Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Twenty-three.


Another year older!

I'm still not sure what age I truly feel, but I definitely don't appreciate edging ever closer to thirty while I'm trying to figure it out! But here I am, two years past my 21st and still wondering where time went!

I had a nice little birthday, a day relaxing with my lovely friend Tara, enjoying some shopping, sunshine, catching up and so much eating Man vs Food should consider us. The perfect day in my eyes! We hit up Yo Sushi, Harvey Nichols Bar, Normans & Fazenda all in one day, picking up some new clothes, jewellery and washing it all down with plenty of cocktails along the way!


With some of my birthday money I bought myself Jo Malone - English Pear & Fresia Cologne which is possibly the nicest perfume I've ever owned. I love their fragrance combinations, I literally couldn't stop sniffing my wrist! It's so light & summery, it's just right for this time of year. Also, I picked up my first NARS sheer lipstick in 'Christina' described as 'golden raspberry' on the site. It is perfect. I'm such a sucker for lipstick, especially a nice red one, I only really started wearing it whilst living in Spain, but since then my collection has grown tenfold. I'm addicted! This one is lovely, and a new back-up for when my favourite EVER limited edition lipstick runs out (MAC Baron Rose) so I'm super pleased I came across it.



All in all, I received some really lovely messages & some fantastic gifts and so this is just a post to say thank you to every person that made it special :) it is really appreciated.

I hope you're all having a nice week.

X
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Thursday, 24 May 2012

A Mini Benefit Haul!


Every now and again I have a bit of a makeup overhaul. This week just happened to be it, with a combination of sunshine and finishing exams I thought I would treat myself to a spot of shopping!


I headed into Boots, Leeds with my eyes on the prize of some Essie polish (seems like a bloggers right of passage of late) but first I happened to come across the Benefit stand. Again, due to beauty blog influence *tsk tsk* I instantly picked up the Porefessional primer. I then glanced at the Hello Flawless foundation ...and quickly said sorry to my bank balance.

I sat down as the Benebabe re-did my make-up using: the primer, foundation and (because I have the worlds biggest eye sockets & constant dark circles); Erase Paste.

Firstly, I have to say the primer blew my mind. It was an odd feeling, more like rubbing satin on your face than anything else and my skin felt wonderful to touch! If I'm honest, I looked in the mirror and couldn't see an 'immediate' visual difference but it felt so fab I instantly knew I wanted it.

Next up was a foundation match, apparently I'm shade 'Ivory', which makes sense as I'm so damn pasty at the moment. It's a runny liquid, runnier than NARS Sheerglow, feels literally as light as air and blended like a DREAM! You also only need one pump, which is more than plenty. It has a nice dewy glow to it and looks very natural; all the things I like in a foundation! I'd say it is probably build-able for those of you who like more coverage, but for me, with it's spf25, I feel like its perfect for summer and any up coming holidays!



She added some erase paste (the name makes me chuckle every time) and it pretty much does what it says on the tin! It is a really thick texture, so you don't need to use that much (as I found out this morning when I had it all over my face & hands) so I'd imagine, even though it's a little pot, it will last a long while. Mine is in shade No.1 and works nicely with the foundation. Easy to blend & smooth feeling, although perhaps a little 'heavy' if you want to feel like you have barely-there makeup! Just my opinion! I haven't used it on any blemishes, but for under eye circles and adding a little bit to cheekbones and down the centre of my nose it works a treat.

Because I spent so much money, (like I said earlier, sorry bank account); I got invited to a free makeup course on the 20th June in the store for me & a friend, which was a lovely little bonus!



Other bits & bats: Body Shop Colour Glide - Pink Ginger 14 Lipstick / Raspberry Pink Blush. HD Brow Palette - Foxy.


Overall, I am super pleased with my Benefit purchases! It's always nice to change up your brands every now and again and use something new!


Will you be trying any of these? X

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Monday, 21 May 2012

And it's over!


Writing this while on a complete high as...

I'VE JUST FINISHED MY DEGREE! FOREVER!

