Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Getting creative

Being creative isn't only fun, but it is a hobby with many benefits. It is suggested that expressing ourselves creatively can prevent the urge to buy impulsively and save money. It not only gives you a deeper sense of fulfilment, but learning to make things can prevent the need to buy as much. It is also linked to helping to combat stress, and considered a form of meditation.

I've never been one of those that excels in art, so I will never try to persuade any of you to make anything elaborate. However in my quest to get to know more creative hobbies I may enjoy, I have tried a few activities that sound appealing to me.

I did it in my teens - trying to collect my gig tickets, gathering pictures of friends etc but somewhere along the way it has been lost. However, moving to Ipswich at the end of last year, I was keen to get involved in something new. This is where I came across two interesting classes with Craftability- jewellery making and scrapbooking. Although I think they are only local to Ipswich, I think it's always good to look things up locally. I simply searched for things I was interested in e.g. jewellery making, knitting and crochet and a few things popped up. I suggest doing the same! I'm working a lot of Saturdays at the moment and most of these workshops seem to take place on weekends. 

Since my necklace didn't survive a recent night out, I won't be discussing that. It wasn't that the class wasn't good; it was more of a reflection on my talents. The heart broke off and another part fell off later in the day. It didn't even last 24hours! 

Onto scrapbooking...

I loved it! Like I said I'd done it before, but nothing fancy. Sticking pictures down, maybe decorating with glitter or given some kind of heading. The workshop taught me to use  backgrounds, reminded me how to cross-stitch, putting shapes and even using double-backed tape (you can't underestimate my excitement there). 

It would probably be more fun to do a step-by-step process, but honestly can't remember it too much. It was all about getting the measurements right and adding my own touches. For example, the sample one only had two photos for this one, but didn't like the blank space. I also used different tools to make the paper curl round or stitching that circle was the longest; as I needed several different strings and threading that needle!

I love the colours and different textures to try for this one. I also enjoyed using the stick-on pearls and would be tempted to use so many more! I made a glue mess on the graduation picture so covered it with a square and the snowflake. However think it now looks odd! 

I haven't done anymore scrapbooking, but would definitely attend another workshop as it was only £7.50 and just asked you to bring your own photos. You received teaching of techniques and use of appropriate materials. The workshops are on Saturdays, but the next one I hear I can do, I will be doing so fast. In the meantime, I need to print more pictures off and get scrapbooking! 

I hope you enjoyed my more creative post. I came across the Make it Monthly post by Whimsical Mumblings, and knew I needed to get involved. It was all about craft and sharing your wonderful creations. I thought it would be great to discuss my recent scrapbooking, and can hopefully encourage me to do more fun crafty things!

For any bloggers reading, feel free to get involved in the fun. I'd love to read and be more inspired to be creative. 

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Don't be a bitter single!

January is now long-gone, many have survived dry January, Veganuary and maybe even paid off some debts from Christmas. I feel that January was a very positive month for me - learning new hobbies to take up in my free-time, working towards goals in volunteering and learning to drive again after a  long 10 month break (some women have babies in that time). There is much more that was enjoyed as discussed here in my last post about my goal progress for the year. However for those who weren't as lucky, the January blues are truly over!

As February is upon us, I thought like many bloggers I'd discuss Valentine's Day, but as a single woman of 24, I don't wish to pretend I like it. Not because I'm a bitter single and wish to be spoilt by a man like many others will be. I can assure you that I strongly believe in true love, fate and romance as cheesy as that sounds. 

If a secret admirer felt like sending me a card or a thoughtful gift, I wouldn't reject it, but at the same time, why wait until Valentine's Day? If you like, love or care for someone, surely you should be making them feel valued every single day.

Here are 5 reasons I'm glad to be single on one of the most romantic days of the year:

1. I don't want to settle!
Photo credit: Google Search

Despite how that sounds, this doesn't apply to many people. It doesn't apply to any of my friends, who are happily married or engaged. It doesn't apply to any couples in my immediate family. However, you do hear of people settling for someone treating them rubbish because they don't want to be alone for occasions like this. Some people even choose to date to avoid being alone for the occasion. The same might apply to birthdays or Christmas.

