Saturday, 4 August 2012

Believe six impossible things before breakfast ★★★★


 TheWhiteQueenEdit


Obviously, this isn't about that White Queen, but is about the York Queen in the War of the Roses.


The White Queen follows Elizabeth Woodville, a commoner and a widow who charms the new king Edward IV into marrying her with her astounding beauty and a bit of her mothers witchcraft. The story tracks her struggles through the Wars of the Roses over the space of thirty years in which the House of York and the House of Lancaster fought over the English throne in the mid-1400's. The novel is the first in the Cousins War series by Philippa Gregory which covers both houses, with sequels featuring Margaret Beaufort, the Lancaster Queen, Elizabeth's mother Jacquetta and future titles will go on to cover her daughter Elizabeth of York and her contemporaries.

The novel is at its core a historical romance with a bit of mystery and plotting thrown in for good measure. Throughout the story there is a constant reminder of Elizabeth and Edwards love for each other and their relationship always appears strong even when they are separated.

Obviously a good chunk of content is about the actual wars that were occurring during the time period, and for me this was a particularly confusing time. Many of the characters involved have similar names, and as I said in my review of The Constant Princess I am slowly trying to read some historical fiction in order to improve my knowledge of British history (for more about why I started reading them, click here!) In case you too have issues with keeping history straight in your head or you simply aren't aware, to summarise a very long period of time, initially we had Lancasters on the throne, the Yorks took the throne, and then the Lancasters took it back, and that was the start of the Tudor period where both the Lancasters and Yorks were joined by marriage. We follow a good amount of this political shuffling through Elizabeth, even though she is a woman and away from the actual action, Gregory shows us that women often had ways of finding out what was going on around them even though they themselves were not always directly privy to that information.

During all of the hoo-ha with the swapping of the throne between houses, there was a lot of sneaky behaviour and deception going on and it is this which lead me to be so interested in this book in particular. The mysteries in this woman's life are many, she managed to rise up the ranks very suddenly and charmed both king and court completely, her mother was accused of witchcraft as she herself was, and her sons were the Princes in the Tower, one of the great unsolved mysteries of the Tower of London. Philippa Gregory isn't afraid of taking mysteries like these and turning them into a strong, gripping plot and I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.

As with the Constant Princess the book was a little hard going at the beginning because you are grappling with so many characters, but I found this story in particular much easier to grip onto than the others. There are several references to magic within the novel as Elizabeth believes herself to be descended from the water goddess Melusina. Although initially this felt like a tacked on plot device that wouldn't necessarily add to the story and instead detract from the factual parts of the tale, Gregory uses it as a tool to overcome some of the mysteries surrounding Elizabeth's life and they are relied upon fairly heavily to tell her version of the story.
The magic is portrayed as a natural born skill that is innate to the women in this line of the family and integral to the characters themselves. It isn't explained in an unnecessary way, it is simply a skill that the women of the family use when they come into hardship. The very frank use of the magic in the story actually lends itself to being more believable, and almost innocent, it doesn't actually feel like cheating at any point in the story when Elizabeth comes across a hardship and her mothers guidance helps her to embrace her ancestry and take on the waters, a metaphor for using her magical influence to sway events. Gregory has managed to use this rumour in history to develop the queen into an empowered woman who will not allow the time that she has been born into to dictate how her life should be affected.

Gregory still manages however to keep the story grounded. Her reputation for research allows her to seamlessly join together the fantastical elements and the facts, and although she has to take a stance on the mysteries surrounding the wars which could or could not be correct Gregory manages to keep the reader believing that this could have been what happened. The story sucks you in because it is so convincing. The time period was full of drama and ups and downs that lend themselves fabulously to the plot allowing for a pace that keeps you reading. In particular I loved her stance on the Prince's in the Tower, as it creates presence of mind for Elizabeths character, showing she isn't just bowing to the stronger, superior men, but is taking steps to control events.

The book had me interested in continuing to read the series with The Red Queen, The Lady of the Rivers, and The Kingmakers Daughter which is released this year. I am especially excited for The White Princess, about her daughter which is rumoured to be due for release in 2013 after a plot point is revealed towards the end of this book. It should prove interesting indeed!
★★★★


Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Purple

malabrigoabrilsock

I believe I have issues with the colour purple, not the book, but yarn dyed the colour purple. See that there? that is a ball of Malabrigo Sock in Abril, it is beautiful (if you ignore the ball winder injury sustained on the right) but I cannot knit it.

There is something about purple that is making me shy from patterns, nothing is quite right, nothing quite fits how I want my finished project to look, nothing suits the colour variegation in the skein, nothing is darn good enough.

I have so far tried to knit 2 patterns from this skein, Travelling Woman and Kleio, both beautiful patterns in themselves, but thank god this yarn is great at keeping its tension when it has been frogged because otherwise I would have wasted £12. I want to knit a scarfy/shawly thing that I can wear to work, I want it to have a considerable amount of lace with a minimal amount of block stockinette or garter stitch because I really am not fond of variegated yarns in blocks of standard knitting, the pooling never seems to look nice to me.

I have trawled the Ravelry project pages for this particular shade of Malabrigo Sock, a favourite past time of mine when I haven't a clue what to knit a lovely yarn into, and nothing is jumping out at me. Despite my rules I am tempted to try a 'holey' wingspan shawl as project number 3, or buy another skein in a complimentary colour and knit either Colour Affection or Stripe Study Shawl (I could always use that periwinkle yarn I couldn't knit before I suppose) all of which could result in more pooling vomit and frogging.

I could of course simply give in and make some socks.

One can never have too many socks.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Just Call Me Pandy

I have recently discovered something about myself, I hate waterproof mascara!


waterproofedit


I had been wondering lately why I didn't wear waterproof mascara, with the weather getting hotter, and hayfever making my eyes itchy and watery, it seemed like the logical thing to do. Wear waterproof and it solves my problems!

I bought the L'Oreal Telescopic waterproof mascara after Anna of Vivianna Does Makeup had raved about it so much thinking that it would surely be the one to try, but alas I am afraid I have to disagree with her. Now don't get me wrong, I like the telescopic range, I love the brush for its separating capabilities, I just hate how much effort it takes for me to get the damn stuff off. Even using my Micellar Solution following Lisa Eldridge's instructions and then following with my Hot Cloth Cleanser I struggle and end up losing at least one lash. 

After making my eyes even more sore using this for a few weeks, I caved and went and bought a different, plain old lets the water make it run mascara and I am now much happier. Waterproof simply isn't for me it seems, I'd choose panda eyes any day over red sore ones! 
And which lesson has this taught me? If I don't use something and haven't for a good long while, there is probably a reason for it, and just because I can't remember that reason 
doesn't mean I should question it!!

Now, what to do with the second one I bought as part of the offer.

Do you wear waterproof mascara?
xo

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Review Avene Cleanance Line

avenecleananceedit

Recently I have decided to have a little overhaul of my skincare routine. I have stuck with Cetaphil as my morning cleanser, Sanctuary Hot Cloth Cleanser as my evening one, and Micellar solution to remove my makeup, but there are a few steps surrounding those that needed a little change.

