Sunday, 30 November 2014

Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré

Embryolisse 1

Say it with me, ahhhh Embryolisse. It's that French brand that I hadn't heard of, before it was mentioned in a Pixiwoo video, and suddenly it was everywhere. However, it wasn't something that I picked up until I went to Paris in June, and I'll admit, it was an impulse - tossed into my basket when trying to barge my way through the hoards of people in City Pharma. I didn't give it that much thought when I bought it - hence why it's the smaller tube, and I regret that now. I wish, really wish that I'd purchased the bigger tube. But lessons learnt, yes?

They say Lait-Crème Concentré (£13, here) can be used to remove makeup, as well as a primer... I haven't used it for those things, as I have numerous products that need to be used up, and too small a tube of this to waste, but I do that know that Amy from srslylou (here) did a post covering all the different ways she used it, so definitely go check that out. I however, just used it as a good ol' moisturiser, and although I had been told that it'd be 'too much' or 'too greasy' for my skin, which is oily/combination, I can see why their concerns were justified. This is an amazing moisturiser, and for dry skin, I suggest you try it if you're in the market for a new product, but for oily/combination skin, I think you should try it, bearing in mind that it will cause shine and may not be suitable. All moisturisers tend to make my skin shine through makeup, which of course, I tend to notice more than others - what other people may think of as 'healthy' and 'natural' just looks greasy and horrible to me - even though I do set my foundation with powder.

This is creamy and hydrating enough to only apply a thin layer to the skin before leaving it to sink in, and then boom, my skin is looking good for the rest of the day. No dry patches or clinging foundation, just a shiny t-zone, but there's not much I can do about that. It keeps my makeup looking healthy and for me, that's what it's all about when I'm in work or out with friends. I want to look alive and fresh for as long as possible. With a freshly cleansed face, and after applying my numerous creams in the morning, on this goes (only a pea sized amount) buffed into the skin before leaving it to sink in for a minute or two. I think it needs that setting time before my makeup goes on, otherwise it doesn't look right for me - and I like to cover the bags under my eyes, not just move product around on my skin. My main tips for using this fabulous product is use it sparingly, as you can always add on more if you need it and leave it settle into the skin before applying makeup on top, or better yet, use a primer in-between for increased staying power if you suffer from oily skin like myself. 

Embryolisse 2

Friday, 28 November 2014

My Instagram Month of November.

My Instagram Month - Nov

November is coming to a close... I cannot believe it's almost December, and with December comes Christmas. With Christmas comes crazy retail times, and those are always fun. Some people have that wonderful Christmas spirit... others, just don't. Misery, thy name is horrid retail shopper who shouts at Sales Assistants because they don't have the size onesie that they want. It's happened to me, so yeah, it happens. You also have those lovely people, who make you say, and say Merry Christmas with the most wonderful smile that you can't help but wish, I mean really wish, that have they have a lovely Christmas as well. But let's talk about November.

It's been a good month. Rather long, but still lovely. The days are getting darker and colder, but I am remaining optimistic in the sense that we are all one day closer, each day, to it getting warmer again. It's hard to see, but we're getting there. I feel like I've really gotten into my groove, blogging wise, this month - my photography has been going well, and even though I've become a bit annoyed with some bloggers (its been over my twitter), I think it's the case of removing anything irritating or negative from my life, and instead, focus on all the good things.

A few Instagram accounts that I've been loving this month belong to; vinnie_the_dachshund (here) who is basically the most adorable sausage dog that I have ever seen... I mean, look at his little coats! Next up is tescoliving (here) and there are about three regrams to prove that I've seriously been loving their cosy, homely photographs - it's given me a case of serious heart shaped eyes on more than one occasion. I've also been making a few trips to TKMaxx and Homesense (have you seen those huuuge bears?) as well as to Cardiff to see my other half, who I'll call... Mr Okk for the purpose of blogging, unless he wants to acquaint himself with my lovely readers (we'll have to see about that). November has also been home to a month of firsts; my first red cup from Starbucks, my first Christmas Ornament, my first dive into Jurlique skincare and my first copy of Net a Porter magazine, which I am quite in love with. It's been a month of present buying and endlessly scrolling through tumblr, posting things to my account that really say something to me... or something that makes me chuckle. Either one. You can check out my account, ohkalukalay (here), what're your accounts? And who/what have you been loving this month?

