Thursday, 31 October 2013

MUA Luxe Collection - Velvet Lip Laquers - Swatches and first impressions

I knew that my MUA Luxe products would arrive today because the sky is gray whereas yesterday it was blue and perfect photograph taking weather. But that's life and nothing's going to stop me photographing these beauties, and it seems that nothing's going to stop them from being photographed either, dim lighting be damned they were going to shine!

First I fell in love with the packaging, it just looks so pretty; the dark green/black textured effect card with the gorgeous gold lettering, very 'luxe' indeed! 

Then I fell in love with the bottles - That gold lettering again, looking rather beautiful on the tubes themselves and just look at the body of the tube! That frosted effect makes them almost look like they're luminescent in some lights and in others it really worth with the whole 'velvet' idea. Very, Very nice. 

L-R we have 'Atomic', 'Reckless', 'Kooky' and 'Funk'

This is 'Atomic' - It's one of those shades that photographs a little differently to how it really looks. Here you can see it as an amazingly bright orange but in reality it's got enough red and pink in it to make it a really orangey toned coral - I think I'm going to try and photograph these again another day to see if I can capture them differently, but for now just marvel at that pigmentation, the creamy texture, just wow. 

'Reckless' is, yup, another one of those awkward colours. This shade is a lot deeper/darker than it seems in this picture, though I do have some other photos later on that show these shades a little better. Again, though, some shades just don't capture in some lights. This shade is equally as fantastically pigmented as the previous shade. 

I wasn't sure what I was going to think of a really pinky shade but 'Funk' is this Gorgeous creamy raspberry pink and I'm quite in love with it. As with the others, pigmentation is stunning, creamy, gorgeous, yay. 

'Kooky' is Purple with a capital P - You can see that it's a stunning true purple with that gorgeous creamy hint to it too. I love it though I am interested to see how intense it's going to look on the lips - As with the previous, pigmentation is amazing and the formula wow.

From this angle you can see how they go matte once they've had some time to dry - I'm picturing some Good looks with these! 

You can see the shades together here, all equally as bold and stunning. I'm wondering how each of them will work on the lips and I can't wait to find out and to find ways to make them work for me - I love love love how fantastic this formula is, utterly amazing (the only reason the red shade looks a little transparent to the left is because of the silly way that I swatched it)

In all of the photos the products were swatched with One swipe of the product, just one, no building up needed!

When I do swatches I always wipe them off with a baby wipe - These did Not want to budge. This was after really scrubbing at them with the wipe (See the redness in my hand!) and then really rubbing/scratching at them with my fingers/nails - Very impressed.

I'd love to see these in some more shades in the future, a neutral, a dusky pink, things like that. I'm Very impressed with the Luxe range, MUA, well done, very very well done indeed! 

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

October Body Shop Sale Haul

I know, I know, when I posted my Superdrug haul I said I wasn't spending any more money on myself this month but it is right at the end of the month And the reason for the purchase was to get some Christmas pressies ordered but the bits I got were Such bargains it seemed silly not to especially as I was able to get it to the free p+p threshold. 

Body Shop had a load of things in a 50% sale - The majority of the things that I would have bought were already sold out but there was a couple of bits in there left. On top of that they had a 40% code which was for non-sale items but also worked on sale items too! (It didn't work at first but it did work in the end) 

So this is what I picked up

I am really becoming a very big body shop fan - I'd rarely shopped in their before but I get it now! I Really wish things I'd wanted hadn't been out of stock, mostly stuff from the brazil nut range as I'm totally obsessed since I got the body mist. 

My current scent obsessions are lemon, nutty scents and honey. When I saw that the 'Sweet Lemon Beautifying Oil' was in the sale I put it in my basket straight away, I was just gutted that the brazil nut one was sold out. These were already in the 50% sale and then went down to £2.70 with the extra reduction - I think you can see why it was hard not to.

