Wednesday, 30 July 2014

LIFE: Travel

I'm just going to come clean and say I hate travelling. It makes me so nervous. I hate that there are so unknowns. I know that for some that level of risk is what makes travelling so enjoyable, but it makes my stomach wring itself out and my heart sink.

Today I'm at a conference for work. I had to stay over last night and that worried me - would I have time to wash my hair? Will there only be white towels? Will my mascara make a mess of them? Will there only be one pillow? Will I be too warm, too cold? What time do I need to set my alarm?

Usually I'm okay. I can hide behind the Lad or my mum when I go abroad/away. This time I couldn't.

I'm sort of glad. It made me realise that that's who I am. I'm a worrier. I will never like coach travel. I will never make friends with people on the first, second or third meeting. I like being on my own. I'm not as funny as I think I am. I love cooked breakfasts. I have a 'thing' for miniatures. I will always wake up two minutes before my alarm.

If I hadn't have been alone, I wouldn't have learnt those things and I'm glad I feel good about them.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

REVIEW: Battle Of The Scrubs

My face likes to brew tiny spots with a massive volcano of redness and soreness around them. I think my face is actually one of the best in the world for that - although do correct me if I'm wrong.

Usually, my go-to cleanser/scrub/wash is Swarfaega. I work in a warehouse so it's easy to come by and cheap with my staff discount. It feels a lot like an exfoliater by Clinique (actually a lot less harsh than the Clinique one too), but without the price tag - discount or no discount. Recently though I've run out of Swarfega and been trying out some other scrubs that claim to work wonders.

1. Sanctuary Spa - this would be much, much better if there were more exfoliant beads and the gel that suspends them became foamy when wet. The beads are a decent size and they definitely scrub well, but it's hard to maneover them around my face when the gel doesn't really move well.

2. Skin Therapy - this is the opposite to the above - too much wash and not enough scrub. I use this after the St Ives or the Sanctuary Spa to create a double cleanse effect. It does have scrub in there, but the beads are too fine for me personally (although it does state that it is a 'gentle cleanser' so if that's what you're looking for then this is a really good product). I got this from Wilkinson's.

3. St Ives - this is my favourite so far. It has a decent sized bead and plenty of them. They're notably not spherical beads, more gritty and sharp which I like because I really sloughs off dry skin around spots or blemishes. It also foams up really nicely so I can feel it getting right into my skin and then smoothing it over without making my face feel sore or tight.

4. Clean and Clear - I had high hopes for this when I bought it the other week, but it's really disappointed me. The wash part is creamy, which on one hand is good for moisturisation, but on the other ain't so great for exfoliation with just this and some water. The formula would work better with a muslin cloth or a flannel. The beads are a good size, but because they're completely round they roll to the edge of my face and, because they're bright blue, are really noticeable in my hairline. Even the Lad has had issues with this one.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

LIFE: What's in my travel makeup bag

This week I'm going on a two day business trip down South. South for me is anywhere below Sheffield, so make of that what you will. I don't really know anything about the trip other than the itinerary for people I have to sit and listen to on Day 2. My worry is that we'll all have to carry our stuff around all day before getting the coach home so I'm packing light. Just in case.

This is a minutely tweaked version of my usual makeup. I've cut out the foundation and concealer and chosen a miniature Bare Mineral duo instead. I've got a primer and moisturiser in one, although seeing as I've only just got the Bare Minerals products I'm taking their version of a primer too, again, just in case. I'm taking the Collection brow kit mainly as an eyeshadow kit because if I can't be bothered to attempt eyeliner (although I'm taking it anyway) I can always work something out with that and if my brow pencil dies and is unredeemably unsharpenable then I have a back up for that too.

Most of the things I'm taking here have dual purposes and give me options for if I change my mind on the day or not. Although I don't have a lot here I have plenty variations to chose from and me likey options.

Choosing miniature things also helps save space in the tote bag I've chosen in place of a suitcase. Next thing on my list is to find a good miniature pair of straighteners... 

Friday, 25 July 2014

REVIEW: Nail Drying Spray

I have super short nails. I bite them a lot. I try to grow them now and then and sometimes they get a good few mil of white along the edge before I gnaw them back off again.

I'm trying to grow them at the moment. I've watched plenty YouTube videos to know the standard way to give myself a nice manicure, but sometimes (most times) I can't be arsed. I usually get up, wash, makeup/hair done, breakfast and then, about ten minutes before I need to set off for work I think, hmm I could do with some polish on. 

I slap some colour on (at the moment it's Topshop Au Naturel - a nice opaque white), spray the drying spray on and there I go, done. It's not a top coat, but it makes my nails temporarily glossy. It doesn't make the polish last any longer, give my nails any more strength or make the polish look super fantastic, but for a quick fix, this is the best thing I've found.

