Sunday, 17 November 2013

Books | As long as I have books, I can cope with anything

Getting paid for the first time in 3 years does crazy things to your head so last month I splashed out and bought myself three  actual books, whereas normally I’d leave it until they came into a sale on the kindle! I adore my kindle, it cant be beaten for convenience and portability, and having all my books in my bag without breaking my back is not to be sniffed at, but I will always love browsing Waterstones for hours flicking through the pages and getting drawn in by beautiful artwork on the covers. These are the books that caught my eye! 

My latest venture was only a short one whilst my boyfriend was holed up in the pub watching the football. Waterstones often have great deals and they were offering buy one get one half price, which I obviously couldn’t resist. I picked up The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom and Grimm Tales by Philip Pullman. Both these authors are ones I already love; you’ll of course have heard of the Northern Lights trilogy which caused such a stir and still remain one of my favourite series to date. Philip Pullman is king of the modern fantasy world and this book is a composition of fairy tales, popular and not so, in his own words. The prologue reads like an excellent English literature essay and being the bookworm at heart that I am, I absolutely ate up his words of wisdom. I love books into which you can dip in and out, and fairy stories are at the heart of my childhood so this book was a winner from the off. I’m discovering old favourites and finding new ones and it’s a great book to pick up for some bedtime reading!

Mitch Albom wrote my all time favourite book The Five People You Meet In Heaven so when I saw this offering I couldn’t walk out without it. I finished it in about 3 days, due to that pesky thing called work, but definitely could’ve finished it in a day! An easy read, but a gripping one, with concepts that will definitely get you thinking which is a speciality of Albom! I don’t want to say too much and ruin it incase you want to go and get it (please do!!) but it’s about Father Time and the consequences of watching the clock. An excellent read, I'm passing this on to my Mum because I know she will love it as much as me! 

My hatred of internet shopping has well and truly been smashed to smithereens with my recent orders from Cult Beauty and now Amazon. I added The Clear Skin cookbook to my basket after seeing this post from Sophie and having given it a read through definitely am up for the concept of clean eating! My nighttime skincare routine is pretty comprehensive (have you read the post?!) but I still don’t have the flawless glowing skin I dream of, and I think my diet may be the final piece of the jigsaw. I’ll give anything a go once so I’ll do some shopping and get back to you on the effectiveness of this lifestyle choice! 

Have you read anything excellent recently? I'm always on the look out for something that grips me completely, I've always got time to lose myself in someone else's world for a while so please leave your suggestions below or bombard me on twitter! 

Friday, 15 November 2013

Review | Benefit 15hr primer

I think this is my first proper beauty review, non? Which makes the product in question a pretty special one! When I ran out of my favourite Revlon photoready primer I decided I would branch out, as despite loving Revlon’s primer offer, the packaging is just a killer- I ended up digging out a good couple of week’s worth with a cotton bud because the glass bottle and pump system leave so much in there!

I don't really have large pores or an uneven skin tone luckily, my main skin issue is my acne scars. A primer can't really do much to help the appearance of these (if you know one that can, please spill!) but when my foundation slips off my face less than 6 hours into the day, they become more obvious. Revlon's primer does a pretty good job of securing foundation for around 8 hours but by the end of a working day I'm looking a little worse for wear.

I grabbed this primer from the Benefit stand in Peterborough as soon as the lady told me it literally sticks your makeup to your face. I guess this is why the packaging is kind of like a pritt stick?! Very clever, Benefit! I love it, it does have quite a sticky, thick consistency and needs some furious blending with either your fingers or a flat foundation brush (I use a real techniques one) but it does exactly what it's supposed to and my makeup doesn’t budge for the whole time I’m at work and beyond...well over 12 hours! 

Once blended it's weightless and, although it does nothing for the appearance of my skin, it works wonders on the appearance of my foundation and when I layer it with Laura Mercier's radiance primer, I feel like I've discovered the dream team of the primer world. I do apologise for the lack of pictures of the actual product, it swatches to nothing so is impossible to photograph! I couldn't get the focus on this one right either, but you get the idea; application is a breeze, you just sweep the stick across your t-zone and blend outwards. Lovely job! 

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Review | My MAC lipstick collection

My little collection was born and grew pretty quickly. I bought one lipstick from MAC on whim and was completely won over by their formulation, colour range and (let’s be honest) luxurious packaging and hype. I've always been a massive fan of drugstore makeup but I'm yet to find a cheaper alternative to these beauties that deliver the same level of pigment and staying power!

And it does help that they look so goddam pretty in the bullet! 

From L-R I have:
Pink Plaid (matte) a lovely dusty pink shade which I’m dying to wear on a night out with a dramatic smokey eye.

Lady Bug (lustre) a vital component to any collection this is a really wearable red that I love to vamp up a fresh dewy face that has little more than a slick of mascara on!

Coralista (lustre) I bought this in the summer, a gorgeous bright coral that I wore a lot with lots of bronzer and cat flicks!