And something to cater for the nutty scents that I love - I've been wanting this for a while now and I was gutted to miss it when the Body Shop were doing a thing to get a free hand cream. This Almond Hand and Nail cream was down to £3 with the reductions, bargain. The only problem with it is because the tube has been so squashed product comes out and just keeps on coming so it's messed with the pressure - worried about wasting the product as today I ended up having to put loads on my friends and still had enough to put it all the way up my arms because so much came out.

I wasn't totally sure about getting this to begin with - I have so many fragrances on the go at the moment but I'm in love with the scent of the Honeymania balm and I do switch up my fragrances a lot, I rarely wear one for more than one day in a row. I got this for £5.10 which I think is ok for an Eau De Toilette.

Lastly I picked up this Face Brush. I've been wanting a face brush for Ages now and keep almost getting one from various places but when I saw this one, with a little cover, was down to £2.40 I snapped it up. 

Although I wasn't expecting it to be huge I was surprised by quite how teeny this is (look at it at the photo at the top to see it compared to other pices) - I really like it, though. I love the positioning of the handle, compared to others that I've seen, as this feels totally natural to hold and is really easy and comfortable to use. I've only used it once, so far, but my face felt very nice and clean afterwards.

All in all, a lovely little set of purchases. I really do enjoy the Body Shop and they have such good sales, so regularly, it's hard not to get a bargain or two!

Obviously I'm not going to post things that I'v'e got as presents as that's a little silly/unfair but suffice to say they're rather cool and I think that people will like them.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Latest steps with the Fibromyalgia

I had big plans to try and write lots of really informative posts about fibro, to try and really give people a good idea of what fibro is like and help other sufferers learn more about the condition if they are newer and looking for more info.

If you didn't see my first post on it then I'll link it HERE - It's just a basic run down of some of the symptoms that I deal with having fibromyalgia. Even the title shows you that I was planning on doing so much with it, that was supposed to be post #1 of many. Turns out, though, that whenever I come to talk about it in any real depth, to get into the emotions and the actual issues involved... I reach a sort of blockade. 

I did think, though, that I could maybe type up a couple of paragraphs about what's been going on recently in terms of doctors and things.

I saw a specialist in Bath a couple of weeks ago and he did a number of checks on different parts of my body, we ran through my symptoms, talked about it all and he confirmed that I have what he said was a 'very active case of fibro' - I have no idea what that means but I guess there's no harm in getting some confirmation sometimes.

 But after that all he could offer me was a place on a course they run in Bath - It took us two hours to get to Bath, and two hours to get home. My Grandparents had to sacrifice their day and my mum had to look after Ethan, which she won't be able to do once she starts her new job. It really is Not all that possible for me to go to Bath on a weekly basis for a course that sounds very similar to the one that a previous doctor has told me she didn't think would work for me... The doctor I saw in Bath was good, though, he seemed a little perplexed as to why I was sent to him when I couldn't participate in the one thing he had to offer (I say seemed, I mean that he actually outright asked me why I'd been sent to see him) but he did suggest a couple of things to my GP to try out.

Well the stack of medication is now far bigger than the one above. I'm on a further pain medication called Pregabalin or Lyrica. It's something I've heard mixed opinions on but on my second day taking it I definitely feel an improvement - I'm not pain free but it's definitely taken even more of an edge off of it than the co-codamol and tramadol do (both of which I am taking along side the pregabalin)

The thing is, with these medications, is that sometimes they'll seem fab for a week and then the effects get lesser and lesser. As such there's such a big chance that in a week or so time I'll have lost the help I've gained from these - I hope I won't because I am loving the difference, I've had tears in my eyes over the differences it has made in certain areas of my life. But, if it doesn't last then I will, at least, enjoy the time that I do have with things being slightly improved.

As for the courses - I won't turn down help, I need help, this condition isn't going anywhere and I have to live with it. But they're going to have to wait until Ethan is in school so that child care, at least, isn't an issue.

My blood tests all came up fine so there's no answer to why I passed out a couple of months ago - It's great to know there's nothing big wrong but it's scary to know that this could just happen again. I just need to be even more careful - The fibro means I have to force myself to go slower, to not push myself, but if I get even the slightest inkling of one of the funny turns that lead me towards passing out then I have to just stop and wait for it to pass.

