Wednesday 31 December 2014

A Special Christmas Gift

I was really lucky to receive some beautiful, thoughtful Christmas presents this year. One of my favourite gifts was from my partner and something I can't wait to start using in 2015: a photo album with a twist.

104 Things to Photograph is a great book for anyone who likes taking photos, but especially for me as I am getting to grips with photography after purchasing my first camera earlier this year. It has slots to add photos under different titles, which include: 'a winner', 'hand shadows', 'melting ice cream' and 'a haunted house'. What's so fun about this book is that the titles range from the everyday to the abstract- something that allows for creativity and imagination.

I get my photos printed from which I find to be reliable and affordable. When I was a teenager, I had a basic camera which took standard rolls of film. I also used disposable cameras, so going to Super Snaps to get my photos developed was a frequent occurrence. This meant that I was able to put together albums across my childhood and teenage years and they are something I will treasure for the rest of my life. They tell the story of my life like nothing else can and I love sharing them with friends and family when they come to visit.

Tuesday 30 December 2014

2014 Favourites: a Round-up

I always find it difficult to think about the previous year in the sense that it is hard to get a clear picture of what characterised those particular twelve months. It wasn't a great year in many ways (in terms of personal life), but I did turn 30 and have some fantastic moments too. I loved celebrating with my two best friends- friends I've had for around 18 years now! 

It was also a year of picking up some new interests, for example, finding a love for folk music and photography after purchasing my Sony A5000. And of course, it was in April that I started to blog more regularly and actually saw a small audience start to grow- something I'm really happy about. If you have read my blog this year, thank you very much! It is amazing to think that my hobby can be shared with others around the world! It is also a blessing that in today's age of technology, I can record my year in this blog- potentially as something to look back on for years to come!

So without further ado, I want to present to you: my year's favourites.

Sunday 28 December 2014

A Winter Walk in Pictures (Knole Park, Sevenoaks)

 Over the Christmas period I stay with my family in Kent. Boxing Day is always one of those times where people get itchy feet and want to break out of the house- and usually that means a stroll around the sales in a local town. I've always found it slightly depressing that the day after Christmas, people feel the need to buy things. I'm not judging, because I'm guilty of it to some extent, but it was really lovely to not do that this year!

We drove to Knole Park in Sevenoaks which is well-known for its beautiful scenery and wild deer. Of course, for me that meant a chance to take some photos! So without further ado, here is our winter walk in the bracing cold, complete with festive deer:

Sunday 14 December 2014

Simple Copper Make-up Look

Winter Saturdays for me are all about relaxing, keeping cosy and warm. Sometimes I like a bit of make-up; sometimes not, but today was one of those Saturdays where I reached for my favourite Narsissist palette!

I fancied a warm, copper-brown eye, with some frosty brown eyeliner and some bright skin. As we approach the end of term at work, I am feeling exhausted and (like many of you, I'm sure) it's taking it's toll on my face! Therefore Nars Sheer Glow foundation works wonders with a light dusting of their Light Reflecting Pressed Powder. These products really do deliver on giving your skin a boost of freshness and brightness when you need it.

For the cheeks I used my Dior Blush in Rose Libertine (which is one of my most popular blogged about items!) Sadly, unless I pile it on clown style, it doesn't photograph too well, however most of us want a natural, rather than dramatic flush of colour.

Sunday 16 November 2014

Bournemouth in pictures

Bournemouth is a coastal town in Dorset, in the South of England. It's a lovely place to visit all year round- hence my visit in November on a rare, rainless day. I could tell you more, but I think I'll let the photos do the talking...
Patisserie Valerie, Post Office Road

Friday 14 November 2014

New Nude Skincare Products

Left: Omega Cleansing jelly                                                       Right: Brightening Fizzy Powder Wash
I love Nude skincare. Love it. Years ago I discovered their amazing eye cream, which was discontinued, but have since fallen in love with their current formulation too. When I saw that they had released some new, innovative products, I couldn't wait to get my hands on them. So here's my take on the Omega Cleansing Jelly and Brightening Fizzy powder Wash after trialling them for a week or so:

Thursday 13 November 2014

Changing Face: Should we opt for surgery as we age?

