My thoughts on Purple Tuesday -what is it and why does it matter?

This isn’t the post I was planning to write today, but I didn’t know about Purple Tuesday, or that it was set up to highlight the needs of, and problems faced by disabled shoppers.

I found out about Purple Tuesday through this video on Lucy Edwards’ YouTube channel – go check her out if you haven’t already!

This is what I wrote on my Facebook page today:

This #PurpleTuesday I wish for

  1. improved #accessibility of retail websites (no page elements that exclude non-mouse users)
  2. better website descriptions of products (colour, style etc)
  3. better training for retail staff so they don’t try to turn away guide dogs.

Why do I care about this?

The reason I feel passionately about all of these things is that they’ve all happened to me. It’s not a good experience when you have money to spend, or you’ve found something that you like, and then you can’t buy it, or you can’t buy it independently, because your needs as a customer aren’t met.

I don’t take it personally, and I don’t think it’s intentional, but nobody likes to feel that as a customer, they are seen as less valuable or less important.

Problems online

I actually prefer shopping online. It’s one thing to go out for a day out with my friends, and actually S is a really good shopper too when it comes to finding what I’m after, but if we’re talking about me shopping on my own, then online is the way to go!

I choose to give my money to sites that make the shopping experience easy for me. Their buttons are labelled. They don’t make you rely on a mouse. They don’t have sloppy code that means my screenreader reads a load of numbers instead of what will happen if I click a particular link. If I’m lucky, the make-up items will be described, using normal colour words, and not fancy names that give you no idea what colour something is.

That’s not always how it works though. I can remember times when I’ve had to abandon an order of flowers for someone’s birthday because of an inaccessible date picker to select what day they should be delivered. The order couldn’t be checked out without this. So I had to abandon the order and go elsewhere.

I can think of a time when I filled my shopping basket, but then couldn’t check it out, because you could only click the button with a mouse. By the time I got some sighted assistance, the session had timed out and the basket was empty again. I went elsewhere.

I can think of a missed promotion because I had to wait and ask a sighted person about the colour of something. By the time I had done this, the product I wanted had sold out.

Each time it’s like having the door shut in your face, whilst other customers are being let in. And let’s face it, who likes to feel like that?

Problems in store

I don’t tend to shop on my own in stores, because I have to rely entirely on shop assistants to help me find the products I want. This isn’t really my idea of fun, but it should be an option for people who don’t want to shop online, or who don’t have people whom they can go shopping with.

One of the biggest issues I had in shops was the amount of times people tried to deny access to me because at that time I had a guide dog. This is not ok. I usually pursued the matter, ended up speaking to a manager, and being told I could stay, but I shouldn’t have to go through this experience and it really dampens the retail therapy buzz!

Other disabilities

I’m writing from the perspective of someone who is blind, because this is what I know. But disabled shoppers have different needs, and one size doesn’t fit all. There are visible disabilities and hidden disabilities. Even two people with the same disability might not have the same accessibility requirements.

I know how frustrating it is for wheelchair users who can’t access shops because there are steps, the isles are too narrow, or the things they want to look at are way above head height.

Shops may not know themselves what they are getting wrong, which is why accessibility audits are important, taking feedback into consideration ,and working to address barriers that have been identified and are currently keeping potential customers out.

This shouldn’t just be about one day . I would like to see a commitment to improving both online and in-store accessibility to disabled customers – not as an afterthought, but as something that happens as a matter of course.

Is there anything that you can do to help make this happen?

You can read more about Purple Tuesday in this article from the Guardian.

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How do I find out about new beauty and skincare products as a blind person?

As a skincare and beauty enthusiast, I’m always interested in the latest news and shiny new things. But how does that work when you’re blind and you can’t see the adverts or the pictures that people share?

Well, you have to be creative, but here are some of the strategies that I use.

1. YouTube

It might not be an immediately obvious first choice for blind people, but YouTube is great! Not so much in terms of make-up tutorials, because people often talk about all kinds of stuff, and not what they’re doing, but anything that involves unboxings, hauls, favourites or empties can give me great insight into what’s out there.