Freckletone (lustre) a glossy brown toned nude is my newest addition, bought from the lovely Kate at sugarfixx. I haven’t quite worked out how’s best to wear this one as yet so any suggestions welcome! 

Lickable (lustre) is exactly what it says, lickable! I had a similar colour called Lusterlings but lost it, and this came a close second when I couldn’t find a replacement Lusterlings in store. I think a nice bright pink is vital to any collection, goes really well with a subtle brown smokey eye or a slick cat flick!

Fanfare (lustre) is probably my favourite and most worn, this is a great ‘my lips but better’ shade that I put on in the morning and can reapply pretty much perfectly without a mirror! I love this for everyday wear but with a few more layers would definitely stand out on a night.

If you're looking to expand, or even start, your MAC lipstick collection I'd really recommend all these shades! are there any you think I need to bump to the top of the 'next to purchase' list? Am I missing some classics? I always get really baffled by the choice when I go to a MAC counter or store so please let me know in the comments or on Twitter! 

Monday, 11 November 2013

Impulsive and Impatient beauty buys

I don't know if I'm alone here, but I usually hate shopping on the internet; if I've spent my money I want the products instantly, I am ridiculously impatient. However, when Laura mentioned a cult beauty discount on her twitter, I’d just been paid and online shopping, it turns out, feels wonderfully like receiving presents from yourself. After Kate bigged up the Ying Yu jade roller and rosehip oil combo the deal was sealed and I slipped and bought both along with the Aesop parsley seed mask I’d had my eye on for a while. It was an incredibly impulsive order but I decided it was time to delve into some products that had gained 'cult' status! Within a day (yipee!) my fresh new expensive beauty products were in my hands and I skipped upstairs to give them all a go.

I managed to contain my excitement long enough to take a photo of the packaging and then I ripped it open, like an early Christmas (another plus for internet shopping!).

The parsley seed mask is lovely, has a really pleasant lavender type smell, and dries to a satisfying clay which you then splash off with cool water to leave you with fresh calm skin- I could see a difference instantly after using this and after a few more uses I love what it’s doing to my skin. I will definitely be repurchasing this but I don’t think that will be too soon as you get a pretty decent sized tube! Excellent.

Rosehip oil has many properties that claim to improve the appearance of scars and Kate swears that it helped her to fight the appearance of some nasty under the skin spots, and the minute I heard this I was sold. Spots are my greatest enemy and I’ll do anything to get rid of them. Which led me straight to my next purchase of the Yu Ying jade roller, whose usage is best described in this video. In hindsight I wish I’d spent the extra £3 to get the larger version but I’m really really happy with this, even though my sceptical science boyfriend is well…sceptical. Regardless of the centuries of usage of jade for it’s healing properties the roller is soothing and cool on my face and really works the oil in to its best abilities, as well as aiding fluid drainage and general detoxification. It’s also a great destresser after a full on day and I’m sure I can see a difference so I will definitely continue to use and will probably end up purchasing the larger version pretty soon! The two products combined together worked a dream and made my skin silky soft. 

Not only do they deliver great products really quickly cult beauty also offer you three free samples when you spend over £40. I’m excited to try out my picks, but scared of what it will do to my bank balance as I'm sure I'll suddenly develop an insatiable need for these three beauties too! 

I definitely think Cult Beauty may have cured me of my internet shopping dislike and I can pretty much guarantee I'll be making another order soon! My bank balance is shaking in anticipation.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Night time skincare

I am by no means a skincare expert (see Caroline or Kate for advice) but recommendations I can do. My skin isn’t perfect, far from it, but I’m the happiest I’ve been with its condition in a while and I’d like to think it’s all down to this routine I’ve created.

I start by cleansing my face thoroughly as soon as I get in from work- makeup, however lovely, isn’t great for the skin and the less time it spends sitting there the better. I do a double cleanse with nspa’s hot cloth cleanser, which I really love and I follow this with a quick spritz of another nspa product, this time their revitalising vitamin toning mist which makes my skin feel really clean and fresh. Unfortunately these two live in my bathroom and so missed their chance for photos but trust me when I tell you they're great and worth popping into your local ASDA for! 

Then I start the luxury, and really take time over these next few steps; I recently made a very impulsive initial cult beauty order full of luxurious products and all down to some enabling tweets from Laura- post to come soon so I don't want to go into too much detail with these right now! I apply a few drops of my new Trilogy rosehip oil all over my face and then I get to work with my Ying Yu jade roller.

After about 5 minutes working the oil into my face (once the roller has warmed up I generally move on) I put a couple of pumps of The Body Shop’s tea tree blemish fade night lotion in outward motions (so as not to interfere with all the lymphatic draining I’ve just done with my roller) this smells pretty strong but again I really think I can see an improvement since using it and I’d definitely repurchase!

The next step is my secret weapon that I’ve used for years and absolutely adore. I got this jar of Helix Aspersa Muller’s Snail Gel from Holland and Barratts a while ago, and it’s still going strong. It has a jelly like consistency and claims to support the recovery of the skin by using the *wait for it* slime of the Helix aspersa muller snail. If you can bear to get over that slightly gross hurdle, this stuff is really cooling and soothing and great for scarring and collagen production. 

