Sunday, 28 June 2015


June, you have been awesome and a little bit shit too.
June is about family, always has been with two immediate family birthdays in there. Although the 2nd also brought the ninth anniversary of my Grandma's death. She never would've wanted me to cry and this is the first year since that I haven't. I thought about her and smiled instead. 

This month also saw my other Grandma go into hospital critically ill. I thought I would lose her, but I didn't. She's happy, healthy and the best she's been in years so I'm glad.

I'm glad that everything is good.

Friday, 26 June 2015

READ: #23 The Other Wind, #24 Tales from Earthsea, #25 Eleanor & Park, #26 Starchild & Witchfire

This is a final book in the Earthsea series. It it set fifteen years after Tehanu and links back to the other books often. A bit too often sometimes, almost like the author is forcing the old stories on the reader again, but I did enjoy the plot. The dead keep contacting Alder after his wife and child dies - this story is about why they call to him and draw him to the land where the stars never set and the sun never rises. It's a good book to end a series on.

This book is like the bonus material after watching a series of movies. These stories are set alongside the other books in the Earthsea set. Some are placed in completely different times, some are helpful for elaborating on characters met in the series, some are just thought provoking. I'd had this book for years before finally getting round to reading it.

OH MY GOD, how cute. Just how cute? Can a book get any cuter? Goddamn, Park is like Augustus Walters (in the book, not the film. Thank you.) where you want the imaginary version to come out into real life so you can just squeal that he's here! I loved this, I read it in a couple of days and felt a little lost when I put it back on the bookshelf. I am definately reading more of Rainbow's books. Ultimate love story.

I got this from a friend, who got this from our junior school library when they had a yard sale, after they upgraded to computers in the '90's. These are the best books. I devoured this. A children's book that takes you away to a land of fairies, dragons and the battle of good and evil. Such a great throwback to those days when imagination was limitless. 

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

BATTLE: The Tinted Moisturiser

I don't know about you, but during the summer months I like to look sun-kissed rather than sun-caked with my makeup. 

The Olay Total Effects 7 in 1, is an awesome product. It's a great tinted moisturiser. Almost like mixing two parts moisturiser with one part foundation. It glides on, settles in and stays for the most part of the day. It makes your skin like your skin on a super good day. I cannot count how many times someone has commented on my skin and how 'good' I'm looking. 

Does make me wonder how shitty I usually look...

The Nivea Tinted Moisturising Day Cream falls short when compared. Although I like the consistency and the smell and the texture; I do not like the colour. I suppose that one shade for all skin tones is setting up for a fail. On me and my super pink, ruddy fair skin, it's orange. It oxidises on my face almost instantly. I've tried more, I've tried less, but with the Olay sitting right next to it, I'm more inclined to pick the Olay up and use that instead of wasting time trying to get the Nivea to work for me.

With the Olay being about £15 and the Nivea being usually around the £4 mark, it's safe to say I got what I paid for. I actually shopped about and got the Olay for about £7 instead which I was super chuffed with and in hindsight I wish I'd picked up another at the time.

In this instance I would actually pay £15 for the Olay. I can see it transitioning nicely into Autumn with the help of a thicker concealer and giving me a bit of a skin perk up when the nights start getting longer.

Wonderful product, definate recommendation.

Monday, 22 June 2015

OUTFIT: Outfit Details

Scarf, Watch, Earrings, Necklace

The weather in the UK at the moment is typically British - warm when the sun peeks out from behind a cloud, but fairly chilly and sometimes wet the rest of the time. It's lucky when the sun has a good stint out from the clouds and warms up the earth a bit. But then the residential winds whip the majority of that heat away too...

Dressing for this weather is what I call: An Ultimate Gamble.
So, you can either gamble that the weather will stay warm and dry and dress sleeveless with legs out or you can gamble and put that thermal vest on underneath multiple layers and pray that the sun never gets lucky.

My secret to dressing appropriately without getting a chest cold every time I step outdoors is a quality scarf. Not too thick, not too thin and just the right amount of material to enable it to be worn in several different ways. I got this beast from a street stall in Paris about ten years ago. It's a staple in my wardrobe throughout every season. I can wear it as a shawl, wrapped around my neck three times, draped straight over my shoulders (Kanye style), tucked into a belt (Burberry style). The list is endless. If I could find that street stall again and buy a load more, I would. Just because I'm worried one day this one will end up threadbare.

