Monday, 29 December 2014

Another Emma Hardie Review

I think every blogger with a passing interest in skincare has done this review and now it's my turn.

On the Saturday before Christmas, I took the boldly foolish decision to take my visiting mother to see some London shopping (I am currently not so excited by museums and galleries), I thought, where better to go than the world-famous Harrods.

Let's just say, I have seen sardine tins and Johannesburg Taxis with more elbow room.

But this story is not about the misadventure that is Harrods at Christmas time; it's about a lovely little apothecary, across the cobbled streets, warm and welcoming in the frozen morning; it's about Space NK and the incredible cleanser I bought there.

I saw it when we first arrived outside Harrods, and I simply had to go inside. It was wonderful and filled with temptation. The staff were kind and friendly without being pushy, as I slowly walked around gazing at all the magical potions before me. I wanted everything!

No! I had to exercise some self-control. After all I had just bought a new laptop and DSLR camera.
I could not leave this place empty-handed and when I saw the Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm, I could not resist. I had always assumed that it was very expensive, but £36 for 100ml does not seem all that bad to me, especially considering how long these products last.

I was in heaven and still have not had the heart to throw away any of the packaging. Is that weird?

The caveat is this - I have never used this product before, I am not and expert and this is my opinion so far.

My skin is normal to dry with patches, sensitive and always dehydrated. There is some redness and wrinkles (apparently also broken capillaries and enlarged pores).

I have heard good things about this product and so I felt compelled to try it.
I know that some people have had poor experience with the jar, but mine is still in one piece (for now) so I won't talk about that.

The aroma is fresh, calming and zesty (almost lemony maybe) without being too sharp or spicy. I can't quite describe it and I am not going to try.

It looks like whipped honey has the texture of soft butter, and as it warms, like an aromatic oil on your skin. It emulsifies in water and is so soft and lovely that you just want to keep working it into your skin. It cleanses really well and does not dry you out.

My face felt nourished and clean, without any residue at all left behind. I really felt pampered using this product.

The Lush cleansing balm tries very hard but fails utterly to compete with this gem. It may have a similar look, but it just does not cut it for me at all.

This particular jar came with a nifty little muslin cloth - muslin on one side, and normal flannel on the other. Most people love it. I do not. - I like each side individually (and will probably be getting some muslin cloths in the future as they do this lovely buffing thing that feels rather nice), but together, they just do not work for me. The reason is that they slide around and don't wipe your face properly. Maybe I just don't have the knack of holding them correctly.

I tried it on my mother too and she really enjoyed it. Her skin is even more sensitive than mine, and she could feel the benefits right away. I would really recommend this to those of you with slightly older, thirstier skin. It can really make a big difference.

I use it PM only as I want it to last, and still love my REN Cleansing milk for a lighter cleanse in the morning (I still use REN as the first cleanse if I'm doing a double).

What's your cleanser of choice?
Please don't say soap.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Storm in a Teacup - SportsDirect U Suck!

Mr C and I went to Sports Direct today.
Our mission was simple - Get a kidney belt for Mr C because he was in a car accident a few months ago his back really hurts so his mobility is limited and he needs some support.

We went to the branch at The Boulevard in Borehamwood.

We are not, as a rule, optimistic in our outlook, but when it comes to shopping, we have a tendency to dare to hope that we will get treated like human beings and not like trash when we enter a store. This, quite naively, also includes Sports Direct which, in retrospect is quite a dumb attitude to have because in the 4 years we have been here, we have had passable service maybe twice, three times at a push.

At first we thought it was because we were going to the East Croydon Branch, but we have been to a few around London and they are basically all the same: Bad attitudes (except for a small number of people who are nice but never seem to stay very long), bad service, aggressive and defensive, incompetent, indifferent, and very rude, and that's apart from their disappointing product ranges in-store and low quality merchandise.

In brief, Mr C approached the till where two young female employees were lounging over the counter having a chat. He politely asks the one staff member for the item he as looking for. in return he got a bleary-eyed look from the staff member, who said "what's that?" then turned to her colleague and said "He says he wants a kidney belt." So my husband told her that it was a support belt for his back, at which point, she replied "Oh that, they're somewhere over there." waving her hand in the general direction and immediately returning to her conversation, still lying over the counter like she could not be bothered to hold up her own body weight.

So naturally, our next stop was to the manager, to find out A. if there was any other product he could guide us towards, since the item described by the vague hand wave was not suitable, and B. to tell the manager about the SHIT service we got.

Oh my GOD! What a self-righteous PRICK! His only reaction was to get defensive and aggressive because we used the word shit. It was an accurate description for the service. We were not swearing at him or at his staff. We said the service was shit. Well how dare we swear at him and he will decide when service in his shop is bad and deal with it accordingly and he doesn't appreciate being sworn at and - He was quite mean and I felt threatened by him.  

Let me be perfectly honest, JD Sports is a shop I will not set foot in. Sports Direct staff, however, have been so nasty to me that they have made me cry on more than one occasion. Chris, the manager of the Borehamwood Sports Direct, was one of them today. I will not tolerate this any longer.

I have worked in retail, I have worked in hospitality, I have even packed flowers at a farm for Mother's Day so do not tell me that you can't expect more from people earning minimum wage and you can't tell me that staff behave that way because the company does not treat them well. As excuses go, those are pitiful and pathetic.

I will be taking this to head office, We already phoned today, by the customer care centre was closed. (Surprise!!)

I have been to many of the shops in the Boulevard and I cannot think of a shop there or on the High Street that treats its customers worse than Sports Direct.

The experience completely spoilt my day; and I do try so hard to have good days - it takes work these days; it doesn't just happen by itself any more.

Please feel free to recommend an alternative supplier of sportswear and shoes. I really hate SportsDirect!

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Year in Review - 2014

I am a little apprehensive about this post, but I'll do it anyway.


This year was a devastating trial that may take years to heal from. I lost my first born, and I have never felt so much pain in my life.

I have tried, over the past months, to find some peace and healing. Mr C and I went to bereavement counselling (which helped a lot), I tried to go back to work (short story - I tried to work at a school - 2 weeks - I didn't like it. I went to work for a little local company doing office work - I was having a bad patch and was not coping well. So I left after 6 weeks).

We also bought a Pug puppy. Her name is Pugsleigh. She is very sweet and quite a smart little monkey, to the cat's dismay. They chase each other around a lot ad it drives me mad.

Mr C and I were in a car accident and our little Fiesta was written off and so we got a Mini Cooper. The accident added so much stress, I can't even begin to tell you.

I have also struggled with my health in these past few months. I have a shiny new kidney stone (5mm) in my right kidney and might have developed asthma. I also put on a lot of weight, so my GP sent me to Weight Watchers.

I have lost 9.5lb (4.4kg), a result I am happy with. Mr C will be joining me in January.
I may share some recipes, if you like.

We have also made some new friends and settled nicely into our new neighbourhood. We moved in April. I don't think I mentioned it.

There was much more activity this year,too. If I look back on the blog, I realise how much I learned and what I got up to - like going to Summer in the City, going to the YouTube offices to learn stuff and visiting some beauty shows.

2014 was full of pain and loss, and I hope the new year will bring new hope and a better 2015.

