Thursday, 31 August 2017

Snippets of Life: August Favourites

Hello again; its now late August which means that another month has gone by so quickly! I actually can't believe that its almost autumn and therefore this year is rapidly coming to an end. This month has been quite a long one, mostly because I haven't had much time off so it has felt like work, work, work a lot of the time. I'm actually super excited for the autumn months as its my favourite season, but at the same time I'll be sad to say goodbye to long summer evenings. As always, my go to make up brushes are those by  the Real Techniques brand and I've been using them on a day to day basis. I own several different styles by the brand, including the Core Collection, Your Picks Berlin Limited Edition and the Enhanced Eye Set amongst some that I've bought individually for specific use, such as the stippling brush. They are fairly expensive brushes, but I would say that they last a long time, which makes the price worth it. I rarely use any other brush since I bought these brushes so they're a definite favourite for me. Another product that I love more or less every month is the MakeUp Revolution Fortune Favours The Brave eyeshadow palette. It's literally a bloggers dream as not only does it look amazingly beautiful in photographs as well as in person, I've honestly never seen a palette with shades like this one. There are so many different shades that the price tag of £9.99 is worth it, as a high end version would be well over twice the price. I'd even go as far as to say this is my favourite palette of all time.

In the perfume side of the beauty world, I've been loving three perfumes more than any other the moment. All of them were gifted to me by my boyfriend and as much as I love each one, my favourite by far has to be the Princess of Hearts by Vera Wang due its beautiful notes of watermelon, jasmine and strawberries. It makes me feel super feminine and the bottle itself its very pretty with the pink hearts and crown detailing. I'm a fan of Vera Wang perfumes in general (I have at least seven in my collection) so I'm sure that it will come as no surprise that I was incredibly excited to receive the hard to find Princess Revolution and I suddenly realised that I've been wearing this scent quite often recently. I feel confident and also slightly rebellious whenever I wear this, its a sensual mix of cherry, blood orange and watermelon. The bottle is like a punkier version when compared to the other Princess scents but it is definitely a great summer scent.

I've been loving girly, fruity and floral scents this month; the Fantasy In Bloom perfume is no exception to that. The bottle itself is very cute with the Cherry Blossom patterned detailing again the soft pink background and golden stopper. As you would expect, it smells hugely of cherry blossom, berries and jasmine. I've been wearing this a lot to feel fresh and ready for the day; I'm definitely the kind of person that matches a scent to their mood. All three perfumes are under £20 and so an absolute bargain for the size of the bottles. The 'Obliviate' notebook was a bit of a surprise gift; Piotr bought it in Waterstones for me whilst we were celebrating his birthday and so it seems extra special now. I'm a huge Harry Potter fan and have been since I was a child so naturally I love the Fantastic Beasts spin off; priced at £7.99, it wasn't unreasonable but it is fairly expensive for the size of the notebook, but that said the quality and attention to detail is amazing and I know that I'll treasure this notebook.

The final part of my monthly favourites is beauty related; since the weather has been fairly humid I've been wearing less make up overall other than mascara. One of my all time favourite mascaras is the Maybelline The Rocket Volum' Express and I've used it so much recently that I've actually repurchased it. Priced at £7.99 I would definitely recommend trying out this mascara; it has a plastic wand with bristles in varying sizes. I've found that makes the longest, most volumised and spidery lashes and honestly it definitely beats some of the more expensive mascaras that I've tried for a more affordable price tag. The other mascara that I've been loving is the L'Oréal Paris Miss Baby Roll which is also priced at £7.99; it's a more dry formulated mascara which makes it harder to work with, but it produces the curliest and most volumised lashes. I've been so impressed with it but I feel like it's more of a going out mascara than an everyday mascara.

I've been obsessed with having thick, natural looking tamed brows this summer and I've found two products that I absolutely love to use to achieve using this effect. The first product is the L'Oréal Paris Xpert Brow Artist in the shade Cool Blonde. It's the perfect shade for me as it is more like a taupe/dark blonde as my brows are quite dark for my pale hair skin. It has a double sided applicator, one for thickening the brows and the other for blending through. Priced at £6.99 it is an affordable addition to a make up bag and I'm really pleased with the results. After using it I then set my brows in place with Benefit's Ready, Set, Brow! Although this is more of a high end piece priced at £20, I'd argue that this is worth the money as it literally sets the brows neatly in place all day long and doesn't clump and gives a natural hold because it's a clear gel. The last favourite is the L'Oréal Paris Infallible 24hr Foundation which is simply the perfect pale shade for my skin and actually blends well into my skin. It has excellent coverage and doesn't feel heavy, or look cakey at all. It's fairly expensive for the drugstore, priced at £10.99 but a good foundation is worth every penny. It's so easy to apply and makes me so confident whenever I use it that it has quickly become my favourite foundation. What have you been loving this month? Let me know in the comments! :)

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Book Review: Small Great Things

I'm not one for only reading 'Bestsellers' but at the moment it does seem like that's all I'm reading; Jodi Picoult is a very established author and so I decided to read this book due to the interesting summary on the back cover. The summary doesn't come anywhere close to revealing the intensity of the plot, which is a good thing as this book is an absolute page-turner. This was a novel of multiple narratives, but ultimately it was centred around a widowed nurse named Ruth. During her duties she was racially abused and then accused of murder and her employers (who she previously had regarded as friends) more or less refuse to defend her, even if she is a highly skilled and trained labour and delivery nurse with over twenty years of experience. The other two narrators are Turk, the racist/white supremacist father of the dead child and Kennedy, a public defender who is determined to do her best for Ruth.

