Sunday, 31 August 2014

What I've Been Reading #3

I didn’t think it was possible for me to love Mary Berry any more. She’s had such an interesting life and is still so grounded. After reading about her own life threatening illness as a child, growing her career from scratch and losing a child, I’ve become even more obsessed with all things Mary Berry. She's such an extraordinary woman. Recipes are mixed in too, so I definitely regret buying this on my kindle, I love a Mary Berry recipe. If you’re as obsessed with all things Bake Off, this is definitely one to read. 

This book managed to combine humour, complicated family relationships and raises a lot of ethical issues surrounding animals. There are a few big twists, so if you fancy reading it avoid reviews with spoilers. All I will say is that it’s both heartbreaking and beautiful. 

The Rosie Project - Graeme Simsion
Don Tillaman is a highly logical Genetics Professor at Melbourne University (think Sheldon Cooper) who decides that it is time that he should get married and in order to do so, he embarks on “the wife project”. In comes Rosie who is entirely opposite to Don and has daddy issues. Although it’s a predicable story, I was sucked right in and it made a perfect pool side book on holiday. 

The Shining Girls - Lauren Beaukes
This novel is essentially about a time-travelling serial killer. I like crime novels and I enjoy sci-fi so I was interested to see how this novel would pan out. It took a lot of effort to finish this book. I didn’t connect with the characters and I felt a bit lost a lot of the time. I think Beaukes had a good idea for a story but for me, it was a let down.

A far cry from the streets of Leith, Welsh takes his latest novel to Miami. After been thrown together by a shooting, Lena and Lucy find themselves drawn to one other through weird, psychopathic obsessions. It’s no Trainspotting, but if you’re a fan of Welsh and his dark but humorous way of writing, it’s definitely one to read. I went to see Irvine Welsh speak at the Edinburgh Book Festival last week, he's a very interesting guy and he said that his main inspiration behind this book was the obsessive nature of Miami, specifically fitness and real estate.

Paper Towns - John Green
I’ve recently became a little bit obsessed with John Green. His style of writing is so emotional and I find myself really caring about his characters. Throughout this book, I found myself just as anxious for Q to find Margo as the character was himself. The ending wasn't just as dramatic as his other work, but definitely an enjoyable read. 

We Were Liars - E. Lockhart
Based around a wealthy family from Massachusetts who spend their summers on their private island arguing about inheritance and obsessing over boys. Although I love a bit of teen fiction, I found this novel frustrating. The characters aren’t likeable and the twist seemed like a bit of a cop out. A prime example of why I should avoid the 99p kindle books on Amazon.

After reading Jonasson’s, The Hundred-year-old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, I was excited to read another one of his books. I’ve spoke about his much I loved his debut novel here so it definitely was going to be a hard act to follow. I can’t say it quite lived up to his previous novel but I really do enjoy Jonasson’s unique style of writing. It was another manic story which follows Nombeko, originally a South Aflican cleaning lady, to be the brains behind a nuclear research facility. 

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Making Shaving Bearable - Lush D'Fluff

Why is shaving such a chore? It only adds an extra 5 minutes to the shower but I spend more time complaining about shaving my legs than I do actually shaving them. Not only do I hate the actual process but I also hate the way my legs feel once I’m out the shower. My legs feel dry, irritated and itchy until I slather on the richest moisturiser in my bathroom. And sometimes I’ve caught a bit of psoriasis so I leave the bathroom looking like there was a massacre in my shower (ok, I may be exaggerating slightly with that one). Recently I was in Lush and I stopped to smell D’Fluff Shaving Soap - oh my goodness, it’s beautiful. It smells like strawberries mixed with the typical Lush smell. I started speaking to the sales assistant and I told her about my dry legs and hatred for shaving them, she explained that not only would D'Fluff stop any irritation, it would also help keep my legs hydrated with the cocoa butter and would ultimately help make shaving that bit more bearable. Although I’ve always been aware of the type of razor I use, I’ve never been overly interested in the type of shaving gel, I’ve generally just went for whichever one is on offer, so I was keen to try something a little different. 

Lush D'Fluff

Lush D'Fluff

For the first few shaves I found it very odd that it didn’t go into a lather - I was pretty paranoid that it was just running off my leg. If you’re used to something that foams up, although it feels weird at first it’s definitely worth persevering. Shaving felt smoother and post-shower my legs didn’t feel anywhere near as irritated or dry. I can’t see me spending £5.75 for 70g or £9.95 for 150g on a regular basis but if my skin is feeling particularly dry or irritated during the winter I’d certainly pick this up again. 