This was not much of a review, I know.  The blog took a nose dive and I hope to spend more time on it.

Anyway, Hope you have a good festive season and a Happy New Year!

Monday, 8 December 2014

Today I Blogged

Sometimes I feel like I start every post with an apology and it feels like a confession.
This blog is irregular. That's just the way it is. 

It's been almost eight months since I lost my girl and it's not getting any easier to cope.

In the last two months, I've tried a few things to move forward and get out and about. For a start, I got a job at a primary school, thinking I would go into teaching. That did not work out. I lasted two whole weeks before I just couldn't handle the chaos any more. So I started working part time for a company with local offices. That lasted a month. I resigned today. Lesson of the day - do not try to work for a company  that does things differently and feels chaotic and confusing, if you are barely hanging on to your own sanity. 

We've also adopted a little pug puppy. Her name is Pugsleigh and she is very sweet, apart from when she terrorises the cat and is hyper an naughty. She is small and cuddly and smart as a whip. She can already sit stay and lie down. It's very sweet.

On the health side of things, scans have confirmed that I have a 5mm kidney stone that is not blocking or causing mayhem, so they have decided to leave it be and check it out in a year's time. They also found a benign 2.4cm growth on my adrenal gland, but haven't said anything about it. I have completed all the tests related to my breathing and should get an answer tomorrow.

I have finished the physiotherapy from my whiplash injury from the September car accident and have also completed all the tests to find out why we are struggling to conceive. Everything came back clear and normal. 

My consultant recommended I lose weight to help with that, so I was referred to Weight Watchers. I joined two and a half weeks ago and lost four pounds in my first week and two pounds last week. My weigh-ins are on Wednesday nights, which, strangely enough, is a really good day for it. 

The weather has changed and the cold has set in. I have not kept up with my skincare and my nails are badly bitten down.

I've bought myself an entry level DSLR Canon Camera (1200D) in the hope of motivating me to do more blogwise. Mr C also bought me a new laptop (a lovely little HP) - mine was more than 4 years old. 

I make no promises on regularity, or anything else for that matter.

All I can say is today, I blogged.

See you next time.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Cough Splutter

I still don't know what I'm doing with this blog. In fact, I still don't know what I'm doing with my life.
I can feel the time wasting away. The last six months have been horrific. I have been sitting, waiting to get pregnant again; waiting for life to get back onto the track that I believed it should be on.

I started a job last week; working as a lunchtime supervisor at a primary school. I thought it would give me something to do and maybe some clue as to whether I should go into teaching. I am still undecided, and at 37, it's getting a bit late in the day to not know what to do with your life.

I cannot express the frustration of feeling lost and not knowing your place in the world.

On top of that, I'm sick, so I am not exactly in the best place.

It seems to me that most of this blog, despite the best intentions has been a bit of a moany space.

I've come to accept that and I'm just going to go with it. When life changes, so will the content of the blog, I guess.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Dieting with MyFitnessPal

With everything that's happened in the last five years, I have put on a lot of weight. A lot.
I won't tell you how much I weigh. What I will tell you is that the journey ahead will be long and anything but easy. In the first place, I have to battle my own laziness when it comes to preparing healthy lunches (Dinner is seldom a problem for some reason), and the fact that, being at home, I have a tendency to boredom eat (along with other emotions).

This weekend, I decided enough was definitely enough. I am at my heaviest weight. I can't buy nice clothes, I am always tired and all my joints hurt. I am so unfit that I am sore and out of breath after walking up just one flight of stairs.

It's madness.

I decided not to wait until Monday to begin. Monday starts have never worked for me and I figured if I was going to take my diet seriously, I shouldn't wait for even one day.

My diet is not overly complicated. I just limit my daily diet to 1400 calories, try to not eat junk food and have more fruit and vegetables; just your basic healthy food choices.

Several months ago, a colleague of Mr C recommended an Android app called MyFitnessPal.

It allows you to track your caloric intake and exercise. It also has advanced settings if you want to fulfill certain nutritional and exercise goals.

Right now, I am just logging calories, but my plan is to become a more advanced user over time.

The nice thing about this app that I find so convenient is its database of products and the barcode reader.

I have yet to find something that it won't read and recognise. I can even go to restaurants and eat a nice meal and the app can help me choose my meal.

So far, it's been three days and so far so good.

I'll keep you posted.
Bye for now

Thursday, 28 August 2014

What I've Learned - Nail Polish

As I may have mentioned once or twice, I never went through the high school experimenting phase and have had to learn everything in my thirties.

I am a nail biter. I have been battling this for a very long time and I have found that, while I relapse regularly, the best way for me to not bite is to wear nail polish. However, if I wear too much, or if I wear nail polish (like Essie) which can be a bit rubbery, I peal it off, which is not good for my nails at all.

I am also a cuticle chewer and have yet to figure out how to keep that in check and get that pretty, smooth edge to my nails. So if anyone has any ideas please do not hesitate to enlighten me.

I have been trying to perfect nail polish application for a while now and while I am getting better, not every effort meets success. I cannot tell you how many times I have removed freshly applied nail polish over and over again until I have given up.

These are some basics I have learned so far:

When it comes to application, always use a base coat. It prevents your nails from staining.
The top coat makes the polish glossier and makes it last longer.
Have good lighting.
Go slowly . If I go anything close to fast, it just smears and gets onto skin and, well, you get the idea.
Take your time. For me getting nails right can take hours. This is because I have not figured out how to get my nails to dry faster.
Putting your nails in cold water supposedly helps it dry faster. It has not worked in my experience.
Don't use to much polish on a coat. this is particularly difficult if your polish has lost it's brand new consistency and has gone a bit thick and gloopy.
Having a hot shower, even when you think your nail polish is 100% dry is not a good idea. It just smooshes off. This was a very unhappy discovery.
Do not try very carefully to open doors, get things out of your hand bag or pockets. It will end in tears. Don't do anything at all. Just stay still, as if you were hunting Wabbits.

If you are messy and clumsy like me, get some cheap latex gloves. Wear them to do your toes. Then, take one off and paint that hand. When that hand is smooth dry, put a glove on that hand and do the other hand.
If you have to do any corrections that require nail polish remover (or if you are removing nail polish from toes), wear the gloves to protect you current nail polish from being damaged. This was an idea I came up with and tried because I often have to touch up or wipe corners and it just gets messy. I really like this idea and encourage you to try it and share it.

I have yet to discover how to get edges perfect. I have watched YouTube videos about this and, well, I still haven't got it right.

I do not know how to fix gouges and stop polish from fading at the edges. There is a lot still to learn, but I will get there and I will eventually get really good at it. I have enough polish to practice on, so why not. I do think, however, that should invest at least a little bit of time finding out other people's tricks and such and not try to figure it out all on my own.

What are your little gems when it comes to nail polish?
Please tell me in the comments below.
See ya.

Friday, 22 August 2014

REN Clarimatte Clarifying Toner - All Finished

So last week I wrote about the REN cleanser I bought eons ago, but I didn't mention that at the same sort of time, I bought  the REN Clarimatte Clarifying Toner as well.

Now, I am quite sure that neither product was supposed to last so interminably long, but as I wasn't overly regular with my skincare, they lasted a super long time.