And that’s often the point – as a blind person, I can’t just walk around Boots or Superdrug on my own and see what’s there. I can browse things online, and often do, but unless I’m specifically looking for something, I might not come across something that will really help unless other people point it out. Eye shadow sticks and cream blushes were a case in point. I just didn’t know about them until someone told me.

Some YouTubers do a good job of summarising new products – Fleur de Force is a good example.

However, many of the really big YouTubers get so much PR that they do really rushed videos with less information about the individual products – not so great when you can’t see them. I prefer more details about fewer products, which is often why I go for the smaller channels because it often feels as though those YouTubers do more with the content that they have, and this helps me because I find out more about the individual products.

When it comes to my subscription boxes, I follow people who get the same boxes as me. Last week S was out, and I couldn’t read the Glossybox card very well. But it was fine, because Claire already had her box up the day it came. I also follow people like Sussex Sandra, and Lightning Lass, who have all helped me by talking about their subscription boxes. This could be things like:

  • Reading the cards (S would do that too, but if it’s a video I can replay it if I forget something).
  • Talking about the colours (the leaflet says nice buildable colour, but YouTuber says “omg that’s Barbie pink!”)
  • Passing on details of deals that I would never have known about.
  • Providing links to the products so that I can find out more information or buy them myself. Yes, I know these are often affiliate links, and I use those too, but when you can’t read the package, reading the website is the next best thing!

2. Podcasts

I spent ages looking for good beauty podcasts, and was really surprised that there wasn’t more out there. It’s a massive gap in the market! But it’s ok, because then I discovered the Full Coverage podcast by – in their own words – professional make up artist, Harriet Hadfield and unprofessional beauty junkie, Lindsey Kelk!

There is always a section about news, and because there are no visuals, the products are always well-described. This is followed by honest, down-to-earth discussions which are both informative and hilarious at times. The podcast also has its own Facebook group, which is friendly and supportive, and where people are genuinely interested in helping each other (not a given in the beauty groups on Facebook!)

3. Blogs

Blogs by their nature are full of words. There has been a move towards more image-driven posts, but most of the time people will write something about the products that they are enjoying or have used up. I don’t stick around if the posts are mainly about photos with captions like “this colour is amaaazing!”, but I have found some bloggers who go into more depth about what a product was like, or who describe colours.

Shops and brands are often terrible when it comes to writing about the colour of their make-up. They assume that everyone can see the picture, which of course isn’t true. Certainly for me, online shopping is often a more accessible alternative than going into the shop, but then I have the problem of working out the shade of something that has a weird and wonderful name! I often google the product and find descriptions of it on blogs, which then help me to decide which one I want.

Blogs by other people with a visual impairment can be a useful source of information too, especially when it comes to tips on how to do things. But I know in terms of colours, I’m not massively helpful either because I often don’t attempt to describe something I can’t see myself.

4. Subscription boxes

One of the things I really like about subscription boxes is that you are able to try things at a fraction of the cost and without having to buy the full-size products. Ok, I can’t use everything that I get – sometimes because it’s for darker skin tones, sometimes because it’s things that I just don’t use (I’m thinking of you, dry shampoo!), and sometimes it’s because I prefer a different type of product because of my blindness (I prefer cream or liquid highlighters over powder). If I end up not keeping a lot of the products, that’s not a good deal. But if it’s one or two, my Mum or friends are happy to rehome them, and some of them go in giveaways, because just because I can’t or won’t use something, it doesn’t mean my readers won’t.

I really like the idea with boxes like Latest in Beauty too, because there you get to choose the things that you would like to try.

5. Newsletters

The basic point of newsletters is marketing. I know that. But as many brands don’t have basic subscription functionality on their blogs, subscribing to the newsletter is a good way to be sent any more in-depth articles about the brands that you enjoy. That and of course it’s a way to find out about discounts, which are also good.

The only problem there is that whilst the message is slowly getting through about website accessibility being important, many brands and shops seem to forget that this also applies to their newsletters. Some contain links that can only be activated by using a mouse. I don’t use a mouse. Some have ridiculously complicated or inaccessible sign-up processes. Some have “your alt text goes here” all the way down the newsletter because someone couldn’t be bothered to fill in the fields in the newsletter software with the correct information. Sighted people don’t see this. People using a screenreader will be able to read it.