All in all - The lyrica has helped a little, and I hope it stays that way. I've not been posting much recently, I know there was a string of posting every day but they were scheduled a while back, I've barely blogged in a couple of weeks. That's down to the fibro, I've been suffering from tremendous, very regular headaches, the exhaustion has been pretty consuming and the pain has been really bad - And, so, I'm sure you'll understand that's why the blog hasn't been moving forward as well as I'd like. But I'm not going anywhere, I may take breaks from time to time but this blog is one of the things that helps keep me sane whilst I battle this condition and so I'm not giving it up for any reason.

Monday, 28 October 2013

100,000 page views, yay! Giveaway coming soon

My page views have been going up at a pretty steady rate, recently, which has had me watching the ascent to 100,000 with much anticipation!

I was so pleased to get here because it's been something I've been watching for for a while now and it feels like a lovely milestone to have reached. So, thank you lovely readers, your interest in what I write makes me so happy.

For a while now I've had a plan that once I reached 100k I'd do my next giveaway - I've had a stash of things I've been putting together (much like my previous beauty bundle type giveaways) and it's been my plan to give that away to whoever wins this time... But sometimes plans don't come to fruition. Thankfully in this instance it's a good thing, the reason my plans are changing is because I have another giveaway which I'm going to run instead! It's going to be a very exciting giveaway and it's going to be International! 

Soo, watch this space! If you don't follow me yet then maybe you want to click over on the Google friend connect widget or maybe follow on Bloglovin, Facebook or Twitter on the buttons to the right of the screen - That way you can keep up-to-date with my posts and not miss out on any exciting giveaways either! 

Sunday, 27 October 2013

My 50 books in a year challenge - Update

To the top of the page you'll see all of my tabs - Many of them are empty but the '50 Book Challenge' isn't. 

Every year, for the past few years, I've taken part in a challenge to read 50 books in a year. The first year I didn't manage it (I only reached 47) but that's because I didn't start counting until around April/May and couldn't remember what I'd read in the earlier months. Ever since that first year, though, I've managed to read more than the 50. 

I've always been a big reader, it's been a massive part of my life from the moment I started reading. Reading is, and probably always will be, my favoured past time. I'm, also, a freakishly fast reader which is how I've managed to read so many books this year despite having had whole months where I've been so busy I've not been able to pick up a book. 

I've read a few gems this year and I've read a lot of books that are enjoyable, in their way, but not my cup of tea. I'd love to review a lot of them but as I've said in past posts I really struggle to write about books - Mostly because when I do I tend to go in to too much detail and that's not what I want to do in a post, I don't want to give too much away. 

I will, though, endeavour to work on this at some point and find a balance that allows me to review more books. And in lieu of that, for now, I will tell you some off the books that I've really enjoyed, so far, this year. (I'll do another update before the year ends, if there's any books of note)

'What's Left of Me' - Kat Zhang
'Gone Girl' - Gillian Flynn
'Wicked' - Gregory Maguire
All of the Harry Dresden books by Jim Butcher
The whole of the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher
The Peter Grant series (Rivers of London etc) by Ben Arronovitch
'Rook' - Daniel O'Malley
'Among Others' - Jo Walton

Just because books aren't on this list doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy them, it might just mean that I didn't enjoy them quite as much or just that they were enjoyable but not my sort of book. I enjoy reading, and unless something is totally awful I will enjoy at least some aspect of it. I flippin' love books. 

(It has also just occurred to me that there's a book missing from my list, I will need to go and amend that!)

Friday, 25 October 2013

MUA Make Up Academy - Luxe collection - Coming soon

Not a lot to say, really, other than I am really rather excited about the new MUA Luxe collection that should be coming soon.

I don't know the exact date as I heard, a while back, that it was going to be the end of October and more recently have heard beginning of November but either way it'll hopefully be soon!

The collection consists of the Velvet lip laquers, four glitter palettes, what I believe is a brow product and a gorgeous looking palette which you can see in the middle (has a huuge mirror!)

