Sunday, 16 March 2014

Skincare Haul

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I accidentally appear to have had a week off blogging this week. I had the week off work too, I started my new job last week and lets just say that by the end of it I was glad I had this week booked as leave, I just didn't want to do anything, you know those times? I don't think the situation was helped by my coming down with a sudden cold last saturday. I initially thought it was allergies, but it didn't shift once I left the vicinity of the animals so I have come to the conclusion that it is rather more, and it is still hanging around.

If you follow me on Instagram you will know that there has been no rest for me to recover as I made another car cake this week for my other half's birthday. This year it was a little less to my ideal standards but it passed the test and apparently tastes delicious so there were smiles all round.

Anyway, update aside, this week I also received a few packages filled with skincare. Do all of your skincare bits run out all at the same time or is it just me? I mean exactly at the same time too, skincare always seems to need ordering all in one go, i needed day cream, toner, eye cream and make-up remover, and I had only dribbles of product left.

I started scouting around the internet just like I am sure all good beauty bloggers do, trying to see what was getting the positive votes lately, but I eventually decided I would try a few unheard of (to me anyway) products instead.

For my toner, I went for the Elemis Apricot soothing toner. I have to admit that first impressions of this aren't great as the smell is a bit funky, more like chemically tampered with apricots than the fresh kind. As it is only a toner I can look past that as I only use a couple of spritzes and it doesn't linger, but I don't think i will re-invest.

For make-up remover I ventured away from Bioderma and decided to give a high street micellar water a go. At £4.99 this Garnier offering is significantly cheaper and only 100ml less product than my french favourite, so if it continues to impress me this may become a new repeat purchase. I don't wear huge amounts of eye makeup, and don't use waterproof products so it may not work as well if you do, but so far I am impressed.

I suffer from really dry eyes, both my eyeballs and the skin around my eyes, and find that if i forget to apply eye cream even once it dramatically increases the irritation I feel so an intensely hydrating eye cream is what I have been on the hunt for. I tried a few samples of the new Chanel one and loved it but couldn't bring myself to spend £40 so instead I spent literally hours looking all over the internet for an alternative. I found this Mario Badescu one, and was drawn to the hyaluronic claims. On first use it felt amazing, I am not sure this is as good as the Chanel, but we will see if it has any long term impact on keeping that delicate area hydrated.

Also for the eyes I picked up an old favourite the Garnier caffeine eye roll on, as I used to find it so great for cooling and de-puffing the eye area. Unfortunately it seems I am too sensitive for this product, at least while my eyes are being especially irritable, so this one will have to sit in the cupboard for a little while, but this was an absolute staple for me for a long time, so I highly recommend it.

I also added the Ole Henrikson Truth is in the Eyes Eye Peel Concentrate that I mentioned in my wish list post to my basket, I thought it was meant to be used as an occasional treatment but the packaging recommends using it twice a day. So far I haven't been brave enough to try this to that extent, but I have tried it on my spa sundays and do see a little improvement so maybe I will use it more often.

I don't really do body moisturiser, I am really really lazy when it comes to using them, really really lazy! When people started talking about a lotion you could just spray on, get dressed and not worry about your clothes sticking it sounded perfect, so I grabbed the Vaseline Spray and Go the next time I was at the supermarket. I have used it a couple of times, but it hasn't been amazing enough to make me use it every day. I don't know if it is just my can but the spray isn't a mist which was the first surprise, which means it doesn't spray evenly and requires rubbing in. I will give it a few more tries but I am not completely sold.

Finally, I needed a new face cream. I really was tempted to grab the Antipodes one I have mentioned before, but then during a trip to my local Marks and Spencer's I discovered they have put in a mini beauty hall, and had to check out the creams there. This Skyn Iceland The Antidote lotion is amazing (and M&S currently has it in the wrong section on their website), I am not sure yet what it is that causes the effect, but when you apply it your skin feels cold, it doesn't just say it soothes, it actually soothes by cooling irritated skin! I have yet to see any more benefits yet, but so far I love it and am definitely going to consider purchasing more products from the brand.

Have you purchased any new skincare lately?

