Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Ten things that I cannot do (or choose not to)

1 || Cook a white sauce. Growing up, I was a dreadful cook. My defining food technology moment was cooking a cake so flat that it could be used as a frisbee, and that was nothing to say of the egg shells that lined the bottom. And whilst I still have the occasional disaster (does anyone else have the inability to say disaster now without sounding like Craig Revel Horwood?), I enjoy cooking and I'm not half bad at it. That being said, I cannot make a white sauce. Ever. I try. I try every time. But it usually results in floods of tears, bad tempers and general misery. My macaroni cheese? Cheats macaroni cheese. It's a god send.

2 || Apply liquid eyeliner. I just can't do it. No matter how many YouTube tutorials I have watched.

3 || Walk past a dog, without saying 'Dog, Dog, Dog' in the style of a three year old. Of course, I do walk past dogs when I am alone, in which case, I am sensible enough to know that this is something that I should only say in my head. Of course, poor Dan has been known to get text messages with just 'Dog' repeated over and over again.

4 || Make coffee. It's either turbo charged or dirty water. Better to stick with tea if you pop in for a visit. And I do make a blooming good cup of tea.

5 || Make weak tea. Apparently I make Northern tea, which in my mind, is how tea should be made. Orange, strong and without any sugar. That is a blooming good cup of tea, and if you think otherwise, well, the fault lies with you.

6 || Home waxing. Shudder.

7 || On that note, I can't pluck my own eyebrows either. Thank goodness for my recent discovery of brow bars. I know, I rather missed the memo on that one.

8 || Spell genuinely or jewellery. On the whole, I am fairly good at spelling (look at me, blowing my own trumpet here), but I am genuinely bad at spelling jewellery (sorry). A lot of spell check had to happen right there. Genuinely.

9 || Have one glass of wine.

10 || Ride a bike. Or even drive a car. Apparently, my favoured form of transportation is walking.

Monday, 15 December 2014

2014 best of || beauty

I realise that it is a bit of a cliche, but I genuinely have absolutely no idea where 2014 has gone. It seems like just days ago we were seeing the New Year in with a bottle of fizz watching Jool's Hootenanny, and now we are a mere stone's throw away from Christmas and the new new year. Terrifying.

But like any good blogger, I thought I would look back at this year's favourites,  starting off with my favourite beauty bits and pieces of the year.

Vaseline || link Hardly a groundbreaking or earth shattering revelation here, but for some inexplicable reason (I can only imagine that I had a temporary moment of forgetfulness), I had completely forgotten about the very existence of Vaseline. But now, I could sing about it's wonders until the cows come home. Lucky for you, I won't, because let's be honest, it hardly needs an introduction does it? But this little pot is really wonderful stuff. My personal favourite? Slathering it on your eyebrows at night to help with growth on sparse brows such as mine. Miracle Grow.

Clarins Instant Concealer || link I hadn't really found a concealer that I loved until a few unsightly blemishes and a wedding to attend later that day saw me scurrying to the Clarins counter. The Instant Concealer is a complete game changer. It can be used on spots, and marks, alongside under your eyes and blends like a dream for an entirely natural and entirely flawless coverage.

Ponds Hydro Nourishing Cream || link A wonderful little moisturiser, without any bells or whistles, for smooth and nourishing skin. Cheap as chips too.

Sanctuary Spa Comforting Night Butter || link 2014 could be renamed the year that I fell in love with all things lavender. I suspect that this is because I am now in my late twenties and much prefer staying in with a cup of tea and a good book. Needless to say, this body butter is packed full of lovely lavender scents which makes it an instant hit in my books. Oh, and it's a luxurious treat for your skin too. All good stuff.

 Kiehl's Washable Cleansing Milk || link A fairly recent discovery for me, but a rather good one. Kiehl's cleansing milk is a non-lathering cream that once applied, is washed off with a little warm water. It is ideal for sensitive skin and leaves skin clean and cleansed after use. It is simple and effective, and my skin is all the better for it.

Seventeen Falsifeye HD Mascara || link I do not have one bad word to say about this mascara by Seventeen. It is without a shadow of a doubt, excellent. When I lost the original, I had a small meltdown and hopfooted it down to Boots to pick up a replacement. This is a great mascara for defining and lengthening lashes, and is perfect for every day. It does not clump, it does not smudge, and is easy to remove. And at under £7, it will not break the bank either.

Max Factor Colour Corrector Stick || link The Max Factor Colour Corrector Stick for undereyes is the perfect remedy for one too many late nights. This instantly conceals large bags, leaving eyes fresh as a daisy. Plus, it's ridiculously easy to use. A couple of swipes, a smudge of blending and you are good to go.

Clarins Blush in Soft Peach || link A perfect blush for a natural flush. I was going to attempt to write this little blurb entirely in rhyme, but I am not talented or patient enough. However, what you need to know about this lovely blush is that it is lightweight, wonderfully pigmented and long lasting.

Rimmel Scandaleyes Liner in Nude || link Rimmel's nude liner caused quite a stir throughout the year, and for good reason. A dash of this on your waterline instantly wakens up eyes. What did we do before this existed?