This toner was another recommendation by Mrs Hirons and if my face is anything to go by, I think we should all listen to her. I was told to use it as an acid toner to remove dead skin cells, balance out the skin and prepare it for the skincare that goes on top.

According to the REN website,  the REN Clarimatte Clarifying Toner is "a refreshing exfoliating toning lotion that unclogs pores and sloughs off dead skin leaving the complexion looking clear, smooth and even toned. Reduces the appearance of pore size and oiliness while its antimicrobial action minimizes the appearance of future breakouts."

Glycolic Acid from Pineapple Extract, Lactic Acid from Passion Fruit, Citric Acid from Lemon Extract and Tartaric Acid from Grape Extract
I am not a breakouty person, so I can't really say if this product made a difference there and I am not so sure about the pore minimizing, but again, I haven't been all that regular in my routine of late, so I can't judge that either.

The product itself has a herby, almost medicated smell but it is actually quite nice (to my nose, anyway). If you don't like the smell, don't worry, it goes away almost instantly.

I have dry skin and the Clarimatte range is for oily to combination skin, but this toner did not really dry me out. In fact, it left my face feeling smooth and soft. The cleanser toner combination have made a significant difference to my skin to the point that I have mostly eliminated dry patches from my face.

When I first started this skincare lark, I had a Clinique foundation that I could not use because it just clung to all those little patches and you could really see how bad my skin was if I was wearing makeup (kind of the opposite effect that one generally goes for.)

The other day, I wore said foundation and it looked really nice (so glad I didn't throw it away when I thought it was too drying for my skin).

Toner bottle warns of potential stinging. I never felt any stinging at all; it was just cool and calm and lovely.

Occasionally, when my skin feels a bit rough, I will use an exfoliator (Body Shop Vitamin C) then cleanse; tone etc. I am not too heavy duty on my skin, I don't think, and my routine is still pretty basic (I am still considering adding an eye cream to my regime), but I haven't felt the need for anything to drastic. The goal of this whole project was to minimise the first signs of ageing, which these products have done in a big way.

The price of this toner is also in the midrange, and at £12 for 150ml it definitely won't break the bank. As a first introduction to modern toners it has impressed me and set the benchmark really high for any other products I try, because, let's face it, I'm a girlie girl now and new things must be tried and tested. That is what this whole adventure is about. (and a part I really do enjoy).

So REN Clarimatte Clarifying Toner, effective, well priced and elegantly packaged (pretty sort of squeezy bottle). What more do you actually want?

I do confess that this is by no means an expert review, and in the years to come, I change my tune and know better, but somehow, I doubt it.

REN is a good brand. That is all.

What toners do you use and why?
What should I try next?
Comment below or tweet me @becomingiris to share your thoughts!

See ya later. Bye.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk Review

Hello all the people.

I wanted to write a blog post today, but I wasn't quite sure what I would write about. This hasn't been a good week so far, and I have wanted to blog since Monday, but just didn't have it in me.

To get me going, I decided to write a little post about REN; a lovely, understated brand recommended to me by my skincare hero, Caroline Hirons.

As readers may know, last year I had the privilege of meeting Mrs Hirons and was able to ask her key questions on saving my skin.

One of her recommendations was REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk. This product feels more like a cream that a milk, with a smooth texture and a smell I really like.

It cleans beautifully and leaves your skin feeling soft, clean and clear, with no residue or greasiness.
My skin is dry and the older I get, the dryer it becomes. I also get easily dehydrated and this gentle cleanser does not dry me out or strip my skin in any way, quite the opposite really; when i use it my skin feels quite bright and nourished.

It is excellent for both morning and evening; whether you are wearing makeup or not.

I really like the packaging, which pushes the product up as you use it, rather than having that little tube thing that you have to aim around the bottle when you are running out, and the pump releases just the right amount of product. I usually use one to one and a half pumps, smoosh it all over my face and neck (dry or damp) and then take it off with a face cloth that I have rinsed in hot water. It all feels so nice and pampery.

I am not super regular with my routine at the moment but when I do it, I can feel the difference instantly. I remember being absolutely amazed when I first used it. It made such a visible difference to the texture and condition of my skin. I felt like years had been taken off. I cannot praise this product enough to be honest.

I do not have that much experience with a range of cleansers, but I have tried a few drugstore ones that have left the tight feeling or that have made no difference at all, and you may as well not have bothered. I have also tried the Lush cleansing balm that, while many people love it, I cannot bear that greasy, waxy film it leaves behind (not to mention how it stains my face cloths yellow.)

According to the REN website, you can get REN products at Liberty of London, Space NK, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, ASOS and some independent retailers in the UK (including Amazon). Priced at £16.00 form 150ml, you can't go wrong here.

REN have a selection of ranges for various skincare needs and the Evercalm range is designed for sensitive skin. For those familiar with this brand, the range used to be called Hydra-Calm.

As an added bonus, REN skincare does not put nasties in products so you won't find "Synthetic fragrance, mineral oil, petrolatum, sulfate detergents, synthetic colours, animal ingredients and parabens," according the website.

"REN products do not contain potential irritants including: glycols and diglycols (such as propylene glycol), PEG's, PPGs, urea, D.E.A, T.E.A, PABA and other synthetic sunscreens, aliphatic alcohols/hydrocarbons, phthalates, fumarates, amines, alkanolamines, synthetic AHAs/BHAs, polyacrylamide, metacrylate, elastomer, poloxamer, styrene, vinyl, polyquaternium, synthetic chelating agents, nylon, nitriles, nitrates, nitrosamine releasers, bromates, fluor, aluminum and alumina et al."

So there you go.

I suppose I should be giving this some kind of rating. How about a Newbie Seal of Approval. Start as you mean to go on, best foot forward and all that. It's basically a winner for me.

What's your winning skincare product?

Comment below or tweet me @becomingiris to share the newbie knowledge!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

My Girly Stuff Storage

I may not be the neatest person, but I thought I would share my current makeup and skin care collection and storage.

I like charity shops. In fact, our current home was furnished almost exclusively from charity shops. We not only saved a bundle this way, but found some very nice, quirky pieces too.

Recently, I was browsing in one of my local charity shops and found the cutest little mini chest of drawers that I thought would be perfect for storing all my girly paraphernalia.

The top drawers have been used for nail polish, lipstick and mascara.

It seems that I have quite a bit of room to grow here, especially where lip products are concerned.

The Next drawer is full of face products from eyeliners and shadows to blushes, bronzers and foundations.

For the sake of neatness, I use the bottom half of some Glossy Boxes to get the job done. The postage boxes they came in have been repurposed to store spare toiletries and such in the linen closet.

Drawer number three kind of shows where my proclivities lie, in that I can't actually fit everything in there. It's skincare. 

The size of the containers certainly doesn't help.

The last drawer keeps all my tools. Can you guess my favourite brand of brushes?

There's plenty of space here for expansion.

I also use the top of the chest for perfume, skincare extras and hair stuff. I have a lot of hair and not that much hair stuff. 

You see that bright pink spray bottle on the right there? It's VO5 heat spray for protecting hair from drying. I just bought it recently and I must say, I am very impressed. It smells really nice, does not leave any residue or gunkiness on my hair and my hair has been handling the drying much better - no breaking or burning or anything. I am well chuffed. Just thought I'd mention it. 

