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Wednesday 30 April 2014

On Wednesdays we wear pink - Illamasqua varnish in Scarce

I have to admit, I'm not a die-hard fan of Mean Girls. However I enjoy quoting it as much as the next person, and so I was pretty happy when I realised that my newest nail colour is apt. Today is the 10th Anniversary of Mean Girls, and since it's a Wednesday pink is a must. I actually realised yesterday that I don't have a single pink item in my wardrobe, so this is my (pitiful) way of commemorating the occasion.

I actually picked up Scarce when Illamasqua had a sale around this time last year. I love the speckled-egg effect and am very impressed by the formula and opacity - two coats was more than enough to be completely opaque, and it glides on smoothly.

This is actually the first time I've worn Scarce with my go-to Seche Vite top coat, so I can't comment fairly on its longevity. But since only two coats of colour were required I'm hoping that chips won't make an appearance for a while!

I think Scarce is a great varnish for days where you want a subtle splash of colour, but just that little bit fancier.

Scarce is available on the Illamasqua website here for £14.50

Have you tried any of the Illamasqua varnishes before?

Friday 25 April 2014

Liebster Award Take 2

I've been nominated for the Liebster Award again! Thank you so much to Jenni from BeautyFull Spark for my nomination :)

For those that don't know, the Liebster Award is a way of recognising, and spreading the word of, your favourite new blogs. You can nominate anyone with less than 200 followers for the award.

The rules of the game are:

1. Thank the person who nominated you.
2. Answer the 11 questions they've asked you
3. Nominate 11 new bloggers
4. Set 11 questions for your nominees

(Last time I also wrote 11 facts about myself, but I've seen lots of people miss this step out. Guess it's optional.)

Anyway, enough with the boring bit and on to Jenni's questions.

1) What is your favourite pastime?
At the moment my favourite hobby is pole fitness! I only started lessons about six months ago, but it's quickly turned into a passion and I can't wait to progress further. I've finally convinced my parents that owning a pole would be a good idea, and I'm so excited to be able to practice daily!

2) If you had to blog about something different to what you already do, what would it be?
Hmmm my blog content is already quite varied. I think I would be a food blogger. Baking, in particular!

3) What is the one thing you couldn't live without?
I'm going to have to be cheesy and say loved ones. I don't know how I'd get through life without their support.

4) What is your favourite brand? Make-up or otherwise.
People that know me well will know my answer to this. It has to be Black Milk Clothing. Two years ago I fell in love with their clothes, and I've since found the best online community there is. It's amazing how a clothing brand has allowed me to connect with the nicest people ever! (You can see my post about Black Milk Clothing here.)

5) What would your ultimate day-out be?
It would have to be a surprise day out. When I'm told what to pack, but not where we're going. And it'd be great if it was somewhere I'd not been before. I love exploring! Oooh and somewhere by the sea!

6) Who is your style icon?
Eeeep this is a hard one, since I don't really follow trends. The only person that I've found whose wardrobe closely resembles mine is Zoella (the vlogger). Cute collars and skater dresses are my favourite.

7) What is your favourite film of all time?
Another hard one, as it depends which mood I'm in. Worthy of mention are Spirited Away (by Studio Ghibli), Frozen and Finding Nemo. If I feel like I should watch a film aimed towards someone my age, I love The Green Mile (for Michael Clarke Duncan's acting) and Forrest Gump.

8) Big, bold colours or natural nudes?
In terms of make-up, natural nude (excluding nail varnish). For clothes, bold and bright as I'm so pale!

9) What is your ultimate style fail?
My ultimate style fail has to be when I was about 12 and wore an entirely pink outfit. Pink jumper, pink trousers and pink shoes. They weren't even different shades of pink. I was nicknamed 'Marshmallow' that day.

10) Do you have a fitness regime? If so, what is it?
Right now, no (excluding pole fitness once a week). However, once uni's done in a few months I've promised my mum that I'll go out running with her a couple of times a week. I'll also be practicing my pole fitness as frequently as possible, and maybe taking a few pilates lessons to improve my flexibility.

11) What is your favourite food?
Cheese. If cheese wasn't around every meal would be so much plainer!