In all honesty, this novel is not one for the faint of heart. I usually read fairly quickly, but this is a book that you have to almost force yourself to read because the content is incredibly distressing. The plot definitely focuses on the idea that everyday racism exists, whether it is obvious or not. For all of the questions that were answered, another set of questions seemed to appear; it becomes a truly compelling read extremely quickly. There are so many themes touched upon in this novel, including race, discrimination, prejudice and injustice to name only a few; Picoult has a lovely writing style, both brutally honest and full of spectacular descriptive prose. Having multiple narrators is an excellent ways to understand every perspective, even if you don't personally agree with every narrator. On the surface, Ruth is undoubtedly the victim; after years of service and an excellent understanding of her job role, as well as her own skills. All of us have to defend ourselves from time to time, but in this context it was clearly due to the colour of her skin. The main issue I had was the behaviour of her colleagues toward her; the situation that they left her in really wasn't acceptable, especially as they had previously been friends.

The narrator who seemed to really help me understand the seriousness of the accusations against Ruth was Kennedy; perhaps because Kennedy is a white female (as am I) therefore a lot of questions that I had myself were asked and answered through her narrative. For example, when she describes her irritation at how Ruth is treated by friends and colleagues alongside the general public I understood exactly how she felt, because I felt the same way. Kennedy was determined to do what she could and deliberately took a step back from representing Ruth simply because of her race; instead she represented Ruth as a human being, a woman with thoughts, feelings and ultimately a highly educated, trained and competent nurse. Perhaps unsurprisingly, my least favourite parts of the narrative were the elements of the story told from Turk's point of view; clearly designed to shock. There were many reasons for why I found his perspective both offensive and horrifying, all of which because of the certainty of his foul belief system. I'd be lying if I didn't feel some sympathy toward him; his child died and he obviously doesn't know any better, but his parts were definitely the most difficult to read.

Overall, this novel was incredibly compelling whilst being extremely difficult to absorb. I have to admit that whilst I was completely satisfied with the portrayal of the trial, the characterisation across all areas of the novel and the range of backgrounds across the characters. However I was completely dissatisfied with the epilogue. It seemed far too contrived and definitely too good to be true, but the novel as a whole was too good to be entirely let down by a few pages. What I enjoyed about this book is Picoult's ability to make you think; however much of a difficult and uncomfortable topic racial discrimination is, it was handled well and also encouraged the reader to think outside of the box. I felt the need to constantly question any situation, for example although none of the characters were solely responsible for the turn of events, ultimately they all played their parts in the (eventually life changing) end result. I would definitely recommend reading this book as its a complete eye opener in many ways; I wouldn't say that I enjoyed it, but it is definitely one to remember and learn from.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Makeup Review: L'Oréal Miss Baby Roll Mascara

Hello again guys; this post going to be about a mascara that everyone seems to be loving at the moment! The L'Oréal Miss Baby Roll mascara. In all honesty, I definitely gave into the hype surrounding it after seeing countless make up tutorials including it on YouTube. Firstly, the packaging is so pretty with the black body of the mascara against the mint green and pale pink of the lid that contrasts really nicely against the black and pink typeography across the centre of the outer packaging. The packaging was definitely designed with instagram and blogger potential in mind as it is so photogenic. In terms of price I'd definitely rate it as a mid-range mascara at a reasonable £7.99 and its available in various shops, although I managed to snap mine up for £5.99 on an offer, which was even better. I chose the non waterproof version as I generally don't have any issues with mascara wiping off my lashes onto my face. I was super excited to see if this mascara kept its promises of mega volume, length and curling lashes.

The wand of the mascara is unlike any I've ever seen before, however I was happy to see a plastic wand as I feel like (for me) the thick bristles of plastic brushes work well on my lashes. The wand is very thick, with an incredibly defined spiral shape along the length of the wand. The wand would fit any kind of mascara routine, for example whether you blink mascara on your eyelashes, wriggle it on or stroke it on, the brush will pick up any lash, however large or little. It is a very black mascara, which I love as I'm the kind of person who wants to have mascara really make their eyes pop and I generally buy the 'Very Black' or '100% Black' options wherever possible, so I was pleasantly surprised to find this mascara to be such a good shade for a regular black option. I do own a few mascaras from L'Oréal and I have found them to be very drying on the lashes; if you want to add a few coats you have to work quickly to reach your desired effect. I tend to work on my lashes a side at a time; right first and then left, adding roughly three coats to each upper eye lash and one coat to my bottom lashes.

I like how the lid has a satisfying 'click' shut so I always know if I've successfully closed it to stop it dying out, which is a nice, useful touch. Generally I do prefer a more 'wet' mascara as I find it easier to build up my lashes. My preferred lash style is definitely quite long, thick and spidery. I don't like wearing false lashes as I'm allergic to the glue so I'm always on a mission to find a mascara that will achieve a false lash effect whilst at a reasonable price. Although this is a 'dry' mascara, I was pleased to find that it is fairly easy to use, as long as you work on each eye at a time. The wand picked up my lashes so easily and coated them accordingly; the unusual spiral design of the wand seems to work wonders for curling the lashes and I'm the first to admit that I never use eyelash curlers as I'm too clumsy and too lazy; I don't even own any curlers, oops. I would say that it did live up to my expectations, but it exceeded my expectations in terms of volumisation as I've never used such a volumising mascara before! It is a fantastic mascara for curling lashes too, although I wish it gave a little more length but as my lashes are naturally quite long that's not a dealbreaker for me.

