Monday 23 November 2015

Novel and Unique Christmas Gift Ideas

Co-workers often laugh at how early I get my Christmas shopping done, but a bit of Late October planning and early November purchasing helps me to have a little spending money come December. And yes, I'll also confess that I have a "Christmas spreadsheet"! Ultimately, I love giving presents to people that I care about. Even on a slightly tighter budget this year, it gives me a lot of joy to choose things that might bring some happiness to peoples' days. On a selfish level, I love to shop around for gifts, especially online, because it means I can distract myself from more onerous tasks like housework and lesson planning! 

Here are some novel gift ideas that I have either given in the past, or would purchase for the special people in my life...

Sunday 22 November 2015

Things That I'm Currently Enjoying (November 2015)

Casio Watch:
My Casio digital watch in gold with a brown leather strap was a gift from a loved one. I never wore watches before getting this, but as it is dainty and I have scrawny wrists, it is perfect. I used to have one in black and silver as a child, so it has a nostalgic feel for me, but with the colour combo, it has a grown-up edge. It goes with all outfits and as I tend to wear more gold than silver accessories nowadays, it looks classy for a digital watch. I love it! 

Wednesday 11 November 2015

Winter Skincare: my picks for 2015

Winter is approaching, the air is turning colder, and the central heating is on for longer periods of time. This can cause our complexions to dry out even more so than usual. The products above are my top picks for keeping my skin calm and happy in these colder months.

Sunday 1 November 2015

New Beautiful Things: Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation and Nars Steven Klein Palette

One Shocking Moment cheek palette from the Nars Steven Klein collection
Of all of the Winter/ Christmas palettes or sets, this was the one I decided to treat myself to. Nars' blushes are often said to be the best quality on the market, and I get a lot of use out of the few I already own. This palette (part of the Steven Klein collection), features some of Klein's high-fashion photography. The image on this palette is striking and one of my favourites from the photos used for the collection. At £49, this is relatively good value for money- you get a matte highlight and contour (Paloma- the mid skintone set); the famous Nars Laguna bronzer; and four blushes. The blush shades are all unique from each other. There is a candy pink with sparkle, a deeper light-mid pink, a shimmery peachy shade and a rosy sparkly colour. For me, this is a collector's item and a great chance to try out some new colours. I have also found that the contour, highlight and bronzer create a fabulous warm brown eye look- keep reading to see what I mean.

Saturday 26 September 2015


It's the start of a new term and that means that my blood pressure starts to become an issue again and I spend many a joyful evening working through dinner, to bath time, planning. Just to clarify: I'm a Secondary school teacher. Blogging, writing, is a passion. It will always be something that soothes me and gives me meaning. But then the 9 to 5 (or rather 7 to 8) takes over.

I'm not sure whether I'm talking to an audience, or whether I'm talking to myself, but I'm also not sure I care. I used to write in my diary as a teenager and it was probably hugely therapeutic; then there was the poetry writing of my early adult years- that was probably life-saving to be frank. And now there's blogging: sometimes about semi-superficial stuff like make-up, but also the creation of an online photo album which may prove sentimental in years to come.

I don't want to stop, and I won't, but life seems to be so full of reality right now.

I'll have to bear with myself.
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Sunday 16 August 2015

The Best Neutral/Nude Mac eye shadows: swatches

Back in 2012 when I started experimenting with blogging, I posted about my favourite neutral Mac eyeshadows and that post still remains in my top 10 most visited! It's a testament to some of those shades that I am now blogging about them three years later and enjoying them just as much as I did back then. I feel like I can be more objective about Mac as a brand now than I was when I first started buying from them. This was back when Youtubers were raving about Mac left, right and centre; now it seems that other brands have come into the limelight and especially with the Urban Decay Naked franchise being so popular, Mac isn't necessarily the brand everyone looks to first for eye shadow anymore. Saying that, my two travel-friendly quads are something I turn to on a regular basis for my everyday make-up. To me, that gave me enough incentive to begin this post- that and the fact that my the photos in my original one were horrendous!

Friday 14 August 2015

Candles I'm Currently Burning (Summer Edition)

Much to the horror of my bank balance, I have a penchant for luxury candles, but I do tend to burn them sparingly. I currently have two on the go: Diptyque's Muguet and Jo Malone's Sweet Almond & Macaroon. 