How's your November been, now that the month is coming to a close? Preparing for your monthly favourites?

My Instagram Month - Nov 1

Maybelline Colour Drama Velvet Lip Pencils

Maybelline Colour Drama 1

Maybelline Colour Drama 2
From top to bottom: Berry Much, Minimalist, In love with Pink, Nude Perfection, Fab Orange and Light it up.

These are a big thing. Like NARS dupe, big. That's what the word on the street is... or, the word on blogs anyway, that's basically the same thing, right? There's something so creamy and long lasting about these, and dare I say it, compared to my NARS velvet pencils these glide onto the lips, whereas the NARS do tend to somewhat pull at the lips. The price difference is also a factor in whether or not to try these out, as they come in at less than a fiver at £4.99 (here), so 2 for £10, or 3 for 2 is where you want to grab these, preferably 3 for 2, because that;s always amazing. God bless Boots and Superdrug for those deals. The formulas are divine. Creamy and long-lasting, non dragging on the lip when applied and the pigmentation is insane. From the image above, I think you can tell which pencil I bought first... and used a lot of. That would be Nude Perfection, which is, much like its name suggests, perfection. It's that gorgeous nude that you can wear with anything; you can layer over a nude lipliner to extend its staying power, or just slick it on - either way, it's basically my go to for a done-up face without looking too done-up, y'know?

Then we have the brights. Say hello (looking at the image below) to Light it Up, a fab bright glossy red that lights up your face, giving you a classic look with a twist. Then we have Fab Orange which I adore layered over Bourjois' Peach Club - the staying power is insane, seven hours without touching up and eating in between (that's gonna need a post all on its own) - it's such a bright orange, a colour I'd usually steer away from, but adventure is out there, and it's this lipstick. Skipping Nude Perfection, next up is In love with Pink, which may be the pinkest lipstick I own... and the one I find the scariest to wear, because me and pink... it's never really been a thing. Pink frightens me, because I don't think it looks good on me, but this colour is coercing me, slowly. It's a slightly blueish pink, which I think teamed with black liner and lots of lashes looks gorgeous. In addition, we have Minimalist, a soft, nude pink - more just bitten lips than Nude Perfection, and although it's a cute colour, my lips are a bit too dark for it, so I think it looks a bit strange on me. I think I definitely need more of a play around with it. And lastly, is Berry Much, perhaps the pencil I was most excited about, because berry in Winter is always a yes for me. It's a blackberry stained kinda berry, that looks so gorgeous pressed lightly onto the lips as a stain, or slicked on for a full pow! of colour.

All in all, these are fabulous, and definitely worth a swatch if you're thinking of investing in a NARS pencil, but aren't sure what to expect. Fab Orange is totally a Red Square dupe, whilst Red Essential (a colour I'm yet to purchase but have swatched) is so Cruella from NARS, and I loooove my Cruella pencil. That'll be a dupe post, ready and waiting for when I purchase Red Essential. Have you spotted any of these on the high street? What's your take on them? Do you think they're NARS dupes? 

Maybelline Colour Drama 3

Monday, 24 November 2014

Makeup Revolution 32 Shade Flawless Palette

Makeup Rev 1 

Makeup Rev 2 

It's taken me positively aaaages to try out all these shadows, and you know why? There are 32 of them. 32! In one palette. The mind boggles. This beauty, is Makeup Revolution's Flawless Palette* (£8, here) and was very kindly sent to me to try out a while ago, and it's only recently that I've finished trying out every shade. There's a lot of them in there. I'll name a few favourites of mine, so you can search them out in the swatches below. In terms of the palette to the swatches - I went downwards in the palette, and from left to right on my arm... no idea why, just thought I'd best explain before I carry on.

Makeup Rev 3
From top left to bottom right; Paper, Almost there, Smudge, Pure Chocolate, Soft glow, Uncover, Shimmer Heart and Raw. 

