Thursday, 31 October 2013

Blog O'clock - an intro


Oh my poor poor blog,  am so sorry you've been abandoned lately! Blame work and the real world and my severe lack of energy this past week or so! EEK! It's been annoying the glitter out of me that I haven't been able to get any posts up - and I was doing so well too!

Seriously, how do the - 'I have to work a day job and blog at the same time' people manage to do this? Is there a secret I have yet to be let in on? Tell me!!!

*insert manic googiling, youtubing and blog reading for way too long here*

Now that I've sufficiently wasted even more time procrastinating working online, I can safely say....there is no answer...there are hundreds. Well, that's helpful!

So many methods, so many different ways, some work for one blogger, some don't work for the next blogger - that mean no map, no guide book, no step-by-step how to tutorial with cute background music. 'm on my own lovely readers, on my own!

*Finding my zen*

Calm.

I love to write, I love to blog, I love to read other blogs, to get involved in the community we have online - it's just a shame real life really does get in the way. Have you ever felt like this? Have you ever wondered how the other bloggers out there do it, how some even manage it daily? I used to think it looked so easy - until I started blogging.

It's all about time. Setting in stone a set time to write, to tweet, to blog hop and pinterest your pretty blog headers. So, that's what I'm going to do.

November, filled with Nanowrimo madness and Christmas shopping, is probably the worst month for me to add on another commitment but, that's what this blog is all about, my adventures in this wonderland we call life. I'm not saying I'll find the secret to productive blogging in a month, but I'll be sure to let you lovely readers know how I'm getting on (if in fact you're seeing awesome new shiny posts then I must be doing something right!)

The Plan

I'll be doing a minimum of 3 posts here on the blog a week. This does not include my planned Nanowrimo update posts once a week.

I'll be using the Wunderlist iPhone app to keep track of any post ideas that come to mind, which should hopefully help me to avoid writers block and the glare of the blank page. I'll also be keeping a paper based schedule of what posts will be going up on what days and giving each one a pretty pink tick upon completion and publishing.

I'm going to write most of my posts at the weekend - usually on a Sunday, then schedule them to go live on a set day - that way I can spend more time blog hopping, promoting and catching up with shows in the Sky+ box!

It all sounds pretty simple, but when you're trying to carve time out of an already bustling schedule, you simple realize that some days just don't have enough hours - of you haven't had enough caffeine!

Well, lets see how this goes...

How do you find the time to blog? What are your blogger insider secrets?


To keep up with this 'could be a series' be sure to follow me on bloglovin, twitter and pinterest!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Divergent & Insurgent - Veronica Roth - Book Review



I'm not going to lie - Amazon told me to read these books. They kept coming up on my 'Recommended for you' list, then I read an article over on 'All Women Stalk' talking about books you must read before they are turned into movies...so I click onto IMDB and find out the first book, Divergent, has been made into a film that's on it's way out at some point over the next couple of months.

SOLD

See, I have this thing about books, and an even BIGGER thing about books that have been turned into movies. There is something about the page to screen adaptation, from fiction to screenplay, the process and the results really fascinate me. (So much so it was the front runner when I was thinking up ideas for a PhD application!)

One click purchase thank you very much, a quick trip down the whispernet and BOOM, my Kindle library has two shiny new additions.

Divergent

YA, dystopian future, we find ourselves in what used to be Chicago, but has since been split up into 5 factions; dauntless, abnegation, candor, amity and erudite. Each faction is devoted to its singular goals and way of life. And then we have 'The Factionless', the poorest of the poor, those who failed in their chosen faction have quite literally been kicked out and left to find for themselves - or drive buses, collect garbage etc, generally the jobs those who belong to a faction do not want. The belief is they have no direction and so no purpose in life, unlike those in the factions. Harsh much?

The idea of the factions reminded me of the districts in The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins, in fact Divergent reminded me a whole lot of The Hunger Games, with one exception - the Divergent (soon to be) trilogy actually got better with each (so far) new book.

Our main character, Beatrice, or Tris as she later becomes, is originally from Abnegation, a reserved, selfless grey clothes only bunch of folk who do a lot of charity work for the Factionless and are pretty meek compared to the other factions. Long story short, she takes a test at the age of 16 to determine what faction she is most suited to, then she gets to make a choice; stay with her existing faction forever more or risk becoming factionless by joining a brand new faction and attempting their initiation tests. So we can all guess what happened here, right? Tris runs away from her somber home and joins up with the gun wielding, train jumping, tattooed members of Dauntless - as you do!

This first book follows Tris through the initiation process and sees her tested beyond all reason. She goes in a journey of self discovery, and even deeper, a discovery of the world around her - which of course, isn't what it seemed at first. She must learn what it is to be Dauntless whilst trying to understand her own secret - that she is Divergent, and the consequences of that can be deadly.

Thoughts?

I really liked it! Like I said, it reminded me of The Hunger Games, and I loved the first one in that series. Though I'm about 10 years older than the main characters, I could relate to their problems, I know what it feels like to be a 16 year old trying to find your place in the word and not quite knowing just where you fit in - and that doesn't go away with age!. I thought the characters where well developed and the teenage mood-swings, though annoying, fitted in perfectly - who wasn't a moody teenager?

Structurally, the story moves at a well set pace, with a rhythmic prose that is easy to follow and digest. I wonder if Roth had three books in mind because this one felt so well paced, it seems almost purposeful and not rushed through unlike Collins. Roth paints a vivid image of this dystopian society but it's easy to see a relation to reality between the lines.

