2017 - Rachel Ellen

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Does cocoa butter cause spots?

Cocoa butter is a vegetable fat extracted from the cocoa bean. It's used in chocolate and in some toiletries. It has a long storage life, and has moisturising properties that are often recommended for prevention of dry and itchy skin.

For many people, cocoa butter is an excellent moisturiser. It is thought to have been used for improving skin tone as far back as 1000 BC. But is it good to use on acne prone skin?

Moisturising is important for all skin types (even oily skin) and can help clear acne, but it's important to get the right product. 

Though cocoa butter has excellent moisturising properties, it also has pore clogging properties. 

The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology analyses different natural oils and have assembled a rating system to rate how much they clog pores:

"The Journal has assembled a massive list of the comedogenic properties of skincare oils. Comedogenicity is a measure of a substance’s ability to clog skin pores, and the Journal has invented 6 ratings. 0 = will not clog your pores. 1 = low chance of clogging your pores. 2= moderately low chance, 3 = moderate chance, 4 = fairly high chance of pores being blocked, and 5 = a very high chance." (source)
Cocoa butter scores 4 on the comedogencity scale (the same score as coconut oil).

For some people, cocoa butter based skin products will be a great solution to dry skin. But for those who regularly suffer from acne, it's probably best to stay away and opt for something that would rank a lower score on the comedogenicity scale.

Do you know any moisturisers that are good for acne prone skin?

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Would you watch an abusers film?

These past few months have seen many victims of sexual abuse/assault speak out against their abusers. The main focus of this has been throughout Hollywood.

On one side, this is such a positive push towards work places free of sexual abuse for women and men. And people feel as though they are finally going to be taken seriously when speaking out against their abusers.

On the other side, we're actually seeing the size of the problem, that we somehow already knew and were oblivious to at the same time.

With the amount of Hollywood stars being accused, I wonder what happens with the films/programmes they star in/direct etc?

Of course, I don't want to support abusers, I don't want to give them the money or views.

But, I begin to wonder, if we were to boycott all programmes starring abusers, how many other people suffer? By that, I don't mean the high earners at the top, I mean the smaller earners and workers. How many people will continue to suffer in other ways because of the actions of abusers?

I know this is a strange thing to think about, and this isn't meant to take away from the real issue of the abuse.

It needs to be understood that sexual abuse/assault is not just a mindless act, and it doesn't just have one consequence.

Will you continue to watch the programmes/films that accused abusers are a part of? Gossip Girl? House of Cards? Any film directed by Harvey Weinstein? 

Thanks for reading,

Rachel xx

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Keep talking, keep sharing, keep learning

I've been thinking about how we, as a generation, are so involved with the world. And I love it.

'Millennials' get a lot of stick, "gen z" too. Basically just young people.

But this year, there was a huge youth turn out in the general election. Young people are interested in politics, and what is going on in the country and the world. 

We use this crazy thing called the internet and we find like minded people and talk about what we are passionate about. And we find opposite kinds of people and broaden our knowledge and opinions.

We also care what is happening in other countries. 

And yes, young people get things wrong sometimes, but we're learning and we want to learn. 

We want to talk about things, and open discussions, and change the world we live in.

I saw a tweet earlier today talking about the LA shooting and how we shouldn't stop talking about it because gun control still needs addressing. We don't let important things disappear because they're not easy to talk about.

And I am seeing constant #metoo updates, though each one upsets me that another girl/woman had to go through something like that, I also love that we are talking about issues. Maybe one day, because of this it won't be covered up. Maybe one day, sexual assault and abuse won't be hidden in fear. Women (and men) might actually be able to get a job, work, and have no other complications.

We are the generation that can't be told that we don't understand. We have access to the same things as adults, we can easily look into history at the click of a button. We can't be pushed out of the discussion and we have to be thought about. Labour focusing so much of their campaigns towards the youth proved that we have a massive impact.

So, millennials, keep talking, keep sharing, keep learning. We're going to make a difference.

Thanks for reading,

Rachel xx

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

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.