I mentioned in an empties post a while back that I wasn't enjoying the Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion as my facial moisturiser anymore, and since finishing my Roaccutane treatment I have tried several other day moisturisers, all of which haven't really felt right. They were either too dry or too slick, they left me oily or clogged my pores, some even gave me an allergic reaction. I was getting a bit frustrated by it all when I walked into boots and decided to have a look at some French pharmaceutical brands, ones which were more into treating sensitivity as well as other complaints, and I settled on Avene.

I picked up a mattifying cleanser, the Cleanance Anti-Shine Regulating Lotion, and a chemical exfoliant the Cleanance K, both of which are highly recommended by various YouTubers and Bloggers. The moisturiser is described as a lotion, but is more of a gel formulation, as is the exfoliator. This means that they both feel incredibly light and don't leave my skin feeling tacky, a big no no for me. Both products are specifically targeted to reduce oil by drawing it away from the skin and trapping it in special microcapsules within the formula, and the exfoliant uses both glycolic and salicylic acids to get rid of dead skin cells that cause clogged pores in the first place. 

I have been using both for a few weeks now, and I have noticed a big difference in the amount of oiliness I get during the day, especially on my forehead which is a real problem area. I haven't noticed a huge difference using the exfoliator, but I have to admit I haven't been religious about applying it, it does recommend you use it every evening, but I have used it on average once a week. I will be more strict with myself from now on and see if I can spot any noticeable changes. I don't think I would completely swap from a physical exfoliant to a chemical one, but careful combination of the two within a set routine would be ideal I believe, and is something I hope to achieve.

Both of these products cost £10.50 for 40ml, not cheap when you consider they are to be used every day, but as they are available from Boots there is always the chance to say a bit of money with an offer.

Have you tried Avene before?

xo


Saturday, 21 July 2012

June Empties

juneemptiesedit

I am trying to get back on track with posting these Empties, but I always feel like they don't need to be as prompt as say favourites posts, probably a completely whacked out way of thinking, but then it is me!

Anyway, a few items last month, a couple of long time workers too!

Original Source Vanilla Milk and Raspberry Shower Cream
£2.30  from Boots

I grabbed this when I was taking advantage of a buy one get one free offer and had been drawn towards a pineapple scented shower gel (definitely in next months favourites!) I wouldn't say this is as nice as the pineapple one, though being a shower cream it is more moisturising. It is a nice scent, but probably more for winter than summer, and as always it is nice to see Original Source using plenty of natural ingredients. If I was stuck for other scents, and I was getting one free I would grab this again, but my top choice would be Pineapple!

The Body Shop Seaweed Ionic Clay Mask
£12  from The Body Shop

The first of the long time workers, I have been trying to finish this pot of mask for about a year, I believe I wanted to finish it when I first started my project 20 pan. I have nothing against this mask, it is just messy. The tub it comes in allows it to dry out over time, so you have to rehydrate it to get it to spread evenly over your face, and it is harder to get off your skin than other clay masks I have used, especially if you have any opened pores, I always seem to end up with seaweedy bits stuck inside them.  I think this si a great mask for drawing out impurities, though it takes a day or two before they all come to the surface, but I would only repurchase if the packaging improved.

OPI Start to Finish Base and Top Coat
£13 from Sally's

I've had this a while and really didn't like it, there's a bit left in the bottom but it is too gloopy to get out. It didn't help keep my polish on or prevent chipping, which I find odd as the OPI Natural Nail Base Coat is fab, I definitely wouldn't buy this particular one again.

MAC Studio Moisture Tint SPF 15 in Light
£20 from MAC

The second of the long time coming products, I have been trying to use this tinted moisturiser up forever, and now I wish I hadn't! After using my Laura Mercier I have decided this one was a little bit better, being slightly stronger pigmented and thicker. I wouldn't repurchase however as I am trying to move away from MAC products as much as possible (I want to try other brands a bit more) but I am glad this is finished as I can now get a free lipstick!

The Sanctuary Polishing Hot Cloth Cleanser
£10.50 from Boots

This is the second of my holy grail skincare items, and I absolutely love it. I had the old formulation in one of my past empties posts and I really wasn't that keen on it, it did the job but I am so happy to be back to using the new formula, it leaves my skin beautifully smooth and soft every time I use it.

Have you tried any of these products before?
xo

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Review: Essie Nail Polishes Old and New

essiepolishedit

As I am sure you all know, recently Essie released a difusion line of their most popular nail polish shades in selected Boots and Superdrug stores across the UK. When i heard about this I got very excited, as I have ordered a couple of shades from eBay before and in general I quite liked them, and wanted to try more. I already had Mint Candy Apple and Marshmallow, which can be seen above, and I love the shades. However the application has a little bit to be desired, they could be a bit hit and miss and often took three or four coats rather than two to be opaque.

However my hopes rose a little bit when lots of bloggers began talking about them and how great the new brush is which supposedly improved application no end, great I thought, problem solved! But when I saw that brush, my heart began to thud with dispair. It looked exactly the same as the Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure nail polish brushes, which I am not a fan of!

A couple of weeks ago while in Lincoln I decided to bit the bullet and try a couple of shades I had been admiring anyway, Splash of Grenadine and Lilacism, and risk hating the brush. However I am really pleased with these! The previously thought of as awful brush actually works wonderfully with the quite thin formula of the polishes, a combination which Sally Hansen didn't achieve, and application is really quick and easy because of it. The brush is a standard length and density bristle brush, but the bristles are arranged flat, with ever so slightly curved ends, which generally just means less streaks!

I will definitely be picking up a few more of these next time I am in Lincoln, top of my list are Tea and Crumpets, Merino Cool, and Angora Cardi.

Have you picked up any of the Essie Diffusion Line polishes yet?
xo

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Speccy-four-eyes

Just a quick post to show off my new glasses as I haven't got around to filming a video wearing them yet. What do you think? 
I absolutely positively LOVE them!


newspecsedit

I had been needing new glasses for a while, so much so that the screws on my old ones had almost worn out the threads! After completing my librarianship degree I knew I wanted something undeniably librarian like. Tortoiseshell was a must, I had to have those warm brown hues. I tried on several pairs, most geek like in shape or cat eyed, and ranging from Dior to Ray Ban to Karen Millen, and it took me about 3 months to find this pair of Chanel ones amongst all the others. 
I mainly chose this pair because the frames are relatively thin and light, most plastic frames currently are incredibly large and chunky, which is fine if you have strong features, or you only wear them occasionally to accent the rest of your style, but I needed something lighter. Chanel do make a more delicate frame in the tortoiseshell, but the shapes didn't suit me, and all the other brands were far too chunky for my face, so I went for this pair which have a relatively lightweight plastic frame, with the classic Chanel chain strap sides, which also helps to keep them delicate. 

Now the one thing to remember if you like these is they are far from cheap! They set me back £300 including lenses, they would have been cheaper if I had wanted a lesser set of anti scratch and glare coatings, but I need the best stuff for my night vision problems, so I sucked it up and went full whack. If however you only need a basic set of coatings on your lenses and are happy to take the risk of them not fitting right (or pay extra for fitting) they are much much cheaper online. The model in case you want to do your own search is the 3221Q and I have them in shade 714 Dark Havana.

