Monday, 30 May 2016

Eyeshadow Palette Wishlist

Naked 2 is the only eyeshadow palette I own, although in fairness I do have two of them.  I desperately want to branch out and get more eyeshadow palettes because I just find them so much more versatile and easy to use than individual eyeshadows.  I think seeing all the colours next to each other means I actually think about how they'll best go together and put a bit of effort into my eye makeup.  This is a little list of some of the eyeshadow palettes I really want and one day I'll hopefully own at least some of these!





Image taken from Clumps of Mascara's Review because all the ones on the Lorac website were PANTS.


 














Have you tried any of these palettes?  If so which should I choose for my next investment? Let me know below!


Other Beauty Posts: 
Look Fantastic Beauty Box May Edition 
Look Incredible Beauty Box May Edition 
April Fashion & Beauty Haul


Other Edits:
High Street Backpack Edit 
SS16 D+ Swimwear Edit 
Giant Homeware Edit 

 
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Saturday, 28 May 2016

My Breakup and What I've Learned From It


 Breaking Up

Two weeks ago, my boyfriend of almost two years broke up with me.  It shouldn't really have come as a surprise since technically I broke up with him five days before that, then gave him a second chance.  Essentially he has plans to move to another country in a few years and I had known for a while that he wanted to do it by himself, while I wanted to go with him.  It all boiled down to that in his eyes we had an expiration date.  We love(d) each other, but circumstances conspired that it was never going to work. 


What I've Learned


Love isn't enough
I suspect he was never really in love with me.  He may have loved me, but being in love with someone is different.  I read once that like, love and in love equates to now, for a while and forever.  I would normally say that's a load of rubbish but it does seem accurate in this situation.  Unless you both place an equal amount of importance on each other, there's always going to be one taking advantage of the other, even unintentionally.


You Can Start Again
My whole life has pretty much fallen apart. I had quit my job a few weeks before because I was always exhausted and it wasn't going anywhere.  Now I'm living with my Mother in a tiny town in the North West of England, with no job and no boyfriend!  I don't want to move back to Manchester, because I think the probabilty of remaining hung up on my ex will just increase.  We both want to be together right now, but we also both know that this is never going to work, and I'm the one who is being hurt the most.  I'm already making plans, and things are starting to look up as I begin to accept that we're really broken up and I need to start again.

Friendship Is Possible, But Not Yet
For the first week after we broke up properly, before I retrieved all of my stuff from our/his apartment, we spoke on the phone every day.  He's my best friend, and we were both grieving the loss of our relationship.  We both cried a lot on the phone, and got absolutely no closure that way.  In fact, the opposite happened, and I convinced myself that I wanted to get back together and that the whole thing was stupid.  I then spent much of the week trying to convince him of the same, which in hindsight is very embarrassing.  I've not contacted him since we moved out my stuff and really said goodbye, except to inform him that I accidentally took some of his stuff and that he still has some of mine.  I know it's over now, and I can also see that it's for the best. He's my best friend and knows me like noone else, but I think it's time I reconnected with some of my old friends that I've been missing.  Distance will be good.


It Will Get Better
There's no denying that breaking up really sucks, but it does get better.  With some closure and a little perspective, I've found that it's for the best.  I was always aware of his faults, but now I can see how in the long term we never would have worked.  He never stopped me from doing anything, in fact he often encouraged me to broaden my horizons, but my blind dedication to him and our relationship meant I was limiting myself. I may feel down on my luck right now, but for the first time since we got together I can do anything with my life.  He was worried he would ruin my life if he gave me hope for the future and we stayed together, and he was right.  He always was the more level headed of the two of us!


What I'm Doing Now
Now, I'm job hunting like crazy and spending a lot of time with the cat.  I don't know what I want to do, but I know what I don't, which is half the battle.  Wish me luck!
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Thursday, 26 May 2016

The Trees by Ali Shaw


This is the first book on my Summer 2016 Reading List and I will admit that I primarily chose to read it first because look at that cover!  It's just gorgeous and I adore foxes.  Anyway, on with the review!


