Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Monthly Makeup | February

Since February is coming to an end and I have a few new purchases lined up for my March pay cheque, I thought I'd talk you through what I've been slapping on my face for the last month or so.

Benefit Porefessional has been my go-to primer for a while now. I don't always bother with it, really only applying it if I'm going on a night out and really need my makeup to last all day and night. This is great for just smoooooothing out those little acne scars generally making my skin look like it's just slightly filtered.

My lips have been pretty dry this month, mostly because I forgot my lip balm while out in Hebden Bridge and in the snow and rain they got a little chapped. The Lush Bubblegum Lip Scrub has been helping bring them back to tip-top condition, sloughing away all the gross dry skin and leaving them baby soft. Also, it's basically candyfloss flavoured sugar and I put it on just to eat it.

The YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat foundation is a classic in my collection, but lately, I've just been finding it too heavy. Now that I am a fancy office lady I'm wearing makeup every day, and I'm just finding myself craving something lighter on the weekends or casual Friday. The liquid formula of this is fab and leaves the skin nice and glowy but with medium to high coverage, and while I can sheer it out with my beauty blender it's still leaving me feeling a bit weighed down, if you know what I mean. A new, lighter foundation is on the list of things to buy come payday (and it cannot come fast enough). 

This Max Factor Mastertouch Concealer in Ivory is a new purchase, as lack of sleep lately is leaving me with dark circles, which are particularly obvious when you're as pale as I am. In truth, I could probably do with a slightly lighter shade, but it just doesn't exist. I ransacked Boots and Superdrug for a concealer that would at least kind of do the job, and this was the only one that came close, although I find that you need to layer it up a bit to get decent coverage.

The Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone is a classic, and is pretty much the only highlighter I use regularly. I am looking at in investing in a few more, but that'll have to be the April pay cheque.

I mix up my lipstick so often that I couldn't possibly have included all of the ones I've worn this month, but some of my favourites are here and were featured in their own post, where I talked through what I'd been wearing on my lips for a week. Those pictured are MAC RED; Urban Decay Gash (deep red), Temper (orange red) and  Trance (metallic pink); Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker in Rosy Chic; GOSH Nougat; and Stila Stay-All-Day Liquid Lipstick in Patina.

While I am ever faithful to my Zoeva Cocoa Blend palette (and HOW have I not written a post on it yet?!) I decided to put it away this month and force myself to rediscover an old favourite: Urban Decay's Naked 2. For a long time this was all I wore on my lids, and February has reminded me why. I miss the mattes of my Zoeva palette, but the shimmery and metallic shades are gorgeous and I've very much enjoyed playing around with them this month. 

The MAC Fluidline eyeliner in Rich Ground has also made a reappearance, but I really miss my MAC 210 brush for applying is, as the Real Techniques one just isn't cutting it. I bought the By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Bronze Moon during the January Sales despite the fact that it wasn't actually reduced. Although it definitely isn't as crease proof as I was led to believe, it is great for a really quick eye look for the many days this month when I've been feeling under the weather. 

I've always been a user of the Benefit Gimme Brow, but lately it's just started getting a bit gross, and I will admit that the shade is a little cool for me. Warm toned brow gels are hard to find because that's the opposite of what most people want, but my hair, including my brows, is really warm toned! Help me out makeup companies. However, I recently got a full fringe cut (yes, I need to update my picture), which I love, but my eyebrows are partially obscured, meaning I can be a little lazy with them. I've just been slicking on a little bit of Benefit Ready, Set, Brow! to set them, mostly just to stop the crazy hairs from breaking free during the day.

The Smith and Cult nail varnish in Bitter Buddhist has been the nail colour of the month for me. I tend to only have painted nails for about half of the month, as I get super lazy towards the end. This gorgeous sage green has been my favourite though, and no doubt it will make a reappearance on my fingertips during March.

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Monday, 27 February 2017

Valentine's Day | Hebden Bridge

This year Valentine's Day was on a Tuesday, which kinda sucks for anyone who works the usual Monday to Friday. How are you supposed have a romantic day with your other half when eight hours of it is taken up by, in my case, reading reports on the Uzbek insurance industry? The solution my boyfriend and I came up with was to ignore actual Valentine's Day and simply have our own on Sunday. 

I've never really done Valentine's Day before. My ex and I both agreed that it was a stupid commercialised event, and while I still sort of believe that, I will admit that I actually really liked taking a day with my new boyfriend, just for ourselves. We both live in Manchester, and as delightful as that is, we're both from the edges of the suburbs and damn it we miss trees! As such, we decided that a day out somewhere a little more rural would be perfect. We looked at a map and some train schedules and came up with Hebden Bridge.  