2. Rather no relationship than a bad one!

I've not found the right person, but maybe I will. However I'm glad I'm not wasting a year with the wrong person. Why waste it with someone who doesn't appreciate your weird and wonderful quirks? Why be with someone who doesn't appreciate the things that matter, or who doesn't have the same values?

3. The pressure

It has become such a big thing now. You need to go out to be in a restaurant that seems to charge double what they might already have done the day or week before. You have to buy the perfect gift. You need to think of a lovely romantic gesture. Why bother? I have only spent one Valentine's Day as a couple and simply exchanged cards and bought thoughtful gifts. It felt a bit forced. Surely spontaneous and unexpected romantic gestures are less stressful and more exciting! Put it this way, if every man/woman proposed because they were told they needed to at a certain time, would it be as memorable and romantic? It's romantic as it comes unexpected and from someone you really love (under the right circumstances, of course).

4. Crowds
I dare you to say this doesn't look like a love heart!

While picking the perfect gift, card, or going out on that fateful day. It is bonkers! This year, I hope mum chooses to show me she loves me through food. This was a picture taken an ordinary day making me my tea/dinner.

5. No expectations

Even if you say you don't expect anything, it's hard not to be disappointed if you don't celebrate in some way. However as a single person, I genuinely have no expectations. It will be an ordinary day. As it is a day off work, I will probably walk my dogs, promote the blog on social media where I can, read a book and perhaps binge on some films. 

There are also several things that irritate me about the day:

1. The singles

Yes, I know. You have read right; I'm single and hate other singles. Why? Because a lot don't appreciate it as a day like mother's day or father's day. Just because you're not a mother or father, you don't envy those who have children who spoil them. So why moan on social media about being single? Why become so desperate? Appreciate what you have. Don't get me wrong, I have days where I'd love someone to cuddle, share my secrets with and to love/be loved. However why should I spend one day every year being miserable about it?

2. A day about love doesn't celebrate all kinds

It is a day to celebrate love and bring about romance, but why not celebrate other types of love? Love for your pets, children, family, friends and neighbours. Why not encourage people to show love and care for others, or even help people in the community.

3. The overindulgence
Photo credit: LA Times (wordpress blog)

I can't help but find it cute when friends describe what they're doing. Despite how singles, I'm not in any way envious. I don't want to date them or their partner. I probably wouldn't even celebrate it in the same way. However I find they celebrate it in different ways; personal to their relationship and in ways that show real care. Baking a favourite cake,  buy something their partner wouldn't treat themselves to or simply buying something that shows an "in" joke. This being said, it's not Christmas; it's not their birthday, but people will send hundreds on things for this romantic occasion. To me, it's utterly overindulgent. That money could be spent on many more valued things like giving to charity, saving for a mortgage, buying a car or even a nice holiday.

4. The discomfort of others
Photo credit: Life of a Doctor's Wife (blog - wordpress)

I try not to bring it up too much to couples because they tend to put their foot in it. They will say things like "you'll meet someone soon" or "I don't understand why you've not found someone. You're so lovely." Their heart is in the right place, so I just smile and nod. To them, it's perhaps a special day, but to me it's just any other day. I've not dedicated the day to mourn that I am single despite popular belief.

5. The consumerism
Picked red this week and didn't even plan to! 

I suppose it's like Christmas or any occasion. It is advertised everywhere from billboards, TV, print or radio. It feels like Christmas is over and the Valentine's Day ads are then on! You then can't escape red hearts, cuddly toys, chocolate boxes dedicated to Valentine's Day and everything red, pink or heart related!

In the spirit of my post, don't pity me for being single; don't feel I'm being too negative. This is meant  more with jest as I would never want ANYONE to have a bad day. I hope every married or committed person has a lovely day, and those singles don't become an annoying stereotype!

Let me know what you think of Valentine's Day. Is it an over-consumerised event or another way to celebrate love? 

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Goal progress in January

I thought it might fun to include how I'm getting on with my goals. When I've read the progress of others in fitness or other goals, I find it highly motivating. Let me know what you think as I might do them quarterly rather than monthly.