Now you know how I keep my my stuff. Wasn't that such fun?

How do you store yours?

Comment below or tweet me @becomingiris and let me know!

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Summer in the City 2014 Gets off to a Screaming Start in London

Today was the first day of London-based YouTube convention, Summer in the City (SiTC). In its sixth year, this event offers YouTube fans from the UK and Europe a chance to meet their favourite creators, while spending time with others who share their interests.

Devoted fans began to gather and queue at 04:30 in the morning and by the time the doors opened at 11:00, thousands of young YouTube viewers and creators were amassed in the sunny courtyard of Alexandra Palace.

Organised by YouTubers, Tom, Liam, Dave, Luke, and Jazza, the event offered a mix of panels and presentations, signings and meet-ups, as well as booths, gaming stations, lounging areas and merchandising stands.  

Visitors were able to test out new games, learn more about the Raindance Film Festival or stop at the YouTube stand where fans and creators could ask questions and request help with their channels. 

The YouTube stand also showcased the GoogleGlass prototype, a device that, if priced correctly, may revolutionise how people engage with media.

This year’s panel discussions catered to a range of interests from comedy, collaborations and gaming to LGBT, Women’s issues, politics and BookTube as well as a much anticipated, packed-out Q&A session with SprinkleofGlitter.

Many fans queued for hours to meet their favourite YouTubers, get signatures and pictures, or watch them perform on the main stage.

For the first time, SiTC hosted a YouTube awards ceremony, recognising local creators for their achievements. Several popular YouTubers received their silver play button awards for reaching 10 thousand subscribers, while five channels earning their gold buttons for reaching one million.

The screaming at the ceremony was deafening, particularly for award hosts Dan and Phil.

Organisers were prepared, however, for the thousands of fans, with 16 first aiders on hand and a tent for those who would be likely to faint.

The day was finished off with music performances by BriBry, Tessa Violet and Mr Weebl.

SiTC 2014 also introduced an additional day to the event, specifically designed for creators with a line-up of informative panels and workshops aimed at supporting YouTube creators increase their following, production values and encourage up and coming YouTube creators to produce good content.

This year’s event was sponsored by YouTube; Disney; MakerStudios; Plaid Social Labs; Rightster; Play Station; Base79; Viral Spiral; Get Taxi; Just Eat and Young Mobile.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

I Left the House and I Liked It

This week, the incomparable Pixiwoo sisters, Nic and Sam, from Real Techniques are touring around the UK, promoting their brush line and meeting their devoted fans. If you haven't been to a meet up, you are missing out. They are the loveliest, most genuine women I have met in a long time.

I had the pleasure of attending their meet and greet at Superdrug Marble Arch this week and was pleasantly surprised to find that they, and their Real Techniques Brand Manager, Stacey DeGarmo, remembered me from last year's meet.

Last Year
Last Year
This year, I ventured a little further and popped into a few delicious beauty outlets for the very first time ever. First, I went into Liberty of London (oh, so pretty), but I didn't stay long. I just bought 1 thing!

REN Cleansing Milk - Repurchase
Then it was time to discover the joys of Pixi; the sweetest looking shop where again, I bought 1 thing!
Yay for me and my self-control!

Pixi Glow Tonic - Recommended by Caroline Hirons
With that little adventure out of the way (it had to be done, because I have no idea when I'll be in the neighbourhood again), I got to my final destination. An hour early. I was first in the queue. And it got long; really long.

Behind the Scenes - Setting up
Beautiful Brushes
Sam and Nic arrived and we had a little chat and had some hugs. We didn't natter for too long because of that really long queue.

It was really nice and I am glad I went. They even signed my shiny new brush (I bought a Stippling Brush, so I got this one as a present. I like presents).

I May Never Use This
Of course, we took pictures again.

Last Year
This Year

Thank you Ladies for a great day out for me! It was so very nice to see you again.

This is my Real Techniques brush collection – small, but growing.

So Purdy
It was a good day. I like those.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Dry Eyes are Like Global Warming

The other day, I went to my Tesco and had my eyes tested. To my surprise, the optometrist told me I had dry eyes. Well, no, it wasn't that much of a surprise. My mother had told me that her and her mom have something called Sj√∂gren’s Syndrome, which is an autoimmune thing that causes dry eyes, among other things.

When she told me and described the symptoms I was like ahhh, that's why my eyes get itchy, burny and tired and feel sandy and stuff.

It is also the reason that when I am trying very hard to get my eye makeup to look half decent, my eyes betray me and start watering all over the place.

Such fun!

So, dry eyes - super watery deluge flood.

I have booked a GP appointment for a diagnosis.

I will keep you posted. If you like.

I think I will go cut some cucumber slices and put them on my eyes right now.


Friday, 25 July 2014

My Skin Setup is a Mess so Back to the Drawing Board Again

Recently, I decided to buy more skin stuff. This was not a good idea. There is nothing wrong with the skin stuff I bought, although some of it leaves me feeling a little on the sticky side. The problem is I now have too much stuff. I tried to do the whole working wardrobe thing, as per Caroline Hirons' instructions, but I am, I fear, not that type of girl. I like things simple, and this has just overwhelmed me. Granted, I am currently in a state of mind where overwhelmed is my wheelhouse and happens at the drop of a hat, but still.

It's ridiculous really. All I bought was some Bioderma serum (I love that stuff) and moisturiser (I decided to use the rich one instead of the light- I prefer the light), some Body Shop moisturiser, serum and face spray (they were on 3for2), and those Clearasil toner pad things - those make my face feel greasy.

So, in theory, I still have a rather minimal stash. I mean, I literally have now got two of stuff instead of one. It's not such a big deal! So why all the drama in my head that seems to find drama in everything right now?

I think I simply got a bit over excited and tried too much too quickly and didn't get the result I hoped for (Plus it's been so boiling hot and humid; I'm not surprised my face felt yucky).

I still want to get some Pixi Glow Tonic, but that will have to wait. I've been going a bit mental with the shopping and the spending lately and it is not good.

The point is, I'm off the wagon again. Next step is to take a deep breath and just start simple again. Basic routine in the morning; something a bit more nourishing at night. My skin feels a bit worn out, and while it is tempting to throw the stash at it, that will not help. I need to just take it easy and be patient.

I also bought a Sanctuary face mask. I tried it once already. It's not miraculous, but it is nice. So I may do that for a little pick-me-up this weekend.

This taking care of yourself lark is quite hard.

Summer in the City Creator Day

Take two.

The previous post was supposed to be about the Summer in the City Creator Day event.
It turned out not to be.
So I'll try again.

I am going to this event and I am anxious about it.
I am not sure what to expect, but I am also quite excited. I may learn something and possibly get some courage to actually make a video.

I might go out and buy a new dress. Probably not an actual dress. I don't wear dresses. But buying something nice to wear sounds like a good plan.

I saw that someone made business cards to give out. It sounds like an excellent idea.
having said that; this blog is a bit shambley at the moment and needs focus.
I'll give it some thought and run it past Mr C.
It is a nicer way of sharing contact details.

