Traveling As An Introvert


Traveling with another person when you’re a self-confessed introvert is difficult. Even if you think you’ll be compatible travel companions, everything changes when you’re forced to spend your entire day and night together in a foreign country.

I’m writing this in a piazza in Florence. I’ve just gorged myself on pasta and have sent my travel partner off to explore whilst I chill for a bit. I did it under the guise of being too full to move, which is true, but mainly I just needed time alone to recharge before we’re forced together again. Unfortunately, I am the only one with a working phone and any sense of direction, so my much needed rest will be over shortly when my companion decides that they need Google Maps again.

I think my main problem here is not only that I’m an introvert, but I’m an introvert who is too nice for her own good. I don’t want to rock the boat. I just want things to run as smoothly as possible and if that means doing everything with another person to avoid upsetting them, then so be it. As an introvert, I‘ve always believed that I was the defective one. People are supposed to want to be with other people, right? We’re social creatures. Yet here I am, in an amazing city with someone I consider* a friend, yet all I want is to be alone on a bench rather than discovering the city together. I’d rather sit and stare at the same gelato store and listen to the same constant drilling noises than have to make any more polite attempts at conversation. And I feel like this is my fault. This shouldn’t be the option I choose. But it is, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it.

I see lots of solo travellers from my little stone bench, or maybe they are people like me escaping social interaction for a while. I have often wondered whether solo travel is for me, and this trip would seem to confirm these suspicions. However, I don’t necessarily think I should be confined to experiencing new places alone just because I need time to myself every once in a while. Instead, I’ve been thinking about the best way to go about such a trip in the future. A Guide To Traveling With The Overly Cautious Introvert, if you will. A way to do things differently, so both people on the trip have a good time.

1. Make it clear you are an introvert (and what that entails) before you agree to travel together

I thought it was pretty obvious that I was introverted, but you can never expect an extrovert to know the full extent of your mental psyche. But on the other side of the argument, I never fully anticipated just how much not having any alone time would affect me. You need to make this clear to your partner before you do anything else. Even just a simple “hey, I might need to just hang by myself for a while, is that okay with you?” should suffice. Before this trip, I genuinely didn’t think I would be expected to do e v e r y t h i n g with another human being, so that’s definitely something we both should have clarified with one other.

2. Don’t be a pushover about your needs and feelings

If you want your alone time, say so. There have been times on this trip where we’ve been stuck in a dance of “so what should we do now?” “I don’t care” “me either” repeat ad infinitum, when all I’ve wanted was to scream “I JUST WANNA GO TO X AND DO Y, MAN. WITHOUT YOU”. What ended up happening, however, was I would spend the next few hours doing something I didn’t want to do, thus putting a downer on the whole trip. Your extroverted pal doesn’t get a monopoly on your happiness whilst traveling. They’ll be fine going to explore by themselves for a bit whilst you grab a coffee.

3. You do you, boo

Like I said before, you aren’t the defective one. If your fellow traveler wants to get lost in a crowded market place and the idea of all those people makes you want to kill yourself, say something. Just because they’re the “normal one” it doesn’t mean that their idea of how to spend time in a new place is the right one. The idea is to enjoy yourself, and that means you too. If you want to find a cute cafe and people watch for an hour, then great, that’s just as right of a way to spend your vacation as an extrovert’s way is.

And if all else fails (or like me, you avoid confrontation at all costs)…

4. Go to a museum

You don’t have to talk to each other if you’re looking at art. It’s the best of both your interests.

* After this trip, it’s definitely become considered. I was waaaay too kind in this post. But I’m sure this advice will still work if you’re traveling with reasonable human beings.

