Aultbea, Scotland: A Photo Diary

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Have you ever found yourself full of pizza at 6pm and making a 5-hour drive to an incredibly small village in the Scottish Highlands? I imagine you haven’t because most people leave significantly earlier than 6pm when they have a long drive but not my other half and I. No, we like to arrive at our destinations at 11pm and no earlier. At least that way the roads are quiet and there are fewer people to push out the way at service station toilets.

Our 5-hour drive (in case you were wondering) was to Aultbea. We were visiting his parents – and I was meeting them for the first time – as they were renting an amazing house in this teeny, tiny place. I seriously wish I took photos of the rooms of the house because they were straight out of Pinterest. I did take a lot of photos of the surrounding areas though so obviously I had to do another photo diary.

Loch Ewe

As we arrived so late on Friday, we didn’t really see our surroundings until the following morning. The view from our bedroom was rather awesome so it was worth the wait. We could see Loch Ewe from one window and a field of horses from the other. I woke up to the horses neighing on the Saturday morning and almost grabbed the closest thing to me as I was convinced there was someone beyond my other half and me in the room. Damn horses.

The Perfume Studio Lunch

We decided to go out for lunch on Saturday before driving around Loch Ewe. The Perfume Studio is an amazing little store that sells handmade soaps, perfumes, candles etc and it has a rather delightful café next to it. You’re not exactly spoilt for choice when it comes to eating establishments in Aultbea so we drove up to the café and scoffed paninis while admiring the view. I forgot how hard it is to eat when your hair is constantly slapping you in the face thanks to gentle breeze.

Loch Ewe

We drove to Cove after lunch and the long, narrow, twisting roads right after a cheesy panini made me feel rather sick. Fortunately the sea air sorted me out quickly and we rolled up right when a tour bus was leaving. Perfect timing!

Loch Ewe

My other half thinks he’s a mountain goat. He had me climbing over far too many rocks and up far too many cliffs. I almost fell on my butt thanks to an extremely slippery rock and looked absolutely ridiculous while trying to stop myself. My other half gave me 7/10 for my performance.

World War II Bunker

After spending a few hours torturing our leg muscles on the cliffs, we wandered over to the World War II bunkers (and disturbed some sheep in the process). There are signs on the bunkers advising that they are dangerous buildings and shouldn’t be entered but we’re too rebellious (or stupid) to pay attention. The bunkers are really impressive; it’s just a shame some idiots have decided to graffiti a few of them.

World War II Memorial

A representative for the Queen had graced the war memorial a few weeks before us and left some poppies. I didn’t have anything to leave so I randomly saluted.

Victoria Falls

After our time in Cove, we had some time to kill before dinner in Poolewe so we drove to Gairloch. Sadly it was raining when we arrived so we used the petrol station and set off again. We came across Victoria Falls just as the sun was coming out so we went for a little nosy. For some strange reason, I really love taking pictures of waterfalls. My camera can’t get up to the shutter speed I’d like for such photos but it still does the job.

Sadly, our trip came to an end on Sunday afternoon. Aultbea is such a great, albeit quiet place, so we were really sad to leave. There isn’t much to do in that part of the world so I doubt I could’ve spent 2 weeks there but it was fun while it lasted. There’s still a lot of surrounding towns that I wanted to see so I’m sure my other half and I will return.

My Everyday Makeup

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

While my scene kid days may have been filled with awfully bright Stargazer eyeshadow and far too pale Rimmel London lipsticks, my adult years is all neutral. I’m talking Urban Decay Naked palettes, lipstick that actually matches my skin tone (most of the time) and only a very thin line of eyeliner as opposed to panda eyes.

I tend to reach for the same items every day which is why I keep my makeup collection small. There are choices but not enough to open my own Sephora. I guess I like rocking the same look almost every day as at least I know it works and I don’t look like a clown left behind by the circus.

Urban Decay Naked Palettes

The Urban Decay Naked 3 palette is my preferred eyeshadow palette of choice. There are no specific eyeshadows for my everyday look; I really just apply whatever I feel like wearing while getting ready. I also use the Naked Basics palette for eyeliner purposes. I was a slave to Bobbi Brown’s gel eyeliner but I’ve returned back to my eyeshadow for eyeliner roots. I just love the lasting power of eyeshadow for eyeliner and how dark and bold it is. Maybe my scene kid and emo days are still with me!