The pigmentation is generally fabulous over the course of the palette, from mattes to shimmers it covers it all and packs some serious looks that you can mix and match based on how you're feeling, or where you're off to that day. The shimmers for me, have the best look and are just something that you put on, and it's a 'wow' result - the colour payoff is just right, and as you can tell from the second picture of swatches, they're the ones which are my favourite for playful, strong looks. As the palette goes from left to right, it develops in colour, going from subtle mattes (nude smoky eye all the way) to strong shimmers (a bronze/burgundy eye is amazing) and then back to your more classic colours, perfect for that dark grey/black smoky eye. They seem to be grouped in sections of four that go together the best, such as the first line of swatches, which I use so often for a muted, yet smoked out look on the eyes. Paper all over the lid, Almost There washed over the lid with Smudge blended into the crease as well as the lash line to give definition, before adding in Pure Chocolate to give that pow! of darkness that I love having through the crease, to make the makeup more defined, as well as on top of Smudge on the lash line. Definition, but keeping it subtle is what it's all about for me with a nude/brown/bronze smoked eye.  

Below, we have some shimmers that are so pigmented you run the risk of ruining your look if you don't use them wisely. It's all about layers with these, I find. Layering colour to increase the impact is how I do things, and trust me, it really works. Two colours that I find work so well together, are Buff and Lowlite, as they're both very neutral, but still have that sublet colour and shimmer, that I think makes it so wearable for daytime -  to amp up the drama for daytime, Lowlite and Universal are another two shades that I think look gorgeous together. With Lowlite all over the lid, and Universal in the crease and the outer eye to give a deeper, darker look - I think it's perfect enough for the day to night look - flick on some black eyeliner, and you're good to go. 

Makeup Rev 4
From top left to bottom right; Buff, Barely Pink, Universal, Red Night, Highlite, Lowlite, Copper Shimmer and Molten Chocolate. 

Makeup Rev 5
From top left to bottom right; Angel, Golden Night, Medal, Burgundy Nights,  Unlimited, Gold Digger, Darkest Shimmer and Green Stars. 

Next up, I'm going to combine both of these pictures of swatches to tell you about a wonderful eye colour combination, and it's using Unlimited and Brew; the first being more taupe-esc, and the second more copper based, so together, they look gorgeous. Combined with perhaps a little Pure Chocolate in the crease, this look is a thumbs up from me; and I'd add that the shimmers alone is a reason why I would buy this palette, as they just present a gorgeous mix and match selection, which I think can get you through party season very easily. The matte colours are a bit more washy than the shimmers at first, but can easily be built up to increase the pigmentation payoff, and I'd warn about fall down, as no matter what eyeshadow it is, there are always those dreaded specks of shadow littering your perfect base, so remember to give that shadow brush a good tap on the handle with your index finger, to rid yourself of any fall down. 

What do you think of this palette? Is it something that'd peak your interest for party season? Which colours have caught your eye? 

Makeup Rev 6
From top left to bottom right; Brew, Cheerless, Tarnish, Cafe Noir, Silver Smoke, Blue Stars, Black Tie and Night.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Avocado, Sea Salt and Wholegrain Bread

Avocado on toast 1

See that bandwagon over there? I'm jumping on it. But seriously now, how did I not know how good this stuff is?! Avocado... that creamy goodness that is not only good for your insides, but for your skin. It's got fat in it, obviously, but it's the kinda fat that's good for you (at last, right?), high in fibre and has actually been clinically tested to lower cholesterol. That fact I actually looked up, but I knew it was a superfood for a reason. I usually eat it sliced, mashed or chopped and it can be had with basically everything. I've had it on pizza, with pasta, in salad, with any kind of meat; it's the kinda food that just goes with everything, but my favourite snack, is mashed avocado on wholegrain toast with a sprinkling of sea salt and black pepper. Yum

It's filling and good for you, so what's not to love? And if you're in the house, with a few hours or so free, why not indulge in a snack and then rub the inside of the avocado skin on your face? I know it sounds weird, but it's soooo moisturising. Rinse it off with warm water, then smooth on some oil/serum/moisturiser and you're good to go! Quick, simple and you get a snack as well. What's not to love? What do you eat avocado with? Are you a fan of it on toast?

Friday, 21 November 2014

Jurlique - my first impressions.