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Cruelty Free Lipstick Collection


If I have one beauty vice, it’s lipstick. Back in the UK, one of my favourite pastimes was diving into Superdrug at every opportunity and perusing the super cheap cruelty free offerings. In Spain, however, my cruelty free choices are severely lacking, so I’ve found myself more on the higher end of the makeup spectrum. Combined, this means I have a pretty good mix of different lipsticks. Add in the fact that I culled my collection first when I went cruelty free and secondly when I moved to Madrid, and it’s been streamlined to only the most impressive offerings. So here’s another lipstick collection post to throw into the blogosphere! I was originally attempting to swatch all of these babies on my actual lips, but fuck that. So where I can, I’m including a photo of me actually wearing the lipstick. Less aesthetically pleasing, but I’m lazy af and it’s 23 degrees right now and uuuuugh can’t be bothered. Also you get to enjoy my ever-changing hair colour/style.


(L-R: Double Dare, Antique Rose, Sirius, Perfect Day, Simply Red, Vega, Nosferatu, Confident)

We’ll begin with the darkest, for my inner gothic soul. Vamos!


Lush- Confident

This is a recent purchase and one that I’m still figuring out how to fully utilise. When I bought it, I was under the impression it was matte, but I think that was a language barrier mishap because I bought it in Italy. It’s a pretty versatile shade. A dark vampy purple that can be built up from a light berry shade to something fitting for the Queen of Darkness. For me personally, I prefer to dab it on lightly for a more subdued colour, but maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to wear the full out purple. It doesn’t have the best staying power, but that’s the price you pay when you abandon the matte.


Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick- Nosferatu

THIS LIPSTICK. This is the perfect red lip and I’m sure it would go with any skin tone. It’s a medium to dark red but without being super scary. First off, I love the formula of these lipsticks. They last so long and can even survive stuffing your face with a giant burrito with only a slight retouching in the middle necessary. This is my go-to lipstick for when I want to hide the fact I’m tired, sick, or just having a bad face day. It’s pretty much a miracle worker. If you’re not used to liquid lipsticks, it can be kind of tricky to apply for the first few uses— especially because it’s so bright— but you quickly get used to the wand. If you take anything away from this post, buy this damn lipstick.


Barry M Gelly Hi Shine Lips- Vega

When I realised I only wanted to have matte lips forever, I donated pretty much all of my sheer lipsticks to my mother. But I couldn’t part with this one. I’m a huge Barry M fan, especially of their Gelly Hi Shine nail range, so when they brought out the lipstick equivalent, I was sold. It’s a cherry red shade, but you can build up its intensity depending on how much you apply. Admittedly the staying power is pretty terrible, but because it’s a pencil style design and has a sheer consistency, it’s easy to reapply on the go. So plus points for that, I guess.


GOSH Velvet Touch Lipliner- Simply Red

Okay, okay, so it’s not a lipstick. But I wear it as one by using it to fill in all of my lips. This is the quintessential classic red. It goes great with a cat eye for a super classic look, and most importantly, lasts all night through countless glasses of wine. Which tbh is what we all want from a lipstick.


Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Satin Lipstick- Perfect Day

Despite my unquestionable bias for matte lip products, this sheer lipstick is one of my all time favourites. I was searching for a shade that meant I could wear red lipstick in situations where red lipstick isn’t reaaaaally appropriate (like my job, where no other teachers seem to wear lipstick? Whatever, they’re missing out). This is the lipstick that’s always in my bag ready to apply, because it goes with pretty much any makeup look I throw together. It’s also super hydrating! Which is a great break for my lips in between days of countless matte products.


Barry M Gelly Hi Shine Lips- Sirius

I never thought bright pink lipsticks where for me, but this one changed my mind, and I still haven’t found another that’s swayed me away from it. Even if the winning reason for me buying this lipstick was the fact it shares its name with a Harry Potter character. The smell of these products might be off-putting to some, but I think they smell like cough medicine, so I can pretend wearing it is for medicinal purposes and not superficial ones.


