Soap & Glory The Whole Glam Lot

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Soap and Glory and I met around this time last year. I was kindly given 3 of their body butters in a bloggers Secret Santa and I've been hooked ever since. I haven't managed to try an awful lot of Soap and Glory's products due to how long they typically last so when I spotted a massive Christmas gift set of theirs on sale for £30 (down from £60) I picked it up without giving it a second thought. You're allowed to give yourself presents around Christmas right?

Soap and Glory The Whole Glam Lot

There are 10 Soap and Glory products in total in this cute little suitcase and, with the exception of the Sexy Motherpucker lipgloss, they're all full size. Let's have a look at what's inside!

Soap and Glory The Whole Glam Lot

Face Soap and Clarity - This is a 3 in 1 facial wash that I feel like I should've bought ages ago. I've been borrowing all of my other half's skincare products (don't tell him) so I'm happy to have something that will do everything in one go. I'm getting very lazy with my skincare routine these days.

The Righteous Butter - I actually received a mini version of this body butter in the Bloggers Secret Santa last year so I already know I love it. The Righteous Butter smells amazing and it does a wonderful job at moisturising my skin.

Hand Maid - I'm not the biggest user of hand sanitizer but I like having it around when I have a cold. Hand Maid smells great so I may be tempted into using it more than usual.

Soap and Glory The Whole Glam Lot

Sugar Crush - 2 weeks before I bought this gift set, I purchased this shower gel but I'm not complaining as it's lime scent is delightful. I already know how long Soap and Glory shower gels last so I'm set for a while.

Speed Plump – My regular moisturiser is coming to an end so this is a welcome addition. I am slightly worried about this “moisture plump” idea, though. My face doesn’t really need much plumping at the moment as I’m still carrying baby fat that just won’t go away.

Hand Food – I remember reading a review for Hand Food on Ellis Tuesday and I always meant to buy it but never did. Now I have absolutely no excuse to avoid using hand cream as Hand Food smells so good. The temptation to slather it all over my hands as I write this is becoming too much.

Soap and Glory The Whole Glam Lot

Smoothie Star Body Milk – I technically have tried this but in body butter form and I’m really not the biggest fan of the smell. It’s not repulsive but it’s just not as drool worthy as other Soap and Glory products.

Thick & Fast HD Mascara – Genetics blessed me with long, dark eyelashes (it’s really the only thing genetics blessed me with) so I don’t bother with mascara and will probably never use this. I’ll probably hoard some items for a giveaway and throw this into it so stay on the lookout for that.

Sexy Motherpucker Lipgloss – There’s been a lot of talk over the years of how great this lipgloss is but, like mascara, I just don’t wear it. I much prefer lipsticks so again you may see this in a giveaway at some point in the near future.

The Scrub of Your Life – If you recall the last time I bought a Soap and Glory exfoliator, some ignorant person had written their initials in it so I’m happy to have a scrub that hasn’t been touched by a random person. I’ve been really bad at using exfoliators recently so hopefully The Scrub of Your Life will encourage me to make my skin silky smooth again.

Sadly, I think this gift set has gone back up to £60 and with the usual 3 for 2 offer that’s on Soap and Glory, I don’t think I would pay full price for it. Despite the odd decision to put it back to its original price this close to Christmas, I think this is an amazing gift set and I would just like to thank myself for choosing to buy it for me. Now that I’ve finished writing this I can slather my hands in Hand Food!

Books of November

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Books to read

If my sudden push at attempting to reach my Goodreads challenge doesn’t show what kind of student I was, I don’t know what will. We’re fast approaching the end of the year and I still have quite a few books to read but November was my most productive month to date. Usually, I barely get through 2 books each month but, with the challenge ending soon, I got through 4. It really should’ve been more but that trip to Iceland made me lazy.

Roald Dahl’s Cruelty was the first book I finished. It’s a collection of short stories that depict how cruel human beings can be to each other. A few of the stories involved the characters getting their comeuppance while others focused on selfishness. Every story screams Roald Dahl and, although this is aimed more at adults, I think I would have enjoyed this as a child.

The Circle by Dave Eggers was devoured next. Seriously, I could not get enough of this book purely because of how much I could relate to it. The Circle is about a woman called Mae who lands a job at a prestigious internet company, oddly enough called The Circle. The Circle is like Facebook gone mad and that’s what makes it disturbingly relatable. Everyone is encouraged to put every little detail of their lives online in this book. It even progresses to the point where politicians go “transparent” and start wearing cameras to broadcast their lives online.

Books to read

The Circle encourages Mae to also go transparent which causes her parents to cut ties with her and something disastrous happens to her ex-boyfriend as her desire to prove how amazing The Circle is intensifies. Reading The Circle just reminds me of how much people put online and how weird I’m beginning to find it all. I don’t think The Circle is for everyone, for example, I wouldn’t recommend it to my other half who barely uses social media, but I would recommend it to anyone who spends a bit too much time on the internet. It’s an amazing wake-up call and a downright enjoyable read.

Guy Martin Worms to Catch was the third book I finished. I’ve loved all of Guy Martin’s books so far but I particularly enjoyed Worms to Catch. As Guy Martin is a motorbike racer his previous books have involved a lot of motorbike talk and, while I understood some of it, it got a little confusing for me at times and took away some of my enjoyment. Now that he’s basically given up racing motorbikes there’s less motorbike talk and more cycling talk.

Books to read

Guy Martin also discusses some of his TV ventures including the live Wall of Death record breaking attempt and his trip to Latvia. He also touches upon the latest series of Speed but it’s his attempt to cycle from Canada to Mexico that really takes the spotlight. Just reading about his attempt made me tired so I don’t know how he managed it but I think it’s safe to say he’s not really one for giving up. Worms to Catch actually made me want to go for a bike ride and I’m not even sure I have a bike anymore.

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult was the fourth and final book I read. This is probably one of the best books I’ve read in a long time and, like The Circle, it was disturbingly relatable but in an entirely different way.

Small Great Things focuses on racism in the modern age. The story is of a black nurse who happens to be on duty when the baby of white supremacists dies. She’s quickly accused and is suspended from doing her job. Small Great Things is about her fight for freedom, her attempt at pointing out casual racism and her desire to not be a “black” stereotype. The lives of the white supremacists are intertwined with the story and it is so unbelievably frustrating I almost threw the book across the room. It was easy to forget that the story was set in present times and the current references were very poignant. I wanted to force this story back to the early 1900s but it just kept creeping back into 2016.