Face Makeup
I've used everything so much I've rubbed the names off most of the skin products.

As for the actual skin side of things, I like to keep it as minimum as possible. I currently use a small amount of the Rimmel London Wake Me Up foundation in ivory which is 2 shades too dark for me. I also use the Collection Lasting Perfection concealer in an attempt to make myself look like I had more sleep than I did (it doesn’t help). Once all the darkness is applied to my face I set it with MAC Blot Powder and then add a little bit of Benefit Dandelion. If I’m doing my version of contouring (i.e. doing anything but contour) I’ll use the Solait Bronzer.

Lip and eye makeup

The finishing touches come from my go to neutral lipstick. Having a pale skin tone means any nude shade is out of the question as they make me look horrifically ill so I turn to MAC Chatterbox for some lipstick help. Rimmel London Eastend Snob is used to make my lips slightly more even than they actually are although I think I’m failing at that. Of course, the standard lip scrub and lip balm are both used before lipstick application but they’re not fun!

In my scene kid days, my everyday makeup was a sickly bright yellow eyeshadow with a silver eyeshadow messily blended into it so all of this is a major step down for me. I think I prefer the non “panda on acid” makeup, I kind of look more like a human now and less like a kid who got into their mum’s makeup. Woohoo for neutrals!

2 Weeks of Coconut Oil Pulling

Saturday, 21 May 2016

It’s hard to ignore all of the pictures of dazzling white teeth that litter my Pinterest. I’ve always wanted a Hollywood smile but years of laziness and sporadic use of teeth whitening strips hasn’t really amounted to much. I guess I couldn’t help but be bought in by the whole idea that coconut oil pulling will help me achieve the teeth I so desperately desire.

Coconut Oil Pulling

I’ve been coconut oil pulling for 2 weeks now and I’m still confused by the whole idea of it. For starters, why is it called “pulling” when it involves no such thing? Also, who actually discovered this whole trend anyway and why were they swirling coconut oil around their mouth to begin with? These are the questions that keep me up at night.

Despite my inability to actually understand this whole trend, I’ve been swirling a teaspoon – there seems to be some debate as to whether it should be a tablespoon or teaspoon - of oil around my mouth for 20 minutes every day. I hate the texture to the point where I almost threw up the first time I did it. I’ve accidentally spat the oil in the sink on a few occasions despite knowing fine well that doing so is a big no-no (working for a drainage company in the past has taught me that solid cooking oil and grease in a drain is not a pretty sight nor is it a cheap thing to rectify) and I look like a chipmunk whenever I’m carrying out this odd craze.

Coconut Oil Pulling

I would love to say that even though I find it to be disgusting and annoying there are some benefits but I’ve yet to reap them. My teeth are possibly that little bit brighter but I could be kidding myself. I swear they look better after the 20 minutes but by the end of the day, they’re back to their original colour. As for the better mouth hygiene, prevention of heart disease, no more cavities and whatever else coconut oil pulling is supposed to do, well, I just don’t know. If I manage to go my whole life without ending up with heart disease or another cavity then I will update this post accordingly but until then, I can’t really comment.

All I know is coconut oil pulling is strange but I’m going to finish my whole jar before deciding on whether I want to continue with it or not. There is one thing I’ve decided on though, those dazzling white smiles on Pinterest that were achieved through coconut oil pulling are either incredibly Photoshopped or were taken in amazing lighting. Either that or my teeth just don’t want to be that blinding.

Kenmore, Scotland: A Photo Diary

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

My dad always said I would return but I didn’t think it would be a mere 4 years later. The last time I was in Kenmore (a tiny Scottish village that requires a lot of careful driving on frighteningly narrow, twisting roads to get to) I was surrounded by a lot of family as it was my dad’s 50th birthday. This time around, I went with just my other half after a spur of the moment decision.

Kenmore Hotel

This is a view of the Kenmore Hotel from the bridge. We managed to book the last room available at the hotel. There’s probably a reason as to why it was the last room as it was extremely tired looking. I felt like I was at Grandma’s house!

Kenmore Bridge

We went out after dinner and ended up crawling under this bridge. Trying to waddle under a low bridge in high heels is no easy task.