1. Passing my driving test

The progress is there. I have already paid for 10 hours, and done 6 hours of driving lessons. I am making great progress. I've noticed more confidence leaving the roundabout and knowing when to go, which is my ultimate fear. I really hope to keep progressing. It is great since it's the first time even been driven around Ipswich. However also noticed new instructors have different priorities and notice new things you're bad at.

2. Go abroad

I really hope to do this, but this is not a priority just yet. I think I may visit a friend who lives in Norway now, but then again it is more costly to visit than to get there. Seen flights for under £100 return but know it is expensive to buy and do things!

3. See at least 3 gigs this year

I've looked a little, but not seen much I fancy. I'm booked to see comedian, Jon Richardson in September and had hoped to see Ed Sheeran. Unfortunately I couldn't get tickets, but hopeful I will think of other performers to see.

4. Start yoga again

I've looked into local classes, but am nervous to start any alone. I have also tried looking at few youtube videos. For anyone else wanting to try yoga, I noticed a fab post published by Saccharine-soul. I've actually tested a few of the routines suggested here. Although I'm not a beginner, I'm not confident enough to move onto intermediate or more advanced.

5. Do a charity challenge

I've enquired about doing the Great Wall of China in aid of the British Red Cross. I love how you will help rebuild it too. However I know the work it took to fundraise for climbing Kilimanjaro and had the resources there: supportive work colleagues, uni support, friends to attend events, and just don't  have that locally.

I'm also considering trying an abseil again. I've seen an abseil for the local hospital which sounds so fun. Anyone who knows me will know how gutted I was to have let down a favourite charity, when I couldn't take on the 160ft abseil off forth rail bridge. This was despite doing a 10,000 ft skydive, a bungee jump and climbing Kilimanjaro in the past. I feel doing this will really boost my confidence again. It will also be something fantastic to really look forward to. I fear I may have an anxiety attack again, but doesn't feature my ultimate fear of bridges.

6. Pursue creative hobbies
I've gone to both a jewellery making and scrapbooking classes. From this, I'm unsure I will try this again as the necklace broke to pieces and didn't make it to feature in this post. I've done scrapbooking before and learnt some new techniques, and would love to go again.

I'm proud that I actually stitched the gold circle...

I still want to learn to make bracelets, but going to look at Youtube to learn that one!

7. Lose weight

I'm really happy with my progress in this. I've had compliments from family members on the look of my skin and how much healthier I look, which is obviously a huge confidence boost. Most of all, I love the boost to my energy and how much happier this has had me.

This has only been from small steps - walking at least 30 minutes a day, drinking lots of water (admittedly I did this well already), adjusting my attitude to portion sizes and actually eating more fruit/veg. Instead of thinking, "oh, I've got a few more of these I might as well finish", I just stop eating when I'm full. Instead of cutting out sweets or chocolate, I eat what I fancy and then don't crave it as much. I've even started craving things like crisps or cheese, which is so unlike me! 

8. See more films from my list

If you like my facebook page, you will have seen that I received lots of DVDs and watched them. Please refer to the review on the films I watched here. This month, I've seen 12 off my list and 13 in all. I hope I can beat this in February as I've watched more DVDs than my usual Netflix.

9. See friends more

There are no plans yet, but this is important to me with many friends living in Scotland. With the closest friend being about 400 miles away, it is essential and especially with friends getting married, having babies and getting promotions, not seeing them as often can feel like missing out.

10. Walk dogs more

I have been walking the dogs on almost every day off, and actively making the effort to spend more time with them.Cuddles are the best!

11. Do more in spare time

This one is still very much in progress. At the moment, my spare time consists of walking dogs, writing for this blog, promoting the blog, reading and anything that might come up. That doesn't sound hugely exciting, but definitely been feeling more positive.

12. Keep writing

I've not looked into alternative ways to write outside of this blog, but definitely want to. I'm really not sure where to begin on that one!

13. Read more

Already I feel like I'm making great progress on this. Most times I read no more than 4 or 5 books in a year. This month alone, I've already read 6 books. Please refer to this post about the books I've read here. I'm looking forward to reading more as part of the Popsugar challenge as discussed here.

How has your January been going? Any tips for me to continue to tick off my goals this year?