Hebden Bridge is just inside West Yorkshire, and was about half an hour by train from Victoria. It looked pretty damn picturesque, is home to nationally recognised music venue The Trades Club, Sylvia Plath is buried there and it has been dubbed "the lesbian capital of the UK". We thought it sounded pretty cool.

Hebden Bridge turned out to be as wonderfully bohemian as it sounded; it has the classic stone houses of many English villages, the rivers, streams and woods of the countryside, and the sort of arts and crafts, vegetarian cafes and chilled out atmosphere that I usually only find in the Northern Quarter of Manchester. It did remind me of a sort of rural outpost of the NQ. 

The one thing we failed to take into account was the weather, as of course it's early February. It snowed, which was amazing, but it also rained and we nearly froze to death. After sheltering in cafes for the best part of two hours we concluded that while Hebden Bridge was lovely, we'd come back when it's warmer. 

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Sunday, 26 February 2017

Seven Steps to a Hygge-filled Sick Day

Since I started my new job in the bonkers month that was November, three months have passed. This means I am no longer in the probationary period and can finally tell the boss exactly what I think of him with no repercussions without being fired (1 - that's not how it works, and 2 - what I think of him is that he's adorable and just kinda love him in a non-creepy way). Unfortunately, in that time period I've been ill several times. The best thing about the new job is the boss (💓💓💓) really doesn't mind if you're ill, or even mind if you haven't actually done any work for a solid week. As a result, I've got sick days down to a fine art, and I think I've figured out exactly what I need to make flu/a chest infection/really bad period cramps bearable. Take note folks because I'm about to give you some super obvious ways to hygge the crap out of your sick days. 

I recommend public transport and an office environment. Trams, train and buses are perfect for this, especially in the winter months. Daily exposure to sneezes, coughs and slightly sticky handrails is guaranteed to at least give you a cold for a few days. Combine that with an air conditioned office full of tired, sniffling office workers and you've got a recipe for at least a few days of glorious illness-ridden days off.

Ideally you want to build up to being off sick, rather than just call your boss on Monday with a weak-sounding excuse - you want it to sound believable, because if you're anything like me you're going to stress about them not believing you even if you're genuinely ill. Start out with some coughing, maybe buy some medicine and swig it periodically at your desk, and if your boss is the observant sort he'll already have it in the back of his head that you're not feeling your usual incredible self.
Image result for karen mean girls cough i'm sick

You probably struggled through at least a day of feeling pretty pants, and have concluded that you really don't feel up to going to work today. The phone call to the boss can be critical. You want to sound convincing, but not so much that he's going to think you're dying. Sounding ill can be difficult if you're not working with a cough. I recommend a croaky voice and general tone of misery and you should be fine. If your boss is as much of a babe as mine, he'll tell you not to come back until you're feeling better, which is perfect, because that's what you were planning on doing anyway. 

First up, you're going to need some supplies. Hopefully you already have these in, otherwise you're going to have to make a very sad and sickly trip to the supermarket unless you have an accommodating friend/boyfriend/housemate. You're going to need all the bog-standard cold and flu medicine you find, as well as a nice warm drink to perk you up. I recommend the Twinings Lemon and Ginger tea for when you're all bunged up; I find it clears my head (and sinuses) enough that I can actually think. You're also going to want to grab basically every soft furnishing you can get your hands on. I'm talking pillows, blankets, duvets, big fluffy scarves - the whole shebang. Transfer all of that your sofa and swaddle yourself like there's no tomorrow. You want to be at peak comfiness, with no little gaps for pesky cold air to get in. Bonus points if you can afford to turn the heating on, but if you're a fellow poor millennial the blanket step is extra important. A hot water bottle is my failsafe for when I've got a shivering-fever; mine is older than I am, having pinched it from my Mother's house. Everyone should have a hot water bottle because sometimes your bed is cold and boiling a kettle is cheaper than turning the heating on for several hours.

Sure, the tea has enabled you to string a sentence together, but you're still not feeling fantastic. What you need is a day of vegging out on the sofa, drowning in blankets, watching something you know and love. I've been watching Merlin on Netflix, as I haven't rewatched it since it was first on, and damn, it was time I did so. I've very much been enjoying falling back in love with the cast (the knights 😍), and it's been perfect for sick days. It's familiar enough that if I doze off for a few minutes I still understand what's happening and old enough that the plots feel fresh and I don't remember what's going to happen all the time. 

