Monday, 31 March 2014

Saying Goodbye

I think one of the most heartbreaking things an animal lover ever has to go through is saying goodbye to their pet. 

I wasn't sure whether to blog about this or not, but as I introduced Pebbles & Skye to the internet a year and a half ago, I felt it was only right to close a part of that chapter here, too. 

Unfortunately, Pebbles suffered an unexpected seizure last Thursday morning. She was happily in the arms of my boyfriend, being snuggled and having her belly kissed, when she scrabbled to get into his t-shirt and things took a turn for the worse… It's probably one of the most traumatic things I've ever experienced; to be stroking your pet as the life & colour drains from their little body, but we know that her last memories were extremely happy ones. And that's what matters most. 

She was such a special little rattie, who will never be forgotten. And while I do have a lump in my throat writing this, I know in my heart that we gave her the best life any rattie could ever wish for.
I thought I would draw an illustrated version of her, as, if nothing else, it gave me an excuse to look at her cute little face for an hour or so more. Animals aren't my strength, but I hope you like it…

"Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet."


Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Products of the Day #2 Spring Picks

This wasn't an intended 'Products of the Day' post, but I actually quite liked the way this turned out! 

The sun was shining & my daffodils were blooming, so I opted for a light, Spring-esque, everyday look. I've also been getting back into my Sex & the City box-set (guilty pleasure), so there may have been some SJP influence in there too! 
I started with Nars Sheer Glow Foundation : Ceylan; I've sung this foundations praises numerous times, but it's always one I come back to and I'm always in love with the satin finish, medium coverage results. I've been having a bit of a nightmare with foundations at the minute so it was nice to come back to something I can rely on! 

Any blemishes that were poking through got covered up with Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer : Ivory  again, I love this stuff. Great for concealing under eye baggage (not just bags - more like suitcases) as well as spots. All in all, a product I couldn't live without!
I then quickly filled in my brows with the Hourglass Arch Sculpting Pencil : Soft Brunette. I still feel like I'm getting to grips with this product. Most days I do love it, but others I feel I'm a bit too hasty and brows can get looking a bit too thick, a bit too fast. 
For colour, I opted for Arena, which I think is a very understated Mac eyeshadow shade. It looks quite peach-y in the pan, but translates on the lid to something a lot more subtle with a hint of shimmer, that I think would look lovely in Summer. To add a bit of definition I used Wedge in the outer corner and under my lower lash line. Followed by lashings of Maybelline the Falsies… All time favourite, no real comments needed here!
As for blush I thought Benefit's Sugarbomb would add a nice, natural flush with a hint of bronze to warm things up a bit! Topped off with a smidgen of Mac Mineralize Skin Finish: Soft & Gentle to highlight. All finished off with a swipe of Mac Impressive; a neutral rose/brown with a glossy finish!
I can see this combination becoming a quick favourite for light, sunny Spring days (as I'm typing this, it's gloomy as anything - come back sunshine, please!) 

What are your go-to Spring picks? 


Sunday, 23 March 2014

Quotes To Live By

"Think of all the beauty still left around you & be happy. " - Anne Frank

This week has thrown my usual positivity. It started last Sunday when my boyfriend suffered a stroke  on holiday and has since spent seven days in an Austrian hospital. Thankfully, he is doing well, but getting him back home is proving to be more of a drama than anybody ever imagined. Although, it seems an air ambulance might be being organised as I type. We have our fingers crossed that he will be firmly back on wet, British land by mid next week at the latest, anyway. Here's hoping!

It's very easy to be sucked into a black hole of negativity, but even having something as simple as daffodils around (they're like little rays of sunshine, aren't they?) has helped perk me up a lot. Anyway, when this quote was retweeted on Twitter, it stuck with me & as I was doodling this morning to take my mind off things, I thought I would add it to my page. 

What makes you happy, when you're having a rough time?
I think I'm going to bake some cookies next (because sugar solves everything!)

[update 25.3] : he is safely back home after a trip in an air ambulance. i can't thank you all enough for the support, i'm extremely, extremely grateful. 

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Getting Started With Yoga

Yoga has become a bit of an obsession for me lately.

