Wednesday, 31 December 2014

What I got for Christmas 2014

I don't usually go for these posts, but this past week I've loved reading about other people's Christmas presents, especially these ones from Becky and Kayleigh, so I'm just gonna go for it this year.  I hope everyone else is enjoying the holidays as much as I am, whether you celebrate Christmas or not.  I've loved having some family time, especially as I don't get to see everyone as often as I'd like since I moved.  I'm not going to show you everything, but here are some of the lovely presents I opened on Christmas morning.

After nine years with my beloved Panasonic Lumix, it finally gave up a few months ago.  My parents kindly treated me to this little beauty  - the Canon S120.  I am in love with it, I can do so much more than I could with my last camera, and I spent a good while exploring all the settings and features on boxing day.  I can't wait to take it out and about with me in Portsmouth and get a few more lifestyle posts up!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Sunday Post: Hair Heroes

I admit it - I'm pretty rubbish at taking good care of my hair.  Lately I've got a bit better, but I probably still don't look after it the way I should.  These are the products that are regularly taken out of the hair drawer.

Every day without fail I spritz my hair with heat-protect spray while it's still wet and before I blow-dry it.  My favourite is one from Charles Worthington; it smells incredible and seems to keep my hair in good condition without leaving it feeling weighed down or full of product.  I usually also run a dollop of Charles Worthington Volume and Boost creme through my roots to add a bit of shape to my hair.  As much as I love this, you do have to be really careful that you rub it in well because every now and again when I'm a bit lazy and apply it while doing other things, I'm left with some product-heavy roots.

Every few days I run a bit of the Garnier Ultimate Blends The Sleek Perfecter Oil through the ends of my hair while it's still wet to inject a bit of moisture - it doesn't leave my hair feeling oily or greasy but does make a difference to how hydrated and shiny it is!

Although it isn't photographed, if I'm curling my hair I use a dollop of the Charles Worthington Volume and Bounce mousse.  It keeps the curls in my naturally straight hair for longer, and adds a bit of bounce to my barnet!

After styling, almost every day I spritz the Charles Worthington Texturising Spray into both my roots and the lengths of my hair.  It smells incredible, adds a bit of oomph and holds a style beautifully.  If I want a bit of extra hold, the Tresemme Salon Finish Freeze Hold hair spray is my go-to.  It keeps every hair in place, and brushes out really easily when I want it to.

Lastly - dry shampoo.  Oily skin = oily hair.  I wash my hair every other day, and on the second day it's flat and lifeless.  I've tried a few brands of dry shampoo but I always return to Batiste.  Yes, the white cast is annoying and my hair does feel a bit product-y, but it works.  The oil is absorbed and a bit of life is added to my hair.

What are your hair heroes?

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Hot Tub Pig Cake

After spotting this cake online, my sister and my mum were determined to make it for Rob's 22nd birthday.  Last weekend the three of us spent Saturday mixing, baking, decorating and licking the bowl until we'd produced our own hot tub pig cake.  Sorry for the terrible quality photos, I didn't take my camera home with me so I could only use my phone.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Beauty Review: Rimmel Kate Moss 107 Lipstick

After lusting after this lipstick for what feels like forever, I finally added this lipstick from the Rimmel Kate Moss range to my collection.  After spotting it on Anna a few years ago, every A/W I've been desperate to add it to my collection, and to be honest there wasn't really any reason not to because it's easy to pick up in Boots or Superdrug and it's a bit of a bargain (just over a fiver).  I just never got around to it.  I'm sure you've heard quiiite a bit about this popular shade, but here I am adding my two cents.

Once Autumn rolls around, out come the berry, red and generally deeper shades, and 107 is perfect for that.  It's marketed as a matte lipstick,but it's definitely not a chalky, drying product - it's much more satiny than a serious matte which makes it so much more comfortable to wear.  The matte finish also means it has pretty impressive staying powder.  Even when this little beauty fades, there's no blotchiness or patches here - it fades evenly to a stain which actually looks quite good.  On the other hand you could press this into your lips and wear it was a stain from the beginning.  

