Friday, 28 December 2012

Christmas One & Two!

I can't really believe Christmas is over already! 

All that build up and then - zoom - it's gone. But, I enjoyed it while it was here & had a really, really lovely time.

It's normal for my family to have 'two' Christmases; I spent Christmas Day with my boyfriend & his family, then Boxing Day with my Mum, as she came down from Northumberland for a few days! Having a pretty 'spread out' family it makes it difficult to see everybody together, even on that set day, but that's just how it goes! I think it works out nicely anyway!
Christmas Day was full of food overload, but isn't it always? Starting with a Full English Breakfast, followed by me attempting/making Christmas Dinner which turned out to be gigantic, and served at 8.30pm... Oops! Although it did seem to go down pretty well!
Even the animals were in the Christmas spirit, Anni had her scarf on & the smaller critter (Herbert and Skye & Pebbles) had their Christmas beds.
I received some really lovely things, too, for which I am extremely, extremely grateful. I'm still in shock over a lot of them! I hope you don't mind nosing at a couple of things, a lot of people on Twitter said they enjoyed seeing what people got for Christmas, so I'm going to include a few snaps :)
After all the entertaining, visiting & general drinking I needed all of yesterday to recover (a good excuse to get into new pyjamas & pamper yourself if you ask me!) but everything is back to normal now!
Canon 550d and 35mm f. 1:2 lens.

And there you have it! My Christmas in a nutshell :) I truly hope you all had a fantastic Christmas. 

Looking forward to catching up on everyones Christmas posts soon & getting back into the swing of blogging regularly again!
 Hasta pronto!


Thursday, 13 December 2012

Step Into Christmas!

This week has been hectic!

With one thing or another, I just haven't had the time to sit down and blog unfortunately! I don't normally schedule things, so it all sort of fell apart! But anyway, here's a little catch up...

Pebbles (my dumbo rat) has been a little poorly this week & she has been my main concern. After a quick trip to the vets it seems she just has a little rattie cold and needs some antibiotics - phew! - which I managed to sneak into her morning yoghurt today! So hopefully she'll be on the mend from now on.

In other pet news, Herbert is going to be a daddy! We pretty much had it confirmed a while back that Maeby (his lady friend) has put on 50g in a week, and she only weighs 300g in total, so that is a positive sign! Hedgehogs are pregnant for around 35 days... So fingers crossed for some new year mini Herbs!
I wish that picture of Herbert was sharper, but I just couldn't leave it out. Parcel bed from Fuzzbutt.

We also put the trees up - a big Nordman fir in the hall and a tiny Nordman in the lounge (can't beat the smell of a real Christmas tree!) so those have been helping with the festive spirit. Plus, I've just about finished buying gifts for everyone, so now it's all about the wrapping - my favourite part! No, really.

Oh! And we bought some hedgehog & rattie baubles... Yes, we are those kinds of people.
And that's about everything! I realise the majority of these photos aren't 'technically' brilliant, but y'know, it is very hard to capture wriggly little critters!

Anyway, I'll leave you with one of my faaaavourite Christmas songs, just in case you still aren't feeling the Christmas spirit yet!
Link! [Elton John - Clues in the title]!

How is your Christmas prep going?

Friday, 7 December 2012

November Beauty, Skincare & General Favourites!

Aaandd, we're into my most favourite month of the whole year!

November has just flown by, I can't quite believe it, I didn't even have time to buy an advent calendar! (that's saying something). 

In these past months I have been up-ing hydrating, moisturising products and ditching the lightweight stuff - as winter is well and truly here my friends! So I thought I would jump in with my November Favourites.

Skin, Hair & Body Care.
Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm : after my Liz Earle Failure I swiftly moved straight onto this marvellous product. I've been using it around a month and a half now and I can't quite sing its praises loud enough. It - is - amazing, but a more in-depth review to come shortly! Just trust me when I say - you need this in your life.

Antipodes Vanilla Pod Hydrating Day Cream : again, this is a new product I bought during November but so far I am absolutely loving it. It's my first purchase from Antipodes and as it stands I am very impressed. This has such a lovely vanilla/deep honey scent and makes my skin feel incredibly soft. Once I've used it a bit more, I'll review it in full!