Thanks to the 4 books I got through in November, I have 11 books to read by the end of December. Am I optimistic? Don’t be silly but I sure am looking forward to hopefully finding some rather fantastic books. I don’t think anything will top Small Great Things as that book will be with me for a long time but I’m looking forward to the challenge. Maybe I’ll read significantly shorter books in order to reach my goal.

We're Engaged!

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

He told me a few months prior that he wasn’t going to do it and I believed him; I even told people when they asked that it wasn’t going to happen. I guess you can imagine my surprise and utter confusion when I turned around and there he was down on one knee with a ring box in his hand.

Ernest Jones Engagement Ring

David and I have been together for 2 and a half years. We met at work in 2014 despite the fact we actually went to school together and had been friends on Facebook for years. He knew of me, I didn’t know of him. I thought he was adorable, he liked my butt so after he sat on my head while we watched 8 Mile (in a completely non-sexual way might I add, we’re just really strange people) we suddenly ended up together.

While I’ve had a few long-term relationships, I’ve always struggled with them because of how bored I get of hanging around with the same person on a regular basis. Spending more than a day with someone has a tendency to irritate me and I don’t mean it in a spiteful way; it’s just I like the balance of being around people and also being alone.

With David, I don’t have that struggle and I think it’s that reason that made me realise he was “the one”. There was no romantic or dramatic moment, it was literally just me noticing one day that I wasn’t fed up with him. Dear god, I sound like a douchebag.

Ernest Jones Engagement Ring White Gold

It was that knowledge that made me comfortable enough to book a holiday 10 months in advance. David wanted to see the Northern Lights and I thought there would be no better place to see them than in Iceland. Let’s just ignore the fact they were visible over Scotland 2 months after I booked this holiday.

I had been working some odd hours prior to us leaving for Iceland so I barely got to see David before we went. It turns out he was using the time away from me to ask my parents – more so my dad – for my hand in marriage and also to hunt down an engagement ring. My mum had hidden the ring for him and handed it over to him the day we left for Iceland. He put it in his hand luggage with the intention of proposing to me in front of the Northern Lights.

His plan didn’t quite work out however as our Northern Lights tour was cancelled 2 nights in a row. As far as I’m aware, David didn’t have a backup plan but things came together perfectly for him. We were driving around the Golden Circle on Friday, our last full day in Iceland, when he saw a sign for what he thought was a waterfall*. He turned off the road we were supposed to be on and started driving with no real clue of where we were going. As we drove down this incredibly quiet road, we saw this beautiful patch of water that was so still, it was reflecting the sky clearly.

Iceland Proposal Spots

We pulled over to marvel at the view and just as I finished taking some photos I heard David say “I guess now is a good time to do this”. I turned around to find him down on one knee and making the most amazing David sounding speech imaginable. I genuinely couldn’t believe it was happening so I asked him a good 20 times if he was serious before I finally said yes. I was still looking around for Ashton Kutcher convinced I was being Punk’d for the rest of the day.

To top the most incredible day off, our Northern Lights tour went ahead that night and we finally got to see the lights. We were so lucky as our tour bus was actually about to leave just as the lights appeared. We’d been standing in the dark and cold for 2 hours and saw nothing but, thanks to our tour guide losing his bag and delaying our departure, we got to see the lights. I’m so happy David chose to propose where and when he did as I don’t think the Northern Lights would have been as romantic as it sounds. We were with about 20 other people and it was pitch black, if he had tried to propose then I wouldn’t have actually seen it.

It's been a month since we got engaged and I'm still in shock it actually happened. We have no real intention of getting married for a few years as we want to be a little more financially secure beforehand but I’ve already had meltdowns over various insignificant details. I have absolutely no idea how to plan a wedding and I think this is where the differences between how David does things and how I do things is going to show. I plan everything to a T whereas he’s a bit more spontaneous. I shall be a bridezilla and he’ll just have to deal with it. After all, he’s the one that put the ring on it!

*The waterfall he thought the sign was for was actually 100KM away. Thank goodness for sat navs.

Book Haul

Saturday, 26 November 2016

With the end of my Goodreads reading challenge looming I’ve been doing my best to somehow read the last 12 books – setting a challenge of 25 books with a few months left of the year was a little too ambitious. Annoyingly, I somehow ran out of books to read so what do you do what that happens? You make a trip to Waterstones and accidentally buy more books than you originally intended to.

Waterstones Books

I’m not going to lie, I totally judge books by their covers so a few of these were purchased for that reason while others were purchased for the author. I’m really not fussy so long as I’m not staring at page 100 of Great Expectations wondering why the hell I started it in the first place. I’ve gone off track here, haven’t I? Ok, back to the book haul!

Hubert Selby Jr - Waiting Period: As Requiem for a Dream is my favourite book (and film) and because I enjoyed Last Exit to Brooklyn, I figured another Hubert Selby Jr book wouldn’t hurt.

Waiting Period is about a man who decides to kill himself but is thrown a lifeline when he can’t get a hold of a gun. He spends his second shot at life killing people he feels deserve nothing more. It seems like a happy book right?

Anthony Burgess - A Clockwork Orange: While I’ve never had any desire to watch Stanley Kubrick’s film adaption of A Clockwork Orange, I’ve always wanted to read the book. My other half made me buy this mainly so he could read it and based on his review, it was money well spent. The only issue I can see having when I read this is the language; I have no idea what half of the words mean.

Roald Dahl - Cruelty: I was a huge fan of Roald Dahl as a child so when I noticed his adult books chilling on a shelf, I had to buy one. Cruelty is a collection of short stories that depict human beings at their worst. It’s a relatively short book overall but it was rather endearing to read something by an author who played a huge role in my childhood.

Waterstones books

Dave Eggers - The Circle:
The woman in Waterstones told me I would never view social media the same again after reading The Circle and I think to a degree she’s right. The Circle focuses on a woman who has just landed a job at a prestigious and fast growing internet company. It all sounds delightful until it becomes apparent that ‘The Circle’ is basically a new age 1984. The film adaption of this book is in production and if my Googling is correct, Emma Watson will be playing the main character.