When trees erupt from the earth, toppling society and destroying the modern world overnight, Adrien Thomas is understandably terrfied.  Adrien is the heart of the story, although often the reader may wonder why, when there are other far more engaging and interesting characters surrounding him.  Adrien befriends Hannah, a hippy who sees the trees as a blessing allowing humanity to start again, and her son Seb, who is really missing his computer, but adapts to the world well enough.  Later they encounter the bad-ass Hiroko, as they travel to find Hannah's brother, and later Adrien's wife, who was in Ireland on a business trip the night the trees came.  Every single character we encounter is altogther more capable to act as the protagonist and hero of the story, yet Adrien remains the focal point of the plot.  He is utterly dependent on the other characters for his survival.  Before the trees came he considered himself a waste of space, and his successful wife seems to have little reason to stay with him and his self-loathing and bouts of self-pity.  What's remarkable is that somehow, Adrien never irritated me.  He is aware of how much he needs those around him, and is very honest about his being with them just to give himself the purpose he is lacking.  The trees however, are determined to give Adrien as purpose of his own.

A supernatural element develops as the story continues, one which is never explained enough to satisfy me.  Creepy little tree creatures dog the travellers' steps, and the giant kirin appears to Hannah throughout the story to lead her to new places or new knowledge.  There is a constant sense of watchfulness with the possibility of danger at ay given time.  Often the travellers seem safe only to have everything overturned, and not always by supernatural creatures.  As in many apocalyptic settings, law and order have disintegrated, allowing people to take matters into their own hands; other survivors are often more dangerous than the trees.

While the mystery of the trees and their intentions for humanity and Adrien in particular is what drives the plot forward, the real strength of the story is Adrien himself.  He could have been utterly unlikeable and irritating, but instead he continues to support those around him in what small ways he can, and Shaw's slightly heavy handed symbolism reveals what the book is really about: strong men destroyed the world, and it will take a different touch for humanity to learn to live in their new one.

Overall this was a good read; it reminded me of The Buried Giant in that the supernatural elements of the story were secondary to the relationships and development of the characters.  I found the character of Hannah extremely irritating early on, but by the end I was invested in all of the main group.  I would have liked a little more explanation of the trees and the supernatural elements of the story, but the focus of the novel is humanity's reaction to a new world, so I understand why it was omitted. 



Other Book Reviews

 
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Monday, 16 May 2016

Underrated Animated Movies

I really love movies, and I think that animated movies in particular can be real works of art.  I know some people write them off as for children, and indeed some of the films on this list are, but that doesn't mean that they can't be enjoyed by adults.  This is a list of some of my favourite animated films that are in dire need of some love!



 A stunning work by Cartoon Saloon, an Irish animation company.  Their art style is dreamy and and the Secret of Kells tells the story of a young boy who meets a master illuminator, and the adventures that result from their friendship.  It's a tale of forest spirits, mysterious books and the looming threat of Viking invaders.



  By the same studio as The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea is in a similar art style and is about a broken family and the quest they go on to put the world to rights.  Young Saoirse is a selkie, meaning she can transform into a seal, and her growing powers attract more and more attention from the spirit world as the story goes on.  While the plot is nominally about faeries and a quest to save them, the real heart of the story is in the family and how they must be forced to overcome their grief.  Song of the Sea is special to me because as a child I wanted nothing more than to be a selkie, and was convinced that one day I would find out that I really was one.



 Based on Khalil Gibran's bestselling novel (which if you haven't read you should, or at least watch the movie) the Prophet is the tale of the artist Mustafa who must escape the authorities who believe his work incites rebellion.  The story is beautiful, and the art style is varied as different animators worked on different sections, giving it a great deal of variation and making the movie as a whole a feast for the eyes.  I would recommend watching the trailer to get a better grasp for the film's varied style, so I've linked it above in lieu of an image.


I'm not actually sure how underrated this one is!  I've never seen it mentioned anywhere, but it's possible that like me it was one of those films you thought was Disney and watched as a child.  For the record, this is definitely not historically accurate!  It follows the young Romanov princess Anastasia, the sole remaining member of her family that was slaughtered at the start of the Russian revolution with the aid of the dark sorceror Rasputin.  Now 18, she goes on a journey to find her family, aided by two conmen who intend to take her to her sole remaining relative in Paris.  It's a brilliant watch with great animation and an engaging story.  The soundtrack is brilliant and I still sing "Rumour in St Petersburg" when I'm cooking.  I wanted to be Anastasia as a child and I'm pretty sure I had the official doll of her, but insisted on her having the rags rather than the ballgown because I preferred that outfit.