Overall, the Miss Baby Roll mascara has become my current go to mascara; I've actually been really impressed by it as I like the volumising effect in particular. Whenever there is a lot of hype surround any product there will always be those that love or hate it and in this instance I've been one of the lucky ones in that I love it. However there are a few things that irritate me slightly; I wish I'd bought the waterproof version as it does tend to smudge a little throughout daily wear, which is a shame (I've never had this issue before) and I also wish that the formula was a little more wet so that I could take more time to apply it. But those are quite trivial issues I do feel like the mascara works well on my lashes as they stay curled and volumised all day and it does add length although it does the other effects better. I would recommend this mascara to anyone who likes thick, fanned out lashes but be aware that it is a clumpy mascara. I personally like clumpiness as if I wear make up I want people to see it but I know some people hate clumps around their eyes! This mascara gives a beautiful bold effect and definitely makes eyes stand out from the rest of the face. For the quality, this mascara is definitely in competition with more high end mascaras such as the Benefit Roller Lash for less than half of the price. Let me know what you thought of this post down in the comments! :)

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Book Review: Little Pieces of You and Me

This novel is one that attracts a reader due to its beautifully laid out front cover; the artwork is fairly minimal, but somehow still manages to stand out on a bookshelf. Recently I've been reading books that contain quite difficult subject matters, so the intention was to read something a little easier and more fluid; however this book was a bit of a shock in the sense that it wasn't at all what I'd expected. Isla and Sophie are best friends and have been since their student days, however life has taken them both in very different directions. Sophie never completed her medical degree but is working in a hospital and has a husband, Liam and step daughter, Rebecca at home in Bristol, whereas Isla is a carefree, single actress currently living and working in Amsterdam with dreams of making it big within the theatre world, either by acting or scriptwriting.

Whilst they were at University the two women each wrote out a list of dreams for the future and both them still think about achieving them, although Sophie definitely feels like her dreams are much further from her reach. Isla has dreams of going to broadway and very nearly hits that dream hard on the head. Through a few short months, both of their lives rapidly change. Isla unexpectedly finds love when she isn't looking for it and he seems like the loveliest of men and his bookshop sounds so interesting; even his customers sound out of the ordinary. One of the reasons that I really enjoyed this book was that not everything in life goes to plan; Isla's life grinds to halt when she's diagnosed with a long term medical condition and she's forced to make several decisions; to give up her broadway dreams, to leave Amsterdam and a love behind and go home to her mother and grandmother in Bristol.

Each of the characters seem to be flawlessly devised and I loved the dynamic between Berenice and Rafael, how much time and energy they gave each other in terms of friendship; a foreigner abroad and an elderly lady with a lifetime love of books. Both of them came across as very kind, creative people who enjoyed having someone to talk to although they both had their own secrets to hide from the world. All of the characters make some sacrifices throughout the book, however you could argue that Sophie made the most, as when Isla was unable to fulfil her dreams of travelling, Sophie went for her and helped her to feel like she was there; they had a fantastic friendship, an incredibly supportive and almost sister-like relationship. In fact, her relationship with Isla is the strongest out of all of her relationships and that is made clear by her struggles to work around Rebecca's near constant teenage angst and her non existent relationship with her parents as they disapprove of her husband.

Overall, I found this novel to be such a surprise; I'm not sure what exactly I expected, but I definitely assumed that it would be an easy, carefree novel and that it wasn't! Well, actually it did start off very full of life's positives, however it did change fairly rapidly, with Isla's diagnosis. There were many themes in this book, including illness, faithfulness, friendship and relationships in general. Sophie was a far stronger character than she appeared at first glance and I admired how well she faired in the face of adversity, whereas Isla was far more sensitive than she originally appeared, although arguably that was due to having a shock diagnosis. As I mentioned previously, the characters of Berenice and Rafael were not only intriguing, but also key to a large portion of the plot, particularly Berenice, which considering the amount of page space she was given, ultimately had a hand in ending without even being present. Greene writes so fluidly, every word flawlessly connects to the next and makes for easy reading due to how well the novel flows, but I liked how there were many underlying elements to the book. It's a great read, but I did feel like it ended abruptly and could've had a bit more explanation in some places, for example Rafael's background was fairly unclear even after finishing the novel.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Favourite Blogs #12

Hello again guys; every month there are a few posts that I always try and find the time to post, although obviously if I don't feel my best then I take a break from blogging in general. This month I've discovered several new blogs through various social medias and so this post is a kind of celebration between blogs that I love, whether I've just discovered them or if I've been reading them for a while now. I like to read a range of blogs, including beauty, lifestyle and mental health, however my preferred blogs are always those with a dash of positivity. I'm currently loving reading blogs compared to magazines as I feel like they're written by people like me, for people like me which is refreshing. There's a feeling of authenticity that comes from blogs, which is why I enjoy reading them so much.

I found Amelia's blog fairly recently, after following her on instagram for a while, but once I saw her blog I instantly fell in love. There's something lovely in the simplicity of her photographic style. With a mix of beauty, baking and lifestyle her posts offer something for everyone, although I prefer the beauty posts generally. As a huge mascara lover myself I do love a good review and she regularly reviews mascaras by various brands in detail, which are super helpful as she even talks about packaging and longevity and the reviews do feel honest; I trust her opinions as she seems very down to earth and passionate about whatever she writes about.

