Monday, 31 March 2014

The Yorkshire Soap Company

On my trip to York a couple of weeks ago I found the most amazing shop, The Yorkshire Soap Company. It was by complete accident that we stumbled across this beautiful hand-crafted soap store - we where actually trying to find a certain pub we'd left the guys in whilst we went shopping!

You know me and my soaps, I can never walk past the likes of Lush without popping in to buy a bath bomb or a bubble bar - but The Yorkshire Soap Company have taken the art of soap making to a whole new level. They have a little saying; Enjoy, indulge but please don't eat, and after stepping inside this wonderland I can see why they need such a saying! Have you ever seen a wedding cake made from soap? This stuff looked so good, and their individual cake shaped soap slices...wowza. They have the most delicate mini-muffin styled bath melts and even bath truffles!

Tea Rose Bath Truffles 

Everything they sell is handmade, with over 70% of the products on sale made right there in store. They contain nothing but the most skin loving nutrients, purest essential oils and the purest essential fragrances. Another reason to love them? They source as much as possible locally - a big tick in my book! Everything they make and sell is suitable for sensitive skin and nothing is tested on animals! Hurrah!

Orange Grove Artisan Soap Cupcakes 

Their artisan soaps are beautiful, and they make the perfect wedding favours (something they specialise in here) which I think is a fantastic idea if you're looking for something a bit different to traditional sugared almonds. Just look at them! They're too good to wash with - I'd even say they're too good to eat if they where edible! Can you imagine decorating a little side dish in your bathroom with these beauties?

Fancy pants soaps to one side for a moment, they also sell a fantastic line of everyday bath and body products, deli soap slices, botanical soap slices, wrapped soap bars and a wonderful selection of candles and diffusers.

Of course, I had to buy something...

After chatting to one of the very happy and helpful shop assistants, he sold me on this Marmalade of London candle in the scent mango and lychee. I'm loving really tropical and fruity smells as the weather gets warmer and nights get lighter. It smells like a tropical fruit smoothie and I just love it. I picked up the smallest one they sold as I'm still burning my way through a few other candles. The small ones are the perfect size for my desk though! My lil guy has a burn time of 20-25 hours. Some of the other scents where delicious too, I had a hard time choosing - there was even one that smelt like white chocolate!

I also picked up this giant bar of body soap in the scent mango (remember what I said about my love of fruity things right now?) I fell in love with the packaging first, it's so quaint and traditional in it's paper wrapping. The body bars are made from palm and coconut oil, then enriched with shea butter. I was told that the bars are triple milled and last for an absolute age! I still haven't taken this one out of it's paper wrapping yet - I feel like I need to buy a fancy pants dish to keep it on! The bar is a solid 200g bar with a 12 month shelf life - and looking at the size of this thing I can see it lasting a very long time!

I really wish I'd stumbled upon this store the first time I went to York last summer, and now I'm kicking myself for not buying more goodies - they make the most amazing gifts (if you could bare to part with them!) Luckily they do have a website that you can order from - note they do not ship outside of the UK. If I can't get back to York any time soon I will be putting an order in on their website!

I just have to quickly mention the store itself - this place was like stepping into Marie Antoinettes powder room, everything was just too pretty and the chandelier hanging near the tills was just breathtaking. The large stone sinks filled with bath salts, the shelves lined with candles and diffusers - I can't believe I didn't take any pictures, I was just too wrapped up in smelling everything! I would love to find myself in here again someday! It's also next door to the coolest and most creative/inspiring store I've ever set foot in - The!

Have you ever been to The Yorkshire Soap Company?

Until next time,

You can find The Yorkshire Soap Company on Twitter @ysoap and Facebook

Friday, 28 March 2014

Whitby, York and the importance of getting away from it all!

So, if you've seen this post, you'll know that the other weekend I spent it in York with Mr.Mans family for a weekend get away. It was part Christmas present part birthday celebration an couldn't have come at a better time for Mr.Man and myself! Suffice to say we've both been a bit down lately and needed some quality R&R time!

Here's a few snaps from Whitby!

Add a filter and it instantly looks antique and so pretty in an eerie way!
Look at those clouds!
Love English seaside towns!
Snapped from the back seat of the car, best shot we could get!