Guy Martin - Worms to Catch: I don’t keep my love of Guy Martin a secret and my excitement for his latest book wasn’t kept a secret either. As Guy Martin has basically stopped racing motorbikes professionally, there’s significantly fewer motorbikes and a lot more bicycles in this book. Worms to Catch focuses a lot of Guy Martin cycling from Canada to Mexico, his Wall of Death record attempt, his trips to Latvia and the latest season of Speed. I’m feeling very lazy while merely writing about what his book involves.

Jodi Picoult - Small Great Things: Small Great Things was purchased after I had a nosy at which books were nominated for Goodreads book awards. It’s described as the 21st century’s answer to One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (conveniently my other half just bought that book). Small Great Things is about prejudice and privilege and is something I am very excited about reading.

A few of these books will appear in my Books of November post that will appear on here at some point next month. Buying new books is always a sure-fire way to make me read so I feel like I should make another trip to Waterstones soon. It closes in around 30 minutes and it takes 25 minutes to get there, I wonder if I can make it...

Lush Don't Rain on my Parade Shower Gel Review

Monday, 21 November 2016

When it comes to Lush, I tend to order online as my town has not been blessed with an actual store yet – hint hint Lush. This usually creates issues when it comes to scents as, although I can imagine what something should smell like, the reality is often different. I can usually rely on Lush to be better than my expectations but once in a while, the product I’ve bought doesn’t come close to what my brain has assumed.

Lush Don't Rain on my Parade shower gel

Don’t Rain on my Parade shower gel ticked every box on my Lush requirement list; infused with vanilla, contains blueberry juice and it’s a pretty colour. It also lathers up really well even when I’m using a very small amount. It does exactly what I want a Lush shower gel to do but that creates a little issue for me.

Lush shower gels usually linger on the skin which I typically love but I can’t stand the scent of Don’t Rain on my Parade. The scent my brain created was sweet, light and oh so delicious but it’s actually extremely heavy and disgusting. It lingers on my skin more than any other shower gel and it drives me crazy. Don’t Rain on my Parade is a total marmite scent and while I wanted a nice, almost Parma Violet like smell, I got an extremely strong violet meets herbs scent. The only way I can eliminate the icky smell off of my skin after using this shower gel is to slather myself in very strong smelling moisturiser.

Lush Don't Rain on my Parade shower gel

Maybe my sense of smell isn’t as highly developed as one would like but I cannot smell anything beyond the herbs and violet. The vanilla and blueberry don't make much of an appearance which is a shame as I think they would really neutralise the strength of the violet. On the plus side, Don’t Rain on my Parade doesn’t dry out my skin and leaves me squeaky clean. At least there are some positives to an otherwise hideous shower gel.

Books of October

Monday, 14 November 2016

Thanks to the break I took from blogging, the Books of September post doesn’t exist. It’s probably a good thing since I read the grand total of one book in September; I’m just a reading machine! Conveniently I only read one book in October too so I’ll just cheat and combine those 2 months into one. Don’t tell anyone!

So the first book I read in October (or September if I’m being truthful) was The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I’ve owned this book for a good 5 years or so and although I’ve seen the movie several times, I’ve never actually attempted to get past page 30 of the book. Now that I’ve read it, I think my past self was right for not even attempting to finish this. I know some people adore The Lovely Bones but I wanted to throw it out of the window.

The Lovely Bones tells the story of Susie Salmon (“Salmon, like the fish”) after she is raped and murdered by a neighbour. She watches her family and friends deal with her death from her version of heaven and ultimately, has to watch her brother and sister grow up and have their own lives without her.

Throughout the book, we’re supposed to feel angry, sad and happy. The Lovely Bones is supposed to break you down and put you back together again but I’m either devoid of human emotion or this book just doesn’t do it for me. At no point did I feel any strong emotion towards the story. I didn’t feel frustrated that Susie’s murderer basically got away with not only her murder but the murder of several girls, I wasn’t happy when he finally got his comeuppance and I definitely did not feel any form of emotion at what should have been a fairly nice ending.

Maybe The Lovely Bones would have resonated with me more as a teenager but it’s just not my thing as an adult. Maybe I am devoid of human emotion.

Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr was another book I read in October (I actually genuinely did read this one in October). Requiem for a Dream is both my favourite book and movie so it only seemed natural to get stuck into Last Exit to Brooklyn.

I wish I could describe the plot of this book but I don’t even know where to start. It follows the lives of multiple disgusting characters; each more tragic than the next. Their lives range from that of a drag queen who just wants to hook up with a guy to a teenage girl that goes off the rails and is gang raped to a guy who gets too involved with money that isn’t his and eventually sexually assaults a child. Each character, aside from perhaps one, is significantly viler than the last and even when I found myself liking a character, she ended up doing something horrific and my want to like her disappeared.

Last Exit to Brooklyn is equally as psychologically distressing as Requiem for a Dream; maybe even a little more as you never actually find out what happens next to each character after their heinous moment is over. Each story is left open to interpretation which only makes things more disturbing as it allows your mind to create things you never thought you’d be capable of.

Last Exit to Brooklyn has joined Requiem for a Dream on my favourite books list – and my dad is currently reading and enjoying it so I guess that explains something about me – whereas The Lovely Bones is in the “never read again” pile. I somehow went for 2 contrasting novels to read and the more twee one just didn’t cut the mustard for me. Saying that though, The Lovely Bones has been enjoyed by many so it must have something going for it, I just can’t find that thing.

Iceland: A Photo Diary

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

For Christmas last year, I decided to be a very good girlfriend and book my other half a trip to Iceland (with me in tow of course). He has always wanted to see the Northern Lights and I thought there was no better place to see them than Iceland. We had to wait 11 months from booking the holiday to actually going but it was definitely worth the wait. These photos don’t do Iceland justice but I hope you enjoy them as much I did taking them. Let’s do this thing!

Our first full day in Iceland started off incorrectly due to us losing our hotel room keys but we still made it to the Hallgrimskirkja before the tourists descended on it. Annoyingly, I didn’t get a decent picture of the church itself but the view over Reykjavik is just as pretty.