Have you tried D’Fluff? Do you have any shaving tips?

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Holiday Makeup - What I Brought vs What I Wore

Over the years the amount of makeup I’ve been taking on holiday has been getting smaller. Whether that’s due to me being lazy or whether I’m just becoming a more savvy packer, I have no idea (I would guess at the former though). I’m not long back from a week in Portugal and although I felt as though my makeup bag was pretty refined in the first place when I compare what I took to what I actually used there’s quite a big difference - I only used about half of what I packed. I only wore makeup at night and felt more comfortable wearing concealer, a bit of cream blush and mascara then added colour with lipstick. 

What I Took 

Charlotte Tilbury Lipliner in Pillow Talk - Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in 01 Rose Shimmer - Mac Lipstick Cross Wires - Mac Lipstick Lady Danger - Illamasqua Lipstick Soaked - Pixi Shea Butter Lip Balm in Coral Crush

What I Used 

Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer in Porcelain
Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Pale Pink
Charlotte Tilbury Lipliner in Pillow Talk - Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in 01 Rose Shimmer - Illamasqua Lipstick Soaked - Mac Lipstick Cross Wires - Pixi Shea Butter Lip Balm in Coral Crush
Lancome Hypnose Mascara - Mac Quad - Naked Lunch and Era

Do you wear all the makeup you take on holiday? 

Sunday, 24 August 2014

This Week #3 - Portugal

Beaches in Lagos - Yellow Lagos Meia Praia - Pool Day - Slide and Splash Water Park - Sunset Tour

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Edinburgh this Weekend - Book Festival

I’ve always been a book worm. From a young age my head was always stuck in a book and this has never really changed as I’ve got older. One of my earliest memories is going to the Edinburgh Book Festival with my primary school and looking round the book shop in absolute awe of the choices (before I would have been limited to looking only the children's books). 

Last night I went to see Francesca Martinez speak about her autobiography, What the **** is Normal?! and Irvine Welsh speak about his new book Sex Lives of Siamese Twins (and there was a reading of his next book A Decent Ride which is out April next year). Both fantastic events, especially Francesca Martinez - I read her book on holiday and now I’m slightly obsessed with her. Her attitude about disability and consumerism is amazing - although more on her later. Irvine Welsh spent a short time discussing his current book and then the questions were opened to the audience who wanted to know more about his overall influence as an author, whether he’d vote yes or no and what type of music he liked. 

Edinburgh Book Festival

This is the last weekend for the Book Festival and there’s defiantly still something for everyone. Saturday afternoon Michael Morpurgo is speaking about an anthology of children’s First World War Literature that he edited, in the evening there are two events celebrating the launch of the Book Festival’s new graphic novel, the first with Denise Mina, Pat Mills and Will Morris and the second with Kate Charlesworth, Mary Talbot and Irvine Welsh. Tomorrow Danny Dorling is speaking about how to avoid another housing crisis, then as part of the Amnesty International Imprisoned Writer Series, Malala Yousafzai’s work will be read by some of the festival authors. Even if you’re not planning on going to an event, it’s a great place to head for a drink, to soak up the atmosphere and buy a book or two.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Edinburgh this Weekend - Joel Dommett

Before I went on holiday, my friend and I went to The Southsider on West Richmond Street for dinner then to see Joel Dommett. The Southersider was distinctly average food wise - I made the mistake of ordering macaroni. Macaroni making is a skill in itself and very few places do it well.  It was a nice enough pub but I’m not very sure I’ll be back in a hurry.

After dinner were pushed along to the other side of West Richmond Street to the Counting Horse. I do literally mean pushed, Edinburgh was packed.  I’ve seen Joel before (I feel that makes us on a first name basis), and he was absolutely hilarious – we were given a taster of his nun chuck skills in Glasgow at the start of the year. Very impressive I might I add – it’s certainly a lost art. Joel’s Finding Emo set is hilarious. At times, I did feel a bit lost between his stories but the jokes were funny and the ending was fantastic. Heelys and a mesh top, that’s all I’m going to say. And his show is free. Yes I did say free. Definitely worth a watch if you’re in the Edinburgh area and free at 9pm. His show runs until the 24th of August.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

With Great Nails Comes Great Responsibility - OPI Nail Envy

If you paint and repaint your nails religiously you’ll know the havoc it can cause on the condition of your nails. I went through a period where my nails were constantly breaking and peeling and originally I couldn’t work out what the problem was. Taking care of my nails in the same way that I take care of my skin or my hair just hadn’t really crossed my mind (I was young and naive). Until I found OPI Nail Envy.
OPI Nail Envy