And finally – avoid things that don’t work

I’ve tried out a few things and decided that I really didn’t like them – so I don’t do them any more.

For example, I like using Facebook groups, but many groups that I’ve found about skincare or beauty are so image-heavy, that they aren’t fun for me. There are not enough words. People post things like “Hey look what I bought this morning” Or “Which one shall I get?” and I can read through all the comments and still have no idea what they’re talking about. So I unsubscribe.

It was the same with Instagram – apart from the app not being massively accessible at the time I tried it, I found that half the time people weren’t writing interesting captions. It was all about the pictures, and I lost interest. So I’m not on Instagram, and that’s ok.

The same goes for Pinterest. I know lots of people who use it for inspiration, but it is all about the pictures, and for someone who can’t see them, it doesn’t get more uninspiring!

Magazines do have some interesting articles in them, but you sometimes have to scroll a long way past image galleries first. I’ve downloaded a few for free as part of my Amazon Prime subscription, but I haven’t found anything that added enough value that I’d want to buy it.

Summing up

So, I know that some of the ways that other people use to find out about new products aren’t open, or useful to me, but I think it’s about finding out where the relevant information is, and focussing on that. Look for the things that do add value. Build relationships with people whose content is accessible. Try to educate brands when it matters to you. I can’t spend my entire day explaining why “your alt text goes here” in newsletters is super-annoying, but if it’s a brand that I particularly care about, I will.

I think there’s also a message there for brands – there is a potential audience out there in terms of blind people. We have buying power! But you won’t reach many of us if you focus on glossy ads or Instagram (and yes, I know there are blind people who use it, but there are also many who don’t). Neither will you reach us by targeting groups for blind people – I don’t attend any, or read any publications aimed at this particular demographic.

What you can do are all the little things to make the mainstream experience of your brand more accessible. This includes good descriptions of products, labelling of colours, content that doesn’t rely primarily on images as part of your mainstream marketing strategy, and not excluding content creators from your marketing campaigns by including inflexible measures such as an Instagram following of X number of people, when perhaps someone has a sizeable audience on another platform, or access to an audience that would otherwise be hard to reach.

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12 things I finished and one that I gave away in October

It’s that time of the month again! Time to tell you which products I’ve used up. Let me know if you’ve tried or if you like any of these! A few of the products are in the header image, but as I’m blind, people come to my blog for the writing. The links take you to pages where you can see images and get further information about each product. 

All of the products were bought with my own money, apart from the two free perfume samples. 

There was a lot of good stuff this month, but a couple of misses too. I like to keep things honest! 

Sleeping cream

This sleeping cream from the Body Shop® is something that I’ve mentioned before. It’s part of the Oils of Life range and contains three seed oils from around the world. It’s a thick, nourishing cream, but not greasy, and does really make your skin feel “velvety soft” in the morning. To be honest, I haven’t come across a moisturiser from the Body Shop® that I haven’t enjoyed, but this one is particularly good for the cold winter months, when the central heating and cold weather outside both contribute to drying out our skin.

Chocolate orange bubble bath

‘Tis the season for long baths and pamper evenings! Well actually I like these all year round, but I can lose hours lying in the bubbles and forgetting my day or all the things I need to do. It’s that one thing that makes me stop to unwind.

I swap out my bubble baths a lot, but I fancied going back to my old favourite chocolate orange one. It produces a decent covering of bubbles and makes the whole place smell like Terry’s chocolate orange! What’s not to love?

Coco Mademoiselle

My Nan used to wear Chanel perfume – although not this one. I discovered Coco Mademoiselle because S’ Dad brought me a bunch of samples from Boots to review on the blog!

I liked this one straight away, and when I looked it up, I wasn’t surprised – the top notes are fresh and vibrant orange. It’s floral too, because there is jasmin an rose in it, but it’s not the kind of overly floral scent that I don’t like – probably because of the orange! I have a number of perfumes open, so won’t go straight  out to buy it, but this is something I enjoyed wearing and would get again.

