Tuesday, 29 January 2013

French Skincare Reviews.

Caudalie Vinosource SOS Thirst Quenching Serum, Bioderma Crealine TS H20 Micelle Solution, NUXE Reve de Miel Lip Balm

Ok, so I have been meaning to write this post for about 4 months *cough cough* Please excuse me, I s'pose  better late than never?! I bought these few bits of skincare way back in September, when I went to Paris with my boyfriend. I had compiled a list before I went of items I would like to try, and did have to try a few pharmacies before finding all these. I would have liked to have tried a few more but I didn't want to have a hideously heavy bag for the journey back!

So, to be honest, I'm not entirely sure whats the point of me adding my two cents worth to the crazy amounts of reviews these products have online, but you know, I said I was going to try my hand at this beauty stuff. Now, I'm sure any of you that read any kind of beauty blogs or watch YouTube will have heard of the infamous Bioderma. Its basically a cleanser that works by breaking down the oils in your make-up (I think....?) I have been using this every day, morning and night since the middle of September and am still only half way through the bottle. Now, I'm not going to lie, this is mainly due to laziness. Before that, I was using the Ultrabland cleanser by Lush, but that tended to be a bit messy. The great thing about the Bioderma is that you whack a bit on a cotton pad, wipe over your face and the make-up has gone. I have very sensitive dry skin, with a lot of redness, so a lot of products make my face sting. This did a little at first, but my skin seems to have gotten used to it now. I also have pretty damn sensitive eyes, and if I use this to remove my eye make-up it doesn't irritate. I however personally still prefer to use the Simple Eye Make-up Remover for my eyes, but if I was going away I could get away with just this. It removes all your make-up in one go and leaves your skin feeling squeaky clean. The only thing I personally dislike is the smell- despite it claiming to be non-fragranced, it instead has that really strong cleaning product smell. I am happy to use it though because it removes my make-up so well! I should probably be using some other kind of cleanser on my face as well, since I think this is primarily meant as a make-up remover, but I'm a little lazy with my skincare, despite having about six tonnes of creams and potions in my bathroom cabinet. Saying that, as someone with dry sensitive skin, this doesn't dry my skin out or makes me react adversely in any way.

The Caudalie SOS Serum is a hydrating serum for dehydrated skin. Now, this stuff was expensive. If I remember correctly, around £25 for the bottle... but I am yet to finish it, and I think overall the bottle will have lasted me about 6 months, so I don't think that's too extortionate in the long term. I have likewise been using this daily, underneath another moisturiser. If I use just one moisturiser, my skin can still be quite tight, so layering this underneath really helps, especially when I go to apply my foundation. However, it doesn't feel like too much on my skin, as it sinks in very quickly. I really love this serum, it makes my skin feel so cool and soft. It has a gorgeous fruity smell, and its a real treat when I go to put this on in the morning. Despite the price tag I think I will find myself having to repurchase this when I run out!

Oh, and now the real Holy Grail item. I myself have never been a massive fan of lip balms. My sister is one of those girls who has always got about 6 on her at any one time, hidden in various pockets and bags. I however used to really struggle to remember to apply it. However, as I found myself wearing lipstick more and more, I realised the importance of properly prepping my lips to avoid that horrible tight lip feeling. I also generally hate potted lip balms since I find them messy and unhygienic. For this however I will make an exception. It is the best lip balm I have ever used and I won't ever try another one! It goes on very thick, almost like a paste, but it doesn't disappear into your lips like others do. Instead it sits there and continues to nourish and soften your lips for hours on end. You know when you go to rub your lips and the balm has all gone? That never happens with this lip balm. I put it on in the evening before I go to bed and its still there in the morning. I just adore it. I have two pots now, one for in my handbag to have on me at all times and one next to my bed, for late night application. NUXE is actually now available at M&S, so you don't need to cross the Channel for this one, or pay expensive delivery fees. Whilst £9.50 seems a lot for a lip balm, the pot lasts forever and really, I could not do without it now.

On the whole I was really chuffed with the French skincare I tried. I'm not going to be one of those crazy ladies who comes back with a whole suitcase of the stuff, but I shall make sure I stock up on these items next time I'm on the Continent. Saying that, I think they've all become so integral to my skincare routine I may need to buy them online in the meantime!

I hope you've found this helpful, (just in case you hadn't already read 6 billion reviews of these products), and I promise I'll try and be a little more succinct next time. I won't usually be reviewing skincare, just showing you pretty lipstick, so it will hopefully be a little more interesting!