OPI Nail Envy can be used as a base coat or a nail treatment. It helps strengthen nails for “harder, longer, stronger natural nails”. When you’re using it as a treatment you apply 2 coats and then apply another coat every second day for a week. At the end of the week you take everything off and, if you so wish, start again. When I first bought this I remember using it as a treatment for 3 weeks straight and the amount my nails grew in this time was unbelievable. Since then, I’ve been using this my regular base coat and then as a treatment every couple of months to make sure my nails are kept in decent condition. For me, it’s like a miracle in a tiny bottle. I’m now on my third bottle and still haven’t found anything that makes as much of a difference to my nails. 

Have you tried OPI Nail Envy?

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Summer Nails

Summer is the perfect time to experiment with different nails colours. Whether you’re the queen of pink, love a bit of purple or go for simple neutrals, hopefully I’ll have something for you to try.

The Blues

Blue Nail Polish

Until recently, I’ve always been a bit scared of blue nail polish - I’m 22 going on 80 sometimes (most of the time). Nails Inc Queensgate Terrace (R) is described as a cornflower blue whereas Ciate Pepperminty (L) is more of a minty turquoise colour (reminds me of Essie’s Mint Candy Apple). Both are great options if you fancy channeling your inner Queen Elsa.

The Purples

Purple Nail polish

I looooove purple. In Autumn/Winter, purple and berry toned polishes barely leave my nails. Ciate Sugar Plum (L) and Main Stage (R) are the perfect purples for summer. Main Stage is more of a pinky purple whereas Sugar Plum is a gorgeous pastel lavender tone. 

The Oranges

orange nail polish

Embrace the it colour this summer! I have Essie’s Fifth Avenue (L) (which I've spoken about here)if you’re looking for more of an orange/red or Ciate Hopscotch (R) if you’re committing to the bright orange trend. Both give a pop of colour while staying in the classic nail colour zone. These are both colours that I’ve using a lot on my toes lately.

The Pinks

pink nail polish

You can’t go wrong with pink nails. If you’re more of a traditional nail colour type of gal these are perfect. Essie Watermelon (L) is quite possibly my favourite nail polish of all time (bold statement, I know). The bright pink colour goes with everything and the stays on my nails for a good 4/5 days. If you’re looking for something a bit more in the pinky coral range, Nails Inc Brook Street (R) the one for you. 

The Neutrals 

white nail polish

I always think neutral nails look so clean and polished. Essie’s Fiji (L) and Blanc (R) are two of my favourite neutral nail colours. Fiji is a creamy pastel pink which I always think just looks so ladylike on the nails. Blanc is a beautiful opaque white (which requires a steady hand). 

What are your favourite summer nail colours?

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Holiday Books - from Sweet Dreams

I have a guest post over on Sweet Dreams and I'd love to share it here too -

If you’re looking for ideas on what to read on holiday, hopefully I can help! For me, holidays are all about lazing about by the pool with a book. I read anything and everything so I have a few options for you depending on the sort of thing you like to read. 

book list

Something Different
It’s funny, it’s quirky and it’s something entirely different from your typical holiday books. You meet Allan Klarsson in a retirement home on his 100th birthday. Allan isn’t exactly the retirement home type so as the title would suggest, climbs out of the window. Allan finds himself involved with criminals, an elephant and a suitcase filled with cash. As the events unfold you find out about Allan’s extraordinary life where he met numerous American Presidents, a couple of Dictators and helps build the atomic bomb. 

Something Emotional
This book is beautiful and life affirming. Hazel is a cancer patient who’s parents force her to attend a support group. Here she meets Augustus who sweeps her off her feet. Throughout the book we fall in love with the couple only to become face to face with the harsh reality of life. 

Something Tense
I love a good thriller. Marcus Goldman is struggling to write his second novel so in a hope to clear his head he visits his mentor and famous author, Harry Quebert. The body of Nola Kerrergan is then found in Harry’s garden and it’s soon clear that 30 years earlier, Harry had an affair with the 15 year old. The book is filled with so many twists and “oh my god” moments that until the end I really had no idea was behind the murder. Definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year. 

Something Classic
The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
Follow Bilbo on this adventure to help the dwarfs reclaim the Lonely Mountain from the dragon, Smaug. With giant spiders, elves and of course, the ring, it’s one of those classic books that are well worth a read. 