MoroccanOil Hydration Creme || link This is a moisturiser for your hair, that is free from nasties, and can be used on wet or dry hair. It is a miracle worker for dry hair, and a little goes along way. It banishes frizz, controls poofy hair, and adds definition. Without a doubt, it is worth it's slightly hefty price-tag.

What have been your beauty favourites this year?

Sunday, 14 December 2014

this week's ten lovely things

Another Sunday, and another week closer to Christmas Day! Is it me or does everyone seem to be feeling particularly festive this year? There is definitely a Christmas cheer in the air, and I am absolutely loving it.

1 || I don't want to brag here, but this year, I got to decorate two Christmas trees. Oh yes, that's just what I do these days. If anyone needs a hand, you know where I am...

2 || Listening to Sufjan Steven's Christmas Album. A slightly different take on festive tunes for when you are perhaps a little Sladed out.

3 || I have been really enjoying watching Fleur De Force's Vlogmas. Whilst I am certainly not the target audience for a few of the big YouTube stars, there is something so wonderful about Fleur's style and attitude, and I have been enjoying her daily festive round-ups.

4 || Getting on with some serious wedmin. Invites chosen, guest list done (for the second time, the original got lost) - my guest spreadsheet is a thing of beauty.

5 || Reading and finishing Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes in one day. Without a doubt one of the best books I have read this year.

6 || Watching Love Actually and Elf in one day. Festive film overload? Never.

7 || Mince pies from the local bakers. Delicious.

8 || Spending time with little miss Marple, perhaps the cutest of all dogs.

9 || Father Christmas riding on his sleigh pulled by reindeer, whilst playing Michael Buble and The Darkness, coming past our house on Saturday night. I was at home unwell and feeling sorry for myself on the sofa

10 || Writing Christmas cards and wrapping presents to put under the tree.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Recent reads

one || Daughter by Jane Shemilt
I wanted to love this book. I had heard such wonderful things, and for the large part, I did. The mystery and intrigue that ran through the book as we tried to figure out just what had happened to the protagonist's, Jenny, daughter was captivating. The large amount of characters were thoroughly despicable, perhaps with the exception of Bertie the dog, but my opinions on characters is that the more villainous, the better. What I did not love about this book, was the ending. The narrative takes you down one path, a perfectly logical path, if not a little far fetched, to explain what did happen to Naomi. But then, boom. Something else happens. Something that in my opinion, ruined what was an excellent read. And perhaps it's like marmite, and some people might love the ending, but to me, it was a disappointing book to an otherwise great read.

two || A Christmas to Remember by Jenny Hale
I adore Christmas books. I've also loved Jenny Hale's two other books that she has published, and so, I was very excited to find out that she had released another book, centered around what undoubtedly has to be the most magical time of year, December, and the run up to Christmas. As with Jenny Hale's other reads, a budding romance is at the heart of the book. Carrie, the female protagonist, takes up a Nanny position to the mysterious, yet charming Adam, and his two young children. Adam is a workaholic, and doesn't pay much attention to his family, or to Christmas. Allie is set to change all that, and this is the story of what happens along the way. As with any Jenny Hale book, this is an enchanting and romantic read, that will leave you feeling warm inside.

three || Keep Quiet by Lisa Scottoline*
Keep Quiet by Lisa Scottoline asks a simple question: when Jake Buckman lets his sixteen year old son, Ryan, drive his car on a deserted street, he hits and kills a female runner. What should he do? Does he admit Ryan's responsibility or do they drive home as if nothing has happened? This is the question that runs through the book, and Keep Quiet is a gripping read because of the consequences that follow Jake's decision.   The book spirals into doom, and at times it is impossible to see how Jake and Ryan will get through the mess that they have made. For the large part, I really enjoyed Keep Quiet. It is the story of how an ordinary family can quickly get caught up in something unsavoury and face ruin. But just like Daughter,I felt that the ending let down what otherwise was an enjoyable read. I will not reveal what happened, but needless to say, it seemed far-fetched and outlandish. There is criticism that Hollywood films take the easy way out, and paint a happily ever after ending, and to some extent, this is what happened in this book. I didn't want the great American ending, I wanted a gritty ending that I felt the book was leading up to.

four || The Winter Gathering by Deirdre Purcell*
The Winter Gathering  is a simple tale of friendship, the trials and tribulations of daily life, set to the backdrop of Christmas, and looking forward to Christmas. The Winter Gathering is a story about five women - Maggie Quinn, and her friends, Mary, Jean, Lorna and Claudine, affectionately known as Dina. There is also the wonderful appearance of Flora the dog, who as quaint as it might sound, is key throughout the book. At first, I struggled to get into this book. Deirdre Purcell's style of writing has previously been described as at the literary end of chick-lit (I do diskike that term). She has a very unique style of writing and throughout the book, it is as if Maggie Quinn, is sitting in your living room telling you her troubles over a cup of tea. But it is worth persevering. The Winter Gathering is a story of life, and its characters are Deirdre Purcell's masterpiece. Every single character, no matter how small, from Flora the dog to Maggie Quinn herself, is painted wonderfully and is rich with detail. Each has a back story to tell, each has troubles to bear, and is very much a reminder that of the old phrase to be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle. The Winter Gathering is not a Christmas read with all the trimmings. It is much more than that, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.