Lush's Snow Fairy : well, what can I say? Other than - why have I only just bought this this year, I feel like I have drastically been missing out! It's a pear drops & candy-floss infused sweet overload for your shower. It's pink, girly and even has some glitter in. It doesn't necessarily hydrate my skin more than any other body wash, but the novelty of something so wonderfully smelling hasn't worn off. I absolutely LOVE it! They also have smaller sizes, which would be great as stocking fillers.

Dove Nourishing Oil Shampoo : I'm not sure if including a shampoo is normal in these Favourite posts, but hey, here it is! I've never been head-over-heels for a shampoo before, but I am very impressed with this. Having very dry, very brittle, very over bleached hair I need all the moisture/smoothing properties I can get my mitts on when it comes to haircare and this does all of the above. It smooths, nourishes and generally does the best job I've ever known for a high-street shampoo and for half the price of salon brands I will definitely buy this again.

Maybelline The Falsies Mascara : I mentioned this in my last favourites, but I have just bought another tube and because of that - I think it deserves mentioning again. I never generally buy the same mascara twice, I liked to try different types as I was convinced the perfect mascara didn't exist, however after trying this I think I may have just struck lucky. It gives great length & curl, doesn't flake and lasts a long time, plus it is under £10 - so very affordable compared to many others. I think I will continue to buy this for a while!

NARS Sheerglow, Ceylan : my main foundation at the moment, I seem to be using this all the time recently, mainly for its great coverage! It matches my skin really well too, what more could you want?! Full review here.

Burts Bees Acai Berry Lip Balm : I've had this a while now but have been picking it up a lot more frequently in November. It has such a nice, sweet 'taste' and makes my lips feel nice and hydrated without feeling heavy. Perfect pocket size & always nice to have around when hit by the dreaded dry lip!

MAC Bare Again Sheen Supreme : I've had this for months now and I'm always surprised by how moisturising it is. For a nude winter lip, this is ideal. It has beautiful peach undertones and so perks up the colour in my face, it glides on so well & hydrates my lips unlike other normal MAC lipsticks. I seriously want to buy a lot more of these! They're perfect! Old, full review here!

Non-Beauty Favourites.
Favourite blogs : if you're not already, go follow them, they're all lovely!
SailorJennie // WonderfulYou // PaintPotted // BlogOfShadows // FridayIsForever

Favourite songs :
Need by Maverick Sabre
I Just Wanna Make Love To You by Etta James (oh yeah. try not strutting down the street to that).
The Zone by The Weeknd
Always by Submotion Orchestra
Tell Me How You Feel by Bonobo

Favourite Book : The Perks of Being a Wallflower by - Stephen Chbosky, currently reading this on my iPad and it's a great little book. I've never read it before but it seems to be one of those cult classics that nearly every man and his dog has read - so time I got on that bandwagon! So far, so lovely.

Favourite Food : Mince pies? Does that count? Well, I just wanted to add them in because it seems my diet is 90% fruit and pastry at the minute. Yay for December fatness!

What are your favourites this month? I love reading these posts, so link me up!


Wednesday, 5 December 2012

NARS Douceur Blush & Flair Lipstick

NARS is quickly becoming one of my favourite brands as far as makeup is concerned!

I've never been disappointed by any of their products so far and Douceur (£21) & Flair (£17.50) are no exceptions.

I had £40 to treat myself to anything I wanted and so I decided to buy something I wouldn't necessarily purchase due to cost reasons. Having done a bit of Googling & coming across both Lipssofacto & Essiebutton's rave reviews of Douceur I was sure I would love it! (I'm pretty sure they're both responsible for many of my purchases, in general!). Then I had a little look at the lipsticks and thought Flair would be a nice, bold red for winter - something I don't really own.