I'm most excited about the velvets and the palette - I cannot wait to get my hands on both of these as I think they just look so stunning and I can't wait to see what the quality of the Luxe range is like.

Oooh soo exciting! 

*This photo was taken from the MUA facebook page and was used with permission*

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Pixi - Tinted Brilliance Balm in 'Craving Coral' - Swatch

Firstly, yes, I know that this isn't a particularly seasonally appropriate post but this product is one of the ones that I won in the Beauty Bay competition and I absolutely love it. Plus I took the photo weeks and weeks ago but haven't got around to putting the post together. 

This spring and summer I wholeheartedly jumped upon the bandwagon that is painted coral - I embraced everything that was coral and fell totally in love. As such when I was deciding which items to add to my wishlist for the Beauty Bay competition it was the shade 'Craving Coral' that I opted for when I added one of the Pixi Tinted Brilliance balms into the list. 

And  my goodness didn't it pay off! I absolutely love this pinky coral colour and it looks gorgeous on the lips. It's not a particularly Autumn/Winter shade but being the rebel that I am I am not going to stop wearing it throughout the rest of the year - It's too good to not use. 

Monday, 21 October 2013

A collective Superdrug haul - Manuka Doctor, MUA, Barry M and Rimmel

Superdrug have had a free p+p event going on for most of October and it's still on until 22nd of Oct which has had me checking out the site from time to time to see if anything that I'm looking for becomes available or is on offer etc. As such I've picked up a few things over the past couple of weeks so I thought I'd share what I've got. 

Sorry about the light, horrible, horrible cloudy days!

I've been umming and aahing about doing something silly with my hair, again, but I can't make up my mind at the moment. I did find that the Superdrug brand of pre-lightener was on buy one get one half price (they're about £4 each which is very cheap anyway) though so I decided to get some - If I don't use them I'm pretty sure I know plenty of people who will.

I also picked up a new MUA 'Conceal and Cover wand' in 'Fair' as mine is running low and I really like this concealer - This was £1.50

I've been wanting to get my hands on the Manuka Doctor 'Api Clear - Blemish Cream' for months and months now but it's, finally, come back in to stock And it was on offer for around £4.50 which was even better! Trying this out for a while and looking forward to letting you know how it works for me.

You can barely see the two Barry M polishes in this photo due to the light but they're from the new Royal Texture glitter collection.

I couldn't resist this pinky nude glitter polish - I love the variety of tiny glitter and bigger particles too - It's just such a gorgeous polish. I don't like texture polishes but with a top coat (or two) these aren't massively different to a normal glitter. This shade is 'Nude Duchess'

This dark purple/plum/burgundy with gold glitter was love at first sight. Just looook how pretty! It's called 'Purple Countess'


The last three things are all from Rimmel. I really wanted to try the new Moisture Renew Lipstick formula and I've had my eye on the shade 'Vintage Pink' for a bit so I decided with the free p+p and with Rimmel being on 3 for 2, it was the time to give it a go.

A gorgeous pinky mauve I just love 'Vintage Pink' and I think I'll get a lot of use out of it in all seasons as it doesn't lend it self exclusively to one or another.

So so pretty - It's more pink on the lips and you can, of course, wear it more opaquely or pat it in as a softer shade. 

I'm probably not going to be buying myself much for a good while now but even if I was I definitely think I'll be having to ban myself from nail polishes, I have a problem.

I don't totally know why I settled on these two but I just thought they'd be really bright and fun on the nails, possibly even together. I think that 'Purple Rain' may be quite similar to MUA's 'Frozen Yogurt' but I do think this new one may be a little darker. I don't have a shade like 'Simply Sizzling' though so that's my defence for that one.

As I say - I have a few essentials I want to pick up from primark (jeggings, cosy tights etc) but other than that I don't think I'll be buying myself stuff for a while, Superdrug has already lured me in to buying enough for now. I didn't spend much on any of these things, all being on offer, but it does add up either way. 