Oh, and my latest Oxfam post has just gone up- go have a nosey.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Shorts on Safari.

Limited Collection at Marks and Spencer shirt, M&S Woman cardigan, Dorothy Perkins shorts, Accessorize shoes

Ok. I realise I'm not managing three times a week but I am getting better aren't I?! I haven't exactly had anywhere to go this weekend either, what with all the silly snow. Grant and I had plans to go to Ikea to get ourselves a wardrobe and a chest of drawers, but unfortunately our clothes will remain strewn all over the floor for a week or so longer.

I can actually provide you with a link to this shirt because its current stock! So many of my clothes are pretty old or ones I bought in sales so its very rare I actually show you something you can buy, but when this shirt came into work I knew I had to get it. Despite the fact its sleeveless I just fell in love with the colour and the safari print. I also really love the contrast of the black and white pattern with the coral and the black collar. Its one of those items I'd like to wear buttoned all the way to the top but alas, that styling trick does me no favours. 

I also finally succeeded in finding a pair of shorts that don't rid up in between my thighs and end up looking like an inverse nappy.  These ones strangely seem to be alright despite seeming too short. It also helps that they're black denim and I wear them with very thick tights! I think they look ok, I must admit it is nice to not have to worry about pulling my skirt down incessantly. They're one of those things I have been looking for for ages, but I do feel quite nervous in them. Not to sound bitchy, but I really didn't want to look like one of those chubby girls trying to pull off things they really can't, but I think by effectively blending them in with my tights and keeping everything quite matt and opaque they're just about passable.  

Oh, also apologies for my slightly deranged face in the second photo, but I thought it would be nice to have a second one that wasn't just me staring down at my feet!

Better tootle off to bed now, back to work tomorrow *yawn* Hoping I'm not the only one in because of the snow! There are many, many advantages to living so close to work now, but I must admit, I do miss having a snow day! Hope you've all had a lovely time in the white stuff, or if you're like me and you had plans, that it hasn't scuppered them too much. 

Monday, 7 January 2013

Manchester Fun Times.

The Civil Wars concert tee-shirt, skirt from Silence and Noise at Urban Outfitters, ancient Laura Ashley cardigan, M&S tights, Accessorize shoes

One of my aims this year was to go to as many concerts as possible. Now, that may have been a badly chosen turn of phrase, since what does 'as many as possible' actually mean? But, I have managed to go to several in the last couple of months, thanks to the handy fact that my sister is at university in Manchester. She very kindly bought me tickets to see Greg Davies and the Civil Wars over a few days at the end of October, so I popped up to Manchester for a little holiday.

Greg Davies was first up on the Sunday night. It was a bit of a rush to get there since we only arrived in Manchester at about 6 o clock (we had both gone home to Devon for the weekend) but we made it to Salford Quays with about 5 minutes to spare! I must admit, I haven't seen much stand-up at all but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I did actually cry with laughter at several points. The mixture of self deprecation and crazy anger at the bizarre actions of people cracked me up. Anyway, its difficult to describe comedy (at least for me anyway; my main point of reference are Carry On films after all) so I'll move on to the music.

I was incredibly excited to see the Civil Wars. I first came across them on Jools Holland ( I have to get into watching that regularly, its such a good way of discovering new music!) and was immediately hooked by their haunting melodies. I became slightly obsessed with their cover of Billie Jean and went to ITunes straight away to download their album.

Now, you could say my music taste is eclectic; it mostly consists of indie rock circa 2005, but also encompasses some pop and also a little folk. I normally like music I can bop along to (hence my love of We Are Scientists and Maximo Park) but the Civil Wars are something different. The concert was just incredible; it was at the O2 Apollo in Manchester which is rather a large venue, but it felt like such a small intimate gig. You know that normal low level of chatter that rumbles underneath at most concerts? None of that, you could have heard a pin drop. I can't explain how good they were, its difficult to explain unless you were there, but I had goosebumps literally the entire time. Some of the harmonies they did just sent a shiver down my spine.

Wow, this is not turning out to be the well articulated post I was hoping for, just a hideous bunch of cliches. Music writing is clearly not my forte.....

Anyway, basic point of this post, GO SEE THEM IF YOU CAN BECAUSE THEY WILL BLOW YOUR MIND.

And make sure you watch that cover of Billie Jean because I think its one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard

Ooh, and also a little mention of the Lumineers who were the support act. They're getting fairly big now actually and are on loads of ads, but just to say, check them out if you like a bit of stompy American folk. They were also fantastic live and I could have happily watched them all night!