Friday, 3 February 2017

January's Books

As previously mentioned in one of my new year posts here, I've taken on the Popsugar reading challenge and am really enjoying it! I like how it gives me chance to read books I wouldn't usually and gives me categories to stick to.

I'm so glad I chose to take it on. I've read more books this month than I usually do in a whole year. I thought I'd go through the list and tell you my thoughts on the books I've read so far!

1. Book about an interesting woman -

Audrey Hepburn: An Elegant Spirit by Sean Ferrer Hepburn
This book was truly amazing to me because it gave me a bigger admiration to my hero, Audrey Hepburn. I would even recommend it to those who are not as big a fan of her like me. For more details on the book, please see my more detailed review here.

2. Book you've read before that never fails to make you smile

The World of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
I have such fond memories of reading the books of Beatrix Potter growing up. I was inspired by the tale of her drawing the pictures and writing the stories of the animals. As a kid I wanted to be a writer, and therefore loved reading her books and even finding out how her books came to be. With moving recently, I came across the books I had and decided to give them a read. It was nice to look back. I think these are another thing kept by my mother; she often says of things from my childhood: "I'm keeping these for my grandchildren!"

3. Audiobook

Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben
My Dad had been enjoying the book, and referred me to it through Audible. Audible is great as you get the first book free.

The book itself was incredible and featured many unexpected twists. Without giving too much away, it is based on a woman on her journey to cope with the death of her husband, Joe a meer four months after the murder of her sister, Claire. She is an incredibly strong woman as an ex-soldier and mother to Lily, it follows her journey as she comes across many discrepancies on how it came to be. Just when you think you can guess what is happening, something happens to change your mind completely!

4. Book on TBR list for way too long

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
I don't really have a list of books to read if I'm honest, but do want to read more classic novels. Therefore I chose to read Jane Eyre. I was pleasantly surprised because I didn't expect to enjoy reading it as much as I did. Often I have found myself to be bored by some 'classics'. However I challenge anyone to get bored of reading this as it has elements of many good books. It features the hardship of a girl growing up unwanted, her love for education, a love story, comedy lines, some slight horror and a journey to discovery. I recommend this to anyone to read, even those who don't think they will like it. I also thought the old english might make it hard to follow, but to be honest there weren't that many adaptations. I was also surprised to learn some scottish words came from the olde english (I might be stupid to not have figured that bairn and other words come from old english originally). I expected a predictable love story, but found an unpredictable plot about a woman's life growing up.

5. Book loved as a child

Girls under pressure by Jacqueline Wilson
I mistakenly bought a CD instead of the book, but thoroughly enjoyed listening to this again! It was incredible as it took me back to my pre-teen self. Growing up I greatly admired Jacqueline Wilson and read all her books at the time. Favourites that come to mind include Lottie Project, Illustrated mum, The Story of Tracy Beaker, Lola Rose and the Girls series (like Girls under pressure, but also included Girls in Love and Girls out late). Jacqueline Wilson has a great way to tackling big issues, but writing about them in a way to educate and entertain her readers. This book tackles many issues of growing up including dealing with relationships, annoying siblings, bullying, dealing with stress, accepting your body image and dealing with weight loss and weight gain concerns.

6. Steampunk novel

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
I can appreciate that this was beautifully written with bits like this: "I will revenge my injuries; if I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear and chiefly towards you my arch-enemy, because my creator, do I swear inextinguishable hatred." From reading, I can understand why it is a classic and am glad I read it. It was nice to read a book in a few days. I think a normal reader could finish this in two days easily.

I hope you enjoyed hearing about the books I've read so far. There will be many more to come. I'm currently reading Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I've found it slow, but it is really well-written. This one is a lot bigger than some of the ones I read last month, so hope I can read 2 or 3 more for next month!

Monday, 30 January 2017

Recently watched films

I've been watching a lot of films over the last month, and thought it would be fun to share. Instead of about 12 different reviews, I thought I'd combine it in one post. I find it easier to sum them up than to discuss one particular film.