We ended up in the Reykjavik Art Museum and there just so happened to be a Yoko Ono exhibition on. One of the exhibits involved writing wishes and tying them to branch on a tree. These 2 wishes were fairly close to each other and while one made me smile, the other made me extremely sad.

The Sun Voyager was no more than 2 minutes away from our hotel but we almost forgot to have a nosy at it. If we hadn’t walked down the wrong street, we probably would have never seen it up close. It’s a rather incredible sculpture and it’s not too far from the Harpa concert hall and conference centre.

This is an inaccurate picture of the Blue Lagoon taken in the very late hours of the afternoon. I say this is an inaccurate photo because it was taken on our way out of the Blue Lagoon and it’s a place you’re not supposed to enter. The Blue Lagoon itself is packed full of people but it’s large enough to accommodate everyone while still allowing breathing space. We booked ourselves into the exclusive lounge and also had the 2 hours of wonder (which includes an in-water massage) each. If you’re willing to spend the obscene amount of money for the luxury package, I’d definitely advise you to do it; it’s worth every penny.

The only downside to our trip to the Blue Lagoon was our visit to the Lava restaurant. The food was not to our taste and it took so long for our main courses to arrive that we had to abandon our meals and head straight to the area where we were due to receive our treatments.

I can’t for the life of me remember or even find the name of this waterfall but I do know it’s at the Pingvellir National Park- this is where you can go diving between the 2 tectonic plates. There were a lot of tourists at the Pingvellir National Park when we first arrived so I became very overwhelmed, very quickly. We escaped to the waterfall and were pleased to find not many people had done the same. It was such a beautiful waterfall and the sky was still grey and miserable when we arrived so it was a very dark, gloomy and yet oh so cool scene.

This amazing landscape was found by sheer accident. We were driving on the Golden Circle when my other half saw a sign for something he thought he recognised. It turned out he was confusing the names of things and we ended up lost. Fortunately, getting lost in Iceland turned into a happy accident as we ended up finding this incredibly beautiful and incredibly quiet setting. This also happens to be where my other half got down on one knee and asked me to marry him!

After getting over the shock of being proposed to, we headed to the Geysir. It was going off every few minutes while we were there which I’m not sure is normal or not. We watched the Geysir going off a few times before beginning our journey back to the hotel.

Our journey back to Reykjavik wasn’t complete without revisiting our proposal site just as the sun went down. We hung around for a few minutes before suddenly realising our Northern Lights tour would finally go ahead that night so we had to rush back to our hotel for pickup.

Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get a decent picture of the Northern Lights as they choose to make an appearance just as our tour bus was about to leave. If our tour guide hadn’t lost his bag, we wouldn’t have seen the lights at all. Who knew losing a bag (which he later found) would actually turn out to be so lucky.

Sadly, we were only in Iceland for a few days so the Northern Lights tour was our last time being tourists. We did get to experience what it’s like to turn up hideously late for a flight as we somehow managed to oversleep by an hour (this is why early morning flights should not exist) although that is something I could’ve gone my whole life without experiencing and would’ve been quite content.

If you’re thinking about going to Iceland, I really can’t recommend it enough. We barely got to see the majority of things we wanted to as there just wasn’t enough time but that just means we have a good excuse to go back one day!

Garnier Simply Essentials Soothing 2 in 1 Makeup Remover Review

Friday, 16 September 2016

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they forget to bring their trusted makeup remover on an overnight trip. Usually my makeup remover is the thing I check repeatedly to ensure I have but for some reason, I brainfarted and didn’t bother looking for it. I guess there’s a silver lining in this major first world problem story as my forgetfulness turned into me trying a new makeup remover.

I usually use the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water but, as that wasn’t available in the store I was in, I went for the Garnier Simply Essentials Soothing 2 in 1 Makeup Remover – and breathe. I was drawn to it for the same reason I’m drawn to Lush Dirty Springwash: the blue of the liquid. I’m easy to please.

The Garnier Simply Essentials Soothing 2 in 1 Makeup Remover (this name is too long) is made up of cleansing water – the clear liquid – and a makeup removing oil – the blue liquid. In order to get the makeup remover to work, you have to shake the bottle to blend both liquids and then use it like any normal makeup remover.

I find that whenever I’m removing my makeup with this, the liquids separate very quickly so I spend a lot of my time shaking the bottle like an idiot. I’m paranoid about using all of the makeup removing oil before the cleansing water so I shake the bottle rather vigorously.

Once both liquids are blended and on my cotton pads, I can’t really fault this product. With most makeup removers I have to hold the cotton pad on my eyelids for a few seconds before gently wiping and even then I have to do it a few times. With the Garnier Simply Essentials Soothing 2 in 1 Makeup Remover however, I can just wipe the cotton pad right over my eyelids and voila, my eye makeup is gone. It’s also a similar scenario for the rest of my makeup and even the brightest of lipsticks are completely removed by this product.

I guess my earlier statement is a lie as there is a downside to the Garnier Simply Essentials Soothing 2 in 1 Makeup Remover. It is atrociously oily! It leaves my skin glistening and greasy and it is not pleasant. I always have to either wash my face or use a cleanser to get the icky feeling and look off of my skin. This makeup remover is designed for sensitive skin but I can’t imagine the heavy oiliness is good for anyone who already suffers from oily skin.

I really wish the Garnier Simply Essentials Soothing 2 in 1 Makeup Remover wasn’t so oily as it would’ve been pretty much perfect otherwise. I love how quick this product makes the mundane task of removing my makeup at the end of the day but I just can’t get passed the oiliness. I think this will be perfect for Winter when my skin is drier but for now, I’m back to the Garnier Micellar Water.

Books of August

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Books of August

I’m mad about August’s reading “achievements”. I had the idea that I would storm my way through a number of books but for some strange reason, my brain thought it would be more fun to dance around to Eminem for a month straight. I did get through 2 books but I used to read 2 books in a weekend. My adult self is weak in comparison to my child self (funnily enough, I probably am weaker physically now than I was as a kid).

Regardless of my self-loathing and Eminem’s excellent back catalogue, I’m happy I finally finished the first book I’m about to tell you about. I’ve owned this book for 5 years and have attempted to read it countless times but it just never quite worked out. I blame Leonardo DiCaprio; if his damn baby face wasn’t so cute maybe I would’ve read the book instead of watching the movie.