After using them a fair few times now I can definitely say Douceur is my current favourite blusher. I don't own a lot (probably five in total), but this goes with so many different 'looks' - ie, deep, bold makeup or a nude, natural face - this ties everything together so nicely. It's so subtle but yet makes an impact; making it pretty difficult to explain! Its staying power is great and I can see me using this for a long, long time!
I was a little unsure about Flair at first but it has really grown on me, it's definitely a bold shade, but a nice autumnal one at that. I love the pigmentation of NARS lipsticks and this stays on for around 2-3 hours. They're not particularly moisturising but not too drying either. Described as a 'Burnished Berry' on the site I would say that is fairly fitting, although there are subtle gold flecks in there which give your lips a nice 'sheen' like effect!

Overall I'm really pleased with these two new additions; Douceur I would recommend to everyone, it's just so pretty!

Have you tried any of these products? What do you think? 


Friday, 30 November 2012

First OOTD! Joules Navy Dress

Being a person that has very little 'style' and wearing my clothes until they can be used no more; 'fashion' posts seemed out of the question when it came to blogging.

However, when I was contacted by Laura & Joules, a British clothes company, I decided it would be nice to maybe just get on with it and take the plunge into this fashion world.

And here I am. Taking said plunge.
So this lovely Leila Printed Dress* (£69.95) is a size 16, which, I'm not ashamed in saying, nor should any 'curvier' lady be afraid to say. Admittedly, it is a little big around the waist and shoulders (my fault, not Joules! I'm just a bit oddly shaped) but this dress is so pretty, I really do love it!

It may not be everyone's style but I think it would look really nice for Christmas parties/meals out. The sleeves make it cosy and I love the button detail on the back! The dress does crease a little easily, but, nothing you can't handle. I added a belt for a bit of extra 'definition' as it is a tad big, and also to hide the elasticated band a little (which I failed at). Did I mention it has pockets? Gotta love a dress that has pockets.
Other bits: Coat - Topshop (last year). Snood - Joy (last year - sorry!). Earrings - Topshop. Belt - Warehouse. Lipstick - Creme in your Coffee by MAC.

I think Joules is a really great brand, with good quality clothes. If I'm being honest, I'd say it is perhaps aimed at a slightly older audience, however there are some great statement animal themed jumpers which I think would be to everyones taste!

So what do you think?

Do I pass the #fbloggers exam? :)


Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Warm Eyes : MAC Fabulousness Palette

It seems I've gone a tad crazy for eyeshadow recently.

While I was out in the hallway playing with my ratties, my phone magically ordered one of the new Fabulousness palettes by MAC. 'Warm Eyes', to be exact.

Just from the site I could tell I would love the colours, the quirky, quilted packaging - and I do.

The majority of the time I prefer a 'warmer' tone on my eyes. I have blue eyes and yellow undertones in my skin, so I find gold based eyeshadows are more flattering than silver, so this palette seemed right up my street!

The shades are :
Left to right : Glamour Light - pale golden beige; satin finish // Retrospeck - light/medium gold subdued by brown; lustre finish // Honesty -  copper orange/brown with copper shimmer; lustre finish // Cognac - molten golden bronze; frost finish // Sketch - deep burgundy with slight sparkle; velvet finish

One word that would describe the palette is - SPARKLY! It is slight shimmer over load, but for Christmas and parties I think it would look lovely. Having used & tested the colours, I would say out of them all  'Honesty' is my favourite, followed by Sketch and Cognac. Glamour Light is my least favourite as it is a very light shade, not very pigmented and seems to disappear on my skin slightly! (although makes a nice eyebrow bone highlight).

Also, there is very little fall out from the eyeshadows, I don't own a eyelid primer, tut tut, so I would say that is a positive attribute!

Honesty all over lid, Sketch outer corner, Cognac in crease and under bottom lashes, Retrospeck inner corner, Glamour Light on brow-bone. 

This palette retails at £32, a little pricey, but the sizes are great and I can see it being well used over the Winter months. Plus, the overall look & little bow makes it a very girly & pretty gift!

Now, please, somebody keep me away from online shopping.

What do you think? What's your go-to palette?

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Sunday Snap #8

Its been a while since Herbert's face has graced my blog so - here he is!

Recently I've been so busy I just haven't had the time to even think about blogging, so I apologise for that big gap last week! Although I now have lots of time & ideas for future posts, so stick with me guys! :)

I don't have too much to report on, apart from I am still in the middle of applying for my PGCE and I'm down to my last option... Every email I get I come over all flustered. So fingers crossed, pretty please! 