The shade is to die for - a deep red with a hint of plum without being so dark that you can't match it with any eye make-up.  Every single weekend since I bought it this had been straight on my lips, I've even been choosing it over my beloved Sephora lip creme!  If you haven't got this yet what are you waiting for? It's a beauty! 

Thursday, 16 October 2014

The Tenth Hole Southsea

Rob and I are suckers for a slice of cake, and one weekend in September while we walked around Southsea in the sun we came across the Tenth Hole cafe, popped in for a drink and came out a few stone heavier!  The cafe itself is sat between a cricket ground and a mini-golf course (hence the name) and I love how it's decorated! The walls are covered in hand-written quotes and paragraphs, the furniture is up-cycled and colourful and I adore the wooden floors.  

Although they do pretty delicious sandwiches (the pulled pork bun is to die for), nothing beats their cake selection.  They're all kept in a glass display case and change every day.  There's such a huge selection from victoria sponge to mars bar cheesecake to aero brownies to pavlova.  They are so delicious and the slices are huge!

I've become a bit of a sucker for the Victoria Sponge - look at the size on that chunk! We've been back a few times now, and every thing we have there is delicious.  Although it isn't a bargain, everything is reasonably priced and the service is amazing - I don't have anything bad to say! I love it there.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

September Favourites

I realise this is a little bit late, but I've been a bit rushed off my feet with the new job and am only now getting round to photographing my favourite things from this month - oops!

As I said, the new job has taken quite a bit of getting used to; I'm tired the majority of the time.  Pairing my Shu Uemura eyelash curlers with the highlight shade from the Naked Basics palette is doing a good job of making my eyes look a little more awake on a daily basis.  The other part of my face really showing how much teaching is taking it out of me is my lips - they're dry, chapped and horrible.  The Nuxe Reve De Miel is slathered on as often as I remember to inject a bit of hydration and smooth everything over.

My oily skin is still up to its old tricks and needs a powder top-up a few times a day.  I've been switching between the Bourjois Healthy Balance powder and this little Soap and Glory beauty.  Although the packaging is a bit bulky, I love the natural finish and it doesnt't leave me looking cakey in the slightest!

I tend to avoid lipstick for work and go for a slather of balm, but on the weekends I'm loving cracking out the bold shades.  Throughout September I've worn MAC Rebel almost every time I've put lipstick on.  I love the autumnal berry shade, and the pretty stain left behind when it wears off isn't bad either.

I haven't worn much jewellery lately, apart from my two essentials - I never take my Pandora ring off, and lately my Charles Worthington watch is a daily necessity.  I love catching little glimpses of them throughout my day.  It's easy to forget things you always wear when writing these monthly posts, but if anything they're even more of a favourite!

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Living in Southsea

About a month ago, I moved into a little flat in Southsea with Rob, and when I'm not working we spend every minute making the most of living in this beautiful place! We've found so many lovely little places to visit on the weekends, and we'd love to share them.

We've found a few pretty tasty places to eat out so far - we're big fans of Coast to Coast in Gunwharf Quays (the chicken wings are to die for), Giraffe also in Gunwharf (devine ribs), Tangs Chinese on Elm Grove (amazing sweet and sour chicken cantonese style) and the Wine Bistro on Palmerston Road (if you like your shellfish, the mussels to share is a must-have).  We're desperate to try the Steak and Lobster on Elm Grove - it sounds delicious!

We spend quite a lot of our time walking around the city finding new places; walking along the front always reminds us of home and more often than not we end up popping into a pub on Spicer Island for a pint before we walk back to the flat.  I love these adorable beach huts and Canoe Lake is such a lovely place to walk around on a sunny day.

When my parents visited for the weekend we spent most of our time doing very touristy things - we went up to the top of the Spinnaker Tower with our Tesco Clubcard vouchers and loved looking out over the city trying to spot familiar places.  It's usually £10 a head which is pretty expensive, but our vouchers meant we only paid £2.50 each - much better!

There always seems to be some sort of market on the weekends - I especially loved the farmers market with the freshly baked bread, huge meat joints, delicious looking fruit and beautiful flower arrangements.  We've also found a few vintage markets, the odd car boot sale and the weekly Southsea market on Palmerston Road.