We live in a funny old world, don't we? From the day we are born we are genetically programmed to age, embracing it as teenagers, desperate to be part of the adult world where we will presumably be respected and enjoy the freedoms that come with being a grown-up.

Some of us abuse our bodies somewhat in our teens and twenties, maybe even beyond those early years, thinking that wrinkles, rotten teeth and weight gain won't happen to us. But of course its happening at that very moment when we're enjoying those carefree drinks, eating that chocolate cake or smoking those 'cheeky' ciggies.

And then we start to see those signs of aging and it's a shock to the system somewhat! So what do we do? We try and fight it of course. We pile on the creams, lotions and potions (which can't work the miracles we're after), we sulk, then we get over it and accept that we are no longer a young, fresh-looking spring chicken!

Monday 10 November 2014

Making a House a Home: Tips for Personalizing your Abode!

 My home is certainly not an ode to Instagram or Tumblr-worthy, but I like to think my partner and I have given it some quirky little touches over the last few years to make it, well, ours. I spent most of my 20s living in basic rented accommodation (i.e. bedsits and small flats), therefore I know it can be difficult to make a white-washed, clinical space, or an out-dated rental into something that feels like it's personalized to you and your tastes. I still don't own a place, so it is important to me and my partner that our rented home can at least feel like it belongs to us, even if we can't decorate it how we might want.

This post is dedicated to those that want some tips to make their room or home look cosy and personalized:

Saturday 8 November 2014

A few of my Favourite Things #8 (October)

AA Cable Knit Pullover in Blossom;
Topshop Joni Jeans 

Currently wearing

 Cable knit

I took a big spending plunge with cable knit recently and purchased an American Apparel Cable Knit Pullover. Then I might have been really naughty and purchased a second one! After spending years buying cheap clothing, I now value 'investment pieces' so much more. The quality of these knits are great and the cropped fit suits my petite frame. I prefer a high content cotton mix because I feel these are more hardy and long-lasting than acrylic. These cable knit sweaters go with absolutely anything and can be made to look smart for work with a pencil skirt or suit trousers. I am so happy I paid a bit more because these are going to be staples in my wardrobe for years to come.

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Products I've used up: Autumn 2014

 I've got through a lot of hair stuff recently. I'm always on the hunt for products to keep the condition of my hair as healthy and protected as possible. Redken is a brand I keep returning to and for good reason: the products get on very well with my thin, fine, dry and highlighted locks. The Blonde Idol shampoo is one product I will definitely re-purchase at some point. It soothes the scalp and has a light, creamy texture to treat dry, coloured hair. What it doesn't do is tone the brassiness in blonde hair, but I have other products to do that.

The Extreme conditioner is also a lovely treat for my hair type. It smells sweet and gives hair softness and protection. I like it so much that I'm planning to try the deep conditioner in the tub next for maximum hydration.

Sunday 2 November 2014

Where I've been lately and a few comments on blogging...

So there's been a blogging drought recently. I've been on half term and have been proactive with marking, but less so with this hobby of mine. I've started to think about why, but all I can think is that sometimes we all need to recharge our batteries. Although blogging is hugely enjoyable for me, I've actually just enjoyed taking a break from it.

Monday 27 October 2014

Mac for all seasons: Lipstick Picks

I've been wanting to do this post for a while now and purchased a couple of new colours months ago with this in mind. Mac lipstick comes in so many colours and I love the idea of having a lippie 'wardrobe' for all year round. It's also quite an appealing concept that lipstick can change any basic look to suit a season or mood. In the photos above, I am wearing mascara, a smidge of eyeliner, a sweep of neutral blush and powder: the lip colours therefore become the focal point of the make-up. 