If you like the facebook page, and if not click here (*shameless plug*), you will have noticed I purchased heaps of DVDS. That is partly where these reviews come from:

1. Dam Busters (1955)
I honestly couldn't tell you one small detail of what happened. It wasn't my thing and felt like watching paint dry. I was surprised as I usually like learning more about WW2, and with it being scored  at 7.4/10 on IMDb, I was confident I'd enjoy it.
My rating: 2/10 - I just couldn't take to it, but it is a true story and something worth knowing more. I strongly believe WW2 must never be forgotten!

2. Chariots of Fire (1981)
It felt a bit overrated. I couldn't connect with the characters or any of the story. It was another true story which I thought might be interesting. It's set after WW1 in 1924 where Brits, Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell are natural athletes, and it shows how their lives compare. I do feel like I might be alone in my disappointment of the film as it received 4 oscars, 14 other awards and 19 nominations.
My rating: 3/10 - I knew part of what was happening, and the story itself is interesting. I just don't feel it came across well in the film

3. Cheap Thrills (2013)
This was safely one of the most fucked up (that is really the only word to sum it up - sorry if the swearing offends) films I've seen, and I've watched messed-up films from the likes of Lars Von Trier. I mean I've watched Antichrist, and didn't think I could be easily shocked after that! It centres around two friends, who come across a couple in a bar who make bets for them to do some crazy stuff. It starts off tame with whoever drinks the shot, get $50 and leads to so much worse. One of the worst including betting $15,000 to chop off a pinky finger. That's not even the end of that finger, it comes to haunt twice more with some bizarre bets and turn of events.
My rating: 7/10 - It was really messed up, but in fairness I couldn't stop watching this black comedy. I wouldn't watch it again, and not sure I'd watch it again, but it was definitely memorable. I also realised I wouldn't do much for a bet!

4. Elizabeth (1998)
This era of history has always fascinated me. From the reign of Henry VIII to that of his children. It was one of my favourite eras to learn in history. Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived - I can never forget that! Onto the film...I find it hard to stay focused on period dramas, but I loved this. I can't think what I enjoyed most, but it featured Elizabeth as the longest reigning of her siblings, her struggles in power and looking for suitors as queen. I was hooked throughout.
My rating: 9/10 - This was amazing, and think most would enjoy watching this. I definitely recommend watching this!

5. Dr. No (1962)
Released 2 years before my mum was born, I wasn't sure whether I'd appreciate it. I'm not huge on action, so I found this hard to follow at times, but love that era of films - the colour, fashions and almost "put-on" voices (not sure how to describe it). However it was easy viewing, and I can now understand how Sean Connery might be a favourite Bond actor.
My rating: 7/10 - Another film I'd recommend watching! It's a great combination of action, drama and romance.

6. Crazy Beautiful (2001)
It was a teen rom-com, which made me feel like I was just a couple of years too old to watch! That being said, I found it easy to follow and would compare it in some ways to a teenage Silver Linings Playbook. I like how Nicole (Kirsten Dunst) and Carlos (Jay Hernandez) characters have completely different lives with different problems and ambitions. It is all about how they cross paths, and their lives are changed forever. Wild child, Nicole helps Carlos fly a plane for the first time, but how will Carlos change Nicole's outlook to life?
My rating: 8/10 - I really enjoyed watching this, but not sure whether I'd necessarily recommend it. You will know from reading my review if it's a story that appeals to you.

7. Frankenstein (1931)
I wanted to watch this, as I couldn't connect to the book. Usually when this happens, it helps me understand and picture what is going on better. It helped when I struggled to read 1984. However this didn't work. It seemed out-dated and too bizarre to keep me interested. The only thing that I enjoyed was that it was short. How many films are a mere 71 minutes? I also like the way it is filmed in terms of black and white, makeup and costume.
My rating: 3/10 - It is worth watching as it is a true classic, but I just didn't take to it.

8. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Unlike most sequels, I like this much more. I found it much easier to follow. I even found the housemaid woman to be funny to watch. When Frankenstein's monster says "friend, lady friend" it also reminded me of Inbetweeners, and couldn't stop laughing.
My rating: 4/10 - I did enjoy this more to the prequel, but it was still not my favourite.