While you may be tempted to reach for the popcorn and chocolate, don't do it. If you're anything like me, you always feel crappy after eating junk food, no matter how much you enjoy it in the moment. Instead, I reach for something comforting but healthy-ish, and my answer to that is cheese on toast. Good quality mature cheddar cheese, a little wilted spinach and a tomato and chilli relish smeared on seedy bread. DELISH. 


When you're sick, sometimes the best thing you can do is rest. You've already made up your sofa so that it's even comfier than your bed, you're full of cheesy goodness and you have your favourite teenage TV show playing softly in the background. If you don't fall asleep and wake up 12 hours later then I don't know what else to suggest, except your Nan's sleeping tablets (don't actually do that last one). Hopefully by the time you wake up you'll be feeling fresh as a daisy, or at least less like death would be preferable to your current snotty existence. 

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Sunday, 19 February 2017

A Week In Lipsticks | February 2017

I've got another week in lipsticks for you today, to show you what I've been loving lately.

The Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker in Rosy Chic is pretty much the only pink lipstick I own. Pink has never really been my thing; generally I'm more for reds or warm-toned nudes, but the creamy, highly pigmented formula is fab.
The Urban Decay Vice Cream Lipstick in Gash was my first purchase from Urban Decay's new Vice range, and is a deeper colour than what I would usually reach for. I am definitely on the pale side of skintones (I literally reflect light like the moon) and this is definitely quite a statement when I wear it. My Nan maintains that it's too dark for me, but I like how I look in it and I don't really care if it doesn't "suit" me.
GOSH Velvet Touch Lipstick in Nougat is my favourite every day nude, and is what I throw on when I can't be bother thinking about my makeup. It goes with everything and is super moisturising, to the extent that it basically functions as a lip balm.
This Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Patina is a damn good liquid lipstick that I've talked about in detail before, comparing it with other liquid lipsticks. If you get get past the really sweet vanilla smell it's a great lipstick that isn't too drying and is very opaque.
This Urban Decay Vice Comfort Matte Lipstick in Temper was a Christmas gift and I absolutely adore it. I'm all about an orangey-red lip, and it really is a comfort matte, being easily wearable for a full day.
I received MAC Patent Polish in Clever in a beauty box last year, and it's a shade I can't seem to find anywhere, but it's a warm pinky-nude that is very wearable. The Patent Polishes are a glossy stick formula of the type you can apply without a mirror, applying a wash of colour to the lips and lots of moisture.
Does anyone else really struggle with the MAC website? I can't seem to find this lipstick anywhere so have linked to Makeup Alley, but the MAC Satin Lipstick in RED is a damn good lippie. In the bullet it looks like a true red, but on the lips it's a lot more pinkish in tone. It's a satin finish, but still lasts as if it were a matte. It's cooler toned than most of my lipsticks, but every now and then I get the urge to wear this.

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Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Papergang | January 2017

This was my very first Papergang box from Ohh Deer, and I have two more on the way! This month it featured the artwork of Hui Skip, as well as whole load of extra goodies.
I love the theme of this box; the sage green and woodland animal print that runs throughout is right up my street. I wasn't really sure what to expect from the Papergang box, but I'm really impressed by the selection of stationery included.

This giant quarterbound notebook particularly surprised me; it's of great quality and if I'm honest, I was expecting more flimsy paperback notebooks. The design by Hui Skip also appears in different colourways on the little calendar and wrapping paper. I never have wrapping paper when I need it, so this will definitely come in handy. I'm not sure that I'll have a use for the calendar, but it would look cute blu-tacked to my computer at worn and would brighten up my desk.

I've never really got washi tape - I simply didn't understand the appeal of fancy sellotape. Now that I actually own some, in a gorgeous blue and metallic gold no less, I think I'm starting to get it. I've been using this all around my flat on a plain coffee table and on kitchen cabinets to brighten them up a bit, and it's very gratifying to know that I won't lose my deposit as a result.

The two greeting cards are plain on the inside and very cute and quirky. The only issue is I don't think I would ever send them to anyone. The  valentine one made me laugh, and I would give it to my boyfriend, but to be honest, telling him that I'm sleeping so can't be his valentine is kind of rude. Same goes for the pretzel card; it's slightly insulting, and I just don't think I could give it to someone without worrying that they might think I meant it. 

Since this is my first Papergang box, I also received Drew, who serves as the Papergang logo. It's a patch that you can sew onto a bag or jacket; I don't know if I'll ever actually use it, but it's pretty cute.

At £29 for three months that's not a bad deal, working out at just £9.66 per box. I'm looking forward to the February box, although I don't think I'll be renewing my subscription once it's over as I'll be overflowing with stationery!

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