Blah. I think I'll keep it simple and just buy some clothes. Maybe some shoes.

I like this plan. It is a good plan.

I hope to see you there then.

I Am Weird. With Tangents

I came across this event this week. I honestly did not know it existed.

Mr C said I should go. Try get out for the house and meet people.  He thinks I've been hiding away from the world. He is probably not wrong.

Sometimes I think I am coping better than I really am. I was looking for a picture to update my facebook page with, because the one I have is ghastly, and I looked at a few blog entries from my pregnancy. I was already showing symptoms at 23 weeks and noone spotted it. It makes me so angry and upset. I can't even look at those posts without getting a lump in my throat.

I keep telling myself that there is nothing I can do about it now but I still feel the way I feel.

I am very nervous about this Creator Day thing. I can just picture myself cringing in a corner, afraid. I never used to be like this. I was always the brave one, in the thick of it all, introducing myself and putting myself out there. Now, meeting new people gives me heart palpitations.

In my head, I'm already looking for a way out.

Just so you know, every time I start writing in this blog, I have every intention to remain up-beat and cheerful. Really. I do. I just fail.

This isn't getting any better. I am working on the happy thoughts. In the mean time, go home. See you later.
I'll try blog something happy. Did I mention I have an Oak tree in my garden with a pair of scampering squirrels. They were running up and down the tree this morning. I was very cute.

Anyway. Go. Go. I'll see you later.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Easing Back into this Blog Thingy

It has been a very long time since I've blogged. The last few months have been very sad and very hard.

I basically withdrew from the world because it was simply to painful to bare.

Slowly, but surely, I have found my way back, and while it is not easy to be cheerful and perky, I will try not to be morose and self-pitying.

If you are new to this blog (Welcome!), you may not know that recently, I suffered the most devastating loss a human being can go through.

My newborn baby daughter, Angelica, the treasure of my life, passed away the day after she was born. An otherwise healthy baby, she developed a rare condition called fetal hydrops. Along with that, I developed polyhydraminos (too much amniotic fluid in the uterus - can cause early labour). This condition went undiagnosed by Croydon University Hospital, my GP and local midwives. It was only when I went into early labour (29 weeks 5 days) that the midwife at St George's hospital took one look at me and told me that I had it.

No one knows why Angelica got sick - all tests done have come back negative.

We waited a long time for her and she was a VERY wanted baby. We miss her desperately - every single day. My heart is, and will remain broken. I have started to heal but the cracks will always be there.

People tell me that no matter what happens, I am a mom, but it isn't the same when you don't have a baby to hold.

I know that my little heaven baby would not want me to be sad forever; she would want me to keep living and find some happiness and peace. So that is what I am striving to do.

In the last couple of weeks I have really tried to get hold of things and find a kind of life routine. Routine has never been my strong suite but it's good for you, apparently, so I'm giving it a go.

I have been doing house work (not religiously enough, but it gets done), gardening and have taken to doing sit-ups daily on an ab-roller thingy I bought ages ago from Lidls (I don't do many but that isn't the point).

I have also started to get back into my skincare routine. It feels really good to do it. I think I've become even more keen on doing it now because it's so relaxing.

I am also about to take a very brave step - I am going to get my hair done tomorrow. If I remember, I will take before and after shots.

I may also pick up some skincare goodies while I'm out.

If my hair turns out really well, I may even do a haul video! Won't that be fun (read terrifying)

Let's not get ahead of ourselves though - we'll see how we go.

That's it for now.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Slow to Heal

It has been about six weeks since my Baby Bird went to heaven and I miss her every second of every day. Sometime I can go for a few hours being okay, or even a few days. Other times I feel like I am at the bottom of a well and that all of  my joy has been stolen from me.

This past week has been particularly hard, but I am trying to heal. It's slow going, especially since I am not working and so I spend a lot of time alone with Wednesday (who has been amazing through this whole ordeal).

I have been struggling with the idea of coming back to the blog, its direction and, well, my direction in general.

I was torn between starting over or carrying on, but after much thought, I have decided to continue and just see where it goes.

Life is messy and can be painful and unpredictable. So I will keep all the posts and continue. I don't think I need to move old posts or archive them. I may still change my mind, but I doubt it. This is my life. It's not always pretty, it just is.

See you soon.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

A Moment of Silence

This blog started out as an experiment in beauty for someone who had no history of interest in beauty at all.

So much has happened since I started it, both good and bad, and so the blog changed and evolved.

Last week, the lovely baby that I was holding left us. She fought like a tiger to live but she was too sick and she just couldn't.

My heart is shattered and my well of tears seems infinite. I cannot express in words the agony of losing my Angelica. She was was my precious treasure and the light of my world. She was my little baby bird and I miss her like crazy.

She will always be in our hearts, our little heaven baby. We light candles for her every night.

Mr C is just as devastated as me, but giving me so much love and support. I love him.

We will be burying her tomorrow.

I will be taking a little break from blogging.

I am taking this all a minute at a time.

I love you Angelica. I always will.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Good Morning

It's 6 am on a Saturday morning and I am wide awake. This is mainly because Wednesday the cat fancies herself an alarm clock and thinks it's an excellent idea to wake mommy up for breakfast at this ungodly hour.  Usually she wakes me up much later on the weekend,  but I have things to do today and places to go that will make me tired,  so, you know.  The reason I didn't just go straight back to sleep is heartburn.  It's the bane of my existence and won't leave me the hell alone!
I virtually sit up in bed, but alas, nothing frickin works and all I feel is this delightful burning sensation at the top of my stomach.  I am going through Gaviscon like crazy and that is saying something because that stuff is hard to get down.  It has the worst texture and I have to really make an effort and concentrate.
Sorry, I had to share my tale of woe.
I'm going to try give this sleeping thing another go cos I'm trashed.
See ya later.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Rimmel 60 Seconds Haul

I know that most of my posts have been baby related lately, but that doesn't mean that I've given up on buying makeup.

There have been a few bits and pieces bought on a semi regular basis.

As I mentioned in my last post, many of my polishes need to be culled as they are no longer up to the job, so my most recent purchase has been to stock up on some new nail polishes.

I did avoid nail polish for a while, but I'm over it now. My nails are looking good thanks to the baby and I want to make the most of it.

I bought a Rimmel polish last year and was worried that it had gotten somewhat thicker, but I tried it recently and it still applied reasonably well and dried fast, so I went to Boots and got nine more (on 3 for 2).

From left to right: 210 Ethereal; 262 Ring a Ring 'O Roses; 405 Rose Libertine; 440 Sun Downer; 506 Central Love Heart; 503 Mind the Gap, Victoria; 844 Out of the Blue; 843 Midnight Skinny Dip; 800 Black Out
To be perfectly honest, I have a feeling that Rimmel 60 Seconds has spoiled me for all other brands of nail polish. I really get on with this range. The brushes make application really easy and the colours just pop. The polish dries as fast as it says and lasts really well - longer than anything else I have tried.

I've only used one of the colours so far. I wore the first colour for over a week. It could have lasted longer, but I took it off today so I could enjoy my another lovely shade.

I really love this brand!

Everyone seems mad over Essie polishes, but I have tried a few and I didn't really get on with them.