Here are my favourite Mac lippies for the four seasons:

Thursday 16 October 2014

Side by Side review: Urban Decay Naked Basics vs. Naked 2 Basics

Top: Naked Basics       Bottom: Naked 2 Basics 
I just purchased the Naked 2 Basics palette by Urban Decay. Being a make-up hoarder of sorts, I've cut back on purchasing cosmetics a lot recently. It hasn't actually been very difficult because I love the products in my collection and really enjoy using what I have. Having said that, this recent purchase was a no-brainer: I had to have it!

Here's my take on the two wonder-palettes, side by side:

Tuesday 14 October 2014

First impressions: Colab Dry Shampoo by Ruth Crilly

Youtuber and model, Ruth Crilly, has released a range of fragranced dry shampoos. When I saw them on Feel Unique I knew I had to try them out, so I purchased all five scents in the 50ml size for £2.00 each. The full size is 200ml and is even more cost effective at £3.50.

Sunday 12 October 2014

Sunday Face, featuring the Naked Basics 2 palette!

One of my favourite things about Sundays is that I can take my time over my make-up. Does anyone else enjoy the ritual of applying their 'face' in bed? I love nothing more than watching some Youtube or Netflix and taking some time over my routine. In the week that never happens: it's a manic rush against time to make myself look less corpse-like at 6am! 

So against the backdrop of my duvet, above are some products I like to use as part of my natural, not-really-doing-much make-up routine. Enjoy!

Thursday 9 October 2014

A few of my favourite things #7 (September 2014)

Currently wearing

  Cute slippers

I purchased these adorable slippers from Next last month and they haven't been off my feet since! They cost £12 and they are really warm and cosy. I love how they are knitted with some metallic thread interwoven into them as it makes them quite festive. I wouldn't usually buy myself slippers (they're the type of thing I might get bought at Christmas), but I needed something to wear around the house other than socks.

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Volumizing Sprays: 3 reviews

I always find it slightly unfortunate that I have hair with such contradictory qualities! It is both frizzy and wild in its natural state; but also very thin, fine and flat at the roots. In the 90s, I fought my barnet tooth and nail to keep it straight and smooth, but now I'm older (and voluminous hair is the thing) I like to try and encourage the waves and curls, when I'm feeling patient, that is.

Volumizing sprays are very popular right now, so here's my opinion of three that I've tried:

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray: The expensive one
This is very hyped up among the blogging community, or at least it has been in the last year or so. This is a light spray that doesn't feel sticky, but it does give hair 'grip' and (as the name suggests) sprays on as a dry formulation. I really like this and it does build up some volume to the roots and the lengths. It is nicely perfumed with a unisex, but not overly cologne-like fragrance. I have used up a small can of this and may treat myself to it again, but at nearly £20 for a small size, it is not something I can easily justify re-purchasing regularly. 9.5/10 

Monday 6 October 2014

Review: NYX powder blushes

Left to right: Angel, Natural, Peach
I purchased three blushes from NYX some time last year and have been sporadically using them ever since. My blush reviews tend to be quite popular (people must have the same condition I have!), so I thought I'd review them.

Friday 3 October 2014

My experience with Bobbi Brown eyeshadows

Left to right: Chino, Praline, Pink Chandelier, Stone, Champagne Truffle, Cocoa Berry

I would like to preface this post by saying that I have owned the Ultra Nude eye palette from Bobbi Brown for two years. Before the Naked palette from Urban Decay, I bought this limited edition item and have since not purchased any eyeshadows from Bobbi Brown. Therefore my experience with eyeshadows from this brand is limited, but I have been using these particular colours ever since I bought the palette. Here's my take on them:

Monday 29 September 2014

Like Food? You'll love Degustbox!

I heard about Degustabox through seeing it on people's blogs. At first, I thought this was just be another beauty box, but when I found out that it was a subscription service to receive a box of food products, I knew I had to sign up!

Saturday 27 September 2014

Make-up to Brighten a Tired Face!

I haven't blogged for a little while. Work is full on and I'm finding myself with very little time to myself, especially during the week- but hey, such is life!

