My graduation was at 9:30am on Wednesday July 18th 2018, the day before I began writing this post. It was honestly one of the best days I’ve had and I enjoyed every minute. I wanted to get photos of me doing my makeup, but I was up by myself getting ready at 5am. No one was out of bed to help, and I felt a bit nervy and dazed because it was so early. Instead I’ve decided to talk about my outfit and what we did on the day itself. Mainly so I can look back on this post in years to come and remember such a brilliant day.
Before we graduated, Matt kept asking me, “are you excited to graduate?” and honestly the answer was no. I wasn’t excited at all. Yes, I’d had my outfit for weeks before, when I was still studying even. It just felt weird going back to Uni after I had gotten used to not being a student for 6 weeks. However, when the day came I was so excited and nervous.
As I said, I woke up at 5am because I had to be at Uni by 7:30 to get gowned up. I was NOT risking rushing on my graduation day. I wanted to relax and allow loads of time to fix my hair or makeup if it went wrong. Graduation photos are something you look back on for years so I wanted to look my best.
(My face when it was suggested I first take my gown and mortarboard back)
Matt’s stylist mum Sharon had dyed my hair for me a couple of days prior to graduation, so my hair was in really good condition. She had topped up my roots and combed some lighter bits throughout that would catch the light. I didn’t want to do anything dramatic with my hair or makeup for graduation so that I felt comfortable and like myself.
(How I woke up at 5am)
The night before, I slept (kind of) in velcro rollers. I had washed, dried and curled my hair, before rolling up each individual curl when my hair was still hot, and securing it in the roller with grips. I could really do with trying some sleep-in ones, because it is honestly so hard to sleep in velcro rollers. However, when I undid my rollers and backcombed my hair in the morning I was thrilled with the result. Ideally, I would have had a blowdry but since the ceremony was so early I had to just do this myself. Rollers work best for me to give the same effect.
My hair keeps curls well during the day without hairspray. However, since I’d have my mortarboard I doused my hair in Elnett hairspray and backcombed the roots just so it stayed completely still.
I applied the Body Shop Multi-Defence Protection Essence all over first. I wanted a totally flawless base that would stay matte, and a very nude eye with a slight shimmer. All products mentioned are ones I have used for ages so would thoroughly recommend.
For foundation, I used my favourite one that I save for occasions. The Iconic London foundation stick. It gives the most amazing coverage and I don’t need to use concealer over any blemishes afterwards. This doesn’t mean it is the most high coverage though, it doesn’t look cakey. To blend it in I sprayed my sponge with the Body Shop Mint Mattifying Mist. This made sure that it blended easier and stayed all day.
For my eyebrows I used the same Iconic London Sculpt and Boost Eyebrow Cushion that I use everyday. I didn’t want to be messing around with products I wasn’t familiar with on a day when I knew I’d be having loads of photos with my family. I don’t use a brow gel but I spray my face with the Mattifying Mist throughout the different layers of makeup so they still stay in place.
Before I contoured I used a wet sponge to bake my makeup and make my contour sharper, using the Laura Mercier Translucent Powder. To contour I used the Topshop cream contour wand, which I have had for years. I think it’s discontinued, sadly. It blends out to the most subtle contour so is a good base for powder contour on top. I find that my powder contour doesn’t stay all day unless on top of this contour cream. The powder I use is still the MUA Luxe Bronze and Sculpt Contour Kit in medium/dark that I have raved about on previous posts. I used both the dark and shimmer on my forehead, cheeks, neck and I contoured my nose a little as well.
For blusher I used a Sleek blush in Pixie Pink that I have had for years and still not made a dent. It’s a very bright pink but it doesn’t look as bright on the skin. I think this shade is discontinued though unfortunately, but it’s still available on Amazon. I sprayed more mist on again after contouring and blusher.
To highlight I (of course) used the Iconic Illuminating Drops in the shade Original on my cheekbones, nose and cupid’s bow. I didn’t put any on my forehead because I knew that my mortarboard would rub any makeup off. I couldn’t live without these! To make it even more blinding I put some of the shade Party Foul from the Urban Decay Backtalk palette on top.
For my eyes I used a mixture of the original Jaclyn Hill palette and the Urban Decay Backtalk Palette. I started with the shade Backtalk from UD and blended it out quite high up and across my whole lid. I then blended the shade Pooter from JC in my crease with a smaller brush. For the shimmer I used Little Lady on the centre and Sissy further into the corner from the JC palette. I used Backtalk and Pooter underneath my eye as well and smoked it all out. Finally I used Obsessed from the JC palette right in my inner corner.
I had huge top and bottom lash extensions done for graduation so I didn’t need mascara or eyeliner. My final face step was using the very last of my MAC Mineralise Skinfinish Natural in medium deep.
To finish I used my old MAC lip liner in the shade Spice, then the Urban Decay HI-FI Shine Ultra Cushion Lipgloss in Fuel. A final spritz of Mattifying Mist and that was my makeup ready.
I kept it very simple and only wore my favourite pieces. I wore my usual trio of necklaces because my dress had a keyhole bit at the top. This trio consists of my engraved Tiffany necklace, an angel wing I got for my 21st, and my necklace with a diamond in it that Matt got me for my 21st. They are all different lengths so they sit nicely together.