We are loving every second of living here, and I spend all week looking forward to the weekend knowing we'll have a brilliant time exploring a different pub, restaurant or part of this lovely place.  If you have any Southsea recommendations I'd love to hear them!

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Products I Don't Regret Buying

I love reading blogs, but my bank account hates me for it.  Occasionally I end up wasting my money on something that just doesn't work for me but thankfully, the majority of what I buy I end up loving, and there are a special few products which I definitely don't regret spending my pennies on.

Illamasqua Matte Veil is the best primer I've tried so far; it mattifies my skin without drying it out at all and keeps my make up in place for a lot longer than primers I've tried in the past.  The Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay In Place Flawless Finish Concealer not only wins the award for the longest name, but it's also my go-to concealer for covering blemishes and dark circles - I'm on my second tube in the shade 02.

I use Benefit Hoola every single day - sometimes to warm up my complexion but usually to contour a little bit.  It's the perfect shade for my skin tone and it's lasted years. I've used it every day for at least 3 years and I have the tiniest bit left in the bottom - I hit pan about 6 months ago and I've been trying my best to make it last as long as possible.  It will definitely be re-purchased when pay day comes around.  I bought Laura Mercier Second Skin Cheek Colour in Lush Nectarine in a blog sale ages ago and I love it, I always end up coming back to it because I know it makes my skin look really healthy and glowing.  I only own three eye shadow palettes and I do love them all, but my favourite has to be the Naked basics - I love how versitile it is, including the highlight shade and a perfect match for my brows.

I ummed and ahhed about buying the Urban Decay De-Slick setting spray for months and I'm so annoyed at myself for it, because it's a life saver! If you've got oily skin, don't put off buying this - trust me!

I am a bit of a lip-product girl, but some that I definitely don't regret buying are the Nuxe Reve de Miel, the Sephora Matte Lip Creme in 01 and MAC Coral Bliss - all three are really comfortable to wear, look lovely on the lips and are worth every penny in my books!

What products don't you regret buying?

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Our Little Flat


A month ago Rob and I moved into our little flat in Southsea, and we're so happy with it! We've been lucky enough to be gifted so many gorgeous pieces of furniture and little trinkets to decorate our rooms with, so we're really thankful to our generous families.  We are over the moon with our new home so far, and we're both really enjoying living together!

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Beauty Review: L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara

I am a big fan of L'oreal mascaras - I love Million Lashes and the Telescopic mascara, so when I spotted a L'oreal mascara called Voluminous I had very high hopes.  Unfortunately, it was a bit of a waste of money.

Initially, I was impressed - added volume, length, very black colour and holding a curl.  After a few hours I had a look in the mirror and it was everywhere.  This mascara transferred more than anything I've ever used.  After only a few hours it was all over my lids, all below my eyes and generally looked terrible.  I thought maybe it was a one-off and tried again but the exact same happened.  I've now tried everything - primers, powders, setting sprays, everything.  Nothing worked! This one's going straight in the bin!

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Sunday Post: Blogger Inspired

For the last three years I've regularly read beauty blogs and watched beauty youtubers in my spare time, making it impossible not to have a wishlist as long as my arm.  I'm not terrible at buying into hype, but sometimes I just can't resist, and more often than not it pays off - all of these products were inspired by blogger hype and I've ended up loving them!

The Real Techniques brushes are hugely well-known in the blogosphere, mainly because they were created by youtuber Sam Chapman.  They're incredibly high quality considering their low price, and I use mine every single day.  The Collection Lasting Perfection concealer is probably one of the most talked-about high street concealers, and for good reason.  It's got good coverage and staying power to rival a much higher end concealer.  I wasn't particularly fussed about MAC until I started blogging, but I soon had a wishlist as long as my arm - you can't fault their amazing range of products and shades.  The powder blush in Melba and Mineralised Skin Finish in Stereo Rose probably wouldn't have had a second glance if I was in store, but after seeing reviews and swatches, I had to add them to my collection - they're perfect summer shades.