Jurlique Products 7

Jurlique are a relatively new discovery for my in terms of skincare, as even though I had seen it on other blogs and wanted to try it, I had no idea where to start... who ever does in terms of skincare? With so many products on offer, I was overwhelmed, but the lovely people who run their Twitter offered to send me some products, and I practically leapt out of my seat, emphatically typing 'YES PLEASE'. Claire, the lovely lady who I was talking to via their Twitter sent me some wonderful items, and I was pretty speechless when I opened the packaging - I feel so lucky to get to try some of their highly recommend products. So, wanna read some of my first impressions? Let's crack on with them!

Jurlique Products 5

Jurlique Products 8

First comes first, is their Herbal Recovery Advanced Serum *(£45, here) and the immediate reaction was 'ohmygosh this smells so good' with the scent of rose and all natural goodness, I was impressed. It smoothes onto the skin so well and absorbs without leaving your face feeling oily or weighed down, plus, the packaging is divine. Then we have Herbal Recovery Antioxident Gel Mask *(£40, here) which sounds quite strange to me, as I'm all about my clay and moisture masks, but this was designed to add hydration to the skin, whilst brightening it up and reducing signs of ageing. I'm actually quite impressed with this - I won't say too much, but I don't think I've ever had a gel mask during my proper skincare years (since I was eighteen) so this is quite exciting - and once again, the smell is so floral and gorgeous. Continuing on with the gel theme is the Rose Moisture Plus Revitalising Gel-Lotion with Antioxidant Complex *(£32, here) which sounds like a rather loooong name, but there's a lot of goodness to get into the title, so why not? The texture is exactly like they say 'silky water-gel emulsion', it's so light on the skin, but moisturising, definitely looking forward to spending more time with this product.

Jurlique Products 2

Jurlique Products 3

Next up, is the product that I had heard most about, and it's the cult, Rosewater Balancing Mist *(£16.50, here) and to be honest, it was the product I was so excited to try, and Twitter conversations with other bloggers had be abuzz with excitement over this mist. With my combination/oily skin, I'm very excited to see if it gives me that kick of hydration, like my other sprays do... but this one is rose scented, so I'm very excited to get to know this product. It just picks you up and gives you a hit of hydration. What's not to love so far? We also have the Balancing Foaming Cleanser *(£27.50, here) and I was quite dubious about using anything that foamed, as a certain cleanser that I used when I was 20/21 ruined my skin, and I mean ruined. Brought out so much dry skin, eczema and acne on my face, I couldn't believe it - so this Jurlique Cleanser is going to go through some serious testing, and if my skin doesn't react well, that's going to be that. I did however, test it (nervously) and I think it's quite creamy, non-drying and left my skin feeling soft. This is going to be, perhaps, very harshly looked at - cleansers always scare me, so I'll be reporting back. But so far, so good. Last, but not least, is the Rose Silk Finishing Powder *(£24.50, here) and it's something that blew my mind. Fancy finishing powder. I'm usually a 'matte it down' with Soap & Glory kinda girl, but this, as well as obviously smelling amazing, actually worked at finishing off my makeup and reduce shine.

Everything from Jurlique smells like heaven. It's just so fresh, and it reminds me of walking through gardens and garden of fresh flowers, when everything is starting to bloom during springtime. They're gorgeous, and I cannot wait to give you full reviews of these. I'm so excited. I hope you are too.

Jurlique Products 1

Jurlique Products 6

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Ren Skincare Bundle from M&S

Ren Bundle 1

Ren Bundle 2

My mum was the enabler in terms of this purchase, and I blame her everyday for it. Haha, no not really. This is actually an amazing skincare bundle from M&S, with two of their prized Hot Cloth Cleansers, Daily Supplement Moisturising Cream, a sample of their Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial and two muslin cloths. It's a pretty amazing deal, so when my mum showed me the advert in the paper, I immediately said 'omgosh yes' and popped online to order it. Costing just £30, for a a bundle worth £51, this package, which is still available from M&S (here) is pretty amazing. I had never tried any REN Skincare before; and I was initially so overwhelmed with the choices, I hesitated purchasing anything. So I kept my eye out on blogs whenever someone mentioned REN and lo and behold, when this became available, I jumped at the chance to try some products, as from what I'd read, their Hot Cloth Cleansers were an industry favourite, amongst professionals as well as bloggers.

