Finding The Perfect Engagement Ring

Friday, 28 April 2017

Finding the perfect engagement ring

He got down on one knee, babbled an incredibly unique speech and then stood patiently while I looked around for the cast and crew of Punk’d before finally saying yes. My poor fiancé had a plan for the proposal but, while Iceland isn’t without its romantic spots, it severely lacks in areas that aren’t crawling with tourists. His plan was to propose on our Northern Lights tour (with 30 strangers present) but that was thrown out the window when we somehow became very lost in the middle of nowhere. A little known peaceful area in Iceland that we’ll probably never be able to find again became the perfect setting for our proposal.

He did everything right. He asked my parents for permission, he hid the fact he was even considering proposing and he asked me to marry him in a place we’ll never forget. He even managed to find the perfect ring and for that, I tip my hat to him. I am not an easy person to shop for especially when it comes to jewellery.

I like my jewellery to be classy, high quality and incredibly understated. I don’t want in your face necklaces or earrings and I definitely don’t want a big rock on my finger. Unknowingly, I had done my other half a favour by scouring multiple websites for a ring for Christmas the year before he proposed. He’d been told exactly what shape of diamonds I detest, what colours I won’t tolerate and how ridiculously difficult it is to find a ring for my worryingly small fingers.

If I hadn’t shown him exactly what type of ring I liked before we even discussed marriage, I think he’d still be searching high and low for the perfect ring. My dad took my mum to the jewellery store in order to get around this issue but if you’re set on making the proposal a surprise and are lost in a world of shiny diamonds, it’s time to find out what type of ring your partner would favour.

You could ask them the right questions (while being as surreptitious as possible) or you could casually steer them to the internet where you can spend hours poring over rings. My preference for discreet ring hunting is F.Hinds and it has nothing to do with the fact they have a certain ring that fits my wedding colours perfectly. Ok, I’m totally lying there, I’m drooling over one of their rings so much it’s a miracle my laptop hasn’t drowned.

My fiancé and I have been engaged for almost 6 months and I still take a minute to admire my engagement ring every morning. I can’t even begin to stress how important the perfect engagement ring is and if you’re worried you’re going to get it horribly wrong, you need to secretly tag team your partner into your search. Alternatively, if you’re the one who will be proposed to but are worried your partner is going to give you, to quote Chandler Bing, “a stupid gumball ring”, look at rings for yourself and throw your list of preferences at the person you want to marry. After all, that ring is there for life.

Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with F.Hinds.

L'Oreal Gold Obsession Lipstick Review and Giveaway

Saturday, 22 April 2017

If there’s one thing every girl needs, it’s a good lipstick. Whether you’re having a night out, slaving away at work or just feel like a little confidence boost, your favourite lipstick is the way forward. There are many brands I go to for a lip product but I always have a soft spot for L’Oreal. Their range of lip products is one of the best on the high street in my humble opinion and their new Gold Obsession lipsticks are incredible.

L'Oreal Gold Obsession Lipstick
Lipstick pictured is the shade 'Rouge Gold'.

The L’Oreal Gold Obsession lipstick is every drugstore makeup lover’s dream. It’s high quality, low priced and looks right at home amongst a high-end collection. The packaging is a gorgeous matte black with a shiny gold finish on the bottom. It’s sturdy and secure and will survive even the most chaotic of makeup bags.

The lipstick itself is equally as pretty. The formula is creamy so it applies without any tugging and it’s opaque so it can be built up to a beautiful bold shade or it can be much more subtle if you’re not feeling so daring. The formula is also enriched with omega 3 oils and vitamin E which makes the lipstick moisturising as opposed to having the dreaded drying effect. Its creaminess and moisturising properties means the lipstick does not hold up well against food and drink; reapplication is a must if you want to maintain the bold look.

L'Oreal Gold Obsession Lipstick Swatch

The L’Oreal Gold Obsession lipstick has a metallic finish which, as a matte fan, isn’t typically my cup of tea but L’Oreal has managed to change my opinion. I cannot stop staring at my lips whenever I’m wearing this product as the shine is perfection; it’s as if you’ve layered a lipgloss over the lipstick but without the stickiness. If I could only have one lip product for the rest of my life, the L’Oreal Gold Obsession lipstick would be a serious contender!

Now for the fun part! I’ve teamed up with to give one lucky person their chance to win a L’Oreal Gold Obsession lipstick of their own. To enter just follow the steps below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions:

-This giveaway is open to UK residents only.
-The giveaway will run from 22/04/17 - 06/05/17.
-The winner will be selected at random and will be contacted via Twitter. They will have 7 days to respond. If it is apparent the winner is on holiday, away for personal reasons etc I will extend the time allowed to reply. If the winner does not reply within the extended time frame, another winner will be selected.
-The winner's details will be passed to WOW FreeStuff as they will be supplying the prize.
-By entering the competition you agree to receive newsletters from WOW FreeStuff.
-If you are under the age of 18 please ask your parents/legal guardians for permission before entering.
-All entries will be checked and any false entries will automatically be disqualified.
-This prize cannot be exchanged for cash or any other goods or services.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. I received a lipstick in exchange for review. All opinions are my own.

L'Oreal Micellar Water Review

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

If you know me (and if you do I’m sorry) then you’re probably aware of my love for trying new micellar waters. After using makeup wipes for far longer than I wish I had, I’m very particular about the way my makeup is removed now. I want it all off of my face before going to sleep and I want it done in a manner that takes very little time and effort and doesn’t cause me to tug at my skin. I’m becoming a little jaded with all of the micellar waters failing to live up to expectations so you can’t really blame me for buying L’Oreal’s belated version as soon as I saw it, can you?

The L’Oreal Micellar Water* for normal/sensitive skin is incredibly late to the scene. Garnier (owned by L’Oreal) have had their offering out for a considerable amount of time and even have multiple variations of it. What took L’Oreal so long to finally make their version is beyond me but I do know this, it’s amazing!

Let’s start with the shallow side of things first. The packaging is simple, sleek and something I thoroughly enjoy having on the bathroom shelf. It contains 400ml worth of product (much like the Garnier versions) and disperses the product slow enough for you to control how much comes out. This micellar water is on the pricier side of the drugstore versions at £5.99 but it does contain 150ml more product than the majority of micellar waters currently on the market.

As for the overall performance of the L’Oreal Micellar Water, well, it’s everything I want it to be and more. A little bit of product on a cotton pad held onto each eyelid for a few seconds will melt away any eyeshadow I’m wearing, it will remove my eyeliner without leaving my eyes bloodshot (unlike a good chunk of other makeup removers) and very little product is required to remove all of my foundation. When it comes to bold lipsticks, this micellar water is an absolute dream; most red lipsticks are smeared around my face by makeup removers but all lipstick remains are eliminated by L’Oreal’s offering.

The only fault I can really find in this micellar water is the fact L’Oreal are still a little shady when it comes to animal testing. For the most part, they don’t test their products or ingredients on animals but make allowances for certain countries that require products to be tested on animals. Obviously, this means that if you are looking for a micellar water that carries the cruelty-free label, this isn’t the one for you.

At £5.99 for 400ml worth of incredible product, I think the L’Oreal Micellar Water is an absolute steal. The Garnier version was my go to makeup remover but L’Oreal just elbowed it out of the way. I’m probably going to keep trying whatever new micellar water takes my fancy but I’m safe in the knowledge I have finally found one that ticks all of my lazy boxes.

Disclaimer: Anything marked with an asterisk (*) is an affiliate link.