Thursday 6 August 2015

Review: Nars Silent Nude blush (Christopher Kane Collection)

Part of the Nars Christopher Kane collection, released a month or so ago, Silent Nude is a colour that speaks to me as a pale woman. It is a perfect matte bronzer colour which can be used to add colour to the cheeks and to contour. This is limited edition, so won't be around forever and therefore is worth looking into sooner rather than later if you're interested...

Thursday 30 July 2015

Charlotte Tilbury Products Review (including Norman Parkinson collection items)

Charlotte Tilbury's make-up line is exquisite to look at and admire. The new Norman Parkinson collection is beautiful and I am pleased to have got my hands on a few pieces to add to my cosmetics collection. 

For those not in the know, Charlotte Tilbury is a famous make-up artist with supermodel clients. Her philosophy is that you can give any woman the right make-up and she will look beautiful. I like the idea that Charlotte sees make-up as a secret weapon to confidence because for me, cosmetics make me feel good about myself. Norman Parkinson was a famous British fashion photographer and his images are iconic- so much so that Charlotte wanted to use some of the vintage images as the focus of a new collection, inspired by 1960s and 70s glamour .

Monday 27 July 2015

My Three-Day Juice Fast Experience

'Juicing' sounds like it is yet another health craze, especially when combined with the word 'diet'. If I hadn't seen the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead , I don't think I'd have been so inspired to try juicing. I'm not generally one for detoxing or dieting (sadly, quite the contrary), but when I saw how beneficial this could be for my health, I wanted to try it. I also purchased Juice a book on the topic by Liz Earle, well-renowned skin specialist of 'Cleanse and Polish' fame! This book is a great way to educate yourself on what health benefits the whole spectrum of fruit and vegetables can do for your body. It also contains plenty of juicing recipes, some of which I have tried or adapted over the last three days of my juice fast.

Sunday 12 July 2015

Review: Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

This is a review for a mascara by Too Faced with big claims! The title is, in my opinion, a little daft, but Too faced aren't the first (and won't be the last) to give their products raunchy names! I guess sex sells? Well it must have worked on me, because I bought it!

Thursday 9 July 2015

Skincare Recommendations for Dehydrated Skin

I have dehydrated skin. This means that my skin lacks water, rather than oil. My face looks dry and fine lines can show up easily when I do not address the dehydration. It is also possible to be dry (skin lacking oil) as well as dehydrated.

The number one product you can get your hands on is free. Drinking plenty of water is obviously going to help your skin look its best, but I have also discovered some great products over the last few months which are working nicely.

Algenist Genius Anti-aging eye cream is keeping my eye area smooth and intensely hydrated. It is a plant-based product which has a moussey texture to it. Available at SpaceNK, this is expensive, but for me, worth it.  

Sunday Riley Flora Hydroactive Celluar Face Oil is another product I have recently received a sample of and is helping my skin to retain moisture. I have used it a few times now and apply a few drops overnight before moisturiser (or alone). It has a more substantial consistency than some lighter oils, but that works well for drier skins who need all of the nourishment they can get. It is rose-based and feels very luxurious to use.

Sunday 5 July 2015

A Few of my Favourite Things #11 (June 2015)

Currently wearing


Hello! I am back from my three-month hiatus! I have moved and have been working hard- so hard that I've ended up sacrificing blogging for a while. Happily, it is now Summer time and I will soon have some time freed up to return to posting on more of a regular basis. In true Summer style, I have been loving my sunglasses and wear them whenever it's not raining. They were from a brand called M:UK from Asos a few years ago. They were quite affordable and they fit my small face!

Thursday 12 March 2015

Review: Le Teint Touche Eclat Foundation (Shade BR20)

The Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Foundation receives a lot of attention from bloggers and beauty enthusiasts. It is a brightening, dewy foundation which follows the famous Touche Eclat illuminating pen highlighter which has been a cult favourite in the beauty industry for many years.

The foundation appealed to me because I have dry, often dull skin which is showing signs of age and stress! Bringing 'light' and radiance to my complexion is definitely something I look for and I wanted to see what this foundation could do for me. I chose the shade BR20, a pink toned pale shade. On application, it appears to be a good match, although in the winter months BR10 would probably match me a little better. Nevertheless, I don't regret my purchase of this shade, simply because I gain a tiny bit of colour in the Summer and the colour blends out very well to match me.