Insurgent

Following on right from where Divergent left off, Insurgent picks up the story and the pace. "One choice can destroy you" is the tag line and oh, how true that becomes. We see Tris having to make some tough, gut wrenching decisions with little evidence to go on - you don't half feel sorry for this girl and what she's about to go through in Insurgent!Tris is trying to make sense of her own identity whilst figuring out where she fits into the storm that is now brewing amongst all the factions. You try getting your head around politics and boys at the same time - it's a toughie made even worse with blood on one hand and a gun in the other.

Tris has to now accept she is Divergent through and through and deal with the consequences of that - oh and make a decision on where her loyalties ultimately lie - with her love, her faction or her family?

Thoughts?

Fast! Fast! Fast! Roth picks up the pace here and I loved it. Fighting, drama, romance, death, it's all here page after page. That being said, there's alot of stodge here too which was disappointing. Yes, I know I ma reading about teens, but do they have to be so anghsty all the time? The sexual tension between Tris and Four was a little too fluffy for my liking - I'm not saying they should have jumped each other, but for what I'm reading to be overly emotional horny teenagers, they would have probably got a little more carried away in the real world...just saying. When the book isn's so focused on the romance - I loved it all the more. Tris is a very well developed character who manages to stay true to our original impression of her, she stays true to her own ideals - even when they cause her conflict and pain. Usually you'll find the tough cookie chick falls for the boy and becomes a Mary Sue over night but thankfully, not our Tris!

What I love most about Insurgent is how much deeper we go into each individual faction - and it's those I love to hear about. Their different beliefs and ways of life, how they make their own significant contribution to each other factions way of life too, be it providing teachers, food or interrogation methods. I find it pretty interesting and each faction seems well thought out and pre-planned (I'd love to see Roth's original notes on the factions, much like Rowling's original notes on the Hogwarts Houses!)

Whats next?

The final installment of Roth's trilogy, Allegiant will be out October 22nd 2013 and I will be pre-ordering this on my Kindle. It's not often I pick up a series that isn't already completed by time I get around to it so it'll be nice to be reading along with everyone else - and not being the last to jump on the bandwagon!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

26 things I've learnt on my 26th Birthday!



This past weekend I turned the big 26!! How these numbers keep sneaking up on me I’ll never know, I barely feel like I’ve started my twenties yet here I am coming close to the finishing line and verging on the oh so scary (but surely fantastic?) 3 – 0! My twenties are swiftly leaving me behind, I’m having to consider the possibility that I might, in fact, be a…grown up…SHH, don’t say it so loud!

Feeling all reflective as one does after a birthday (or maybe that’s just me?) I thought I’d give a shout out to the 26 things (see what I did there?) I’ve come to learn/realize/admit to as I stand at the starting line of my 26th year on this planet we call Earth.

1)      Time is NOT important
There is nothing that actually says you should be married by X age, or on the XX ladder of your career by this exact date. Things will happen when they’re suppose to happen. If we are so hell bent on certain things happening by a certain age and they don’t happen, well, that’s not going to be a fun time for anyone, especially you!

2)      Exercise is your friend
Find a fitness activity you love and go with it. Don’t think of it as exercise, never tell yourself it’s to lose weight or tone up for summer, do it because it’s FUN – and just happens to be very good for you!

3)      The word ‘diet’ should not be in your vocabulary
If you’re going to delete one word from your life, ‘diet’ should be it! Diet implies that you are going on some crash course celebrity endorsed ‘all your friends are doing it’ life of hell and then some. Diets deprive you of the foods you love, and as soon as your on one, your brain sends out little minions to sit on the tip of your tongue, taunting you with the taste of things you’ve told yourself you can’t have. And if you give in to temptation? Don’t even get me started on the guilt trips those minions will send you on! Seriously, no more diets. Learn about portion control, moderation, and c’mon, we all know what foods are bad for us so just quit eating as much of them! Tell yourself you’re making a ‘healthy lifestyle choice’ and those minions will bugger right off!

4)      Food is FUN
Eating food, making food, playing with food. It’s all fun – never forget that. It’s not just there to fuel us through our day, it’s there to be enjoyed, alone, or with friends and family. Broaden your palette, try different cuisines, restaurants, cook something you have no idea how to cook. Have fun with it. Never be afraid of food.

5)      Get out more
I love the internet – there, I said it! But what’s the point of watching others life their life out online if your not living yours? We’re all guilty of having a SacconeJoly or Judys Time marathon, and there’s nothing wrong with that, just remember there’s a big ol world out there and you could be doing something much more fun that sitting there watching others go shopping in Tesco!

6)      Everyone else’s problems are not your problems
You’ve got enough going on in your own life without taking on the problems of others too. Be there for others, listen and help if you can, but don’t let their problems take over your life.

7)      Learn to listen
One of the easiest things to do in conversation is to talk about yourself without even realizing it. Give others a go on the microphone and just listen. It’s easy to jump in half way through a sentence with advice or anecdotes, but maybe, just maybe that’s not what the other person is looking for. Just let them talk, nod in all the right places and let them finish, then, if needed, give your 2 pennies worth.

8)      The world is a playground – and not the fun kind
Remember the playground drama when you were a kid? The cliques, the bullying, the hierarchy etc? Even when you leave school, that will never go away. College, university, the world of work. They’re all giant playgrounds filled with cliques and bullys, name calling and back stabbing. Just because people grow up doesn’t mean they will act like a grown up. It’s sad but so true, some people just get worse with age. Be the bigger person here, don’t get involved in the gossip and drama – just walk away and go play on the swings.

9)      ASK
If you want to know something, ask! Life’s too short to not know if that guy likes you as more than a friend, or if your boss thinks you’d be better off in another department. If you never ask you’ll never know, and there’s nothing worse than living without answers. More often than not you might get an answer you didn’t expect, it could be hurtful or heartbreaking, but at least you know the truth and can move forward knowing all the facts.