Obviously, putting a top coat on before spraying this on will make the polish last longer, but you can find a good quick drying top coat that'll work for that purpose much better than this (cough* Seche Vite) but for a quickie manicure - my kind of manicure - this is da bomb.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

COOK: Pickled beet.

My Lad has an allotment. He grows our food for the year. At this point we have a major glut. Our neighbours are loving it because they get the excess flung at them across the fence (in a nice way, of course). 

This year is the first year the Lad has attempted to grow beetroot. It something that I only occasionally eat and not something that I particularly like. It's nice, but that's it.

On Sunday we went all out and tried something new. We pickled a load of beet.

There are a lot of different recipes online and I found myself getting confused with them all so settled for a simple one with about four ingredients - beet, vinegar, sugar and water (and maybe a sprinkle of salt). The only things with that is, some of the recipes say it's good to eat within three months, others say after three months.

Anyone have any idea when I can nosh some down?

Sunday, 20 July 2014


This week we have had a superb time up in the Yorkshire Dales. We stayed in Richmond, a beautiful town with so much character. We got back after a round trip to the coast late on Thursday and have spent the time since just sitting watching films and catching up on our series recordings on Sky.

(We went to see How To Train Your Dragon 2, sounds like a horrific sequel to a kids film, is actually really, really amazing. We were laughing out loud, weeping and clenching our fists shouting 'yeeaahhh')

Friday, 18 July 2014

THREE THINGS: to love about life lately

1. Who I share it with
2. The places I live in and near to
3. The simple things (like wearing new shoes down to the river)

Thursday, 17 July 2014

REVIEW: Battle of the Facewipe

I'm a scrub, soap and water kinda girl. I buy wetwipes to clean my bin with rather than to cleanse my face with. Recently though, I've found that my current eyewear choices are not being completely removed with the scrubs, soap and water combo, so I thought I'd give these a try and see if I can be swayed into using wetwipes as a regular addition to my regime.

Manuka Doctor - this has the best smell of them all - super tropical, although I'm not sure I like it. The cloth was pretty thin and it took a while to take all my mascara off. It eventually did, but my eyes were quite sore after all the rubbing involved.

Klorane - I've used Klorane products before so I was pleased to see they have formulated a facewipe. They smell okay, not bad, but not overly pleasant either and the scent lingers on my hands, but not on my face (weird, but true). It removed all of my makeup, including my waterprooof mascara, with ease and didn't cause any redness or tightness. This is the only one with a proper 'lid' rather then a sticky flap to close the pack.

Witch - the Lad chose to use this first because he trusts the brand more than any of the others. His feedback involved tightness, a clean smell and very wet. I agree in part. I didn't think they were too wet, but my skin did feel pretty tight afterwards.

Dr Organic - these are the only wipes that say they're wetwipes rather than face wipes. Super multipurpose, these are my type of wipe. However, comparing them to the others, there's a definate difference. These are really wet and make my face tacky when dry. They smell much like the wipes I use to clean the bin with, which is hygenic, but not bobbydazzling. But, they are the cheapest of the four so maybe this can be forgiven.

My overall view is that for travelling, I would choose the Dr Organic, simply because they're designed for everything. If I was to choose one for my face regularly (say on the evenings I finish work really late) then I think the Klorane wipes are the nicest. 

NOTE: I was sent these for review, however all of my ramblings about them have been rambled by my own accord and with my own opinions (with a little input from the Lad).

Monday, 14 July 2014

LIFE: What's in my travel bag

This week, Olie and I are going North for a few days. We went to Whitby earlier in the year and Scotland a couple of months back so I've got my travel bag essentials down to a tee.

The majority of things in this picture are pretty standard. Wet wipes, sanitary gel, brolly, a pen, money, tissues etc. the most important thing here though (bar the keys, obviously) is the box of sweets. The Lad is one of those that needs something full of sugar to keep him going through the day. Mars bars are his favourite, but very melty in hot car situations. We've found a happy medium with gummy sweets. 

For us there's always a point in the limbo between mealtimes that we get a bit peckish. Especially on the road or after we've been visiting somewhere. This little box will be our saviour!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

REVIEW: Rimmel Scandaleyes Thick & Thin Eyeliner

You know when you think, hmm I'll give this a go, bash it in the basket and don't really think about it? Well, I did that with this and I'm glad I did.

I'm a great fan of Rimmel eyeliner anyway so I expected this to live up to it's predecessors. The first day, it did. The second day, it sort of did. The third day, just no.

As with all felt tip liners that I've used, despite taking extra care over putting the lid securely on, standing it up with the nib face down, etc. No luck. It started applying really faintly, the nib wasn't as fine as it was to start and it began to drag my lid.

I understand that over time, these things are inevitable, but after two uses?!