Monday 9 March 2015

A Few of my favourite Things #10 (February 2015)

Currently wearing

  Nike Internationalist trainers

Being little over 5ft tall, I have got into a habit of wearing some kind of heel on a daily basis, whether it be to work, or mid-heeled boots at the weekend; it isn't good for my feet! I wanted to give them some respite when I'm not at work, so I went in search of some trainers that would look good with jeans, or even skirts and dresses when I'm out and about. I found them in the Nike Internationalists on These black trainers have a suede toe and a grey mid section and heel. The heel is leather and is a darkened teal colour. The great news is that they also give me an inch or so's height, which makes me feel a lot more secure (I do like a bit of elevation in my shoes!) They are really comfy and look good with my favourite Topshop Joni jeans. I think these would also work with skirts and casual dresses. Due to the colour-blocking, they match many outfits, particularly as I love grey! 

Saturday 7 March 2015

How to achieve a 'no make-up' make-up look

'No make-up' make-up must seem a bizarre concept to those who take no interest in beauty products. The idea that you apply a range of products to your face, only to try and achieve the appearance of wearing no make-up is quite strange, but it's also something that really interests me. When your intention becomes to appear bare-faced, you have to think about application in a slightly different, more strategic way. You have to learn to accept what you are working with and make only slight adjustments to your natural features. Here's my run down to a 'no make-up' make-up look. Click below to see the results:

Monday 23 February 2015

Products I've Used Up: February 2015

Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel:
I only fell in love with this once it started to run out! For the first three months or so of owning it, I didn't like it very much at all; now I want to re-purchase it at some point in the future! The reason why I didn't get on with it to begin with was because I was using it wrongly: I was massaging it into a wet face, rather than on dry skin. On dry skin, it feels like a nourishing, luxurious oil; on wet skin it is a thin milky texture which does very little. For a morning cleanse, this is fabulous.

Saturday 21 February 2015

A Red Lip Look for Cool Skintones, featuring Avon's Scarlet Siren

Red lipstick looks amazing on many women, but it's somewhat unfamiliar territory for me. I know that blue-toned reds are the best choice for those with cool (pink) undertones to their skin, so I purchased Avon's Scarlet Siren some time ago and wanted to start wearing it. With some winged liner and subtle shadow, I created an everyday classic red lip look which even I would brave on a weekend from daytime to evening. Enjoy!

Thursday 19 February 2015

90s Gillian Anderson (Dana Scully) X Files Make-up

I've been watching The X Files recently and admiring Gillian Anderson. Her 'matchy' make-up style against her red hair is the inspiration for this look. Being a neutral lover, this is exactly the kind of face I like to wear in the daytime and as we both have pale skin, the peachy, brown neutrals work well. Here's how I achieved the look:

Sunday 15 February 2015

Matt Berry and The Maypoles at The Forum (Kentish Town), Friday 13th February 2015

I was privileged to get the chance to see one of my favourite musicians and his amazing band once again recently. Despite being knackered from a gruelling slog at work, this marked the start of a much-needed half term, and what better way to do it than to get on a train to London and cleanse myself of the daily grind!

For those not in the know, Matt Berry is an English comedian and actor, known for cult TV shows like Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, The IT Crowd, House of Fools and Toast of London. As with the last time I saw him live, I suspect that much of his audience know him from his TV work, whereas I am more of a fan of his music. Growing up in a household of folk and prog rock synth music, I think it was only a matter of time when I found a love for it myself. As a teen it was all about the 90s R n B and 70s Motown, but now (as blog readers will know), I lean more towards folk music.

This show started with Mark Morris from The Bluetones doing some of his solo stuff. My favourite song he played was called Space Cadet. His voice sounded great on this track and reminded me ever-so-slightly of James Walsh from Starsailor (or should that be the other way round?) Morris also plays in The Maypoles with Matt Berry and returned on stage for the main set.

Talking of The Maypoles, this group of musicians put on a hell of a show! A highlight of the gig was the song Snuffbox (which comes from Matt Berry's comedy series under the same name). There were adrenaline-filled solo sections from Phil Scragg on bass, James Sedge on the drums and a playoff between Graham Mann on keys and Berry on his synth. There's a real sense of humour between the musicians on stage and although they must have performed these songs together many times over the years now, they genuinely take delight in each other's performance. 