The Urban Decay Naked palette was on my wishlist for well over a year before I added it to my collection as my first ever 'proper' eye shadow palette.  It's had so much love over the last couple of years, and is still regularly used to create eye looks for all occasions.  When I purchased my UD Naked palette, a mini sample of the Primer Potion was included and I loved it so much that I immediately repurchased a full size version which I still use every single time I wear eye shadow.  When the Maybelline Colour Tattoo cream eye shadows were released, there were hundreds of reviews floating around, and they're still regularly mentioned in tutorials and favourites.  I picked up On and On Bronze and Permanent Taupe, and they're perfect for a quick and easy wash of colour.  Strictly speaking, I never bought my Shu Uemura eyelash curlers as I won them in a give-away when I first started blogging, but they quickly because an everyday essential - not a day goes by where I don't clamp my lashes with these to widen my eyes and make me look more awake.

The Revlon Lip Butters were hugely hyped last year, I managed to stick to just 3 but I know a lot of people who bought loads of them.  They're perfect to add a hint of colour when I'm in school and I don't fancy a bold lip.  Lastly, my most recent blogger-inspired purchase is the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet liquid lipstick.  So many bloggers have claimed this is the best matte lip they have ever worn that I just couldn't resist, and I'm glad I didn't.  I don't have a similar lip shade, it's super comfortable to wear and it doesn't dry my lips out at all - it's love.

What products have bloggers inspired you to buy?

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Beauty Reviews: Bourjois Color Boost Crayon in Peach on the Beach

Even though I am a huge fan of the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains, I couldn't ignore the hype surrounding the Bourjois Color Boost lip crayons.  I dont have a shade similar to this from the Revlon collection, so when Boots were offering a 3 for 2 deal on Bourjois products I had to pop Peach on the Beach in my basket.

The colour is a gorgeous everyday shade -  it's surprisingly pigmented and adds a wash of peach to the lips, it would have been perfect on holiday paired with a tan.  It's really comfortable to wear and even though it isn't particularly long lasting, it fades really well without leaving you looking patchy.  It feels pretty moisturising on the lips, although I doubt it's hydrating enough to help heal chapped lips.  I really like the formulation and will definitely be checking out a couple more shades in the future.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Non-Beauty Favourites

Even though I (usually) do a monthly beauty favourites post, I rarely post about my non-beauty favourites.  These are the things I can't get enough of lately that don't live in my dressing table.

Since the beginning of the summer holidays I haven't put down my Kindle - although I do love turning the pages of a good book, nothing beats the convenience of my Kindle for carrying a whole library around with me!  Any book recommendations please put below - I love trying something new!

Another gadget I can't get enough of is my iPhone 5C.  I has the 4S for three years, so by the end it was pretty slow and battered.  I was gifted the 5C for my birthday back in July and I've hardly put it down! I love the bigger screen, yellow back, panoramic camera and fast interface on my upgrade.

Even though everything's turning digital lately, us teachers still end up with piles of paper everywhere and the only this that keeps me organised is these paper clamps - big enough to hold a full class worth's work without being big or awkward to store, and you can buy cute ones for pretty cheap - I love these Tesco multicoloured bubble ones.

As much as I wish I could carry a few essentials around me and pop them into a little handbag I just cant - I'm a big handbag girl.  I picked this beauty up from River Island in the summer and it's exactly what I need.  The grey super-soft leather goes with everything, there's two straps allowing me to carry it however I like, and it's big enough to fit everything in - perfect!

Lastly - how cute is this knitted graduation owl? It was a present from my Nana back in July and its so adorable! He lives on top of my chest of drawers reminding me of my wonderful family back at home.

What are you loving lately?

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Beauty Review: Charles Worthington Volume & Bounce Thick & Full Boosting Creme

After reading in a magazine a few months ago that Mollie from The Saturdays uses this, I had to pick it up - who doesn't love her hair?! I'm not going to beat around the bush - I love this.  You evenly distribute 2-3 pumps of the pink gel through clean damp hair, blow dry and voila! Your hair has added bounce, smells incredible and holds a style longer without a crispy, greasy or visible resible.  It doesn't make my hair oilier or drier than usual - it's just my hair with added volume - for under a tenner, how can you resist?