The next day we headed into York;

Photo filters are my best friend!
Gloomy skies, a pinch of blue, pretty spring flowers, there's a lot going on here!
Had to light a candle in York Minster for lost loved ones.
York Minster - such a beautiful place
We needed a get away and a quick weekend break was just the ticket. Sometimes you just need to down tools, step out of the office, turn off twitter and go wandering through cobbled streets, eating home made comforting food and letting all your stresses be taken away by the jets in an outdoor hot tub. Laughing late into the evening and lazy mornings involving scrumptious cooked breakfasts; the things you just don't have time for during the working week. It's not always easy to switch off at home, sometimes you just need to take yourself an hour or two up the motorway, take in some sea air with fish and chips on your lap and switch off for a couple of hours.

I felt so much better after this weekend, every muscle felt stretched out and relaxed, not a knot to be found. My head felt clearer, I started sleeping better, there was a spring in my step. Sometimes I forget how important it is to just take a step back and reconnect with myself before I move forward.

Is it about time you took a step back and just stopped for a moment?

Until next time,

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Mothers Day 2014 - Last Minute Gift Guide

OK, so it's Mothers Day in..3 days! Eek! If Mothers Day has slipped your mind then here's a really quick run down of a few last minute gifts you can go out and get your Mum this weekend - she'll be so happy with the gifts she won't realise you've left it till the last minute to go pick something up!

The Lion King - Liverpool Empire Theatre

I've got my ticket - have you got yours? I went to see The Lion King on stage at the Lyceum Theatre when I was 11 and was completely spellbound from start to finish. This dazzling stage adaptation of the Disney classic is sure to wow audiences of any age. Treat your mum to a night out at the theatre, see her transported from Liverpool to the African plains of the Serengeti. You could even throw in dinner too!  

Lush Spa Treatment and/or Gift Box from 

Mothers Day is all about spoiling your Mum (or someone who is like a mum to you) and what better way than treating them to an amazing massage at the Lush Spa? You could even treat yourself to one too by booking the double treatment room and have a massage with Mum! They have everything from a foot massage to a full body massage. If your Mum's not the massage type or your local Lush doesn't have a spa, you can buy the Lush Spa gift set that comes with a signature product from each massage they offer!

Ted Baker Electric Floral Day Dream Scarf £65 

You can't go wrong with a more traditional Mothers Day gift and with Spring now in swing,  this Ted Baker floral scarf is the perfect accessory to keep Mum bang on trend this season. I love the big bright floral print on this scarf and I love even more the bright orange trim! It's such a fresh, zesty accessory that adds an instant pop of colour to any outfit.

Sanctuary Spa Ultimate Glow Pamper Box £15

I cannot get over the bargain price of this Sanctuary Spa gift set! The contents alone is worth £40! I'm pretty sure every Mum would love to receive a few Sanctuary Spa goodies this mothers Day - and you can be certain that Boots will have these boxes piled sky high so it'll be an easy last minute gift to go out and grab on your lunch break. Pair it with a box of your mums favourite chocolates or a bunch of flowers and watch her face light up!

Lemons Recipe Binder £15

Is your mum the original Delia Smith? Does she have print outs and note cards of various recipes rattling around kitchen drawers? Pick her up a lovely recipe binder like this one from Paperchase. If you have time, why not copy some of her favourite recipes into it before you gift it to her? Perfect personal touch!

What will you be gifting your Mum this Mothers Day?

Until next time,

Monday, 24 March 2014

Birch Box UK March 2014 - What's in the box?

Birch Box UK partnered with Lulu Guinness for their March 2014 box - and what a pairing it is! I was so excited to see the black and white stripy box wrap around this months box, I love it when they do a collaboration box and this one is certainly no let down! So lets just jump right in and get to the good stuff!

Benefit Stay Don't Stray 

We've been getting quite a few Benefit goodies in our Birch Boxes lately and I've been loving it! I've never heard of their 'Stay Don't Stray' and the little package was just so cute (like everything with Benefit) that I couldn't wait to try it. Stay Don't Stray is an eye primer for eyeshadow and concealer. I got a light shade which when applied goes on like a very thin concealer, brightening the yes and erasing dark circles - not completely but enough to cause me to use less concealer. Not what I was expecting at all from a primer!