10)   Don’t try to keep up with the Jones’
All your friends are signing mortgage agreements, getting married, having babies, wearing purple – just because they are doesn’t mean you should be too. Single and still living with your parents? SO WHAT? You’ll do things in your own time, see point #1!

11)  Be yourself
How many summers did you spend during your school years trying to change? To be like someone else, someone who was more popular than you? Someone you thought was more attractive than you? Was any of that time well spent? Thought not! Here’s a secret, you are an awesome person, you are you, there is literally nobody else in the world like you! You’re unique, this person you are has never graced this planet or these lives before and never will again – embrace you.

12)  The answers are not always on the outside
Changing your image, your lifestyle, your environment are not always the answers for problems you’ve got going on inside you. You can externally become something different and new, but internally you will always be the same. You’ve got to fix what’s going on inside you.

13)  Rejection isn’t as scary as it sounds
The word no is not the worst thing someone can say to you. So you didn’t get that new job, your submission didn’t get accepted for the publication, your best friend doesn’t want to hang out and it turns out that guy really does just want to be friends. It is not the end of the world,  I repeat, it is NOT the end of the world. Take a moment to be sad or angry if you must, but just a moment, then make plans and move on because…

14)  Everything happens for a reason
And we can’t control it. It’s out of our hands, it is what it is and all we can do is our best with whatever pieces are left behind. Let’s face it, some times something happens that is completely unfair, we cry and kick and scream till our throat is raw. But the thing, whatever it is, has still happened so we’ve got to pick ourselves back up, have a long cold glass of water, take a deep breath and carry on.

15)  Do something
Anything! How often do you find yourself mindlessly staring at Facebook, Pinterest? Tumblr? Twitter *insert any other social media here* You’re not doing it for any specific reason, you’re just doing it and getting nothing worthwhile out of it. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes we need that mindless downtime, but lets not make is a part of our daily schedule! If you find yourself doing this – step away from the computer/laptop/tablet/smart phone, and go and distract yourself with something else. Make a cup of tea, dance around the living room, go to the library or phone your mum.

16) Read more
I’ve always been a reader ever since I was a tiny person but even I have to make a point sometimes of just sitting down to read. Best sellers, old favorites, classics or a recommendation. Just pick up a book for 30 minutes a day, it’s an easy habit to get into, especially if you’re a commuter – you won’t believe the worlds that are opened up to you. They say a reader lives over a thousand lives in one lifetime!

17)  Take care of your body
It’s the only one you get, so give it some love on the inside and out. Think of it like a car, it’s only going to get you so far if you don’t look after it properly!

18)  Make time for others
Make time for the people who are important in your life, even if it's just a quick coffee after work or an email. Pick up the phone and give them a ring, don't wait for others to make plans, make the arrangements for meet ups yourself.

19)  Check your balance
I’ve never been money minded but it has come to my attention that if you really do look after the pennies the pounds look after themselves. Let’s face it, we need money for pretty much everything in life. We need a home, food, health, and we all need to go out to a fancy pants restaurant once in a while (we just do!). Start looking after your bank balance, get used to putting X amount into your savings and keep a handy rainy day fund to one side. Money is for spending and enjoying but there’s no point in getting yourself into unnecessary debt!

20)  Follow your heart
We’re all going to so something or make a decision others won’t agree with. There is no point in letting that stop you, you’ve made your choice for a reason and you’re the one who is going to have to live with it, nobody else. If you feel so strongly and passionately about someone or something, you’re doing yourself a injustice by not going for it because…

21)  Your living your life, nobody elses
Your parents can’t live your life for you, neither can your friends. It’s great to have their support and company along the way, but at the end of the day, you can only live the way you know how to, and sometimes, other people just won’t get it. That’s OK, as long as you are safe, happy and healthy, keep on doing what you’re doing.

22)  No more tomorrows!
How many times do we say we’ll just do it tomorrow? Be it that amazing blog post idea you just had, or emptying the kitchen bin. Why put things off, even the mundane things? Get them done whilst your thinking about them, other wise all of these little things just add up and it become too much, we become so over whelmed by what we have to get done we don’t do any of it. Stop putting things off and just do them as soon as you think of them!

23)  Keep a journal
It doesn’t have to be a ‘dear diary’ and it doesn’t even have to be daily. I know people who have been trying to fill the same journal for 10+ years! If you’ve had a great day, took a trip, or just have something you want to remember, take a few minutes at the end of each day to jot it down. It doesn’t have to be profound and nobody else ever has to read it – but one day you’ll be glad you made a note of that now forgotten memory. Speaking of memories…

24)  Take more pictures
I don’t mean tweet pictures of your ham salad sandwich to the world every lunch time, or flood your news page with pictures of how oh so cute you think your kid looks covered in chocolate from 50+ angles – but take more pictures in general. Of friends, family, don’t even ask them to pose and say cheese, just snap a random candid shot of you mum reading, your dad washing his car, these will be priceless to you in the future.

“…we won’t all be there this time next year so while you can take a picture of us…” – Frank Turner, Polaroid Picture

25)  Say YES more
Say yes to things you wouldn’t normally say yes to, do something new, go someplace different. As long as it’s legal and safe – what have you got to lose? This is how experiences are earned and memories made.

26)  Reward yourself
Be it a massages at the spa, a new pair of shoes, an extra slice of cake or one more snooze on the alarm. If you’ve worked hard for it, give yourself a pat on the back and treat yourself to something special. What’s the point in all that hard work if you can’t celebrate at the end of it?

