there should be a maximum voting age, the suggestions of that age ranged from 60-80.

One person said that the maximum voting age should be 65: “because it isn't their future.” However, the average life expectancy in the UK is 81, this would mean some people living for 16 or more years without the ability to vote, so how many years do you have to have left to be deemed to have a future?

Taylor said: “Yes in an ideal world they (the 18-24s) might go and live the entirety of the rest of that parliament where those decisions will be taken, therefore they’ll see the benefit or the downsides whereas somebody who’s 80/70 might not. However that’s based on an ideal world”

If the maximum voting age was 65, should we then also have a maximum candidate age. Hillary Clinton is 69 and Donald Trump is 70, they therefore would not be able to vote. Would younger candidates and younger voters represent the country better, or show lack of experience and knowledge?

Judging by the survey results, the consensus is that there shouldn’t be a maximum age on voting, and after all, isn’t this the result we all expected. “I don’t agree with the older persons voting tendencies, but I think it’s a basic human right to be able to vote,” said one respondent.

The argument that being unable to vote is against our human rights is a common thread that keeps coming up. Producer Stephen Robert Morse shared his view on Twitter.



If this was to happen, who would decide who is “old”, and should therefore, would everyone need do a competence test. We may then only have those with higher education voting, and this does not represent the whole of the British public. To have rules on who is “capable” of voting, would affect our democratic stance.

This maybe is the view of many people, many who complained about the way the generation voted, but would not take away their right to vote. But if it is a basic human right to vote, shouldn’t 16 and 17 year olds be allowed to vote?

Minimum Age

In the poll, people were also asked what they think the minimum voting age should be. 45.7% said that the voting age should remain at 18, whilst 40.4% felt the age should be lowered to 16. Out of those that voted that the age should reduce to 16, 11.6% of those felt there should be a maximum voting age.



If this age group had voted we could have had an entirely different set of results. But with the 18-24 group only having a 36% turnout for Brexit, compared to an 83% turnout of 65+. Would a 16-17-year-old vote make a difference? Surely just a higher turnout could change the results as there was just under 1.3 million difference in the votes.

But are under 18s classed as adults? From 2015, children must stay in full time education until they are 18, many of their decisions need parental consent, for example, marriage and joining the army.

One person surveyed said: “If lowered to 16 I think you would get a lot of immature people voting wrongly and for the wrong reasons” but many people surveyed do not agree and think that 16 year olds are mature enough to vote for our country.

How can people campaign for a younger voting age whilst also excluding such a large proportion of the population?

Age discrimination

With the result of Brexit and the presidential election, many people feel we have taken a step back and have opened our society up to much more discrimination and racism. 
So why are these same people asking for a cut in who can vote.

Some people have said that voters are sulking that the decision hasn’t gone the way they expected and they are looking for someone to blame.

Young people are overwhelmingly looking for someone to blame for the way this election turned out. They feel as though they have been failed by their government and by their own family members.

But wouldn’t we rather live in a democratic society where there is no maximum age to vote, albeit terrible decisions that may be made.

To have an upper age limit on voting is a short-sighted opinion. This would massively cut down the numbers of people voting and would not represent the entire population. It would be disregarding decades of life experience and knowledge.

It is clear from our survey results that the majority of people, in any age group, don’t wish for a maximum voting age. But the divide in voting between the age groups is clear.


Young people looking for someone to blame for elections results should perhaps look towards those who don’t vote. With 64% of 18-24s not turning out to vote in Brexit and 11.7% in our survey (7.4% of those were under 25), the results could have been entirely different with a higher turnout.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Instagram Themes...


Today I wanted to have a little talk about Instagram themes. For those that don't know, many people stick to a certain theme on their Instagram page, whether that be all black and white, all featuring the colour red, all having a white background etc. It's quite common among bloggers.

Personally, my Instagram is whatever makes me happy, an event, a pretty picture I've taken, some food, an occasional picture of me, usually when I like my makeup... It's a photo sharing app so I just share regardless of colour, shape, anything else.



Very honestly, I rarely follow accounts that have themes. I don't usually look at peoples own pages, I just look on my feed, so the theme doesn't really have any impact on me.