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Sunday Post: Morning Essentials

I've managed to get my morning routine down to a fine art so I can get as much sleep as humanly possible.  Cutting down my skincare routine has really benefited my skin, and knowing exactly which products to use helps speed up my morning routine.

I am still loving La Roche Posay for skincare - I wash my face with the Physiological Cleansing Gel and moisturise using Effaclar Mat.  I pop a dab of Nivea Hydro Care on my lips because it moisturises them and adds a bit of SPF15 protection from the sun.  When I brush my teeth I usually use a toothpaste from Colgate but that's more because it's a habit from living at home than my personal preference.

If I wash my hair, I can't get enough of the Charles Worthington Volume & Bounce shampoo and conditioner at the moment - it smells divine and gets the job done without weighing my hair down or leaving any gross residue.  If I don't wash my hair I use my trusty Batiste, I like most of the scents, but I'm using Blush at the moment.  I haven't included a shower gel or soap because it changes so often, at the moment I'm loving Dirty from Lush.

I know it's lazy, but the only step left is anti-antiperspirant - I love this one from Mitchum.  I am aware that I should moisturise my body, but I don't want to spend the time massaging body butter in or waiting for anything to dry before getting dressed, so I usually skip that step - don't sue me!

What do you use every morning?

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Beauty Review: Bourjous Healthy Balance Powder

As an oily-skinned girl, it's quite hard to find products which keep shine away without looking caked-on or powdery, so every time I hear a recommendation for a mattifying powder which isn't cakey I'm in there like swimwear.  My newest one is this little beauty from Bourjois.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Sunday Post: Matte Lips

I'm definitely a matte lip girl.  I love a long-lasting finish which is matte but not chalky or dry.  Over the last few years I've picked up a few tips and tricks for comfortably wearing a matte lipstick and found a few favourites.

When you're wearing matte lips:
  • exfoliate your lips - I usually go for a lip scrub from Lush
  • choose a matte lip balm to smooth over your lips - I love Nuxe Reve de Miel
  • if your eating/drinking, keep your lipstick in your handbag for top ups because they have a tendency to wear off in the middle and leave a ring of colour around the edge of your lips
  • if your going for a bold shade, pair it with a lip-liner for a smooth line and use the finger-in-your-mouth trick to make sure you don't have any lipstick on your teeth
My favourites for matte lips are pretty predictable.  I'm not fussy with the format - I love standard bullets, pencils and liquids.  MAC matte lipsticks are a popular favourite - although they can be drying, it's nothing that can't be solved with a dab of lip balm; I'm a sucker for Ruby Woo.  Revlon are a pretty impressive high-street brand for matte lips - their matte lipsticks in bullet form are just as comfortable as MAC's offerings although they don't wear quite as well, they're definitely worth a try!  Revlon's Matte Balm crayons are pretty new to the market, but I love them! My favourite shade is Audacious - a bright orange shade which looks perfect with a tan, I wore this loads on holiday.

When it comes to matte liquid lipsticks, Bourjois are killing it at the moment; the Rouge Edition Velvets are doing the rounds on the blogosphere and I've seen nothing but praise for them.  They've got a range of gorgeous colours, they're comfortable to wear and they're long lasting, all for under a tenner! These next ones are a little harder to get hold of, but Sephora Lip Cremes are a seriously comfortable way of wearing a bold matte lip.  I have shade 01 (the perfect red), but I'm fancying shade 03 too.  They're  a little less comfortable to wear than the Bourjois liquid lipsticks but they last longer - you win some, you lose some!

Are you a matte lip girl? What are your favourite matte lipsticks?

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Books I've Loved This Summer

Since I was a little one, I've been a complete bookworm.  Sometimes work or studying gets on top of me and I don't pick up a book for a while, but ever summer I dive head-first into my kindle and lose myself in a range of fictional worlds.  I enjoy a range of genres and writing styles, although I do tend to prefer fiction to non-fiction or autobiographies.  These are the six stories I adored this summer, and 100% recommend.