My other secret is gold jewellery. Gold warms the skin, warms the outfit, adds a bit of worth to an outfit. I have a lot of love for gold detailing. It's a must come rain or shine.

I call that: An Ultimate Win.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

READ: The Colouring Book

Pretending to be a kid seems to be the next big thing.

I am fully on this bandwagon, especially when colouring books are as beautiful as this. I got this Millie Marotta Animal Kingdom book on a whim. It was on offer at Sainsbury's a while back and I thought, why not? 

With the weather being so nice recently, it's been a pleasure to get a blanket outside and sit and colour like I used to when I was little. These pictures are awesomely detailed, but don't let that effort put you off - it's a mini achievement after two days of colouring, you finally finish an elephant!

There are all sorts of different animals, flowers, situations, textures to explore and to get creative with.

It's a great starting point if you want to get your creative spark back.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

LIFE: MASTER PLAN SIDE A: 6 Months After Coming off The Contraceptive Pill

Exactly six months ago, I took my last contraceptive pill. Now my hyperthyroidism is under control, I can really take a look at how the pill affected me and what changes there have been since coming off them.

See my original post here, and my 12 week update here.

1. My boobs have grown, I've bulked up and I'm hairy.
I think my body is finishing off puberty. 
I started taking the contraceptive pill when I was 16 and I had a bit of a boyish figure back then. I'm filling out now. So my boobs are growing, I'm carrying more weight around my middle and I'm heavier than I've ever been before. Although I know the majority of this 'weight' is fat, I feel less skinny (something I've always been called and always hated) and more normal. I'm watching what I eat, so I don't put too much on, but I'm currently okay with how my body has changed in that respect.

I've always been quite hairy for a blonde girl - thankfully no dark hair for me, but I'm sure I could plait my arm hair if I really tried. This hair is now growing down onto the backs of my hands. Is this normal? I'm sure I had downy hair on my hands when I was younger, but I've not had it there in so long, I'm a little unnerved. It's not particularly noticeable because it's so fair, but I'm aware of it. Possible waxing may commence soon.

2. My periods have (hopefully) settled.
I have had two periods that were dead on 28 days apart. I'm hoping that they'll continue on like this - predictably - for the rest of my life. I know that's a pretty hefty wish, but I dislike the 'not knowing' of when I might come on. I've experienced more cramps than I did when I was on the pill, but it's not unbearable and I'm hoping that it's just my womb getting back into the swing of things.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

REVIEW: Schwarzkopf Essence Ultime Biotin Volume Conditioner

A bargain buy this one. Found it on the reduced shelf in Superdrug.  I've not used any of the Schwarzkopf biotin range before so this was my trial run. I quite liked it. It has a distinctive smell, one that I got complemented on at work - by complemented, I mean, "oh you smell different today". Make of that what you will.

The consistency is good. It covers a lot of hair with a little product which I like. I thoroughly agree with the 'weightless effect' it claims to have as my hair feels so soft and silky that it might fly up and away at any moment.

Even after straightening, this makes my hair supple and flexible in a non greasy way.

I use this only on the lower parts of my hair, not my scalp, so I can't vouch for the texture/greaseproof-ness at the roots.

For a conditioner that makes my hair feel so great, I'm very surprised to see it on the bargain bay. For 10p, you really can't go wrong!

Sunday, 14 June 2015

HOW TO: 5 tips for buying plants

1. Pick your shop wisely
If you're going to pay full price for a plant in a shop, you want it to be a pedigree plant. Purchase full price plants from Botanical Gardens, National Trust gardens, English/Scottish Heritage homes - you can probably walk past the parent plant in the gardens and know that it's come from a sound specimen. The last thing you want if you're going to drop £20 on a flower is it to shrivel up and die as soon as you get it home (and that's before you forget to water it).

2. Flower Shows
'But I'm not seventy-five years old!' I hear you cry. No. You're not, but £20 on an entry fee enables you to find the creme de la creme of plant suppliers and generally, not only is it cheaper to go on the last day, they suppliers are also selling off perfectly good plants for cheap. Niiiiice.