Wow, that was pretty intense. Looking back over my points, I can see exactly where in my life some of these have come from, and how I wish I had known some sooner. But I know them now and can move forward into my 26th year, feeling a little wiser and a little more prepared for whatever life fancies throwing in my direction!

Monday, 14 October 2013

Maybelline The Falsies Volum’ Express Waterproof Mascara Review & Pictures!




 


Where/Why/Price
Picked this up in my local Boots on a ‘buy one get one half price’ deal a couple of weeks ago! Full price, it’s £7.99. Let’s face it, every beauty guru and their dog are wearing this right now – and after seeing it yet again in a monthly faves review I just had to go and see for myself what all the hype was about!

Packaging
Solid, purple with electric blue writing and highlights, it looks pretty bad ass on the dresser.

Product
So what exactly is The Falsies all about? Maybelline say its false lashes in a tube, boosting your eye-popping power by up to 300% (Where do they get these numbers from?) I’m not the biggest fan of false lashes so anything that can give me the same effect without me risking gluing my eyes shut is already earning brownie points!
I’m no science boffin, so I can’t say much about the formula – it doesn’t sound much different to any of my other mascaras though! The secret weapon of the Falsies is its wand. That is what seems to be giving it the elitist status around the beauty community. The wand is on a hinge, which they say gives you more control, but the brush itself is curved, much like a spoon. Not only is this coating more lashes in one go, but it is fanning them out, adding a curl and pretty much reaching from corner to corner in one swift motion! The fanned out lashes open up your eyes massively – and that is before we’ve even used our eyelash curlers!

Use
Like any other mascara, load it up and go to town on your eyes. I generally find 1 – 2 coats is more than enough to give me the dramatic lash effect I’m looking for. Any more an the lashes start to do that spider leg impression which I really really dislike!

Good
It really does open up the eyes, and adds a huge amount of volume – though I’m not sure it’s 300%! My eyelashes look bigger and fuller meaning I don’t have to go playing around with real false lashes (can we say real false? Looks like!). I think for the price it’s an absolute bargain. I’ve had higher end products like YSL that haven’t come as close to giving me the same effect or staying power. No fall out either – unless you do one too many coats!

Bad
It’s pretty much impossible to get all your lashes covered in one fell swoop – but that’s a big ask for any product! Its waterproof too but I got caught out in the rain a couple of days ago whilst wearing this and had the slightest ‘could me mistaken for a smoky eye’ smudge line. I am struggling for bad comments to be honest!

Conclusion
Worth the hype? Yes. For the price, you’re getting so much from this one product. It’s easily become a staple in my beauty bag – and I can see it staying that way for a while too!

Have you give in to the Falsies yet? 






Thursday, 10 October 2013

Santa Dash 2013


Let me start this by saying - I hate running but I love doing something for charity, so when I walked into work this morning and came face to face with a sign up sheet for the 2013 Santa Dash in Liverpool...there was only one thing to do...

Will I be a RED Santa or a BLUE Santa?

What is the Santa Dash?


The Santa Dash is a 5k fun run through Liverpool, Mann Island to Dale Street, on December 1st. Santas from across the city come together and really kick off Christmas in a way on Liverpool knowns ho ho how to do! Last year the Santa Dash helped to raised almost £5,000,000 for the Text Santa campaign! 2013 will be the races 10th anniversary!

I've seen those suited up runners through town every year, santas on every corner, in coffee shops and spilling out of public transport but never actually thought to take part myself. For years I took up the local Race for Life 5k and loved every single one of them. The atmosphere at these types of events is electric, I mean c'mon, it's got to be something special if I will actually run for it haha!

So consider me signed up! For more info check out the official website here!




Wednesday, 9 October 2013

20 Random Questions tag!

Another week - another tag post! Courtesy of the beautiful Ginger @ Just Add Ginger.co.uk, she's provided me with 20 random questions which I haven't prepared for or anything! Without further rambling lets go!

1) What is your number one beauty tip?


Pat your skin loving lotions and potions onto damp skin. Your skin absorbs much more product and you'll get an even application all over your face! Think I learnt this years back fom the oh so lovely Michelle Phan.

2) You're hosting a dinner party, which 5 celebrities/historical/public figures would you invite?
Jiro Ono, Michael Collins, Don Hahn, Walt Disney and Marie Antoinette! Pretty sure that lot could inspire me to do more!

3) Winter or Summer?
Summer! I really don't like being cold!

4) Who is your favourite Disney character and why?
Tinkerbell. She's always been my favourite. She's so cute and sassy and fiercely loyal.

5) If you got given £500 right now, what would you spend it on?
I'd put it towards a trip to Sorrento, Italy. I really want to go there, it's just so beautiful and the food, oh the food! It looks amazing!

6) Would you rather drink a bogie smoothie or eat a hair sandwich?
Bogie smoothie! Imagine getting all that hair stuck between your teeth? And the thought of it getting stuck in your throat? No thanks!

7) Best memory of the past year?
I'd have to say this past weekend, going to York was just brilliant! I've never been and had an amazing time, so chilled out and relaxed, lots of good food, good wine and good company! It was perfect!

8) Hit shuffle on your iPod/iPhone/music playing device.... What song is on?
Marc Cohn - Walking in Memphis

9) What is your biggest vice?
Chocolate, especially when I know I shouldn't be eating it because it makes me feel so ill sometimes. I just can't say no dammit!

10) What are your top 3 goals for yourself?
1 - get a new job
2 - get organised
3 - write more

11) Favourite beauty product of the moment?
Has to be my Rimmel wake me up concealer, I'd be lost without it!

12) The best ride at Walt Disney World is?
Tower of Terror! It's been my all time favourite since my first trip to Walt Disney World! I love the theming, the lobby, the music, the random drop sequences and the views from the top!