Lucie Whitehouse - The Bed I Made and Before We Met
This author is a recent discovery for me, but both of these stories had me hooked.  Beware of the creepy element in Lucie's writing which gave me goosebumps and often left me thinking about the story a long time after I'd finished turning the pages.  Without giving too much away, these are gripping thrillers based around not knowing your other half quite as well as you expect which I just couldn't put down.  They are a little far-fetched in places, and they don't quite live up to Gone Girl standard, but they're up there, particularly The Bed I Made.

Nick Louth - Bite
Admittedly, I only downloaded this because it was cheap on the kindle store and I needed something to read while I was waiting for pay day, but I absolutely loved it.  It was fast-paced, filled with twists and turns and incredibly interesting.  Erica has found a cure for a deadly disease, but the night before presenting her findings, she disappears leaving her new boo Max to find her and uncover a lot along the way.

E. Lockhart - We Were Liars
Another book I only bought for the price, but it's a good'un.  The story follows a group of teenagers on their yearly summer visits to their grandfather's island, but there's an unexpected haunting twist that I never saw coming.

Graeme Simsion - The Rosie Project
Although the last three have been thrillers, this is the complete other end of the spectrum - a feel-good read that made me laugh-out-loud.  Don Tillman is stuck in his ways, and is on the lookout for his perfect woman who meets his long list of criteria - the only problem is that she may not exist.  Rosie definitely doesn't fit his criteria, but she does make him happy, and that just might be what he needs to reverse his rut.

David Levithan - Dash and Lily's Book of Dares
If you enjoyed John Green's books or Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park you need to try this.  Instead of looking for the right guy, Lily hides dares in her local bookshop hoping the right guy will find it, Dash won't back down from the challenge and they fall for each other on paper, but they don't know if it'll be the same in real life.  Such a lovely easy read which was perfect lounging by the pool!

I would love to hear your book recommendations - pop them in the comments and I'll give them a shot! 

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Beauty Review: Illamasqua Matte Veil

I was part of the crowd that read the hundreds of reviews surrounding Hydra Veil when it was released in 2013; I was sucked in by the unique formula and packaging, I was desperate to get my hands on a little black pot, but I couldn't bring myself to do it.  Surely anything with 'Hydra' in the name wasn't going to be a good match for an oily skin? My prayers were answered when earlier this year Illamasqua released their Matte Veil base - I was sold.  Then I read Sarah's review (here); 30 seconds later I had made my order.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Sunday Post: August Favourites

The summer holidays shave completely flown past - this weekend I properly moved in with Rob ready to start school next week and I am so nervous! I'm looking forward to getting into my classroom and I know that after a few days I'll settle in, but until then I'm a liiiitle bit anxious! It's been luxury to have a few weeks off and I've been enjoying having time to apply my make-up as slowly as I like in the morning and try some new products as well as shopping my stash!

On my lips I've been loving some Bourjois bits this month.  I gave in to the hype surrounding the Rouge Edition Velvet (I got the shade Ole Flamingo) and I'm happy I did - gorgeous colour, long lasting and comfortable to wear.  At the same time I grabbed a Color Boost lip pencil on Peach on the Beach which I can't get enough of for everyday wear.  It isn't particularly long lasting so touch-ups are essential, but it's such a beautiful shade and I can't stop wearing it.

After hitting pan big-time on my beloved Benefit Hoola, I dug this little palette out of my stash to use until I grab a new full-size, but I've ended up falling in love with it all over again! Inside the little box is miniature pans of Hoola, Coralista and Bella Bamba - the perfect bronzer and blushers for summer!

I seem to own lots of mini bottles of Soap and Glory Clean on Me shower gel, so I've been making efforts to use some up this month so I haven't got quite as much clutter to move with, and I just love it - it smells delicious and I feel lovely and clean without dry, tight skin or a greasy residue.  

Lastly, how cute are these little daisy earrings from Pandora?! I'm not much of a earring wearer, mainly because I always forget to put them in, but these have changed my habits.  I had them as a birthday present and they're adorable!

What have you been loving in August?