Why am I building up some hype before dramatically unveiling this mysterious book to you when there’s a frigging picture of it to accompany this post? You already know I’m talking about Alex Garland’s The Beach - unless the device you’re reading this post on didn’t quite load the picture obviously. What the hell was I talking about again?

Oh yeah, The Beach. I used to only ever get to page 30 before putting this book down for a good 6 months at a time and that almost happened again in August. The Beach isn’t exactly a slow moving book but if you’ve seen the movie (which by the way, is so beyond different from the book I’m not even sure it should be called ‘The Beach’) you just want them to hurry their asses up and go to this delightful secluded beach. It’s a nice read, though. It’s one of those books that have extremely short chapters which makes devouring it in one go – once you’re past page 30 – significantly easier.

The Beach and Eats, Shoots and Leaves

The plot of The Beach starts with Richard, the main character, being handed a map to this wonderful beach by a man called Daffy. Richard buddies up with some French travellers and off they swim to an island tourists are not supposed to be on. Once there, they find some people who live their lives on this random little island, they smoke a great deal of weed and have a good time. Things happen, a shark appears, they all get the trots and then Leonardo DiCaprio erm, I mean Richard and his French buddies are like “nah this is a bit weird” and go home. Ok, that is a very vague description of what actually happens but you get the gist.

Once I actually got further into The Beach, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It actually saddens me to know it took me 5 years to finally finish the book as it is fantastic and infinitely better than the movie. If I ever find myself trapped in the bathroom or a lift, I wouldn’t mind if I had to read The Beach to pass the time.

The other book I finished in August was Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss. I actually remember buying this book back in 2004 as a Christmas present for my dad. My dad is very pedantic when it comes to a lot of things, grammar included, so this was the perfect present for him at the time. Plus the title amused me so even if he didn’t want it, he would have still have gotten it.

The Beach and Eats, Shoots and Leaves

I’m not going to lie to you because we’re friends or some equal cliché bullcrap, I really did not enjoy Eats, Shoots and Leaves. It’s 206 pages long so I figured I could finish it in a day, maybe a day and a half at a push but nope, it took me 15 days. 15 day I could’ve dedicated to buttering toast or milking Ben Stiller. I wanted to finish it because it’s such a short book and by finishing it, it makes me look intellectual or something but I just couldn’t get into it.

Maybe it was because I didn’t understand all of the grammar references or maybe it’s because I’m a pretentious tit who likes to act like I have a brain (my IQ level is above average so it’s not a pretence but I know a lot of irrelevant things) but this just wasn’t for me. It also left me really confused about grammar too. I should’ve just read The Cat in the Hat.

August was just a major fail reading wise. The Beach was my biggest achievement which is probably quite sad and I now just really want to watch the movie version of it again. Bloody Leonardo DiCaprio and that baby face. September will be better although the only reading I’ve done so far is over indulge in comments on various Facebook posts.

No 7 Beautifully Matte Foundation Review

Monday, 29 August 2016

If there’s one thing I like when it comes to makeup, it’s a good old matte finish. I’ve never bought into the “dewy glow” hype and I end up looking like a disco ball if I even attempt to apply highlighter. Matte suits me fine as it requires minimal effort and I don’t have to worry about looking like I shoved my face into a big bowl of grease.

Despite my love for matte finishes, I seem to be lacking in a matte foundation. For some unknown reason I’ve been gravitating towards ones that have the dewy glow that never wears well on me so, as Summer supposedly arrived in Scotland, I figured I would finally invest in a decent matte foundation. I’m saying I invested in a decent foundation but in reality, I went on the Boots website and noticed they had a foundation called No 7 Beautifully Matte foundation so I bought it. There’s a strong chance I made this purchase during a time usually reserved for sleeping.

Since I was buying the foundation online, choosing the correct shade was a difficult task. I figured “Cool Ivory” would be my best option but to be fair, I could’ve gone with any shade and it would be far too dark for me. The problem with drugstore foundations is their shade choice is always extremely limited which means ghosts like me are forever wearing the wrong shade.

“Cool Ivory” is definitely a little bit too dark for me but I guess that’s to be expected when your skin is so light it glows in the sun. Shade woes aside, the No 7 Beautifully Matte foundation is a somewhat nice addition to my makeup drawer. It does provide the matte finish I so crave and it held up well during the week of warm weather that Scotland had. Granted, a few oily patches make an appearance throughout any typical day but they’re nothing for me to get truly worked up about. It also provides a nice medium coverage which is always preferable when my skin is going into meltdown.

Sadly, though, the No 7 Beautifully Matte foundation isn’t perfect. I find it dries incredibly quickly so a fast application is required. Usually, I apply little blobs of foundation along my face and then blend but with this foundation, I have to work in small areas and blend as quickly as possible. The foundation also emphasises any dry patches of skin so I’m now acutely aware of dry skin I didn’t even know I had. It also has a tendency to accentuate pores if I fail to use a primer beforehand.

If the No 7 Beautifully Matte foundation didn’t settle into the dry patches that went undetected until I acquired this foundation, I’d happily put it on my repurchase list. I can live with having to blend quickly and ensuring I apply a primer beforehand if it means I get a nice matte finish but I can’t live with light orange patches on my skin. Sorry No 7 Beautifully Matte foundation, you’re good but you’re not that good.

Lush Haul

Sunday, 7 August 2016

While I’m slowly but surely using up my Lush collection before making any unnecessary purchases, my other half hasn’t quite got the memo that we’re on a Lush ban. I turned him into a Lush lover and now he has a bad habit of buying things just because he can. I guess it’s not the worst trait a partner could have as he’s generous enough to get a few things for me. He has his Lush favourites so his recent haul featured a few repurchases.

The thing that started this purchase off was his Dirty shaving cream was rather low. The beard growing genes in his family went entirely to his brother so my other half only has to repurchase Dirty every 8 months or so. He’s also open to Lush experimentation so opted for a small tub of Prince shaving cream too. I think he just wants to pretend he has to shave on a regular basis but in reality, he can go weeks without shaving and no one will notice. Poor guy!

My other half also thoroughly enjoys “borrowing” my tub of Big shampoo which results in it disappearing rather quickly. Fortunately, he was nice enough to add a tub of Big to his order but as he’s been using this while I finish the last of my Lush Ice Blue, I doubt I’ll get to see much of this tub. It’s the thought that counts.

