Tuesday, 22 July 2014

I Love It: Skincare Edition

This is the 2nd instalment of my new beauty feature “I Love it”. I say new feature, but at this point in time, my blog only just over a week old so everything is technically new…but never mind, that’s just a convenient truth we’ll ignore for now.  The first instalment was really well received (can be found here) so I thought I’d continue. This edition is about skin care. Skin care confuses me. I’m just so lost. I never know what to use, my skin is very sensitive and often a product that has worked well before will suddenly start to irritate it. This is unfortunate and uneconomical, as I can’t rely on a specific product or brand for too long.

At the moment, I have two skin care routines on the go. The other one, the one I am not reviewing right now, is a lot more exfoliating and ‘scruby’ so I can’t use it everyday. My skin can’t hack it. So this is my alternative skincare that I use alongside it. So, this is my everyday, go to cleanser and moisturiser combo. And I love it!
Ooooh lovely lovely
It is the Ren Rosa Centifolia Cleansing Gel & the VitaMineral Daily Supplement Moisturising Cream. The cleansing gel smells so freakin’ good. Just smelling this product makes my face feel cleaner, brighter, toned and wonderful.  It smells clean, invigorating and it smells like it’s going to work. I know that this sounds crazy, but the smell gives me confidence in the product.  
Smells so good!
It’s not a foaming cleanser, it’s a gel so don’t expect to lather your face. It lathers a little bit but not really enough to be classified as foaming. But say you would prefer something a bit more foamy, or maybe you want a cleansing balm...well the REN Rosa Centifolia range has got you covered. Same fabulous product just in many different forms, how great is that? So diverse. This range is very cooling, so fantastic in the summer. It’s a very wet gel but this means you only need a little bit. Once massaged on your face, you only need to wash it off with a flannel. Easy as pie.
I just want to wash my face again this stuff is so good
The moisturiser is lovely lovely lovely. It smells amazing, like cleanliness in a bottle. It feels luxurious but it’s a simple everyday moisturiser. What I love about this is that you feel it working. Once massaged into your face, you feel as though your skin is just absorbing all the good nutrients, the hydration etc. My skin is so much softer. Everything is better once I’ve put this on my face.
moisture moisture moisture
I love the packaging of the REN products. It’s so simple, so clean and it looks incredibly professional. Even the trial sized tester sample products retain this smart packaging something that other companies like the Estee Lauder don’t do. Obviously this encourages you to go out and purchase the full sized products (which I did) but overall it just looks professional. And I love that. Makes me feel like a grown up.
Oh my goodness, the smell, I wish they did candles
The final thing I love about these products is that you can buy them from Marks and Spencers. I know this is weird and that M&S is generally for older people but for me, it feels special like REN products are my own little secret…does that make any sense? Anyone can go to boots & anyone can go to the high-end make up franchises but not everyone will think of going to M&S for skin care…I love it. They aren't the cheapest products but they are far from the most expensive, in terms of quality I would say they're affordable. But then I love these products, I would say that.

Monday, 21 July 2014

My Morning Routine...


Today I thought I’d share my morning routine. It’s a bit different from what you would normally expect to see. It’s a rural affair…

Oh what a beautiful morning!

I get up between 8 & 8.30am, open the curtains and open the windows to let the fresh summer air in. Then I head downstairs to let the dogs out. They usually race through the house to the kitchen and conservatory desperate to go outside to chase all the noises they heard during the night…I stick the kettle on. Make a cup of tea. Then I put my wellies on with my Ted Baker nightie and my farm hoodie (very fashionable) and head outside to the barn.

sexy right?

The horses. Dover, Monty and Rocky get fed first. Simple chaff, nuts and some sliced apples. I have to shut Dover in because he will finish first and if gifted the opportunity would go eat the other breakfasts. He is top dog after all (or should that be top horse).

breakfast time
Dover says Feed ME!
Then it’s time to be a bit more normal. I drink my tea, on the patio if nice, and check through emails, facebook, instagram, twiter and various news feeds. The horses need around half an hour before I let Dover out, so I might make a smoothie or have some cereal in this time. If I don’t have something now, I won’t get another opportunity till 11 or so because I have to do all my morning chores first.

Once I’ve let the horses out. I let the chickens out. Then I’ll wash my face with the REN cleanser followed quickly by the REN moisturiser. I’ll get dressed usually shorts and a t-shirt. Then I’ll feed and walk the dogs.

Clucking Cluckers

Walking the dogs isn’t some meek meander around a park. Ooh Noo, this is an active romp around the 70acre farm to check all the cattle. I’m checking to make sure that they’re all ok, that they’ve got access to fresh water, that all the cows are with their calves and that they are generally happy. I also need to make sure the bulls are with the correct herd-lets, our bulls are notorious for jumping the fence/gate and getting in with the wrong bunch of ladies…Naughty naughty.