I think going for a pricer choice of specs this time around instead of plumping for a pair from Specsavers that I could make do with was definitely the right choice for me. I need to wear these all the time now unless I get contact lenses, and they feel very very me, almost as if by embracing slightly geeky glasses I am embracing my inner geek too. I hope they will last me a good few years, and I actually aim to simply have the lenses and screws replaced when I need to, rather then buying new frames as I love them so much.

If you live in the Lincoln area and are looking for a Chanel Opticals Stockist, I bought mine from Dixons Opticians on Lincoln High Street, and I would recommend them highly, they were lovely with me and considering I had been treated quite rudely at a store closer to my home, I think it says a lot that I was willing to travel to get these.

How do you choose your glasses if you wear them?
xo

P.S. Major points to anyone who knows where the quote in the picture is from, it is quite possibly my favourite action film!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Holy Grail: Sanctuary Polishing Hot Cloth Cleanser

"Here may be found the last words of Joseph of Aramathia. He who is valiant and pure of spirit may find the holy grail in the Castle of Aaauuuggghhh... "

hghotclothedit

Whenever anyone in beauty land mentions a Holy Grail product I always think of Monty Python, does anyone else?

Anyway, this Grail is that of The Sanctuary, their Polishing Hot Cloth Cleanser to be precise. Usually when you see Hot Cloth Cleanser and Holy Grail next to each other you will see "Liz Earle" somewhere near by, but I am afraid that you wont find a rave about that product here. I have never tried it, and at the moment I don't feel the need to because I am put off by the scent. The Sanctuary is plenty enough for me. 
I have read posts where people have compared the ingredients lists of the two products and found barely a difference, but I haven't got access to them myself so I can't speak on that point, but it certainly seems to me that this is a cheaper, more accessible version of a hot cloth cleanser that may or may not do exactly the same thing. I can tell you that the Sanctuary cleanser contains several naturally derived oils, such as beeswax, cocoa butter, hops, coconut, jojoba, chamomile, grapefruit, and flax seed oils.

Now I have talked about this before but I felt it needed a shiny post just because it is so awesome. 
This cleanser works the same as most hot cloth cleansers, you wet your face (or not, I prefer to dampen mine) and then slather some of the cream on, put the included muslin cloth under a hot tap and place it over your face for a few seconds to steam it, then buff off the product with the cloth, and rinse. 
I normally do this twice, just because I love the clean feeling I get, and because it is amazing at unblocking my pores when I do so.
That is the main selling point to this product for me, nothing else gets my pores so clean, I can physically tell if I dont use this for a couple of days because my skin becomes congested and I have to do the whole face mask shebang, which is more work than I can be bothered with normally. I also always use this as a second time run to take off my eye makeup even though it doesn't actually state that you can on the bottle, it has never caused me any adverse drying or stinging, so I will continue to do so as it always takes off every last scrap. I believe part of the reason I don't react to it on my eyes is because it barely has a scent, there is the faintest natural scent there, but it isn't overpowering and doesn't make me feel nauseous.  
This stuff is so easy to get hold of, it is stocked even in my little Boots near work, and often on offer which means I spend around £5.50 a tube on this stuff, an absolute bargain for a wonder product in my opinion.

I am tempted to get a Clarisonic to see if I can make this product even better, but at the moment I don't honestly need it so it would be an unnecessary expense, it would be interesting to see if it too is made better with the contraption like its herbal cousin.

The only negative I have so far is that I can't find a mini version for when I travel. There is one in a gift set, but I don't need the rest of the stuff, so it would be a waste of money. I am still searching though!

All in all, I love this product and will continue to use it for a while yet.


Have you tried this cleanser? Would you be willing to give it a go?

xo

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Birthday Haul

So, the month of May was the month of my birthday! At the very beginning of the month in fact, and it was a very happy occasion with lovely weather and good food and I went to see The Avengers at the cinema, which was hilarious.

As any beauty girl does when it is her birthday and she receives some money, I decided to tick a couple of items off my wishlist. I could have gone crazy and picked a few more, but I stuck to these three because they were items I either really fancied or had wanted for a long time.


birthdaypurchasesedit

A few days after my birthday me and my Mum popped into Lincoln for me to go get fitted for a new pair of glasses (which will have their own post soon) and we popped into Boots and Debenhams. 

I had a gift card for Boots, and a points voucher to use up, so I bought my most expensive treat there, the Dior Rosy Glow blusher. This isn't my first piece of Dior makeup, as I have one of the Addict lipsticks, but it is the first big piece of Dior makeup I have ever bought. 
I had been after a fairly light cool pink shade of blush as my beloved MAC Blush of Youth Beauty Powder can be a right pain to try and use sometimes, and this product's ability to change to suit the wearer seemed like it might be a good one to try. 
The lady at the counter was lovely and explained how the product worked to me, warning me that as it changes colour that I should use it very sparingly in case it decided hot pink was the colour for me. I have been using it on more special occasions, as when I am in a rush I tend to just slap some colour on my cheeks and this requires a gentle patience. 
I tend to use the brush that came in the compact to actually apply the product, as I find it easier to build up the product in layers that way, and blend with my normal blush brush. The brush in the compact is really very nice, not that I should be surprised. It is soft and not too dense, the perfect size to sweep along my cheekbone too.
The colour this takes on me is a very bright but cool doll pink, which I actually quite like! I have to be careful, as the smallest amount too much can make me look fluorescent, but applied just right it looks fresh, youthful and pretty, exactly the look I tend to go for.

On the same day as I said we popped to Debenhams, where I had a £5 reward to use up. 
While Mum wandered over to the Radley handbags I spent a bit of time debating between the YSL, Clarins and Urban Decay counters. The Debenhams in Lincoln doesn't have the largest range of counters, but it had enough that I was able to tick another product off of my wishlist,
I have been after one of these for years purely because of the packaging, but knowing that the wear time isn't long I was always slightly put off. After a bit of swatching I decided to go with number 30, Faubourg Peach, which is a lovely pastel coral/peach. 
The formula, as expected is gorgeous, soft, pigmented and so so smooth. The wear time is also as I expected, not very good, but I reserve this again for special occasions so that it isn't wasted. It is quite easy to over apply this, and I prefer to almost dab it on, rather than swipe. It doesn't emphasise the lines in your lips if you apply it that way either, which is a huge bonus!
This should be a great shade for the summer, and I am so glad I picked it up.

Finally, a sneaky treat that I wasn't going to go for, but thought what the hell, threw caution to the wind and dashed into House of Fraser. I was actually there to try out the new Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Compact foundation, which I am still considering for when I have finished some of my other ones.
While I was being matched though I thought I would swatch the infamous Boy Rouge Coco Shine lipstick. I had originally planned to get Liberte in the Rouge Coco Shine formulation, but having just bought a peach from YSL, I thought a neutral would be the wiser choice. 
Just like everyone before me I fell for this shade immediately. It is beautiful. It matches the pigmentation of my lips perfectly and simply makes them look more groomed and neat.
As expected the formula is smooth and a little glossy, but it stays on for longer than expected at a couple of hours without eating or drinking. 
I seriously hope Chanel never discontinue that one, because I think it has become my new "posh" go-to lippy.