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Lifestyle: Update

If you follow my blog, twitter or instagram you may have spotted a couple of mentions of my big move - I'm moving out of my family home to a flat four hours away with my boyfriend.  Over the last few weeks pretty much all I've done is collect furniture and bits & pieces for our flat so when we got our keys back at the start of August I was so excited to move in.  Rob and I went down to Portsmouth for a week with both of our families popping down to help us out and we had the best week! Apart from a huge IKEA visit, cleaning the flat top-to-bottom, putting together flat pack furniture until the early hours of the morning and having a bit of a gas meter disaster, we managed to fit in a couple of fun days too.  We finally went up the Spinnaker tower, made the most of 2-for-1 cocktails, had delicious meals out (I definitely recommend Coast to Coast in Gunwharf Quays) and shopped until we dropped!

We were lucky enough to get our hands on quite a bit of furniture from friends and family which we updated to suit our tastes, and ended up buying the rest (mainly bedroom furniture) from IKEA.  I was gifted a beautiful dressing table from Rob's family to congratulate me on my graduation (far right photo) which I adore - I've never owned a dressing table before, so I'm over the moon!  We are so pleased with our new little home and can't wait to properly move down there in a few days!

I also managed to pop into my new classroom and start sorting it out and getting ready to begin my Newly Qualified Teacher year in September.  I managed to back the display boards, organise my trays of resources and arrange my tables.  Rob came with me and labelled all 250 of my exercise books bless him, which saved me a lot of time - I had no idea how much work it takes to sort a classroom out!  I'm happy that it's all done before the start of term, and now I'm just anxiously anticipating the first week of September!

All thats left of this summer is a gorgeous lady's wedding, the official move and then back to school! How have you spent the last few weeks of your summer?

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Beauty Review: Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in Ole Flamingo

How could I not buy into the hype surrounding these little pots of colour? I've heard claims that these last over 12 hours, withstand drinking and eating and are the most comfortable high-street matte lipsticks ever! Obviously I couldn't resist - I grabbed the shade 05 Ole Flamingo.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Sunday Post: Bedtime Essentials

I love my sleep, so at night I'm not one for an hour-long routine before I climb into bed - I'd much rather a few quick steps that I know work before cuddling up under the covers.  Apart from removing my make up, cleaning my skin and teeth and popping on some comfy PJs, these are the things I find myself reaching for every night to inject a bit of much-needed moisture.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Braunston Mill Cottage

On the first weekend of August, Rob and I packed up my car and headed to the Midlands to spend the weekend in this gorgeous cottage as part of my 21st birthday present.  Rob chose this adorable place and booked it for a fortnight after my birthday, allowing me to celebrate my twenty first at home with my friends and family before spending some time with him.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Beauty Review: Laura Mercier Mineral Powder Foundation

Although for the past two years or so I've been using liquid foundation, I am 100% a mineral powder girl.  Before I entered the blogosphere, I used the L'Oreal True Match Mineral Powder foundation religiously (with the gross scratchy brush which I hardly ever washed. ew).  You may have seen in my review of the Bare Minerals Matte foundation that I wanted something with a bit more coverage bit with a similar finish - well, I think I've found it.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Sunday Post: Early Morning Tips

With the summer holidays coming to a close, before long many of us will be back to the early mornings that just aren't enjoyable, so I've got a couple of tips to help you out.
  • get some sleep - I know it's easy to scroll through instagram and twitter until late at night, but if you put that phone down, shut your eyes and drift off, you'll feel so much better for it
  • hydrate - keep topped up with water from as soon as you wake up to give you a bit of a boost and start off your day well
  • eat breakfast - so many people completely avoid breakfast saying it's too early to eat, but even if you could manage a bit of fruit or some yoghurt you'd notice a difference in your energy levels
  • give yourself plenty of time - no-ones day starts off well when they got ready in three minutes flat, set your alarm in plenty of time to look your best and make sure you haven't forgotten anything