GOSH Velvet Touch Lipliner- Antique Rose

Up until recently, this was my lip colour. The one you could always count on me to wear. Despite the influx of reds/purples in this post, and my above comments on bright pinks, dusty rose colours are my jam. Maybe it’s something to do with being called Rose, idk, but whatever it is it works for me. As well as being super cheap so you can buy 82 of these and keep them in all of your bags so you’re never without one, they’re pretty great at overlining your lips a la Kylie Jenner.


Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick- Double Dare

So why is the GOSH lipliner not my favourite anymore? WELL I’M GLAD YOU ASKED, IMAGINARY BLOG READER. Because I moved to a country with a Sephora and discovered Kat Von D’s Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks. Double Dare was the first shade I purchased from the range and it definitely won’t be the last. Originally I couldn’t decide between this baby and Lolita, but since everyone and their cat has Lolita, I decided to be different. If I could only wear one lipstick every day, it’d be this one. It’s described as “cocoa blush”, whatever that means, but I’d say it’s a medium to dark pink that can be kind of… coral-y? I can’t describe it but I love it and I want to have it forever.

So that’s my lipstick collection. Four shades I wear all the damn time and four I bring it whenever I feel like I need a change. I think it’s a good system. Right now I’m working on adding a proper nude colour to my collection and then I think it’ll be complete. Until I move back to the UK and have easy access to Superdrug once more, that is.

Too Faced Born This Way Foundation Review

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I’m very loyal to foundation. If I find one I like, that’s it. Which means I do a hell of a lot of research before I invest my money. Which is exactly what I did with this foundation, Too Faced’s Born This Way. There’s definitely a divide among among the reviews I read, so I’m here to add my opinions into the mix. ‘Cause I’m so important, obvs.

First off, again, an explanation of my skin type. Dry as Pride Rock when Scar’s ruling the place. This means I need something which won’t cling to any dry patches. It’s also super sensitive. And is there really a point to foundation if you’re just causing more of what you’re tying to cover up?

So how did this foundation measure up against this skin type?

PROS:

  • Blending:

The formula for this foundation is super impressive. It’s creamy without being too thick, and doesn’t run all drippy-like all over your face before you blend it. I’ve tried both a Real Techniques Expert Face Brush and a Beauty Blender during application and found that the Beauty Blender works like a dream.

  • Coverage:

I was originally a little wary about this foundation’s coverage, as I’ve never really used such a full coverage formula before. But with a name like ‘Born This Way’, I had to have faith that it would create the natural looking finish that I wanted. And it does. My blemishes are covered without the help of any extra concealer, unless it’s a particularly nasty blemish duh. I think it looks natural enough. I’m obviously wearing foundation, but not enough to make me feel self conscious or overdone when I go out.

CONS:

  • Dry Skin Compatibility:

My main drive to buy this product was its inclusion of coconut water to help hydrate the skin. Maybe I expected too much of this foundation, but occasionally I feel it draws more attention to my dry skin than if I wasn’t wearing it. Admittedly, this is only a real problem on areas that are super dry (for me, my T-Zone), but it’s something to watch out for when shopping for a dry skin-friendly product.

  • Staying Power:

I apply my foundation at about 6:30AM (I know, kill me) and by the time I get home around 3PM, I’m starting to feel a bit… bleeeeeh. I don’t know the word. Just less put together, I suppose. Obviously no foundation is going to keep me looking great for twelve hours, but if I do stay out longer for any reason, I don’t really want to have to think about lugging around a bottle of foundation and a Beauty Blender in my bag. I try and counteract this by adding some concealer (or hiding behind a red lipstick), but it’s not the same. Admittedly, I don’t use a primer, but I’m thinking of remedying this shortly, so maybe I’ll have to update my findings. But as of now, the staying power of this foundation isn’t perfect.

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(1: wearing only the foundation, so you can see how it clings to dry skin, particularly on the bridge of my nose and mouth area. 2: with the rest of my makeup [and clothes lolol] applied)

Overall, I really like this foundation. Of the four foundations I’ve used in the last five years (seriously), I would rate this at number two in terms of quality, but number one in terms of the product actually being cruelty free.

