If you read my blog you may, already, have noticed that I have a brand new design over here on my lovely blog. 

I’d actually had my last design for, almost exactly, a year and I do find myself getting bored of things after a while so I felt really inspired by the idea of getting a new design. The lovely Bex over at Futures recommended Yaya at Dreamality Designs and I was instantly impressed by her prices and her professionalism (whilst staying really friendly and down to earth). 

As you may remember my blog was a little stark before so there’s more colour and a little more to it, now, though without going over the top. I love the floral theme and I love that Yaya managed to get the exact dusky pink that I wanted, whilst adding in her own idea of the mint green – I love mint green but hadn’t thought of using it on here, I am so so glad that she suggested it as it goes perfectly.

I love the header, the bold new social media icons, I love it all!

So, if you’re on blogger and you want a re-design, definitely give her a shout – She did the work quickly, she kept me totally updated and is a lovely lady. 

I’d love to know some thoughts on a couple of things? Some people have said that the dusky pink links are a little pale and I can see what they mean but it does seem to depend on the angle that I’m viewing my screen on so I’d love to know what the consensus is on that one? Any other thoughts would be greatly appreciated too! 

I know I’ve not been updating as much this year, the whole year seems to have slowed down and that’s not been intentional – I’ve been struggling with my health, even more, and the year has just zoomed by. But I really am hoping to keep things moving a little better, I’ve had a few lovely beauty products to share with you all and I’m loving the extra book posts I’ve been able to write. So watch this space, here’s to a better second half of the year!

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I was asked if I wanted to review one of Penguin’s new books ‘Big Little Lies’ by Liane Moriarty and instantly I recognised the name of the author and was very pleased! I, actually, read one of Liane’s earlier books ‘The Husband’s Secret’ not that long ago and I really, really enjoyed it so I couldn’t wait to read another of hers. 

‘Big Little Lies’ is a book that’ll capture your interest almost instantly, partly due to the plot and also due to the fact that the format is different and adds an extra dimension to the story – You learn that there’s been a death at a school function almost straight away, and then, as you’d expect, you begin hearing the story from the beginning. But, as well as this, the book is interspersed interviews, from various side characters, giving their view on the goings on at the school, and their accounts of the evening in question, which gives you an entirely different perspective on everything. It’s a really nice change to the standard story telling format and gives this book an edge that I definitely enjoyed. 

Of course what you don’t know is Who has died, why they died and how and it’s this that you learn throughout the more standard story format. The story is, primarily, about Jane who’s a single mother that’s moving to a little beachside town with her young son. When she takes her son to his first day of primary school she meets two other mothers, Madeline and Celest, who take this much younger mother under their wings and they form a little friendship unit very quickly.

On the first day of school, their induction, there’s ‘an incident’ which sets up a conflict within the school, it puts parents on either one side or another and gives basis for a lot of the gossip which you learn via the interviews that are slotted in to the story. In all honesty the story would’ve been interesting enough if it had only been about that; about the intricacies of the school yard, the way the children deal with the conflict, the friendships and the animosity but there’s so much more than that. 
There’s secrets in this little town, and there’s lots of them. I’m, of course, not going to tell you what those secrets are but they add such depth to the story and really keep you reading on. As always I guessed the ending, but that’s nothing new and I think that plenty would be very shocked when certain truths become known (yes, I’m being cryptic, it’s necessary).
The book is really well written, you get to know the characters with ease and you feel like you could even be one of the side characters, you could be inside this story. There’s mystery and secrets, there’s humour and romance, there’s dark aspects and beautifully light moments. I enjoyed this story, a lot, and am going to have to read a lot more by Liane Moriarty – She has a fantastic control of plot and characters and she weaves a story that’s a joy to behold.  

I was, very kindly, sent this set of Penguin Books items, too, which are just perfect for me. I have a little collection of tote bags, I have far too many mugs and note pads are an addiction I’m not supposed to be entertaining any more… but these are book themed! This has made me want more book related items, books are such a big part of my life that it seems natural to have more fun things that encompass this. 
Penguin are, currently, running a competition in which you can win an Ipad Air 2, along with two full sets of Moriarty’s books (a set for yourself and a set for a friend) and there’s, also, 5 runners up prizes which consist of a copy of ‘Big Little Lies’ and a penguin set the same as the one I’ve pictured above. You can enter the competition, via Facebook, here.
If you can’t wait to see if you win a copy, and want to read the book now, you can order in four different formats from Amazon, here.  