I actually found Georgie's blog through her twitter page and haven't looked back since. Her sense of wanderlust and thirst for adventure is pretty catching; as in her travel photography is enough to make you want to quit your job and travel the world, discovering the beauty of life. However the travels are mixed in with a range of lifestyle and beauty posts too, which is also great. There are some really useful posts, for example what products to take in a make up bag (or generally in a bag!) for various holiday destinations and I also like her '10 things that made me happy this month' posts for a dash of positivity. 

Another twitter find, I absolutely adore her blog and other social media; this blog is definitely one for the beauty and stationary lover and the photography is simply fabulous a they're so much going on. Overall, she's definitely more of a beauty blogger and I do love how that also includes skin and nail care in this instance as I'm fairly lazy about those kinds of things so it's great to read reviews that coax me into making more of an effort! There's also a healthy mix of high end and drugstore beauty products so whether you want to lust after beautiful things or break your bank, this is the perfect blog to read if you want to spend some hard earned money as you'll want it all.

I've been following Rachel on various social media and reading her blog for about year (maybe more) now and I love how her posts incorporate a range of themes including mental health, wellbeing and lifestyle. As a mental health nursing student, it's amazing to see mental health from another perspective and I really admire her creative ways of tackling mental health and the stigma surrounding it. Honestly is really important to me whenever I read a blog and Rachel's blog is a true insight into her life, for example when writes about the tough times as well as the good times and that's so refreshing for someone like me, who wants to see real life.

The final blog that I've been loving this month I found very recently, through another blogger. Jasmine has a lovely blog, I like how she's taken so much time with it to the extent that she even built her own site to blog on. Her posts are mix of lifestyle and beauty and I love how down to earth and honest she is; her recent post on why she avoided university was great as it was a completely different perspective to my own but it also tackled an important topic that most people don't really talk about. The other posts that I like to read are favourites posts as well as budgeting posts as they're always a good way of working out if you want to spend some money. Jasmine's blog is definitely one for the hard working as she details some really important stuff and I loved her explanation about spending and bank accounts so much!

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Book Review: The Shock Of The Fall

This novel is about a young man named Matthew and as the story progresses, so does he and his mental illness. Nathan Filer managed to create the most intriguing, gut wrenching and brutally honest novel about mental health issues from the perfect perspective; the sufferer. His background is within mental health nursing, so it makes sense that this novel captures the true essence of life and its struggles for any person suffering from any kind of illness. Matthew begins by talking extensively about his family; his mother, father and his older brother. From the get go it is apparent that Simon has Down's Syndrome and that Matthew is retelling a true story. The first chapter begins by mentioning, quite simply, that 'in a couple of pages he'll be dead'. From fairly early on, it is clear that Matt blames himself massively for his older brothers death.

The narrative style being from Matthew's perspective was what truly made this novel so worth the read; using his own therapeutic way of typing out his past (and at times the present) as though it were a story made it feel more real, somehow. Matthew suffers from schizophrenia and so at times, the narration could be argued as being largely unreliable as he regularly interrupts himself, losing his train of thought or suddenly wanders off onto a tangent. However, when you fit his mental illness into the puzzle, it does make sense that his thoughts would become jumbled. As a reader you hear about his childhood, watching his mother struggle with her own demons, life after his brothers death as well as his teenage years, smoking weed and other drugs with his best and only friend, Jacob who he met at Secondary School. It was after helping Jacob care for his disabled mother that Matthew got a job in a care home for some time.

In fact, it seems like Matt is far more capable of taking care of others than he is of himself; he manages to work a lot, hold down a job and flat all whilst living in filth and relying on drug and alcohol binges far too often; his Nanny Noo seems to be his saving grace for the majority of the novel, regularly visiting him and never judging. If weren't for her, he would never have received any help. For a lot of the novel you get a glimpse into what life is like living in a hospital. Matt often feels trapped inside his mind, physically and mentally. However he seems to find it easy to express these feelings through words on a page; he talked a lot about his favourite gift, his old typewriter from Nanny Noo and how he has always been creative, excelling at writing and the arts like drawing and painting. Throughout the novel, he talks extensively about his brother and how Simon is always in the room and he often hears his voice; however old Matt is, he always seems to imagine Simon at 12 years old, the age he was at the time of his death.

Overall, I absolutely adored this novel; Filer has compiled an excellent debut with a fantastic understanding of mental illness as well as the feelings of grief and loss. This story, although ultimately about Matthew, was also about how grief tears apart families, how many struggle to cope with the pain of losing a loved one. There was a lot of pain to be felt throughout the pages of this book; however the constant reminders of pain are described both accurately and realistically. Matthew's story never (at any point) glamourises mental illness or psychiatric hospitals, instead a believable yet shocking and deeply saddening story comes through. As much as Matt is both intelligent and caring, his health does affect not only him but his family and it is hard to read how individually they somehow struggle through their ordeal. My favourite character was one we only gained a glimpse from; Annabelle was a terrific insight into grief and how to handle it. This book was a excellent read, despite its tough content and I couldn't stop reading once I'd started, the writing is brilliantly handled; definitely worth the read.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

My Foundation Collection

Hello again; over the past few months I've spoken about my mascara collection, perfume collection and now I felt like it was a good time to show you all my foundation collection. My skin tone is very pale, with a lot of pinky undertones and so I'm often struggling to find a foundation that suits my skin as I've found that the majority of pale foundations are yellow toned, which I'm aware does suit some people and this is why I have so many different foundations. As I spend more or less every month on a budget, all of my foundations are drugstore foundations and for me that's absolutely fine; the higher the price doesn't necessarily mean that the quality of the product is higher after all. Generally, year round I'm always the absolute palest shade of foundation that you can possibly buy but it can be hard to find a foundation for everyday; a lot of the foundations that I have are full coverage as I tend to go foundation free unless it's for an important event.


