Saturday, 31 January 2015

Life Update: January

So earlier on in the month I posted my New Year's Resolutions (here) and a list of things I wanted to achieve in 2015 (here).

As expected, 2015 has so far been a hectic year. For those of you who don't know, I'm a finalist at Warwick University. On top of a Dissertation, endless essays, and seminar reading, I also manage two blogs including this one, and I am employed part-time by my Department to help out with various things. So, how have I been getting on with my 2015 goals...

Running? Yes! This is one I can definitely say I've been really good at. I've seen an improvement in my running technique and I feel more confident in my ability. I've lost another 2 pounds since the start of 2015, and I'm about where I want to be now in terms of my weight.

More charity work? I finally bit the bullet and signed up for my first Cancer Research Race for Life 5k event. I'l be doing it on my own, and I'm definitely terrified but it isn't until July. If you would like to sponsor me, I would be really grateful! You can find the link here

Saving Money? So far I have been really good. I had some Christmas money left over so I did purchase myself some Vivienne Westwood shoes (oops - but they were in the sale and they are to wear for my 21st and Graduation!) but I've been budgeting really well in terms of how much I've been spending on food. Usually when my student finance comes in as well I do a big online clothes and make up shop, but I have resisted so far which is good for me!

Keep Calm it's Final Year? This has DEFINITELY not happened. I've had two moments I can remember where I have been so stressed I thought I could scream. On the whole I've probably been a lot better than usual, but I do still worry a lot and this is something that is going to take a lot of work.

Stop biting my nails? I was doing really well until I had these two major stress incidents, when I bit them right down. But they were so ugly and painful that I think that was the final straw for me. I'm happy to safe I haven't been biting now for over a week and I can definitely see at least a little white on each nail. Miracles can happen after 20 years of biting!

Bag myself a job I love? I haven't got a job yet I'm sad to report, but I have had some really positive feedback from a graduate scheme this month who invited me to complete the next round of tests. I won't hear back now until around mid-February, but fingers crossed for me please!

January Favourites

I can't even believe that I am already writing this - how has January come and gone already? I swear as you get older, time moves faster! Here are the products I would say I haven't been able to live without this month. Enjoy!

Lancome La Vie Est Belle Eau de Parfum | The only way I can describe this is that it is literally heaven in a bottle! I have received so many compliments on this, and a few squirts in the morning will literally see you through until bedtime. If you can test a sample of this in your local department store, I would definitely recommend it.

Maybelline the Rocket Volum' Express Mascara | Apologies about the photo of this mascara - is it only me who can never get the plastic seal off the entire way!? I purchased this on a whim because Maybelline Colossal was out of stock, and I am so glad that I did. My new favourite of the Maybelline mascaras (my favourite brand of 'drug store' mascaras), this mascara leaves no clumps, allows for lots of volume, and holds my lashes in place all day with no drooping. Less than £10 too!

Liz Earle EyeBright Soothing Eye Lotion | Apologies again for the photo, this bottle is teeny tiny as it was a free gift in my latest Liz Earle haul. This contains naturally active ingredients such as witchhazel and aloe vera. This should be wiped slowly over the eyelids and lashes with a cotton pad, or alternatively, used to soak cotton pads to leave over eyes for 10 minutes for a sort of cucumber effect. I haven't gotten much sleep this month, and my eyes definitely show this, and so this has been great for soothing them at night, particularly after staring at computers all day!

Garnier Ultimate Blends 'The Sleek Restorer' Shampoo & Conditioner | After deciding that Herbal Essences was to blame for my increased hair loss, I switched to this and have noticed an amazing improvement in the condition of my hair. It has grown quite a lot, I had virtually no split ends last time I went to the hairdressers, and I'm definitely losing a lot less hair. Winner!

Creaseless Hair Ties | I thought I would include a few of the creaseless hair ties I made last month. I'm still raving about these to everyone I know, my hair feels more comfortable when tied up and I lose a lot less hair because they are so gentle. I have purchased a few more elastics lately and made some more, and I literally don't go a day without using them.

What are your favourite products this month? What do you think to my favourites - have you had good/bad experiences with them? Let me know in the comments below, I love reading them :)

The Versatile Blogger Award

First things first, a huuuuge thank you to Sophie from Lipstick and Love Hearts for the nomination. I am absolutely chuffed! This is my third award and they sure do put a big smile on my face, as it's nice to know that people enjoy reading! I definitely recommend browsing through Sophie's blog, I absolutely love it, and have been especially keeping an eye on the Lipstick of the Day posts, which have made my make up wishlist grow sooo long!

This is how it works...
1. Thank the person who gave you this award, and leave a link to their blog.
2. Tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.
3. Select 15 blogs/bloggers that you've recently discovered or follow regularly.

4. Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.