Dr.Brandt Pores No More Pore Refiner

Last month we got a sample of Benefits Porefessional so I'm eager to compare both products now. The Dr.Brandt version carries a higher price tag too. It's a sheer formula designed to minimise pores and absorb excess oil. I'm back on the fence about Benefits Porefessional, it's staying power was less than impressive. I wonder if this will work any better? My nose is my pore-problematic zone and I've yet to find anything that really masks them.

Aroma Works Serenity Body Oil

Thanks to Birch Box I've become a little obsessed with body oils. Thankfully they keep sending me various body oils to try out. This one is a blend of sumptuous oils including coconut oil which leaves your skin silky and smelling great. the vial is so tiny and precious looking, I almost want to keep it out on the dresser as delicate decoration! Best used after a bath or shower, I just love how these oils make your skin glow and feel oh so smooth, it's luxurious! I might have to save this one for a much needed pamper session!

Molton Brown Rhubarb & Rose Replenishing Hand Cream

I always get excited to find Molton Brown in my Birch Box and we've had quite a few samples from them so far this year! This little sample went straight into my hand bag when I ventured off to York for a weekend and I loved it! It smells amazing, very floral, and left my hands feeling so smooth. It's a fast-absorbing formula, so no greasy fingers and a deeply nourishing moisturiser, perfect for restoring moisture to my hands after I'd spent a little too long in the hot tub! 

English Laundry no.7 for Her

I've had these little English Laundry samples before and they're not bad at all if you like light floral scents. They're ideal for travelling so I think that's what I'm going to save this one for. It's a pear and jasmine blend with gardenia, vanilla and sandalwood, by far one of the best they've sent out if you ask me and perfect for stepping into Spring. I know a lot of people don't like perfume samples in their subscription boxes but I do! You never get little sample vials like this on counters any more and it gives you a chance to wear the fragrance a few times and decide if you really like it or not!

Candy Rock

As this months Birch Box was in collaboration with Lulu Guinness they included a stripy bar of rock as it's the sweet that inspired her latest collection. Have to say, I have a pretty sweet tooth but I'm not a big fan of rock, it hurts my teeth! This bar is pretty big and weighty too, it'd be a shame to let it go to waste so I might pass it onto my brother. I love the little lifestyle extras they include but I'd have preferred some smaller humbugs than the one solid rock!
Once again I'm super pleased with all the samples sent to me this month! Everything will be used up - something I've found with almost all of my Birch Box samples since I made the switch from Glossy Box to Birch Box. I've yet to regret making the switch and I can't wait to see what my April Birch Box brings!

Friday, 21 March 2014

Hoseaons KP Lodges - York Deluxe Lodge

This past weekend I found myself in Pocklington, just outside of York. I went along with Mr.Man and his family for a weekend get away in the luxurious KP Lodges by Hoseasons. The lodges are situated on the KP golf course and surrounded by lush landscape, rolling hills, deep lakes and lots of woodland creatures - driving was a little dodgy at times because of the damn Pheasants! We stayed in the York Deluxe Lodge.

We set off from Manchester around lunchtime on Friday and made it to the lodge at 4pm, not a bad drive at all - ok, the actual driver might say different but as the passenger, I had a great ride! After checking in we made our way down a tree-lined path - that in the evening was illuminated by hundreds of tiny twinkling fairy lights wrapped around the tree trunks, it was magical! Our lodge was one of the first we came too, a Deluxe York Lodge, four bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and of course, the cherry on top of the cake - our own personal hot tub on the deck!

We had some issues with the bedroom doors not opening but a lovely girl from the front desk came down to sort that out promptly. The lodge itself was huge, lots of big windows, light and very spacious. The main living room was an open plan living room/kitchen/diner with huge windows over looking the other lodges and the rolling hills around us. The kitchen was gorgeous, all bright white units and a huge island counter top. Lots of storage, fridge/freezer, washing machine, dishwasher, electric oven, cutlery and utensils, toaster, microwave, kettle etc. Let's just say we had everything we needed in there and still plenty of space to fill with our own goodies!

The living room had a really plush L sofa but considering the lodge was designed for up to 8 people, it would have been a squash to get us all on there - there's enough space for a bigger sofa so that's something they might want to look into! I fell in love with the 42" smart TV - every bedroom came with a smaller smart TV in it too! All TVs came with Freeview and the living room TV had a DVD player. There was also a iPod docking station. We also had super fast free WiFi that none of us where expecting, this came in great when we wanted to stream music in the evening. The dining table was a huge wooden table with the most ornate lampshade hanging over it I have ever seen, it looked like something you would get in Utility. Problem was, a few of our party are tall and the shade hangs very low - there ended up being a couple of bruised heads over the weekend! We could all sit comfortable around the table and there was plenty of room for dishes etc. 