I don't want to give too much away, as these products will pretty much be getting their own review posts, as you know, they deserve them. I'm especially feeling the love for the Hot Cloth Cleansers, as I've moved on from the same product from Sanctuary, which I adored so much; so this product, really impressing me, is something I so wanted, but was reluctant to talk about until I'd been using it for a good six weeks or so. I purchased this before my #beautystoptober, and have been using all the products, except the sachet for the Flash Rinse 1 Minute facial, over and over again - with the same skincare I always use, so my opinion is completely based on how my skin has reacted to them, with the introduction of the Hot Cloth Cleanser as the second step into my double cleanse routine, morning and night, as well as the Daily Supplement Moisturising Cream, which I've been interchanging with Embryolisse's Lait-Creme Concentre and Korres Wiold Rose Brightening Day Cream for Oily/Combination Skin. I like to switch moisturisers around, based on what my skin needs for the day ahead, or how it's behaving - and I'd like to say a quick little bit about how REN is holding its own against moisturisers that I've been using for a long time.

I cannot wait to get the full reviews up, and hear all your thoughts. Have you any favourite REN Skincare products that you'd recommend? Or any that you'd love to try?

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Dr Jart BB Cream: From Summer to Winter.

DRrJart BB Cream 1

You know when i'm having a good skin day, or a lazy makeup day... then this is what I go for. It's a BB Cream, which were huuuuuge in the Spring/Summer season, but why not take it into winter as well? It's light, moisturising with a kick of SPF 25 in it as well; skincare experts always say not to store away your SPF for Winter - it's still needed, but if you don't want to do the whole routine you did in the Summertime, then why not just use a BB Cream with built in protection, like this little beauty? I use this to give myself a bit of colour and glow when I'm wearing next to nothing on my face, aside from some concealer and my brows, as this cream is darker than my skin tone, but when rubbed into the skin, it's really not noticeable. So all you fellow pale faces out there, don't be scared. This does blend. But if you do find yourself totally put off by the colour, why not mix it with some light foundation, just to give you something a bit paler? I think it's totally worth an experiment. I'll just say, watch the tidemark on the jawline - I tend to use it in the centre of my face to add that certain glow.

This isn't the Balm from Dr Jart, instead, it's called Water Fuse which aims to slow down the process of water being lost from the skin. I don't really know about that, but my face does feel pretty plump all day, which can't be a bad thing, right? It gives a fab glow; glow and oily skin usually don't mix, as I'm all about the matte skin usually, but giving just a dab of power on my t-zone keeps me happy for a good six hours, before a little touchup is needed. This is pretty much lazy makeup - I may even stretch to curl my eyelashes and put mascara on - where you do your skincare routine, and then use three or four products just to make you look presentable. I like to have a few on if I'm having a lazy day, but bare skin and going out is totally a thing as well. I say, do what you feel. I bought this balm in the Summer, possibly even last year, when it was a big thing in the blogging world.. and aside from those warm months, it just sits in my makeup drawer, next to all my foundations, looking sad and alone. But not anymore. I'm going to embrace the lighter foundations and creams in a bit to come up with a look that suits me, whether out for the day or not. Dr Jart's Water Fuse Beauty Balm (£18, here) is having a second lease of life this season, and combined with some illuminating concealer, it's all aglow over here. Are there any foundations that you only wear for one or two seasons? And how to you change them up?

This BB Cream in the summer was worn with bright lips and glowing cheeks, but with the colder weather, it's worn with darkly smudged eyes and berry stained lips. Who says glow is only for when the sun comes out? It's the UK. We need to fake that glow. 