7 facts about me:
1. I was supposed to meet Ed Miliband once, but got too distracted by an all you can eat buffet and accidentally missed him.
2. I am fascinated with certain infamous British criminals, such as the Krays and Charlie Bronson. Not many people actually know this about me.
3. I sleepwalk and talk, and rarely find that my brain switches off. I even attempted to cook a meal in my sleep once!?
4. I'm probably one of the most organised people you could ever meet, with endless lists and schedules and a filofax full to the brim. It bugs everyone!
5. I'm always freezing, regardless of the weather or what time of year it is.
6. For about two years, I kept being asked by random members of the public if I was Michaela from Hollyoaks (only you from the UK will probably know who I am talking about) and once it got so bad I got chased into the toilets by Hollyoaks obsessed Mums in a multi-storey soft play area where I live at home.
7. I am obsessed with anything that has a swallow or Bambi deer print on it!

I nominate the following 15:
13. Meguana
15. Est Since 94

Thank you again to Sophie for my nomination, and I hope you all enjoyed learning a little more about me. I hope I don't sound too weird!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

The Beauty Scenario Tag

Hi everyone! One of my favourite bloggers, Sophie from Sophie's Little Secrets has tagged me in the 'Beauty Scenario' Tag. So I guess I'll get straight to it and answer the questions...

You have to get rid of all of your foundations, and only keep one high end and one drugstore. Which do you keep?
I actually only own two foundations at the moment, I'm just so in love with them I don't ever feel the need to mix it up. They are the Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow! Foundation and the Benefit Big Easy Cream to Powder. However, I have always wanted to try the Bourjois Healthy Mix Fruit Therapy Foundation, so if I had to stick to one high end and one drug store, it would be any combination of those.

You go for an interview and the lady interviewing you has lipstick on her teeth. Do you approach the subject or ignore it completely?
This is a tricky one, because if I had any on mine I would want someone to tell me but... because it was in a interview, I wouldn't want to make her feel embarrassed or to change topic and seem unprofessional and distracted.

You're not feeling yourself and you need a pick me up lipstick. Which do you go for?
I know everyone raves about this in the blogging community, but the Kate Moss '107' Lipstick in 'Wine' is my absolute fave at the moment. I feel that my whole make up look is transformed when I wear it, and I'm definitely going to miss wearing it during Summer. I also love MAC Vegas Volt though and can't wait to purchase a new one.

You go back in time for a day to your teenage years, how would you do your hair or make up differently?
I would NEVER have chopped it off. I had an asymmetrical bob for years, and although I really loved it and don't regret it as a hairstyle itself, as someone now trying to grow my hair it would have been a lot easier if I hadn't cut it that short! I would also have added brown highlights to break up the brassy blonde a lot sooner. I would also like to tell my 12 year old self that wearing Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse ON MY LIPS was not a good look, even if we all did it at school!

You ask your hairdresser for a shoulder length Pixie Lott hair cut but they hear wrong and give you a pixie cut, what do you do? A) Smile, say thanks, leave and call your mum crying hysterically. B) Cry in the chair and things get awkward. C) Complain to the manage and demand a refund. D) None of the above
I get on really really well with my hairdresser, and I know for a fact she would never get it wrong because we chat so much about it first! But hypothetically, as it was being cut, even as the scissors were being moved towards my hair, I would say something straight away. I'm not one to keep my tongue if I'm not happy with something, and there is no point complaining to your Mum but telling the hairdresser you like it. It's embarrassing for the hairdresser and I also think embarrassing for you, because how can they correct it then and there if you tell them you like it whilst you're in the chair but then get your Mum to ring up?

Your friend surprises you with a 4 day city break and you have one hour to pack. Which 'Do It All' palette do you pack in your make up bag?
Anyone who knows me knows that I don't own any of these palettes, all of my make up is loose and that I always pack far too much make up when I go anywhere. If I could own any palette though, the Naked 'On The Run' Palettes look sooo beautiful.

Your house has been robbed - don't worry, everyone is safe - but your beauty stash has been raided. What's the product you really hope is safe?
I'm torn between mascara and concealer. My under eyes are very dark and I'm always tired, and I couldn't live without concealer when I have a breakout. However, I'm also addicted to mascara, so as long as those two survived, I could face another day (before rushing out to buy lots more make up!)

Your friend borrows make up and returns it in an awful condition. Do you: A) Pretend you haven't noticed B) Ask them to repurchase it C) Secretly do it back to their make up
As difficult as I would find it to talk to them about it, I would have to ask them to repurchase it. I think if you borrow someone's things, as a sign of respect and appreciation you should always look after that thing. I know accidents happen, but I know if I borrowed something and damaged it I would definitely replace it, and I think my friends know that, so I would expect them to treat me in the same way.

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed my answers :) Thank you again Sophie for the tag! I would like to tag the following bloggers to repost this tag too:

1. Esther
2. Bethany
3. Laura
4. Melissa

Monday, 19 January 2015

January Wishlist

Hi everyone! I hope the January Blues are starting to fade and everyone is keeping on track with their New Year's Resolutions. Here is my January Wishlist of all the things I've been lusting after this month after reading reviews and spending far too long browsing the Internet. 

Have you tried any of these - if so I would love to read your opinions in the comments below! What is on your Wishlist this month?