Upstairs consisted of three bedrooms, the master bedroom and an en suite with waterfall shower, robes and slippers too. Then there was a twin and another double sharing a main bathroom with no shower just a very big bathtub! Downstairs was another twin room with an en suite bathroom with one of those wonderful waterfall showers in - Mr.Man and I made sure we claimed this room - the shower was incredible and HUGE! I won't lie; I danced around it a few times just to test how big it was! The sink however was tiny and there was no countertop in the bathroom to keep any toiletries on. There was a lovely dressing table in the bedroom that I kept everything on, but I don’t know, I like having my toothbrush and face wash in the bathroom! Must make me strange! Every bathroom was also filled with lots of Molten Brown toiletries *squeee*!

Our bedroom downstairs was huge, the twin beds could be locked together to form a king size too. The quilts where thick, the pillows fluffy and the beds a little hard but not unbearable. We had tons of floor space and one bedside table – with no lamp. If you’re like me and you love to read in bed, you might have to pass unless your other half doesn’t mind you leaving the lights on! They need to get a lamp in there! Strange observation too – our bedroom had six double plug sockets dotted around the room…six! I have no idea who or why someone would need that many outlets in on bedroom! Any ideas?

Ah, the hot tub, the hot tub! This had to be my favourite thing about the whole lodge! I mean, who doesn't want their own personal hot tub? Every lodge on site came with one, varying in size depending on how many the lodge slept. Seen as though we had the biggest lodge available, we got the biggest hot tub too and all eight of us could comfortable fit in the hot tub. It was incredible. On the Friday night, it was bitterly cold outside but the hot tub was so warm, it just feels amazing to be out in the cold wintry weathers but submerged in steaming hot water. We had plenty of space on the sides to put our drinks, hooks for towels and the hot tub itself came with varying jet functions, lights and temperature control. I would have happily sat in that hot tub all weekend!

The lodges are brand new for this season and there are a few teething problems, mainly to do with the showers. The master shower had a habit of leaking as the drainage grid didn't seem to be set properly in the floor - we did let them know about this and they said it's something they're aware of and working on sorting out. The hot tubs are generally fenced in behind a privet hedge so you do get some modest privacy. When I went walking around the park in the morning though, you could easily see into all the other lodges if they didn’t have the fancy electric blinds down - so you might not want to go walking around in just your knickers! You could see into the other hot tubs too. Not a massive issue for me but some might want more seclusion. All of the lodges are really close together too. 

KP Lodges would not have been easy to find if we didn't have the sat nav but after driving in and out a couple of times we got our bearings. We also found a Sainsburys and Lidl about 5 minutes away. We had cooked breakfasts every morning, made homemade pizzas, and had a curry night too. With a kitchen like that and so many mouths to feed, it would have been rude not to cook in it really! Location wise it was a great base to go explore the surrounding areas. We where 1hr 30mins away from Whitby (which we visited on the Saturday), and less than 30mins away from the centre of York (which we visited on the Sunday). The lodge itself came with two allocated parking spaces, any additional cars had to park up in the main car park.

Would I stay here again? Yes! It was a brilliant and much needed get away and if I still had my own car I’d make a point of doing it again sooner rather than later. Being the first season, I imagine prices will go up in the coming year. I’ve made a couple of trips around the UK over the last year and it really has me wanting to see more and more of my own country. Hoseasons have places like this up and down the country and I would not hesitate using them again.

Have you ever stayed in a luxury lodge? Where in the UK should I venture to next? I am itching to pack a weekend bag again!

Until next time,

 For more information on the lodge I stayed in, and the other properties available click here!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Elemis Fresh Skin - Skin Glow Exfoliating Face Wash Review


Since I started using my Clarisonic in December 2013 I've rarely used a face scrub but when I got the Elemis Skin Glow Exfoliating Face Wash in my North West Bloggers meet goodie bag, I figured it was about time I got back into regularly using an exfoliating wash again! (You can see my write up of the North West Bloggers meet here!)