To make it a little easier to see what foundations I own, I've put them into catagories through their brands. The two foundations shown in the first photograph are the L'Oréal Paris Infallible 24hr Foundation and the L'Oréal Paris Infallible Total Cover Foundation. The 24hr hour version is priced at £10.99 and is my favourite foundation by far out of my collection. It's in the shade Porcelain and it has a lovely pinky tone to it so it's an excellent match for my skin tone. It's easy to apply with its pumped lid squeezed onto a blending sponge and it does provide excellent coverage without looking cakey. It's fairly pricey for a drugstore foundation but I've found it to be worth every penny. In contrast, the Total Cover version is one of my least favourite foundations in my collection. Priced at £9.99, it's cheaper than the 24hr version but still fairly expensive when compared to some of the other foundations available in the drugstore. I've found this foundation to be incredibly oily, it's also in the shade Porcelain and is the same pinky tone so in theory I should love it. The main issue is that my skin is very dry so the oily texture of this foundation seems to simply slide off of my skin, even when used over a primer. However, the other issue is that the squeezy tube style packaging makes it difficult to apply lightly as it's very easy to use far too much. What I do like about this foundation is that it's probably the most full coverage foundation I've ever used and it eliminates literally every flaw but it doesn't last as well as I'd like, sliding off and becoming cakey extremely quickly.


The next brand focus is Maybelline and I own countless base products by them; my absolute favourite product is the Matte Maker pressed powder and I use it complete my base every single time. Since I found this powder I've never needed to discover another and for the pocket friendly price of £3.99 it's one that I feel like I'll be using forever; it's the perfect pale (ghostly) ivory shade for me too! I feel like everyone remembers the Dream Matte Mousse foundation as that was literally my first ever step into the make up world in my teenage years. It's such a low coverage, cakey and slimy foundation that for £7.99 it's actually a bit of a joke, plus the ivory shade is literally orange on me, but as I found it I thought I'd include it in this post. Actually, I've found that all of the foundations that I own by Maybelline are very orange on my skin considering they're all in the palest shade which is ivory. The Dream Satin Liquid is a reasonably priced product at £7.99 and is a foundation that I really wish I could love; the pump style lid is super easily to apply and it's medium coverage, however the word liquid is the best way to describe it as it's very runny and comes through quite streaky on the skin, which is a massive shame as it's so affordable.

The last two products in the image above are creams, which is why I'm going to compare them together. The first is the Maybelline Dream Fresh 8-in-1 BB Cream which at £7.99 is both extremely affordable but also great for everyday makeup; in the shade Light it's a little dark for my skin tone, but again I feel like that's the slight orange/yellow tone of the product. The texture is ok, it's not oily but it's quite runny so it's easy to use too much product because of the squeezy tube design of the packaging. The second is the Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream which is fairly expensively priced at £9.99 for a drugstore product, but it's my absolute go to for everyday make up looks; it has excellent coverage but doesn't look or feel heavy on the skin and the shade ivory is a great colour match for pale skin with pink tones in it. The squeezy tube packaging still isn't my favourite, but it's thinned out nip style end does limit the amount of product that squeezes out so I rarely use too much with this. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone with pale skin that's looking for an alternative to foundation.


The final part of my foundation collection is from the brand Rimmel. I own so many foundations by that brand because it was the first brand that I found had great shades for pale skin. I purchased the Rimmel Wake Me Up foundation because I love the concealer from the same range, but unfortunately the shade True Ivory is definitely too dark for me, which is so annoying as it's great coverage and doesn't feel sticky or cakey on the skin at all. It's definitely more of a yellow or orange toned foundation but I do like the pump lid design of the packaging. If I'd bought the correct shade I'd like it much more I think as it's good value for money at £8.99. My favourite out of the foundations by Rimmel is the Lasting Finish 25hr Wear foundation; I actually own three of them, two of them are the full coverage version (with a red lid) in the shades Light Porcelain and Ivory and the other one is the medium coverage version (with a white lid) in the shade Nude. Priced at £7.99, it's such an affordable choice for anyone who shops on a budget. The only one that truly fits my skin tone is the Light Porcelain but all of them are nicely pink toned, but two of the shades are too dark, the Nude in particular is far too dark for me, there's the most obvious line against my neck, regardless of how much I blend. All of them have a pump lid, which as you'll have guessed by now is my favourite style of packaging and both of the coverages have a great consistency but overall I do prefer the full coverage but that also may be because of the matching shade to my actual skin tone. 

Lastly, I own two BB Creams and both of them are the 9-in-1 Skin Perfecting Matte BB Cream in the shades Very Light and Light. They're essentially the same product in two different shades; both of them work well but ultimately the Very Light version suits my natural skin tone better, but the Light shade is still a reasonably pale shade. Priced at £6.99, it's a super affordable choice in terms of creams and foundations, but what I would say is once again, the squeezy tube design of the packaging does make it difficult to limit how much product that come out. It feels like I'm forever using far too much without meaning to, which is annoying at times. Overall, all of these brands and foundations are great, but it's dependant one what you want to use them for; for me personally I like to have a very pale foundation that will cover my skin all day without needing to reapply it, which is why I prefer the L'Oréal Paris Infallible 24hr and the Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream as they both manage to do both of those things well and no one wants to look like an Oompa Loompa after all! Until next time :)

Sunday, 13 August 2017

August Playlist!