After our romp, I put the dogs in while I collect the eggs. We like to sell any extra eggs at the end of our drive, which the neighbours seem to really enjoy. Only when I have finished all these chores, can I put my make up on and start my day…

And that’s my morning routine…speaking of which, it’s time to let the horses out.

Sunday, 20 July 2014


It’s warm. It’s Hot. It’s Summer. This can only mean one thing: ICE CREAM! But I don’t have enough money to hit up the shops…it’s time to DIY it. Homemade Ice Cream time!

At the moment, I’m staying at my parent’s house (hence the long train journey) so that they can go on holiday. I’m looking after the dogs, cows, horses and chickens for them while they have a nice time in the Scilly Isles. There are many things I love about coming home, the animals including my horse Dover, the countryside and all the space to finally breathe in & I love the fact that I’m so close to the seaside. Another perk, is the ice cream maker!

I decided to make banana ice cream. I love bananas and I love ice cream. This could only be right.

The recipe called for 100ml double cream but I said bollocks to that. I don’t have any cream and I was worried it would make the ice cream too heavy, too decadent not the light fluffy treat I was looking for.

For this recipe, you will need:
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 300ml Semi-skinned milk
  • 50g castor sugar

The first job was to mash the bananas. The recipe advised to smash the bananas until they were smooth but I wanted chunks so I left the mush chunky. The next job was to add the sugar and the milk and mix it all together.

Once you have your mixture, you can poor it into the ice cream maker. It’s important that the ice cream maker is on otherwise the mixture might freeze instantly and any hopes of ice cream will be dashed.

Then you’ve just got to wait between 30-40 minutes….Oh and if you’re anything like me, a bit of a chocolate addicted, towards the end of the churning process, start to grate in dark chocolate or even better add some chocolate chips…I did both haha!

When it’s made (hoorah) it’ll be a bit soft so eat it straight away or put some in a container and chuck it in the freezer for later. I did both.

I also made a Sunday with random bits and pieces that were lying around. My Sunday has blueberries, raspberries and popcorn in it…because that’s how I roll.

The ice cream was delicious. Absolutely perfect. Creamy, full of flavour but wonderfully light and fluffy.  Yum Scrum in my Tum. I can’t wait to eat the rest of it later…in the bath with a nice big glass of wine…ahh it’s great being at home.(Quick note- later, it was more sorbet like - still perfectly delicious and wonderful.)

 Banana is one of my favourite flavours, but next time I might be a bit more adventurous and wacky, do something crazy cool like rhubarb and custard ice cream...mmh. Got any suggestions for ice cream recipes? All delicious and weird suggestions welcome ;)

Saturday, 19 July 2014

How To Train Your Dragon 2: Review


Last night I went to see How to Train Your Dragon 2 (HTTYD2) and WOWZA you need to see this. It was so so so so so good (the number of "so"s correlate directly to how great this film is). Of course I went with high expectations, I mean have you seen How to Train Your Dragon? But I didn't expect my high expectations to be exceeded. It was so good that I am desperate to see it again. I'm even considering just going by myself...that's how good it was. 

There was so much to love about this film and without giving any of it away,  I'm going to give a short review. 

Firstly, I want a dragon. The dragons in HTTYD2 are the cutest dragons ever but they also retain their mythical beast characteristics. They're portrayed as animals not mindless beasts hell bent on destruction or greed like the dragons found in most fantasy films, movies and books (I'm looking at you Smaug). These dragons are more complex than that. They're, dare I say it, realistic like a cat or a dog...

Secondly, Hiccup and the gang are a little bit older and thus hilarity ensues. Anyone who has gone through puberty will know what I mean...anyone who hasn't, you'll see. It's so relate-able (even if you don't have a dragon). 

It's a sequel so I care more. I know these characters, I know what they've achieved, where they've come from and I want to know where they're going. I care about them so the film has more of an impact. This film sent me through a whole range of emotions, emotions that ruined my makeup...I just cared more. 

If I have one issue with this film, it's bloody Ingrid. She's grown up into a stereotypical projection of a girl. Here character has completely changed. She no longer badass, she's boring. She's predictable. She's 1 dimensional. Every now and then, there will be glimpses of the cool Viking lass from the first film but then she'll use the word "babe" and it's eurgh...

Overall though, she's fairly irrelevant so it doesn't matter, she doesn't ruin the film on the whole it's just something to put up with I suppose. The film is still great and I'm still going to buy it when comes out on DVD. This film is worth the money to go see. I LOVED IT. Five stars from me. Have you seen this film? What did you think? 