I've used a couple of Elemis products in the past and had mixed experiences. Some I've found too harsh, some I've found to be amazing (like their Oxygenating Night Cream) but I just can't justify the price tag! I was really excited to try out this face wash as it's been a long time since I used anything from Elemis!

The Fresh Skin range from Elemis is targeted at a much younger audience than I'd usually associate with Elemis. They're designed for young skin, teens to 20s and priced really reasonable for that age range. If you're a teens to twenties reader who wants to experience a more high end brand like Elemis this is a great range to jump in on. I'm really loving the look of the kits they have put together too! Check out this great kit over on Feel Unique that's just £15 and contains the Skin Glow face wash!

The Skin Glow Exfoliating Face Wash is a deep pore cleansing face wash containing cherry powder and jojoba beads to gently polish and refine skin texture. It also contains mandarin and aniseed to soften and condition the skin, leaving skin looking clearer, bright and radiant. What I love about this is that it contains no parabens, sls, sles, dea, mineral oils, artifical colours and silicones. It's free from all those nasties that we don't want to be slathering over skin of any age, especially young skin! I really wish this had been around when I was in my teens, it would have been so much kinder to my young and innocent skin - let' be honest, I made some epic product fails back then!

With all those fruity ingredients I was really expecting the scent to be nice and fruit too but...maybe it's just my nose, but this smells like bubbles. Seriously. Remember those brightly coloured pots of bubbles you used to buy at the shop for £1? They had that really distinct smell, almost like washing up liquid and this face wash has exactly the same scent! I was instantly transported back to my childhood. I didn't find it as unpleasant as it sounds though, especially as it brought back some awesome memories. It was a really unusual scent, very soapy!

The wash itself is lovely. When they say gentle, they mean it, they've really kept the younger audience in mind with this. I also think it could be great for those with sensitive skin. The beads are quite large compared with with say, St Ives Apricot Scrub, and very few and far between. You can feel them on your skin, but they're not overwhelming or harsh at all. I have oily skin so harsher scrubs with fine beads can really dry my skin out, but when using the Skin Glow Exfoliator my skin didn't dry out at all, it felt really soft and nourished.

After use my skin felt really clean and looked very matte. Scrubs can usually leave my face looking too polished, like a spit-shined bowling ball but I really haven't experienced that at all with this scrub. Though my 26, almost 27 year old skin is well out of this products target range I would use this again, especially when I want something a little gentler on my skin. My skin felt so soft! My pores didn't look much clearer but lately they haven't been too bad so I doubt there was much dirt and grime there to clear out!

This is a great, gentle exfoliator, especially if you're looking for a more budget friendly introduction to a higher end brand! I'd love to try out some more products in this line even if I'm almost 10 years older than it's target audience!

Have you tried anything form the Fresh Skin line by Elemis?

Until next time,

Note: major camera/upload issues this evening so pictures will hopefully be added to this post by the weekend! Sorry!

Monday, 17 March 2014

Boots 3 for 2 skin care haul!

Whenever I see that 3 for 2 sign go up in the windows of my local Boots I get very excited. Just the other week they had their 3 for 2 event on make up and accessories - now that's come to an end they haven't left us hanging for long, they've instantly started up their 3 for 2 on skincare event. This is probably my favourite event as it gives me a great excuse to check out some products I've been eyeing up for a while.

I don't know if 3 items count as a haul but whenever I know I'm heading into an event I always check out my favourite blogs and see what others have picked up on offer and what they'd recommend. It not only inspires me, but it makes the whole 'aimlessly wandering the aisles picking up everything' an avoidable exercise. I'll have had a little read up, made a little list and know exactly what I'm heading in for - it also helps when I'm trying not to over spend too!

So, what did I pick up?

Olay Essentials Complete Care normal/oily Day Fluid £5.99

I really wanted to pick up a new moisturiser but nothing in reviews or on those shiny shelves quite took my fancy, I couldn't find anything that seemed to tick all the right boxes. I wanted an SPF moisturiser (this one is SPF15) that was ideal for oily/combination skin, not overly drying and easily absorbed. If you know something that sounds like this (that isn't Nivea!) then let me know! When all else fails, there's nothing wrong with sticking with what you've tried, tested and loved. I've been using this particular Olay moisturiser for almost 7 years now - that's dedication I tell you!. My skin loves it and it loves my skin, why fix something when it's not broken?  