Cranberries and cream hand cream

I got this cranberry hand cream as one of my Latest in Beauty choices, but you can get it in Superdrug as well. I think this scent, or anything to do with cranberries really, is a festive thing to have around this time of year. I like the Patisserie de Bain formula – it feels a bit sticky for about 30 seconds while it’s sinking in, but it doesn’t leave you with a greasy residue, and it is long-lasting. A lot of these scents are quite sweet, so if that’s not your thing, you may not like it, but I’d take these over flowery ones any day! My favourites are still cherry and lemon, but I like this cranberry one and the strawberry one too.

Banana hand cream

I was excited to see that Ocado now sells products from brands like Yes To, Burt’s Bees, and Korres. I recommend all of these brands and like to try new things. Unfortunately the Banana hand cream from Burt’s Bees wasn’t for me. I don’t think it’s a bad product – but it’s more of a solid product, like a balm, and I found it to be quite greasy. I just didn’t like the texture much. But if you are looking for a heavy-duty balm, you might like it. I rehomed it, so it isn’t really an empty, but I thought I’d include it anyway!

Weleda pomegranate firming serum

I’d tried some body lotions from Weleda, which I first discovered through the Lovelula natural beauty boxes. I then decided to try out their pomegranate face serum. It’s not a cheap serum, but you can often expect to pay more fore serums because you really don’t need a lot. This is a product marketed at people over 40, which I didn’t see at the time, but a couple more years and I’ll be there – so no harm done! It contains pomegranate juice, which firms the skin, thus reducing wrinkles. There is also a day and a night cream in the range, though I haven’t tried them yet.

This was a really nice texture to work with – not watery, not greasy, and not annoying when you come to put other products on top. It has a refreshing pomegranate scent too and I’d definitely get it again.

I got mine on Ocado when it was on offer. At the moment it isn’t on offer, and at the time of writing there was a better price on Amazon.

Wild rose sleeping facial cream

I got my Korres wild rose sleeping facial cream in my M&S advent calendar last year. I’m not sure if it’s been discontinued, because it’s out of stock on a couple of sites that I tried, but I tracked it down in M&S.

The cream is rose-scented – not a surprise when you think about the name!

Apart from liking the products that I’ve tried so far, I like the idea behind Korres skincare – using natural active ingredients in the products – so the things that nature has already given us. The cream is basically a night cream that you apply at the end of your night time skincare routine. It is boosted with wild rose oil, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid – and yay, it’s in a tube to reduce exposure to the air (I don’t like to see vitamin C products in jars!)

Rose toner

Staying on the rose theme, I also got through this refining toner from Weleda. To be honest, I didn’t like this as much as the serum. Despite containing lemon and witch hazel as well, the rose scent was very strong, and the consistency was quite thin. It’s called a refreshing tonic and I guess that’s right – not really like the toners that I’m used to. Probably wouldn’t get this again.

Body Shop® mango bath bomb and pink grapefruit bath bubble

Mango is one of my favourite ranges at the Body Shop, so I was intrigued by the little mango bath bombs. They smell great, make your bathwater turn orange, and are also quite a good deal. However they are also tiny, when you compare them to other bath bombs, and I’d be tempted to drop a couple in, which then doesn’t make them such a good deal. Hmm, I’d take the shower gel instead!

The same goes for the pink grapefruit bath bubble, with the difference that your water becomes pink and smells of grapefruit. It’s more like another bath bomb than a bubble bar though.

Balance me micellar water

People seemed to be complaining about this mini micellar water showing up in beauty boxes. I think I got mine in Pink Parcel. I don’t have a lot to say about it really – it was a nice micellar water that did the job it was meant for. And I’d rather get a staple product of something that I’ll use than something that I don’t want!

Wild garden pure and fabulous lotion

Unfortunately I can’t find a UK link for this, but it’s a body lotion that I got in my Glossybox. It seems a lot of other people got body sprays, but I got this generous size of a body lotion which was fairly lightweight and smelled really nice and refreshing.

Coach

I decided to pick up a perfume sample in my Latest in Beauty, so I got a sample of Coach. I knew it reminded me of something, and when I looked it up, it was the raspberry body spray that I have. So if you like raspberries, you’ll probably like this too. My sample was from LIB, but you can also get it in Superdrug.