Eating the Elephant by Alice Wells Review

Thursday, 13 April 2017

TW: Child Abuse

Towards the end of last year, I was chosen for jury duty. Around 50 people were in attendance that day but only 15 jurors were required. You can imagine I felt pretty good that the odds of my name being picked out of the fishbowl were extremely low but alas, luck wasn’t on my side that day and I became juror number 6.

The trial I was selected for consisted of a male who had been accused of being in possession of child pornography. We listened to the witnesses and the accused before finding the man in question guilty. We were fortunate to not be shown the images although the levels of extremity were described to us. I’d rather not see those type of images for as long as I should live but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t interested in what makes paedophiles tick.

Eating the Elephant Alice Wells

Ever since my former teenage crush Ian Watkins of Lostprophets fame was arrested for his heinous crimes, I’ve wondered what compels people to be driven to child pornography and rape. They’re both morbid subject matters that we’d all be better off without but I have a warped interest in the psychological aspect of it all. This is why when Jeremy Vine was interviewing Alice Wells on BBC Radio 2, I had to listen.

Alice Wells was discussing the day she discovered her husband was being investigated for paedophilia as well as the months that followed. Her story compelled me to immediately purchase her book “Eating the Elephant” as I was intrigued to hear about the experience from a family member’s point of view.

Eating the Elephant* gives an insight into Alice Wells’ life as she deals with the aftermath of the death of her husband Mark and the discovery of his paedophilia. Their marriage sounds like any typical relationship; there are arguments, support and love but eventually, things change. Mark loses interest in Alice after the birth of their first child and begins to dedicate more and more time to his computer. To Alice, it’s a little much but as he had a degree in IT and claimed it was for his job, she didn’t question it.

The discovery of Mark’s disgusting “hobby” happens at the beginning of the book so the vast majority of the story focuses on how the family, particularly Alice, copes with it all. Whenever his history was referenced throughout the book, it was very brief and rather rushed. My assumption is this is down to Alice Wells still trying to gather her thoughts on it all but for me personally, I felt like a huge chunk of the story was missing.

Eating the Elephant Alice Wells

There is one detail of Mark’s interest in particular that Alice doesn’t go into and I think it’s quite obvious why she refrains from doing so. Mark had abused their child Grace when she was a very young girl. He had shown her explicit images on his computer, taken photos of her in her mother’s underwear and made her “drink from daddy’s bottom”. There were times after Mark had died where Grace would be sleeping and she would say how she didn’t want the cream on her as it was sticky; I’ll let you figure out what poor Grace was actually referring to.

It was really the parts with Grace that stood out for me the most as it only highlighted how difficult it can be for a parent to not only find help for their child but to also cope with the realisation that they were abused by someone who was supposed to protect them. Despite these parts standing out to me, I felt like there was a lack of frustration and real emotion in Alice’s need to help her child. I understand that Alice would be upset but her words didn’t necessarily depict that; the jumbled timelines and lack of flow to the story took away any emotion that should have been woven into it.

While there does seem to be a lack of emotion, forgiveness does manage to sneak its way into the book as Alice Wells finds herself debating on whether she should forgive Mark. I feel like this is the part that will divide the majority of Eating the Elephant’s readers. I’m quick to say I would never forgive anyone who could do such disgusting things to children but at the same time, I’ve never been – and hope to never be – in such a situation.

I think it’s easy to say we’d never forgive and shun anyone who chooses to forgive but at the same time, Alice married Mark thinking he was a great man. She had 2 children with him and, although their marriage hit a rough patch towards the end, the memories she had with and of him can’t just be erased. It’s actually quite refreshing to find someone who is willing to admit they forgive a person when anyone not in that situation would condemn them.

Overall, I’m a little disappointed with Eating the Elephant. I feel like the story could have been far more compelling and maybe even discuss more signs that Mark wasn’t all he seemed to be. There is a part where he’s sitting with a child on his knee and has an obvious erection but other than that, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of warning signs that you would only pick up on in hindsight. I guess I expected a bit more detail as opposed to a lot of jumbled thoughts and a timeline that didn't make a whole lot of sense. I will give Alice Wells a slight pass as she isn't a professional writer and is no doubt still trying to understand the situation.

Would I recommend Eating the Elephant? Well, if you're not easily horrified and can make sense of muddled thoughts then by all means read this book. If you want something lighthearted though, I'd stay well away.

Disclaimer: Anything marked with an asterisk (*) is an affiliate link.

Saturated Colour "Lipsstick" Review

Sunday, 9 April 2017

If there’s one thing you can never have enough of it's pink lipstick. I tend to gravitate towards brighter shades of pink but when I want to make it look like I’ve made an effort without actually doing so, I pick up the more natural shades. Thanks to my magpie tendencies when it comes to bright shades, I’m severely lacking in pale pinks so when the Saturated Colour “lipsstick” (my laptop’s spellcheck is not enjoying this spelling) in Naked Pink dropped through my door, I immediately fell in love.

Saturated Colour Lipsstick

Saturated Colour is a family run, cruelty-free makeup line that offers a nice selection of lip products (all of which are vegan-friendly) and eye makeup. It’s a makeup line that’s easy on the bank account and supplies colours suitable for all skin tones. Usually, and at the risk of sounding like a snob, I find cheaper lipsticks and I don’t typically mix but I am in awe of Saturated Colour’s “lipsstick” line.

Naked Pink is an extremely creamy lipstick that applies like an absolute dream. It’s highly pigmented and is a “my lips but better” type of shade. This lipstick stays put pretty much all day and reapplication isn’t entirely necessary. It does transfer a little when I’m eating and drinking (and it can’t hold its own against corn on the cob) but it’s really not that noticeable.

Saturated Colour Lipsstick

This is a little darker than most of my “go to” paler pink lipsticks but I think that adds to the appeal for me. Naked Pink is a shade I can wear pretty much anywhere with anything and it’s definitely going to get used a lot.

Thanks to Naked Pink, I’m hiding my bank card from myself so I don’t buy the rest of the Saturated Colour lip products in one go. They also seem to have a product that will make any cream lipstick matte so obviously I now need that. Someone needs to give me some willpower!

Disclaimer: While this is not a sponsored post and is not affiliated with Saturated Colour, I did receive the lipstick for free in a giveaway. Gotta keep things real over here!

Books of March

Thursday, 6 April 2017

March started off with so much promise. I had rattled my way through Watch Me by Angela Clarke and had picked up a few new books from Waterstones. I was excited to read something I’ve wanted to in years but then it all fell apart. The book I’ve hyped up for so long in my mind was awful and it took me half of March (and the first 2 days of April) to finish. Regardless, I got there but I still only managed 3 books in March.

Let’s start with the aforementioned Watch Me by Angela Clarke*. This is a book that uses social media almost like it’s a character itself. It’s both a hindrance and an asset to the story and, in some warped way, the dangers of living your life on the internet are prominent throughout.

Watch Me focuses on the kidnapping of a policeman’s sister and the countdown to her death. The police must find and rescue her before her twisted kidnapper murders her. Her kidnapping also correlates to the suicide of a teenage girl which becomes intertwined in the investigation. Watch Me is the second in a series and, although it works well as a stand-alone book, it references the “hashtag murderer” from the first book a few too many times.

While I enjoyed the use of social media throughout, I wasn’t overly taken aback by Watch Me. It’s not a terrible book but it’s very predictable and an incredibly easy read. If you’re looking for something to distract yourself with that doesn’t challenge you, Watch Me is a good way to go.

The next book I read was Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper*. I haven’t kept my new found love for Jodi Picoult a secret but I wasn’t exactly hyped to read this book. The subject matter really didn’t interest me but, as it’s Jodi Picoult, I chose to read it regardless.