For earrings I wore my flower pandora earrings that match my ring. 2 small diamonds in my seconds and an even smaller one in my helix piercing so it didn’t draw much attention. I’m not a dangly earring or hoop person so I stayed with dainty jewellery I wear every day that’s special to me.
For rings I wore 3 on one hand and 1 on the other. On my left hand I wore my Gucci ring that mu siblings got me for my 21st, my matching flower pandora ring and a thin star sign ring I have that matches my sisters. On my right I wore a larger feather ring from pandora but then I wore 2 bracelets on that wrist to balance it out.
I wore my Tiffany bracelet that matches my necklace and a pandora bangle from the Disney collection to finish everything off.
I had it in my head for months that I wanted a midi length bodycon dress. I was hesitant about ordering one from ASOS/PLT/Missguided etc in case someone else had the same one. (This actually happened with the dress I wore to Matt’s graduation the day after, I still feel bad). My mum took me shopping in John Lewis months ago, mainly to find her an outfit, and I stumbled across this dress from Ted Baker. I left it at first, but then I couldn’t stop thinking about it so I went back to try it on. However, John Lewis didn’t have the size I needed so I took that as a sign and left without it.
A couple of days later and me and my mum went to Meadowhall in Sheffield. We popped into the Ted Baker shop just to see if they had it, and amazingly they had one left in my size. I was thinking about the dress all night and I loved it even more when I saw it again. I was so hesitant because it wasn’t the sort of thing I expected to like or to end up with.
It’s super floral and frilly with a high neck, ruffles and fluted sleeves. I left it hanging in a suit carrier until the big day because I was worried I’d made the wrong decision. It’s the most expensive dress I think I’ve ever owned. However, I’m so glad I picked this dress because it was so comfortable, flowy and it matched my pink gown really well. I love it so much and I was so sad to take it off. I’ll definitely wear it again!
For shoes I wore some Kurt Geiger Carvela Cross 2 Court Shoes (that are now online for £20 less than I paid). I spent days trying to break them in before graduation and tested them out at an event one evening. At this event they were fine, no blisters. Obviously standing with your feet arched is painful eventually but I was confident that I’d manage on the day. Not gonna lie, I managed in them for most of my graduation day, but they’re not the most comfortable. However, I do have slightly odd feet so they hurt me in places they wouldn’t hurt most people I’m sure. I also wore them the day after for Matt’s graduation and I could barely walk. Although, probably because of the constant plasters I was putting on and taking off all day. Let’s be real though, are any heels comfortable all day?
I saw loads of girls tottering about in agony at Matt’s graduation while I skipped about in sliders with my heels in my bag aha. Bringing flip flops or flats is KEY to graduation girls if you’re not wearing smaller sandal heels. The marquee at my graduation was even selling them for £3.50! I brought some pointy flats from New Look that would also go with my dress. Your parents/partner have to carry them, it’s your graduation, it’s like a rule.
I had kind of forgotten to get a bag because I wanted it to match the exact shade of my shoes. I needed to take a shoe out shopping with me to get the perfect match, and I kept forgetting to do so until less than a week before. THANK GOD I managed to find the perfect little bag from H&M for £9.99, still thrilled about that bargain. It was completely plain, simple and cute. It fit everything in perfectly and had a long strap so it was easier to carry. I didn’t want a massive oversized clutch to have to look after all day.
I met one of my course friends, Rebecca, at Uni. We got all gowned up together, collected our tickets and had our professional photos done. Then, we walked down to Philharmonic Hall (stopping for photo op’s on the way) to meet our parents. We had to be sat there for 45 minutes before it started, which was a bit of a bore. I sat between a lovely girl I got talking to and a girl I’ve been on modules with throughout Uni so I was happy enough.
One thing I didn’t realise was how ceremonial graduations are! There’s a huge procession, all the staff are gowned up, and it has to be declared open and closed. Obviously the names and the clapping got a bit tedious, but I really enjoyed it. I managed to not fall over on stage or do anything stupid, which is so unlike me, so I’d consider that a massive success.
The ceremony lasted about 1 hour 40 minutes, not as long as I expected, and we were all starving. Luckily, I’d booked The Florist for lunch at 12 in case the ceremony finished early, which is right beside Philharmonic. It’s my favourite restaurant and we had so many photos there, it’s the most beautiful restaurant ever.
After lunch, we headed up to Uni to the big marquee reception because each student got free drinks tokens. If there’s one thing I love, it’s free prosecco. We spoke to one of my lecturers who is Head of English and chilled out for a few hours. After a few drinks, we walked round campus taking photos, headed into a photobooth and tragically, gave my gown back.
We ended the day with a few gins, then a big family meal with Matt’s parents at Neighbourhood. Neighbourhood and The Florist are my favourite places, I was thrilled to go to them both in the same day. Neighbourhood also gave us a free bottle of prosecco because I was graduating which made the night even more enjoyable.
I started off my Liverpool journey on an open day with my dad, and I ended it with him as well.
All-in-all, I had one of the best days ever. It was the perfect way to end my degree. I will be forever grateful to have had a pink gown, and I miss swishing about in it. The tassle was definitely worth the hassle! University of Liverpool graduate with English BA (Hons).
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