Thursday, 13 November 2014

Autumnal Berry Lips from the High Street and High End

Autumn Berry Lips 4

Autumn Berry Lips 3

Autumn Berry Lips 4

Wanna see some berry lip swatches? Of course you do. It's Winter... its almost synonymous with berry stained lips, and I thought that I'd dig out a few, from the high street and some high end, just to see how they compare - colour and texture wise. They may differ slightly in the bullet, but when swatched.. they're very similar - strikingly so. I know that most bloggers are familiar with Rimmel's Kate Moss 107 and to be honest... I forgot to put that in here. I know. Shame on me. But what you will notice, is that there is a lot of mention of the colour 'cherry', and the different colours that they swatch as. Some are more pink and red, the other more blue - it's a relative small difference in terms of the range of lipstick colours out there, but you know, Cherry doesn't always mean Cherry. 

I almost always use a lip liner with a dark lipstick, as it not only lasts longer, but increases that pow of colour - with dark lipsticks, my lipliner of choice is Burgundy by Mac, but I've found that this is soooo drying on bare lips, so I slick on some Reve de Miel beforehand leave that to sink in, before applying lipliner and then my lipstick of choice. I do get a lot of wear around the centre of my lips, so that's how I judge wear during the day. Burgundy does make all dark lipsticks that bit darker, so if you want something a bit lighter, than its worth changing up the liners and having a bit of an experiment. From the high street, we have Revlon, Barry M and Sleek - which I think represent three different areas of makeup from Boots and Superdrug. You've got Revlon, who we all know and rely on - matte balms, anyone? Barry M is synonymous with nails and nail care, so I think a venture into lipstick and everything else to do with the face is always exciting; and finally, there's Sleek, a relatively new brand in the past five or six years, with glorious packaging that can totally give more expensive brands a run for their money.

Then we have two pretty cult lipsticks, anything by Mac and also anything from Urban Decay. Let's all look at the glorious packaging from UD, it's sleek, metal and with an embossed UD on top of the bullet... it's one thing that I've always admired from them, their packaging blows other brands right out of the water. I think Shame and Diva, by UD and Mac respectively, are perhaps two of the closest lipsticks colour wise - there's a deep, reddish blue purple in there, but I think it's the quality is where my decision was just as difficult. Shame slides on like butter - its so soft and creamy, and the same can be said for Diva, and when applied with a layer of Reve de Miel and Burgundy underneath, they are pretty much like for like. I think there's something a bit drier about Mac than UD, so if you have dry lips, then some flakiness might show through, despite having some lip balm on underneath the liner and lipstick. Even though the lipliner is dry, with Shame on top of it, it still feels really wearable and not too restrictive - which I think can be a big thing when wearing liner and lipstick - kinda like when you put a face mask on, and as it dries, you get that tight, lack of movement... stiff feeling - unpleasant, but it has happened to me before. 

Autumn Berry Lips 5

Autumn Berry Lips 1
From left: Revlon's Black Cherry, Mac's Diva, Sleek's Cherry, Barry M's Black Cherry and Urban Decay's Shame. 
Much like with Mac, Revlon's Black Cherry can be a bit drying and cling to dry parts of your lips - I think it's the formula... or my lips, but even the swatch looks a bit clingy, yes? Revlon's is a bit more blue than Mac's, which is a red based - much like Sleek and Barry M. If we look at the swatches, they're all very similar. So similar, I was like ' do I buy more berry lipsticks when these are all almost identical?' but the answer was simply, they're not identical, because even a dash more blue or red, combined with the formula, can make or break a lipstick. For me, the formula of Sleek and Urban Decay are the most similar, as they just glide onto the lips - there's always wear around the centre of the lips for me, regardless of formula, but these two feel comfortable and easy to wear; despite the fact that Sleek is more pinky red than Urban Decay, with the same liner, UD, would only be slightly darker. I suppose it depends if you'd rather play up the red underneath it, or the purple. Just remember, a different lipliner used, is a different look entirely. 

High Street vs High End is a constant debate, and in my opinion, there are gems to be found in either end - I think you just need to swatch and consider the formula, whether look at Seventeen or Estee Lauder, because if you don't like it, chances are, it's going to be a wasted purchase. Berry lips are a big love of mine in Winter months, with a cosy hat and wind bitten cheeks - if you want something to stay put all day, then maybe something drier would suit you, but if you don't mind a bit of a touch up, then something creamier would suit. I think it's all a bit of personal preference. I do wear all of these lipsticks but I do think it's time to experiment with a different lip liner - just to see what happens. I hope this has inspired you to look at some berry lipsticks this season - so go away and swatch, no matter whether high street or high end, fabulous things can be found. What are your berry lipstick essentials this Winter?