All in all I think I did well this year, I was restrained, but still treated myself. I think the decision to invest in higher end products has been very satisfying lately!

:) xo

Sunday, 1 July 2012

June Favourites

I have decided to do my favourites on my blog this month, as it is a bit easier for me to do than filming and editing, and I have been rather busy lately.

I suppose really this should be favourites of right now, as I haven't done a favourites post for a couple of months. Unfortunately nothing much was sticking around enough to be a favourite, and I don't believe in just cobbling a list together if they aren't worthy!

junefavesedit

There are quite a few things on here, so lets get started!

Aussie Luscious Long Leave in Conditioner

I got this ages ago, and in a bid to use up some of my hair products started using it instead of my usual serum, and now I am thinking of using up my serum and keeping this! It is fab for how I have been styling my hair lately, I have just been shoving it in a top knot when wet and letting it dry, or just leaving it down and lightly brushed through with a tangle teaser. Both of these easy, messy styles don't really require much effort, but can leave my hair a bit ratty without this spray which keeps my hair soft and smelling pretty.

Bare Minerals SPF15 foundation in Fairly Light

Another product I started using intending to use it up so I could minimise my products, and I have ended up preferring it to my MAC Mineralised Skin Finish, in fact I can safely say I wont be repurchasing that, but a BareMinerals product instead. It gives me a more natural finish, without being too powdery or dulling me down. After this is finished I intend to use up my mineral veil to see which I prefer!

Revlon Lip Butter in Sweet Tart

This has been my handbag lipstick of late, it is incredibly pigmented yet easy to apply and not too drying so is useful for when I all of a sudden decide I want to brighten things up a bit or look a little more put together. It is far from the sort of lip butter that would replace my lipbalm, but as a go to grab on the go lipstick it is handy to have.

No7 Lash and Brow Perfector

I'm not sure if I have mentioned this before or not, but this is the main way in which I groom my brows on a day to day basis. I avoid brow pencil unless I really need it, and this gel holds my naturally full brows in place for me all day. The main reason I would choose this over a cheapy one is because of the brush, it has a short bristle side and a long bristle side, which comes in very handy.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser in Nude

Since I finished my MAC tinted moisturiser this month I have been cracking on with using this one, which has been waiting in my drawer for almost a year! I have to admit, I am missing my MAC one, as a smaller amount of it went a long way, where as this is a runnier formula (the mess in the lid is pushing my OCD a bit) I do like it though for being light and breathable, and not clogging my skin up, I also love their shade range! 

No7 Lash Adapt Mascara

I mentioned in my last empties post that I liked the No7 Exquisite Curl mascara, well I think this one might be my new favourite for soft volume. It doesn't hold my curl as well as Exquisite Curl does, but it makes my lashes full and fluttery without weighing them down too much or being flaky. So far so good!

Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow in Bunny Hop
Discontinued, but other shades are £14 from Boots

This looks a right mess in that pot, but that is because it had completely dried up, and I followed the instructions on this blog to get it going again. Ever since I have been using it instead of my MAC paint pot, and although I like the texture for being soft and not drying my delicate eyelids out, the shade isn't flattering on me at all. It does seriously make me reconsider Benefit Creaseless Cream shadows in general though!

Lush Maple Taffy Lip Balm

This little pot of yum is awesome! I picked this up just to give Lush lip balms a go a few months back and I am glad I did. Although it would be too sickly sweet for some it reminds me of pancakes with syrup, and that makes it a winner. The texture is ever so slightly gritty too so I feel like it is ever so slightly exfoliating while I wear it as well.

The Body Shop Honey and Beeswax Hand and Foot Butter

This stuff is great if you have a job that keeps you on your feet all day. I have tried several foot and heel balms, and none of them are quite so nice and luxurious as this one. I can put a bit of this on before bed once a week and my feet will still be soft by the next application. I use a small amount for general applications and it sinks in quick enough that I don't make my sheets greasy, but if I have missed a few weeks a thick slather of this and a pair of moisturising socks and my feet are in tip top condition by morning. It is great for hands too especially if you are prone to cracking between your fingers, and smells lovely.

Boots Spectacle Care Kit.
Not on the website, but the Lens Cleaner is £5.49  from Boots

Really this is about the cleaning spray, I got my new glasses last month and my old Specsavers lens cleaner just doesn't seem to do the trick. This Boots one, in combination with the included cloth really does get rid of all smears and specks. The little screwdriver is handy to have in my bag too.


What were your favourites this month? Anything I should give a try?
xo

Friday, 29 June 2012

April/May Empties

Sorry, sorry, blah blah. It has been over a month since I've written a beauty blog post, and it has mainly just been because I have been a busy bee. 
May was my birthday month, so I scheduled a post or two and then got swept away in having fun, I've decorated my room (all nice and neutral cream, loooovely) and spent some time fixing cars with my other half. I've also been working two jobs which is slowly picking up steam, but this week I am on holiday from them both, so I have jotted down a few blog posts and I am determined to post!

If you follow my youtube channel you might have noticed that it has been even longer since I made a video, and that is for the same reasons, it is simply very time consuming, so you might find that some of my normal video content will migrate over to blog content so that I can easily get it out there.

If you do like my ramblings and aren't limited to following beauty, you can find me on my other blog more frequently at the moment, as I am spending a lot of time reading, it can be found here!

Now throughout all this time being oh so busy, I have to admit I haven't bought many products, which rather stumps me on what I can write about, but I have used up quite a few which I am insanely proud about! I am all about clearing out the junk and clutter at the moment, selling things on ebay, trading in DVDs and using up loads of my products.

Without further ado, here are April and May's empties!


aprilmayemptiesedit


La Roche-Posay Physiological Micellar Solution
£11.50 from Boots

I mentioned this in my first ever empties post, and it has now become one of my constant repurchases. I have decided that I am going to give Bioderma a proper go once I have used up all my backup's of this stuff, but if it doesn't measure up I will be straight back to grabbing these on 3 for 2. The main reason I grab for it again and again is that it just works, it lifts my makeup and any grease on my face up and away leaving me feeling nice and clean without any residue, perfect for before a full face cleanse or even when I can't be bothered to do the full routine.

Weleda Pomegranate Creamy Body Wash
£8.95 from Boots

I received this in a Glossybox a while back, and at first I was sceptical. I don't really buy in to the whole luxury shower gel thing, I like to have one from The Body Shop or something, but nearly £10 a bottle is pushing it a bit. I did really like this though, it isn't for you if you aren't fond of the scent as it lingers a bit and definitely makes the bathroom smell lovely, but if you are after a shower cream that will leave you moisturised and feeling a little bit special then give this a go. I can't say anything for the anti-aging properties, but it is worth noting that when used to shave my legs, I didn't need to moisturise afterwards! 