River Tay

We went for a walk along the River Tay and ended up on a path we wouldn't have found had a person and their dog not disappeared down it. I was originally trying to show my other half the dangerous bridge my dad decided to wander across (despite signs telling him not to) the last time we were there. We never made it to that bridge.

Kenmore Memorial

I'm not 100% sure if this a war memorial or not but you can get inside it and climb up to the ledge. The stairs are so steep my little legs could barely handle them.

River Tay

Another shot taken after crawling under the bridge. I was hoping for some intense sunset colours but sadly, it was all rather soft. It's still pretty so I'll let nature off the hook.

Kenmore

This was an accidental picture. I can't even remember what I was trying to do but this somehow became the outcome.

River Tay

The first photo of the day! We were having a picnic like the cute people we are.

Despite the fact we were only there for 24 hours and there wasn’t much to do, my other half and I had an amazing time. Kenmore is such a beautiful place and I’m rather glad we somehow ended up there. I can return next weekend right?

Products I've Used Up

Saturday, 14 May 2016

It’s been a good two years since I last did a post on the products I’ve used up. I actually had quite the empty stash building up but then I brain farted one day and threw all of the empty products out. I guess there’s no time like the present for a post though right? I’m acting like a post about finished products is going to cure the world of all diseases; I’ll get off my high horse and start talking about empty products now.

Faith in Nature and Lush

Faith in Nature Grapefruit and Orange Shampoo and Conditioner:
Pros: Both products contain natural ingredients, they do exactly what you’d want them to and they both last a long time despite everyday use.
Cons: The grapefruit and orange scent basically makes your hair smell like Fairy Liquid.
Would I repurchase? Probably not. I’m not a fan of having my hair remind me that I need to wash the dishes.

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water:

Pros: The Micellar Cleansing Water removes the majority of my makeup and whatever else may have ended up on my face during the day (usually crisp crumbs) without too much effort. It doesn’t dry out my skin and you can supposedly get 200 uses out of one bottle (who counted this?).
Cons: It seems to struggle with removing certain eyeshadows and eyeliner. That’s the only con I have.
Would I repurchase? I already have!


Faith in Nature, Soap and Glory and Garnier

Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter:

Pros: The Righteous Butter moisturises the skin really well and it smells incredible.
Cons: I think I got around 10 uses out of it and that was using it sparingly.
Would I repurchase? I’m currently switching to the Soap & Glory website as I write this, I think that says it all.

Lush Pot o’ Gold Shower Jelly:
Pros: Pot o’ Gold leaves my skin feeling really smooth and it lathers up rather well. It also doesn’t slither around the shower floor like every other shower jelly I’ve had. I can actually control this jelly!
Cons: The last remaining parts of the jelly broke up in the shower before I could even begin to use them. I’m also not a fan of the honey smell.
Would I repurchase? It’s a limited edition product but if it does come back for Easter next year, I think I’ll give it a miss.

Lush Products

Lush The Comforter Shower Cream:
Pros: The scent! It smells incredible and I can’t get enough of it. It also cleans all of the heat induced sweat off but who cares about that when it smells so good?
Cons: None. Seriously. None.
Would I repurchase? I already have.

Lush Veganese Conditioner:
Pros: I’ll get back to you on that one.
Cons: This is quite possibly the worst Lush product I’ve ever used. I can’t seem to get along with their conditioners and this one was just awful. It was basically another product to add to my hair for no particular reason.
Would I repurchase? Don’t be daft!

So there are my latest finished products. Weirdly I never seem to have any empty makeup products, it’s always skincare and hair products. Am I doing something wrong here? I need to start shovelling the makeup on so I can proudly tell anyone who will listen that I finished a bottle of foundation.

The Forgotten Drawer

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

You know when you buy a product that you’re really excited about and then immediately throw into a drawer after its first use? Well, I rediscovered the forgotten drawer while cleaning out my closet (Eminem reference anyone? No? Ok, moving on) and it made me all kinds of sad. It’s a drawer full of beautifully packaged products that all look and sound great but either don’t live up to expectations or were an impulse purchase. To think, if I hadn’t bought these products, I would be ever so slightly richer…or I would have more shoes.

