Tuesday 31 March 2020

March Round Up

This month didn't start out as much different to any other. Coronavirus was there in the memos from work and on the news, but it seemed like those preparations and suggestions were so distant. Then I got ill-- just a virus. Then we had to quarantine "as a precaution", then the country started to quite quickly move towards shutdown as we watched from our social media accounts and heard about the weird feeling in the air from those still at work.

Self-isolation and social-distancing are now in our vocabulary forevermore. They were never words I had used before this month, now we're all living it. That first week before the actual lockdown' on Monday 23rd was tough. There were moments of anxiety and panic and sadness. The gym still being open was a reminder of life continuing whilst I was stuck, ill, at home not able to have my release. Then it closed and it seemed like the final 'normal' parts of my day-to-day were being taken from me. 

But now, on the 31st as I write, the feeling is one of acceptance and gratitude for the little things and the existing luxuries that were probably taken for granted a bit before. Work is a blessing as I have become an education 'help desk', answering queries from students, marveling at their resilience as pieces of work come in hourly. Of course it is a case of seeing life before with slightly rose-tinted specs: day to day life was mundane and hugely stressful, and the students weren't always on top form. But it was my 'normal'. 

Thinking forward too far isn't a wise move, but I suspect going back to any form of a day-to-day workplace scenario will feel like a huge adjustment. Even after only a few weeks away, it feels that way. I will sample the oddness later this week when I do my time at work, supporting key-workers' children. That will be interesting, and a welcome day-trip out at this point (even if tainted by the nervousness of catching this thing).

March has been a month to never forget-- one for the history books. The theme of 'Shades of Green' for my photography project was very easy to do seeing as I embraced nature even more than I thought I had done before. 

April's theme (in line with it being Spring/ Easter) will be: Shades of Yellow!

A Photo a Day 2020 #91

Lockdown: Day 8

I have started to document the 'Lockdown' period of this year, so you will start to see some of this 'series' across the coming weeks and months. This was taken on a walk yesterday. You can see the Fareham Council Offices building that I photographed previously, before this all happened. It feels so much more emotive a landmark now that I can't really walk into that area. It used to be my regular Saturday routine to take a nice stroll into town, maybe get something to eat (a 'hot' Nandos always went down well!) and mooch about the shops. Now it leaves a tinge of sadness that I am so far away from this idyllic picture. Nevertheless, I am enjoying my daily walk out where there are not many people, and of course, looking forward to one day when I can frolic into Fareham and enjoy being part of the crowd again.

Monday 30 March 2020

A Photo a Day 2020 #90


This was hidden in the long grass on our walk today. At least we know Sainburys are still there for all of our boozing needs. Litterbugs.

Makeup Monday #3 Natural Brows

Today's post is about creating natural looking eyebrows with minimal product. Brow shapes and styles come and go (remember the pencil-thin, over-plucked 90s look that left some of us with minimal brows for years following?) I am going to talk about two products that give my moderate-volume eyebrows a natural, 'polished' look. These tips could work for most people who do not want extreme-looking eyebrows:

Sunday 29 March 2020

A Photo a Day 2020 #89


More of a graphic style today (or Photoshop 101 as professionals may call it!)

I'm trying to take my vitamins to give my immune system the best chance of fighting any nasty virus that may come my way. I took a photo on my phone (I'm lazy and my phone camera is pretty good) of this green bottle. But the outcome was not as stylised as I had hoped for despite capturing the sun from behind the transparent bottle.

So I Warholed it. Why not?!

Thursday 26 March 2020

A Photo a Day 2020 #86


We went for at walk out into the countryside today. I video-called my family and a friend. What an odd juxtaposition of science and nature. This is most definitely a weird moment in history, full of horrors and blessings alike.

This photo was taken on my phone and I like it because I look quite tall! I also like it because I am beside someone that I care about a lot.

Wednesday 25 March 2020

A Photo a Day 2020 #85


A photo taken on a lovely walk out into the countryside. No-one was around, the sun was starting to set and it felt freeing to be in such an open space. So lucky.

Tuesday 24 March 2020

A Photo a Day 2020 #84


A little bit of urban photography today to contrast with all of the nature shots. Taken locally on a walk into the countryside.

Monday 23 March 2020

A Photo a Day 2020 #83

Beast in the Undergrowth

A lot of cat pictures this month, but then my new daily routine involves working from home and taking our cat on a daily walk. 

Today she decided to hide in the undergrowth from the dogs and their owners walking around the park! She might think she's a fierce mouser at times, but she is really a timid little softy!

Make-Up Monday #2 Voluminous Lashes

If I was only allowed to wear one makeup product again for the rest of my life, it would be mascara. A day without mascara for me is a day when I have nowhere to go. It's become as everyday a routine as putting on my clothes. Lashes are such a personal preference. Some of us like voluminous, big lashes; others go to the greater extreme of wearing falsies on the regular; some people like a super natural look or no mascara at all. This post is all about how to pump up on the volume in a way that could be worn every day without people double-taking at you in the office (in a bad way!)

EDIT: How things change! I wrote this a few weeks ago now and (as things stand today) there's no 'going to the office' for most people now; also, the phrase 'nowhere to go' made me laugh! But, as posted about yesterday, I fully intend to keep up some kind of makeup routine most of the time, just as I did before. Not to impress anyone, not to hide anything, just to feel 'normal' and 'sane'. So if you do want to hear about frivolous things like really great mascaras...

Sunday 22 March 2020

A Photo a Day 2020 #82

Daily Walk

This has been such a saviour to have close by when we are housebound. Every day we take a walk round this field and every day I am happy to have nature to appreciate. 

Does Makeup Matter Anymore?