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ £15.50

It's about time I jumped on the band wagon and found out for myself what all the fuss is about. If you haven't heard of this product...where have you been? I don't think there's a single blog I follow that hasn't, at some point over the last 2 years, mentioned this wonder product. Designed to correct the appearance of imperfections, as well as unclogging blocked pores and fighting against the likes of acne scarring and brown spots - it sounds like a skin miracle! I'll be using this twice a day, morning and night, with a review coming in April!

No 7 Protect & Perfect eye cream £15

I've barely tried anything from the No 7 range, but I figured an eye cream was a good place to start. It's from their younger range targeted at 25-35 year olds, designed to protect young skin and delay the first signs of ageing, boost radiance and visibly improve fine lines. My 26, almost 27 year old eyes are still looking pretty young and line free but there's nothing wrong with a little extra TLC and some early stage protection. Again I'll be using it twice a day and have a review up in April!

Not a massive haul but it's filled with essentials and hopefully some wondrous new products!

Have you checked out the 3 for 2 skincare event yet? Go on, what did you buy? I'd love to hear!

Until next time,

Friday, 14 March 2014

Looking for Alaska - John Green Review

Heyloo lovely readers, how are we all today? It feels like it's been an age since I last did a book review! I usually finish one book and move so quickly onto the next that I completely forget to write up a review - bad blogger! As I've recently finished this one I thought I'd share my thoughts whilst it's still pretty fresh in my mind - and still on my kindle!

I've been a big fan of John green ever since discovering VlogBrothers and reading his international best seller and soon-to-be-released movie, The Fault in Our Stars. I blubbered my way through the whole thing and I can't wait to see how they moved it from page to screen! Exciting!

Today I'm here to talk to you about John Greens first novel, Looking for Alaska. This young adult novel was first published in 2005. Take a 16 year old boy living a pretty non-existent life, filling his days with the dying last words of famous people and send him to Culver Creek High School in search of his great perhaps. Introduce him to the fascinatingly self destructive Alaska Young and watch how she leads him into a great perhaps he could have never imagined.

" some point, you just pull off the band-aid and it hurts, but it's over and you're relieved..."

Yes, it's a book intended for a younger audience than my *cough* 26 *cough* year old self, but I'll hold my hand up and admit, I do love young adult fiction. I really wish this book had been given to me when I was 16. At 16 we're all looking for our great perhaps, our adventure. We're standing on the precipice of adult hood, leaving the school days behind and starting to take leaps toward our future, who we want to be, what we want to be when we grow up. At 16, we're coming into our true identities, and being moulded by our experiences in a a very permanent way. This book really captivates that golden age, where we ask more questions then get answers to.

"...nothing can last, not even the earth itself..."

Miles 'Pudge' Halter is asking such questions. He makes the move from public school to boarding school, the same one his dad went to, in search of a new life, a better one that his current quiet, un-eventuful, friendless life. Upon arriving at Culver Creek he meets The Colonel, Takumi, Lara and Alaska. Oh sweet, sexy, dysfunctional, fly-off-the-handle-bars Alaska. She takes Pudge by the hand and runs him straight out of 'plains-ville' and into a world of pranks, booze, smoking, booze and sex. She opens his eyes to the world of girls, and the life behind those famous last words he's so obsessed with.

Though the book is filled with typical angst-ridden teens, their loves and dramas, as someone whose teenage years are well behind her, it brought back a lot of memories - ok, most not so dramatic or booze-filled as the ones in this book but, at the time, they seemed just as dramatic as they do in the book! I found I really related to Pudge - and it's not often I relate to male characters. He pondered - a lot, about a lot of things. He often over thought a situation, and created an image in his mind he was reluctant to let go.

I've read quite a few reviews where people have complained about the characters - and I can see why. They are very stereotypical teenagers, with a little too much of everything; booze, smokes, a love of fried foods and fast foods. Stereotypical. They're not the most developed characters and from start to finish, they don't exactly find themselves but they do go on a journey and, in some way, the age-old 'coming of age' moment does happen. It's a little cliché, but it's a young adult novel about teenagers away at boarding school, how else was it going to end?

"...if only we could see the endless string of consequences that result from our smallest actions. But we can't know better until knowing better is useless..." 