Autumn Berry Lips 6

Autumn Berry Lips 7

Autumn Berry Lips 8

Autumn Berry Lips 9

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Picture Wall Inspiration from Pinterest

Image found here

Since moving from my tiny box room and into the bigger bedroom next to it when my brother moved out, I've been wanting to make it my own. Ideally, the walls would be white instead of dark grey, in order to let more light in... but I can't paint it anytime soon, so I'll just have to make do with 50 shades of grey on my walls. My brother chose the colour before he moved out...with black furniture, White would be better, but what can you do? Men and their silly choices. I already have two canvases on my wall, but I feel like I need more. I want that mismatched but together look - a mix of quotes, typography, prints and classic artwork. 

I love the idea of mixing colours, but finding a common theme, like in the picture below. It's a mishmash of fabulous things and I can't help but afmire it. There's also the idea of getting those thin ikea shelves, the ones that sit so close to the wall, so you can rearrange the artwork as often as you can like in the picture above - you can change things based on your mood, or whether there's a new piece in your collection. Do you have a feature gallery wall? What inspires you when you arrange pictures? 

Image from here

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

#dontfearthesmear Talking about the Smear Test

Bedside Table 1

I just had my smear test. And it really wasn't that bad. I know there's this massive fear and anxiety related to it ... but to be honest, I'd be more scared of knowing what was going on down there. I mean, at least you know that you're ship shape, and if not, then you know that there are treatments and how you need to proceed. Knowing is definitely better than not knowing in my opinion. But let's talk about the actual test. I hate tests. I'm useless at them. I'm more of a coursework kinda girl. But there is not coursework for this test. All you have to do it pop your jeans/knickers off (I left my mismatched socks on, and we both had a giggle about it) lie back, cover yourself, ankles and knees together before parting your knees and... displaying all to the lovely nurse. Let's be honest here. She'd seen 15 vaginas before mine, and sees about 50 on a daily basis. She will not judge yours. All vaginas are beautiful and think of it this way; she's a medical professional - she knows what she's doing and what she's looking for. 

Smear tests I find, are more awkward than anything else and the build up is scarier than the actual event - so please, please go for your test. Smear tests start at age 20, and then every 3 years after that. My first was at age 20, when I was in uni, and my best friend told me all about it - it's always best to talk about these things with someone beforehand if you're nervous about it. She calmed me down a little bit, but I was still terrified. You never forget your first smear test, because.. it was so silly to work myself up - because the nurse was amazing and friendly, and everything was over within 2 minutes. And it was the same when I popped over to my GP earlier today. The nurse and I had a good laugh together and just so you know (don't giggle when you're actually having the test, ...apparently that's counterproductive and will actually force the instrument (called a speculum) yeah, don't do that) which was something I learnt first hand as we were laughing over my mismatched socks and just how awkward people find these tests. 

Just remember, it's not a test for cancer - its a test to determine the health of your cervix. You can actually read all about it on the NHS website here and I hope that'll put your mind at ease. Please, if you're the age for a smear test, have one. Tweet me, email me, and I'll do my best to put your mind at ease and metaphorically hold your hand. Women that my mum works with haven't had a smear test in 20 years. Stats like that terrify me. Please, go check. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you whenever you go. So if you're scared, let me know - I'll send you encouraging tweets all day. Once you get it out of the way, you'll feel like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders. #dontfearthesmear 


Monday, 3 November 2014

My work handbag - the small bag essentials.

My Bag 1

Now, I used to have the biggest work bag ever. But there were three very big problems that came with it. One; it was impossible to find anything in it. Two; it didn't ft in my locker in work without some serious stuffing, and thirdly, it used to weigh me down on my walks to and from work - leaving me with some aching shoulders and a slight miserable look before work had even started. So, enter the small 'I can't believe I can fit so much stuff in this bag' bag. It's from Primark, and I believe it was a Christmas present from...last year? I think. But anyway, it's so handy... basically a Mary Poppins bag in the sense I can fit so much into it - I can literally astound my work colleagues by pulling out, almost an entire beauty counter from my bag for some break-time touchups. 