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This post contains PR samples – See my disclaimer here

It’s Makeup Revolution time! I’d say, easily, Makeup Revolution post is always a highlight for me, I love to find out what’s inside and when there’s something stunning it just puts a smile on my face (hint, this one is stunning). 

Today the ‘Affirmation’ palette, which is the newest of the 32 shade Ultra Eyeshadow palettes, popped through the letter box. When I saw swatches of this, yesterday, I hoped I’d be lucky enough to get this one so I was very, very pleased when a palette shaped package arrived! 

The box of this, even, is rather beautiful, it shows as brown here but it has a lovely bronze sheen to it, it’s got a good quality feel, as I’m used to from Makeup Revolution (especially for something that costs £8!). 

It’s rather nice, in a palette of this size, to get a sheet with all of the shade names on it – Obviously it’s not a necessity but little details to add to a product and this one definitely does. 

And here are the shades in all their glory. I have a lot of Makeup Revolution neutral palettes (I feel like I say this a lot) but I’m definitely intrigued by the balance of shades in this one; where most palettes lean towards cooler or warmer toned shades you can see that this one has distinct cooler areas and warmer areas. As well as that it has those, oh so popular, pinky/rosy shades along with some beautiful purples. It’s a palette I look at and just say ‘yes’ – A simple statement, I know, but it’s true. 

As always, from a couple of different angles so that you can see different levels of shimmer – Here’s the first six shades. L-R ‘Pledge’, ‘Forward’, ‘Affirmation’, ‘Morale’, ‘Approve’ and ‘Hope’.
As you’ll expect the paler matte shades are very very pale and are hard to pick up on photographs, that said you can just about see it on this picture, it blends in very well with my skin tone. The rest of the shades are quite self explanatory, three gorgeous shimmers followed by two more mattes, all of which are really nicely pigmented and have a beautiful depth.

Some gorgeous metallic shades up next, some very warm colours as well as a couple of paler shades. We have L-R ‘Advance’, ‘Truth’, ‘Positive’, ‘Vouch’, ‘Accept’, and ‘Time’. 
Again, very well pigmented, though ‘Positive’ isn’t one that shows up too well in a photograph; it’s a very pale cream shade but what the camera doesn’t want to pick up is the really soft, very very beautiful sheen that it has. I think ‘Vouch’ is going to be the perfect pinky toned champagne for me, this could be a favourite of the palette, I know it’s simple but it’s very pretty.

The light started going, as I took my photographs, but I think they still represent the shades just nicely. This next 6 shades are ‘Reliance’, ‘Confidence’, ‘Blaze’, ‘Light’, ‘Vow’ and ‘Reveal’. 
We’re edging towards some of the cooler toned shades, now, and there’s some real beauties in here – These are really starting to be the shades that I can pull off so I love them. (I love the rosy shades and the coppers but with my skin tone I can’t pull them off as well). 

And here are my favourite shades from the palette – We’ve got the coolest shimmers along with some beautiful purples: L-R ‘Oath’, ‘Rely’, ‘Consent’, ‘Willing’, ‘Vouch’ and ‘Promise’. 
I am already picturing some looks that I’ll put together with these, they remind me of another favourite palette that I have – In fact… when I think about it, this palette brings together shades from a lot of my favourite palettes and puts them all in together. It could’ve been made for me, and I think a lot of people will feel the same way. 

Towards the end of the palette we have a number of mattes and some of those subtler shimmer/sheen shades that I love. We have L-R ‘Announce’, ‘Convey’, ‘Assure’, ‘Disclose’, ‘Slate’ and ‘Insist’. 
Not much to say about these, they’re staples of the palette, a few last neutrals along side some really lovely smoky and black shades.

32 doesn’t divide by 6, so there’s two left at the end, the light had really gone by this point and this last two shades did not want to photograph but here we have them. ‘Bold’ and ‘Declare’. 
Bold was a nightmare to capture because it’s a shade that’s actually very soft and smoky, but it has this gorgeous golden shimmer in it that brings it to life and that shimmer did not want to co-operate! I hope you can see it in the second photo (sorry it’s blurry but you can see the shimmer!) 
And that’s the newest palette from Makeup Revolution! I do love this one, and I know I say that a lot. I can see myself using the pink shades, the cooler neutrals and definitely some of those purples. I also think that, last shade, the very pigmented matte black, could make a great liner shade. There’s endless looks hidden amongst these shades and I can’t wait to start putting them together! 
It’s available now, here, for only £8!  