Four hard years (yes, uni isn't just all about sitting in your pjs, getting hammered on a weekday etc; you do have to actually do work) are over and I, for once in my life, managed to start and finish something completely  - which if you know me, is quite the achievement in itself!

Sure, I have no idea what 'grade' I will come out with (come on 2:1!) but the fact remains that I will be, by July, the first person in my entire family to have a degree - ever, AND I will have achieved something I never really expected to do in my lifetime.

I've gone from a 'D' at A-Level to finishing a course in a subject that I was always passionate about; my only drive being that I loved what I was learning. It was difficult and yes, a lot of the times I questioned whether I should have just stuck to art, but hey, it's over now and I am not embarrassed to say I'm proud of myself for having the balls to go for something I'm not a natural at, for working hard & following my 'dreams'. (cheesy, right? sorry).

Although, if I were to go back in time and advise my 19 year old self some things, I'd say:

  1. HAND IN DATES ARE FOR A REASON - my God, did I ever learn to not leave things to the very last minute? No. They give you work in advance for the very fact that it will take that long to complete it. Using that time to drink & sleep in is not a good idea.

  2. DON'T WORRY ABOUT FIRST YEAR - but take Second Year seriously, woman! I got a 52% (just about a pass) which counts for 25% of my over-all mark... OVER ALL MARK! Safe to say I've had to work my butt off this year to make up for second year laziness.

  3. ENJOY IT! - I've spent about 90% of my time at uni worrying about something or other. Be it exams, coursework, year abroad... (okay, maybe moving to another country is a valid reason to be nervous) but it will all be over with quicker than you can click your fingers so make the most of every day! Get drunk, make friends, work hard, play harder... You know, the usuals.

Everybody always says; 'your student years are the best years of your life', and right now I can fully comprehend why. I've loved it. And it is the weirdest feeling not to have a 'September start' or basically - anything to do! But I've always hoped my degree would help me get a job I would enjoy,  so the inevitable 9-5 every day life wouldn't drive me crazy.
So here's hoping!

I get my results in June & graduate in July. In the mean time? Well I've been craving a big, big drink since getting out of my last exam, so alcohol is first (may as well end as I started!) then, I will enjoy my Summer, enjoy my freedom, and never look at another Spanish book - ever again (or so I say).
Until then, hasta luego university, it's been fun! xo

Oh yeah... And I'll also be playing with this little fella;

World, meet Herbert, my little baby pygmy hedgehog :)

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Thursday, 17 May 2012

A Weighty Issue - Body Love.


I think it's about time, we, the women (and men) of 2012, accepted our bodies the way they currently are.

I'm 22 years old and 5'9 . A UK size 14. A US size 12. 'Large'. Whichever way you want to put it. 
(16 sometimes, depending on shops that assume women don't have boobs).

I'll say it loud & proud because I'm not actually ashamed of my size nor my weight* -shock horror- and so, as I see numerous people on diets, ridiculous 'health' plans and generally starving themselves for this so called 'Summer / Ideal Body', I have to ask, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

I've just touched upon the pandoras box of all things weight here - of which I could go on about for quite a while; to save your eyeballs, I wont. But as a female in a modern society where your average woman & her body on the cover of a magazine are Photoshoped within an inch of their life to attract larger sales, you can imagine that I have certain things to say.

I'll just break it down:



  • Pet hate : the phrase 'summer body' - please, please, please stop saying this.

It is a marketing trap. Magazines favourite phrase. Stop. You have your body for life, not for one Summer. If you're thinking about your health seriously you would not just up the ante on your exercise or your protein shakes for a couple of months of the whole year. It is anything but healthy. I'm aware people show more flesh in Summer and you may want to feel more comfortable, trust me, I understand, but this is not the way about it. Magazines are hitting the market running for young females who, due to their pressure, feel the need to constantly change their body for summer, and it is just not right.



  • Diets : NEWFLASH. They do not work.