My nominees:
I love reading all of these blogs, and I know you will too! Go check 'em out :)

Sian from Well Excuse Me, Princess
Amelia from Trend Of Days
Lauren, Amy and Karen from The Glim Glam
Sophie from The Bird Song
Kate from Kate-on-the-Lake
Alice from Alice In A Looking Glass
France from pearls&shadows
Hannah from Peculiar Wit
Pati from Simply Pati
Ellinor from No Make-believing
Emma from Nerdy Ninja Platypus

My questions:

1. Why did you decide to start blogging?
2. What was the inspiration for your blog name?
3. If you had to blog about something different, what would it be? (Sorry for stealing Jenni - it's a good one!)
4. What's your favourite season and why?
5. What's been your favourite holiday so far?
6. If you had to live in a different country for a year, where would it be?
7. What's your guilty pleasure?
8. Which high street shop is your favourite?
9. Do you have a bucket list? If so, what fraction have you ticked off?
10. What's one thing that you wished you were better at?
11. What's your ultimate goal in life?

And that's it! Have fun guys :)
P.S. As you may have realised, I'm currently drowning in final year uni revision. I will, however, still be updating my blog as often as possible, so please do stick around :)

Wednesday 23 April 2014

My Current Wishlist #4

So it's that time of the month again. Yep, I've decided that I'm going to limit these wishlists to once a month for fear of boring you all. I hope that you find them interesting though - I definitely enjoy seeing what everyone else has got their eyes on!

I think this may be my most colourful wishlist yet. It's also very blogger/vlogger inspired. And since it's my 21st in less than a month I've got my fingers crossed that I may be able to get my hands on a few of them!

Bomb Cosmetics Scones and Cream Tinned Candle - £7.99
It sounds silly, but I didn't realise that Bomb Cosmetics produced candles that had a specific fragrance, as I've previously only seen candles with names like Arabian Nights and Sea of Tranquility (these are obviously scented, but you couldn't imagine what they smelled like until you purchased them). So I was pretty excited when I saw a picture of this candle whilst browsing the bbloggers hashtag on instagram. Scones and cream sounds like it'd be a soft, sweet fragrance. Perfect for when you want to relax, but maybe not so perfect if you're starving. I'm also very tempted by Bomb Cosmetics' Chocolate Orange candle. Once I've got through some of my current collection I might treat myself!

Bomb Cosmetics candles are available to buy on their website here.

Kiehls Midnight Recovery Concentrate - £36.00
If you've been reading beauty blogs for a while and haven't heard about this then you must have been living under a rock. All you have to do is read the reviews to be convinced of this one! A few drops of this will help to perfect your skin overnight, leaving your skin looking plumper and more radiant. Who can say no to something that helps you look healthier? This stuff is pricey, but apparently a little goes a long way and the results are worth it!

The concentrate can be bought from the Kiehls website here.

NCLA Birds of Paradise Nail Wraps - £12.50
I must admit, I have never really been interested in nail wraps. Whenever I've seen them in shops they're ridiculously long (obviously made to cater for all lengths of nail), and I felt like I would lose too much design on my relatively short nails. However, after seeing this Birds of Paradise design on Fleur de Force in her Makeup Bag Secret Weapons video (here), I was instantly in love. These nail wraps are so colourful, and you're not at risk of losing the overall effect on shorter nails. They also look so sophisticated, and would be great for fancy events! Unfortunately these nail wraps have proven so popular that there's currently a waiting list for them on Cult Beauty. However they can be purchased directly from the NCLA website, where the other NCLA nail wrap designs can be seen.

NCLA nail wraps can be bought from the UK website Cult Beauty here, or from the American NCLA website here.


Rock n Roll Blossom Crown Headband in Blue - £29.00
This is another vlogger inspired addition! I spotted this headband on Zoella in one of her vlogs and loved the style! Most flower crowns I've seen look too crowded/big/heavy, but this one looks to be the perfect compromise between being a statement piece, and a wearable everyday look. I fell in love with the blue version, which is currently a little bit cheaper than the pink version (presumably the pink one is in higher demand after Zoe wore it!).

The blossom crown headbands are available to buy on Rock N Rose's website here.