Alaía perfume

It just shows how personal a thing scents are! I heard Sussex Sandra and Lady Mawa saying on YouTube how much they liked this scent. I really didn’t! It just didn’t smell good on me! It came as a free sample in LIB, and I’m always happy to try samples, but this really wasn’t for me. If you want to check it out though, it’s available on FeelUnique, but even there the description is a bit odd, so I can’t really tell you what’s in it!

Discounts and offers

And finally if you’ve made it this far – just a reminder that I have some affiliate discount codes for you:

Feelunique – you can get £10 off your first Feel Unique order by going onto the site using my affiliate link. This offer is open to new customers only, and the minimum spend is £30.

Glossybox – you can get 20% off your first box by using my code KIRSTY-RGE when you place your first order on the Glossybox site.

Ocado – if you would like me to send you an invitation to Ocado, just fill out your details using the form below. You will receive a £20 voucher for your first shop, and a free smart pass, which gives you free deliveries for one year (minimum spend applies).

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The emails contain news of my new posts, other things that I’ve enjoyed (podcasts, posts from other bloggers, interesting articles etc), and any UK shopping information that I think my readers might like.

This post contains some affiliate links, but I only promote things that I’ve tried and tested.

 

 

 

 

Discovering Halloween as an adult

As a child, I never understood Halloween. I didn’t like it. I didn’t like scary stories at school, and I didn’t want to do after-school activities around Halloween.

 

My grandparents took a pretty laid-back approach to most things in terms of what I liked, disliked or didn’t want to do. There were rules that had to be obeyed about things we had to do, but with the optional stuff, I was never pushed into things. Even when they were supposed to be fun things. If I didn’t find them fun, I wasn’t made to take part. You don’t like the loud school disco? Ok, you don’t have to go.

 

I think some people thought this was a bit over-indulgent. I was encouraged to try things, but if after that the answer was still no, then that was no big deal.

 

Things that were meant to be a treat or fun for other children were not always fund for me. That was ok.

 

It was the same with Halloween. I wasn’t a fan of scary things.

 

To be honest, I just didn’t get the logic behind it.

 

I knew what it was to feel scared. I didn’t like being scared. You feel scared when something bad is about to happen, or you’re on your own in a dangerous situation, or something is going to hurt you. When you feel scared, the sensible thing to do is to work out what to do so you don’t feel scared any more or the danger goes away. This means getting out of the situation, getting help, or finding a solution.

 

If a child has a bad dream, the first thing the parent does is tell them not to be scared. It was just a dream.

 

So why did people actually want to feel scared when it isn’t a positive emotion? That’s like wanting to make yourself really sad – for fun! Why would you do that?

 

This is the way my brain worked as a child! I didn’t see it as me that was different, but everyone else being illogical!

 

When you think about it, some of the things that we tell children don’t make a lot of sense. Santa comes down the chimney into your house when you’re asleep, or the tooth fairy creeps into your room, sneaks up to your pillow and takes your tooth away. That’s kind of terrifying! I stopped believing in both very early, but I just wanted to use them as other examples.

 

Most children just accept it, but if you take a step back and look at it literally, it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

 

As an adult, I get the idea more now, though I’m still not a fan of horror or going out of my way to make myself scared.

 

We were reading an audio book the other day and it had an unexpected scary part! I find the most frightening things are the things that could actually happen and not things that are completely way out there in fantasy land. I was ok with it, but glad that I wasn’t on my own. The only Other time I can think of as an adult was listening to a really scary audio drama late at night, and calling my dog up on the bed, telling her to stay there with me till I’d calmed down.

 

But now I can see the fun in it. Children like dressing up. Hey, even adults like dressing up! Carving pumpkins is fun. Scary books or films can be fun as long as they’re not too weird (sometimes if you can’t see something, you don’t get why it’s so scary). Cooking things with pumpkins is fun! And in any event, the bad guys get defeated in most stories anyway! Or they turn out to be not as bad as you think!

 

This black and white way of thinking can help you to be clear about what you want, but it can also mean that you close your mind to things. Now that I don’t automatically reject everything to do with Halloween, I realise that parts of it can be enjoyable too, especially if you do it with friends. But I think I had to make this realisation for myself – if anyone had tried to force me into it, I would have just resisted.