They make you pay for them because they know you will quit. It may not be that their plan/scheme/calorie counting ways won't help you lose weight, I'm damn sure it will, but they make their money knowing you will never be able to keep it up for LIFE.

You will quit and come back to it. Have a weekend off, then dive head first into all the 'low fat' options you can get your hands on. Let go at Christmas? Come back running to renew your membership afterwards. Again, this is not a healthy way to live, and it really saddens me to so many people turning to them. Unless you can honestly, hand on heart say that counting every gram of fat, calorie or checking your plan pre eating your meal is enjoyable and you can do so for the rest of your days? I say you stop now and realise there's no shame in it.

I'm not advocating everybody eat hamburgers for every meal, not at all. I'm saying there are many other ways to lead a healthy lifestyle that would result in a 'lifestyle change' and not a one off to help you shed a couple of lbs in a week. The first is more likely to stick and therefore you are more likely to succeed. If losing weight is what would make you feel more comfortable -go for it! But make small changes, focus on HEALTH not WEIGHT and I guarantee the lbs will come off in time and you will feel like a winner - if that is what you want.



  • The ideal body : You are born with one.

You're living, breathing and functioning. Your body is doing its job. Yes, you only have one. Yes, you should take care of it and most importantly love it, but having a warped ideal of perfect being shoved down our throats daily, it is difficult not to try and conform. The woman on a magazine with no cellulite, no lumps, bumps and/or a rack to die for, is not going to help. STEP AWAY FROM THE MAGAZINE! *capitals necessary*

Unfortunately we live in a time where there are barely any un-edited images left. You will never know what that picture looked like pre-photoshop and I can bet you that model has a spot on her chin and bump on her ass that has been liquidised. (click to read PrettyFit's 'F*ck Photoshop' article).

Take a look in the mirror and see that what you have is unique, not to be ashamed of, nor needs to be changed to fit the non-existent 'ideal'. This all goes both ways, whether you are of a slimmer build or bigger framed - enjoy what you've got!

It is natural, as the saying goes; to want what you can't have. As a lady with big thighs and an ample chest you can bet I've looked at bandeau tops, mini skirts and those tops that have no real structure (read: hang off my chest like a table cloth) and I've wished I could pull them off, but I can't - no really, hah. But on the other hand, I can wear figure hugging, structured pieces and I'm happy with that. *glares at all the pretty mini skirts*
What I'm trying to say is : be happy with the body you're in.

There is no one like you out there and what you have now should be perfect to you, love your body and let that confidence shine. Like what you put in and enjoy the results that come out. From small & petite all the way through to big & curvaceous, your body is who you are and that in itself is something to shout about.

I eat what I want, I exercise when I like, I will feel confident in Summer - all because I accept who I am and how I am built. I love my body, its imperfections & all, and so should you.

*And if you need any more reasons, here's an old blog post of my struggle to like myself.
Now all I need is a holiday. Where's that bikini?

X
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Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Petting Pink.


Three new, much needed items were added to my make-up bag recently:


♥ Tinted Lip Conditioner - Petting Pink♥ Mineralise Skin Finish Natural - Medium♥ Dazzle Lash - Black. 


Naturally, as soon as I got them I put them all on at the same time to test them out! I tried the skin finish a long time ago, the mascara was because my other had run out and the lip conditioner was just out of curiosity. (you know... trying to validate my reason for buying three products all at once).


So, my thoughts?

Dazzle lash is a newly found love from MAC. I've tried (possibly all) a lot of their mascaras and it's safe to say this is my favourite of them all. I have longish, but thin & straight eyelashes which need a bit of extra encouragement on the curly / fattening up side. This mascara seems to do just the trick. It seems to pick out every lash, lengthening and curling at the same time. My mum genuinely asked 'have you got false eyelashes on?' at one point... That's all I have to hear!