Thursday, 17 July 2014

A Ridiculously Long Train Journey: Essential Survival Tips


I'm on a train (or I was when I wrote this). I got on this train at 10:11 in the morning and if all goes to plan, I won't get off till 3:40 this afternoon. That's a loooong time. I'm going to be sat for aages. Absolutely ages...
Not a train, this is much prettier, it's Leeds
The problem with the train is that it is full of really annoying people. Not even people, strangers. This makes it worse because it means that I don't care about or for them...this makes them extra annoying. I know I sound grumpy but I'm spending the day in a seat on a train. I've been doing this journey (Leeds to Plymouth) 4 times a year for 4 years...and this is my essential survival guide:

Number 1. Don't be hungover. 
It sounds obvious but I've this mistake before and never again. I spent the whole journey being sweaty, looking green and running between my seat and the bathroom. Just being/having to go to the bathroom on the train is horrendous but having to make repeat trips because you may throw up in a carriage that you'll then have to spend 5 to 6 hours in, is horrible. So horrible. Never do a long train journey hungover. 
careful...but they look so good
Number 2. Buy food, drink & coffee before you get on the train. 
Food is expensive. Like really expensive. There isn't a lot of choice. And there is only a few sandwiches but lots of chocolate etc. buying before hand is great because you can treat yourself. Personally, I go to M&S. Delicious M&S. Then I go to Starbucks. Delicious Starbucks.

Number 3. Don't kid yourself. 
And I don't mean leave the kids at home. I mean don't kid yourself into believing you'll do any work. When I first did this journey, I very idealistically believed that I would read my books and plan my essays. The reality was a journey spent looking out of windows, people-watching, reading glossy magazines like vogue and sleeping. Occasionally I'll chat to people but generally I respect train etiquette and don't. Not that I'm anti-social, it's just how it is on a train. 
Tropicana, Vogue, Greek Yoghurt with mango, blog notebook...oh my!
Number 4. Be Nice. 
People will be rude. People will be selfish. People won't care about you. Nevertheless be nice. Be nice to the people working on the train, they'll make the journey more bearable and a friendly face is always welcome. Be nice to the people around you, it's not your fault if they're in a crappy mood, give them a break, you'd want a break too if it were you. Ask politely for someone to get out your seat. Ask politely if someone needs help. There are lots of old ladies on trains, they might be struggling with luggage bigger then they are. I'd someone who help my grandparents if they were struggling...(plus it counts as your good deed of the day). 

Number 5. Be prepared for EVERYTHING. 
Make sure your phone is charged because you never know when your train is gong to break down, you'll get stuck in the loo or you'll have a big yogurt explosion in your handbag. Things will happen so be prepared. Keep essentials with you. Things like your phone charger, tissues, hand cream, a bottle of water, your laptop. You never know, so be prepared. 

These are my main essential tips. Long train journeys are pretty easy to navigate, it's just coping with the boredom. And the children. And the mothers. And everything else. Got any tips for me? I'd love to know. Anything to make these long journeys just a bit more

p.s anyone planning on travelling Cross Country? The company is considering a policy that will enable them to charge travellers an extra ticket if a bag is on a seat...the ticket bloke just told me...

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Beauty Haul

So I was naughty. Again.

But instead of reading, I went shopping. I spent far too much money. So I thought I'd share it with everyone. Some of these products I bought because I’d seen them reviewed but some of them I had used before and I needed to repurchase them. Don’t be surprised if I end up featuring some of these products in the ‘I Love it” beauty feature as I can tell you now that I’m already a little bit in love with them.
First up is skincare with the Yes to Cucumber soothing face wipes. I’ve tried the grapefruit wipes and they were too tingly for my face so I’m going to give the cucumber ones ago. I LOVE the smell of cucumber so I can tell you, I’m going to enjoy these. The second item I purchased is the Sanctuary Spa thermal detox mask. I’m so excited to slop this on my face. Just so freakin’ excited!
wipes £3.99 | mask £6.99 on offer at boots!
Next, and these will be featured in the ‘I Love It’ series to be published next Tuesday, is the REN Rosa Centifolia cleansing gel & the Ren Vita Mineral moisturising cream. I love the packaging on these, and the smell. Even before this goes on my face, I already feel cleaner & healthier.
available at M&S
I needed a new powder and I wasn’t happy with the one I had been using, so I thought I would give the Soap and Glory Kick Ass instant retouch pressed powder a go…I’ve seen it be reviewed before so hopefully, it’ll live up to my expectations. The Hello Flawless foundation from Benefit is my favourite foundation ever! I mean ever! I have tried so many different brands of foundation ranging from Estee Lauder to Rimmel and this beats them all. This is my Holy Grail foundation. This shade is the ‘believe in me Ivory’.
Kick Ass £12 | Hello Flawless £26.50
Finally, we have the Revlon stash. These were review inspired whim purchases. I didn’t need any of these; I just had the urge to splurge…on Revlon. Nail varnishes, I wanted to try the scented ones because they just sound so quirky and fun, I bought two colours at Boots had a deal on. I bought Apricot Nectar and Lime Basil. Following on from nails to lips, I really wanted to try a coral colour but until now, never had the balls to try it…this is the Revlon Colour Burst matte balm in Mischievous…I’m a bit nervous about it but we’ll give it a go. Last but not least, I picked up a Revlon Photo Ready eye shadow pallet. This sounded like a fabulous idea because it includes a primer. Generally I don’t use primers because I feel it’s another thing to spend money on, so I’m glad this came with one.
Buy 1 get 1 half price offer so I went a bit cray
So this was my naughty beauty haul. If you’ve tried any of these products, let me know what you think of them. I’m so lost and confused when it comes to make up