Oh! And the man himself (Herbert) is going to be a dad!... Well, he has been asked for a pairing and we've agreed to let him go forth and um... y'know. But YAY! Herbert babies. How adorable will they be?

Apart from that, not much else is happening! Today I plan on having a pretty relaxed day; x factor, sunday dinner & animal cuddles.

So I'll just let Herbert do the talking... 

... or maybe not.

Have a nice Sunday!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

An Honest Liz Earle Review

Back in August, I was aimlessly browsing the internet, when I decided I 'needed' some new skincare products.

Now, you don't have to go very far to find a glowing Liz Earle review when you're friends with other beauty bloggers. Trust me, it was like some kind of big Cleanse & Polish explosion all over my Twitter timeline as hundreds of ladies discovered this brand a few months back. Having heard nothing but great things, I decided I should invest too.

I'd tried a few Liz Earle products, back when the hype wasn't as big, but this time I figured I would go for their August Skincare Essentials package - Cleanse & Polish, Toner & Moisturiser, priced at £41 with a 'free' skin tint (something else I'd wanted to try) thrown in for good measure.

Instantly you cant deny, you get a great deal. Each month that 'free' product is different but | was pleased with the Sheer Skin Tint. 

Four months on from using it & near empty bottles, this is my verdict...

Claimed to be the holy grail of cleansers in the blogosphere; I would have to disagree. 

With all things blogged & hyped up about, you have to take them with a pinch of salt. I wasn't expecting miracles but I wasn't expecting to hate it either. The C&P is now sat to one side as I try out something else (Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm, if we're being specific!)

Firstly, I really disliked the smell. Whether it be the eucalyptus or rosemary; I just didn't enjoy putting that scent on my face. Particularly near my eyes. It doesn't sting but the menthol scent generally put me off. It definitely left my face 'feeling' clean/fresh, but I was never convinced it was all truly gone.

Secondly, although it is supposed to take all your make up off I really struggled with mascara - mine isn't waterproof or 780 hr super long last - just your average mascara, so I found that a little frustrating. 

I also found it very drying. Despite containing beeswax my skin would feel dry afterwards and in need of a good moisturiser. I dont suffer with greatly dry skin, more combination and so I genuinely felt it was doing more harm than good. I also wondered about the cocoa butter - it seemed to  be 'clogging' rather than removing, apparently this was added in after they took almond milk out. 

Oh, and I found the fact that you can't see where you're up to in the bottle pretty irritating - as I'd not know when to repurchase.

Overall? I now use it as a quick morning 'cleanser' as I want to use it up (not a fan of waste). I enjoy the calming feeling it gives, however I won't repurchase, although the price tag isn't too bad if you're looking to try it. You cant deny this product has many fans and so this may work for you - however I'm just personally not convinced.

This is probably my most disliked of the trio. I dont have particularly problematic skin : combination, odd blackhead, spots once a month type, of which I am very grateful for! 

Once I started using the toner, I quite liked the smell and the refreshing feeling - however after a while I noticed it was making my skin uncomfortably tight & drier than usual. I also received the biggest pimple known to man, right in the centre of my forehead, just before my graduation, thanks to using this Liz Earle combo.

Of course, I can't entirely blame it on the Toner but in basic terms I can only say that I felt that the toner was keeping dirt in, rather than removing it; especially as I had issues with removing mascara with the cleanser in the first place. 

I stopped using it since & didn't have half as many issues with blemishes. 

Overall? Maybe I have it in my head, but I definitely would never repurchase this as I think it is just too harsh for my skin.

You may think I have nothing at all positive to say in this review, but I promise, I do! 

This is my favourite, of all the moisturisers I've tried so far - this wins, hands down. 

I love that you can choose a moisturiser according to your skin type. As I have combination/normal; that's exactly what I picked. And to my surprise, it does just the job! It isn't overly oily on my t-zone and yet hydrates my dry areas.

It leaves my skin feeling plump & healthy, plus it isn't too much to wear under make up. It takes a little while to sink in but nothing ridiculous, the scent is very neutral and soothing.