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This post contains a press sample – Disclaimer here

This post isn’t My review, alone, today because it’s for a product that I’ve been using with Ethan. When we were offered an Air Motion Pro hairbrush to trial I instantly cut, in my head, to the images of Ethan shrieking every time I put a brush through those curly, messy locks of his – Instantly I said Yes Please! 

The ‘Air Motion Pro’ hair brush is, without a doubt, the most ‘sciency’ (yes, that is now a word) hair brush that I’ve seen – The frosted packaging has a really sleek look to it and I think it’s a big improvement upon the clear packaging you see for most products like this. 
As you can see there’s a lot of terms used to explain the how and why’s of this brush, it has ‘contour sensitive hair science’, ‘Airshock absorption’, 3 bristle lengths and offers stress free de-tangling. I’m not sure about you but I’d never really pondered the science behind a hair brush, before, but these guys Really have and here’s the thing… it works. 
This is the hair I’m greeted with, most mornings, from the one we call Ethan – It’s not tight, almost ringlets like it used to be but it still definitely has a lot of body and curl to it and it does err on the side of tangling. He does Not like his hair being brushed but he also doesn’t want it cutting off (I don’t want to cut it off, either, but if he wanted to then that’d be his choice) so it’s been a fun game, over the past few years, to try and get him out of the house whilst not looking like a scarecrow! 
Without a doubt the fanciest looking hairbrush I’ve ever owned, the Air Motion Pro is all sleek curves and gentle contours. As you can just tell, from looking at the handle, it bends up a little and the whole thing has a slight angle to it which is really helpful when it comes to using it as it seems to prevent all of those weird twisted positions you need to get in to to reach all of the hair – It, sort of, ‘fits the head’ and the hand. With my health problems I can often get painful hands and this brush feels like an absolute dream to hold, it’s ergonomically sound, to a tee. 
You can get the brush in a bright pink, or in the white that we have – Ethan would’ve been happy with either as he loves pink. It’s definitely been considerably stylised but, for this product, that really works – It screams quality and feels strong and durable. 

And here are those bristles, with their three different lengths – It’s these which are supposed to help get through hair by reaching all of the different depths at the same time. You can also see, just to the bottom of the picture, the little bubbles in the head of the brush; these, quite nicely, represent the shock absorbing qualities of the brush – It has a real lightness to it. 
Obviously, the big question is this… does it work? And that’s a simple one, yes, it does. I was amazed at this brush. We’ve used other brands which are supposed to get through the hair more easily, and they were better than a standard brush, but this is better than that again. When I run it through Ethan’s hair, even on the most tangley of days,  it meets such little resistance and it goes through the areas that are harder with absolute ease. It doesn’t tug on the hair, or yank it, it just gently goes through it – From my point of view it’s an absolute miracle. 
What does Ethan think? Well he’s a sensitive wee soul and he still insists it hurts but then this is the child that got upset because Daddy put a cushion on him the other day… In all honesty it’s so so much better than any other type of brush we’ve used. And although he still winces at every tiny little tug, if I offer to go get the other brush to do it with he instantly protests because he knows How much better this one is. 
The brushes are £11.95, which I don’t think is bad at all. If you, or your little one, struggle with tough tangles then this is an investment which I think you’ll appreciate. They can be bought from the Air Motion Pro shop or sites like Look Fantastic and Beauty Crowd

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This post contains a press sample – Disclaimer here

You may’ve noticed that I haven’t posted as many unboxings, recently. Firstly I’ve cut down on what I’ve been getting, quite considerably, and secondly the boxes I Have been getting haven’t filled me with the desire to write about them, until the May Birchbox arrived! This has been a really redeeming box, for me, so I’m really pleased as I was feeling rather disenchanted. 

If this box re-lights the spark for you, too, and you decide to subscribe then don’t forget to use my referral link and we’ll both get £5 worth of points to spend in the Birchbox shop: https://www.birchbox.co.uk/invite/m6bv3

If you use Facebook, or other social media, you may already have seen that this month’s Birchbox, box, is a little bit special. The theme is ‘Free Your Mind’ and the box is a colouring in box! Now, as a fan of colouring in Anyway, this was amazing to me. I’ve been having a big clear out of lots of empty beauty boxes but this one is Definitely going to be in my keep pile.

The box was, also, sent with a little box of crayons which I thought was a lovely touch. They’re not the softest crayons ever so they do scratch a little but I love the subtle colours. I may need to break my crayon stash out to finish it off, though.

In all honesty I have no idea how Anything other than the box fits with the ‘Free Your Mind’ theme but I really am not bothered about that. The products are, definitely, the sorts of things I enjoy, though, and fit nicely for the upcoming spring-like weather that’ll hopefully come back after all the gloom we’ve had recently.

Birchbox seem to have changed back to using a little magazine/booklet style leaflet rather than the stack of cards that they previously had – I liked both formats but I do like the abridged version that we seem to have now – Even the list of products is inside the booklet rather than on a separate card.

The smallest sample, first which is listed as an ‘Extra beauty bonus’ – This sachet of ‘Reconstructing Masque’ from Number 4 is a nice extra to get. It says you apply after shampoo and leave it in for 2-5 minutes; it’s supposed to moisturise the hair with shea butter as well as sunflower seed and jojoba seed oils. Although it’s a sachet it’s got 7.5ml of product in (which a lot of little tubes do, too), this should work as one treatment for normal hair and maybe two for my super short hair. 

Next up we have this 22ml tube of Whish body butter in an almond scent. We’ve had this brand in beauty boxes, before, but it’s always been lavender and (although it’s smelled ok) lavender isn’t a big scent for me. Almond on the other hand? I Love. I’ve given this a smell and it’s only got a subtle scent (which you’d expect for almond) which is sweet and delicious smelling. 22ml isn’t a bad size and should get a few uses; I applied it to the back of my hand ages ago and it Still feels lovely and soft. 

A full sized product, next, (though the leaflet doesn’t say full sized but the Jelly Pong Pong website does) we have the Jelly Pong Pong ‘Carribean Sun’ bronzer duo in the lightest shade ‘Martinique’. I’m so pleased I got the palest shade as dark bronzers are totally pointless to me. I like Jelly Pong Pong but have never fallen in love with any of their products but I feel like this one might be the first one that I fall for. 

I, absolutely, love this little duo – The bronzer is plenty pale enough for my pasty skin and the shimmery blush is just beautiful. It might be a bit too shimmery, for some, but for the summer I can see myself using this and not needing to use a highlighter. This full sized product is worth £15.95. 

This is the other full sized product in the box. I believe we had an option to pick what we’d get in the box, a little while ago but I must have missed the email; I only saw it when Birchbox said that new subscribers could pick, but it was too late for current subs. So, if you do decide to sign up (don’t forget to use my link) see if you can pick your sample for this brand). 
Boxes, this month, will either have press on nails, a nail art pen or a nail polish by Wah London – I’d have preferred a nail polish but the nail art pen would’ve been my second choice. Not sure if I’ll have use for this as I Think I have a pink one, in a similar shade, by Barry M, from a previous box and two seems a bit excessive. This could be a nice gift to add to a giveaway, though, and if I didn’t already have the shade then I’d be really happy with this. This is worth £7 and it’s the shade ’04 Baby Pink’ – I’ve had a look at some of the nail polishes in their brand and there’s some gorgeous shades, definitely a brand to check out some time. 

Next up we have a Parlour by Jess Chastain ‘Moisturising Sea Salt Spray’ – I like sea salt sprays for texture but, as you’d expect, they’re often really drying so the idea of a moisturising one is rather intriguing. The bottle is a 30ml sample so that’s going to last you a good while and I’m really looking forward to giving this one a go (It smells lovely too). 

Lastly is a sample that really caught my eye – I love Caudalie and I’ve never tried their tinted moisturiser so this one is a real winner for me. I was relieved to see that it’s arrived in the shade ’01 Light’ and I’ve tried it on the back of my hand and it Seems to be a decent match. The only disappointment was that the tube looked really rather big but only has 15ml in it (it’s only double the size of the sachet sample) and there’s a Lot of air in there. 15ml is fine but it just looks So much bigger which seems rather silly. Regardless, I’m definitely looking forward to giving this one a go. 
So, yes, the box is a real winner for me this month. Aside from the fact that the shade of the nail art pen might not be quite right for me, I love everything in the box and they’re all items I’d have picked had I been given the choice. If you love the box, too, and want a nice colour in as well, then don’t forget to use my referral link as it’ll get you £5 worth of points in the Birchbox shop, as well as the same for me – https://www.birchbox.co.uk/invite/m6bv3
Nicely done, Birchbox, I’m going to keep my sub at least one more month, now, and we’ll see how next month does (the sneak peak at the floral box and the hint at another collab box is intriguing to say the least!)

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