9. Brown Sugar (2002)
Reviewers have compared this to When Harry met Sally. I can see why because it follows the premise of two friends (except more childhood friends), who come to consider a relationship together. Once compared, I didn't think it would be as good as the rom-com classic, but I still loved it. It shows true love, friendship, comedy and links with the love of music. With a combined love for hip-hop, the story of Andre and Sidney is interesting to follow.
My rating:  8/10 - I'd recommend to anyone who loves a good rom-com.

10. Children of the Corn (1984)
I was bored with this. I found it so over-acted that I found it very hard to keep interested.
My rating: 5/10 - Not the worst film I've seen, but not the best either!

11. The Departed (2006)
I always get confused with Matt Damon and Leo Dicaprio, so if like me, you might find it harder to follow...otherwise I think it was really well acted. It's another film Leo should have got an oscar for! I loved how it was a true story, and enjoyed watching this thriller.
My rating: 7.5/10 - I'd definitely recommend this film as it explores the story of a mole in the mob and mole in the police force.

12. Death to Smoochy (2002)
What can I say? Robin William stars, I can never fault a film that he's in. Even One Hour Photo was great in my eyes! It follows the story of two rival children entertainers, some comedy and some action.
My rating: 7/10 - I recommend this as it's easy viewing, and unlike many comedies it's not completely predictable in plot.

13. East is East (1999)
My mum said it was one of her favourite films, and I watched it again. I watched it when I was in school (not sure when), and didn't remember much but it was fun to watch. It has the elements of every good genre - action, growing-age, comedy, romance, drama. My favourite scene had to be towards the end, when the art project is revealed. It is funny but cover hard-hitting issues of living around racism and conflicting cultures.
My rating: 9/10 - I think this is great for anyone to watch. It shows how it is to grow up in Britain with Pakistani heritage. You learn a lot about the traditions followed by lots of comedy as it's set in Salford. I also just found out they did a sequel - West is West, which I will need to watch too.

Lots of great and not so great films over the past month - what films have you seen recently? I want to see Trainspotting 2 and more films from my list.

Friday, 27 January 2017

My Favourite Mascaras

I have to tell you I've tried a LOT of mascaras from dirt-cheap to the higher end mascaras. Therefore I thought it might be fun to write about the favourites that I keep going back to, or have stuck out to me.

First of all, I thought I'd start with Maxfactor because I remember almost growing up with my mum using the brand. I've never had any issues using their products and recommend it to anyone. All products are a reasonable price and last.

They are known for their amazing mascaras, and I love a few from them including:

  • Maxfactor False LashEffect Mascara - I hear that the formula might have changed since I last used it, and many people don't like it, but thought I'd still include it as it's one that comes to mind when describing favourite mascaras.
  • Maxfactor Masterpiece Max Mascara - This reminds me of my mum as she used to use this all the time, but in waterproof. It was safely the first mascara I fell in love with.

I'm also keen to try their Velvet Volume False Lash Effect mascara because I hear it's one of their best yet. Growing up loving Maxfactor and even using its products for special occasions such as my graduation, I know I can rely on their products. I love their lip products, foundations, blushers and mascaras of course. I even used to wear their nail polishes before discovering favourite nail brands like Barry M, Nails Inc and O.P.I.

If you haven't tried Maxfactor before I definitely recommend it. It is promoted to be used by makeup artists and still love it. I bought one of their lip products recently. Anyone who knows me will know I rarely wear lipsticks or lipglosses. I hate them! Not lipfinity, it lasts and fades gradually. I tested it on my hand, and three days later and after a shower and cleansing my hand it's still kinda there. Not as noticeable but it is hard to shift! I like how easy it goes on, and actually used the last one up. How often do women do that? Anyway back to mascaras...

I've recently tried L'Oreal mascara Voluminous Extra-Black mascara recommended in a Look article I'd read of best mascaras. I thought it would be fun to buy as it's not as expensive as my usual favourite Benefit mascaras (as discussed here). I found this easy to build volume fast which is what you need, lasts all day and isn't clumpy as it says on the labelling (sometimes the labels lie though). It is a lovely brush to use, and recommend to anyone wanting a decent mascara at a good price. Look describes it as a "volume-inducing mascara" that has "many fans voting it their ultimate under £10 mascara for gorgeously thick lashes." Makeup artists are even said to love it as it separates, lengthens and curls. I have to agree. Having trichotillomania means I feel the need to make sure it is not clumpy, as it emphasises gaps on eyelinds, and also makes me want to pull my lashes more. If it can separate MY lashes and clump, I think it suits anyone! I will also hope to burn through more of the Look mascara recommendations, but I have a lot of mascaras to use up just now.