Balance Me Rose Otto Body Wash
£12.26 for 260ml from John Lewis

Another shower gel from a beauty box, and this time one I really hated. I had issues with the Balance Me hand cream scent last time, and this time the scent really put me off. I am not a fan of roses, and my skin hates the scent from them and breaks out in little bumps. Turns out that applies to the rest of my skin too not just my face! I'm sure many people would love this product, and I have to say for a sulphate free product it did lather nicely and didn't require lots of product per use, but for me it just caused hassle.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
£8.99 from Boots


Simple Soothing Facial Toner
£2.99 from All good supermarkets

I always seem to pick up this toner, and it has featured in an empties post before, but I think next time I might branch out. I have my eyes on an Avene mattifying one, but if you are after a basic, cheap toner, this is a great one to try.

No7 Exquisite Curl Mascara in Brown/Black
£13 from Boots, or use a No7 voucher for £5 off!

I really enjoyed this mascara, which is why I was happy to pick up two, but it does dry out quickly, one tube usually lasts me about two months before I have to change because it is making my eyes sting.
 I can't honestly say that it curls my lashes as I always use an eyelash curler, but it holds them steady throughout the day without being too crispy and it is easy to remove.

Bionova Bioactive Cleanser
£29 from Bionova

I'm not entirely sure on the price of this one, as I got this sample in a Glossybox and although their website says £29, I can't find a product which perfectly matches this on the Bionova website (which is quite complicated) and so it could cost more. I wouldn't be repurchasing anyway as it left a weird rubbery feeling on my skin, and isn't suited to my combination skin type anyway. I think there are probably better known similarly priced cleansers out there if you wanted to splash out on a fancy one.

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturiser
£15.50 from House of Fraser

When Kiehl's popped up in my local House of Fraser last year I really wanted to try the eye cream or the hand cream that I had been lusting after on YouTube, on discovering that they were US only, I plumped for trying their best selling all around suitor moisturiser. I liked it, but it was a little greasy for me, and when I was taking Roaccutane it stinged like mad, which doesn't fill me with confidence.
If you have dry skin, I say grab a sample, but otherwise, despite it saying it is for all skin types, I would maybe give it a miss.

Dermalogica Multivitamin Thermofoliant
£41 for 75ml from Dermalogica

Oh yes you read that right, FOURTY ONE POUNDS! For an exfoliator! This sample came from Glossybox and unlike the lipbalm which I really loved, this didn't stand out for me at all. I am currently using a similar exfoliator from The Sanctuary which is a quarter of the price, so no way in hell would I repurchase this. I know Dermalogica is expensive, but I honestly can't say that this worked any differently to my other heat activated exfoliators, so that would be a big fat no!

Sanex Dermoinvisible Antiperspirant
£1.55 from Boots, Supermarkets

I'm talking about another deodorant! I had to mention this one though because I wasn't particularly fond of it. It didn't seem to have as much product in it as other ones I have used, wasn't very moisturising, and it didn't have a nice accompanying smell. It did however work in the sweat stakes, and I was free of white marks while I used it. 

How many empties have you run up lately? I get a great sense of satisfaction when I pop another tub in my special empties box.
:) 

Monday, 11 June 2012

Reading on the go

Authors Note: Apologies about this post, it has been written for a couple of months and I forgot to schedule it so it sort got lost in the abyss that is my computer, and is unfortunately a little less relevant now as it was at the time of writing (as I will share soon) but is still equally important to me so I thought I would post it anyway :) xo

OnTheGoReadingEdit
I am one of those people, you know the ones, sitting in the waiting room reading a book, riding the bus reading a book, waiting for a coffee reading a book. I never go anywhere without some form of reading material (be it paper, glossy magazine, or on my phone) and even last year while my reading took a bit of a hiatus I still carried something to read just in case I felt like it.

The matter of the type of book you can read on the go however is tricky, if like me you are fond of grabbing your book at any opportunity it needs to fit a certain set of criteria. It must be physically light and flexible (for easy one handed reading) and also light to read, something that you can easily remember the plot of in the two hour gap between sittings. It must withstand a battering from being pulled in and out of your bag frequently (I have a rule that library books must have dust covers purely because of this, I can't abide by scuffing up library books). It must not break your shoulder when stored in a handbag, or cause those awful strap burns on your hands when stored in a little tote bag, and it must not also require you to sacrifice other bag essentials either (Game of Thrones, I'm looking at you!) I tend to limit myself to works of no more than about 300 pages, and that is pushing it. I prefer shorter novels for carrying around with me and save the larger tomes for dedicated at home reading. This obviously excludes most hardbacks, and you will find that there aren't very many of those on my shelves to reflect that, I simply do not need the knotted shoulders that accompany them!

Now what about these books that I can't take with me? Well of course those are for when I know I have more time, often I plan to sit and have a coffee and read while I am out and about, or maybe use my lunch break at work to crack through a couple of chapters. Those chunky books are OK to come with me then, or they stay at home and get read in my reading nook during a lazy evening.

It may seem like a restrictive way to manage my reading, and if you aren't a constant reader it really does seem odd, but it is often quite the opposite. It baffles me when people only have one book on the go as I currently have five, allowing me to pick from several that suit different needs. I am a firm believer that restricting your reading is one of the big things that puts people off the hobby in general, and simply being half way through a big fat russian novel is no reason to stop yourself from reading on the go, just pick up a different one.

My current picks for reading on the go are:
Heidi, which is an old hardback and is really little, perfect for slotting in the back pocket of my saddle bag.
If on a winter's night a traveller, which is slightly larger, but fits in most bags and is quite a fun little read that is endlessly interesting so I never forget where I am or what has happened.
Good Omens, this as you can see is a bit bigger, and it is pushing my limits for what I will carry around, but I like this one enough to put it in a little tote.
And of course there is always my phone which has several ebook apps on it. I don't like reading from it too often because it hurts my eyes, but it is handy in a pinch!

How do you manage reading on the go?

Monday, 21 May 2012

Hungry? ★★★★


TheHungerGamesedit

I have witheld this review for many months, I finished the first in The Hunger Games series in December of 2011, but I have only just read the two sequels, and decided writing about them all at once would be best.

Obviously there are reviews of this series everywhere since the release of the film, and many many people have read them, seen the film, and are absolutely mad about them. It's Twilight all over again right? Wrong.

I too had initially been very sceptical about reading these, just as I was about reading the vampire novels, and prepared myself for a fun little read where I didn't have to think too much, but I have been pleasantly surprised. The Hunger Games is not simply a dystopian adventure where a kick ass girl gets to save her sister and gets to kiss a pretty boy, but a political lesson about the way we live now and what we could devolve to.
Occasionally I feel like directing the teens who are mad on this series to George Orwell or Aldous Huxley, but The Hunger Games really isn't so bad and it is teaching them a lesson in appreciating what they have, a lesson teens of today appear to be in dire need of.