Its been something I've been interested in for years, but making the move from just watching yoga videos (oddly relaxing, fyi) to getting on the mat and actually doing it has made a significant difference in my wellbeing. And no, I'm not talking about weight… Lets just say, those thighs aren't made from quinoa and running marathons.

Since taking that first leap, yoga has become ever-more a part of my life and although I'm far from being a full on 'yogi' I appreciate and love the practice for what it does to my 'whole' self. I'd say I've only really taken yoga seriously since the beginning of this year and so there are plenty of new things to learn, but here are a few of my hints, tips & recommendations for yoga newbies alike :)

1. Get a mat! Technically speaking, you can practice yoga anywhere; in bed, on a chair, on the hard floor - but I find my mat like my sanctuary. Once I've rolled it out, it's officially the start of my practice and it has become my own place to relax, stretch and de-stress. 

There are hundreds of different options out there but a couple of things to consider are; the thickness and the stickiness. Personally I know that rolling on my spine is painful, so I opted for a thicker mat, but if you want or prefer the feeling of being connected to the floor - then a thinner mat is for you. As for stickiness, or grip, I found that my first, cheap yoga mat offered little to no support and as soon as I was remotely sweaty I would be slipping all over the place in downward dog - which often resulted in some kind of face-first plank 'pose.' No bueno.

In the end, I bought a 'Yoga Warrior' 6mm mat as it seemed like the best product for my price range. I've had it a good few months now & I really do recommend them. Super comfortable and great grip! 

2. Connect with an instructor. Yoga is all about finding what works for you and I think that applies all the way through to finding an instructor that you enjoy learning from. This doesn't necessarily mean attending classes, but even finding a Youtube or My Yoga Online teacher that you connect with can be just as important. 

I attended my first 'proper' yoga class at the gym at the end of last year and absolutely loved the gentleness and free flowing style of the class - only to find out it was that instructors last class before she left. I then attended another session with a different instructor, and it was so structured and so focused on achieving the ultimate 'perfect' yoga pose that I just ended up feeling uncomfortable and frustrated by the end. It put me off completely and I didn't practice for a long time after; until I found Tara Stiles, Yoga with Adriene (my absolute favourite) and Samantha Brown (MYO) and it completely changed my perception of what yoga is all about. 

3. Be true to yourself. Instagram, pinterest and social media in general can be a great source of inspiration but I also found it to be detrimental to what I wanted to achieve. I started comparing myself to these other 'people' (super-flexi-may-aswell-be-gymnasts types) and became frustrated that I couldn't do the same. So I unfollowed them all. And it was the weirdest sense of relief I've ever experienced. Since then I've been more than happy with what I can realistically achieve and not what I think I should be able to achieve. Don't get me wrong, a couple of yogi's I find particularly inspiring have stuck around on my radar (mynameisjessamyn - I'm looking at you), but I don't expect to just bust out crow pose or a headstand without actually practicing!  

Having said that, I think the most common misconception of yoga is that you have to be flexible or thin or a contortionist to do it; I'm a happy size 14 and yoga has taught me that my body can do wonderful things just as it is. Don't let your current size, shape or flexibility limit you - it's an injustice to yourself.

That mermaid pose above? Although it may not be technically perfect (my fingers are looping on for dear LIFE) and it may not be particularly elegant looking - that gave me such a great sense of achievement. I felt like putting on a cape and becoming my own super-hero. *ahem*

4. And finally, ENJOY IT! Enjoy your practice. There will be days when you don't want to or you're just not feeling it, so adapt it. Enjoy it for what it is and how it makes you feel. Don't take it too seriously. Smile. Laugh if you fart (guilty). Laugh if you get stuck with your legs somewhere behind your head (guilty). Laugh if your boobs are suffocating you in plow pose (again, why?!). Take the time out of your day and commit to yourself & I'm sure with practice and patience you will begin to love it :)

Do you practice yoga, or want to? 
Who's/what's your favourite instructor/mat/pose?



Wednesday, 19 March 2014

The Pedi Pamper

I do love a good pamper session.

Unfortunately I don't always have/make the time to treat myself & my tootsies, so when I do eventually make the effort - it's always an intensive job! (ew). So, I thought I would share some of my favourite products that quite literally save my feet, all the while relaxing my mind, body & soul!