I think the man is a fan of anything that has “dirty” in the name when it comes to Lush as Dirty Springwash is a firm favourite of his. I would like to take credit for this one since I bought him a bottle of Dirty Springwash shortly after we got together (am I a good girlfriend or what). If the litre bottle of Dirty Springwash wasn’t so ridiculous I think he would’ve got that one instead of the adequate sized bottle.

The last purchase on the list was the Don’t Rain on My Parade shower gel. This one was for me as I was reaching the end of my Lush The Comforter shower cream and my shower gel collection was no more. I went for Don’t Rain on My Parade as it sounded delicious on the website but I’m not actually sure how I feel about it now. It’s yet to be used but the scent is a little off-putting.

Is it weird that my other half is now the one making the Lush purchases these days? I’ve been on the Lush ban for a while since my stash was getting a bit out of hand but now he’s enabling me. I’m not complaining, our skin is smooth as hell and we smell awesome on a regular basis. I guess we’re just going to be that Lush couple now.

Books of July

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Books of July

June was a fairly successful month for reading but July, on the other hand, was a little iffy. There have been plenty of times where I’ve started a book, gotten to page 50 and given up (Hillary Clinton Hard Choices being a prime example) and this happened for a brief period in July. Some books are just difficult to get into and I seemed to find one that took a while for my brain to decide it was enjoying the story.

I watched the film version of The Shining 10 years ago and I remember very little of it. I can recall the scene in room 217, the bit with the twins and the part where Jack is at that bar and also shouting “here’s Johnny” but that’s about it. I guess not remembering much of a film works in your favour when reading the book the film is based on as you go in with very few preconceptions. The Shining is the first book I’ve ever read by Stephen King so I have absolutely nothing to compare it to. If his other books start as slowly as The Shining, I think it may take me a while to get through the rest of his work.

The Grownup, The Shining

Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy it. I loved how the story progressed and how things became more and more disturbing the further I got into the book. The character development, more so of Wendy than anyone else, was impeccable and I thoroughly enjoyed the horror elements. What I didn’t like, though, was the ending. I feel like a story set in a hotel with a creepy past and with a 5-year-old child who can see things others can’t and a recovering alcoholic permanently on the verge of a breakdown should’ve ended in a more exciting manner. It just felt abrupt and completely random.

I’d recommend The Shining if that’s what you’re into but if you’re not a fan of books that are slow to progress and are occasionally frightfully obvious, I’d stay clear. I picked up The Shining because it’s a classic but my thoughts on it are a little jumbled. I probably won’t be rereading it anytime soon.

The only other book I read in July was The Grownup by Gillian Flynn. I’m not going to lie, I detested Gone Girl both the book and film – I can’t be the only person who finds Ben Affleck to be painfully boring – so why I bought The Grownup I’ll never know.

The Grownup, The Shining

The story starts off promising. The opening sentence is about handjobs and then it progresses into a quick insight into the protagonist's past. It’s exactly what I expect from a Gillian Flynn novel; the main character being manipulative, ambitious and a little bit of a narcissist hardly came as a surprise. The beginning was obvious, the middle, however, was interesting. The story begins to twist and turn and the female narrator finds herself taking advantage of a woman called Susan. She plays on Susan’s fear but while doing so, she starts to realise that there are some creepy things going on.

The opening sentence had me interested, the middle had me hooked and the ending pissed me off. The Grownup is less than 100 pages but because of how the story plays out, it’s next to impossible to give a real explanation as to what was actually going on with Susan in such a short space of time. Maybe Gillian Flynn wanted to leave things to the reader’s interpretation or maybe she just wanted to annoy me but whatever the case, I resent her for it. I think The Grownup could’ve been brilliant had it been a full-length novel but 60 odd pages just aren't enough. At least it was a productive way to kill half an hour, though.

I wish I could be more positive about both books and I think over time, I will eventually appreciate The Shining for what it is but for now, I’m a little mad at Stephen King and Gillian Flynn. Despite the slight anger, I would urge you to read The Shining if books that involve hedges shaped into animals and elevators that move on their own is your deal. I wouldn’t recommend The Grownup unless you feel like losing however long it takes you to read 67 pages (did I honestly pay £2 for 67 pages?) though.

Urban Decay Alice Through The Looking Glass Lipsticks Review

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Thanks to the lovely lady that is Adrienne from The Sunday Girl and a giveaway she held in conjunction with Urban Decay, I am now the proud owner of the entire Alice Through the Looking Glass lipstick collection. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I tried to purchase one of these lipsticks only to discover they were all sold out so to have them all makes me very happy. It doesn’t take much to make me happy, does it?

Urban Decay Alice Through the Looking Glass Lipstick Collection
From left to right: Time, Iracebeth, Mirana, Alice and Mad Hatter.

The reason I kept trying to buy at least one of these lipsticks so much was because they’re different from my usual pink and red shades that I usually gravitate towards. I do like a bold lip but I tend to stick with something like MAC Impassioned or Illamasqua Luster over the truly bold colours. The Urban Decay Alice Through the Looking Glass collection is made up of 3 more daring shades and 2 standard lipstick colours so naturally, I was drawn to them.

I’m not going to lie, I was a little intimidated with the bolder choices in this collection when I received them so I played it safe and used Iracebeth first. Iracebeth is a gorgeous matte – although I’d argue it leaves more of a satin finish – red lipstick with pink undertones and it wears like an absolute dream. It’s possibly my new favourite red lipstick as it’s such a classic, bright red.

Mad Hatter came after Iracebeth as I wanted to use it to build up the courage to wear Mirana. Mad Hatter is a beautiful bright purple shade and is made a tad more wearable by the pink undertones. It has some shimmer to it which would typically bother me but because Mad Hatter is a bolder choice anyway, I kind of like the shimmer. It probably looks a little odd on my skin tone but I love it regardless.

Urban Decay Alice Through the Looking Glass Lipstick Collection Swatches
From left to right: Alice, Mad Hatter, Time, Iracebeth and Mirana.

I think you’ve already figured Mirana was worn next. I was really worried about Mirana originally because I usually wear all black, have black hair and my skin is incredibly pale so I had it in my head that this was going to make me look very gothic (not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not my scene anymore). I think, although I’m sure some will disagree, that I managed to get away with this deep berry shade without looking like I belonged at a Cradle of Filth concert too much.