Like most teen reads nowadays, the first novel is fast paced, we meet Katniss Everdeen, a sixteen year old girl who lives in District 12 of the city of Panem, a city where the Capitol leeches from the produce of the districts and lives in the lap of luxury while the twelve districts only just survive. We know right from the start that Katniss is a rule breaker, she will be our heroine, she steps in to save her younger sister when she is chosen to participate in the hunger games, a competition the Capitol holds for entertainment and to punish the districts for uprising in the distant past, by which each district is forced to sacrifice one boy and one girl to enter an arena and fight to the death where only one child will survive. Katniss is revealed as being quick, smart, but also fast to anger and terribly bitter about the life she is forced to lead.

The main body of the first novel features Katniss' selection at 'The Reaping' and then her preparation for the games themselves, followed by the actual games. The preparation for the games is a part of the novel I did not think I would find interesting, but Collins has turned it into a a venturing into the big wide world sort of situation with Katniss having to grow up fast as she realises she needs to manipulate her situation if she wishes to survive. The games themselves were interesting and kept me gripped, I do not believe I put down the book once while reading about the actual games.

After finishing the first book, which occurs directly after the games have ended, I was not sure I would be much interested in the second and third novels, mainly because it was not entirely clear where they were going to go. The dystopian elements of the series were blatantly obvious, but wether they were going to delve into these political issues was not clear and so I held off reading the sequels, I didn't feel the same rush to pick them up as I had to continue reading the first.

When I did however pick them up and start reading I found them interesting. The political discussion in the following two books makes up the main body of the plots, the result of the first novel has caused ramifications beyond Katniss' imaginings and she has to either fix them or join the apparent forthcoming uprising.

The second novel, Catching Fire, in particular had me going from crying to laughing within seconds, and the development of Katniss and Peeta's relationship truly interested me as it showed some real development to the characters, Katniss who had previously been quite cold and hard on the surface at times allowed more of her emotions to crack through. There is an actual games in this second novel, which I was not expecting, and it was a great twist, a fabulous choice by the author and surprised me.

I would say that the third novel, Mockingjay, is the most political, as at this point Panem is in the midst of a second uprising. I would say that in terms of story this was the weakest of the three novels, I was not gripped as I had been, and I felt the character developed less, but the lessons it could teach to young adults are important. Katniss realises that she is not the most important person in her world, that she is merely a figurehead and is being used somewhat, her attempts to change this situation often place others in grave danger, but ultimately she has some power to change her fate.

Overall I would say that the series is a great way of leading young adults into dystopian literature, and it has sparked many stories in this vein. It has the potential to show that age group that their material goods are not the be all and end all, and should be highly commended for doing so.

★★★★

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Blocking Pains

So I finished Ishbel last week, it is currently blocking on my living room floor. Man was it a pain in the bum to get that thing pinned out!
I am not sure if it was the Noro that I used to knit it, or just the pattern, but it did not want to stretch evenly, I managed to get it as close to even as I could and have left it, it will just have to be whatever shape it comes out as.

Untitled

Now that it is finished I am not entirely sure how much I will wear it with it being so bright, but I am glad that the yarn has been used for such a pretty pattern as it really has knit up beautifully.
Maybe when I embrace my bright colourful side it will get some use, but in the meantime once it has been blocked there will be a Finished Object report.

:) xo

Monday, 14 May 2012

Agatha Does it Again! ★★★★

agatharaisinpigedit

I would like to start this review by apologising, because I was absolutely certain I had written and published this one before, so it wasn't even on my radar as a review I had to write.

This book however, is as always with an Agatha Raisin story, hilarious. If you haven't tried M.C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin stories before I highly recommend them, but I do suggest you start with the first in the series. Today I will be reviewing book 22, As the Pig Turns.

If you haven't tried Agatha Raisin books before, Agatha is a middle aged, twice divorced woman who previously ran her own PR agency, but chose to move to the Cotswolds and has since opened her own private detective agency. The series is a bit like a traditional whodunnit, but set in the modern day, and even features comedy blundering characters, most of which manage to solve the mystery almost by accident, but with a little splash of deduction.

As the Pig Turns features really quite an ingenious crime, at the beginning of the story Agatha and her chums are going to a hog roast and discover that the hog is not a pig of the eating variety but rather a mutilated murder victim in the form of the local annoying policeman. Agatha and her friends come under a lot of stress trying to discover what happened to the pain in the bum police officer and become embroiled in a crime ring they really should have avoided, one of them is even kidnapped!

The book itself is not too long and is a nice light read, which I enjoyed while lapping up some of the fleeting sunshine last March, and I finished it in hardly any time at all. I would actually go so far as to say that this is the most fun of all of the latest Agatha Raisin novels, as Agatha isn't in the midst of one of her "obsessions" with the local men, trying to find herself her next husband. The next book in the series Hiss and Hers is out this autumn, and I shall be giving that a read too, as it looks like it too will be a barrel of laughs.

★★★★

Monday, 7 May 2012

Oh NARS, I Love you!

narsshadows
From top to bottom, and left to right in the swatch, is Ashes to Ashes, 413 Blkr, and Lhasa

This post requires a large picture.

Last month I had a little splurge, I meant to post about ti at the time but forgot, typical, but I can't just let this one pass by, it needs to be documented because these are my first Nars Eyeshadow purchases and I believe they have stirred a passion within me which will cost me a lot of money. 

It all started when I heard about Lhasa, I'm not entirely sure where I first heard/saw it, it could have been any number of bloggers or twitter, but I saw it, and I knew I had to have it. I have a thing for taupes, I still haven't written the post about it, but I do love them. Lhasa is a perfect taupe for me. 
Then I saw a post comparing Lhasa to this shade I had never heard of before, 413 Blkr, a limited edition shade released to commemorate the opening of a Nars store in New York City. Oh now that was a pretty taupe with more grey, I love all taupes with grey, but I still loved Lhasa! I would have to bit the bullet and get both. You can only pick up 413 Blkr from the Nars website, and if you have used their service before you will know that they charge a ridiculous amount for shipping despite the items being TINY so of course I had to bump my cart up to get the free shipping, and I added Ashes to Ashes.

When they arrived I was quite prepared for Lhasa and 413 Blkr to be very close shades, but was pleasently surprised to find them completely different. The purple in Lhasa makes it a much deeper shade, much more like a crease colour than 413 Blkr which would be an all over lid colour for me.
Ashes to Ashes is simply a gorgeous brown, and one I think I have been searching for for a while, not too deep not too light, not too shimmery and doesn't make me look like I have an eye infection, perfecto!

The formula of these shadows is also fabulous, they are soft, easily blended, and richly, yet subtly pigmented. I am usually a staunch fan of MAC eyeshadows but sometimes find pigmentation and texture don't quite match up, but these shadows have a nice soft level of colour payoff when used which means it is hard to apply too much, and easy to blend them to the desired finish. They also aren't so soft that they go everywhere like my Urban Decay shadows do, which lord knows is good for me because I am awful at correcting mistakes with my eyeshadow application. 
They are the perfect shadow for me, and I can already think of a few more shades I would like, my purse is quivering with fear!