 

I think my Nan knew that, which is why she didn’t push the point. Ok, I didn’t have the same Halloween experience as other children, but we found other fun things to do.

 

How about you? Did you enjoy Halloween as a child? Do your children like it?

 

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Dogs’ Trust campaign – stop puppy smuggling

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you may remember Holly’s story, in which I told you about Holly the Labrador. She was rescued from a life of bearing litter after litter so that her puppies could be sold on to make her owner money.

This week I’d like to tell you about the new campaign by the Dogs’ Trust, which wants to put an end to puppy smuggling.

What’s the problem?

With a high demand for designer breeds such as French Bulldogs and Pugs, especially during the run-up to Christmas, there is a market for small puppies in the UK. So much so, that puppies are being brought in large numbers from Eastern and Central Europe, often in terrible conditions.
Continue reading “Dogs’ Trust campaign – stop puppy smuggling”

October highlights – week off, world of wizardry, and winning sheet masks

October has been a good month. We started it with a week off, my course is in full swing now, and I’m getting into the autumn vibes of warming foods and cosy nights in!

What have you been enjoying this month?

World of wizardry

One of our days out on our week off was to the Harry Potter studio tour. I won’t write at length about it in this post, but you can read the full review here.

Wizarding slider charms

One of my birthday gifts was a slider bracelet, and I’ve been enjoying getting some new charms for it. For example, it has two owls – one from Harry Potter, and one with a mortar board, which was a birthday present from S. I also picked up a couple more at the Harry Potter tour – a letter from Hogwarts and a chocolate frog.

Greek restaurant

During our week off, we also spent a day in Reading, where we had lunch at The Real Greek. When we went, the weather was still good enough to eat outside. You can buy individual main dishes, but we bought a selection of smaller dishes to share, which meant we could try more things. The food was delicious, and I finished it off with some Greek coffee.

I was a little disappointed at the lack of lamb in the moussaka, but apparently this is being reviewed. The other dishes were all very good though and I’d definitely go there again if we go to Reading.

Pumpkins

Last year I wrote about pumpkins too. As a child I never ate them, but in addition to our pumpkin soup, which is becoming a bit of a tradition now, we also made a feta, pumpkin, bacon and spinach flan. I don’t really think about buying or cooking with pumpkins during the rest of the year, but when they’re all out for Halloween, it makes me want to see what else we can make with them. The flan was delicious and an interesting variation on quiche if you’re looking for some new flavours. I got the recipe here.

New eye shadow stick

I raved about the ELF eye shadow sticks last month, and am still enjoying using those. I can usually make a decent job of the cream shadows in a pot, but the sticks are quicker, they don’t dry up, and they seem to crease less. When you can’t see the end result, it’s good to feel sure it looks good because you can’t check yourself! I only ever do simple eye looks, but I’d rather do something simple well, than attempt something complicated and screw it up!

So the point of this long intro is to say that I also picked up one of the NARS Velvet Shadow Sticks from Feelunique. These are not the cheapest shadow sticks, but thy are soft and gentle on the eyes, there’s no fuss (they’re just twist-up), there’s a range of colours, and it will probably last longer than some of my shadow pots.

I do mark my make-up in a tactile way so I know what I’m picking up, but I also have a habit of buying one product from a bunch of different brands, than a bunch of products that feel exactly the same from one brand. It also means I can build an opinion about what I think of shadow sticks from different brands, and I’d definitely recommend these.

Winning face masks

I first talked about Sussex Sandra in my YouTuber post. I’ve been following Sandra’s YouTube channel for over a year now, and I enjoy her honest and no-nonsense approach to beauty box, make-up and skincare reviews. If she doesn’t like something, she’ll tell you – which is refreshing in a world of so many YouTubers who think that every product is amazing! Similarly if she likes things and thinks they are good value, she’ll tell you that as well. I’ve found out about some great offers and products through her channel and she replies to comments.