After reading The Fault In Our Stars and Paper Towns, I would say that Looking for Alaska is the weaker of the few I've read, it reads like a first novel, and if you've read TFIOS, you'll knew just what John Green is capable of creating. It's a great example of how a writer can go from good - to great, and from that point of view it is definatly worth a read if you're into that sort of critique and study.

I did enjoy the book. Not as much as TFIOS, but still, it was a quick, easy light read that is filled with so many pinterest-able quotes (Johns Greens super power right there) that I saved more than a few of them on my Kindle!. I'd say read it just for that!

Have you read Looking for Alaska or any of John Greens other books?

Until next time,

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Maybelline The Rocket Volum' Express Waterproof Mascara Review

I am absolutely in 100% love with Maybelline mascaras. There, I said it. Don't get me wrong, I wander down different mascara covered paths at times and I have a few non-Maybelline favourites, but overall, I'm a Maybelline mascara girl through and through. Each new one that comes home with me has never failed to impress me - and The Rocket has fast become my go-to daily mascara since I bought it a couple of weeks ago!

I saw the Rocket recommended by Ingrid so when Boots had their break-your-bank-balance 3 for 2 offer on beauty, it gave me the best excuse to pick one of these up! (Not that I need an excuse, but I like to have one, just in case!) I made sure to pick up the black waterproof version too - I won't settle for anything less than waterproof, I'm an emotional gal at times!

I love the wand on this mascara. I was a bit put off at first by the really chunky wand head, I only have small eyes and small lashes, this thing looked way too big! The bristles are really tiny too - and there are so many of them! They get shorter towards the very tip - great for working mascara into the corner lashes. I really did think that a fat wand head full of tiny bristles would give me mega clumpy spider lashes! So glad I was wrong!

The mascara wasn't clumpy at all! The multitude of bristles really helped to separate my lashes, fan them out wide and applied an even coat to each individual lash. It reminded me a lot of Maybellines The Falsies mascara (see my review here) except it was a much more day time friendly look! It really opened up my eyes and made my lashes pop. Because it fanned my lashes out so much, the lash line instantly appeared thicker - and after curling, hello bright eyes! This is exactly what I needed for making me at least look more awake for work!

One downside to this, is the smell. OK, so you're probably not suppose to give the tube a really good sniff but I can't help myself sometimes. I gave it a sniff and it smells pretty bad! It has a really strong 'paint aisle in B&Q smell' in the pot. Pretty glad I can't smell through my eyeballs! I can't smell it once it's on my face so I'm prepared to overlook that minor smell issue!

Maybelline has delivered yet again - do they actually have a bad mascara?

Until next time,

Monday, 10 March 2014

Real Techniques Retractable Bronzer Brush - Review

Over the last couple of months I've been making a conscious effort to not only up my make-up brush collection, but up it with great quality brushes. So, of course, Real Techniques brushes have become a massive part of my collection!

I've been looking for a new bronzing brush for a while as the one I was using wasn't technically an official bronzing brush. When Real techniques brought out their Retractable Bronzing Brush I just knew it would end up in my collection someday - like most of their brushes have! Insert the Boots 3 for 2 beauty event and I didn't really have an excuse not to buy it!

The brush is gorgeous. Due fiber, ultra plush bristles - this brush is super soft! It feels so nice on the skin and here has been zero bristle fall out - sometimes I get this with new brushes but so far, each one seems to be well intact. I also love the black/white contrast to the bristles - it makes cleaning them so much easier because I can see the difference in the colour of the white bristles so I know my brush is squeaky clean!

This is the first retractable brush in my collection and I love the retractable inner tube that comes up to protect the bristles. It's also great for keeping them in shape and clean after I've tossed it into my make-up bag! It can be used for finishing powder too, so the lid makes it great for on-the-go application. I don't know about you but I don't tend to re-apply bronzer throughout the day, but I do re-apply my finishing powder to combat shine a fair bit!

As for bronzer application, I've mostly used this with Bare Minerals - warmth, a super high pigmented bronzer. A little has always gone a long way with this particular bronzer but with this brush, even a little can be too much! A light hand is essential unless you really love a very bronze look! I also find that I need to do a little extra blending after using this brush as it can go on a little heavy at the point where it first makes contact with the skin!

Real Techniques have done it again, creating a wonderful brush! Their brushes really are worth all the hype if you ask me! I've now got my eye on the silicone eye liner brush!

What Real Techniques are in your collection?

Until next time,