Once I’d gotten over my Mirana fears, I plucked up the courage to wear Time. I’d argue that Time is the most daring shade of lipstick in this collection as it’s a gun metal blue with a silver shimmer. I don’t know about you, but I don’t see many people wandering down the street with blue lips so I expected some odd looks while wearing Time. I didn’t expect to like Time as much as I did but I actually felt really comfortable while wearing it. It probably makes me look like I belong in a bad 90s death metal band but hey ho, I’m happy to rock it to do the weekly food shop so there’s a plus.

Finally, it was time to try Alice and this is where my hype for these lipsticks ends. I hate nude lipsticks as it is but as soon as you throw sheer into it, I take myself out of the equation. I can understand why Alice is in this collection but it’s just not for me. I’d rather prance around in Mirana than I would Alice…that was a really weird sentence.

Urban Decay Alice Through the Looking Glass Lipstick Collection

Collectively, these lipsticks aren’t the best but they’re far away from being the worst. They apply a little patchily so I have to break out the lip brush to ensure I have an even colour but they all wear for around 6-8 hours (unless you eat a burger) and don’t dry out my lips. The only gripe I have with these lipsticks beyond Alice is the packaging. The actual design of the packaging is fabulous but the functionality of each lipstick case is awful. The lipsticks often get stuck when you’re trying to twist them up and down so I’m forever panicking that one day, the lipsticks will get stuck in the tube and never see the light of day again. Was that too dramatic?

That one gripe aside, I’ve barely given any of my other lipsticks a second thought since receiving this collection and I’m finding myself planning makeup looks around 4 out of 5 of these shades. I’m still trying to work out how I can wear Time to my cousin’s wedding without my uncle calling me a goth (he’s been calling me one since 2006) all night though. Suggestions are welcome!

P.S. Please forgive me for the shaky swatches. I typically do swatches on my left arm as I’m right handed but thanks to the tattoo that takes up most of that arm, it just wasn’t possible this time around. My left hand basically flailed about uselessly while I did these swatches.

P.P.S Are Cradle of Filth still cool, actually, were they ever cool?

"Why Don't You Wear Makeup?"

Monday, 11 July 2016

Why don't you wear makeup?

“Why don’t you wear make up?”

Ah the one question from my teenage years that would’ve made me a millionaire if I had a pound for every time someone asked me it. I don’t know why a girl not wearing make up is such a problem but apparently, it’s a very big deal.

I’m not going to lie, I didn’t really care about how I looked when I was younger. Obviously I showered every day but for the most part, my hair was tied up in the same low ponytail and the only thing that was applied to my face was moisturiser. I liked it that way; as far as I was concerned I was a little too young for make up. Who was I going to be impressing with a bright orange face, spidery eyelashes and too much blush at the age of 11?

Not everyone had the same idea as me though. Somewhere between the end of primary school and the beginning of high school my childhood friends had acquired a big batch of make up and were piling everything onto their faces. Their mismatched foundation and inability to blend properly did not appeal to me whatsoever. It became apparent that they thought, at the tender ages of 11 and 12, they were more “adult” than they actually were so we slowly drifted apart.

A few of the friends I made during high school also slathered on the make up like there was no tomorrow. Every day they would show up with layers upon layers of concealer, foundation and powder and it just looked so odd to me. It took everything I had to not tell them I didn’t want to look like a cake face like them when they asked me why I didn’t wear make up.

Of course I did eventually start wearing make up but it was mostly eyeliner and I was 14. I did own a foundation, powder, one eyeshadow and one lipstick but I didn’t really care too much about them. I was atrocious at applying my make up and I knew that (although it was usually light enough for no one to really notice) so for the most part, I didn’t bother. I did eventually get sucked into the full face of make up but only once I actually became legal to fornicate – although it was my butt that drew in the guys as opposed to my face.

Even now, 12 years later, I still wonder why people couldn’t understand my bare face. Maybe my lack of make up offended them or maybe it was just good old fashioned peer pressure but whatever the case, it still makes no sense to me. I wasn’t going to school to impress anyone because quite frankly, why would I want to? It’s not like anyone I did impress could take me on a date that went beyond the cinema and Pizza Hut anyway. Maybe now at 23 I can wander around with no make up on and no one will demand to know why my face is not covered in the gunk but as a teenager, it’s just not allowed.

XHC Coconut Water Shampoo and Conditioner Review

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Have you ever accidentally bought 3 bottles of conditioner because you were adamant they were shampoo when you put them in your basket? You probably haven’t but for some strange reason I have. I bought 3 bottles of coconut scented conditioner and 1 bottle of shampoo from the same brand but in a totally different scent. Due to this major brain fart, I found myself in need of a new shampoo and that need led me to the XHC Coconut Water shampoo and conditioner. Like I actually needed another conditioner!

XHC Coconut Water shampoo and conditioner

I actually stumbled upon XHC while looking at the cookies on the bargain shelf in Tesco (do all Tescos have this or is it just my local one?). I was drawn to the shampoo and conditioner because of the design of the bottles. They’re so sleek and glamorous that my brain was fooled into believing that they were from a high-end brand.

The XHC Coconut Water shampoo and conditioner promise to leave your hair looking sleek and shimmering by using high-quality ingredients and a special formula. I’m not exactly clued up on ingredients, chemicals and all that good stuff but I find it very difficult to believe that a shampoo and conditioner that costs £1 per bottle uses high-quality ingredients. That’s possibly me being an absolute snob but cmon, how does a business make a profit using high-quality ingredients but selling at a very low price? My spidey sense is tingling.

XHC Coconut Water Hydrating shampoo and conditioner

Regardless of the potential ingredient debate, the XHC shampoo and conditioner perform exactly how you’d want them to. The shampoo lathers up really well and it does a great job at washing your hair. The conditioner leaves your hair feeling smooth but I wouldn’t go as far as saying it makes it sleek and shimmering. It does leave behind that slight silicone feel a lot of high street brand conditioners do so if you’re not a fan of that, steer clear of this conditioner.