Next, I thought I'd describe my two favourite Benefit mascaras. I love Rollerlash and They're Real! mascaras from Benefit. I know I've already discussed these briefly in my recent Benefit post, but thought I'd go into more detail about just why they are so great.

Rollerlash is so easy to apply. I am the only person I know who takes longer to apply eye makeup than foundation. I literally slap on my face makeup, but take my time doing my eyes. Partly because I like to enthusiase my favourite face feature and also because I like doing it. However as someone who is lazy with my makeup routine, I always look for quicker and easier ways to look better. This is my solution. I don't feel like I'm putting coats on and don't often take longer than 5 minutes to apply it.

Unlike other mascaras, it is so easy to remove which is part of the issue. You rub and rub and take all your eyelashes off! Not with this, it also has lash-conditioning benefits; it includes provitamin B5 and serin. I even love the brush for this product. It pushes up lashes - even those stubborn ones that push down and it also stops you reaching for the curlers!

They're Real is fab! It's a favourite with a few of my friends too. It adds length fast and can separate lashes well. This is what I'm using at the moment.

This one is apparently Benefit's most popular mascara and I can see why. It does what it says it does. It adds length, volume and I also love how black your eyelashes are with it (if you buy the jet black of course - they do have it in brown and maybe other colours). I also love how it manages to pick lashes you haven't seen like the blonde ones or the smaller ones area the corner of your eye etc. It's just great!

Finally, I thought I'd finish with another mascara I loved as a teen. I haven't used for two or three years, but often go back. It's just great. I've tried a few of their mascaras, and love them, but this is by far my favourite one by the brand. It has a "roller brush" like that of Benefit (not surprising as it's the same owners who make it). This is amazing as it says you only need one coat, and that's enough for me. It gives a separated and long length.

Bourjois Paris Volume Glamour mascara is so great they have bought other extensions of Volume Glamour including:

Hope you enjoyed the post, and let me know if you have tried any of these. Alternatively I'd like to hear if there are mascaras you wish I had mentioned or think that I should try.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Latest Shopping Haul

I love reading or hearing what others get when they go shopping. On that note, I thought it might be fun to show some things I got on a recent visit to Ipswich city centre! I actually meant to post this two weeks ago. I've even had another shopping haul since then, so have decided to combine them both.

#Haul 1
I feel I was more reserved than some youtubers who get tons of stuff, and I went out wanting new leggings, which I could do with right now as I have a hole in one of my two pairs. I also needed more tops to go with my many printed skirts.

With this in mind, I swapped some christmas presents I knew I wouldn't use, and used part of one of my gift card. I went on to buy some tights and two tops from M&S. This was funny because I loved a burgundy top my Mum had got me for Christmas from M&S, and one of my motto's is if you like something, get it in every colour. I got it in blue and black:

Wearing with green skirt & boots

Ignore my big forehead spot!

I also got this lovely pink jumper which I like to wear with leggings and boots:

I got a lovely teal colour high-neck long-sleeve top which has gone nicely with one of my pinafores. I keep struggling to find tops to go with this. Now that I have it on, I'm not sure whether my pinafore is now too short!

I then got a grey jumper, which might be a size too tight, but shows how I'm progressing in losing weight. This is my first size 12 in about two years! I'm well impressed with that. My goal of being a size 10 again doesn't feel as far off. I just need to keep it up!

I bought some slim jeans in a size 16 which are too big for me. Funnily in the fitting room, they fitted perfect but got them home and they just kept falling down. I tried them on the next day again! I have worn them a few times, so can't take them back. Therefore I've just chosen to sell them on ebay. Annoying as I don't think I will get much for them.