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Learning to cope with Stress

As a finalist at university, I'm not short of reading and work to be getting on with I can tell you that. I find it so difficult to get the balance right between university work, employment work, blogging, exercise and having a social life. I find most of my stress is from worrying I haven't done enough work or that I have been a terrible daughter/ sister/ auntie/ friend.

But here are my quick tips on how to cope with and reduce stress. They may not work for you - sometimes a few of them won't work for me, but I definitely recommend giving them a go. Learning what doesn't work for you is one step closer to realising what does.

1. Get organised | Rather than thinking about all ten of those deadlines or commitments at once and how you can't possibly do anything else right now, take things step by step. Prioritise according to what needs to be done when, and learn to tell yourself that breaks are good and result in more productive work after you've taken one. If your stresses are largely financial, organise and budget strictly. It may make you feel sad in the short term that you can't go and buy those shoes you've been eyeing up, but being out of pocket is even more stressful.

2. Exercise | Go to a dance class or for a jog, hit the gym or even go for a really long walk. Exercise really distracts me (in a good way) and gives me an hour or so off from stress mode. We're told all the time now that it releases endorphins which make us happy, and I'm also much happier with my body since dancing and running, so it's really a win win!

3. A hot drink | Maybe it's me being overly British but I'm a firm believer that a cup of tea fixes anything. If that's not your, er... cup of tea, (excuse the pun) hot chocolates and coffees also do the trick. Sometimes taking half an hour out of your day to sit and put your feet up with a hot drink and to just sit staring endlessly into space is what you need to unwind.

4. Food breaks | No matter how stressed we are, we all need to eat and drink. I find if I feel I haven't seen as much of my family and friends as I should have, I will arrange to meet them for lunch or pop round for a cup of tea. That way you're taking a break from work but not really taking too much time out of your day if you are super stressed.

5. Do more of what makes you happy | Ultimately, this is the best advice for stress relief. Make sure to take time out of each day to do something that makes you smile or laugh. Watching your favourite film or listening to music. Watching something funny on Youtube. Watch the Lee Evans DVD you've seen a million times but still fall off your chair every time laughing. Doing the Cha Cha slide in your friends room while she works because you feel like it (yes I will hold my hands up and said I did this last night). Laughter really is the best medicine.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Things I want to achieve in 2015

Even though I've already made my New Year's Resolutions, I've also been having a quick gloss over my bucket list and thinking about other things I want to achieve this year, so I thought I would blog about them so that you can all tell me off in December if I haven't done any of them!

1. Kick the habit of biting my nails once and for all (If anyone has any tips, I desperately need to hear them please!)
2. Survive my final year of university and become an official 'Graduate'
3. Ride a Segway
4. Complete a Charity Run
5. Have my teeth 'done' - (Haven't decided what yet, but basically improve them)
6. Attend my first Ball
7. Longer hair
8. Save money
9. Make a list of '21 Steps to 21' - 21 ways I want to celebrate my 21st birthday
10. Bag myself a job I love!

Saturday, 3 January 2015

New Years Health Kick: Smoothies!

For a while now, I've been thinking about getting a smoothie maker. I rarely eat fruit and I figured that making smoothies would allow me to increase my five a day intake in a fun and healthy way! In 2014, I did really well losing weight, but I am keen to lose a few more pounds, and to just improve my diet for health reasons. Since losing weight I have felt a lot less sluggish, and that is something I want to keep up in 2015.

For Christmas, I received an ASDA voucher from my cousins. As soon as I saw a small blender on sale in ASDA, I knew I had to purchase it! This is the Breville VBLL062 Blend-Active which is currently on sale in ASDA for £20 (Find it here). I didn't want to buy a cheap one because my Mum convinced me it would break really quickly, and I loved this because you blend the fruit in the bottle you drink out of, and just switch from the lid with blades to the drinking lid. Anything that reduces the amount of washing up I have to do is a bonus! It comes with two drinking bottles as well, so it's great if you have a friend pop round.

I think I'm going to google smoothie recipes, but this attempt at lunchtime was me just throwing fruit together. I used blueberries, raspberries and strawberries and tipped in around 150ml of Yeo Valley Raspberry and Passionfruit Natural Yoghurt. It was really yummy and filling. Next I think I'm going to have a go at a Mango and Passionfruit smoothie like the Innocent ones you can buy because I looove that, and maybe a Strawberry and Banana one.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Avon Magnetic Nail Varnish

The Avon nail range is amazing in my opinion. In the last year or so they have really jumped on board the Nail Art trend, offering a variety of polishes and tools/brushes at an affordable price.

Their magnetic range is as extensive as most other high street nail brands, offering a beautiful variety of metallic colours with something for everyone. I love how the magnetic wands are sold separately, so you can choose the pattern you wish to recreate. 

I already own several colours and wands, but this is the Hypnotic Bronze polish and Star Magnetic Wand which I received as a gift from my parents for Christmas. I love the shade and think it's perfect for any skin tone. 

I definitely recommend checking out the Nail section in an Avon catalogue if you can get your hands on one. I've ordered one of the new brushes which is on offer at the moment, so I will hopefully share a review of that soon! 

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