Shockingly, this is the only Studio Ghibli film on this list, but it's my abosolute favourite one.  Kiki is a young witch who must leave home at 13 to begin her training accompanied by her wisecracking black cat Gigi.  It's a very peaceful movie, as there's no world ending danger, no mad villain trying to kill everyone; often the central conflict is whether or not Kiki can deliver something in time.  There are tense moments, but the most striking thing is how accurately the film portrays Kiki maturing throughout.  This film makes me unbelievably happy and is my go to when feeling down.


Only one Disney film as well, but this is a film that noone seems to talk about and it gives me goosebumps.  It's way darker than most Disney, and the soundtrack is mind blowing.  Quasimodo has spent his entire life locked in the bell tower of Notre Dame cathedral, with only his guardian, Judge Frollo, and the gargoyles for companions.  In the film he finally ventures out and begins to see through Frollo's lies and manipulations, befriending the gypsy Esmerelda along the way.  I actually prefer the film to the book by Victor Hugo, because I just get upset by the book as in his typical style it's very depressing.  The Disney version is still dark, but it has some lighter elements to it and a real sense of adventure.  The soundtrack is the standout element though, as it is hauntingly beautiful and, in my opinion, Disney's best (yes, better than Frozen!).


A stop motion animation film by Wes Anderson, this is my favourite Roald Dahl adaptation.  It faithfully tells the story of Mr Fox and his battle against the farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean, and is hilarious the entire time.  It's actually quite adult in its humour, with a lot of poorly covered up swearing (What the cuss?!).  It's a great story, as expected of Dahl, and realised with sass and sarcasm by the bucketload. 
 I hope you enjoyed this post, and have perhaps found something to watch for your next movie night.


If you're more into books than movies, try my Summer 2016 Reading List.



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Saturday, 14 May 2016

High Street Backpack Edit

Backpacks are everywhere at the moment, and in case you hadn't gathered from my Cross Body Bag Edit, I am a little bit bag obsessed; a bag lady, if you will.  I've gathered some of my favourites from the high street, and now I'm deliberating over which one I really want!




\\\Shearling Backpack, Topshop, £80///
\\\Brown Animal Print Mini Backpack, New Look, £15.99///
\\\Metallic Soft Backpack, Accessorize, £35///

\\\Hilarry Backpack, £99, Ted Baker///
\\\Pocket Detail Backpack, Zara, £29.99///


\\\Monise Backpack in Baby Pink, Ted Baker, £199//
\\\Clean Curved Backpack, ASOS, £28///
\\\Lapel Leather Backpack in Sand, Mango, £39.99///


Which one do I choose?! I want them all...Let me know in a comment if you have a favourite!

Other Edits:
 Cross Body Bag Edit
Homeware Edit 
SS16 Occasionwear Edit
D+ Swimwear Edit
Lingerie Edit
Bardot Tops and Strapless Bras Edit     

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Thursday, 12 May 2016

Summer 2016 Reading List

I read a hell of a lot, far more than just the books that I review on this blog.  There are a whole load of recently or soon to be released books that I am very excited to read this Summer, so I've put together a list for if you fancy reading along with me!  You can expect reviews of most of these books though, so keep an eye out for them!


Already released.
 A story of nature gone wild, as trees cover the earth overnight.  Received rave reviews.  I already own this one, as I picked up just because of the cover because look at it.  It's beautiful.

Review

Do I really need to say anything about this?  I am ridiculously excited about the play, but since the odds of being able to see it are very low I've already pre-ordered the book.

Already released.
Wormholes, quantum physics, romance and grief is a mix I haven't encountered before, so this should be an interesting read. 


Already released.  
An epic fantasy that veers closer to surreal than most, the Vorrh is a forest older than man, and is the spider at the centre of this story.  I'm told this book is trippy, complex and decidedly unsettling.


Released 19th May.
A dystopian future novel of the kind that has become so popular of late, in which humanity is forced to leave Earth when the Moon is destroyed. 

Review

Released 5th July.
A dark urban fantasy, where the lead characters are forced to confront the (literal) demons of the city in which they live, and decide whether they should save it.