I feel comfortable wearing this, which with a name coming from a Lady Gaga song, I think was the aim all along. I use the shade porcelain, which is maybe slightly too yellow toned for my skin, but it’s the lightest shade available in Spain, sooooo… whateva.

So if you’re looking for a mid to full coverage foundation that doesn’t feel like you’re smothering concrete on your face, this one’s for you. I wouldn’t exactly say it makes me skin look ‘born this way’ in the natural sense, but certainly in the way that (sadly) foundation covered skin has now become the norm. But hey, that’s a whole other blogpost. Just know that its hydration powers are a little exaggerated.

Expat Friendships: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly


Making friends as an expat is a weird experience. On the one hand, everyone has a shared experience linking them together; on the other, you’re introduced to people who you might not otherwise choose to socialise with. As many of us as there are (even in a city as big as Madrid), it can be kind of slim pickings on the friend front. Such is the life of an expat.

When someone moves abroad and begins the transformation into an expat, they follow a specific pattern. This is something I call the We’re All In This Together Mindset. But honestly, that only really works in Disney Channel Original Movies, not when it comes to building a solid foundation to base your new little expatriate life on. Sure, this theory works great at first. You arrive in a new country, nervous and second guessing yourself, and then boom… a whole bunch of other people in exactly the same situation as you. Of course you’re going to latch on. And this can be useful in the beginning when it comes to exploring your new city and figuring out the basics. But is it enough to base a long-lasting friendship on? Nah. As people become more comfortable in their new life, they begin to gradually move on. And I’m not just talking about your new found friends, you’re included in this too, Hypothetic Baby Expat Reader. It’s like the advice you always get before moving away to university: “don’t settle with your first year flatmates, there’s more people out there!” It was true at university and it’s true as an expatriate.

Obviously it’s not the case all the time, and I still have friends who I met when I very first arrived in Madrid two years ago. But for the most part, after everything settles and people feel more confident, they move onto bigger and better things. And that includes new friends. Which brings me to my next point…

You’ll meet people in the weirdest places. I’ve already spoken about how to meet new people whilst abroad, but I never really touched on the completely bizare places I struck up conversations with strangers. Trying to find my way into a locked building, searching for a bank, on an Irish pub crawl. People are everywhere. Keep your eyes open and don’t write off a way of meeting someone just because you wouldn’t do it back at home.

In a slightly related note, don’t completely dismiss people either. I’m friends with a whole bunch of people I probably wouldn’t roll with at home. If anything, my time in the expat pool has made me a less judgemental person. Of course, there have been exceptions to the rule. Times where I’ve been proved right and people have been exactly who I thought they’d be, but than can happen anywhere. At least in Spain you can dull the pain with churros.

And of course, the most obvious and painful part of any expatriate friendship: you go into it knowing it has an expiration date. It might not seem like a big deal at first, but as the months draw on it gets a little distressing knowing that L Day is approaching. The dreaded Last Day. This is especially annoying with those pesky Americans and their even peskier visas. EU friends are in it for the long haul, so stick with us. But it’s also disconcerting to know that eventually, it’s going to be you leaving one day. Everything is temporary! Time is fleeting! Aaaaaaaah!

So… expat friendships. In my two years here, I’ve experienced:

THE GOOD: Meeting a diverse group of people who have helped me grow as a person and have understood all those #expatprobs better than any family members or friends back home.

THE BAD: Finding your platonic soul mate and having them leave a year later. Then repeating the process every year until your little heart can’t take it anymore and shrivels up to die.

THE UGLY: Befriending someone you usually wouldn’t because of how tiny the expat bubble is, until they one day just completely snap and call you a “c*nt-faced bitch” for no reason and then you’re stuck in their social circle FOREVER*.

*Note: forever is only a year for expats because lol visas.