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

I Love it: Lipstick Edition


I’ve never done a beauty review before. I don’t know anything about beauty or how best to apply it to my face. So I generally make it up (there must be a pun in there somewhere?). No one has approached me and said “your make up, it sucks” so I must assume that its all ok. I'm thinking of turning this into a regular feature...any thoughts, advice or tips? So yes, I don’t know anything about make up, I’m years behind everyone else ever, but hey-ho, here we go (lame rhyme). This is the lipstick that I am loving right now:

Estee Lauder Pure Colour Long Lasting Lipstick
I love lipstick. I never used to but now I’m older, I seem to be appreciating it more. Right now, I love the Estee Lauder’s Pure Colour LongLasting Lipstick. These lipsticks are £21 each, which seems extravagant but I think its good value for money.  They’re very rich, creamy and vibrant long lasting lipsticks. If you like leaving lip prints on your mugs etc then this is the lipstick for you. They feel indulgent but practical. It’s a kissable lipstick.

Lipstick, Lipstick, Lipstick
Unfortunately one of the shades I’ve been loving this summer isn’t actually in production any more, so I’m sorry, I’m debating about whether it’s worth reviewing or not…I love it but it isn’t available…what do I do? I’m going to review it because I’m sure there’s a similar colour out there…and I do love the colour… There is a crème style lipstick from the same range with the same name but online it doesn’t look the same shade… and it’s not shimmer. I’ll have to look into this.  I’ll do some research and return this with my results...but in the mean time...

Wild Ginger, Tiger Eye & Rose Tea
The first (and unavailable - sorry) shade I’ve enjoyed from this range is the Wild Ginger Shimmer.  It’s a super vibrant red with hints of orange, I would describe it as a blood orange red. The shimmer is really subtle, so subtle that I’m only aware of it because the label says it is. I’ve only just noticed the shimmer...If shimmer isn’t your thing but impact is then I would recommend it…maybe the crème version I mentioned above is the same minus the shimmer because the shimmer wasn’t necessary? Anyone, it's a bold statement colour that is also fun, energetic and just ka-pow.


The next shade is another shimmer and is available for purchasing (Way-hey!). I love this colour. It’s perfect for when your outfit is looking a bit plain and you want to add a touch of spice. A little hint of the exotic without wearing a bright in your face pigmented colour. It’s a subtle “well hello there”. It’s intriguing. It's eye catching. It’s called Tiger Eye and it’s a nude/beige colour but has a beautiful gold shimmer that just draws the eye.  It is very very shimmery and maybe a bit controversial because of it. However, I think for summer when you just want to have fun and break the beauty 'rules' and rebel a bit then it is perfect. It has the “ooooh” factor.


The final shade I love right now is the Rose Tea. This is a day to night kind of colour. It has the right amount of depth to the pigment, that it’s never out of place. I wear this in the library a lot. It makes a drab day feel glamorous. It looks like it might be too dark, especially for summer, but it’s not. It’s an all year, all day fabulous shade. It's like a muted pink/plum colour, like a dark dusky pink. It's difficult to describe but trust me when I say it's delicious. When I wear this shade, I feel really confident. It's just bold enough to say "look at me", "I have something to say", but not bold enough that it demands attention; it is not the clingy girlfriend of lipstick shades, it is the cool girl who is genuinely lovely. Does that make sense?

You may have noticed that the packaging of my lipstick doesn’t match the website I’ve linked. You’ve caught me; my lipstick is old (does lipstick go off?). I don't care that it is old, it’s still fabulous! The truth is, the gold packaged ones (Tiger Eye & Rose Tea) came with a make up kit my mum bought me for my birthday a few years ago. While the white packaged one (the unavailable Wild Ginger), I don’t know...I think it’s from a gift time sample kit. Again, my mum, she loves it when the smaller franchise stalls in House of Fraser, Debenhams etc have a gift time. Expect she doesn’t like the gifts so she gives them all to me. My mum’s so sweet; she’s always giving me things. Even though, I’m legally & technically an adult…she’ll still pick these things up for me.  She also loves Estee Lauder

I am loving these lipsticks right now and I hope this review has been helpful or at the very least, entertaining. Let me know what you think, and what lipstick/lip product you are loving right now.