Already released.
I adore Bill Bryson.  He makes me laugh like Terry Pratchett did, out loud and uproariously.  This is the sequel to Notes From A Small Island, which was released twenty years ago.



Already Released.
Winner of the 2015 Costa Book Award, and the British Book of the Year Award for 2016.  That alone would make me pick this up, but it's set in my local area and is said to be terrifying in parts.  It is described as a tale of innocence lost, and I'm slightly apprehensive but intrigued.

So that's what I'll be reading over the Summer!  If I get through these too fast I may have to subject you to another reading list later in the year.

Book Reviews:
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
The Nemesis Charm by Daniel Ingram-Brown
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff 
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
Uprooted by Naomi Novik


 
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Wednesday, 11 May 2016

What's On: Manchester Summer 2016

What you may not know is that Manchester is awesome.  It's a city where people don't bat an eyelid at the weird and wonderful, where torrential rain means maybe you'll put up your brolly, and where you can wander from hipster to sleek skyscraper to Roman ruins to modern day China.  Summer doesn't last long in Britain, and up North you're still at risk of the day being blustery and chilly, but in Manchester we make the most of it.  I've put together a list of a few of the best events of the Summer, so that you can actually consider doing something other than having a barbecue on your balcony.  


22-31 July 2016
The Manchester Jazz Festival is 10 days of live music in around 80 events across the city.  The main site is always Albert Square in the city centre, and the whole event is focused on musical innovation, meaning a great deal of new and emerging artists get a chance to showcase their talents.  The Jazz Festival is great because even if you don't actually go to any concerts, there's always a background of amazing music throughout the city even if you're just walking to work.  I love jazz because the rhythm of it just makes me happy; no matter what I'm up to hearing jazz flowing through the streets gives me a spring in my step.

31 July - 6 August
I distincly remember being confused the first time I encountered Dig the City.  I had no idea what was going on and odd gardens had just sprung up throughout the city's shopping districts.  I liked it, but it was weird.  The events collaborates with several major retailers in the city, that allow you to take advantage of some pretty great offers throughout the week, but the real joy is the riot of colour that the gardens bring to the city.

20 - 24 July
 Organised by the Royal Horticultural Society, Tatton Park is just one of the many flower shows that takes place across the UK during Summer.  It features contemporary and traditional garden designs, including the new Evolution Theme which is likely to lead to some futuristic gardens.  It's not everyone's cup of tea, but it would make for a great family day out or a chilled out date.

 
11 - 12 June
 Ah, Parklife.  An independent music festival which is somehow still relatively unknown outside of the Northern climes.  It is a weekend of compulsory drunkenness in Heaton Park with some fairly major names on the list this year, such as Ice Cube (seriously), The Chemical Brothers, Jess Glynne and Bastille.  It's a lot of fun, and the location means you don't have to sleep in a tent.


8 - 10 July
 The world's largest transgender event, aiming to promote a positive image of the trans community.  Primarily taking place in Sackville Gardens in the Gay Village, with events, pageants, stalls and the Crystal Ball, a disco, dinner and all around celebration within the Britannia Hotel. 

 26 - 29 August
If you haven't heard about Manchester Pride where have you been?! Every years tens of thousands of people gather to celebrate all aspects of the LGBT lifestyle.  The Big Weekend features a pretty good music lineup, including Will Young, Katy B and Judge Jules.  The highlight every year though is the parade, when the carnival of Pride fills the streets of Manchester.


Bluedot Festival
22 - 24 July 
For what is likely to be a more intellectual stimulating affair than Parklife, the brand new Bluedot Festival at Jodrell Bank is a celebration of all things space.  You camp out under the stars and with speakers such as Brian Cox, workshops, experiments and live music, it promises to be one of the more unusual summer festivals.  I actually think it sounds really cool, but it is possible that I may be a massive nerd.   
I hope you enjoyed this post, and perhaps I'll see at a festival this Summer!
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Sunday, 8 May 2016

Look Fantastic May Beauty Box


My May Look Fantastic Beauty Box arrived very quickly this month, and I have all my fingers crossed that it's better than last month's.  First impressions are promising, with the theme of #HELLOBEAUTIFUL centred around skin and hair care.  As before, I'll write about my initial and final impressions of all of the products after using them for a few days.