My Sister’s Keeper follows a family as they deal with a cancer diagnosis. The eldest daughter was diagnosed with cancer at a very young age and her genetically matched younger sister carried the burden of providing bone marrow, blood and ultimately a kidney. The story is centred around the lawsuit that the younger sister has filed against her parents in a bid to be granted medical emancipation. There’s also a completely unnecessary love story woven into the book between the sister’s lawyer and former girlfriend; my assumption is this is added in to make the story a little bit lighter but it’s really quite dreadful.

I honestly didn’t really mind My Sister’s Keeper until the very end. I didn’t think I would enjoy it but, Jodi Picoult’s writing style captivated me and I found myself wanting to read as much as I could in one go. Unfortunately, the ending completely ruined it for me. I won’t give it away but it was a total cop out and felt like Jodi Picoult didn’t have the guts to end it the way it should’ve been. It’s a good book until the last 5 pages.

Finally, we have the book that ruined my reading schedule. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis* has been on my “must read” list for quite some time. I absolutely love the film and while I’ve learnt over the years that the books are always different from the movie (The Shining is the perfect example of this) I was still excited to finally get stuck into American Psycho. Sadly, I would only ever manage 20 pages every time I tried to read it as it’s just so boring.

American Psycho is about a 26-year-old rich misogynist called Patrick Bateman who gets his thrills from wearing Armani and killing people. He’s shallow, vapid and totally inhumane. He’s engaged but sleeps with other girls, he masturbates profusely to extremely odd sounding pornos and he forces a rat into a woman’s vagina. His life basically consists of working out, masturbation and eating dinner with the occasional murder thrown in for good measure.

It all sounds fine and dandy and while the gruesome murders made me recoil in horror (particularly the rat scene), absolutely nothing happens in the majority of this book. Maybe that’s the beauty of it, maybe that adds to the shallow, emptiness of Patrick Bateman and all his silly friends and maybe it put me to sleep several times. The one thing I did enjoy about American Psycho is, even after watching the film several times, I still can’t figure out if Pat Bateman’s tendencies are dark fantasies or things he really did.

I maintain American Psycho is a book everyone should read at least once in their life but only once. It threw my reading challenge into disarray but hopefully, I can claw it all back together. I do have another 2 Jodi Picoult books in my possession to read plus I have to pleasure of feeling sick while reading Trainspotting to look forward to (veins make me uncomfortable). I really wish I would allow myself to read children’s books.

Disclaimer: Anything marked with an asterisk (*) is an affiliate link.

Soap & Glory Speed Plump All Day Super Moisture Marvel Moisturiser Review

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

A Scottish winter is always destined to make my skin dry up like a raisin in the sun. It doesn’t matter how much water I drink or how much moisturiser I apply, I always seem to have dry skin around my nose and on my forehead. Due to this, I try so many different moisturisers in a bid to find the perfect winter beauty product. The never-ending search led me to Soap & Glory’s Speed Plump All Day Super Moisture Marvel Moisturiser (try saying that while drunk).

Soap and Glory Speed Plump All Day Super Moisture Marvel Moisturiser

The Soap & Glory Speed Plump moisturiser (let’s not do the full name) is aimed at anyone with dry/dehydrated skin and while I tend to favour thicker, heavier moisturisers for winter, this moisturiser is light and easy to blend. It’s also non-greasy which makes it the perfect base for makeup so there’s an added bonus. Unfortunately, there is no SPF in the Soap & Glory Speed Plump moisturiser but if you live in the hills of Scotland like I do, you won’t even know what the sun looks like.

Soap & Glory promise that the Speed Plump All Day Super Moisture Marvel moisturiser will brighten and tighten your skin while also disguising any fine lines you may have and providing moisture for 24 hours. I don’t have any fine lines – that I’m aware of – so I can’t comment on that side of things but I really don’t feel like it brightens or tightens my skin. It certainly makes my skin feel that little bit smoother but I don’t see any difference in its overall look.

Soap and Glory Speed Plump All Day Super Moisture Marvel Moisturiser

On the plus side, the watermelon fruit complex the Speed Plump moisturiser contains make it smell delicious without being overbearing. The scent is really fresh and light and almost reminds of summer!

I’d love to say that my search for the perfect winter moisturiser ends with the *deep breath* Soap & Glory’s Speed Plump All Day Super Moisture Marvel Moisturiser but unfortunately, I’m not really all that into it. I think it’s genuinely good as a generic moisturiser but I don’t feel like it delivers on its other promises. I might actually make the Speed Plump moisturiser part of my summer skincare as opposed to winter as I feel like it’s not heavy duty enough for my winter skin.

Book Haul

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

That blasted reading challenge is still ongoing and while I’m one book away from being a quarter of the way through, I’m quickly running out of books to read. Books on offer in supermarkets are all fine and dandy but nothing beats wandering around a large bookstore so of course, I had to go to Waterstones and of course I left with more books than planned. I could’ve bought a hell of a lot more so at least I stopped myself before going completely overboard. Anyway, I digress, let’s get into this haul!

Books to read

It’s embarrassing as a Scottish person to admit this but I only saw Trainspotting the day before I saw T2: Trainspotting. I’ve never really thought about watching it but when my fiancé mentioned he wanted to see T2, he forced me into watching Trainspotting. I ended up loving both films so much I decided I had to read the book so, Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting was immediately purchased. If I’d thought about it while in Waterstones, I would’ve picked up Skagboys and Porno but I guess that gives me a good excuse to go back.

If the cover for Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is giving you a headache, I feel your pain. Films and books that are intended to be 3D automatically make me feel sick so I’ve hidden Brave New World until it’s time to read it.

If I’m being honest, the idea of Brave New World being like George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four puts me off reading it but, at the same time, I’m intrigued. I think I was possibly too young to understand Nineteen Eighty-Four when I initially read it so perhaps Brave New World will be more to my liking.

Books to read

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis has been on my “to read” list for quite some time. I watched the film solely for Jared Leto’s presence (why does he meet an unfortunate end in the majority of his films?) and vowed one day to read the book. I’ve already started American Psycho and have fallen asleep whilst reading it so I’m worried. I’m hoping this is just a slow book to begin with as I really want it to be great.

Angela Clarke’s Watch Me was picked up on a whim. After enjoying Dave Eggers’ The Circle so much, I wanted to read more books that use social media as a character. Watch Me uses social media and revenge porn websites (I’m fairly certain the one in Watch Me is based on Hunter Moore’s “Is Anyone Up?” site) as tools to create the perfect murders. I’ve already read it and without divulging my full opinion just yet, I will say it’s an exceptionally easy read.

Books to read

Up until a few days ago, I had read 2 Jodi Picoult books and thoroughly enjoyed them both so I wanted another one to further my love of her. Unfortunately, the only book of hers Waterstones had was My Sister’s Keeper and that has never appealed to me. I’ve refrained from buying it in the past but this time, I decided to give it a chance and I’m still unsure as to whether this was a good idea or not. Medical terms make me squirm, cancer in children makes me uncomfortable and random love stories woven into something serious make me want to vomit. My Sister’s Keeper is clearly not aimed at the likes of me.

It’s hard to ignore the book that has bullets on the cover so my eye was constantly drawn to Human Acts by Han Kang. Human Acts is based in South Korea and follows the aftermath of a violent student uprising. The reviews make it sound brilliant, the cover is holding my interest and it’s the shortest book I have in the “to read” pile so it’s winning in my eyes so far.

I have quite a few books to hold me for a while but I will bet anyone willing to gamble that I will end up with more books very soon. Considering I went years without stepping into a bookstore, I’m amazed at how many times I’m in them now. I might carry out my childhood dream of living in my local Waterstones.

Disclaimer: Affiliate links have been used in this post.