The Mineralise Skin Finish Natural is another fantastic product. I bought my last one at least two years ago and wore it every so often / when I could remember to put it on. I do remember it lasting forever though, so I was more than happy to pay out for a new one. You only need to slightly swipe a brush against it to get a lot of powder on your brush, it is so light! The good thing about it is that (to me) it doesn't make my skin appear dry. I have fairly dry skin and the last thing I'd want is the powder emphasising that. It gives a great smooth/slightly matte finish to your foundation and even looks good on its own for days when you really can't be arsed!



I was most excited about the lip conditioner. I'll admit, I'm a bit of a sucker for any type of lip balm and in general I own far too many, they seem to hang around in the bottom of bags/coat pockets/by the side of the bed/get lost. So seeing it was tinted and a lovely colour I thought I'd give it a go!



Unfortunately I think this is the product I am most unimpressed by. I know it's a lip conditioner and I shouldn't expect too much colour, but there seems to be very little, even after quite a few attempts at building it up - still a very subtle pink (not too dissimilar from tinted vaseline). Which, I guess, isn't a bad thing, but maybe I expected more from it because of the colour in the pot? It also didn't seem to stay on my lips very long, maybe twenty minutes max before I felt I had to re-apply. Who knows, maybe I just rub my lips together too much! It does feel lovely and conditioner-y on and the SPF will help on holiday. Its definitely not the worst product in the World, however I just don't think I'll be rushing out to buy another!


What do you think to MAC in general? Too much hype? 


Or good for the price? X


ps. thank you for all your great responses to the beauty posts, I'm happy to keep blabbing if you're happy to keep reading!



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Monday, 14 May 2012

My Little Sardina.


When I stay in on a Bank Holiday weekend, all kinds of bad things happen to my bank account.  Boredom equals online shopping & this time round, I just so happened to stumble upon the Lomography website. 


My little camera family already consists of a Canon AE1 and a Canon 550d, which I love both immensely for different reasons, but have I ever seen anything as cute as the La Sardina? I don't think so.

I think my heart skipped several beats when I glanced at the 'Beach Editions'.

I pretty much instantly knew I wanted/needed one in my life. So after convincing myself that £59, minus my 10 piggies (£10 equivalent, I just like that they call them piggies) I figured; for a shiny, new, gorgeous looking camera AND a roll of film, that amount really wasn't going to harm my bank balance (or so I liked to believe).

a couple of days of impatient waiting later:


I don't think I've ever been so excited to receive a parcel. Ever. The packaging in itself was great, even the cat was interested in what was going on.



After opening the packaging, I noticed just how light this thing was. I expected it to be fairly light, but its almost crazy just how little it weighs. The perfect camera to carry with you everywhere? YES!


While loading the film I noticed the back comes completely off - unusual as these things are normally hinged, but I guess that all adds to the 'sardine can' effect! I used this video to load the film, just to make sure I got it right & et voila! Ready to use in seconds.



It has a 'normal' 'bulb' and 'mx - multiple exposure' feature which is possibly the simplest thing to use ON THE PLANET, it'd be hard to get it wrong. (although maybe I shouldn't jinx myself).


The colours are vibrant, playful and all the buttons have quirky little beach related images designed onto them. Perfect for the 'holiday' theme!


I'm so excited to really use this camera, ideally I will take it on holiday (looking at you, Croatia), purely because of the weight, price and ease of using it! It will fit perfectly into hand-luggage without barely weighing a thing. What more could you want?


Overall? - an extremely cute, incredibly cheap and lighter than a feather film camera that I am 100% in love with.



Are you a fan of film photography?


What do you think of the Sardinas? X


disclaimer: click the lomography link at your own risk. everything is cute. your bank account may (read: will) suffer.


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Thursday, 10 May 2012

Laura Mercier & MAC : Just Peachy!


I've never really posted about make-up before, but if there's one thing I love it is indulging in beauty products.

MAC & Benefit being my favourite brands, I've built up quite the collection over the years (I probably got my first MAC product at 15) and since then I've found out what works and what doesn't, for me.

This Christmas I was nicely gifted a Harvey Nichols voucher - obviously, my decision was to spend it on... more make-up. But this time, instead of diving head first into all the MAC I could get my hands on, I decided to think outside the box and opt for something I wouldn't normally buy.
Cue me at the Laura Mercier counter.