Sandra did a giveaway on her channel on a video about facemasks and she sent me the Madara SOS instant moisture plus radiance hydra mask (I love Madara products!), a Multivitamin mask from Vitamasques, and the Skimono total conditioning plus mask. I mentioned that I liked hydrating masks and am really looking forward to trying these out. haven’t used them all yet and will do separate reviews in my empties posts, but it was really nice of Sandra to do the giveaway and I’d encourage any of you to go and check out her channel.

Spending Glossy points

So, I’ve been getting Glossybox for a few months now. After every box, you have the option of rating the products inside, and giving your views on the boxes. The surveys don’t take long, and they are not as intrusive as some online surveys – they’re primarily about the products themselves and what you thought of them.

Filling out these surveys takes slightly longer if you don’t use a mouse, because you have to keep clicking next so that the next question appears on the screen, even if you’ve already read all the information with your screenreader and answered the questions. It’s doable though once you understand how the page works.

Anyway – each survey earns you Glossy Credits, and you can cash these in on the Lookfantastic site. This month I decided to trade mine in, and I got the Korres lip butter, and the Yes to Grapefruit vitamin C boosting mask snap stick. Not bad for answering a few questions! I know I like both of these brands, and I can’t say I wasn’t influenced by the words mango and grapefruit! The mango lip butter smells amazing and will be good to have around as the weather gets colder. I haven’t tried out the snap stick yet, but the idea of mask in a stick intrigues me! There is a review coming soon!

The main point was to let you know about the Glossy credits – if you’re a Glossybox subscriber or thinking about becoming one, it’s a good way to get to try some extra products that you can pick yourself.

Pamper nights

This is not a new product for me. I have baths all year round, but I’ve been particularly enjoying the almond milk and honey bath milk from the Body Shop®. It contains almond milk, almond oil, and honey, and is one of the thickest bath milks I’ve seen. It does produce bubbles – not crazy bubbles, but enough for a good covering. It also leaves your skin feeling really soft afterwards, and is recommended for people with dry or sensitive skin. Again, not the cheapest when it comes to bubble baths, but due to its thickness, it does last a long time.

Nutriganics night cream

This is a bit disappointing – I can’t link it because The Body Shop® doesn’t seem to stock this any more. But I had a smoothing night cream from this range, which promises to deal with the first signs of aging. Unlike a lot of the night creams, it comes in a pump, which I prefer to the jars. It’s moisturising but lightweight, and I’ve even used it as a day moisturiser on a couple of occasions. I don’t know if it’s out of stock or discontinued, but I’m enjoying using it and hope it will come back.

Passing my first assessment

I’m not going to report on every assessment, but it felt good to pass the first one! I’m enjoying my course. I’m keeping up with the work! I’m learning new things – even even things about myself!

More from Unseen Beauty + discounts

Feelunique – you can get £10 off your first Feel Unique order by going onto the site using my affiliate link. This offer is open to new customers only, and the minimum spend is £30.

Glossybox – you can get 20% off your first box by using my code KIRSTY-RGE when you place your first order on the Glossybox site.

If you’d like to get my catch-up emails, usually once a week, you can sign up using this form.

The emails contain news of my new posts, other things that I’ve enjoyed (podcasts, posts from other bloggers, interesting articles etc), and any UK shopping information that I think my readers might like.

This post contains some affiliate links, but I only promote things that I’ve tried and tested. Apart from the masks that I won and the birthday presents, everything mentioned was purchased with my own money.

Student life – do I really hate maths?

This is a new section on my blog to talk about my experience of being a part-time student. It’s not going to be subject-specific, so you don’t have to be interested in IT, but studying for my degree is part of my life now and there are going to be things that I want to say about it!

One of the things that I’ve had to revisit in my studies is my relationship with maths.

Maths was never one of my favourite subjects at school.

I passed my GCSE, and it was a decent enough grade, but it was not as good as the other subjects that I really enjoyed and did well in.

I spent years 10 and 11 at the bottom of the top set. I even begged my headmaster to put me down a set, because I was tired of being the last to understand things, but he wouldn’t! Because my results showed that I could do the work, even if I didn’t find it as easy as subjects like English and languages.

But everyone else in the class got things first time – or it seemed like that to me – and the only way I passed was learning a set of instructions like a parrot, but not really understanding the reasons for each step. I don’t learn well that way, but it got the job done.