I'm very into my primers, so I know my base is going to last all day - my mascara is waterproof and doesn't budge, so the only things that tend to suffer whilst I'm in work is my nails (retail life), my lips (lipstick fades when I talk to customers) and my scent... because let's face it, after a looooong day running around doing this and that, no one would smell good - so I make sure to stash some perfume in my bag for a quick spritz now and again; mainly so I don't repulse anyone. I picked up this little bottle of L'eau Rose from Next in their summer sale, and it's been a handbag staple ever since. It's such a shame they don't do it anymore, as I would have purchased about five of them. It's the kind of fragrance when everyone goes 'that smells so wonderful' whenever I spritz it on. A little ego boost is always a good thing when you're in for a long day. 

Onto the makeup. That's the most important thing, as injecting (not literally) some colour makes me look alive, more approachable and less 'is she okay? she looks really ill'...Nope, just naturally as pale as a ghost. So, I do lip products and then a little cheeky (literally this time) cream blush, because colour = not being mistaken for a member of the undead. First up is Maybelline's Colour Drama Lip Pencil (£4.99, here) in Nude Perfection because its the most perfect matte nude lip - so effortless to wear, and really chic. You don't have to worry so much about fading because it's a nude lip - that's the beauty of it. Next up is Korres Wild Rose Lip Butter in stick form, which I can't seem to find online... does anyone know where I can find it? For link purposes. Anyway, this gives a soft, sheer hit of colour whilst keeping the lips moisturised, and it gives you that hint of red, which I think glams up any look. Then we have Maxfactor's Miracle Touch Creamy Blusher (£6.99, here) which I pat onto my cheeks if I need that pinch of pink - I've also dabbed it on the lips, just for another wash of colour, and who doesn't love a good multitasking product? 

Last but not least, we've got Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream (£5.99, here) which smells like lemon curd (omg yum), is thick and gorgeous when applied to the nails - my poor nails, retail tries its hardest to wreck them, but i'm trying to do my best to fight back. If I notice my nails are looking a big haggard, I rub this in gently when on my break, just so I have fresh, lemony scented fingers before going back onto the shop floor - I think it puts me in a better mood, but then again, anything lemon related puts me in an amazingly good mood. And a final cheeky mention to my Cath Kidston purse, which was a birthday present from my best friend, and has been present in every handbag of mine since my birthday in July. So this is everything aside from loads of receipts which I removed from my bag, because they just clutter everything up. What are your handbag essentials? Are you a big or a small bag kinda person? Let me know. 

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Bimuno Prebiotic Immunaid

Bimuno intro1

Now, if you follow me on Twitter, then you know I've been tweeting about vitamins and generally making myself a bit more healthy, so when Bimuno offered to send me some products, I said yes immediately. I'm always on the look out for something to give me that extra kick of Vitamins, and since its a prebiotic, Immunaid* is supposed to help keep your immune system nice and healthy. Yay. I'm all about a good immune system boost because I do feel quite sluggish and tired, so rather than saying 'this' and 'that' is wrong with me, I wanted to see if boosting myself up, with vitamins and lovely things, would help. Couldn't hurt at this time of year, right? It's the season of colds and flu, so this will definitely be taking pride of place with the rest of my vitamin stash (a collective post I'll be writing up this month). And you know what I quite like about these already? Bimuno prebiotics come in a chewable pastille form, and it may be the kid in me, but taking massive vitamin pills is something I've never really liked doing... so making it chewy is brilliant, not only for adults who pout at the thought of taking huuuuge vitamin pills, but also children, 6 and over can take them. 

I'll be giving these a good test out for the next few weeks, and I'll write back with what I find. Let's keep those cold's and flu's at bay. Probably best for me, I'm terrible when I'm unwell. Still better than my dad... but that may just be a man thing. Men being ill always reminds me of that terrific Boots ad, the husband being in bed with a cold, when his wife is smothering with cold, and running around doing everything. Still makes me giggle to this day. So, what are you taking to boost yourself up this season? Anything I should look into? Anything I should include when I do my full review? 

* These two products were sent to me by Bimuno, all opinions are my own :)
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