Nars Lhasa and Ashes to Ashes Eyeshadows can be found at a variety of retailers such as ASOS, House of Fraser and HQHair and are priced between £16 and £17, 
but 413 Blkr (£17) is only available at Nars Cosmetics

xo :)

Ever a Princess ★★★

ConstantPrincessEdit

Before I read this book, I wasn't really interested in historical fiction. I had thought about reading some, and there were particular books where I had really expressed some interest in reading them, but hadn't got around to it. I had been interested in Philippa Gregory's books in particular because she is quite well known for thoroughly researching her topics, something which was particularly important to me as one of the main reasons I had avoided historical fiction was because I have issues with British history. I know about many of the events that have happened, but when they happened gets jumbled up in my head. Obviously I chose Geography instead of History for GCSE!

I picked up The Constant Princess after asking a fellow librarian which book from Gregory's repertoire I should read first. Gregory has written many books spanning many generations of British history, and I was interested particularly in her collections based upon the Tudor period and the cousin's war (War of the Roses).

One thing to note about Gregory is that she hasn't written these series' in chronological order, in fact she has written theTtudor novels before the cousin's war, which preceded the Tudors. This obviously is a pain if you aren't sure what order the events actually occurred in history, but luckily I have people who do know! My librarian friend actually recommended I read The Lady of the Rivers first, the third installment of the cousin's war collection, as that was the oldest generation of character so to speak, but at the time it had only just been released and the waiting list was huge. Instead I chose to read the Tudor court novels before the collection of books about the War of the Roses. In a way I wish I hadn't made that choice, because although I was reading roughly in the order they were written, it did make it harder to follow everything.

The tudor court novels feature The Constant Princess, centred around Catharine of Aragon, The Other Boleyn Girl, centered around Anne and Jane Boleyn, and the Boleyn Inheritance, following Henry VIII's wives after Anne Boleyn. If you weren't aware, The Other Boleyn Girl was actually made into a film a few years ago, and I personally felt I knew a fair amount about Anne Boleyn from history classes, but Catharine of Aragon I knew next to nothing about. I knew she was Henry VIII's first wife, but nothing more.
Discovering that she was a Spanish princess, originally named Catalina, and originally married to Henry VIII's older brother Arthur certainly made things seem interesting, and although Gregory has padded out the bare bones of history and made the whole situation into a tragic story of love and determination, I really felt while reading that Catalina was a strong, determined woman, a writing skill which must be applauded as this helps the reader to want her to succeed.

I will admit that initially the story was hard going, mainly because it is a subject area I am far from familiar with, but because I love to research I was continually fact checking while reading, trying to suss out which parts of Gregory's story were drawn from absolute fact, which from conjecture, and which from the depths of her imagination. I felt the ending was rather stunted also, it moves rapidly into the realm of The Other Boleyn Girl, and I would have much rather have read some of those events from Catharine's perspective.

Overall I would say that despite a slightly difficult start and an abrupt ending, the in between in this story is wonderful. If you have never tried historical fiction before and want to give it a go, give Gregory's stories a try.

★★★

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Top Pout: Shy Girl

The sun is shining outside, that means I can write a top pout post about a very popular summer lippy, MAC's Shy Girl.


ShyGirlEdit

I haven't had this lipstick that long, or rather I have had it for a year but couldn't wear it because of my skin treatment, but oh do I love it!
This shade and MAC's ravishing are two of my favourite MAC lipsticks for summer and I think it is because they are peach. I have a bit of a love affair with peach when summertime comes around, I will maybe do a post on it. While typically someone with my fair skin should go for lighter pinks, once the sun is truly shining I shun most of my pink blushers and go for glowy peaches even though I have always been told that they weren't really right for me. 
Personally I think this lipstick, another of the Cremesheen formulas, is perfect for summer days when you don't want to look too done but also don't want to look like you haven't made an effort. Matched with a blush such as Vivo Peaches and Cream and a bit of bronzer this looks ever so pretty. I used to be petrified of shades like this, leaning far too orange for what I deemed acceptable, but these soft peaches are my attempt at doing something different.
Now my lips are fairly pigmented naturally, so this almost nude peach is very light on me, if I want more of an obvious peach that suits my natural lip colour better I go for Revlon Peach, and if I want a pop of colour I go for MAC Ravishing, or Ever Hip for a coral version, but for looking ladylike and pretty when you are around your grandmother and wearing a girly dress, Shy Girl is just the thing.

£14.50 from MAC Cosmetics

xo :)

Monday, 30 April 2012

March Empties

Apologies for the lateness of posting, again. I have been so busy with work I just haven't got around to blogging much lately, but I have taken loads of pictures the past few days while I can and hopefully should have a few posts to go soon.

So March was a very productive month on the empties front, finally I had a large amount of finished products, and my first makeup product! It made me so happy I instagrammed it.


MarchEmptiesEdit

Without further ado, here are the empties for March!

Body Shop Coconut Shower Cream
£4 for 250ml form The Body Shop

This is a product that is a bit of a staple for me, I mentioned in my January Empties that I keep a supply of Body Shop shower products in my cupboard because they are some of the only nicely scented ones that I can use without irritation. The coconut shower cream is my go to for when my skin needs a bit more nourishment, and I will continue to use and repurchase this for a while I think!

No7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing Water
£9 for 200ml from Boots

I grabbed this cleansing water after seeing it on a couple of blogs when the new No7 range first launched thinking ooo this could be a good alternative to my Micellar solutions. Boy was I wrong. I had never used any No7 skincare before other than the face wipes, and as all face wipes give me little allergy breakouts I didn't think anything of it when I had miniature mountain ranges on my face. But when I tried this product it because clear to me that No7 reacts the same as Clinique on my skin, it gives me awful hard little bumps all over and should be avoided. Thankfully I had used nearly 3/4 of the bottle when I narrowed the reaction down to this product, so I simply used the rest up sharpish and went back to my La Roche Posay. I was a little disappointed though as I quite like the pump (even if its closing mechanism is a little loose) and the price is cheaper than my standard cleansers. If you are ok with No7 products normally I would give this a try, especially if you have a £5 off voucher.
It is also worth noting that at the same time I purchased a night cream, and didn't use it as my other one wasn't finished yet, and Boots took it back for a full refund with no quibbles what so ever when I explained, I was really impressed with their customer service!

Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Take The Heat Deep Treatment
£4.99 from Boots or any good supermarket

Now I don't heat treat my hair that often, but I do feel like the ends get a little ragged as my hair tangles very easily and gets knotty, so I grabbed this to help revive it a little, and while I got some lovely compliments about my hair while using it, it isn't a product I am loyal to. The product left my hair sliky and smooth but still in need of a serum during the day, while it felt moisturised while in the shower, once it had air dried I didn't notice a huge difference.
 I come back to aussie often because they are often on reduced price offers and things, but I think in future for deep treatments I will try slightly higher end products to see if they are worth it. 

L'Oreal Telescopic Clean Definition Mascara
£10.99 from Boots

I picked this particular mascara up after hearing the waterproof telescopic mascara raved about on YouTube, and Boots didn't have any in stock. I figured what the hell, clean definition is more my kind of thing anyway. I did quite like the product as it gave me nicely separated lashes, and it lasted a reasonable amount of time before drying out, but I wouldn't purchase it again. The steep price tag has put me off, I have used much better mascaras from other brands, and I would only grab it if it was on a decent offer.

Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion
£8.99 from Boots or Lloyds Pharmacy

The cleanser that accompanies this lotion is one of my holy grail products, but unfortunately for me the lotion isn't as great. I have used this both on my face, where it doesn't sink in quickly enough, and on my body, where it doesn't hydrate enough. However, if you are undergoing Roaccutane treatment it is amazing as it doesn't irritate at all or clog pores, and as your skin is very dry during treatment it sinks in nicely.

Sanctuary Spa Perfectly Polished Hot Cloth Cleanser
£10.20 from Boots

The tube pictured here is actually the old packaging, and I believe a different product to the new packaging currently available on Boots shelves. The new product is by far superior, so don't worry about missing out in that sense. I am a big advocate of the sanctuary hot cloth cleanser though because with my skin it does exactly the same as the Liz Earle one but without such a strong scent. This one is also a few quid cheaper, and you can even get it for an extra £5 off when Boots have those discount vouchers that print with your receipt, pretty good in my books! 
I already have a couple of bottles of the new packaging version of this in my cabinet and one on the go, I will be repurchasing this for a long time.

L'Occitane Shea Butter Cocoa Flower Hand Cream
£8 for 30ml from L'Occitane 

I received this in a magazine absolutely ages ago and am so glad I did. This product is amazing, it is hydrating without being greasy, sinks in quickly and smells divine. Think cocoa, but milder, softer, and more delicate. The ladies at work have all complimented the scent of this product and loved it when they have tried some, next time I am in Sheffield I will be popping in for another tube!

Bobbi Brown Oil Free Even Finish Compact Foundation
£29.00 from House of Fraser

This is one of those products that I have both loved and hated while I have used it. Initially I was thrilled with how it made my skin look, having found it difficult to get a decent shade match for a long time when I spotted a new Bobbi Brown counter I was in House of Fraser like a shot and getting my makeup done by Georgina, one of the head artists for the UK. I looked slightly radiant with a nice and even skintone and felt great. Then after a while it started to look awful and cakey as the product started to dry out no matter how thinly I applied it, and had completely slid off my face by lunchtime, it lost its lustre rather quickly. 
After giving it a break and coming back to the product intending to finish it up, I found that when applying it with the Cosmopolitan Beauty Blender dupe I liked the lighter application I got and actually found I could work with it.
 I will never repurchase as the price is exorbitant for not being completely satisfied, but it wasn't a bad product per-se.

Balance Me Super Moisturising Hand Cream
£14.50 for 100ml from Balance Me also available in Waitrose

I received this hand cream in my first ever Carmine Box and at first I hated it. It took me some time to get used to the scent, and the cream is very thick so not great for while I am working (the main time I use hand cream), and while the density of the cream means it is deeply moisturising, it also means it leaves you a little greasy after application. 
I do love that the product is 98.8% natural, and can actually be used most places on your body for intense dry patches, not just your hands, but the scent is hard to get over. They use essential oils that have added skin benefits and while the reasoning behind it is sound, I just wish it didn't whiff quite so much!


So there you have it, a lot of empties this month and only a couple I would repurchase. 
How many empties did you rack up in march? I already have quite a few for April.

:) xo

Ishbel, an update

I thought it was about time I gave you an update on the current state of my Ishbel shawl, mainly because it is the only project that is currently on the needles which I would call "active" (I haven't knit any for a few weeks now, but I am slogging away on it slowly)

I am also on holiday from workplace number 1 this week as it is my birthday on wednesday, so I am hoping to get it finished. That should give you an idea of where I am with it.


ishbelmarchedit


Now the colours in this are slightly off, because the exposure wasn't quite right when I took the picture. The weather in the UK for the past month has been awful. But, I am hoping you can see how far along the lace I am! 

I am currently on section C of the pattern, and as I am knitting the small version I have only got section D, the one row section E and the bind off to go. I am rather excited that this is nearly done, but I can't say it is for a good reason. The yarn I am using, Noro Kureyon Sock, while looking pretty feels almost like string while knitting. I am hoping with washing and blocking it will bloom a little so that it isn't horrible to wear, but the way it has been plied (I think) has made it feel very rough as it runs through my fingers, usually resulting in the little bumps I got a few summers ago using very small needles, so a contact rash.

The colours themselves however are working up nicely, I am so glad I chopped out the ugly coloured parts because this will make a great vibrant summer scarf now, where as before I know I would have looked at the mucky khaki and felt a little sad.

A note on the chart reading, I have been using the magnets method I first used for Marina (though I now have a little notie board instead of a cooking tray) and it is working so far, but I am finding it harder to track with this chart as you move between charts. I have however been introduced to an app called J Knit by Sarah from All Fingers and Thumbs and am going to give it a go with my next project. It is one of the few apps where I wish I could borrow my mum's iPad for it it though, the iPhone is a bit small.

Here's to hoping that there will soon be  FO report for this one, I want to start on something new!!

Monday, 23 April 2012

World Book Night

First up, apologies for the lack of posts, I have 5 book reviews in the works but i've been a bit of a busy worker bee (actually being a librarian! Whoop!) and so haven't got around to writing them, but they are on the way.

Now the actual reason for this post:

worldbooknight

Tonight is World Book Night, and all around the country thousands of volunteers are going to be giving away a million books, this is a pretty spectacular thing to be a part of, and I am giving away all of those books above in my local town of Gainsborough!

The book itself is Neil Gaiman (reviews of his awesome books American Gods and The Graveyard Book can already be found on this blog) and Terry Pratchett's (haven't read any of his yet, but have had The Colour of Magic on my shelf for ages) Good Omens, and will be one of the upcoming reviews.

I was hoping to have it read and reviewed ready for today, but unfortunately my shipment of books arrived last, and on a day I wasn't at work. Typical. I can say however that so far it is fabulous, and has already had me giggling into my cup of tea. The long and short of it is that it is about the apocalypse, from a hilarious perspective, if you've seen the film Dogma, and found it funny and or interesting, this is better.

If you live in Gainsborough, watch out for me wandering around the town, but if not there are thousands of givers out there, so I am sure will come across someone with some books to give away today, so grab a copy and get reading!

:)

Monday, 2 April 2012

FO: Bon Temps Marina

I am so glad to have this finished in time for summer, I started it almost two years ago intending to wear it during that summer, and I can finally wear it, yellow like the summer sun, while soaking in the rays :)

bontempsmarinaedit

Pattern Name: Marina by Kate Blackburn
Yarn Used: Fresh From the Cauldron Super Wash Sock in Sookie Stackhouse 
Needle Size: 2.5mm circular
Problems: Another one where a small needle made it difficult to knit in the heat, and much easier to finish in winter. 
Modifications: Knit an extra repeat of chart 2, and modified edging to suit lack of remaining yarn to rows 1, 2, 11 and 12 of the edging chart followed by a standard bind off.
Skills Learnt: The first time I had knit continuous lace in this way, and became confident in reading charts.
Knit Again?: Probably not as it is quite detailed and therefore difficult.
Score: 9/10 I am really looking forward to wearing this!!