I must also confess that it gives me quite a thrill to apply brand new nail polish for the first time and I truly love the way my hands look with nail polish; and I said I would never be a makeup addict. Oh well, who knew?

I still don't have the best base or top coats, which I am going to research and buy next.

Do you have any nail products you love or quick drying tips to share?
Please comment below!
I'd love to hear your thoughts.

A little update to my little update - The Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain I bought is really nice when i first put it on, but I don't recommend it if you have dry patches on your lips as it just clings to them. It also stains/dries and gives you that granny lipstick look. Don't get me wrong, I still like it, but I need to get my lips in better nick, I think.

Also, the Soap & Glory sharpie style eyeliner is terrible. It smells like bug spray. I can't even bring myself to try it a second time. I do like the Rimmel Scandaleyes sharpie eyeliner. It goes on well, has reasonably good colour pay-off and is easy to apply, even for an minimally coordinated, like me.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Play Gym Dilema

As is natural with first time parents, Mr C and I want the best for our precious little Bean, but we are prudent folk and do not want to go completely overboard. Also, we know pretty much diddly about child development, and to be honest, it's not something I want to delve into or get obsessed with. She will do what she will do and I don't want to be freaking out about mile stones and such. (I say that now, but I know myself and that will change.)

Naturally as we progress through this pregnancy, and knowing that it is unlikely that we will get any baby gifts or baby showers, we are accumulating a range of baby essentials and nice-to-haves. (except clothes - we are holding back on those).

One of the items we have decided to purchase is a baby gym. The only problem is that we feel a little bit overwhelmed by the range, from the basic to the ridiculous. (we = me. Mr C says whatever I want is fine - very sweet by not overly helpful!)

We looked at Boots, checked Mothercare, Kiddicare, Amazon, Argos and more. We have a few theories but I am not sold. We definitely do not want to spend the earth on this as the baby will most likely outgrow it within six months or so.

In our search, we have tried to narrow choices down to play gyms that may have a more extended lifespan, greater interactivity or that can be converted to something useful later on. I like the gyms with lots of fabric hooks along the arches so we can add toys and things for the little one to grab, kick and reach for.

Mr C quite likes the Fisher Price Kick & Play Gym which has a keyboard at one end. I am not sure.

In fact, that is my main problem - I have absolutely no idea which play gym to buy for my little growing baby daughter.

Does anyone have any ideas?

I need help!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Little Update

Tomorrow I will be be  25 weeks pregnant.

In the last few weeks the little bean has really blossomed (read blown up -like a beach ball in my belly).
She moves and kicks and pokes and bares down on my bladder. I have tried to have a calm, rational discussion with her about sharing space and compromising, but nothing doing. She wants to stretch out and she will.

I can also actually see her moving now, which is pretty cool, but she doesn't do it on demand, so Mr C has not had the good fortune to witness the little miracle as of yet.

My heartburn is as bad as ever and, more likely that not, my fault. Coffee is really not my friend any more.
I occasionally get cabbage patch doll feet, but then I just lie down with my feet up and the swelling goes down.

I go to yoga on Tuesdays with InJoy Yoga at Beanie's Cafe, where, surprise surprise, I talk too much! *sorry ladies* I am working on the problem. It probably irritates me more than you, since it's an impulse I struggle to control. I am benefiting from the exercise but my back (right side) has been sore lately and is so unfun! I think the pain is more related to the increased baby size and lack of muscle tone/strength rather than from the increased activity.

I have taken up a few other little activities offered through the Depression Alliance. I made a coaster in the mosaic class this week. it was fun and creative, so why not!

The Vertbaudet stuff arrived and while the clothes and towel were pretty, the store is decidedly over-priced and we won't be buying from them again. The change bag is super tiny - cute, but tiny, so the search continues for an appropriate baby change bag. (I am secretly tempted to just use a backpack, as I currently do.)

We've bought a few more baby things. I am somewhat tempted to do a video to show all the stuff we've got so far. Let me know what you think. Might be fun.

Ooh, and we opened the pram and carry cot boxes. The Babyzen stuff is just as it appears... Totally Amazing. The manuals were sealed in their own bags so we used the YouTube videos for opening and closing instructions (worked a treat) and they are really easy to use. The pram and carry cot are sturdy (I was afraid they wouldn't be) light-weight and the prams is smoother than any of the other prams I have tried. I did three-point turns in our teeny tiny lounge and I was amazed.

FYI - Kiddicare is having an added extra sale type of thing where the pram (white) which was £400 when we bought it, is now 15% less (so £340). Don't worry, we didn't let the £60 slip away from us. I know it may sound a bit cheeky, but the pram was still sealed in the box, so we took it back to the shop and they gave us a voucher for the difference. (We had called their call centre who said there was nothing they could do. According to the people in store, they could not understand why they could not help us.)

On the beauty front, my nails are looking long and fabulous (thank you baby!), so I am letting them grow as long as possible (I will have to cut them when baby comes so I am enjoying it while I can). I am going through my nail polish now and testing them out to see what to get rid of. The Rimmel 60 second polish lasted me a whole week with a top coat and I was super happy with it and want to get more shades, but I want to get rid of all the others that don't cut it as well.

I have also bought a few bits from Boots - some sharpie style eyeliners that I have yet to try, some eye shadow from Soap & Glory and the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in 001, which I LOVE! Mr C is not sold on the colour but I am in love with it. It feels and looks lovely. It should be considering what I went through to get it. I went to Boots and bought it. I got on the tram and looked at it. It had been used - how gross! so I turned around and went back. They had none in stock and tried to sell me other stuff. Don't you hate it when salesmen do that. So I rummaged through the drawer at the bottom and found one unused tester - just one. Problem solved (it took almost an hour to do this and it is way too hot in that shop.)

Last little thing. I have become obsessed with the Bits and Clips YouTube channel. she is good friends with one of my favourites, SprinkleofGlitter. I watch Marie endlessly.

Nothing else to share, I think.

See ya later.

Baby Show Haul

Last week Mr C and I went to the Baby Show at the Excel Centre to start our epic shopping journey into parenthood.

As a FTM (First Time Mum), I feel wholeheartedly unprepared for the experience, which is ridiculous since I am actually rather good with babies and kids, and labour holds neither mystery nor terror for me as it does many others in the same boat.

Oh, and did I mention that at 23wks, I now look like I swallowed a boat?

Look. I'll show you...

Big Mama
 Since we don't really know what we're getting ourself in for, we decided to make a shopping list, Cheerin-style.

Mr C is a very logical fellow, and I am rather fond of logic myself. I am also unable to trust my brain at the moment. As such, our little list (this was my idea, just so you know) turned into a spreadsheet, which included all the items we may need to buy and their price point from various common household retailers.

I did not go overboard with this as we simply wanted to arm ourselves with a comparative price guide for the Baby Show. We have been to similar shows before, here and in South Africa (The Rand Show - oh the memories) and we are well aware that many stand holders will claim that their product is being sold at a hefty discount for the show, only to discover that most of it is utter bullshit.

We think we did rather well and so we took pictures.

Here's a good one.