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Christmas Shopping with Boots + A mini haul

First things first. In most situations I'm not someone who wants to talk about Christmas quite this early - I enjoy Christmas, especially since I had my son and since I met Azii, but I'm not someone who wants to drag it out and make it a massive month long thing. That said, the past few years I've become more and more organised when it comes to my shopping and a bit part of this is down to Boots and their Christmas shop with its 3 for 2. 

My initial plan was to do a 'top picks' of what they have for offer this year but whenever I look through the magazine there's just Too many things that I think are amazing gift ideas. As such I've just taken a few photos from inside the catalogue and recommend popping on to their website or picking up your own free copy when you're next in the area.

Another aspect of Boots and their Christmas Shopping amazingness is their points events. My Mum and I both started our shopping a little over a week ago when they had their first event which awards you with £12 worth of points for every £50 that you spend! We're also planning on doing some more shopping on their next one which is going to be at the end of the month -

As well as doing some of my Christmas shopping at the points event I Might just have picked up a couple of bits for myself, such bargains though!

Due to the various 3 for 2 combinations we did I got this little lot for around £12! (These three weren't a 3 for 2 together, boots are really generous and their tills automatically order everything you buy so that you don't just get the cheapest items free as you would in many stores)

So yes. I picked up the Home Fragrance candle in the shade 'No. 3 - Fig Noir & Blackberry'. I'd looked at this range on the website and lots of them sounded like they'd be nice but the one that leapt out at me was this one, it's sweet and fruity but still got a bit of a warmth to it.

I also picked up the Seventeen 'Lip gloss stash' which has 6 teeny little glosses in it but I really like them and I've actually got a chance of using them all up with them not being full size!

Lastly I picked up these Gorgeous fingerless gloves! Not much to say about these but despite being fingerless they're Really warm and I'm obsessed with them.

If bought separately these items would have cost me a total of £18 but I got them for £12 which I think is pretty awesome.

As for the rest of the range, I'm going to share some photos from the catalogue with you but this is a Tiny amount of their fantastic selection - The Soap & Glory sets are phenomenal this year (I wish I didn't have half of the things in most of them), there's some fab things from Seventeen, No. 7, Sanctuary etc. There's perfume sets, there's gadgets, some home ware, bits and bobs of clothing and Lots and lots of toys. 

Saturday, 19 October 2013

How to make Mars Bar Sauce - Easy recipe

Ok, let me be honest. I've called this a recipe in the title, as I want to categorise it along side future recipes I hope to post, but it can hardly be classed as a recipe as it's So easy and only has two ingredients. That said, don't let the simplicity fool you, if you like Mars bars then this may be one of the best things you've Ever tasted. 

Back when I was pregnant my friend Emily showed me how to make it and I've made it loads of times since and used it in lots of different ways plus altered it a little to turn it into an icing for a birthday cake (second best icing ever. Can't quite beat my mums chocolate caramel icing but that might just be because I didn't make enough of the mars bar icing, guess I'll have to make it again to see!) 

So, yes, the two ingredient give you an idea of quite how healthy this sauce is. When talking about amounts it's one of those things where you use some mars bar and put in some cream but I've tried to keep an eye on amounts so I can give you a rough idea.

The last time I did it it was with the multi-pack above but the mars bars were smaller than average so it wasn't the best example. Normally I'd say to use 1 mars bar per person and then use around 30-35ml double cream per person (but that really does vary, if you look at the rest of my photos you can see how much I used compared to the amount of chocolate)

Chop up those chocolate bars - Make them nice and easy for the melting part.

Chuck it all in a pan (maybe not too violently mind you) - I've played around with various heats and things to try and get it to melt best and get the smoothest sauce without over cooking it and so I have a rough guide of how to do it.

Start with a low-medium heat so you can get the chocolate and caramel melting and combining with the cream - Stir lots so make sure it doesn't stick - I tend to stir throughout most of the cooking time.

Once it's reached this sort of consistency you want to put it on a medium-high heat - You'll want to stir a lot and don't have it high for too long or it may burn (I've never burned it yet but I imagine it would Not be nice) - The reason it needs more heat now is that the nougat part of the bar is harder to melt - I don't recommend using the high heat from the start as you're much more likely to burn it. Slow and steady with this one.

Once you've melted all of the nougat and had the sauce bubbling really lightly it should go smooth and shiny - You can see the bubbles in this, I wouldn't want it bubbling any more than that.

This time I served it, still warm, over vanilla icecream - it was Good!

We've had it alone, with fruit, with cake, with brownies, all sorts of things.

When I made it as icing all that I did was add a little butter to it so that it would set better (no idea if it does that but in my brain it would) and also to add some extra shine. I then made a double chocolate loaf cake and drizzled the icing over the top. I only had one or two mars bars so there was nowhere near enough icing but it was still good, I remember that even though it was about two years ago that I made it!


Friday, 18 October 2013

Fun at the Fair - Tewkesbury Mop Fair - October 2013

Having family in Tewkesbury, having lived there a long time ago and having been to school there in the past means that the Tewkesbury Mop Fair was a big part of growing up for me; as it was for a lot of the people I grew up with and some of my family. One of the biggest way to welcome in the cooler seasons was to wrap up warm and soak up the atmosphere at the fair - A wonderful way to begin the journey towards winter. 

As such I was so pleased that we managed to take Ethan this year - He's finally old enough to be excited by these things and we really hoped for the best when we bundled into the car to enjoy a chip shop dinner at my grandparents' before venturing out into the night. I had my concerns, especially as Ethan does get a little upset by very loud noises and I did think that the bright lights and volume of people would unsettle him a bit but, thankfully, my concerns were unfounded - He had an Amazing time.

The memories were rife, for me, it's been almost ten years since I went but previous to that I'd been almost every year for most of my life so the smells, the sounds, even a lot of the people was like stepping back in time.

Here's some of the photos I captured from the night:

Ethan's first ride was on a roundabout - He chose the big fire engine to ride in but before the ride started moving he spent the whole time looking around at everything as we hadn't been there long and it was a little exciting!

My Mum and my uncle were crazy enough to go on this ride. I've not liked rides since I was very little and have never liked big rides - I was tricked into going on a big one at Alton towers a few years ago and Hated it - My mum, though, has always loved them. She loved this ride, my uncle hated it.

Love this type of photo, hehe, love my camera

This wasn't the best photo I took in this lighting but I Had to include it as if you see the set of people closes to the light spot at the right you can see my mum and uncle! The two people on the right of that set, one in blue, one in black, that's them! You can't see their faces but I think I can see that my mum is smiling and my uncle is grimacing.

Ethan's second ride was on another roundabout and he chose the green train which he thought looked like Luke from the Thomas and friends trains - He was amazed by the fact that there was a real bell that he could ring, he made a Lot of noise! 

He was very very happy on this ride!

VERY tired towards the end of the evening so back in his buggy cuddling his 'red sonic' - He was actually still quite happy but just getting a bit overwhelmed and sleepy just before we went home. 

This is the fish that Daddy Azii won for Ethan. Ethan, with his wonderful naming techniques, named him 'Fishy the fishy' - We don't see him much in the Huge, slightly overgrown tank in our hallway but he seems quite happy if not a little scared of giant faces appearing at the glass. 

It was far too late for Ethan to try candy floss by the time we got home so once he got to bed Azii and I enjoyed some. Ethan tried some the next morning but the spat out puddle of dark pink goo that landed on his chair told me that he wasn't keen.

As well as Fishy, Ethan was very lucky to get two stuffed toys from the fair. He won the toxic green monkey himself (and chose to get the vile green one rather than orange, purple or brown), and the Knuckles (ala red sonic) was a joint effort as Ethan and I caught a few ducks between us and then we were allowed to combine our winning tickets with my Uncle's load and so Ethan was allowed to get one of the bigger prizes - It's a shame they didn't have any actual sonics but Ethan's quite happy with his Red Sonic (He Loves sonic)