If theres anything I will repurchase from this bunch, it is this! Hurrah!


I promise I'm not a Liz Earle basher, this is just my genuinely honest opinion (hence the title). Normally I leave things I haven't enjoyed out of my blog however I don't think one negative summary will effect the many that love it. I think Liz Earle are very clever to have targeted mainstream bloggers and have done well in spreading the word.

As much as I wanted to like this trio, I don't, however I do feel Liz Earle deserve a pat on the back for being a cruelty free, natural skincare brand - as you don't come across too many at this current time.

I wont give up on this brand just yet, but for me, this trio didn't live up to expectations.

What do you think? Are you a fan?



Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Foundation of Choice : NARS Sheerglow

It's always difficult to try and find that perfect, holy grail foundation, but one brand I keep coming back to is NARS.

I tried NARS for the first time last year after a holiday in Spain, having a little tan I was matched as Santa Fe... Fast forward to October & I'm as pale as a sheet again (and in need of a new winter foundation).

So a few weeks back, I headed off to Harvey Nichols. After a little chat with the MUA, I purchased Sheerglow in Ceylan (£29.50), aka : 'light six, for asian skin. light/medium with yellow undertones'

Clearly I'm not Asian, but this foundation is the absolute perfect match for my skin tone. It's obvious I have very yellow undertones, or at least to me, and so it was nice to find one that fit so wonderfully. 
Anyway, this foundation applies like a dream, generally I buff it in with my Real Techniques buffing brush and it gives a lovely finish. Once applied it feels light, it doesn't dry my skin & it is very long lasting. However, the finish is definitely more satin (not dewy, but not matte) than 'glow-y' although there is a little sheen in there. The coverage is medium, rather than sheer... So, if theres one thing not to go by; it's the name.

Despite that, I genuinely love this product. It is pricey but a bottle will last you a long time as you only need a small amount to cover your face. It is buildable, covers blemishes, isn't too heavy and is fairly long lasting... What more can you ask for?

To me, for now, this is as close as I can get to the perfect foundation.

What do you think? Have you tried Sheerglow?

ps. just for reference, in the picture above I only have this foundation on; no primer/powder/highlighter etc!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Bonfire Night

Autumn & Winter are my favourite seasons.

The holidays in particular are the best; Halloween, Bonfire Night, Christmas (Eve, Day, Boxing Day), oh and New Years! I love it all.

Although last year I didn't get to go to a bonfire, and this year I didn't do anything for Halloween but my lovely younger sister held a moving in party/firework display over the weekend and I couldn't have been more excited!

We pretty much had it all; fireworks that made you slightly scared for your life, pork pie & peas (and mint sauce, of course), parkin & homemade cupcakes, plus more wine & beer than you could shake a stick at.

All in all, a wonderful night!

What are you doing for Bonfire night? :)



Sunday, 4 November 2012

Sunday Snap #7 : Skye & Pebbles!

As I introduced Herbert to the blogosphere, I also wanted to let you say hey to my new little ratties; Skye & Pebbles!

Now before everybody gets all irrationally freaked out - these little babies are clean, intelligent and adorable. They're blue dumbo rats, meaning they're blue/grey in colour and have larger ears than your average rodent!

They've been with us for one week now & they're settling in wonderfully. They're the sweetest little pets and its thanks to Marvelle & PaintPotted really that I even have them (they're rattie owners too).

I'd never really considered owning a pet rat until I saw these two cuties on Preloved and I knew I wanted them. Lots of research later, one Jenny Ferplast cage and a last minute dash to get toys, food & treats - they were ours!

They love social interaction, hence why you get them in pairs or groups and they also love being with people/running around in my jumper. They're so sweet to watch when they play with each other, groom each other and try pinch each others treats!

As my DSLR is so large and clumpy, I didn't want to scare them to death, so here's whats popped up on Instagram (@sammi_x)! They also run super fast, hence why the pictures aren't the best! Wriggle, wriggle, wriggle...

I hope this has maybe changed some peoples preconceptions when you here the word 'rat', they're super adorable creatures & I hope you wont mind them appearing on the blog every now and again!

What do you think? Do you have any unusual pets?
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