Hair Products

The same 2 brands seem to appear in my forgotten drawer and I’m starting to question myself for them. Tresemme and Aussie used to be my go-to brands but if I’m being honest, I rarely finished their products. I think the Aussie Colour Mate shampoo and the Tresemme Heat Defence spray were the only ones that ever made it into my empties pile. A part of me must think that both Aussie and Tresemme will make my hair shinier than a polished turd as there’s really no reason for me to buy so many of their products.

It’s really just hair product galore in the forgotten drawer. There’s a L’Oréal Matte and Messy spray that I just couldn’t figure out (I used it once), a very old and very full bottle of Batiste dry shampoo that I hated (what is with everyone and dry shampoo anyway?), 2 bottles of Wella Silvikrin hairspray that I actually like but I never do anything to my hair to warrant their use and 2 boxes of blonde hair dye despite the fact I have dyed black hair.

Hair Products

There are a some other things like perfume samples I accumulated after security wrongly stopped me in Harvey Nichols (I was carrying a Harvey Nichols bag with my purchase inside but I guess I looked suspicious), little period pad tins Always gave away with their products years ago that are actually too small to fit one pad in, John Frieda 3 Day Straight Spray that I’ve had for years and is about as useful as a wet fish and various half-finished moisturisers that made my skin more reptilian than baby butt smooth.

The forgotten drawer is a sad state of affairs but it’s a drawer that probably exists in any beauty product loving person’s house. I’d much rather fill the drawer with something useful like odd socks and old batteries but instead, the drawer is dedicated to products I don’t need and will never use. What can I say? I’m attached to volumising products that never turn it up to 11 (what about a This is Spinal Tap reference? I should just stop this now shouldn’t I?).

Tell me what’s in your forgotten drawer?

Living With OCD

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Living with OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (better known as OCD or, to some misinformed people “I like things to be neat” disorder) is a widely misunderstood mental health issue. Millions of people around the world suffer from OCD and my other half happens to be one of these people.

When we first got together, his OCD was minor. He would do certain things a few times over which I always found to be odd but assumed this was part of his character. It wasn’t until our relationship progressed and we started to spend more time with each other that I realised these things weren’t just “quirks” of his. He had to do all of these things, they weren’t a choice or something he did to be a bit flamboyant; they were a necessity.

Our relationship has continued past the 2-year mark and his OCD has gradually gotten worse over time. In the last few months, he’s added more things to his routine and has also roped me into reassuring him. If we set a time to go out at, we’ll never make it as he has to carry out his routine. If it’s freezing cold outside and I’ve forgotten my keys, I’ll have to shiver by the door as he has checks to carry out before he can walk away from his car.

Despite the worsening of his condition, my other half has refrained from seeking help due to the stigma attached to OCD. The general opinion of OCD is that people with the condition like things to be a bit clean. You’ll often hear someone exclaiming they have OCD because they like things to be organised and those statements alone only assist further in how much the condition is ostracised. Seeking treatment may be incredibly beneficial but my other half is fully aware that he does not have the support of people he really needs it from, in fact, those people will be the first to brush off his condition as him just wasting time.

Despite his unwillingness to currently seek help, 75% of people who have sought treatment and have been provided with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy have been helped in some way. CBT is the most effective way of dealing with OCD but less than 10% of people living with the condition receive the correct treatment. The recovery rates of people who aren’t receiving appropriate treatment are practically non-existent.

OCD affects approximately 1.2% of the population of the United Kingdom and it is ranked in the top 10 of the most disabling conditions by the Word Health Organisation. It’s also the fourth most prevalent psychological disorder. The causes of OCD remain unknown but it’s widely suspected that it is a hereditary condition or is a result of the sufferer having too much serotonin in their brain. When it comes to my other half’s OCD, he’s in an interesting area as his may be inherited or it may be a result of a neurological illness (that's a whole other post in itself) he was diagnosed with in December 2014.

Whatever the cause of OCD is, it’s safe to say it’s a lot more serious than a flippant remark someone makes about liking tidiness. It’s a genuine mental illness that seems to be brushed under the carpet far too often. I don’t know what causes people to randomly say they have OCD because they like things to be a certain way but I do know they need to stop. For as long as we continue to treat OCD and every other mental illness as a joke, the stigma will remain firmly in place and people like my other half will refuse to seek treatment. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather live in a world where people who genuinely need help can receive it without being made to feel insignificant.

For more information on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy please visit mind.org.uk
For more information on OCD please visit OCD-UK
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