Cool Stuff
We did get just a few little freebies, but not many.
Here is a list of our haul:
Baby carrier - MaByLand Trek - £30
Sangenic Hygiene nappy bin - £10.00
Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature new born starter set - £15.00
Tommee Tippee closer to nature bottles - £13.00
Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Electric Breast Pump - £52.77
Chilli Peeps multi-purpose teats - £10.00
Milton dummy steriliser + 50 mini steri tabs - £7.00
13 Funky Giraffe Bibs - £20.00
Baby grooming kit - £12.00
Fluffy duck toy - £5.00

We also recently bought our pram and carry cot from Kiddicare.
Behold the Babyzen Recaro Pram:

Amazing, don't you think?

We did not buy a microwave steriliser at the show because we got it cheaper at Kiddicare.
This Friday, we went to Kiddicare and bought the few little things we wanted that were on promo and therefore cheaper than the show - a mobile, the steriliser, and few other little bits.

We have not bought a baby bag. they are ridiculously over-priced and besides, we went onto this lovely little website called Vertbaudet. They sent us a catalogue with some rather cute baby things.  They are quite expensive, but with your first shop, you get £15 off your order of £20 or more plus a free changing bag which is very sweet looking and ... I'll take a picture when I get it and show you. To get this deal, we bought a hooded towel  and a set of babygrows. The total after discount was a whopping £11.99!

So it's all good and we're doing well. 
Baby is doing well too and that's all for now. 

Saturday, 8 February 2014

The 20 Week Scan

Yesterday, at 16:30, we had our 20 week scan.
Do not have a scan as the last patient on a Friday afternoon at the Croydon University Hospital.
It was quite a let down and disappointing experience, to be honest, and I have rather mixed feelings about the whole thing.

So far, most antenatal things have been rather nice, but this time, we felt rushed (It didn't help that we actually rushed to get there and just made it with no time to spare - they wouldn't even let me go use the loo before we started), and because the baby wasn't lying in the most workable position, they just gave up.

The sonographer just skipped over the baby, did measurements and called them out to her helper. She didn't really linger for any length of time on anything so we couldn't get a good look. We only got a glimpse of baby's feet and didn't even manage to see hands when she said "There are the hands. They are okay."

We had been looking forward to this pregnancy milestone for AGES and it was supposed to have been quite special for us, and especially for Mr C who saw this as his birthday present event (we were planning to know baby gender).

Baby's legs were crossed in front of the area that would have determined gender, so we didn't get to know for sure.

The only upside is that they rescheduled the scan, so we will get another chance in 2 weeks.
Also, due to familial pregnancy issues, we have another scan next Friday at St George's Hospital. Hopefully, that will go better. The scan is on the 14th so Mr C won't be able to come, so I will try to reschedule for the previous day as he already has that day off. We will see how we get on.

Either way, Mr C will chat to the bosses and see if he can get time off for the redo scan.

Today, we were planning to do the first bit of baby shopping, but the weather was so dismal that we opted to stay home instead and work on a shopping spreadsheet. I watched Louise's Baby Glitter room tour just to see if there was anything to add that I'd missed. It's was rather helpful. I love watching Sprinkle of Glitter videos. I think it's become my favourite favourite!!

Hopefully, tomorrow will be more cooperative and I can get at least one little symbolic thing for baby. We are half-way through pregnancy, after all.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Life Update

I have not blogged in a while, so I thought I would give you a quick update.

Today is my 20 week scan, where Mr C and I will get to have a second look at the little bean, and maybe even get to know the gender. It would be fun to know, but I want to see all the fingers and toes to be honest.

Bean has been kicking up a storm in the evenings. It really likes music (I put my phone on my belly and play YouTube songs - Classical, nursery rhymes, even Dreamworks movie songs - baby really likes one of the Shrek songs)

The nausea is pretty much gone (but every time I say that, I have a nauseous day). I have some serious heartburn and have tried may things to get rid of it , with mixed success.

On the skincare front, I have started using REN products as my skin has become very dry and sensitive, going red with ease. I have not done a review yet, but will be doing one soon. So far, I am enjoying them and am impressed.

wish me luck; it's time to go see the baby!

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Age Restrictions Have a Purpose

A few weeks ago, I went to a movie. It was the first movie I had seen in a movie theatre in almost five years. That's right FIVE years.

I went to see 47 Ronin in 3D; my first 3D movie in about 10 years.

The film was very good. I would, in fact enjoy going to see it again. I would probably enjoy it more the second time round. Here is why:

I was still suffering heavily with morning sickens and was feeling a bit anxious that morning, so things did not start out well.

We made it in time and all was well. We decided to sit in the very front row; I do not know why. I will not repeat that - the 3D is not as effective from so close up.

The film was not overly gory, it did not have any nudity per se and there was no vulgar language. Its US rating is PG-13, but in the UK, it is 12A, which means as long as your over 18 parents are with you, you can watch the film, regardless of your age. Although this is a more lenient restriction than in the US, parents really should use better judgement.

Chances are that is the film has an age restriction, it may not be suitable for your child. If you feel that your child, although younger than 12, will be able to cope with and appreciate the film, without disrupting it for others, then by all means, bring your child. If they can't, don't bring them just because you can't find a frickin' baby sitter.

I was very much annoyed by what I had to endure throughout the film:

A group of adults went to see the film and brought three children with them. They sat in the row behind the kids, obviously so they could enjoy the film without having to worry about the kids acting up, which they did, constantly. they were simply too young to handle the emotional intensity and thematic elements explored in the film. They could also not appreciate any of the mythological and cultural nuances portrayed.

They kicked our chairs constantly, they giggled at all the tense moments and made jokes, and also made fun of the character accents and clothes etc.

The adults never said anything to the kids, and I think, did some inappropriate giggling of their own.

I was very much annoyed but, I didn't say anything to the adults when we left because, in reality,  what difference would it have made? None.

I did have to turn around a few times to get them to stop kicking. what is it with some kids and kicking chairs. I never, ever did that as a child. I was not just being a grumpy adult, it actually hurt my back, which is generally on the tender side anyway.

I may sound like a bit of a moaner, but my point stands. Some films, are just not for children. the age restrictions are there for a reason and, in general, are on the lenient side.

In my time living in the UK, I have made the sad discovery that the people I have seen absolutely lack any kind of ability to reason, think for themselves, solve their own problems or use any form of judgement what so ever.

I don't want to be unduly harsh on our hosts, but seriously. Use some Sechel (brain) for a change!
Oh, and consider people around you! I know Londoners are usually a very selfish bunch, but get a baby sitter next time and don't dump your kids in a different row (behind me) so they can ruin the film for me.

That turned out a bit ranty, didn't it?

47 Ronin was excellent, intense and beautiful.

that is all.

Monday, 13 January 2014

A Few Little Things from Boots - Mini Review

Last weekend, I popped into Boots with Mr C (Now you see why he hates shopping with me). I was quite good and only bought two things.

One was a Tangle Teezer. A pink one.

This one.
I have used it. on dry hair, in the shower and on damp hair. It works really well and gets knots out without undue pain and suffering. I have a great deal of long thick curly hair that is currently misbehaving in the most dire way due to the pregnancy thing. I had hoped it would miraculously go dead-straight, like it was pre-puberty, but alas it's just dried out and stayed as fluffy and everywhere as always.