The Body Shop Vitamin C Microdermabrasion - £13.00
My skin is finally clearing up, and I've not had a breakout in a while. Therefore it has become my mission to attempt to clear up any remaining blemishes that I have. Repeat to self: *I will have perfect skin one day, I will have perfect skin one day*. I had a quick google for things to help, and the reviews for this seem promising! The product is basically a scrub which contains exfoliating "microparticles" to help remove dead skin cells, thus improving the look of your skin. Even if this doesn't work so well on my blemishes I think it'll be a good addition to my skincare routine, and at the price it has to be worth a try.

The Microdermabrasion scrub is available to buy on The Body Shop's website here.

Are any of these things on your wishlist?

Sunday 20 April 2014

Yankee Candle Coconut Collection - Limited Edition

Hi guys! Just a quick post from me today to let you know that I am, in fact, still alive (uni revision is slowly killing me though), and to let you know about this amazing Yankee Candle collection I've just heard about.

I found out about the collection via British Beauty Blogger's post about number 4 (here), which immediately grabbed my attention with the delicious-sounding combination of coconut and lime. I love fruity, fresh scents (my recent super fruity Flamingo candle haul will be reviewed soon!) and so went straight to the Yankee Candle website to check out the other combinations on offer. I'm glad to say that I was not disappointed! A few of the scent combinations are intriguing, and others I know that I'd love! I'll let you know how Yankee Candle have described each of the candles.

No. 1: Coconut and Sea Air
You can almost hear the surf when you breathe in the brisk and refreshing scent of sea air.

No. 2: Coconut and Beachflower
Beautiful and relaxing... the soft scents of beachflowers drift in on the warmest of winds.

No. 3: Coconut and Mandarin
So revitalising! This lively medley of mandarin, pineapple, coconut and vanilla is like a tropical vacation for your spirits.

No. 4: Coconut and Lime
What a happy combination! This uplifting marriage of coconut and lime makes every day feel brighter.

No. 5: Coconut and Vanilla Bean
Breathe in the sensual scent of creamy coconut and pure vanilla whenever you want to feel warm, wonderful and contented.

No. 6: Coconut and Pineapple
Tantalising and tropical... leave your worries behind when you inhale this exotic coconut and pineapple fragrance.

So Yankee Candles' descriptions aren't the best when deciding whether you'll actually like some of the more unusual combinations. However they do make your mind wander to white sands and bright blue seas, sipping cocktails on a lounger... which makes me feel that I need one or three. So I guess the descriptions are effective! Coconut and Mandarin in particular sounds amazing, and incredibly similar to the combination of fragrances I would choose if I could create my own candle. So I expect that'll be making its way into my collection soon!

The Yankee Candle Coconut Collection is available on their website here, and cost £12.99 for a reed diffuser, £14.99 for a ceramic tumbler (these are unusual but amazing), and £22.75 for a large two-wick tumbler (pictured above). The collection is time-limited, so it's best to grab your favourite as soon as possible.

Which of these would be your choice?

P.S. I've also recently written a review of Sleek's Blush by 3 palette in Lace over on Imogen's Typewriter (here). Check it out and subscribe to the lovely Imogen whilst you're there.

Sunday 13 April 2014

The Great Gatsby Ball

Ben and I at the start of the evening
First of all, apologies for the extremely long photo, and congratulations for making it this far! 

Approximately three weeks ago (woah, where does time go?!), on the 21st of March, was the Physics Department's annual ball. This year it was Great Gatsby themed, which immediately made me very excited with the thought of dancing around a giant pool, with champagne on tap and a firework finale. Okay, maybe my imagination got a bit carried away. But, even with a more realistic mindset, I spent the two weeks prior to the Ball becoming increasingly more excited. I love 20s fashion, and I found the perfect dress in the ASOS sale. And who doesn't love dressing up fancy?

The Ball was held in a function room of the Paragon Hotel in Birmingham, and the ticket cost included a three course meal, a welcome drink and table wine. As my boyfriend, Ben, was travelling up from Bristol with limited time left to get ready, we decided it'd make most sense to book a room at the hotel. That way he could head straight there and start getting ready, as opposed to taking a detour to my house.