I spent a lot of time feeling that I was missing the point. It was illogical to me. Half the time I couldn’t even work out why we would ever want to do those calculations in real life.

Now I’m an adult. I use maths all the time in the context of running my business. Working out sales figures. Working out what percentage of the year’s income came from each marketing activity. Working out how much people have left on their account or by how much web traffic increased when compared to the last month. I use maths all the time. I love numbers and have sooo many spreadsheets.

In fact sometimes friends and family members laugh because I have a spreadsheet for most things – but if they need that information, they know I’ll have it!

Anyway – back to maths. I began to suspect that maths wasn’t the problem. Maybe I just need to se why we have to know something. I have to understand the practical reason before I can see the point or how we could apply it. I’m not good with abstracts.

But then last week there was an exercise on my course and I just couldn’t do it (binary to decimal conversions if anyone’s interested, but it’s not relevant to what I’m trying to say!) I read the explanation several times, but it was just words and numbers swimming around on the page. Reading it again didn’t help. Reading it really slowly didn’t help. Going for a coffee and coming back to it didn’t help. Not a good sign as there was an assessment coming up and I was sure it would be in there somewhere.

I asked S to explain it to me without showing him the book. He did. I got it. I could answer the questions on the test (and get them right!), but not by using the explanation in the book. It didn’t work for me.

Someone else on the course had the same problem as me. Others didn’t. I don’t think the book is bad – it’s just that people learn in different ways.

Then today there was another exercise. This time I did understand the point and when I did the self-study exercise, I got it right as well – but the explanation seemed strange to me. Why would you do it that way? It’s not logical. Maybe my brain’s just wired differently from the person who wrote it, but at the end of the day, if you get to the right answer and understand how you got there, who cares?

Except – I care, because I left school thinking I just wasn’t that good at maths. How many other young people are leaving compulsory education thinking that they’re not good at something, when really they just weren’t being taught the skill in a way that made sense to them?

I work mainly with German-speaking adults. Some of them say they’re not good at English because they never understood the grammar at school.

Some English teachers hate teaching grammar. I don’t actually mind teaching it. Most of the time there are patterns and rules that you can follow, and these rules can be your friends because as long as you understand them, they help you not to make mistakes. Of course there are always exceptions. But I’ve seen that people leave my lessons with a better understanding than when they came in, and that makes me happy! People have told me it’s not actually as bad as what they learned at school, and it makes more sense!

In terms of my relationship with maths, I’ve had to revisit it, because it’s part of my course. I’ve elected not to do half a year of pure maths, because I don’t think I could take it, but it pops up throughout the other modules that I’m taking. It’s still harder than the other parts of the module, but not because I don’t get the concepts. Sometimes I just need to find a different person to explain it or a different way to think about it. That’s ok.

Maybe young people today are at more of an advantage. If I don’t understand something or I want to know something, I ask a friend that might know, or I look for the answer online. Ok, there’s terrible information out there too, and you need some degree of internet literacy to work out what’s going to help, and what will just confuse you more. That’s a problem in the language teaching space too. But if what your teacher is saying makes no sense, or you need the information in a different way, it’s much easier to do that now than when I was at school and Google wasn’t my friend.

Sometimes it did happen when I was at school. I had a friend who would ask me to explain what we did in German class, and she said I made it easier to understand than the teacher. Maybe that was the beginning of my teaching career – who knows. But essentially we were giving her the same information, just in a different way. I never did my friend’s homework for her, but she had the tools to do it herself, rather than thinking she couldn’t even attempt it.

So now it’s made me wonder – are there other things that I thought I was rubbish at, that might not be all that bad? I just didn’t have the right teacher! We’re not all going to be good at everything, but I do think it’s sad if people give up on things when really what they need is just a different approach or a different way of learning.

More from Unseen Beauty

If you’d like to get my catch-up emails, usually once a week, you can sign up using this form.

The emails contain news of my new posts, other things that I’ve enjoyed (podcasts, posts from other bloggers, interesting articles etc), and any UK shopping information that I think my readers might like.

This post contains some affiliate links, but I only promote things that I’ve tried and tested.