This morning I really fancied doing a full face of make-up. If you're like me and only have ten minutes or less to do your make-up in the morning, you tend to stick to the bare essentials: a coat or two of mascara; a dab of concealer under your tired eyes; a swish of blush to make you look like you actually do belong to the world of the living! Make-up becomes less about fun and enjoyment, and more about necessity. 

So when I was confronted with a slightly work-worn face this morning, I couldn't wait to reach for my favourite brightening products:

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Making Over Mum

My family live a few hours away from Hampshire and I therefore don't see them too often. My mum came to stay this weekend and kindly volunteered to be the subject of a post! Like most of us, she deserved a bit of a pampering, so I did a simple, pretty make-up look on her and put some loose waves in her hair. Here's the before and after:
If you want to know what we used to create this look, click the link to read on:

Saturday 20 September 2014

How to cope with stress: 5 tips

Many of us lead incredibly stressful lives. Are you reading this now, whilst simultaneously thinking that you have a list of things you should have done today? That sums up my thoughts as I write this. It's the start of term and the amount of things I am expected to juggle is enough to make me curl up in the foetal position and start to cry! In fact, I already had a little cry this week because I was so overwhelmed by it all. Maybe I'm not the most qualified to offer advice on this topic, but I'll share my thoughts anyway, why not!

Thursday 18 September 2014

Review: By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra Powder

 You might have seen some months ago that I was pining over By Terry's Hyaluronic Hydra Powder, a cult face powder which is ridiculously expensive, but gets some out-of-this-world reviews.

So yes, stating the obvious, I caved in and shelled out on this 'dream product', and I wanted to give a review, after having been using it for the last month or so.

The Hyaluronic Hydra Powder comes with the sort of claims that make any dry-skinned gal stop what they're doing and sit to attention. Phrases like 'banishes pores and fine lines', 'protects', 'prevents shine without drying' all made my little ears prick up. When you've got dry skin (and you're no longer a twenty-something), you don't want to cake your face in a powder that turns your face into even more of a desert than it already is. But also, if you're like me, you know you need to keep that shine at bay, somehow!

Tuesday 16 September 2014

How to choose a career: 5 tips

Early acting ambition
From the very first years of school, we are encouraged to give an answer to the question: what do you want to be when you grow up? And we are encouraged to believe that "yes, of course you can be an astronaut, a film star, or even a dinosaur, if that's what takes your fancy!" because of course anything is possible if you want it enough.

But that is not reality for most people.

Now don't misunderstand me here. I am not saying that we cannot have dreams, or even fulfil the goals that we set as children, but these things don't just happen. Also, our interests and aspirations can change a lot over time. And that's ok. 

So here are my thoughts on how to decide on a career or job, based on my own experience so far:

Sunday 14 September 2014

La Roche-Posay Skincare Haul

I had some skin issues last month. For some (still) unknown reason, I developed sporadic itching and rashes on my hands, scalp and even my face dried out even more than usual for a short period of time. I went to get it checked out, but other than suggest antihistamines, they didn't offer up much of a solution. I've considered many causes, including washing detergent (we changed this and then changed back to our original brand); stress; reaction to baking ingredients, cleaning and beauty products. 
It seems to have eased up, but one way I coped with it and restored my skin health was by turning to La Roche-Posay, a French pharmacie brand whose Cicaplast Soothing Skin Balm was my saviour when I had a terrible reaction (swelling and mild chemical burn) to some Murad products a few years ago. Yes, it was as horrible as it sounds!
I decided that now was the time to try out more of the range, so I placed an order with  Here's what I purchased:

Friday 12 September 2014

My Top 5 Autumn Jumpers

It's that time of the year when you start raiding your wardrobe for a comfy jumper. No longer can you get away with strolling outside with just a T-shirt on: Autumn is officially here! 