I teamed both the grey jumper and jeans in the following picture:

Finally, I got another grey top; I wish you could feel the material as it's so soft! I thought it would go nice with leggings and make the perfect casual outfit for round the house. It's nice but noticed that I keep mistaking size 14's for size 18; I keep looking on the US size by mistake. However I like how this is a bit more slouchy.

Worst of all, I got no new leggings. In fairness, I tried some in Primark, but just wasn't impressed.

As you might remember from my wishlist post before Christmas (I know it's hard to think before then), I'm still on the search for the perfect foundation for me. I have always wanted to try Bobbi Brown products, so am currently trying their Long-Wear Even Finish Foundation SPF15 in shade Cool Ivory 1.25. 

The colour is seemed similar to Maxfactor, which is the closest I've found to liking. It's the foundation I go back to if I'm stuck for choices. 

I like so far how it doesn't feel thick but gives you buildable coverage. I often hate how it feels like you're applying paint when adding your foundation. I always feel I need a high coverage for my acne scarring, but don't want to be wearing lots of makeup.

Here is a picture with me modelling my new foundation:

When I finish it, I will review the foundation, and hope to work through all the foundations on my wishlist. I WILL find the perfect one. So far I like that it doesn't feel cloggy and like I have a face of makeup on. I have also noticed that I don't need as much foundation.

In the above picture I'm also wearing No7 eyebrow pencil, Urban Decay concealer, Benefit High beam highlighter, Tarte blusher, Tarte contour, Tarte eyeshadow, Rimmel liquid eyeliner, L'Oreal kohl brown eyeliner, L'Oreal mascara and Benefit Rockateur Bronzer.

#Haul 2
My sole purpose was to get leggings and jeans perhaps. I came back with a bit more than that, but I can't complain too much as I did need to drastically update my wardrobe.


We started by going to Dorothy Perkins where I got the above pair of leggings with grey stripes down the side (I hear they give the slim illusion) - so comfy on; and I then got the navy jeggings below. I love the way my bum looks in these jeggings! I know that sounds so vain, but been thinking I am bit heavier than I wish to be yet some trousers seem to flatten my bum - who wants that?

Anyway, we then went in Clark's to look at the sale stuff. Considering it is very small in Clark's I didn't expect to see anything I liked. I thought it would just be my mum getting something, as she needed to swap the boots she'd ordered online. However I came across some boots that I fell in love with. I like how they are waterproof, have a warm lining and have the military style that I'm into. I always seem to make my boots last, so although I paid £60, they were reduced from £120.

My biggest splurge was in Primark again.

I bought 3 of the same black leggings (how could I resist at £2.50 each?) because I thought it might give me a bit longer with them. People moan they are see-through and don't last - I say they are cheaper than tights, so honestly don't care. I also tend to wear longer tops or dresses with leggings, so as long as it covers my bum I don't mind if it's a tad see-through. I thought about photographing these, but think everyone has seen black leggings, so not too interesting...

I also fell in love with these jeggings. I don't usually like lighter colour denim, but loved the effect from these. You will notice I teamed this with my regular boots and blue jumper that has zips to each side. Again, I bought the blue jumper from Primark on Saturday. It is a pastel shade, which will be great as we come into springtime. I am not usually a fan of pastel shades, but feel drawn to them lately.

I also found a lovely blush colour cardie (a colour I am loving at the moment). I thought it would go well with a lot of things I own and best of all, I can wear it under my coat. Recently I've noticed my cardies are too long to wear with a coat so I've been skipping a layer at times.

Then that was me at the checkout...

At the checkout I noticed some blender sponges for £1.50. I've been wanting to try using sponges to apply my makeup and thought I couldn't resist at that price.

I was disappointed to not find any gloves. They aren't selling any, which is mad to me since we live in the UK! I always manage to lose gloves or end up with odds, and am now desperate. I did try Marks later but just wasn't impressed and was not in the mood with heavy boots and other shopping to carry.

We then ended by getting food from Marks and Sparks! We passed the markets that are on in Ipswich, and I got a lovely homemade garlic bread herb roll thing - so yum! We managed to do all that in about an hour and a half to be home by half 11.

Let me know what you think of my new items. Have you bought anything new for the new year? Please share any new outfits you've been putting together.