After a bath or shower, I will throw on some comfy pjs and begin 'the mission'. The first product I use (after trimming, shaping and scrubbing) is my favourite pedicure shade by Nails Inc in Victoria. It's a gorgeous deep, cherry/plum red and for some reason I've always preferred darker shades on my toes, no matter what the season & this just ticks all the boxes. 

Next up; applying some moisture to my legs and face… I figured, while I was sat waiting for my toenails to dry, I may as well pamper my face at the same time. My favourite way to do that is with the Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask. It's so quick & simple to apply; it has cleansing properties yet still injects a good dose of moisture & just feels relaxing. I also like to apply a good, thick moisturiser to my legs - cue, Soap & Glory Smoothie Star. It is amazing. It smells like edible heaven (or, pistachio, almond & vanilla, in other words) and unlike most heavy-duty moisturisers, it sinks in fairy quickly and doesn't leave a greasy film - perfect!
While all of that's drying & working it's magic, I like to read whatever book I'm currently into. At the moment that just so happens to be The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. I'm only a few chapters in, but it's a really great, easy read type of book. I imagine I will be laughing and crying in equal parts as the story develops. (I'm a whimp like that).

Finally, once I'm convinced my toenails are dry - which I'm never great at guessing, I like to apply plenty of Burt Bee's Coconut Foot Creme. This stuff is so thick, it's a gel like texture, which smells of coconuts (duh) but also with a hint of rosemary and peppermint. This combination has such a refreshing yet nourishing effect on my feet & it always works small miracles by the morning. However you must apply socks after applying it - there's no escaping that. You would just be slipping & sliding and making a mess if you didn't. It's a very heavy product, but perfect for very dry feet! I LOVE it.

*microwaveable sheep are optional. but highly recommended ;) 

How do you like to pamper yourself? 
What are your favourite products?


Sunday, 16 March 2014

An Illustrated Wishlist

Being the wild woman that I am, I thought I'd have a ~crazy~ saturday afternoon with some watercolours. 

Accompanied by the duvet on the sofa & some power ballads on tv, I was quite literally living the dream (if you're 80 years old, perhaps). Painting has always been a bit of a hobby of mine & one that I can just relax into; even if I'm not particularly great - I thought I'd illustrate a little wish list of sorts!
Nars Tinted Moisturiser : Finland (£29). Having run out of most of my foundations, I've got my eyes firmly on this product from Nars. I bought the shade Alaska to take with me on my Costa Rican Sloth Adventure last year and it worked wonders and had a gorgeous, light finish. However, my skin is no longer lovely and sun kissed and the shade just doesn't match. So, when I get some pennies together I'm thinking I'll be investing in this for the Spring/Summer months.

Fat Face Billy Spray Dye Jumper : Tea Rose (£20). I absolutely love Fat Face clothing. The quality is always so wonderful & cosy and the relaxed, lived-in style is definitely one I can get onboard with. I've had my eye on this jumper for a few months now and after seeing it in the sale, I think I may just have to get one… or two! (update : I may have already bought this)

Bioderma Sensibio Micellaire Solution (£9.99). Shock horror, a blogger that hasn't tried Bioderma! Or any real micellair product in general, for that matter. But once again, I'm intrigued and I really want to try some. I guess this is a fairly 'cheap' item to add to a wish list, but as I've tried being a lot more careful with my money lately - it's still one that I'm not just going to buy haphazardly. 

Tanya Burr Lipgloss : Afternoon Tea (£6.99). Another product that has been hard to ignore in the blogosphere, is the new line of lipgloss & nail varnish created by the lovely Tanya Burr. Afternoon Tea looks like such a pretty, neutral shade that I think I may just have to take the plunge and place an order!

Hourglass Ambient Blush : Diffused Heat (£28). Oh, the hype. It has got me (a little late to the party, but even so). They do get very mixed reviews but they just look so pretty, I'd love to give one a go! Diffused Heat in particular looks right up my street. Have you tried these? What do you think? 

I hope you liked this post! Something a little different I suppose… Hopefully I'll make this a permanent feature & fingers crossed my skills improve at the same time! (I could definitely do with the practice!) 

Have a lovely Sunday

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