Books of February

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Books to read

Despite January’s reading success, I couldn’t get it together in February. January ended in a rather upsetting fashion for my other half and his family so settling down to read a book when my mind was going at 100mph wasn’t easy. I would manage around 10 pages before throwing the book I was reading down in frustration. Due to that, 2 books were completed in February and I’m slightly mad at that fact.

The first book I finished was I’m Travelling Alone by Samuel Bjork. The title of this intrigued me and I’m rather pleased with myself for picking it up as it’s one of the few books I’ve read recently that has kept me guessing until the end.

I’m Travelling Alone opens with a 6-year-old girl found hanging from a tree with a sign saying “I’m travelling alone” around her neck. The story is then handed over to Mia; a former cop who is getting ready to commit suicide. Mia and the investigation into the 6-year-old girl become intertwined and while their story is being told, another one in the form of a religious cult begins to sneak its way into the book. A significant amount of characters are needed for this whole plot to come together so admittedly, I felt myself getting a little lost at times but I’m Travelling Alone kept my attention.

I'm Travelling Alone. Professor of Truth

I didn’t actually guess how the ending was going to play out until around 10 pages from one of the big reveals. The entire book was cleverly written and the short chapters really helped maintain the pace of the story and also add a sense of urgency. If you’re a fan of Scandinavian crime books, I’m Travelling Alone is a fantastic read.

The Professor of Truth by James Robertson was the second book I read in February. I’ve seen this book sitting in my parents’ house for a while now and I’ve always wondered about it. The Professor of Truth is based on the Lockerbie bombing and the idea that the wrong person was convicted. It weaves fact with fiction and actually borrows the story of Dr Jim Swire, a man who lost his daughter in the bombing.

I'm Travelling Alone. The Professor of Truth

Alan Tealing, the main character, has lost both his wife and young daughter in the bombing and is adamant that the evidence in the trial was false. An ex-CIA agent dying of cancer comes to visit Alan Tealing to inform him in the most round-about way possible that his suspicions are correct and that leads to Alan going to Australia for answers.

I found this book extremely difficult to get into at first as it was just so dull. The fact it’s based on a true story usually makes things interesting for me but it just wasn’t working for The Professor of Truth. It wasn’t until I very slowly reached page 110 that I started to really pay attention. The plot came into its own in the last 100 pages and, while I found the ending to be odd, I don’t think it could have ended in any other way.

While I wouldn’t recommend The Professor of Truth to everyone, I would urge anyone with any degree of interest in the Lockerbie bombing or terrorist activity in general to read this. It’s not the most captivating of stories but it makes you think about whether the conspiracy is the actual truth or not.

Despite my disappointment with my efforts in February, I’m happy with my choice of books and now I can finally stop wondering what The Professor of Truth is all about. Hopefully, March will be a more productive month for reading otherwise I’ll never reach my reading goal.

Disclaimer: Anything marked with an asterisk (*) is an affiliate link.

My Go To Hair Products

Monday, 27 February 2017

While I’m amazing at hoarding skincare products and doing my very best to ensure my skin stays in tip top condition, I’m awful when it comes to maintaining my hair. It pains me to say that I can’t do a thing with my hair other than straighten it and messily curl it. I can’t do cute hairstyles and I refrain from visiting the hairdressers out of fear they’ll shave my head (why do hairdressers not understand what “just a trim please” means?). That being said, when my hair does reach the stage where it’s drier than the Sahara and probably could do with being shaved off, there are a few products I use to sort the abomination on my head out.

Hair essentials

Let’s start with the thing I use multiple times a day and can no longer imagine my life without. I live in the hills of Scotland so naturally, I deal with constant rainy and windy days and my hair is usually a massive knot as a result. Conventional hairbrushes cause my hair to snap and clumps are often pulled out but thanks to the Tangle Teezer, I can brush through the bird’s nest that is my hair with total ease. It has actually made my hair that little bit healthier as I’m no longer destroying it every single time I try to brush it.

Raise your hands if you’re prone to drying your hair as quickly and as lazily as possible! I’m with you on that one. If there’s a hair dryer that can eliminate the damage I do to my hair with my lazy drying ways then I’m all for it. Fortunately, the Panasonic hair dryer was meant for all the people who resent drying their hair as much as I do. It has a “healthy mode” which allows for quick drying while also leaving the hair shiny and manageable. The quick dry nozzle also assists in drying the hair rapidly by separating the hair strands using strong and weak airflows. It also contains a slight acidity which is a similar PH to the human scalp making it perfect for people with sensitive skin.

Hair essentials

I usually don’t have the patience for a hair mask but when my hair needs one, I’ll use the Garnier Ultimate Blends The Strength Restorer. This was actually bought as a last minute purchase before going to Iceland since I was aware the Blue Lagoon was probably going to destroy my hair (spoiler: it did). Garnier hair products and I aren’t the best of friends so I was rather apprehensive about this hair mask doing anything for me but what do you know, it completely saved my hair from looking and feeling absolutely disgusting. I don’t use it as often as I probably should but when I do, there’s a huge difference in my hair.

Hair essentials

I have a habit of switching up my conditioner a lot but there’s one I keep going back to and that’s the Alberto Balsam Coconut and Lychee conditioner. Coconut scented shampoos and conditioners are my thing and I adore the way this one smells. It also does a great job at keeping my hair in check and at £1 per bottle, it’s a total steal!

Finally, we have the only Lush product to feature in this entire post. I know, me with just one Lush product, it’s madness! R&B isn’t exactly designed for my hair type but I use it anyway as it’s such a great product. My hair can be a little frizzy from time to time but R&B helps fight that frizz and it leaves my hair smelling incredible. I do tend to favour the Garnier Ultimate Blends The Strength Restorer Balm over R&B as R&B is a little bit too heavy for my fine hair.

So there you have my go to hair essentials. I really need to implement a haircare routine to rival my skincare routine but that will probably never happen. Maybe one day I’ll learn how to make my hair look as sleek and as healthy as possible but until then, I’ll just keep trying to maintain the current health of my hair with as little effort as possible.

Disclaimer: This post features sponsored products. All opinions are my own and are not affiliated with any company.

Lush Empties

Friday, 24 February 2017

I am extremely good at hoarding all of my empty products but I’m dreadful at getting round to writing posts on them. There’s a whole drawer full of empty bottles waiting to be photographed and recycled but, so long as I don’t open the drawer, I forget all about them. It’s reached the stage where I’m breaking my empty products down into 2 categories: Lush and non-Lush. There are a lot of Lush empties lying around but, to avoid gushing about every single product and sounding like an overly sponsored moo, I’ve picked some I love and some I hate to show off in this post. It’s all about balance people!

Best Lush products

Lush Ice Blue: This was an impulse purchase after I noticed it was available in the Lush Kitchen. Any shampoo that’s blue and minty belongs on my head! Ice Blue smells like mint and hardware stores when you’re applying it to your hair which I resented but it left behind an amazing, subtle mint scent once rinsed. If this was a permanent product, my bank account would be in serious danger.

Christingle: Why is this only a Christmas product? It is one of the best moisturisers I’ve ever used. Christingle is really a body conditioner but I always forget to use it in such a way because who actually remembers to rub blue gunk on themselves while in the shower? This did such an amazing job as a moisturiser but a warning to all the females in the world, if you get this in the wrong place, it burns like hell!

Best Lush products

Pot O’Gold: Who keeps letting me buy Lush shower jellies? I can’t stand them but I keep buying them because I think they’re a good idea. I didn’t really like Pot O’Gold, the smell just wasn’t really my thing and the majority of it went down the shower drain without actually washing me beforehand.