Now that many people are self-isolating or social distancing, does makeup really matter anymore? If you're inside, no-one outside of your home has to be subjected to that huge blemish on your chin. Who is going to know if you don't fill in your eyebrows this morning? Who cares whether your nails are painted anymore? If you're out in the world at your workplace, is it now ludicrous to apply a layer of mascara in the morning? 

Saturday 21 March 2020

A Photo a Day 2020 #81

After the Rain

This was taken on Thursday 19th on my phone's camera (ironically better than some of the macro photography I shot with my camera the next day). Macro photography needs absolute stillness and without a tripod or steadying method, I found the fruits of my labour unsatisfactory yesterday. This isn't the crispest quality, but gives a sense of what the field looked like, dripping with jewels of water. 

Life is really weird right now.

I'm going to write a post tomorrow about how life has been recently and how we might adapt to the new 'normal'. I've been self-isolated for a week as a precaution and never have I appreciated the small things more. I'm sure others of you are feeling exactly the same way. This blog has always sought to celebrate 'life' and 'beauty', but never before has it felt so relevant or apt.

These drops of water weren't there the day before. Today, as I write on Saturday 21st March, they were gone, to be replaced with sunshine and butterflies (literally!) We have to make the best of what situation we are presented with. There's a lot to be grateful for.

Friday 20 March 2020

A Photo a Day 2020 #80

Little Tiger

This fierce looking beauty is actually a very sweet, gentle and friendly cat who used to be my neighbour. She still returns to the area (she lives close by) quite a lot and is always keen to talk and have some company. A few days ago (Monday) I went outside in the afternoon for some fresh air and found this lovely girl in my garden. We just sat together for a while and it was so calming to get a break from the odd and claustrophobic feelings of getting used to self-isolation.

If anyone else is lucky enough to have outside space and/or animals around them, let's be so thankful for these comforts right now.

Tuesday 17 March 2020

A Photo a Day 2020 #77

Little Panther

This may well become an outlet for photos of my gorgeous cat over the next few months! As we are currently self-isolating as a precaution, we are taking walks for some degree of fresh air and sanity. Maisie joined us for a walk yesterday. She is just like a little puppy, with all the perks and none of the drawbacks like picking up her pooh!

Look at her here prowling towards us through the woods. She is such an amazing girl.

Monday 16 March 2020

A Photo a Day 2020 #76


I'm trying to see some daylight and get some fresh air despite the situation. Trying to stay positive and feel gratitude for living in area where I can take a walk without seeing many people. I can walk amongst trees and hear the birds sing. Life is full of little moments of joy and will continue to be.

Make-Up Monday #1 Natural Highlight

I'm not one for the robot-cheek highlighter look. Some people can pull off the dramatic approach to highlighter, but on the day to day, I keep it low key. I'm going to give some appreciation today for a product from Laura Mercier that I've owned and loved for years. If you like a natural glow...

Friday 13 March 2020

A Photo a Day 2020 #73


I dislike this photo for so many reasons. I posted it because it was the best of all of the photos I could shoot today from inside my house with not much energy or enthusiasm. *sigh

Thursday 12 March 2020

A Photo a Day 2020 #72


I met Frank last Summer by the river. He was hanging out on the wall and had no qualms about demanding attention (and birdseed) from me. I hope we meet again this Summer.

Sunday 8 March 2020

A Photo a Day 2020 #68


Skincare Sunday #9 Soothed Skin

This week, I want to address skin sensitivity and what products can be relied upon to soothe sore, irritated or reactive skin. Some years ago now, I had a fairly intense reaction to using a salicylic acid product which was designed for acneic, oily skin (not my skin type, hence the reaction!) Rather than ridding me of some blemishes, I was left with a swollen, chemically burned face and eyelids that could barely open. Since then, I've educated myself a lot on ingredients and been more cautious with patch-testing. It was scary, but I found some products that helped when nothing would. I want to share them with you:

Thursday 5 March 2020

A Photo a Day 2020 #65

St. James' Park

This was taken a few weeks ago on a trip to London. St. James' Park is the place to be if you want to see some top birds! Ducks, swans, geese, pelicans-- it's an ornithological haven.

Tuesday 3 March 2020

A Photo a Day 2020 #63


Back in my hometown, this boat has been on the river ever since I was a child. Once I tried to go on a trip on it with my mum and grandmother. The trip was unsuccessful; the anchor was stuck and we weren't able to move forward. I never did get to make that trip. Sometimes I think I should have taken that boat tour again as an adult, for the fun of it, to see a different perspective of the River Medway rather than just admiring it from the riverbank. 

Monday 2 March 2020

A Photo a Day 2020 #62


The colours here are more or less true to life with a few edits with the perspective and vibrancy. The paintwork on this building is very in keeping with 80s-90s decor and I took this before knowing I would be doing 'Shades of Green' this month.

Sunday 1 March 2020

A Photo a Day 2020 #61


March's 'Photo a Day' theme is: Shades of green.

We're hopefully seeing Spring start to surface here in the UK, so this seemed like an apt choice. I'm starting out on the back foot as I have not had a session that was fruitful for photos, nor was I inclined to spend hours seeking out content this weekend. Sometimes it gets like that with photography. The inspiration is not there, or life gets in the way of creativity. But I always think that from the mundane, the boredom, the chaos or the darkness, can come creative outcomes.

This photo was taken in 'Robin's Nest Emporium', Fareham, one of my favourite places to take my camera.

Skincare Sunday #8 Clean Skin

Today's post is all about the best cleansers to remove make-up and leave skin clean, fresh and not tight or aggravated. 

I have dry/dehydrated/ somewhat sensitive/ not 20-something-anymore skin! For me, stripping cleansers are a no-no, so I'm going to suggest the best cleansers for my own skin type. Saying that, these could accommodate a wide range of skins as all are kind to skin.