Hello again guys; I've mentioned before how much I love listening to music when travelling, whether that's on the bus, the train or walking. I'm one of those strange people that still walks around with an old iPod, rather than using my iPhone. I don't know why, I just prefer to have the space that the music would take up on my phone on another device and I always loved iPods growing up. I've used one since I was thirteen years old and that's looking unlikely to change. I'm thinking that I should probably keep an iPod because I will eventually make time to go to a gym or a dance class and so music will make any form of excerise seem much less stressful; music can definitely change a mood. On my iPod I have so many playlists made up for different occasions; a positivity playlist, a cheesy playlist, a journeys playlist and many more. This month I've been loving a range of genres (like always) but I've refound my love of the band Placebo.

1. No More Sad Songs - Little Mix
2. Meds - Placebo
3. Speakerphone - Rixton
4. Black Magic - Little Mix
5. Skyscraper - Demi Lovato
6. Hips Don't Lie - Shakira (feat. Wyclef Jean)
7. Hard Times - Paramore
8. Infra-Red - Placebo
9. Sorry Not Sorry - Demi Lovato
10. Still Into You - Paramore
11. Learn To Love Again - Lawson
12. Elastic Heart - Sia
13. Wild Things - Alessia Cara
14. Treat You Better - Shawn Mendes
15. The Never-Ending Why - Placebo

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Book Review: The Essex Serpent

I'm the worlds worst for choosing books based on a beautiful cover and this one is definitely no exception to that rule. Sarah Perry has crafted an intriguing novel, set in Victorian London and coastal Essex. Upon starting the novel I wasn't really sure what to expect; starting with the background of a widow who arrives in Essex with her sensitive and slightly eccentric child Francis and his Nanny Martha. As a reader you assume that Cora's reasons for moving to Essex are to grieve her husband, however fairly early on in the novel it becomes clear that this is not the case at all. From a modern day perspective, it was obvious that her husband was undeniably rich, judging by the way the family can just relocate without having to find any work but it was also made clear that her husband was abusive but mentally and physically. Cora is an unusual character, she goes against the grain of the average Victorian female as she refuses to conform to the idealisations of her gender, wearing no make up and regularly dressing in men's clothing.

Cora's natural instinct for curiosity is aroused through a London acquaintance making her aware of some bizarre happenings further into Essex, correlating with the title of the novel. The Essex Serpent comes across as a bit of a joke, a superstition of the villagers and something that seemingly drives the vicar into massive bouts of anger, which he eventually does take out on a statue. Cora definitely becomes free after her husband dies, I suppose in terms of Victorian England she's very different to other women, which presumably is why so many of the males in the book find themselves enamoured with her. One of the men who were desperate for her affections was a Doctor, the one who cared for her sick husband before his death. He is described as very intelligent, but facially ugly and unfortunately doesn't hold much to Cora other than companionship. He's incredibly jealous of the life she makes for herself in Essex. Much of the content of the book is voiced through hearsay and the characters thinking and believing things that from a modern day perspective, clearly couldn't be true, or at least are an exaggeration. 

Another aspect of the plot that worked really well was that of Martha and Charles; essentially the rich benefactor that bought his way into caring for the poor families across the streets of London. Charles quite clearly has feelings for Martha and ultimately although she is aware of this and doesn't reciprocate, she enjoys his company purely for the 'greater good', which she believes would eventually help bridge the huge gap between the rich and the poor that was the everyday strife of growing up in Victorian London. There are many themes set about in this novel, including science, superstition, mental illness, sexuality, sexual desire and unrequited love. None of the characters have many redeeming features to them and rarely have a happy ending; the affair between Cora and the Vicar whilst his mentally ill wife is aware is fairly scandalous, regardless of the era, but it was an excellent plot twist.

Overall, this novel was very hard going; in linguistic style it reminded me a lot of Dickens, although I would also argue that it was not only structured better, but delivered better. Although there were many characters spread out amongst the pages, as a reader you were introduced to each one and they were laid out in depth which made them feel far more real than simply letters on a page. Perry writes beautifully, that was clear very early on in the novel and the many themes running through the chapters seamlessly through the extensive characterisation and interweaving love triangles. When I started this book, I really wasn't impressed; it was difficult and definitely the kind of novel that you have to give a lot of time and energy to it before it begins to shape. However, once I read roughly 200 or so pages, I found myself more into it than I had previously realised. I would recommend this novel, but only if you're willing put the time and effort into appreciating it, it's not one for everyone.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

The Harry Potter Tag

Favourite book?

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban has always been my absolute favourite; I read it when I was very young and I have so many regrets about giving my first editions to my cousins when I was a teenager. I've had to repurchase the whole series. I loved this book because it felt like Harry and his friends suddenly learnt a lot more about Harry's past and the introductions of Sirius and Lupin were great too as they became such strong characters throughout the series. 

Least favourite book?

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. That was a hard one as I do love each book, but if I'm honest I want a fan of the Goblet of Fire either, but Chamber of Secrets was the weaker of the two for me; I understand that this book carried a lot of hidden secrets for later on in the book, for example Harry speaking Parseltongue and Riddle's Diary but overall it's not one that stands out for me.

Favourite movie?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (I'm going to cheat and say both parts!) because by that point, the special effects were incredible, as well as the acting. It seems bizarre to think how much the main characters had grown compared to the first film. The main reason why I loved these films the most is that they really pulled at the heartstrings; there was so much to celebrate whilst so much to cry for, but it was great to see the final duel. My favourite part is probably the part where Dumbledore and Harry are reunited, or Snape's goodbye.