I have built up quite a collection of jumpers over the last few years because, in my opinion, there is nothing more satisfying than wrapping up as the weather starts to get cold. Personally, I look out for cotton blends rather than 100% acrylic because I prefer the texture and find high content acrylic items can quickly lose shape when washed. The knitwear in my collection was bought mainly last year, often in sales, therefore you will probably not find these exact items. You may, however, enjoy snooping a look at what knitwear I love to wear from Autumn into Winter: these are my top 5!
Herringbone: This pattern is so chic and smart. I love my American Apparel sweater. I picked it up in a sale in a unisex size 'small'. This pattern never really goes out of fashion, so it's quite easy to find herringbone pieces, especially accessories like scarves.

Forest green: My Monki jumper is such a lovely flattering shade. I think this Isa knitted top is available in new colours now. 

Boucle: This type of knit can look rustic and unique if done in the right colours. I think I picked the QED London brand jumper from New Look a few years ago. The brown colour with multicolour accents looks laid back and quite 'folky' (which works for me, being a bit of a 'folkie' myself!).

Olive: I put off buying the olive clean rib jumper, so was delighted to pick it up this year in the sale. This style of jumper comes out in different colours throughout the year at Topshop.

Mustard: This shade is popular for Autumn and I can see why. Yellow can be quite an intimidating shade for some people to try and pull off, but mustard, on the other hand, is far more flattering against a range of different mix of colourings! I love my River Island cropped jumper in this shade. I also have it in navy and love the length for wearing with skirts and high-waisted jeans.
What is your favourite jumper/ sweater?
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Wednesday 10 September 2014

To cull or not to cull: When should I throw a lipstick away?

We all know that make-up doesn't last forever. Lipstick should ideally be used within a year or two after opening it, but do you really abide by these rules? I'm afraid to report that I don't.

Monday 8 September 2014

A Few of my Favourite Things #6 (August 2014)

Currently wearing

  Comfy jumpers

Summer is well on its way out and this means that the jumpers come out in full force. This olive jumper from Topshop is warm and nicely oversized- perfect to throw on with skinny jeans. The colour is perfect for Autumn and I love the neckline. 

If you love comfy Autumn jumpers, look out for a future post about my favourites for this season!

Sunday 7 September 2014

Autumn Make-up Trend: Matte Nudes

Left to right: Bourjois CC Cream; Benefit They're Real mascara; Urban Decay Naked eyeshadow; Mac Kid eyeshadow; Rimmel Notting Hill Nude lipstick; Mac Tenderling blush; Urban Decay 24/7 eye pencil in Underground; Nars Creamy Concealer 

Word about town is nudes are in for Autumn. I've seen nude matte lips on many blogs recently which is part of the 90s revival apparently! I say 'apparently' because to me, the 90s were only yesterday and it surely can't be time for a revival yet? (That's when you realise you're getting old!)

Thursday 4 September 2014

Investment Pieces

 Today's post is an ode to those beautiful items in my collection that I treasure and adore. I am not suggesting that you have to spend lots of money on high-end purchases to enjoy using make-up. But if you do spend out on luxury brands, I believe it is important to appreciate and love what you have. These are some of the pieces that I see as 'investments': products that were well worth the spend and will be enjoyed for a long time.

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Washing Your Hair Without Shampoo? Review: Ojon Cleansing Conditioner

I heard about the concept of washing your hair without shampoo through a link on Twitter to an article on the Cosmopolitan website. Cleansing conditioners have been popular with those with afro hair for some time now, but Ojon have recently released their Rare Blend Moisture-Rich Cleansing Conditioner, so I decided to try it out.

Tuesday 2 September 2014

The Liebster Award: nomination #2!

I've been nominated again, how exciting! Pat from All About Me By Pat nominated me and has posed some excellent questions. As I did the Liebster Award Tag previously, I won't re-nominate or give 11 facts about me. You can find my original post by clicking on the link at the bottom of this post. 

Monday 1 September 2014

Folkestone Triennial Artworks

On Saturday, I was lucky enough to visit Folkestone, a town in my home county of Kent, to see some of the Triennial artworks for 2014. It is great to see art being made available in such a way and the town was alive and bustling as a result. I also took the opportunity to shoot a range of photos on my daytrip, some of the area in general and some of the pieces that I encountered whilst walking around the harbour. 