I don't want to see really same-y pictures all the time, I've come across some pages that re-post, or have a slightly re-arranged shot, I just find it a little boring #sorrynotsorry



I adore Instagram - though I do agree with EVERYONE, put it in chronological order Insta, come on! I love seeing people be creative with photography, I love to see what pictures people choose when you might only pick one. I love that people post selfies, woohoo to self confidence!

I'm just looking forward to themes being a thing of the past.

What do you think of Instagram themes? Do you have one?

Thanks for reading,

Rachel xx

Ps. if you want to follow my random selection of posts with no theme at all, it's @racheleiwood

Monday, 10 April 2017

Storing Make Up

Today I wanted to talk a little bit about how I store my make up. Most people on the internet seem to use those plastic transparent drawers, I have to say I'm not a fan (this post explains why).

At home, I have the MALM white dressing table from IKEA, yeah that one that everyone has. It's so great for make up as the drawer is so wide so you can fit all you need in there!


But at uni, I'm not so lucky with furniture, I have to work with a dark brown TV table that has one drawer. I made do for a while but it just wasn't what I wanted.

Then I remembered I had these drawers (which were bought to store uni work... oops)


I thought they'd be the perfect place to keep my make up organised and safe from damage.

In the top I store any face related products, foundation, concealer, highlighters, contours that sort of thing. Don't judge the number of Revlon foundations, in BnM they were selling them for £5, when they're normally £12.99, the shades and types are a little limited, but absolutely worth the buy. (UK people check BnM out to see if they still have this deal!) But also, don't buy that bronzer, orange 'r' us.


The next drawer is dedicated to eye and eyebrow products, shadows, liners, primer and mascara


And lastly, which is looking a little bare, is the drawer for lip products. This isn't even half of my lip products, most are sitting at home.



I get that this way of storing make up may be less organised than the plastic drawers and containers but I like that I can hide everything away and make it look really tidy. It stays out of sunlight and stays away from dust. And I can actually see the colour rather than just a range of black lids.

How do you store your make up?

Thanks for reading,

Rachel xx

Sunday, 2 April 2017

I Went to London!

On the 21st March I had a very exciting uni trip to London. Although we stayed in very close quarters in a hostel it was such an exciting few days.

On the first day, Tuesday, we went to visit John Brown Media, who own magazines such as Waitrose Food magazine and John Lewis magazine, Edition. We had some really valuable talks about the magazine industry and this was my first time ever experiencing a magazine room in action. Unbelievably exciting.

On Wednesday morning, we had the absolute pleasure of visiting Immediate Media, we were spoken to by various people who work for Radio Times (including Ben Preston, oooh), some of the people that work on loads of children's titles, such as Lego titles, Cbeebies ones, Octonauts and so many others.



In the afternoon we headed over to Hearst to speak to the Good Housekeeping team, Hearst also own other titles such as Prima and Cosmopolitan (honestly not a big deal at all....)

Now unfortunately, it has to be mentioned, when we were in this meeting we found out about the terrorist attack outside parliament, where a lot of our course were trapped inside. All were safe so this isn't any detailed post, you can find so much information across the internet about that.

My input is, that no matter what the media says, London didn't stop, Soho was buzzing as you'd expect on any other Wednesday afternoon, people had pints in hands, absolutely no strangers spoke to me, our meeting went on as planned and it was as informative as you'd expect. We kept in contact with the others, knowing they were safe. Just don't be fooled into thinking that London came to a halt, that's just not the capitals way.

In true London fashion, we treated the next morning as a brand new day, we headed over to Dennis Publishing, Publishers of The Week magazine among others.

Not one of these experiences wasn't valuable, and as intimidating as the whole thing was I am absolutely spurred on to complete my Masters degree and get into one of those newsrooms as soon as I can (if any important people read this, please can I have a job?)

In a last minute dash, we went into Kings Cross Station to visit the good old platform 9 3/4 (which is neither on platforms 9 or 10, but just against a wall, my upset is now your upset too), super cool to actually see it!


If you ever get the chance, make sure you experience a magazine room in action, it's not crazy and shouty but a creative, hardworking atmosphere and I'm so excited to one day call one my place of work.

Thanks for reading,

Rachel xx

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