Least favourite movie?

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; words cannot explain how disappointed I was with this film. This film ruined the magic of the book for me; I felt like it was really bad cut and edited to the point that it missed out a lot of key parts, particularly the background of the marauders and also the time turner storyline was very badly explained so...

Favourite quote?

I actually have a few; 'It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live', 'happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light', 'We've all got both light and dark inside us. What matters most is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are' and finally 'It is our choices, Harry, that show who we truly are, far more than our abilities' are some of my favourites. I love how positive and wise these quotes are, they've stuck with me throughout my childhood and into my adulthood.

Favourite Weasley?

This is a really hard choice as the Weasley family are absolutely awesome, but in the books I'd have to say Ginny (but I disliked how the films portrayed, the actress was great but the storylines made her seem like an idiot) but overall I'd have to say Molly and Arthur are legends, in both the books and films. For a family of not a lot of money, they gave a lot in love and gave a family to an orphan without second thoughts.

Favourite female character?

It's definitely a battle between Hermione and Luna; I definitely saw a lot of myself in them both, although admittedly I was more similar to Luna growing up and I love how she is so caring. However, Hermione was the strong female heroine from the start and save Harry and Ron more than they even realised. Without Hermione the trio would have been very different, and of course lacking logic!

Favourite villain?

It's always been Bellatrix for me; she's the epitome of evil and such a great character. Completely insane and so, so terrifying! Helena Bonham Carter captured exactly what I'd imagined inside my head in the films too, she definitely brought the fear factor. Batty Crouch Jr. was a great character too, but he didn't have the skill of Bellatrix. Oh, and I almost forgot Umbridge; now she was a bitch!

Favourite male character?

I have so many it's actually a joke; Hagrid was great, as was Mr Weasley. However my favourite overall is definitely Lupin, as although he had his faults he was a fantastic role model to Harry and the others in many ways and gave a lot of time and energy into Harry, teaching him much more than a subject and magical skills. 

Favourite professor? 

This is hard; I loved McGonagall throughout the series and she was definitely the most protective of the students towards the end of the series, particularly the final few books but I've also always had a soft spot for Snape, whether it was him being an absolute bastard sand enjoying every moment of it, or when he shows his true colours when giving Harry his memories.

Is there a character you felt differently about in the movie?

As I said, I wasn't a fan of the film portrayal of Ginny compared to book Ginny; I feel like the actress was perfect but she wasn't shown as the bad ass witch she was in the later books. The other character I didn't like in the films was the young Lily Potter (mother of Harry) because she simply didn't look right with the brown eyes, although that's also true of Daniel Radcliffe but the blue blended better.

Is there a movie you preferred to the book?

Not as such, although I did enjoy the Chamber of Secrets and Goblet of Fire films more than I enjoyed the books, but that's likely due to the excitement that came from watching them in the cinema dressed up (I was young when they were made, haha!)

If you could remake any of the Harry Potter movies which would it be?

It has to be the Prisoner of Azkaban for me, I was so disappointed by that film in comparison to the book; however I feel like that was partly my high expectations as it was my favourite book of the series.

Which house was your first gut feeling you'd be part of?


Which house were you actually sorted into on Pottermore?

I've actually been sorted twice on Pottermore, ages ago when they had quite obvious house questions and then recently when they had more difficult questions; both times I got Gryffindor so I was super excited! I also sorted myself into Thunderbird from the Ilvermony School (basically American Hogwarts ahah)

If you could own one of the three Hallows, which would it be?

This is an easy question for me, it has to be the Invisibility Cloak! I love the idea of being able to hide whenever the need arises.

Is there any aspect of the books you'd want to change?

No; I know many people weren't keen on the final chapter of the Deathly Hallows, but I actually didn't mind it.

Favourite marauder?

This is super hard as it a tough call between Sirius and Remus, but I'm going to go with Padfoot!

If you could bring one character back to life, who would it be?

I'm going to cheat a little and say Lupin and Tonks; little Teddy deserves a family upbringing.

Hallows or Horcuxes?

Hallows, always.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

August Moodboard

Hello again guys! Before we start this post I want to make it clear that none of the images below are owned by me and I am definitely not passing them off as my work or anything like that; I know it's a bit dodgy to name Pinterest as a source, but that is truly where each and every one of them are from. Literally, though searching for 'ear piercings', 'floral tattoos' and 'perfume bottles' was how I found such a diverse set of images. At the moment I'm absolutely loving cute and dainty ear piercings; I myself have a lot of ear piercings but I wouldn't call any of them cute or dainty, but after looking at these images I'm definitely lusting after some new earrings to redecorate my ears with. Similarly, I do have a tattoo but I'm thinking about another and it's likely to be floral but I have no clue of the placement or design so I'm enjoying browsing through scores and scores of images for inspiration. Finally, I've rekindled my love for beautiful perfume bottles; visually my favourite will always be the Daisy range by Marc Jacobs or the stunning female bodies by Jean Paul Gaultier. I'm on a budget for the next few months so I'm enjoying lusting after things and thinking about the kinds of things that I could have if I chose to spend my money in a few months time - fingers crossed! What kinds of things are you loving this month? Let me know in the comments :)

Saturday, 5 August 2017

The Liebster Award Tag

Firstly, a huge thank you to the lovely imwithbeth (click her name to head to her blog, she's honestly one of the most supportive bloggers out there!) Beth actually tagged me in her Liebster Award post over on her blog, which is where I then got the inspiration for this post. I'm so excited to have been tagged in something like this, it's such an amazing thing to be included in; as a new(ish) blogger, I love using social media as a way of getting to know other bloggers. It's also great to read other blogs, there's so much talent and inspiration to be found in this world so it's fantastic to be a part of this community and I think a lot of people don't realise just how much time you spend on all of the different aspects of blogging; the photographs, the writing, the planning, etc. So this tag is the perfect way to commend bloggers for their hard work!

1. Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging mostly so that I could express my creativity. I studied Fine Art and Photography for many years and so I felt like I needed to use my degree in some way. I originally started this blog whilst I was at university, but it was always at the back of my mind until I finished university and was settled in a full time and repetitive job. About a year ago I decided to redesign my whole blog; the photography, the name, the brand overall and I haven't looked back since. I love getting my creativity out and most of all I really like expressing myself and having something that's truly 'mine'. It's really helped my mental health too by getting to know other bloggers and getting involved in the blogging communities. It's such a supportive place and I'm enjoying it; I don't blog to make money, I have a full time job so for me blogging is an enjoyable hobby.

2. What is a quote/motto you live by?

Honestly, there are so many things that I live by, but I guess the most important for me at the moment is 'it's ok not to be ok'. Over the past few weeks I've been really struggling with my mental health and that quote is really helping to remind me that I'm not alone and that I need to talk about it. However, another quote that I absolutely love is 'she believed she could so she did' as it's so empowering and inspiring. It's one of those things that you can apply to all of the different aspects to your life. I truly believe that attempting to think positively has a genuine affect on your mind.

3. If you could visit any place in the world where would it be and why?

I would love to visit Prague in Hungary. If I'm honest I'd love to see so many places around the world, although I do want to explore the many countries of Europe more than anywhere else. For the past couple of years I've wanted to go to Prague and I don't think I'll be disappointed if I ever manage to visit; although if there was only one place I could ever visit it would have to be Poland as I've really fallen in love with that country.

4. Where do you see your blog in 5 years?

I'd like to still be blogging, ideally but I don't want to be blogging as a job. I know that sounds bizarre as there are so many people looking for a career in blogging, but for me personally I like having a regular job (one that I enjoy) and using blogging as a way of finding happiness. I'd like to see myself still documenting my life, at whatever stage of life I'm at in five years. It's mad to think that I'll be 29 in five years! So, if I'm honest I have no idea where my blog will be at in five years!

5. Who is your favourite blogger/influencer?

There are so many bloggers that I've loved over the years, but my favourites are probably Liv Purvis from WhatOliviaDid and Carrie from WishWishWish. They're so naturally beautiful and chic with a penchant for beautiful items and I feel like they have really lovely taste. I must a admit, I'm a sucker for those who blog in London as I grew up in London so I just enjoy seeing new and exciting parts of the city that I never realised existed before.

6. What advice would you give to new bloggers?

I would say don't start blogging to become famous, or to make thousands of pounds as that's so unlikely to happen; there's so many other things to blogging and there is a great community out there. Although it's difficult, it's also important to stop comparing yourself to other bloggers as no two blogs are the same, just like no two people are the same; it's all about individuality and creativity above anything else.

7. What is your biggest fear?

I've got a ridiculous list of things that bother me; I'm not a fan of heights, deep water amongst so many other things. I'm also afraid of having my mental health get worse, of being alone too much. They're all fears that are fairly irrational, but they're terrifying for me all the same and I hate how much some of these fears can literally take over my life at times.

8. What is your favourite tv series?

This is a hard one actually. If you asked me when I was younger it would have definitely been Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Friends, and The Simpsons but I have to admit that currently I'm not massively into watching lots of tv anymore as I prefer YouTube or reading (yes I'm a bit sad like that haha) but if I had to choose then I'm a big fan of Doctor Who, Broadchurch and Outnumbered. 

9. What is your favourite accessory?

I'm a massive jewellery fiend; I literally always have some kind of jewellery somewhere on my body (with 19 piercings that's hardly a surprise) so I always have earrings or rings on, although it's more likely to be earrings. However in terms of fashion accessories my favourite for the summer months would be shoes and in the winter months scarves; if I could live in autumn all year round I would, I absolutely love autumn fashions and accessories.

10. If you could only eat one item of food for the rest of your life what would it be?

Anything with potatoes! I absolutely love any kind of meal that involves potatoes somehow, whether that's chips, hash browns, wedges, jacket potatoes etc. so I'd be pretty happy to live on something that includes that kind of food for the rest of my life as that's more or less what I already do!

11. What can you not live without?

There are so many things I can't live without; in a literal sense, air, food and water but in the sense of luxuries then I couldn't be without my phone, my handbag and also my friends and family; without them I actually don't know what I'd do in terms of my day to day life. As this is a bloggers tag I feel like I should say that I couldn't live without my blog too ;)

Below are the 11 bloggers I have decided to tag with a link to their blogs:

So that leaves me with some questions for the 11 blogs I have tagged:

1. Why did you start blogging?
2. What are your current blogging goals?
3. If money wasn't an issue what would you want to do with your life?
4. Where do you see your blog in 5 years?
5. What would you describe your blogging style (e.g. Lifestyle, Beauty) as and why?
6. What advice would you give to new bloggers?
7. What is your biggest fashion or beauty faux pas?
8. What is your favourite beauty item?
9. What is your favourite form of social media?
10. What tools of the trade would you recommend to new bloggers?
11. Would you ever stop blogging?

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