The hotel, like most hotels, looked really posh in the foyer and function rooms (good first impression and all...), but the rooms weren't anything special. However, upon arrival, there was about an hour until the Ball kicked off, so nothing could dampen my excitement! I did my makeup and then did my hair in the style I had spent a few weeks practicing (typically I think it was the worst it'd ever gone, but at least it looked fancier than doing nothing at all), and pulled on my dress. After spending ages trying to help Ben with his bow tie (he figured it out in the end), we headed downstairs to meet everyone else. Turns out we were too late for the welcome drink (Ooops. I like to think, we were fashionably late), but apparently we didn't miss much.

Mid-party selfie! This was after a few drinks... trying (and failing, I think) to look sober!
After about ten minutes outside we were invited to take our seats in the function room. The first difficulty was finding our table (there were about 250 guests), but after some searching we were happy to find that our table was centrally placed. After introducing ourselves to "the other half of the table" (who were lovely), we cracked open the wine and waited for our starters. My sister, Jess, and I were pleased to discover that the pre-made playlist contained such classics as 'She Will Be Loved' by Maroon 5, and 'How to Save a Life' by The Fray. Early 2000s hits anyone?

The food arrived relatively quickly, and was okay but not great. Guess it was to be expected when there was so many people to cater for! There was, however, an amazing Gatsby themed cake that looked too good to eat. I'm glad I wasn't the one who had to cut it, because there was obviously a lot of time and effort invested in it!

The amazing cake. I hadn't realised that my uni's physics society was founded 130 years ago!
The best part of the night was the music. There were two 45 minute sets from a great live band, and another three hours or so of songs I love and songs I forgot I loved. I love hearing music that I've not listened to for ages, and I danced all night. I felt a little bit sorry for Ben as I knew about 98% of the songs and so was reluctant to leave the dance floor. Think I tired him out! The night finished at 1 am with a beautiful drunken rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody by all the attendees.

I was so excited for the Ball, and I'm really glad that it lived up to my expectations. It was one of the last parties I'll attend as an undergraduate, and I'm glad that I made some memories I'll keep forever. I've been drunkenly invited to next year's party, and I'll be accepting that offer gladly!

Have you ever been to a Gatsby party?
P.S. What do you think of super detailed lifestyle posts like this one? It took me a while to write this post as I couldn't decide how much detail to include, as I didn't want the post to be boring. In the end I decided to document the night how I would like to remember it as I think it'll be a great thing to look back on. Let me know what you think!

Monday 7 April 2014

Products I'll repurchase forever

As a beauty blogger I'm always on the look out for new products to try. However I do have a few products that will always have their place in my daily routine as I'm yet to find anything comparable. My must-have round-up includes:

Lush Ultrabland - £6.95 for 45g

I don't think I need to talk about this product much more. I've already written a review about it (here), and I tell people about it at any opportunity. But I'm still so amazed at the difference it's made to my skin, and I'll continue using it until they stop stocking it.

Real Techniques Brushes - from £5.99

With the longevity of these brushes, I'm not ever expecting to have to repurchase them. However I don't feel like I'll ever need to branch out into other brands. These brushes provide such a flawless application, and never malt or deteriorate. As long as the brush I need is available from Real Techniques, that's the one I'll be buying.

Carmex Lip Balm - £2.69

As an habitual lip biter this is the only lip balm I've found that can transform my lips overnight. I can depend on this to restore my lips to their former glory, and it doesn't feel overly gloopy or greasy. Some lip balms that just sit on my lips I can even feel in my throat (I'm not sure why - does anyone else get this?), which is really uncomfortable. So I'll be sticking to this miracle lip-tingling balm!

Collection Lasting Perfection Ultimate Wear Concealer - £4.19

This is the re-branded version of Collection's Lasting Perfection Concealer which has been my go-to concealer ever since I started using concealer. Seems I made a good choice when I decided to pick it up. I've seen this concealer being raved about on multiple blogs, and it's easy to tell why. The applicator is the perfect shape for precise application, and the formula provides a full coverage without being too thick to blend nicely. I use the lightest shade which also works well on my under eye circles. I've just repurchased this for the third time, and when this runs out I doubt I'll be buying something else - for the price I don't think you'll find anything better!