The Comforter: – The Comforter is the best bubble bar Lush has ever created (I am willing to fight anyone who disagrees) so to have it in shower cream form makes me so happy on so many levels. I used to be a Dirty Springwash kind of girl but now I’m all about this gorgeous blackcurrant scent.

Best Lush products

Dirty: This wasn’t used by me but I’m going to keep going on about it because every male should use it for shaving. My fiancé loves Dirty and I like how his face smells after he’s used it. Everyone should get to smell a man’s face after they’ve used Dirty (don’t smell a stranger’s face though as that weirds people out).

Don’t Rain on my Parade: – Why oh why did I buy this? Some people love it, some people hate and I fall into the “this makes me want to throw up” category. The description checks the right boxes for me but the actual product, well, let’s not even go there.

There are a lot more empty Lush products lying around (I’ve built a rather impressive tower out of them) but at the risk of this turning into an essay on Lush products, I think I’ll stop at 6. Now please excuse me while I resist the urge to buy far too many things from Lush while simultaneously campaigning for Christingle to be added to the permanent collection.

10 Things to Know Before Going to Iceland

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Up until last year, my holidays have consisted of sweating it out in a hot country so when my brain made the decision to book my fiancé and I a holiday to Iceland I assumed I’d lost my mind. It turns out, Iceland is an incredible place and I can completely understand why it’s become an extremely popular holiday destination lately.

Hallgrímskirkja view

Due to my desire to be in a warm country over a cold one, I wasn’t exactly sure what Iceland would be like and when you throw in the fact this was my first holiday without my parents, I was a little lost. I did a lot of research on Iceland before going but the things I learnt were useless. There are only a few things you need to know before going to Iceland and luckily for you, they’re all right below this sentence.

1. Things in Iceland are significantly more expensive than you originally thought:

You know how people say Iceland is expensive? Well, take the price you think things are going to be and times it by 3. My fiancé and I were fully aware that we would be spending a good bit of money on food and drink but we didn’t anticipate how much it would actually be. A meal at an average restaurant in the UK would cost around £40 for my other half and I but in Iceland, expect to pay well over £100.

2. America made it before you:

I assumed Iceland would be this cute, quirky place that was a little behind on the times but oh boy was I wrong. My assumption was completely squashed around 15 minutes after leaving Keflavik airport when I spotted American fast food chains had beaten me here; we even had a Dominos across the road from our hotel. Don’t get me wrong I love America (and I’m happy to have pizza in close range) but the Americanisation of Iceland grated on me after a few days.

Thingvellir waterfall

3. Venture further afield to get away from the tourists:

The Golden Circle tour is one of the many things Iceland has to offer but you have to really fight your way through the crowds if you want to see any of it. Our first stop was to the Thingvellir and while most tourists looked over at the area the Vikings held the first parliament, we walked a mile down the hill towards a rather impressive waterfall. There were around 7 other people with us and it was so nice to be able to experience an awesome piece of nature without hearing the click of 50 cameras at once. The area my fiancé proposed to me at was actually only a few miles away from Thingvellir and it was totally deserted because it’s not part of the Golden Circle.

4. Iceland does cater to vegetarians

As a vegetarian, my biggest worry about going to Iceland was whether I’d be able to eat proper meals or not. I had a look at quite a few restaurants before we went and I was rather concerned when I noticed very few had vegetarian options but it turned out, I was being an idiot. You may not find the things you’re accustomed to but the majority of restaurants will have a vegetarian option. I’d highly recommend the falafel salad from Meze (42,, Laugavegur 32, 101 Reykjavík) but would advise you to stay clear of the Lava restaurant in the Blue Lagoon if you’re not keen on celery root.

Iceland proposal sites

5. It’s not as cold as you thought it would be:

We went to Iceland in November and figured it would be colder there than in Scotland but actually, it was warmer in Iceland. Of course, this isn’t going to happen for everyone but the chances are, you’ve over-packed and you won’t need the majority of clothes you’ve brought. So long as you have a waterproof jacket, a couple of cosy jumpers, sensible shoes, a hat, gloves and a scarf you should be totally fine. After all, you’ll probably be wandering around Iceland so the exercise is going to keep you warm (seriously, I was sweating profusely after walking up a slight hill as I was wearing so many layers).

6. The Blue Lagoon really is a tourist trap:

We had a great time at the Blue Lagoon. We rented the exclusive lounge, experienced the 2 hours of wonder (which includes an in-water massage) and had lunch at the Lava restaurant but we were almost hit in the face by 20 different selfie sticks while in the water. The Blue Lagoon is one of the main attractions of Iceland and there are regular tour buses coming straight from the airport so expect there to be people everywhere. I knew it would be busy but I didn’t think I’d end up in the background of 100 different videos during our time there.

Blue Lagoon

7. A Northern Lights tour is a must if you want to see them:

Guided tours irritate me but I booked a Northern Lights tour regardless as my other half really wanted to see them. The tour guides really know their stuff when it comes to the Northern Lights and they’ll take you to spots where you’re more likely to see them. The Northern Lights forecast was on 3 when we were standing in the freezing cold waiting for them so we were extremely lucky when the lights made their appearance.

Our tour was booked as a package with our flight and hotel through Reykjavik Excursions. They’ll send a bus to your hotel that will then take you to the bus station. If you book through Reykjavik Excursions and your tour is cancelled, you can email to book the tour for the following night.

8. The Northern Lights aren’t always what you expect them to be:

Hands up if you thought the Northern Lights looked exactly like they do in pictures to the naked eye? I feel you! I totally thought the sky would flash with green but in reality, the lights actually looked like fog moving quickly. The lights weren’t very strong the night we saw them but don’t be disappointed if the sky doesn’t light up with flashes of colour.

Iceland road

9. Renting a car is the way forward but be careful about what insurance you get:

We rented a car through Avis as we didn’t want to be stuck in just Reykjavik and, like I said earlier, I hate guided tours. Driving around Iceland ourselves was incredible as it meant we could venture away from the tourists and do our own thing but Iceland doesn’t exactly have a lot of roads. We ended up on a few questionable surfaces that made us thankful we opted in for the gravel insurance but, if you plan on sticking to just the ring road, don’t bother getting the full insurance package. It’s atrociously expensive and completely unnecessary if you don’t get lost like we did.

10. You’ll never have enough time to see it all:

We only had 3 full days in Iceland and, although I planned our days out to the minute, we just didn’t have enough time to do everything. Our Wednesday was derailed by the Reykjavik Art Museum which we didn’t mean to go into (if you have even the tiniest interest in art you need to go here), we spent the whole day in the Blue Lagoon on Thursday and each bit of the Golden Circle took a lot longer to take in than we originally thought (plus we drove off course and ended up in the middle of nowhere). The good thing about not doing it all in one holiday means you have an excuse to return.

We had an incredible time in Iceland and I really want to go back in the summer now. I’ve done a good chunk of the things I wanted to while there so next time, I can spend a bit more time relaxing and not worrying about the time. If you're heading to Iceland, I hope you have an amazing time (and if you’re thinking about proposing soon, Iceland is a memorable place to do it).

Lush Skin Drink Review

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Winter wreaks havoc on my skin and when you throw in how often I sneeze and blow my nose, you can pretty much guarantee that my skin is forever red and flaky. A good moisturiser is required throughout the colder months and Lush is the only brand I trust to do the job. Celestial is usually my go to moisturiser when it comes to my face but then I stumbled upon Skin Drink on my fiance’s side of the bathroom. Relationships are for sharing Lush products right?