I finish with a generous helping of the Origins drink up intensive overnight mask for nights on which I feel my skin needs a proper pampering and then settle into bed with a good book and my electric blanket warming up my toes. I'll often also slather my hands in Soap & Glory's endless glove which smells in-cred-ible and really helps my poor NHS battered hands to stay moisturised and soft.

Since sticking to this routine for a couple of weeks I've seen a drastic improvement in the clarity of my skin; I've had much fewer angry breakouts and any blemishes I do get disappear much faster. I've got everything pinned on these few products working miracles but if you have any more suggestions to fight acne and the scars it leaves please please let me know! 

Lest we forget.

Every year I wear my poppy with pride for the period before and after the eleventh day of the eleventh month; Remembrance day. I think it is so important to honor the soldiers who gave up their today for our tomorrow, for those still fighting, and for those who fought and are now living with the long term physical and/or mental impact. This is a day close to my heart and every year my family and I visit the local town war memorial for the service. 

(Me and my lovely Dad. Smiling into the sun proved too difficult, excuse my round face and awful frown!) 

Wherever you are, take a minute at 11am to remember the fallen and send your love to those brave men and women still fighting.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Room Tour

Another of my favourite posts to read/see are room tours as I think they’re so interesting and give me loads of great ideas! This room in my new house is really the first space I’ve had complete control over and I’m really really happy with how it turned out! It will be obvious to see that I got a lot of my inspiration from bloggers like Kate and Kayleigh but I still think my room is really special to me and I’m very proud of it. All the furniture is Ikea, kindly funded by my lovely, lovely Grandma as a kind of graduation/qualification/good luck in moving present; she’s one of my most favourite people ever and I could never ever thank her enough for her generosity.

The dressing table is probably my favourite piece in my room, the glass top makes it feel luxurious and it has a concealed drawer underneath for products I use a lot. I don't particularly like how cluttered the surface is at the minute so I'm currently on the hunt for a pretty storage unit to go next to it to put all my excess products in and clear the table up a bit.

This bedside table was probably a little impractical as it doesn't hold all that much but it looks good so I'm happy! I keep my essentials on here, my kindle, my dock and some hand cream are absolute necessities and my trinkets and photos are there to remind me how lucky I am to have such lovely people in my life! that photo of Jack and me was taken on our trip to Paris that he surprised me with on my 21st. Such lovely memories :)

This bed gave us the most trouble (side note: ensure you collect your stuff from exactly the right location otherwise you might find yourself with a kingsize bed instead of a double…ahem) but was worth it because it's so lovely and yet only cost just over £100! The bedspread is also from Ikea and I love snuggling up under it at night with my electric blanket on, it's so cosy! 

There are some of my favourite trinkets on the top of this chest of drawers; The piggy bank is from Next, the fetal skull is essential for theory practice (my Grandma knitted it a hat so it looks a bit less gruesome) and that gorgeous vintage lamp (which I am regretting not photographing in better detail) was a gift from Grandma as it's been standing unloved in her spare room for a while. I was going to get a lampshade for it but actually I quite like the look of the bare bulb! what do you reckon?

This is my view from my bed, some of my favourite photos of friends and family. The wire heart was a bargain from TK Maxx and holds memories of weddings, cards and tickets to add another personal touch to the room.

Having never been to Ikea before, it was a very exciting adventure and Jack and I had a great time wandering round the show rooms and testing out all the furniture! We borrowed enough tiny pencils to never have to buy another writing implement again and Jack sampled the hot dogs and coffee which he said were excellent.

Now, picking the furniture is all very well but it was the next day that the real fun began; building the bloody things. I have to say that Jack was a lifesaver and if it hadn’t been for him I would’ve given up and been sleeping on a mattress on the floor as my attention span is not the best and when something is both fiddly, physical and with 24 steps on its instructions it’s basically non-existant! So, glossing over the swearing, the sweating and the trip back to ikea, and 14 hours after we started, my new room had taken shape. It was so satisfying to see all the shiny white furniture in it’s place and I actually enjoyed unpacking my bits and pieces and really making it into my room.

What do you think? I’m struggling to stop myself buying useless trinkets and boxes and things to hang on my walls! Im really proud of it all and it makes settling in to my new home that much easier. I’ve most definitely got the Ikea bug and can’t wait to put lots of general homey things onto my ever growing Christmas list! Uh oh, my bank balance is shuddering at the thought...

She's back!

Ok so as you may or may not know, I have recently moved up to the Midlands to start my career as a midwife. Which is terrifying and exciting and very disruptive. I STILL haven't got wifi at my new house (cheers, EE) and so that's the reason for my little hiatus! It's been extremely irritating as I've been itching to blog, and I've got loads of posts lined up for you which I'm hoping to get written and scheduled while I'm at home in Norfolk for the weekend.
A massive thank you to you if you've stuck with me whilst I've been MIA, I promise to get back on it as soon as I can. I've missed ya! xx