Do you have any recommendations? 

I've been so lucky to have been able to guest post on some amazing blogs this summer! If you fancy doing a post swap let me know!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Philip Kingsley Trail Packs - Marks and Spencer's Little Secret

I’m about to go on holiday and was having a bit of a dilemma about what to do about shampoo and conditioner. The psoriasis on my scalp has been flaring up recently so I knew that Aussie (my usual go-to holiday shampoo and conditioner) wouldn’t cut it. After a recent trip to Marks and Spencer’s to stock up on Philip Kingsley Flakey Itchy Scalp Shampoo, I came across the Philip Kingsley Trial Packs. They have 6 sets Body & Volume; Pure Silver; Take Comfort; Smooth & Shiney; Body & Shine and Soft & Shiney. Each with a different combination of Philip Kingsley shampoos, conditioners and treatments. 

Take Comfort Philip Kingsley Trial Pack

The one that caught my attention was Take Comfort which contains 60ml of Flakey Itchy Scalp Shampoo, Moisture Balance Conditioner and 75ml of Flakey Itchy Scalp Toner - the perfect option for someone with a sensitive scalp. The sizes are perfect for a week long holiday and I’m really excited about trying the Scalp Toner. The rest of the sets contain a 40ml tube of Elasticizer, which is one of my favourite hair treatments. 

If you’re looking for hair products to take on holiday, or you’re new to Philip Kingsley, these are a great option. 

Are you a Philip Kingsley Fan?

Friday, 8 August 2014

Gotta love Essie Blanc

Essie Blanc

I’ve always been an Essie Fiji fan but for the past few months I’ve found myself picking up Essie Blanc instead. When I originally bought this I remember thinking that I’d be able to wear it with everything. Certainly white does go with everything but in reality I find it looks a little too modern for the type of thing I wear every day (I’m a floral dress lover - I like to channel either a toddler or a granny). I do think that this is is a great option if you’re after something a little brighter and more modern for the summer and it certainly hasn’t stopped me popping this on every other week or so. It goes on opaque but I find myself using 3 coats to make sure there are no streaks. As always with Essie, I find the staying power great. I get a good 5 days before it starts to look a little worn.

What do you think of white nail polish? 

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Edinburgh Festival - Trying something New

As things calm down in Scotland’s largest city following the Common Wealth Games, things start to heat up in our Capital. Throughout August, Edinburgh is brought to life with the world’s largest arts festival. The Royal Mile is filled with Fringe performers, tourists, random celebrities and often some very different (I originally wrote odd but I thought I’d better be polite) people encouraging you to go to their shows. Living very close to Edinburgh, I’ve always tried to take full advantage of the Festival. Edinburgh is a beautiful city at the best of times, but when the Festival is on it’s spectacular. 

Normally I’m a comedy girl. There’s certainly no lack of choice - you have everything from the bigger names like John Bishop and Mark Watson to some some amazing up and comers. My friends and I normally head to the box office to see what we can get tickets for and spend our evening laughing away. Recently, I realised that I’ve actually only been experiencing one part of the Festival. Edinburgh International Festival starts on the 8th of August and will showcase some extremely talented and innovative dancers, musicians and actors from around the world. Then the following day, the Edinburgh Book Festival starts (more on this later). I was recently invited to the press event to find out more and was amazed at just how wrong my previous perceptions of the International Festival were. I always assumed it was a bit stuffy but in reality it’s about bringing the arts to a larger audience.

This year the Edinburgh International Festival is exploring the impact of history, particularly during times of war and unrest, and the influence this has on society and culture. There are numerous talks from academics to give a better incite into this if history is your thing. However, for those who’s heads this might go over (myself included), there is an abundance of music, dancing and theatre to choose from. And if you’re overwhelmed by the amount of choice they have a handy little feature on their website. Suggest My Fest lets you choose the type of thing you like e.g. risky or familiar, classic or contemporary, epic or intimate or whether it’s a thinker and gives suggestions as to the type of thing you might like. A very handy little tool if you’re like me and don’t have much of a clue where to start.

I'm really looking forward to going to a few shows and seeing something a bit different.

Are you going to be in Edinburgh during the Festival? 

Monday, 4 August 2014

Lipstick Addict Tag

I’m Nikki and I’m a lipstick addict (Hi Nikki). Some girls like blushes, some like nail polishes, I like lipstick. I seen the Lipstick Addict Tag on The Black Pearl Blog and knew it’d love taking part. 