Wet Brush Pro

First Impressions
My hair gets very tangled when I wash it; it seems determined to tie itself into a hundred different knots so I'm always willing to try something new!  I do love my Tangle Teezer but we shall see how this compares!
   
Final Impressions
Okay, so this is brilliant.  The bristles are flexible enough that they don't damage the hair when wet but do a brilliant job of detangling.  I really like this, and will definitely keep using it! My Tangle Teezer is still my favourite for dry hair, but when it's a big wet mess, the Wet Brush is the way to go.



Vichy Liftactiv Supreme Day Cream

First Impressions
I've mentioned before how dry my skin is, so I'm always up for trying new day creams and moisturisers.  It's only a 15ml sample but that should be enough to get a decent idea of how it works with my skin.  

Final Impressions
I really liked this product!  It's not the best moisturiser in the world or anything but it left my skin feeling smooth and looking glowy.  It also absorbs really quickly and sat well under makeup.  I'll be using up the whole sample and then it is likely I'll purchase a full size pot!



REN Wake Wonderful Night-Time Facial

First Impressions
My intial reaction to this was to worry that it would get all over my pillow.  I then did some mental maths and realised I need to wash the sheets anyway, so who cares? The formula supposedly brightens and tones overnight, so I'll give it a shot for a few days and see if I can see any difference.

Final Impressions 
I love this!  My worries about pillow transfer were unfounded as it absorbs into the skin within about 15 minutes.  Upon waking my skin was smoother, softer and glowy, so I'm over the moon.  It did tingle quite a bit when applying which made me decidedly nervous that I would wake up with no face, but it turns out it just gave me a better face.  I'll be using up the whole sample and possibly purchasing.



Ioma Paris Optimum Youthful Moisture Cream

First Impressions
This is going to be messy.  I always break pods like this open because I'm a clumsy oaf, so I'll have to try and be careful.  I've never heard of Ioma Paris, but apparently this cream is primarily aimed at reducing wrinkles.  I would have preferred the other variant of Ioma Paris that was available, but I'll see how this one goes.

Final Impressions 
This wasn't as messy as I feared which was a bonus, but I wasn't a fan of the formula.  It's way too greasy and felt uncomfortable on my skin.  It didn't seem to make much difference to my skin after a few days of using, and I doubt I'll even use up all of the pods.


Eve Lom Cleanser and Muslin Cloth

First Impressions  
I've heard the rumblings about the Eve Lom cleanser in the beauty world so I'm interested in seeing how it performs.  There's only enough for one use, but the muslin cloth is reusable so if I like it enough to purchase some I will at least already have a cloth.  Looking forward to seeing if it takes off my makeup! 

Final Impressions  
Okay, I understand why Vogue called this "possibly the best cleanser in the world".  My skin has never been this clean!  There was only enough for one use but I am SO buying more!  My face is soft and clean and just so much better than my skin.  If you get chance, try this asap!


Decleor Intense Nourishing Cocoon Cream

First Impressions 
What am I supposed to with 5ml of cream?  That will cover my face an neck once, twice if I'm really stingy.  I've used Decleor in the past so it's probably great, but 5ml really isn't enough to get a proper feel for a product. 

Final Impressions
Okay, so a little does go a long way with this, probably because the formula is 70% water, leaving my earlier comments looking a little foolish.  I got about 3 uses out of this, which is more than I would have expected.  I found it doesn't do a great deal for me skin; as moisturisers go the Vichy cream was more effective, but the Decleor did sit nicely under makeup.  It's good but not incredible.

Revlon Uniq One All in One Hair Treatment
 
First Impressions  
This is a lovely little leave in hair treatment that you spritz onto wet hair.  It claims to do everything, including heat protection and frizz control, as well as UV protection.  I'm lazy, so anything that reduces the amount of steps in my routine is a winner. 

Final Impressions  
This smells divine!  It's coconutty and summery and reminds of house parties with too much Malibu (in a good way).  It also leaves my hair smoother and less frizzy, and it feels a little less dry.  I'll use this sample up, and will consider repurchasing.
  


A much better box this month overall with some real winners!  Some of the sample sizes were dipsappointing, but I was very happy in particular with the Wet Brush Pro and the REN Night-Time Facial.


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