Lush Skin Drink Facial Moisturiser

Skin Drink is what I would describe as a typical Lush product. It has a very subtle and very natural scent, it’s thick and luxurious and it will last for absolutely ages. I say this a lot when talking about Lush products but a little really goes a long way with Skin Drink.

You can probably guess based on the aforementioned sneezing that the skin on my nose is the place that requires the most TLC and Skin Drink really delivers the goods. It keeps the majority of the flakiness at bay and it really helps calm down the redness of my nose after a solid 5 hours of blowing it. Skin Drink also does a wonderful job on the other dry areas of my face.

Lush Skin Drink Facial Moisturiser

I do prefer to use Skin Drink at night as it leaves behind a slightly greasy feel (or a protective layer if you want to style it up like Lush) so trying to put on makeup shortly after using it is no easy task. I do have a slight worry that the heaviness of Skin Drink will eventually clog my pores if I fail to keep up my skincare routine so, for that reason, I would not recommend this to anyone who suffers from oily skin.

Skin Drink will be added to the repurchase list when we manage to get through this tub but I think it will be kept solely for winter. It feels a little too heavy for summer especially with the worry of it clogging my pores and causing my skin to go into meltdown. For as long as winter dries out my skin, Skin Drink will be applied to my face at night and I will continue to wake up free of any sign of a major sneezing session the night before.

The Social Media Detox

Saturday, 11 February 2017

social media detox

While having access to an abundant of information at the drop of a hat should be greatly enriching my life, I’m spending far too much time on Buzzfeed doing stupid quizzes and aimlessly scrolling through meme after meme on Facebook. Being one of the many millions of people who owns a smartphone and a tablet has resulted in me wasting valuable time doing absolutely nothing.

Social media used to be a great way to spend my time as a teenager. I would constantly design new skins on Bebo, chat with friends I’d seen all day at school on MSN and sometimes I would occasionally try to understand MySpace. Back then, I don’t think any of us viewed it as a waste of time but now that I’m an adult with a large amount of adult-like tasks to do, scrolling through Twitter isn’t exactly the best use of my evenings.

Lurking on social media so often makes me feel obligated to update regularly so I’ve noticed I’m posting more and more stupid things. Twitter is the platform I use consistently but when I scroll through my own tweets I’m often left wondering what compelled me to tweet such random thoughts. I’m not exactly trying to provide any beneficial information via my tweets but I also don’t think it’s necessary for people to know the mundane moments of my life.

I’m not one of those people who feel the need to check in everywhere they go or insist on taking pictures and uploading them to Instagram straight away but I do worry about my need to be on social media. I do my best to ensure I’m not looking at my phone when having dinner or engaged in a conversation with someone but if I hear a notification, I have the overwhelming urge to look at it. Even if I’m in the middle of doing something genuinely worthwhile, I’ll still stop to look.

Due to my growing worry over my aimless use of social media as well as the thumb injury I’ve sustained from excessive scrolling, I’m putting limits on my usage. Once 9 pm rolls around, I have to put my phone down and be productive. Usually, I pick up a book and demolish 100 pages each night or I’ll do a task that I’ve been meaning to do for ages but have never found the time for because of social media.

It’s not been easy but so long as I don’t look at my phone, I can pretty much make it from 9 pm to bedtime without scrolling through various social media platforms. I’ve slipped up a few times and if there is any excuse to go on my phone (i.e. setting the alarm for the next morning) then chances are, I’ll let myself go on Twitter.

Despite the challenge of avoiding the internet, I’ve started to really appreciate the benefits of not wasting my time staring at a screen. I can fall asleep faster and my quality of sleep is so much better, I don’t feel the need to check my phone as soon as I wake up and I’m whizzing through my latest reading challenge (just ignore my lack of reading for the last few days).

I’m a little disheartened by how much time I have wasted on social media and I’m also disappointed in myself for feeling like I need to be present on it at all times but I’m doing my best to fix that. I love social media and I love how it goes hand in hand with blogging but I don’t really need to know if someone is having a “cheeky” Nandos or what they thought of a film I have zero interest in seeing. I’m still around on the internet but for limited times only because this thumb injury seriously sucks.

Books of January

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Books to read

January has been my most productive month for reading since I started these “Books of” posts. I somehow managed to get through 5 books (my other half insisting on binging on a show that doesn’t interest me probably helped with that) and I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself. I managed to get through the remaining books in my latest book haul so now I have an excuse to buy more books. January, you were wonderful!

Ok, enough self-indulgence, let’s get into this.

Books to read

Lust by Roald Dahl was the first book I finished in January and I really struggled with it, to begin with. After enjoying Cruelty, a book that is made up of short stories focusing on human cruelty, I thought I would enjoy Lust just as much but I couldn’t get into it at first. The first few short stories didn’t really suggest Roald Dahl to me; I felt like they could have been written by anyone. It wasn’t until I reached The Visitor that I felt like Roald Dahl’s voice was present and I could begin to enjoy each story. The Visitor actually made me laugh out loud (a tough thing for any book to do) so it sort of made up for the shaky beginning.

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult was probably the best book I read last year so I was eager to read more of her work. I ended up reading The Storyteller after finishing Lust and I am so happy I did as it is amazing. When it comes to emotion, I have very few so when a book almost leaves me in floods of tears, you know it has some power.

Books to read

The Storyteller is about a baker who hides from the world as she is ashamed of her facial scars. She befriends a man at a grief group but while the man is loved by the whole community, he hides a very dark secret and seeks the help of the baker to end his life. I won’t go into too much detail but the story of the Holocaust and Nazism is the main focus of The Storyteller and at points, it’s difficult to read. The Storyteller is beautifully told and is incredibly well researched. Jodi Picoult has just made me thirsty for more of her books.

The Whistler by John Grisham was picked up after The Storyteller was devoured. I was rather apprehensive about The Whistler as a story that follows a woman investigating potential judicial fraud isn’t my cup of tea and alas, I was right to be apprehensive. The only real twist in the book failed to shock me and the substantial amount of characters left me confused. The Whistler seems muddled and it’s rather lacklustre. I have heard that John Grisham’s other work is supposed to be fantastic so I’m happy to give another book of his a shot.

I followed The Whistler up with a book I was more excited about. The Beautiful Dead by Belinda Bauer sounds a little like Nightcrawler only it’s far more exciting (sorry Jake Gyllenhaal). It follows the story of a young TV news reporter who solely discusses murders in London. The book opens with another woman being murdered and, while there is no real shock value throughout, the beginning alone had me hooked and I struggled to put The Beautiful Dead down.

The only negative comment I have about The Beautiful Dead is the ending felt very rushed. I had predicted how it would end a hundred pages or so before so I was quite disappointed to find I was correct.

Books to read

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton was the fifth and final book I read in January and I only just managed to squeeze it in. I had 6 days to read The Miniaturist which I thought was more than enough but the first 100 pages made me fall asleep 3 nights in a row so I was a little too optimistic.

The Miniaturist is set in Amsterdam in the 1600s and follows the story of Petronella, an 18-year-old girl who has married a wealthy merchant. Her life should now be perfect but her husband doesn’t go near her, her sister-in-law doesn’t seem to like her and there’s something very off about the entire situation. The story is beautifully written and is wonderfully descriptive but absolutely nothing happens and yet somehow, The Miniaturist is captivating.

Once I stopped falling asleep I found myself insisting on reading just one more chapter. I don’t understand how a book can be so dull yet so brilliant but somehow The Miniaturist is. The story leaves a lot to be desired and I felt like there was little explanation as to what was actually going on but I somehow still enjoyed it. This book has left me very confused!