3. Online/Brochure
Monty Don regularly says he buys plants online (sweet, what a lege), but research your suppliers. You will inevitably get a few random bulbs/flower/plants that are completely wrong or just plain shit, but the majority, if you pick supplier well, will thrive and give you a great yield - whether that's crop, foliage or flowers.

4. Supermarkets or DIY stores
No, not full price, pfft! As soon as a plant gets a dead head or a branch of a bush dies, they half the price. Reduction bays hold absolute gems! Sometimes a full tray of bedding plants has about a third left, or even only one good plant, but see the potential for a few weak ones. If you're willing to give it a feed every week for the first few weeks to get them going, then grab them quick! The Lad and I went to Homebase recently and got a tray of 16 pansies, a bush thing, a campanula, a tray of 8 lobelia and a wafty bush thing for £9. The pansies alone were meant to be £6. Boom, winner!

5. Grow your own
It's not actually that hard to take cuttings. Take lavender as an example: find a new shoot, cut it off about 3 inches long, just under a bud of a leaf, strip the leaves off about two thirds of it and stick in down the side of a pot. Bash it on a windowsill and water regularly. Once it starts growing new leaves it should have it's own root system so it's essentially a new plant. Job's a good 'un.

Friday, 12 June 2015

FOREVER REPURCHASED: Collection Illuminating Concealer

For the grand total of £4.99 this the Collection Illuminating Touch Concealer an awesome product. It's a thickish creamy consitency that glides over under eye skin and brightens those dark circles. It's got a slight pinkish tone that combats those bluey tones. It's not particularly great at covering other blemishes, but for slight discolourations, it's the product for me.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

REVIEW: Essence 2 in 1 Eyeliner Pen

The Essence eyeliner pen hasn't replaced my favourite Rimmel Eyeliner liquid, however I have used it a lot more than I thought I would.

The long nib on the fine end makes a great tool to mark out a cat flick, whilst the thicker end works well to get the line across the eyelid just right. Although the colour is black, it is definately not as intense or and pure a black as I'm accustomed to, so I've been using this as a guideline and then applying my trusty Exaggerate over the top to deepen the colour.

I'm unsure as to whether the pen really needs to be as long as it is. I struggle to fit it in my makeup bag. However, I'm hopeful it means it holds a lot of product and will last longer.

Have any of you tried this? What are your thoughts?

Monday, 8 June 2015

BAKE: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Can anyone really say no to a chocolate cookie?

No, thought not.

Sunday evening came and I was hangry. Hangry for something filling and sweet. This cookie recipe stood out from the book and away I went, baking in record time. 

Bash together 250g sugar and 150g butter. Then add an egg and some flavoured essence (you can go craycray here if you want). Sieve in 250g plain flour, a tsp of bicarb of soda and a pinch of salt. Start mixing and then chuck in a bar of thoroughly destroyed chocolate.

Scoop out into even sized blobs and bake at 180°C for 12 minutes (or until nice and crunchy around the edge).

Et voila! 30 minutes from start to finish and with only one bowl to wash up at the end of it. My kind of baking.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

REVIEW: Maybelline Baby Skin Primer

This is a weird product. I'm not a primer fan at the best of times, but I think my slippy skin needs it on the long ten hour Saturday shifts. To a degree I think the Maybelline Instant Pore Eraser helps.

On the plus side, it smooths my skin out wonderfully and creates a flat base for my foundation to go on top of. Granted, I don't wear much foundation, but at the beginning of the day it covers my redness and evens out my skintone. This primer helps keep it in position for about six-ish hours. After that my redness is prevalent and I may as well not wash my face at night for all the makeup left on there.

As for pore minimisation, I think, again to a degree, it helps make my skin look more blemishless. It's easier to work with other products after applying this so my pores are not the first and foremost feature of my face anymore. My pores are worse around the bridge of my nose and I'll admit that this has definately helped make that area more 'blurred perfected' (if that's even a phrase?). Like if someone had blurred out my pores of photoshop.

It is a high street product though, no miracle worker. For under £10, it's pretty good and definately worth a try.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Hello June

Summer! Hooray! It's here! Sort of. June will always be about family for me, a quiet time to sit and watch and enjoy.
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