Let me start this review with a bit of context… I had been hunting for a good primer for a while and when I say ‘hunt’, I mean scouring the beauty blogs, reading product reviews and exploring pinterest incessantly. After all of my efforts, I had a list as long as my arm of potential products and no front runner. All I wanted was something to make my foundation last longer – what’s so hard about that?!

During a mad rush around Boots on new years eve, I stopped by the Benefit counter for a little nose and picked up the ‘That Gal’ brightening face primer and the ‘Stay Flawless 15 hour’ primer. Now, I know I said that I wanted my make up to last longer so the latter should have been the obvious choice (clue’s in the product name) but the promise of brighter looking skin as well as longer lasting make up had me intrigued and I couldn’t resist.

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Official Product Description: Benefit’s ‘That Gal’ primer promises to take your complexion from dull to darling by creating brighter, smoother skin. Benefit recommend using this under your foundation and say you can dab a bit on top of your make up for a midday refresh too.


Things I loved: 
Quite simply, the product delivers on its promise and that’s good enough for me. I have been using ‘That Gal’ as a step before applying my foundation and the immediate brightening effect is fab. The product is light, sits nicely on the skin and doesn’t feel cakey in the slightest – I’d actually say it feels rather silky.

Great for dry and dull complexions, ‘That Gal’ is the product equivalent of tonnes of water and a weeks worth of sleep for your skin. I’m hooked.

I’ve been using the product for nights out, long work days and those minimal make up days and can see the benefit (pardon the pun) for all occasions. For those ‘low-key’ days, just opt for ‘That Gal’, a pinky blush and some light mascara and you’re all set with a healthy but naturally pretty look.

Things I really loved: Even if you’re not convinced this is the product for you, I defy you to stop at a Benefit counter, smell this product and not want to buy it. I can’t tell you how much I adore the smell of this. Boasting sinfully sweet tones of raspberry and chamomile, the scent of ‘That Gal’ is just one more quality to add to the already long list of positives.

Things I didn’t love: I’m not at the end of the product yet so I’m speculating slightly but I don’t think this will last as long as I’d like for the price I paid. The other potential niggle I have is because of the twisty applicator; this isn’t a product that allows for digging around in the corners for those last dregs and drops, which means we’ll never truly know how much is left when the applicator finally holds its hands up and says “I’m done” – hmmm.

Here are two pictures of me wearing ‘That Gal’. The first picture is after a 10 hour day and my make up hasn’t moved AT ALL and the second is me ready to go out for girls drinks with a heavier liner and stronger blush. I really like the finish it gives to my foundation and the glow after a full day, still amazes me:
thatgal blog pics Purchasing options: £22.50 for the full size bottle (1 mL 0.37 US fl. oz.) or purchase as part of the ‘Do the Bright Thing’ set, £26.50 including a 7.5ml ‘That Gal’ primer.

Overall I’m really really happy with this purchase and kind of surprised I didn’t stumble upon this sooner. The jury is still out on the longevity of the product itself but everything else about this, I absolutely love. This is such a great ‘fake it’ product for those of us who don’t always feel like our brightest selves 24/7.

Have you tried ‘That Gal’? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Sincerely, Sarah x

In typical ‘Sincerely Sarah’ fashion, it seems only appropriate to post my Christmas challenge recap 6 days into the new year… I promise I will get the hang of this blogging malarky eventually!

At the end of November I decided to see what all the daily social media posting was all about by joining in the instagram tradition of posting a picture a day (#picoftheday). From a bit of casual stalking, it turned out that the flexibility of #picoftheday seemed rather doable for a busy Londoner and surprise, surprise, I actually stuck to the posting schedule, at times getting really into it with 2+ posts a day. Shocker, huh?

Going into my #picoftheday pledge, I was adamant I would avoid having a library of highly filtered, pouty selfies to look through on Boxing Day. Ultimately I saw this as a bit of fun and simply a way of documenting my life for one of the best months of the year.

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Looking back, I’m pleased to say I’ve ended up with a pretty decent catalogue of my 2015 Christmas celebrations from Welsh cakes to Disney Christmas trees, Coca Cola bows to Harry Potter books and everything in between.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my December #picoftheday collection and if I haven’t put you off you can follow me on instagram here (sarahodonnell1). Let me know what you think of the post and images in the comments section below.

Sincerely, Sarah. x

Between the cooking, the shopping, the decorating, the cleaning and the social pressure to enjoy every minute of the season, its hardly surprising that Christmas often brings a slight but very real sense of dread for many.

In an attempt to make this Christmas a celebration like no other, I’ve made a few big changes to the way I approach the holiday and have been tried out the role of an uber-prepared, financially savvy Christmas enthusiast. My aim – a totally planned out Christmas before December 1st.