I was also going to talk about the Maximo Park concert I went to in November, but I think I've wittered on for long enough today! I hope you didn't all find this hideously boring, please let me know in the comments if you did. This post should have been done on Thursday but I must admit, instead I went out and saw an old friend, so I kind of forgot about it. Better late than never though, and hopefully I can get a beauty post in tomorrow.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

M&S lace top, Phase Eight jeans, Accessorize shoes, Autograph at M&S necklace, Olivia Burton watch

Hhhhmmm. Last time I tried to blog, way back in November, Blogger told me that I couldn't upload any more photos since I had reached my photo storage limit. However I tried again today on the off chance and it seems to be fine... Anyway, Happy New Year everyone! I hope you've had a lovely festive season. Myself, I have been working the whole time (oh the joys of retail) whilst trying to decorate and furnish a completely empty flat. 2012 was a tough year for me; after graduating in the summer of 2011, I had nearly a year of uncertainty whilst I waited for my boyfriend's temporary job to be made permanent. Even after this happened and I moved up to live with him (and his parents) things still weren't fantastic, what with me going back to the Foods department in M&S with horrible working hours. However, in the last few months everything has started to come together. I managed to get a job working as a stylist in my store, and we moved out a few weeks ago. Everything is still very much a work in progress (the living room is about the only room we've managed to get nearly all the furniture for!) but its so nice to finally be settled in our own place and not have to commute for two hours a day! So, my main goal of the year has indeed been accomplished.

I haven't made any new resolutions for this year since I want to just keep working on those I set before my 22nd birthday. There are however a few of those that I have done;

4. Get a tattoo.

This actually happened way back in October but I was intending to blog about after I'd gone to have it touched up. As it happens, November and December were way too busy and so I still haven't made it back to the tattoo parlour! I've always wanted a tattoo but have never had the nerve until a few months ago. As I said earlier, moving away from home in the summer to start work in a completely new city was somewhat terrifying, but also very liberating. After the move the thought of getting a tattoo didn't seem so scary anymore. I went to Grizzlys Art Tattoos in Coventry and was tattoed by a very nice lady called Joanne. I was absolutely terrified on the day (Kathy will confirm this- I had really bad nervous twitches and couldn't stop jigging around all over the place) but as soon as I walked into the place I actually felt much calmer. The other tattoo artists also turned round and smiled at me which immediately made me feel much better. It sounds silly but I was quite nervous about walking into a tattoo parlour full-stop, (I'm a walking stereotype of churchy middle-class girl- I work for M&S after all!) but I felt much less anxious as soon I actually got through the door.

The actual tattoo is a tiny seagull on the inside of my left wrist. Its not really distinguishable as a seagull to anyone else but I know that's what it is! I personally prefer plain black tattoos as I think they age better, so I didn't really want any other detail. I wanted a seagull for a few reasons; since moving to the centre of the country, I've really missed the seaside. Having grown up near Plymouth  and then studying in Aberystwyth, I've been near the sea my whole life. The tattoo is partly to remind me of home and also to calm me down in times of stress. I'm quite an anxious person but the sea makes me feel much more relaxed. Even now I can just think of Aberystwyth and walking along the seafront at night and I feel much better. I originally wanted to get a flock of seagulls down my wrist but decided to start with just the one. I ended up having it further down my wrist than I originally intended (if you have it too far up it ends up being in the fold that's created when you bend or flex) so it was probably good I only wanted the one for the time being. It needs touching up     to fill in the blank spot near the beak and to thicken the middle of the right wing, but generally I'm very happy with it. Its not the most creative or exciting tattoo but it means something to me, and I quite like the doodle-like quality of it. I haven't caught the tattoo bug (whatever anyone tells you, it hurts like an absolute bitch!) but I may add to it at a later date. I'll see how it looks when its neatened up first!

Anyway, enough about that for now, I have rambled on for long enough! So, other goals....
- 5. Move into our own place. Done.
- 6. Go to as many gigs as possible. I'll go into a little more detail about that in my next post!
- 8. Get a job I actually enjoy. I have now got one I enjoy, one that challenges me a bit more might be the next step!
- 13. Use my passport and go to Paris. Done in September!
- 19. Figure out what I actually want this blog to be. Hopefully might start looking better soon when I get on with this schedule!
- 23. Wear lipstick more. I have certainly been doing this, maybe I should take a quick photo of every time I wear one for a record!

The other 16 I'm still working on.

And now I am going to end this post because it's already enormous. See you all on Thursday, as long as Blogger still lets me upload photos *fingers crossed*