Sunday 8 February 2015

A Few of my Favourite Things #9 (January 2015)

Currently wearing

  American Apparel beanie

With the bitter cold and (meagre) dustings of snow here in the South of England, the beanie has been a favourite of mine. This grey one from American Apparel has been a good investment as it is so warm and cosy, plus I like it on! The material is thick and feels very soft, yet durable. One of my favourite things about a beanie on me is that I get to pretend that I haven't got a 'five-head'! I wouldn't usually spend out on a hat, but the quality of this is so much nicer than cheaper beanies. I love the speckly grey colour as it goes with pretty much everything, and grey is probably my favourite colour for clothing- that's how exciting and daring I am! 

Saturday 17 January 2015

How to Wear Green Eyeshadow in the Daytime

When you think of green eyeshadow you may think of 1960s mod make-up with dramatic thick eyeliner and a bold explosion of colour all over the lid. I know that when I started collecting Mac many years ago, I was keen to get my hands on a whole spectrum of eyeshadow shades, including bright greens and blues. Understandably, I haven't used these shades as much as I use my neutrals (in fact, if I'm honest, they haven't had much use over the last year or so at all). The problem with these more vibrant colours is that they don't appear to work for everyday, understated make-up looks. The 1960s make-up styles are fabulous, but let's face it, they would certainly not be appropriate for my workplace!

Wednesday 14 January 2015

Review: Jo Malone Cologne Collection

Jo Malone colognes are hailed by many as being some of the most beautiful and luxurious fragrances on the market. With no counter in easy reach and so many scents available, I decided to purchase a collection of six 9ml size colognes. Let me start by saying, I was hoping to be amazed, but never have I been so in love so quickly...

Monday 12 January 2015

Give and Makeup: Donating Excess Beauty Products

It's a new year and time for a clear out. Is this your thinking right now? It certainly has been mine. It doesn't take long to accumulate too many beauty products. I guess you could say 'too many' is a subjective term, but when you only have one face, I guess owning as many blushers as I do is slightly excessive! My stash has built up a lot over about six years; before then I never earned enough, nor had the interest in trying such a wide range of products. Then I made up for lost time... 

Friday 9 January 2015

Hair Oils: 5 options for all hair types

Left to right: L'oreal Mythic Oil; Caudalie Divine Oil; Ojon Instant Restorative Hair Serum; Percy & Reed No Oil Oil; Shu Uemura Essence Absolue
This is a post all about hair oils and may help you decide whether you want to use one, or if you already own some, what they can do for you.

What are hair oils?
Hair oils are products that can be used to nourish, de-frizz and add shone to hair.

Should I use one?
If you have flyaway, frizzy, coarse or wavy hair- then yes. Oil-based products may not sound like something you want to be applying to your hair, especially if it is already prone to becoming oily, but nowadays, there are some amazing products out there to transform the look and feel of your hair.

How do I apply hair oils?
It is best to start with 1-2 drops and start at the ends and lengths of hair. If you apply near your scalp, it should only be applied very lightly (using any excess oil on your hands). This can be good for taming flyaway baby hairs. Some products work best on damp hair rather than dry hair, although I apply them on both.

And now onto the products:

Tuesday 6 January 2015

Review: 2True Wow Volume Mascara

Let's be honest, we all love a bargain. The problem with bargain hunting when it comes to beauty products is that you often sacrifice quality and effectiveness when opting for cheaper brands- at least that's what I've found. Having said that, there are some great products out there that do not cost an arm and a leg and this is one of those products.

Saturday 3 January 2015

January Blues? My mood-enhancing kit

It's new year and apparently everything is new and fresh and different and we can all make fabulous things happen in 2015. But I always wonder why a new year gives me a feeling of unease instead of the optimistic glow it seems to give other people. I'm not an overly pessimistic person, but for the last few days I've felt empty and down. And I blame this new year business! It's not that I'm against people embracing the new year and using it as a new start; it's probably just me being a grumpy person now that I'm no longer a twenty-something! I also blame the fast-approaching new term. Going back to work is always a shock to the system after a break, and the idea of getting up at 6am again is miserable!

So to calm myself down a bit, I've been playing around with Photoshop and have created the above collage of lovely, pink, calming things that are currently making me happy! This isn't a favourites post exactly, but it will act as one for this month. Here is my mood-enhancing kit for my January blues: