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 fiancĂ© 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 fiancĂ© 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

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.

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