Favourite lipbalm/treatment?

Without a doubt Nuxe Reve De Miel. This lip balm hydrates and soothes like no other. I use this every night and wake up to super soft lips.

Nuxe Reve De Miel
 Favourite red?

If I’m going for a true red lip colour, Estee Lauder Pure Colour Lip Envy in Envious is perfect. The bright poppy red colour stays on for a good 4-6 hours without needing a touch up and despite the decent staying power it doesn’t feel drying on the lips. 

Estee Lauder Pure Colour Lip Envy Envious
Best luxury lipsticks

I’m a Lauder girl all the way. The Pure Colour Lipsticks have such an amazing formula, the packaging is beautiful and they have a decent colour range. Crystal Pink is one my most used. 

Estee Lauder Pure Colour Lipstick
Best mac lipstick

I love Mac Plumful, the rosy plum colour perfect for day and night. 

Mac Plumful
Most disappointing lip product

I’m going to have to go for Mac Shy Girl. I was looking for a coral toned neutral lipstick and I’d heard a lot about Shy Girl. Unfortunately, it’s just not for me. The coral beige colour just makes me look like a corpse and I find the formula just looks cakey on my lips. Has anyone else found this?

Mac Shy Girl
Do you wear lipliner?

Since I bought Pillow Talk Lip Cheat from Charlotte Tilbury, I’ve found myself using lipliner a lot more. Before I would only really use lipliner if I was wearing a bolder lip colour but now I find that it gives the subtle definition my lips need.

Lip liner
Favourite lipgloss?

I’m not a massive lipgloss fan but I do love Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfecter. It looks more like a balm on the lips and doesn’t leave a horrible sticky feeling. And it smells wonderful.

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfecter
Best matte lipstick

I don’t have a lot of matte lipsticks at all. One that I’ve been wearing quite a lot lately is Mac Lady Danger. I’m a bit too scared to go for a full on orange lipstick but I love how this has the coral/orange tones. 

Mac lady danger
Best liquid lipstick

YSL Glossy Stains are a lipgloss/lipstick hybrid so that counts, right? YSL have such a great colour range and the staying power is amazing. 

ysl glossy stains
Favourite dramatic lipstick

The only dramatic lipstick that I’ve found myself wearing is Mac Rebel although the deep plum colour is definitely more suited to Autumn/Winter than summer. 

mac rebel
Special mention

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Boy was the colour I wore when I graduated last year, I wore it to Grad Ball and also on my first date with my boyfriend (vom, I know). I wouldn’t say I was a particularly sentimental person, but I do think there’s something a little special about this little lipstick.

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Boy

If you fancy joining in, let me know! I’d love to see what lip products you love.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Staycation Makeup Essentials - From Dippy Writes

And here is the final instalment of my holiday makeup essentials from Dippy Writes

There are so many things to do in the UK. I’m from just outside Glasgow and it always amazes me just how much there is to do in my own home town. Whether it’s walks to the park, visiting museums and local restaurants or just spending an evening in the garden with some friends, there will be plenty to do this summer. I thought for this selection I’d show you some of my favourite products for a light, natural look which wouldn’t look out of place on the local beach or at a friend’s BBQ. 

For a base, I love Estee Lauder Daywear BB Cream. It has slightly more coverage than a tinted moisturiser but this one also has all of the moisturising properties that comes along with the original Daywear moisturiser. And it smells delish! I’ve already mentioned my love for Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge for Lips and Cheeks in my beach holiday post, but again, for colour pay off, finish and staying power, these can do no wrong. For a light, natural look I’ve went for Pale Pink, which is a lovely pastel pink colour. To finish everything off, a light dusting of Bobbi Brown Brightening Nudes Finishing Powder will keep everything in place while giving your skin that added glow. And just look at the pretty packaging!

As for eyes, I’ve raided my Mac palette for a natural brown look. Naked Lunch is pretty over the lid with Era blended in the crease. Cork is great for giving your brows a bit of definition as well as being used as a liner along the last line and under the lower lash line. To finish off, Lancome Hypnose Mascara is my favourite for every day wear. It separates, lengthens and volumises leaving a wide eyed look.

As for lips, Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in Rose Shimmer is perfect for glossy but not too glossy finish. It smells AMAZING and leave your lips feeling so soft. If you wanted a touch more colour, just dab Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge on the lips then finish with the Lip Perfector. And there we go, a pretty natural look in record time!

If you missed my other posts, I've went through my beach holiday, city break and party holiday essentials.