If you haven't got a chance to those tips, fake it 'til you make it in the quickest way humanly possible.
  • You don't have time to wait for anything to dry; MAC Skin Refine Zone primer dries in seconds
  • Use a foundation which is super easy and quick to buff into your skin, my pick is Clarins Ever Matte
  • Cover up any signs of a dark circle with concealer, the Estee Lauder Double Wear Flawless Finish concealer is my favourite
  • Use bronzer and blusher to give your skin a much needed boost of colour to warm your skin and detract from pasty tired skin
  • Curl those lashes before applying mascara - it'll open up your eyes and make you look more awake
  • Further awaken your eyes by lining your waterline with a white or nude liner to counteract redness and popping a bit of shimmery shadow near your tear duct (I love Urban Decay's Virgin)
  • Skip powder and finish everything off with a quick spritz of setting spray, I'm a huge fan of Urban Decay De Slick
Do you have any tips for early mornings? I'd love to hear them - pop them in the comments!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Long Distance Relationships

Although he's popped up on this blog a couple of times, I'd better introduce you properly - the handsome one in the photos above is my boyfriend, Rob.  We've known each other since September 2009 when we both started college - I walked into my Biology class of people I'd never seen before, plonked myself down on an empty seat which happened to be next to Rob, and we've spoken almost every day since.  Although we were very close and always had a 'thing', we didn't begin our relationship until August 2012 which was probably the worst timing ever; in Septemer Rob began his degree in a university three hours away from mine.  We've spent the majority of the last two years in a long distance relationship and although we're really happy, it definitely hasn't been the easiest thing in the world.  Over the last two years we've found a couple of ways to make the distance easier which will hopefully be helpful for any of you who are a long way from your other half.

  • be certain - long distance relationships aren't easy so make sure you're certain the relationship is right for you, makes you happy and is worth any upset
  • make the most of your time together - Rob and I found that making plans for the time we spend together made sure the time we spent together wasn't wasted and we made sure we made happy memories together when we could
  • collect souvenirs - linking to making memories, Rob and I spend our time together taking photos, collecting tickets and trinkets and popping them all in our scrapbook.  It's pretty time consuming but so worth it to look back over when we're apart and they'll definitely be something we keep for the future
  • talk - every single day of our relationship Rob and I have spoken somehow, we text, instant message, phone and skype eachother all the time.  Communication is key in all relationships, but it's even more vital when you're apart.  Rather than bottling everything up before eventually exploding in an argument, it's much better to talk everything through calmly
  • send photos - we use WhatsApp to send each other little pictures of what we're doing when we're apart to include each other in our lives even when we're miles apart
  • treat each other - as often as we can, Rob and I treat each other whatever way we can, sometimes it's as little as him bringing me a slush puppy on a warm day, sometimes they're much bigger (my favourite was him travelling all the way home on the train to surprise me and whisk me straight out on a date night without me suspecting a thing)
  • trust each other - this is kind of an essential for all relationships, honesty and loyalty are absolutely key in my eyes
  • keep busy while you're apart - finding a hobby definitely helps pass the time while you're apart, and I think it's good for you to have some things for yourself (this is the whole reason this blog started, and Rob loses himself in CrossFit)
  • be understanding - it's more than likely that at some point one of you will need to concentrate on work or studying and may not have as much time to chat, so be patient and understanding because it won't last forever and you're other half will really appreciate it
What made it a lot easier for us was knowing there was an end point - I graduated in July and luckily I found my dream job near Rob's university, so we're moving in together! We've found a cute little flat and we move in at the end of August.  The best news I have for you is that it does get easier; by the end of our two years apart goodbyes weren't anywhere near as difficult, our time apart flew by, and we were enjoying making the most of the times we did see each other - but I am over the moon that it's over... WE DID IT!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Beauty Review: Illamasqua Tremble

I feel like everything Beth from Birds Words recommends, I end up buying.  Since reading this post on a blush she's fallen in love with, I haven't been able to get it out of my head.  A few months ago I couldn't resist any longer and bought the Illamasqua powder blush in Tremble, and I've worn it every singe day since.

This is the first Illamasqua product I've ever bought and I'm so impressed.  The blusher it such a gorgeous pale pink shade which has no shimmer and gives my skin a natural flush.  It's so pigmented and finely milled - it's an absolute dream to apply and blend, and it lasts all day.

I adore everything about this blusher, I can't stop wearing it or lusting over other Illamasqua blushers - I've got my eye on Lover next!