When it comes to hair products with “coconut” in the title, I expect to be surrounded by a gorgeous coconut smell when I’m using them but sadly, the shampoo and conditioner don’t give me that. There is a coconut scent but it’s very faint and it definitely does not linger on your hair once you’ve finished rinsing. To be perfectly honest, the shampoo doesn’t actually remove any smell from your hair so if you’ve been hanging out in a smoke filled room, you’ll be washing your hair in vain with this product.

XHC Coconut Water shampoo and conditioner

Despite the fact I definitely didn’t need another conditioner, I feel ok with myself for giving in and purchasing the XHC shampoo and conditioner. I wouldn’t shout about how brilliant either product is from the rooftops but I think for the price, they do an adequate job. Not to mention the bottles look really good in my shower. I’m a sucker for good packaging!

Disclaimer: Affiliate links have been used in this post.

Books of June

Monday, 4 July 2016

Books to read

As the sun made an appearance for 2 weeks and was then quickly followed up by the dreaded Euros, June was a productive month reading wise for me. I’ve mentioned before that I am no longer an avid reader but I’m doing my best to get back into it. I managed to get through 3 books in June which isn’t a large amount but considering I haven’t read anything beyond an article on Forbes for months, I’m quite pleased with myself.

The first book I finished was Guy Martin’s second book When You Dead, You Dead. Guy Martin’s first book is an overview of his childhood, racing career and his general day to day life whereas this book focuses predominately on his TV escapades and racing. He talks about the making of the second season of Speed with Guy Martin - which you should definitely watch if you haven’t already – as well as the preparation for his Wall of Death record attempt. He also ponders whether he still wants to race motorbikes and seems to battle with himself throughout the entire book.

It’s really interesting to be able to see a little more into Guy Martin’s world and the way he thinks. If you were to read this book without really knowing about Guy Martin, you’d probably think he’s just being an arrogant, ungrateful imbecile at parts but considering he’s not a showman and has never strived for fame, a lot of the points he makes in the book are very understandable. Weirdly, I kind of hope the people who bombard him at events read this and stop crowding him so much. I just want the man to have more time to take pictures of his dog so he can include them in his next book (should he write one).

James Patterson, Guy Martin, Chris Kyle

The second book I read was American Sniper by Chris Kyle. I saw the film adaption and thought it was brilliant so, when my other half bought the book, I was excited to read it. Despite my excitement, I actually struggled to get through American Sniper. While I figured the film would be a little different from the true story, I didn’t think the difference would be as big as it is.

I thoroughly enjoyed being able to read the words written by a man hailed as an American hero but the story lacked something for me. I felt like I was reading the same thing over and over again and, to be fair, I guess I was. There’s not exactly much you can write when you’re fighting the same people in the same place for a long period of time. It’s a shame as I was ready to love this book but it just wasn’t for me.

Cross Justice by James Patterson was the final book I read in June and this was finished very quickly. There are very few books that I find difficult to put down but I couldn’t get enough of Cross Justice; I just needed to know what happened next.

Cross Justice, When You Dead You Dead, American Sniper

The story is one of those far-fetched plots that has a one in a million chance of actually happening but is just too good to ignore. It focuses on Alex Cross, a man who finds himself returning to his hometown in North Carolina 30 years after he moved to Washington following the death of his parents. The reason for his visit is he's trying to help prove his cousin’s innocence. His cousin has been accused of a heinous crime but it’s not just the crime Alex Cross uncovers. There are so many different twists and dead ends that it’s impossible to say “I’ll go to bed after this chapter”. There’s so much to this story that I’ve already forgotten a few parts despite only finishing it a couple of days ago. I think that’s a good excuse to read it again!

I don’t think I could recommend Cross Justice and When You Dead, You Dead enough; both of them are excellent books and really enjoyable to read. As for American Sniper, well, if you’re really into reading about the Iraq war from a Navy SEAL’s perspective then I would urge you to read this but otherwise, I’d advise you to just watch the movie instead. I’d also advise you to watch Speed with Guy Martin and Guy Martin’s Wall of Death. Basically, I’ve just turned a post about reading into a post about TV. That’s a talent I can brag about right?

Soap & Glory Haul

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Soap & Glory is that one brand I always mean to purchase from but somehow always forget to. I’ve read countless reviews of their products and have always made a mental note to buy some things for myself but it just never seems to happen. If it wasn’t for the 3 for 2 offer on Soap & Glory that I spotted lurking in a corner in Boots recently, I probably would’ve left the store and would be halfway home before remembering my intentions.

Soap and Glory Haul

I happened to be in the market for a new moisturiser and shower gel when I noticed the 3 for 2 offer. As I received 3 Soap & Glory body butters last Christmas, I knew exactly which body butter I wanted. Sugar Crush was my favourite body butter out of the 3 I received and, as it makes me crave lemonade and reminds me of sunny weather (the complete opposite of what the weather is currently giving us) I immediately picked up a large tub of the lime scented goodness.

The Breakfast Scrub was a "I need another product to get this damn offer" purchase. I was reaching the end of Lush Ocean Salt and I figured a body scrub wouldn’t be a bad way to go. I bought Breakfast Scrub after much umming and aahing as it sounded like it had all of the right ingredients to make my skin look fabulous.

Soap and Glory Breakfast Scrub. Soap and Glory Sugar Crush

Annoyingly, I didn’t look inside the tub before buying it (because why would I?) so I was completely unaware of the fact some delightful human being decided to write their initials in the product and also run their finger through it. I guess I should start buying products from the back of the shelf as some people have absolutely no manners whatsoever.

Soap and Glory Foam Call body wash

While the moisturiser was easy to choose, the shower gel was a bit of an issue. I’ve never actually read anything about Soap & Glory’s body washes before so I have no idea which ones are good and which ones should be avoided. I eventually picked up Foam Call as it had the nicest looking bottle and based on the scent of it, I don’t think I made a mistake by judging something by its cover. It smells unbelievably delicious and it’ll last considerably longer than the small Lush shower gels I insist on hoarding.

Aside from the nasty fingerprints, I think I made all of the right choices with my first Soap & Glory purchases. All 3 products smell amazing and hopefully will also give great results. I’m just happy that I get to smell like lemonade again thanks to Sugar Crush. Who needs fancy perfumes when you can slather yourself with a luxurious body butter that makes you crave sugary drinks?

Tell me your favourite Soap & Glory products so I can add them to my list.
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