I'd never tried any LM make-up before, but I kept hearing a lot of hype around certain products, so I figured I would go see what the big deal was.

I asked the assistant (who was lovely), "this is my normal every day make up, what do you think I could add to it?" she had a quick glance and instantly suggested the Peach Mosaic Shimmer Bloc (£31). I sat down and she applied this along with Lush Nectarine Second Skin Cheek Colour (£20.50), and then handed me a mirror. Honestly, I was surprised by the results.


(excuse my moronic expression - these were a little bit rushed!)

The first thing I instantly noticed was that the shimmer bloc had highlighted my cheek bones, which in turn lightened up my eyes. It gave me a healthy glow that wasn't glittery (I hate glittery things) and added a slight bronze/peach tone to my face, which was nice as I'm fairly pale. She had applied the lighter section of the shimmer down the centre of my nose too, to draw everything inwards and the blusher complemented the whole thing by adding an extra swipe of colour to the apples of my cheeks. It was subtle, but effective. Did I also mention you can use the bloc as eyeshadow? Well you can!
All in all? Love at first sight.

To add to my new found peachy-ness, I headed over to the MAC counter (what can I say? It's an addiction) and had a look at a couple of lipsticks. I knew I didn't own anything 'peach' coloured and I wanted a more day to day friendly lipstick that would go with most things.



Welcome Sheen Supreme in Bare Again! (£13.50)

Described on the site as 'pinky neutral beige' I would say is near perfect reflection to how it looks on. It is very similar to my natural lip colour with a hint of pink/peach and a lovely gloss effect that feels moisturising and not sticky in the slightest (another hate). I've worn it most days since I bought at it as it perks up my smile and adds a little 'something, something' without being too in your face.

Altogether they're possibly my favourite beauty purchases to date. I will 100% be re-visiting the Laura Mercier counter (when my bank account allows it) and without a doubt be investing in more Sheen Supreme.

What are your favourite beauty purchases this month? :)

Will you be trying these out? X
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Monday, 7 May 2012

Stay The Same


Look what arrived!

My Race For Life number! And what haven't I been doing? Running!

Okay so this week has been busy, hence no blog posts - what - so - ever, or anything else but working my butt off really. (I apologise... to whoever reads!). And with it, this week became one of the more interesting of my life, heres why:

♥ I had my last EVER day at university.
♥ I had (and passed!) the first part of my PGCE - Teacher Training interview - woohoo!
♥ Oh yeah and I had my LAST EVER DAY AT UNIVERSITY.

. It's definitely been a week of one door shutting, another opening. It has kept me on my toes, brought me some new experiences and has made me excited for what's to come - which hopefully involves me being a fully qualified high school Spanish teacher!

. My race number arrived for Race For Life, as you can see above, which has me excited and petrified in equal measure. I haven't exercised in months now, actual months, and the thought of squeezing into dri-fit and sweating it out just... sounds about as appealing as that visual you may have in your head right now.

. I've decided to go 'meat free' this week! My inner ex vegan is cheering at the very thought. I'm no fussy eater, but after a while of eating chicken and dealing with their strange raw state, I decided to turn to falafels again. So far? So good. I've always loved the vegetarian concept, and was for around half a year, a vegan. I know I can do it and varying my food again has pleased my stomach. I am looking for new recipes though, what are your favourites?

. Finally, leaving university for good was another unusual exciting/petrifying situation. The thought of no 'September start' is, for someone that has spent over 20 years in education, a very weird concept! Although if I do make it on to my course, there will be another start, but just this time it will be into a world of high school kids and I'm no longer the student. WEIRD!

Anyway, I promise to get back to 'blogging with actual, interesting content' at some point soon. I'm hatching a little plan in my head too, which shall come to light this Summer, so keep your eyes peeled. Safe to say, again, that I'm excited about it!


How has your week been?

Hope you're enjoying the long weekend! ♥

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