Unlike December, I wasn’t overly disappointed with the books I read in January. I felt like The Whistler could have been significantly better and Lust didn’t always offer the best examples of Roald Dahl’s work but for the most part, I’m pleased with my reading choices. I have a few books in mind for February so I’m excited to get started and, judging by the weight of one of them, I’m going to have some serious muscles when I’m done.

Kat Von D Mercy Lipstick Review

Friday, 27 January 2017

While the rest of the UK seemed to fall over themselves at the Kat Von D makeup coming to the UK announcement, I somehow managed to stay upright. I wasn’t overly excited due to the fact I own 3 Kat Von D eyeshadow palettes and have found each eyeshadow to be a hit or a miss. I’ve never really found the Kat Von D makeup brand to be consistent quality wise so I refrained from purchasing anything straight away. Curiosity did get the better of me in the end so I decided to give the brand one more chance in the form of a lipstick.

Kat Von D Mercy Lipstick

I browsed the colours from the “Studded Kiss” lipstick collection but I wasn’t taken by the majority of shades. The ones that did catch my eye were completely wrong for my skin tone and I was about to give up all hope until I found Mercy.

Mercy is a beautiful deep plum shade with small flecks of glitter. It applies evenly and easily and has a creamy consistency. The creamy consistency made me rather happy as that usually means the lipstick won’t dry out my lips too much but, although my lips held up well, I could feel them drying out towards dinnertime and lip balm didn’t save them.

Kat Von D Mercy Lipstick

While Mercy initially goes on evenly I find myself constantly having to reapply it throughout the day. Mercy puts up a good fight when I’m eating and drinking but it seems to rub off my top lip so I’m left with just my lipliner and the faint remains of Mercy. In order to maintain the deep plum shade, reapplication is a must otherwise it turns rather muted and becomes more of an opaque shade as opposed to something that makes me look like I should be listening to HIM. Damn my hideously pale skin and black wardrobe.

Kat Von D Mercy Lipstick

I’d be lying if I said Mercy has completely won me over; it’s made me want to try more makeup from Kat Von D but at the same time I’m still apprehensive. I don’t think Mercy is the greatest lipstick out there but I am happy enough to wear it as often as I can without my uncle referring to me as a goth. The studded packaging is pretty badass though so I may be tempted into buying another lipstick just because of that.

How I Started Running (and Stuck with It)

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Running for beginners tips

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s moving. I’d much rather lie in bed with crisps and a bottle of Irn Bru than do any form of exercise whatsoever. According to the experts, however, my preferred lifestyle choice is incorrect and will probably result in requiring a crane to remove me from my house. In order to maintain my lifestyle of choice without the need for a crane, I figured I had to move and running was my preference. Sometimes I do press ups but only when no one is looking.

Running has been an occasional factor in my life for a good 4 and a half years now. The first time I willingly went for a run without a P.E teacher present was when the 2012 Olympic torch came through our town. From then on, I would run for a few months before giving up (usually when winter hit) and then would go back to it after a rather long hiatus. It was only last year that I really took to running and started to not only enjoy it but be hit with the desire to actually do it consistently.

Actually starting out was the hardest part (isn’t it always?). I would make excuse after excuse as to why I shouldn’t go for a run each day until I eventually decided if I didn’t go for a run that morning, I never would. I was being a total wuss because it was too much effort.

The way I managed to get myself out the door for my first run was to go into autopilot. I ate my pre-run snack (oranges or bananas), had a glass of water, put on my running gear, stretched and then bolted out the door before my brain figured out what was happening. Even now, this is the main way I get myself to go for a run. I have to zone out and go through my process without being fully aware I’m doing it until it’s time to start running.

I knew I’d never be able to really push myself during runs without some help so I downloaded an app I’d read about years ago. It’s called Get Running (I swear this isn’t sponsored) and it lasts for 9 weeks. The goal is to get you running for 30 minutes without a break and oh boy does it kick some ass.

The first week has you running for a minute eight times and then allows you to walk for a minute and a half in between each run. It builds up gradually until one week where you’re running for 5 minutes one day, 8 minutes the next day and then 20 minutes on the third day. It takes a lot of mental discipline and you have to really scream at yourself to not stop but it’s so worth it once you hit the final week.

Once I’d completed the Get Running app I tried to go it alone but I found I was a lot better when I had a target for each run. Upon that realisation, I downloaded the Nike Running Club app (again, not sponsored). The Nike Running Club app allows you to set up coaching sessions - which may include workouts from the Nike Training Club app – and also allows you to set speed, distance and time targets if you wish to do so.

It tracks your runs, calculates your speed per mile and lets you see where you were fastest and where you were slowest. Being able to actually track my run is my new favourite thing as it constantly puts me in direct competition with myself and I love beating previous speeds and distances.

Having new workout clothes also encourages me to get my ass in gear. I deliberately don’t buy a lot of items as I tend to shop in Adidas and Nike which aren’t always budget friendly but whenever I do buy something new, it leaves me itching to run. A lot of supermarkets have started to make some amazing workout clothes so if I’m looking for a bit of a boost, I’m heading straight to the clothing department in my local supermarket to see what’s up.

Sticking to a schedule that my apps create for me is probably the reason as to how I’ve managed to run on a regular basis. I get really frustrated if I miss a day due to laziness or other commitments and I channel that frustration into my next run. I still hate getting up in the morning and immediately going for a run and I really resent running in the dark thanks to it still being winter though.

Running isn’t easy especially when you’re just starting out but the feeling after you complete each run is indescribable. I adore the way I feel after a run and I love the increase in energy. It's sweaty, it hurts but so long as you’re disciplined and get yourself into the right frame of mind, running isn’t really all that bad, in fact, it’s oddly enjoyable.

Nivea Sensitive Caring Micellar Water Review

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

While the Garnier Micellar Water is a firm favourite in the skincare department, I have an odd need to try all of the micellar waters from other brands. Usually, I purchase a different micellar water, use it for a few days and then run right back to Garnier. I haven’t found any micellar water that can compete with my Holy Grail item but, as Nivea usually make great skincare products, I thought their micellar water might put up a good fight.

The Nivea Sensitive Caring Micellar Water is marketed as a 3 in 1 product. It promises to gently remove eye makeup, cleanse deeply while removing all other makeup and it will also remove the signs of sensitive skin (redness, tightness and dryness). These claims sound brilliant but the reality is so different.

I try to keep my makeup as light as possible so really, it shouldn’t be too difficult to remove but the Nivea Micellar Water just can’t seem to do it. I always use this micellar water with high hopes but then I spend 5 minutes smearing my eyeshadow around my face as opposed to actually removing it. I’m not wearing industrial strength makeup, I’m not even wearing waterproof makeup so I’m amazed that the Nivea Micellar Water can’t do the basic thing of at least removing some of the gunk on my face.

As for the promise of removing the signs of sensitive skin, well, I don’t have sensitive skin but this micellar water sure makes it look like I do. The Nivea Sensitive Caring Micellar Water actually leaves my skin burning and slightly red once I’ve finished smearing my makeup around with it. I genuinely thought I was going to wake up with a rash the first time I used it.

If it didn’t burn, I’d maybe use the Nivea Sensitive Caring Micellar Water as a general cleanser for when my skin needs something light (and I mean light) but that’s obviously not going to happen. I’m really disappointed as I usually like Nivea’s products but this one is going straight in the bin; I don’t even want to force it on my enemies!

Books of December

Saturday, 14 January 2017

books to read

With 2016 coming to an end and a lot of books left to read in order to meet my reading challenge goal, December was supposed to be my best month for reading yet. Everything started out so well, I had planned to read a book every 4 days and was on target until I hit book number 3. That book stopped me from reaching my goal and ultimately made me resent myself for purchasing it. This is a major first world problem so I expect no sympathy.