Saturday 30 August 2014

10 Modern Folk Treasures

Over the last six months or so, I've got into folk music in a big way. I've started to explore the genre, listening to 60s and 70s folk, through to modern folk bands. I was lucky enough to see some great acts at Wickham Festival (and posted about it here). It was really hard to compile a playlist of only 10 modern folk tracks that I love, but I managed to whittle it down eventually. So click here for my '10 Modern Folk treasures' playlist.
Roll the Woodpile Down by Bellowhead: 
Bellowhead are an eleven-piece folk band who source traditional folk songs and writings to turn into dynamic masterpieces. They were amazing live and this song was even more uplifting than the album version. This song's origins lay in the Southern states of America, coming originally from the songs of African slaves. Bellowhead's CD inserts are really fascinating to read as they tell you where their tracks are sourced from and how far they might date back; it makes you realise how powerful the folk narrative and song tradition is, and how important it is that we are keeping it alive by participating in the traditions today, in one form or another. 

Many of the picks from my playlist inspire this notion in a far more powerful way than I could ever put it.

Friday 29 August 2014

Make-up Palette storage solution: white filigree

I am a fan of acrylic storage and own quite a lot, but today's post is focused on palette storage. On the right you can see the letter rack that I have been using for my palettes for quite some time now. I like the white filigree design with butterflies and it fits well with the rest of my (acrylic) storage. The beauty of this is that you can bend the metal partitions to allow for more width in particular sections where you want to store a few palettes together. I believe I got this from Wilkinsons, but you could find this sort of thing in many shops selling stationery.

Thursday 28 August 2014

Review: Aussie Miracle Dry Shampoo

I picked this relatively new dry shampoo from Boots about a month ago. I love Aussie as a brand, especially their Three Minute Miracle Conditioners. The products smell delicious and I was thrilled to see that they had branched out into the dry shampoo market.

I chose the Mega Instant version for normal to greasy hair. It is also available in a formulation for coloured hair and one to give volume. 

The price is really competitive (little more than £3 when I picked it up), so I felt I had nothing to lose. 

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Topshop: Metallic make-up and berry tones for Autumn

Topshop have some gorgeous new metallic lipsticks and cream blushes in, ready for Autumn. I went to investigate and picked up Armour lipstick and Pulse cream blush. Both are beautiful and on trend for the new season.

Monday 25 August 2014

Portsmouth in Pictures (and a few words!)

I moved to Portsmouth to go to university in 2002 and remained living there for the following ten years. As soon as I stepped off the train at Portsmouth and Southsea and walked through Guildhall Square, I knew it was the place for me; the streets are bustling with all walks of life and there's always something to see or do, whether it be a walk by the sea or a look around the shops.

I had lunch with a friend at Gunwharf Quays today, so I took some pictures on my way to meet her. 

Sunday 24 August 2014

My Limited Edition Mac Lipsticks

Left to right: Peachstock, Innocence Beware! , Betty Bright, Red Racer, Love Goddess
I posted about my Mac lipstick collection back in March, deliberately leaving out the section of limited edition shades that I own. I wanted to do these separate because, with the exception of Peachstock which I believe is now part of the permanent collection, the colours are not available to buy. Saying that, we all know that Mac has so many lipstick shades available, so you are bound to find a permanent shade that is similar.

Here are the shades I own, modelled on my lips for your entertainment!

Saturday 23 August 2014

My 100th Post!

Just a quick one to say:
I started this blog in 2012 after being inspired by the blogs and youtube channels of so many talented people. I also have had a love of writing since I was a child and wanted to take this up as a hobby.

I didn't find the commitment for blogging until earlier this year and since April, I've been kind of addicted! I'm also nearing 100 Bloglovin subscribers, so to get nearer to this number on the day of my 100th post would be magical! 

Even though my blog is still a work in progress, I'm so grateful to everyone who has taken time out of their day to read it: friends, family, fellow bloggers, the wonderful Bloglovin community and anyone who has stumbled across it by chance. Thank you, it means a lot to me. 
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