13) What is the one dish you would cook to impress somebody?
Red Velvet with a vanilla frosting - everybody loves cake!

14) What's an annoying habit that you have?
I will ask you are you ok - a bazillion times a day! I annoy myself by doing it so I can only imagine how the rest of you must feel! I also fidget - ALOT!

15) What did you dream about last night?
I dreamt I was in work and they were having a serious discussion about putting a roller-coaster down the corridor!

16) What was your favourite childhood tv show?
The first one that comes to mind is Sabrina the Teenage Witch - but I have a few favourites! Saved by the Bell, Sister Sister and Boy Meets World too!

17) Favourite animal?
Pug! I will have one someday, and yes, I will probably make it wear a stupid (but adorable) jumper!

18) Would you rather sneeze glitter or cough rainbows?
Glitter sneezes! Everything and everyone would be so pretty and shiny!

19) What is your greatest personal achievement?
Probably my Masters in Writing Studies. I worked really hard for it and met some amazing people along the way too!

20) Where do you hope to be in 10 years time?
When I close my eyes and think about my life in 10 years time I see...a powder blue detached house with a wrap around garden and bright white window frames, 2 kids are playing on a swing set in the back. I'll have my own little office, with floor to ceiling shelves filled with books, some even have my name on the cover! There will be pictures all over the house and a passport full of stamps in my drawer - and a hubby in the kitchen making me noodles!


How would you answer the above?


You can check out Gingers response to the 20 random questions I set her here!



Monday, 7 October 2013

Prairie Charms #projectblogger

A couple of weeks a go the lovely ladies of Prairie Charms got in touch and asked if I would like to take part in their #projectblogger campaign. As soon as I clicked onto their website I knew I just had to have something! With oh so pretty glitter accessories on offer and a cheeky 50% discount, how could I say no?

Bring on the shiny!




When a bright shiny pink package drops through the letterbox you just know your onto a winner. I'm not a material girl but I do love aesthetics and the care the Prairie Charms girls go to with their packaging alone shows just how much they love their brand. Not only was my envelope super shiny, but even the individual items I had ordered had been wrapped up too! I felt like I was getting an early birthday present (5 days to go!)


First up, I ordered these Vivienne Knot Ties in the cream,purple and navy mix. I am obsessed with no snag elastics and was in much need of some new ones. These are great! Super strong and sturdy, they hold my awkwardly thick hair well, especially in a top knot! I've been buying lots of purple and cream coloured clothes too so these work perfectly as a little wrist candy too!



Next up, the Harper Glitter Bow in lilac. These come on a crocodile clip but I asked the girls if they could pop it onto an elastic instead - 'Of course!' they said, no problem and no additional cost! My hair has been pretty weak lately so I knew a croc clip would just cause more breakages! I love getting my hair all up on the top of my head and out the way but it can look pretty boring - I just knew a glittery bow would solve the problem! The bow itself is made of a really stiff fabric and holds it's folds perfectly.

I love how it makes my scruffy bun look that much cuter - and my go to lazy hair style looks like I've put the tiniest bit more effort in just by adding a bow!


Last but certainly not least, I bought this Sadia Bracelet with a silver leaf charm. I have pathetically small wrists so it's so hard to find things that fit and don't fall off. Knowing this was on an elastic gave me some assurance and I have to say it fits perfectly! Dangling over my hand, the beads have this delicate grey toned marble pattern running through, making each one different and unique.

The silver leaf is a perfect symbol of autumn and goes well with pretty much everything I own!

I'm so glad Prairie Charms got in touch with me and I've discovered their brand, they have some wonderful accessories on offer, a few of which I know would make great stocking fillers this Christmas for friends and family! I will be checking back with them often - and as a thanks for taking part they've offered me a second discount code - so it'd be rude not to use it of course :-)

My products are brilliant, clearly made with love and shows their devotion to their brand. It's the little details like the cards and packaging that really make Prairie Charms stand out. Their customer service was excellent and a big shout out to Steph who was an absolute star to work with, especially when my paypal was less than co-operative!




Friday, 4 October 2013

Black + Blum eau good charcoal filter water bottle



Many a month ago I gushed about how much I was loving my snazzy new water bottle from Black + Blum. Well, I've been using it for over 2 months now and thought it was about time I shared it with you all!

If you find me with a drink in my hand that is not a very girly looking cocktail, it'll either be a cup of tea or a bottle of water. I'm a big water drinker and do my best to get the 8+ glasses a day much to the annoyance of my pathetically tiny bladder. I'm a tap water girl, bottled water just ends up costing a fortune and I'm always left with random empty bottles in my room, the bottom of my bag and once upon a time in my car foot-well. Water water everywhere it seemed! The time had come to address this problem of overspending and waste so I knew I needed to get a reusable bottle.

I popped into my local Utility as I'd seen the bobble water bottles in there and thought them cute and functional, plus they came in two sizes and the smaller one would be perfect for my bag. Bobble bottles have an inbuilt filter too, and I've heard filtering out water is suppose to be good for you too, so it couldn't hurt to try.



As I reached for the bobble bottle (in pink of course), I noticed this fancy pants looking bottle next to it. The Black + Blum eau good reusable water bottle. Not only was it very adorable looking with its fancy pants cork stopper, but I was really intrigued by the big black lump it came with...a lump of charcoal. Turns out the Japanese have been filtering their water with charcoal since the 17th century! Charcoal naturally reduces chlorine, mineralises the water and balances the pH, not only making your tap water taste better, but making it even healthier for you.

At £15 it was only a few quid more than the bobble bottle I had initially set out to buy and it held up up 800ml (27 fl oz) of water, which was more than its competitor.