I am very pleased with this purchase and would recommend it to anyone with unruly hair. I must confess, I did not want the pink one. I wanted the purple one with sparkly bits in. Boots was out of stock. I did not feel like waiting, so I took the colour they had.

The second thing I bought was a gift box of eyeliners from Soap & Glory.


I have never bought S&G cosmetics before. In fact, I think this is the first S&G product I have ever bought. As it says on the tin, literally (it's a metal tin), there are three eye shadow colours and 5 eyeliner colours. 

I have swatched everything, but I haven't played around with it too much yet. I wore the brown eyeliner on Thursday when I went out to meet Mr C, along with one of the eye shadow colours. 

The eyeliner is quite smooth, but I did struggle with the application a little bit. My lids were a bit oily, I think, and so the product took more effort to apply than if they had been dry. Having said that, It did come out rather well and I was quite pleased with it. 

The shadow was just perfect; a lovely colour that went on without hassle, without too much or too little product and without fall out. I am not the best at application, and am still learning, so for me to be able to tell the difference between that shadow and all the other stuff I have says something.

All in all, Soap and Glory has made its mark and I will definitely be exploring more of this delightful range in the future.  

You Don't Have To Be Beautiful

Essentially, this started out as a beauty blog, but life and lack of focus got in the way and many blogging opportunities were lost along the way.

Things are going to change this year and I have some plans coming together in my head for the year ahead.
Since I started this endeavour, I have avoided taking pictures of myself for two reasons:
  1. I take really bad photos.
  2. I really do not like my face. 
Sounds really ridiculous, I know, but what can you do. I see myself as ugly, even if my husband doesn't and I feel uncomfortable taking photos of me, and Youtube videos? Out of the question! I imagine it would be quite fun, but the horror of it just puts me off. I mean honestly, all the beauty bloggers and Youtubers I have seen are pretty (and younger than me). 

Even more ridiculous is that I have avoided taking baby bump pics too, which is kind of a shame really (regardless of how fat I am).

So I will try and put more of my face on my blog and get back to beauty posts, rather than some of the more random rants and madness of late.

I am random and mad, and now pregnant so I have an excuse, but order shall emerge from the chaos, I hope.

Good night.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Fish n' Chips and Brand New Boots

This week, at the insistence of Mr C, I ventured out into the cold. I have not been sleeping overly well, so I have been even more recluse than usual.

I was going to go out for the day on Thursday and visit the Science Museum, but then I saw on Twitter that Louise from SprinkleofGlitter may be going, so I decided to skip it. (I do not want to seem like a stalker and also want to avoid being among a large group of stalkers).

Mr C called me and suggested I go into London and meet him after work. I thought it was a great idea and so I put on some makeup (rather successfully, I might add) took the tram, train and tube required. He works near New Scotland Yard, so I got to see the sign. I thought it would be bigger - it's quite piddly. I wanted to take a picture but there were TV crews and tourists so I skipped it.

Mr C took me to the cutest little traditional English Chippy called The Laughing Halibut, and we had Fish n' Chips with mushy peas for an early dinner. I was so delish!!

I had the Halibut. It was very good. 
After dinner, we decided to walk around a bit, something we enjoy doing in London - just walking and exploring a little. And then I saw cosmetics and skincare (House of Fraser I think) so I just had to go in. We looked around and my patient and sweet husband did not complain at all.

I did not buy anything.

A few paces later, we passed a Clarks. There was a sale. I had to go in. I needed new boots. Anyone who knows me will know that I'm not just saying that. I do not wear heels and do not own very many shoes. (I was never really into shoes much, but I'm girlier now, so that may change). We did not find anything that fitter or suited me in the sale, so Mr C said "you don't have to buy something just because it is on sale and just because it is on sale does not make it a bargain."

He steered me away form the sale shoes towards the regular priced boots on the shelves and picked up a pair of gorgeous boots (the nicest ones on the shelf) and said "What about these. They are the same price as the ones on sale."

I tried them on and he bought them for me.

And he wonders why I like to take him shopping. He has way better taste than me and has an eye for nice stuff. ( he does complain about being dragged everywhere and being a coat rack, but he's married and that is part of the deal. Isn't it?)

All in all, it was a worthwhile evening. We got to spend some relaxing time out together. I loved it.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Happy New Year!

It's 2014!
The year Mr C turns 40; the year of change; the year of motherhood!

I am very excited about all of this and, of course, mildly terrified. The responsibility of motherhood weighs heavily on me, and I do realise that the consequences of making mistakes can either be completely insignificant and substantially grave. Basically, I do not want to mess up my kid.

The hormones have put me in an amazing emotional space of simple happiness, something I am generally not accustomed to since my chemistry generally leans to blue. It could also be that I have wanted a child for so long and thought it was so thoroughly out of reach that I am in pure bliss over it and occasionally cannot believe my luck. this is unlikely to ever change. I have been with Mr C for 11 year (married for 6) and sometimes I still can't believe it's really real and I am so blessed and lucky.

As far as symptoms go, I still have ongoing nausea and tiredness, but to be perfectly honest, other than the physical discomfort at the moment of actual vomiting, I really, really do not care at all about the symptoms; not even a little bit. I am incubating a human. I am having a baby. I am creating a brand new person. Who cares if I feel a bit icky in the process. The pay-off is spectacular.

A few days ago, we went to a consultant (an obstetrician) appointment. I asked her if she could let us hear the Bean's heartbeat. She politely complied and it was amazing and adorable. This tiny little heart beating hard and strong at a million miles a minute.

We also discussed my symptoms and she offered me anti-nausea meds - I refused. I am not a martyr, but I really don't think it is necessary to mask symptoms, and not that I am judging, but to me, it feels a bit selfish to take meds, unless you are really very sick (I am talking nausea here, not flu).

We have a cardiac scan appointment booked in February (my sister had a thing when she was pregnant, so they like to be extra careful when there is a family history of any kind).

So far everything is normal and perfect and awesome. I am starting to show, even through the fat tummy and we love having a 3-person cuddle at bed time. In fact, Mr C generally falls asleep with hand on baby. It's too sweet. The cat is occasionally drafted into the family cuddle, much to her chagrin.

So what does the new year hold for me?

I do not make resolutions; it's not really my thing, but I have decided to make some changes.

I will take a leaf out of +Fleur DeForce's book - she says she makes lists on Sundays and plans out her week. There is no doubt that she is busier than me, but I am lazier than her and could do with some forward planning. So, be more organised. Also, something Mr C and I have already started is be more healthy and eat better (I must cook more) - It's not easy and the wagon is quite rickety but we are trying and we will keep trying. Lastly, exercise - I really need to do this one - the slipped disc I had and the subsequent back operation have left me at pretty much the most unfit I have ever been.

That's pretty much it, really.

My next midwife appointment is at the end of January and in February, we have the 20 week scan, the foetal cardiac scan and consultant follow up appointment scheduled.

It's all getting quite busy now and also quite hard to not buy baby things. Some baby things are irresistible, but so far, so well behaved - we only window shop/ research.

I wish you all a very healthy and happy 2014. I'm really looking forward to this one. I just need to figure out what to do for Mr C's 40th - I want to make it special.