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Book Review: The Floating Admiral ★★★★★

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The Floating Admiral is a murder mystery novel written by the Detection Club, a group of golden age authors who in their time were leading crime fiction authors. The collaboration featured Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, and G.K. Chesterton among others. The novel is formed of twelve chapters, a prologue and a conclusion, each written by a different member of the club, each chapter had to make sense but the author did not know where the previous authors were leading the story. The authors had to submit a sealed solution of how they envisioned the murder happening, but it was left to Anthony Berkeley to bring all of the loose ends together into a neat bow, an amazing feat. In short I believe that this is a literary masterpiece.

When a body washes up in the sleepy town of Wynmouth stabbed in the chest Inspector Rudge knows that something fishy is going on. The body is in the vicars rowing boat, and he is clearly withholding information, the victims own identity is called into doubt and a key member of the family has disappeared. A real challenge for the inspector and the reader!

I was so surprised by this novel, I had huge reservations about it because I was convinced it wouldn't read smoothly, that I would note the changes between authors and that the story wouldn't gel together. I should have known not to doubt the Detection Club! All the writers involved are not only wonderful in their own right but also together. I am so glad they wrote this novel.

The story was complicated, that I will not deny, but it was marvellous, I rarely noticed the change in writing styles and actually found that it made the read more interesting and readable. The solution was clever, and masterfully composed, I did not suspect the murderer at all and was in fact convinced it was a different character, a true sign of a good mystery. The absolute gem in this book though is the range of closed solutions submitted by the authors which are included at the end. Each one produces an Ah-Hah! moment, especially that of Agatha Christie (and I'm not just saying that because she is my favourite).

If you are interested in  murder mystery novels and haven't read this, I highly recommend you get your hands on a copy, it may have been forgotten for eighty years but it is an absolute gem of a read and you won't be disappointed.

★★★★★

The Floating Admiral is £6.69 from The Book Depository or £5.35 from Kobo for the digital edition

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Blogger Love Tag

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When Jennie posted her response to this tag last month I knew I wanted to post my own responses. Blogging is all about sharing the love and feeling inspired, I know I am sadly lacking in that department, I try to comment on blogs as much as possible but I often feel like I fall short so it is time for me to share a few of my favourite blogs.

What was the first blog you came across?

I honestly haven't a clue for this one, it was probably a knitting blog, as they are my first real memory of regularly reading blogs, but I probably came across other blogs long before those.

Favourite blog?

Currently I would go with Sailboat, which is a delicate blend of bunnies, beauty and lifestyle all written by the lovely Jennie, possibly the most down to earth and realistic blogger I have come across, she isn't afraid to tell you about the negatives in life as well as the wonderful things. 

Best blogging friend?

I find this a bit of a weird question because I wouldn't say I have blogging "friends" I find writing reviews to be quite insular, although I do enjoy commenting on other peoples blogs I am not sure they would be classed as friends yet.

Name a blog that enables your purchases

Absolutely without a doubt Bee from Vivatramp (and The Finer Things Club), I can guarantee that for every series of mini book reviews she does at least one of those books ends up on my shelves. Every. Time.

Five blogs everyone should be reading

1. Cider with Rosie - for the little things in life
2. A Beautiful mess - for great DIY inspiration
3. Honey Rose - for wholesome crafting
4. Ghostparties - for the best beauty advice for fair skin
5. Sunny Sweet Pea - for a bit of everything

What is your favourite way to read blogs?

I know lots of people love Bloglovin, but I find it awkward to use, especially as I generally read on my phone. I use Feedly to collate my feeds and Reeder on my iPhone and iPad to read them on the go. I save my favourite items to my Reading List or to Pocket if I want to remember individual posts.

Bloggers that inspire you

Cider with Rosie inspires me to enjoy the small things on a weekly basis, I love her 10 things posts. 

Favourite blog design/look

I really love designs that are quite neutral with a pop of colour but look very relaxed when it comes to reading other lifestyle blogs, they feel homely. My own is obviously quite clean and minimalist but that is supposed to be reflective of structure.

What is your favourite thing about blogging?

Honestly the creative outlet. For a long time my job hasn't offered opportunities for creative thinking and developing ideas and projects, and I crave the ability to say what I want to say about the world. Although that aspect of my working life is going to be changing soon I think it is still important to have a little space that is all your own where you can share your own opinions and that is pretty much what this space is for me.

Name a blogger you would most like to see write a book in the future?

There are a couple I would love to see cookbooks from (Smitten Kitchen, Cider with Rosie), but Vanilla Bean needs to release one stat!