You have to fit the charcoal yourself which is easier than it sounds. Simply pop the stick of charcoal into the bottle and gently squeeze the sides until it clicks into place (There's a little bit that pokes out where it sits snugly). This has held since day one and I've never had it even wobble - I did worry it could come loose whilst I was drinking and end up down the back of my throat! Over 2 months daily use and it's still in place!

Fill with tap water and your good to go. Now here's where a little magic happens. The longer you leave the water in the bottle for, the better the charcoal filters/balances/mineralises so you reap more benefits of your happy healthy water. You can keep it in the fridge too. Black + Blum say;

  • 1 hour = good
  • 4 hours = better
  • 8 hours = great
I love to fill the bottle and leave it overnight, that way I'm getting the best of it first thing in the morning.

I'll admit, I was sceptical at first and a little weary. I was convinced the lump of charcoal would make the water taste funny, it reminded me of a BBQ! As much as I love the taste of burgers straight off the coals, I didn't think it would be as good in my water! Thankfully I was wrong...it'd didn't taste like burnt Summer. I didn't notice the difference much with the water at home - but from the taps in work...wow! It tasted so much fresher, like something from a spring in a Bath spa.



The bottle is made of a thick, durable plastic. It's been dropped on tile and pavement and come away with a few scratches but nothing too unsightly. The plastic hasn't dented or cracked - and seen as though I'm dropping everything lately, it's nice to have something quite safe and sturdy in my hand!



The only downside is the opening. Lets just say it's not a bottle you want to be drinking from on a moving bus - I made that mistake and ended up with half a bottle of water all over myself! And if you don't secure the lid properly the whole thing comes gushing out like someone turned on a tap inside your bag...I've mad that mistake too! Maybe it's just my bottle but the cap, hough wrapped in a durable rubber, doesn't seem to be as secure as it was when I first purchased the bottle and it's only been 2 - 3 months! If I could fit a leak-proof sports cap onto the mouth of this thing then it would be absolutely perfect!

For me, this bottle is ideal if you're sitting at a desk all day, but it's not the best for taking out and about!



Thursday, 3 October 2013

Ginger's Foodie Tag

The most wonderful Ginger I know and my blogging bestie of Just Add Ginger, created herself the 'Ginger Foodie Tag'. As my partner in crime in most things food related, she tagged me to give her questions a go!

Let's go!


1) What is your favourite food?

Pizza. Cake, no pizza...on second thought's...cake. Pizza cake or a cake pizza? I can't pick! If it was allowed and wouldn't give me an expanding waist line or diabetes, I would live off them for pretty much every meal of every day and never get bored. There is just so much variety when it comes to pizzas, I mean you can quite literally have anything on them, I've even had breakfast pizza and hoi sin duck pizza! Cake, oh sweet spongy goodness - I think red velvet might be my favourite, with a thick layer of frosting in the middle and slathered all over the outside!

2) What is your least favourite food?
Prawns *shudder* just thinking about them makes me want to gag. There's something about the preparation of them for starters that really creeps me out, pulling off heads and tearing out spines and poo sacks...that is not going to get my taste buds tingling! Even once they're cooked with their little tails still flopping about...I have a rule about fish tales, it's the same as fish heads...just no!!

3) If you could only eat one certain dinner for your life, what would it be and why?
*Tries desperatly not to say pizza*...I think I'd pick a roast dinner. I do love me a good roast dinner, especially with beef or pork! I'm a massive veggie lover and there are so many veggies out there, you could mix it up quite well if you could only eat it forever more. And spuds, glorious spuds...crispy on the outside, so fluffy on the in. Drown the plate in gravy and I'm a happy hungry girl!

4) What is your signature dish to cook?
I make a brilliant fried egg on toast with mushrooms! It's amazing...no, really, amazing! It's probably the one thing others generally ask me to cook for them. That, or the Betty Croker red velvet cake!

5) What is your favourite fast food restaurant?
Dominoes! Their garlic dipping sauce is the absolute best! No doubt about it!

6) Which type of food do you normally order when you order takeaway? 
Dominoes: mighty meaty
McDonalds: chicken nugget meal
KFC: boneless banquet for one

7) What is one of your best Foodie moments?
It has to be the first time I dined at The Plaza, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World. We'd lost a reservation for elsewhere due to bad planing so the concierge Cast Member recommended we try out The Plaza, 'soups and sandwiches' she said, so we didn't get too excited...boy oh boy! I had the 'steakwich' and it was amazing. Perfectly cooked shredded steak, sautéed with onions, mushrooms and peppers on a fresh hoagie roll with thick steak cut fries on the side. I never thought a sandwich could actually taste that good! This was no normal sandwich, this was like the holy grail of sandwiches and nothing has even come even close to taking it's sandwich supreme title!

8) Do you prefer sweet or savoury foods?
Both. I don't really have a preference. I eat a fair mix of both. At the minute I'm loving Tuc crackers smothered in crunchy peanut butter!

9) What is the one thing that you would love to learn to cook?
I would love to be able to cook a 'Come Dine With Me' worthy 3 course meal!

10) Do you ever get cravings for food?
Always. I'm one of those people who, if not eating, is thinking about eating. I am always planning my next meal before I've even finished the one in front of me. I get really peckish when I'm working at the computer (like now!) and I always have a snack in my bag wherever I'm going. I actually think I have a fear of being too hungry. The worst cravings are when I'm craving a meal from a specific restaurant - usually a restaurant that's in a different country to me too!

Well thanks a damn lot Ginger, I am absolutely starving now! You can check out Gingers YouTube response here ! Go show her some foodie love and give the tag a try too!


Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Review

20ml sample size
Evening everyone! So for those of you who've seen my most recent posts, my September faves, and my current skin care routine, you'll have noticed the Bioderma Sensibio H2O keeps popping up - because I am unabashedly, irrevocably in love with this product! I got sent a 20ml sample in my September BirchBox and was super excited. I've been reading all about this all over the beauty blogsphere for who knows how long and was eager to give it a go!

The problem I have is my eyes can be super sensitive when it comes to make-up removers. After cleaning them up, I'm usually left with blood shot eyes, red skin and there is always a little stubborn spot of mascara left behind. Face wipes we all known are convenient but so bad for our skin, and they drag around the eye area so much that you can say hello! to early lines and wrinkles. The skin around our eyes is so thin and delicate, we really should treat with with a little extra love!

What they say...

At the cutting edge of innovation, BIODERMA has pioneered micellar solutions. Specially formulated for sensitive, normal to dry skins, the Sensibio H2O micelle solution gently cleanses face and eyes. It removes water-resistant make-up.
The micelles contained in its formula effectively micro-emulsify impurities while maintaining the skin’s balance (soap-free, physiological pH). 
Soothing and decongesting active ingredients prevent the feelings of irritation often caused by cleansing.
Sensibio H2O guarantees excellent cutaneous and ocular tolerance (tested under ophthalmological supervision)

What I say...

It's like water, a magical water sent to us from the beauty fairies in a far off distant happy healthy skin land! (This place exists, I'm sure!) My eyes feel as though they have been refreshed by a cool water, and not a spot of make up is left behind. No bloodshot eyes, no redness, just happy, fresh, clean eyes and face. It works well with my oily skin, and I've had zero acne breakouts. I generally use this before cleansing my face with a cleansing lotion. The cleansing lotion is getting so much deeper into my pores because Sensibio has taken off the top layer of dirt and make up. I've noticed a slow but steady improvement in my skin and can only imagine it would continue if I went ahead and purchased the full size bottle.

Soak a cotton pad // Hold to your eye for 10-15 seconds // Results after just a few swipes over the eye!

This is by far one of my favourite make up removers! It works so well on stubborn waterproof mascara too! In the images above I was only wearing Rimmel Wake Me Up and Maybelline The Falsies (and pink spotty pjs!) but I have used this to remove a face of make up and heavy eye make up, it took a couple of cotton pads (mine are tiny!) but it cleared away every last bit! A little goes such a long way too, my 20ml sample has been used daily for over 2 1/2 weeks now and I reckon I've still got almost a weeks worth left!

I'm always weary of jumping on a product bandwagon but I really couldn't find fault in Biodermas Sensibio H2O, it really does live up to all the hype!

Full sized 500ml is roughly £20 depending where you go on-line! 

Thoughts?




Tuesday, 1 October 2013

West Side Story Review

28th September 2013 @ Liverpool Empire

On Saturday afternoon I took a trip to one of my favourite places in Liverpool - the Empire Theatre. I absolutely love this place and over the years I have been making a more conscious effort to go and see more and more shows - much to the delight of my musical loving mum and the despair to my bank balance! Back in June when I was wracking my brains for a birthday gift idea for my mum, I found out West Side Story was to be playing for one week only! I snapped up two tickets and have oh so UN-patiently been waiting to see it!

The timeless American tale of two warring street gangs, so caught up in their own situations of poverty, racism and juvenile delinquency that you know from the start - this will be no fairy tale happy ending (a little heavy for a Saturday afternoon!). We all know the tragic love story of Juliet and her Romeo, and even though we all know how the story ends, West Side Story tells it in such a real and gritty way. Based in the 50s, it's warring gangs, trying to be grown up too quickly teenagers and the struggle between law enforcement and youths is as relevant to today's society as it was back when West Side Story first hit the stage over 50 years ago. As I was watching, I couldn't help but think back to stories I'd been reading in the previous days local paper about gang violence and street crime, it gave me goosebumps to think some things still haven't changed.

We went to see the matinee 2.30pm performance. I can't remember the last time I went to the theatre in the middle of the day - I loved it! It meant we could go shopping before the performance, grab a little something to eat and it was still light when we left - a big bonus for my mum. The theatre was packed and I was surprised to see so many young children racing up and down the aisles with their booster seats in hand - I didn't think it was a child friendly show, but it is giving an important message that if in the kids head young enough, they will hopefully carry with them into their teens. Though the show is about warring street gangs, it does not in any way glorify gang culture or being in a gang. There are quips and jokes and a humorous number called 'Gee, Officer Krupke' that look at our own perceptions of youth gang members and it really asks you to question your own thoughts on these kids. Because that's just what they are, kids, filled with ideas and notions that have been passed on to them via their parents and elders. The Jets are racist towards the Sharks because of what their parents have told them, they're being brought up to think the Puerto Rico immigrants are talking all their jobs, and the Sharks feel instantly disliked by the Caucasian Jets because their parents had been victimised when they first came to America - and they've passed these feelings onto their kids. Neither side is able to look past their differences and see they actually have a lot in common.

"Every one of you hates every one of us and we hate you right back"- West Side Story

West Side Story has always received high acclaim for its musical score and its varying dance styles. The cast are young and extremely talented. From Operatic highs to street dancing and ballet, it's all here. I was so moved by the all white costumed ballet sequence followed by a beautiful rendition of 'somewhere' that I could feel the tears prickling at the back of my eyes. And who can resist singing along when they cha cha around the stage in bright vibrant costumes to the infamous 'America'? Not me! The energy is felt from every corner of the stage and throws itself at you, you can't help but be carried along with the tale, the music, the choreography - it's what musical theatre is all about!