Tangle Teezer - £12.49 (compact size)

I'm not really a patient person when it comes to getting ready in the morning, so I often ignore the no-brushing-whilst-your-hair-is-wet rule. I don't often have time to wait for my hair to naturally dry, and there's no way you can blow dry without brushing! Therefore I decided to pick up a Tangle Teezer, as they put much less force on the hair as you brush, and therefore reduce the damage done to wet (and dry) hair. This brush really does work. Sometimes I do wonder why I'm actually brushing my hair as the Tangle Teezer doesn't seem to encounter any knots at all. I have to remind myself that my hair is actually knotty - it's just that the brush glides through them with ease. I'm certain that this brush has helped my hair to grow longer by preventing breakage at the ends, and my hair feels smoother after using it. I doubt my Tangle Teezer is going to deteriorate very quickly, although some of the bristles are a bit squashed after I took it to uni without its bristle cover, but I will definitely be repurchasing it if I ever need to!

Are any of these in your must-haves? Have I missed out any of your essentials?

Wednesday 2 April 2014

Tips and tricks for effective studying

So today's post is a little different. Since it's revision period for uni students, and soon to be revision period for A-levels and GCSEs, I thought I'd share a few tips that I've learnt along the way to help me study. I still find myself procrastinating more than I should, but these things definitely help me to stay on track!

1. Find out what type of learner you are

There are three main types of learner: auditory, visual and tactile. When it comes to learning content for school/uni, these are normally limited to auditory or visual. Do you learn best when you listen to things or see them written down? Lots of people could answer this straight away, but if you're unsure there are tests online which could help you decide. Once you've decided upon this, you can then think more specifically about how you remember things best. Do you remember more if you listen to things in the morning, afternoon or evening? Do you remember things best if it's on a mind map or in a list? Maybe flashcards? I've come to realise that I'm a visual learner, who finds mind maps useful, but really benefits most from practicing past exam questions.

2. Schedule breaks

Knowing when your next break from studying is means that you're more likely to work effectively during study sessions. It gives you something to work towards, and breaks up the monotony of the day. There's no point working (probably not very effectively) for 8 hours straight when you can include breaks and come back feeling refreshed and ready to go.

3. Take mini breaks every two hours

It's been proven that concentration levels decrease significantly after about two hours of doing a particular task. Therefore, even if it's not time for one of my scheduled breaks, I try to remember to take about ten to fifteen minutes out. Recently I've been using this time to play a few games of 2048 (here), which I like to think keeps my brain active enough to keep me in the studying mood. However, the mini breaks should be used to do whatever it'll take to refresh you and get your concentration levels back to their maximum.

4. Use an extension to limit your access to particular websites

I procrastinate a lot. I also procrastinate to avoid procrastination (this involves things like tidying my room, which shows that I've reached another level of desperation in my quest to avoid working). Therefore when I really need to get stuff done I use the StayFocusd extension (found here) on Google Chrome. This allows you to create a list of websites you want to limit access to, or create a list of the only websites you want to be allowed to visit. There's also a nuclear option which blocks all of your limited access sites immediately for a certain amount of time, with no way to reverse it. Definitely useful when deadlines are approaching!

5. Keep your workspace tidy

Anyone who knows me will probably laugh at how hypocritical it is for me to advise other people on keeping things tidy. However, yesterday I did have a little panic about the sheer amount of work I had laid out in front of me after changing revision topics. Once I'd moved the work for the previous topic out of the way I found that I was able to concentrate more easily because I could focus on just one thing.

6. Plan your time

In order to ensure that each of your topics gets the appropriate amount of attention, it is vital to plan your time. Everyone has favourite topics, and so it's all too easy to spend twice as much time studying for these as any of the others. To avoid this, I know quite a few people who use Microsoft Excel to schedule in blocks each day for different topics. This works for people who prefer to know exactly what they'll be working on. However, this isn't my favourite method of scheduling revision, as it makes it feel like your studying has been restricted to the topics you scheduled days or weeks ago. And, sometimes, you just don't feel like you can tackle a particular topic. The method I prefer is deciding on a certain number of hours per week for each topic, and then keeping a tally as you study. This is more flexible and still ensures that your attention is spread properly across all topics.

I hope some of these tips might be useful to you! Have you got any other tips for working effectively?

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