I’m technically lying as book number 3 wasn’t the only one that deterred me from my reading goal. I started December off by reading Behind Closed Doors by B.A Paris. I decided to read it as it was nominated for a Goodreads award and, although the description made me cringe, I figured if it was nominated it couldn’t be that bad.

Behind Closed Doors. The Secret. Killing Floor.

Behind Closed Doors is about a relationship that looks perfect from the outside but shockingly it’s not so great “behind closed doors”. I bet you didn’t see that one coming! It follows the story of a girl who managed to talk her way into a brilliant job at Harrods while taking care of her sister who was born with downs syndrome. She meets this amazing man whom she marries within 6 months and then discovers while on her honeymoon that her fairy-tale is a total lie. The man is a douchebag and does everything in his power to torment her and later reveals he only married her to get to her sister.

The story is just all too convenient. There’s a new friend who just happens to be suspicious of the relationship, the husband is a lawyer who defends victims of abuse so of course, no one would ever believe that he could be abusing his wife and the ending is so ridiculously perfect my eyes almost fell out of their sockets due to rolling them so hard. I know a lot of people love this book but I personally thought it read like a bad Lifetime movie. The only time I felt anything towards the story was when the puppy died. I think that sums my feelings up rather well.

Fortunately, the second book I read in December was significantly better. The Secret by Kathryn Hughes was initially difficult for me to get into but once I was passed the first couple of chapters I was hooked.

The Secret follows the story of a group of people who decided to travel to Blackpool for the day but various things occur that will change their lives forever. Some of the characters stories are cut short due to an accident while others receive exactly what they’ve always wanted. The plot was quite easy to figure out but despite that, I was still intrigued. The Secret isn’t going to become my favourite book anytime soon but if you’re looking for an easy read, I’d highly recommend it.

Behind Closed Doors. The Secret. Killing Floor.

Finally, we have the dreaded third book; the book that hindered the entire challenge and made me want to punch myself in the face. Killing Floor by Lee Childs was almost thrown across the room several times due to how painful it was.

I’ve never read a book I’ve hated so much. I couldn’t handle the way it was written. It was literally written like this. Like a primary school child. It made me read it like I was learning English. There were too many short sentences. There were also too many “shrugging” actions. He shrugged. She shrugged. Every bloody character could not respond in any way beyond shrugging. That sentence was too long.

Ok back to normal. Killing Floor is about Jack Reacher, an ex-military man turned drifter who just happens to end up in a sleepy town when a murder occurs. Of course he’s blamed for the murder, of course, he’s not guilty and of course, he just has to get involved in the case (while also getting involved with the hot female cop because why wouldn’t he?). Jack Reacher can do things that only Arnold Schwarzenegger can do in movies and everything just happens to fall into place while he does them. He could’ve turned into King Kong and climbed up a building and I wouldn’t have batted an eyelid as everything was beyond ridiculous.

I’m trying very hard to find a redeeming quality here but it’s proving extremely difficult. I have been informed that the other books in the Jack Reacher series are better but, based on a description I was given of one, I’m not sure I believe that.

My reading challenge was not completed; it was probably a long shot anyway but I was determined until book number 3. I’ve since started a new challenge for 2017 and this time, I’ll know to steer clear of books whose descriptions make me cringe and books that start with too many short sentences. Wish me luck!

What I Got for Christmas and My Birthday

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

I’ve been going back on and forth on whether I actually wanted to write this post as I was afraid of coming across as rather crass, but I’m a nosy human and these are my favourite type of posts to read. It only seems fair that after overindulging in everyone else’s versions that I write my own; just ignore how late this post is.

As my birthday is 11 days after Christmas, I spend a good 2 weeks of my life incredibly spoilt and extremely full of chocolate. There weren’t many things on my Christmas list this year – it was literally made up of a Fitbit, a Lindt ball and some Lush products – so mad props to my parents, my fiancé and my future in-laws for managing to think of presents. I’m beyond grateful for what they gave me and hopefully, they all liked what I gave them. Ok, slushiness over, let’s start looking at presents!

Green Day tickets
Just casually putting my underwear on the internet.

My main present from my parents this year was 2 tickets to see Green Day at Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park as well as 2 nights in a rather fabulous Glasgow hotel. I’ve loved Green Day since I was 4 so I couldn’t say yes quick enough when my parents asked me if I wanted to see them. They were actually originally considering a spa day for my fiancé and I but I was thinking of getting that for my fiancé and he was thinking about getting it for me. In the end, it was my future in-laws who gave him the spa day. What is with us and spas?

The people who made me also gave me Lush Ocean Salt and D’Fluff, pyjamas with adorable Rudolphs on the bottoms, underwear (Hunter has been eating my underwear so I was desperately needing some replacements), a few other items of clothing, a huge vegetarian cookbook (this was actually for my fiancé and I but he never cooks) and the Lindt ball I wanted.

Vegetarian products

Teddy somehow gave me a present too – for a dog he has excellent wrapping skills – which was in the form of a 2017 Guide Dog diary that has now been turned into a blogging diary. I think I should probably tell Teddy he isn’t actually training to be a Guide Dog anymore.

Lush Christmas gift set

My future in-laws know how much I love Lush so they were kind enough to give me a Lush gift set. The gift set contained a large bottle of Snow Fairy shower gel, 2 bath bombs, a tub of Celestial, a tub of Helping Hands, a bottle of Fairy Dust and Lush Fairy Wand. They’d also put a heart ornament with a dog on it and a mug with dogs on it into the gift set too.

Fitbit Charge 2 Marc Jacobs Decadence Gold

The delightful human being that is my fiancé struggled for gift ideas for me this year and constantly moaned at me for having a birthday so close to Christmas (blame my parents). In the end, he got me a Fitbit Charge 2 from the rose gold series as well as a bottle of Marc Jacobs Decadence. He actually gave me Decadence last year but because Marc Jacobs has released a gold bottle, he got confused and thought it was a new fragrance. I’m not complaining though as I adore Decadence!

House of Bruar Black Bag

So that’s Christmas covered, let’s get into my birthday. My parents usually let me choose my birthday present but because they’ve been away for the last month in Australia and New Zealand, they bought my present in advance. I’m starting to worry my parents are mind readers as I have been recently thinking that I wanted a new black bag. They must be either creeping on me or it’s a total coincidence as they gave me a black bag big enough to carry all of the crap I insist on lugging around with me (do I really need that used ticket to see Suicide Squad in my bag?).

High end make up

My future in-laws were very sweet and gave me a gorgeous silver photo frame that will eventually hold a picture of Teddy once I find one where he’s not drooling. Finally, I’ll be able to add some feminine touches to the residence I share with my fiancé!

Speaking of the fiancé, due to the aforementioned struggling to come up with ideas, he made my present purchase on New Year’s Day. Due to his tardiness, he guilt bought me MAC Blot Powder, Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion and a Kat Von D lipstick in Mercy. They’re not technically birthday presents but I’m going to include them regardless.

Kenmore Hotel Gift Voucher

The actual present was a voucher for a 2-night stay at the Kenmore Hotel in one of their exclusive rooms as well as dinner, breakfast and a bottle of champagne in the room. The Kenmore Hotel is one of our wedding venue options and it’s also the place my dad had his 50th birthday at so I’m excited to go. I actually took David there in the spring last year and I think he loved it as much as my dad and I do.

I believe this is the part of the post where I say how grateful I am for my gifts and how blessed I am and blah blah blah. There’s too much protocol for a post like this so I’ll just say cheers to my wonderful family (and my future family) for the presents and you can all breathe a sigh of relief that Christmas and my birthday are both over.
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