Before you start, I know there is something to be said for a mad Oxford Street rush on Christmas Eve but this year, by following the steps below, I have the luxury of looking forward to everything December brings. I even have money left over to enjoy it properly! Sounds nice huh?

Here is how you can achieve the same thing…

  • Identify your responsibilities – A natural place to start, sit down and compile a list of everything you need to do before the big day – this will become the list of all lists, and there will be more lists, trust me.  Make sure you write down everything, regardless of how small a task may seem and don’t panic if this becomes a rather intimidating collection of things to do, it’s a great way to focus your attention.
  • BUDGET – Christmas has the potential of completely breaking the bank, which is why this step is so vital. Set a total budget for presents and work backwards setting a limit per person you want to buy for. Don’t get me wrong, the thought behind a gift is far more important than how much you spend, but it’s all too easy to go a little OTT and come January be surrounded by a bunch of receipts and a serious cash shortage. Budget, budget and then budget some more.
  • Stick to your budget – Perhaps this one is a tad obvious too but there’s little point in going to the hassle of working out your numbers only to blow it with one mighty trip to Westfield. A simple spreadsheet updated after each shopping trip does the job.
  • Gather your intel – The rise of social media means an over-reliance on the ease of instant access to your friends and distant relatives. This isn’t all bad but when it comes to writing Christmas cards, good luck collating everybody’s addresses. Create a spreadsheet (yes, another one!) with the names of your nearest and dearest and their  addresses. You’ll thank yourself next year for this one too.
  • Shop around – I’m normally a rather impulse shopper but part of this new found Christmas persona means embracing the effort required to shop around for the best deals and discounts. You can save a fortune without compromising on the quality of your purchases. By starting so early, you can make the most of the sales too – double win.

Right, I’ll stop there for now but hopefully you find these tips helpful in saving both pennies and stress.  Comments are welcome below…

Sincerely Sarah x

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At the end of last year, Mind reported the greatest improvement in public attitudes towards mental health in over 20 years. The recent portrayal of Germanwings’ co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz’s mental health has made me seriously question whether in reality this is two steps back in the progress towards de-stigmatising mental health.

The front pages of the Daily Mail and The Sun among others were absolutely despicable (as above). I took to twitter to share my horror and was encouraged by the various digital ‘nods’ of agreement I received in response. If only this was the end of the story; unfortunately, the wider twitter response was that of the press, “Why was the pilot allowed to fly?” and even worse, “no depressive pilot should ever be allowed to work”… I mean, come on – is this the resounding sound of the positive shift in altered attitudes? I think not.

We all know that there’s a great deal of work left to do to reduce stigma surrounding mental ill-health, but I really can’t abide by sweeping statements based on a total lack of understanding and education. 1 in 4 of us will suffer a mental health problem at some stage of our lives and 20% will suffer with depression specifically – that’s not a small number of people! To those saying that they wouldn’t want to get on a flight with a depressive pilot, I pose these questions; What about your bus driver suffering with depression. or the nurse treating your loved ones who has taken anti-depressants for over ten years? We go through our existence, entrusting our lives within the hands of those suffering with mental health issues and are usually none the wiser. Where do you draw the line?

Whist depression is a horrible illness, which in some cases can be potentially life-threatening, the lives it threatens tend to be those suffering.

The bigger picture for me is clear, we should be creating an environment in which people feel safe and supported to disclose their ongoing struggles with mental health. The screaming and shouting we’re seeing in the press and on social media will actually lead to fewer people stepping forward and sharing, which is in no way positive. The media have a social responsibility that is readily ignored and this is hugely damaging.

The silver lining here that shouldn’t be overlooked is the volume of people that have stood up against the headlines. I would guess that should this have happened twenty/thirty years ago, this would have met very little resistance.

Visit  Time To Change is you’d like to find out about ways you can help reduce stigma.

1. “I didn’t want to wake up. I was having a much better time asleep. And that’s really sad. It was almost like a reverse nightmare, like you wake up from a nightmare you’re so relieved. I woke up into a nightmare.”

2. “Life’s not about feeling better, it’s about getting the job done.”

3. “I’m smart, but not enough – just smart enough to have problems.”

4. “I’m done with those; regrets are an excuse for people who have failed.”

5. “Life can’t be cured, it can be managed”

6. “See, when you mess something up, you learn for the next time. It’s when people compliment you that you’re in trouble. That means they expect you to keep it up.”

7. “Things to do today: Breathe in. Breathe out.”

8. “People are so screwed up in this world. I’d rather be with someone screwed up and open about it than somebody perfect and ready to explode.”

9. “I can’t eat and I can’t sleep. I’m not doing well in terms of being a functional human, you know.”

10. “Dreams are only dreams until you wake up and make them real.”

All quotations taken from Ned Vizzini’s novel, ‘It’s Kind of a Funny Story’

Sincerely, Sarah x