The show reaches it's inevitable end, a tear rolled down my cheek - before I knew it 2hrs 15mins, and a 15min interval had flown by and the curtain came down. The cast received raucous applause and cheers, the whole theatre was on it's feet applauding them. In that moment I always experience a shiver down my spine, a smile on my face, tingles all over - I can only imagine what those on stage must be feeling. Something like that, you can't put a price on!

West Side Story has finished it's time at the Liverpool Empire but be sure to check out when it's coming to a theatre near you. I would love to see this show again at it's home on Broadway or the West End! I am loving the fact that more and more musicals are breaking out from across the pond and the capital to tour the country. It gives little theatre lovers like me a more affordable and local chance to see them.

Luckily enough I've got some upcoming theatre trips planned to the Liverpool Empire so I won't have to wait too long to get my theatre fix!

Have you seen West Side Story?

 

September favourites 2013



It's that time again! My monthly favourites for September 2013

This month I've really started to get into Autumn, switching pumps for boots and changing up my skin care routine to match the changing season. I've also been trying to cut back on my trips to the vending machine by buying in bulk healthier snack options I can keep in my locker at work.

Lets get to it then!

Molton Brown Vitalising Vitamin AB+C Bath & Shower




I found this when going through some product samples. I've no idea where it came from, or when, but I had just ran out of shower gel so it was a quick fix! I don't know why I didn't use this up sooner - it's divine! As with most Molton Brown products, their scents sell them. This instantly took me back to one of my past Walt Disney World trips, it reminded me so much of one of the hotel shower gels I'd used that trip and instantly put a big ol'grin on my face! Don't you just love how a scent can trigger such a strong memory?

It has a rich, deep orange scent and lathers up with just the smallest amount on a shower puff. My skin feels so fresh and smells delicious afterwards and super moisturised.

Bioderma H20



I got this in my September 2013 BirchBox and have been using it every day - I'm down to the dregs of the bottle now! I've been wanting to try Bioderma for so long and was so happy to get the chance to thanks to BirchBox! This stuff really is worth all the hype it gets on-line! It's like water. Drench a cotton pad, place over the eye for 5 - 10 seconds then gently wipe and every last particle of make up comes off, and this is more noticeable with stubborn waterproof mascaras. I've been so impressed that when my regular make-up remover runs out I might just have to splash on a full sized bottle of Bioderma.

Maybelline - The Falsies



Another month - another mascara! Again, because of all the hyper on-line I had to give in and get this. I tried the previous month but my local Boots didn't have it in stock so success at the beginning of September when I managed to pick one up. I made sure to get the waterproof one too! Again, this was another product worth all it's hype - thank you YouTube!. It opens up my eyes in ways I thought only a digitally enhanced photo could! The brush is peculiar, in a scooped spoon shape but it really does do the trick, covering the lashes from one end to the other and fanning them out wide. It's a little too much for general day time wear but for evenings out it's perfect! I loved Benefits Bad Gal but Maybelline Falsies has won lashes down!


Rimmel Wake me up concealer



For the third time - another product so hyped up on-line I had to give in and purchase. I'll admit I have been on the market for a new concealer for a while. Summer wasn't so bad, the sun and a slight tan sorted out any dark under eye circles and kept the acne to a minimum, but as the colder months set in my skin starts to look dull and tired. I'm sure you've all heard all the amazing things about this concealer so I won't bore you with the rehashing them - just know this - it works. I'll admit, a part of me wanted to not be on the same bandwagon as everybody else out there but they pulled me up and on the wagon with ease! From day one I was hooked, my eyes looked so much brighter, like I'd had a couple of extra hours sleep! It visible reduced the redness in my acne and minimised the pores on my nose. Just avoid using it on any dry patches because it flakes like you wouldn't believe! Not sure how it'll cope when I'm full of a winter cold and blowing my nose every 2 seconds, but right now it's working for me and I love it!

Special K bites

Picked these up, 3 bags for £1 at my local Home Bargains and I love them! They're a great snack, and I've found them to be a good replacement for crisp too.Instead of giving in to the call of the vending machine (I'm looking at you flame grilled Kettle ridged crisp!) I've been grabbing a bag of these. One bag is enough to take the edge off and let the craving pass. They taste like sweet squares of cereal, with some grains thrown on top. I think it's the crunch that appeals to me and stops me from reaching for anything naughty!

Eat Natural with...dark chocolate & brazil nuts

I picked up a 4 pack of these bars on a trip to Tesco. I was looking to stock up on my dark chocolate and nuts supply, that's me trying to have more enjoyable healthy snacks! These bars seemed to have all I was looking for rolled into one neatly wrapped, on offer, package - so into my basket they went! These are delicious, and just the right balance of sweetness to surpass any sugary craving I might have had. They're pretty filling too and a perfect on the go snack to keep in your bag. I find they're ideal if your out on a shopping spree and won't be stopping for lunch for a long while!

Divergent/Insurgent - Veronica Roth

I grabbed a copy of Divergent because it was all my Amazon 'you might also like' had been recommending me for too long. better to give in to the beast than ignore it and anger it further I say! I was hooked from page one, it reminded me of The Hunger Games, the first book in the trilogy was by far the best in my opinion and Roth seemed to have done what Collins couldn't. She had created and sustained a more believable world that kept me turning the digital page. As soon as I finished book 1 I instantly downloaded book 2 (thank you 1-click purchasing!) and devoured it. The third and final book is out at the end of this month so I wait with baited breath! Don't let me down Roth, I've come so far with Tris and the gang, lets end it right! I'm also excited to see they've made a film based on the first book and although Four looks nothing like I imagined, I've seen some on-set stills that seem to show they've included lots of my favourite scenes. Lets see how this book to film adaptation goes!

What have you been loving this past month?

Check out last months favourites here!


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