I'll be giving it a few more tries, but I think this might end up at the bottom of my makeup bag fairly fast.

I'm a loyal user of liquid liner, so this just proves that I'm using the right, blacker than black, lid liner. Go me!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

LIFE: Butchers Meat

I am sad to say I was one of those people who knew that the meat I ate had probably been cared for very little and it probably died in horrid conditions, but when I picked up the packet in the supermarket, I pushed those thoughts to the back of my mind and just thought of something else - something less guiltifying.

After watching a few Halal killing videos on Youtube*, my initial thought was to not buy any more meat and to give up eating it forever. But, I realised I actually like eating meat a lot. I like my veg, don't get me wrong, but I also like meat.

I showed the Lad and we both decided that we have enough money coming in to go premium and go to our local butcher. Our local butcher knows where all the meat they sell comes from. Local meat. Well cared for meat. Lean meat. We bought eight sausages, two gammon steaks, a good stew full of frying steak and a load of bacon for £12.

Comparing that to a 3 for £10 deal at Tesco, I think we got a bargain! Heaven knows why we expected it to be expensive.

I cooked the frying steak the first night and turned it into two mash-topped beef pies. I usually have to pick at the meat in my pie and segment the pieces that don't look so good, but I ate all of it. The third night (because we had the second pie the second night) I made a sausage casserole. Usually I have to peel the sausages because I don't like the outer bit, but this seemed to melt away into the casserole and jeez, it smelt and tasted so, so good. The fourth night we had the gammon... you can see where I'm going.

I don't know why we didn't go before, or why we'd never considered going before, but I'm now a converted person. It's cheap, it's good fine meat, it lasts well because it's so fresh when we buy it, it tastes superb, it made us consider what food we're going to eat throughout the week so we've eaten healthier and wasted less.

I can't see any downfall. Local butchers meat has and always will be the best way forward.

Now, excuse me while I go eat my pancakes and crispy bacon for tea.

*Just a little note to say that I know that Halal killings are mostly done carefully and thoughtfully to the standards that their religion upholds them to and that some British farmers treat their animals with as much distain as the Halal abattoirs I saw on the videos. Buying local means we can track where our food comes from and  know that our meat is killed to HSA Standards - a way that I wholeheartedly agree with.

Monday, 7 July 2014

LIFE: Life expectations

The other day my colleague got promoted. I'm super happy for him, obvs, but it also makes me question my motives.

I didn't go for it.

Why? I don't know. I suppose self belief is my biggest downfall. I'm the B grade girl, not an A* outperformer. Good, but not quite good enough.

I'm happy that he's happy he got the job and I'm also happy that I'm happy I didn't.

I know I have no career expectations. I will probably still be working where I do throughout the next several years and I'm okay with that.

I have life expectations though. I hope to marry, have babies, spend time with those babies, work around those babies lives and live mine to the full too.

Work is good, but life is better.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

REVIEW: Olay Firm & Lift Primer

Early last month I went on a mission to find a good, reasonably priced primer.

My face is red, blemish prone and I have dark circles when I don't get enough sleep (aka, every day). I have freckles that I don't want to cover up and I'm not a fan of the cakey look anyway so slapping on the concealer/foundation is a no-no. Buggered, aren't I?

Well, maybe not.

I bought this on offer in Wilko's (yup, super high end girl here) and I think it was between £5 and £10, which for something I was unsure if it would a) work b) I actually need it c) I wanted to spend that money on something I wouldn't be able to see after applying, was a big step for me (okay, I'm a finacially retentive person).

This is a thick, green tinted, but mostly white primer. It's a glorified moisturiser and I use it exactly the same as I would use a moisturiser. It has a lovely smell too, which I adore.

I don't think it completely eradiated all my problems, but it definately tried to. It filled my pores in and made the blemishes less noticeable. The spots that had just come up remained angry and red, but the redness from old spots seemed more faded.

The blurb on the back is simple: "you'll look like you on a good day." A phrase I'd like to think is true whenever I put effort into my face, but yanno. I like this as maybe as more of a moisturiser-with-a-purpose, but overall, I would definately repurchase.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

BAKE: Pancakes

One of the best and worst things about having chickens is a plentiful supply of eggs.

We have two chickens, which equates to 14 eggs a week. We don't eat all that many eggs as plain egg - like scrambled, poached, fried, boiled etc (although we do love us some fried) - so we tend to have a backlog before I go mental and bake a gazillion sweet things to try and use them up.

This week, we went for pancakes for our tea of choice. We used a Jamie Oliver recipe of one mug self raising flour, one mug milk, a pinch of salt and an egg. Fairly healthy with a wealth of variety for toppings. We've had pancakes three times this week already. 

Albeit that's only three eggs, but we're only halfway through the week, and I have a special date with some bacon and egg for Saturday breakfast.

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