Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Recent beauty and skincare purchases

I can't believe that June is almost over. Where did that first month of summer go? As it was my birthday I got a bunch of stuff but I also received some birthday spending money and some of that went towards birthday purchases, mainly revolving around beauty and skincare. Which I have decided to show to you. This is kind of scary as it seems very beauty blogger-ish which is not what I am (and also because I don't know what I'm talking about). Let's just pretend it's like any "here's what I've bought recently and this is what I think of it" post.

Firstly, I have to apologise. I didn't want to take these products out of the bathroom as I've been using them in the shower and it just seemed unhygienic. Hence the bad bathroom photo. The Body Shop had an offer online in which if you spent £30 or more you'd get £15 off. Naturally I spent exactly £30 to be able to use the offer. Because I'm so cheap sometimes. Anyway, I bought the Brasil Nut Body Butter and it is beyond words. The nutty scent is amazing, it sinks into the skin so quickly and it makes the skin so smooth. I can see the obsession with body butters now. I also bought the Cocoa Butter Creamy Body Wash. This is very thick and creamy. Maybe a bit more than I expected. As an addition to my regular foot baths (which is the best thing ever) I got the Peppermint Intensive Foot Rescue. It's nice to have a separate, richer moisturiser for my feet although I have to say that it's not performing any foot-related miracles so far. Maybe my feet are beyond rescue. Lastly I bought a nail block and although it can be purchased fairly cheap from most places, this one is definitely very good. I'm pleased with all items and I'd recommend signing up to the Body Shop newsletter as they constantly have offers like this on.

On my actual birthday, in between guests arriving, I somehow managed to place an order on escentual.com. (How keen am I?!) I was so close to running out of toner and moisturiser and I had been planning my purchase for weeks. As I have very dehydrated skin that is a little bit on the sensitive side, I decided to go for the Caudalie Gentle Cleansing Milk. This is very hydrating, leaves the skin soft and smooth and smells amazing. However, it is not very efficient when it comes to removing face makeup which means that days when I've been wearing foundation I've had to do a double cleanse together with my old cleanser. This is probably something I should do anyway so it doesn't bother me too much. Because I like to buy things in sets I then bought the Caudalie Moisturising Toner. I find it difficult to know whether a toner works or not, but it certainly hasn't made my skin any worse than my old toner (from Clarins). And it also smells amazing. Lastly, I bought the Clarins Daily Energizers Cream and this is my new favourite moisturiser ever. It's just so easy to apply, the fragrance (which smells a bit like oranges?) is so good and it's the first moisturiser that actually felt like it made quite a difference to my face. The price is also fairly good considering that it's not a budget product. The prices on escentual.com were great, but the items did arrive the day after my order confirmation said they would. 

Finally, I made a small purchase in Superdrug when I was in Belfast with my friends, Kathryn and Beth. Totally taking advantage of Rimmel's 3 for 2 offer, I bought two nail polishes from the Rimmel Salon Pro range and a lipstick. The two nail polishes are in the shade Hip Hop and Peppermint. The formula is great, applies easily and dries quickly. I chip every single nail polish I wear almost immediately and this lasted about three days on me which is pretty good! The colour Hip Hop wooed me the most, it's a very happy and flattering red. A perfect summery red (which I've always thought was a colour for the winter-months). In fact, I've worn it for a week and I think I'll wear it for another week... Like the Hip Hop nail polish, the Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick is also from the Kate Moss range and I chose shade 05, which is a darker, rose pink. (I have no idea if that makes any sense at all). It's very flattering on and it doesn't dry my lips out which is a minor miracle. I'd recommend all of this. Rimmel is definitely one of my favourite drugstore brands.

P.S. In two days my family will be visiting me and Steve!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

A week of fixing

(This was not a good week for Instagram. In general, I try to upload about a picture a day or so to get myself in the mindset of actually documenting what's going on in my life. At some point I'd like to print a whole bunch of my Instagram photos and put them on the wall somewhere in the house. We'll see if that ever happens.)

As you may remember from my last weekly update, Nicolette was here last weekend until Tuesday. (The picture above was taken on the Monday, excuse my crazy face. It may have been taken shortly after I got my university results.) We didn't do much after our eventful weekend, apart from taking a walk and watching movies and stuff. It was nice! On Tuesday we had a slightly tearful goodbye and then I arrived home to find Steve's dad eager to start doing some work on our house. The next three days are a blur of painting, sanding and more painting. If you're interested, our front door used to look like this. The garden is also in a slightly better state than before but it's not ready for the internet quite yet. I spent most of the time painting our fence which is possibly the worst activity in the world.

On Friday the weather turned bad and so we haven't been able to do any work on the house over the weekend at all. On Friday I made cookies. We spent our Saturday night babysitting Steve's niece and nephew (and we also watched Ghost in the Shell. I'm not sure if I liked it or not.) Today we went to IKEA and bought a couple of small things for the garden. Isn't it strange how when you have a gift card for a certain amount, you're reluctant to buy things? I've also spent an unnatural amount of time playing Final Fantasy after I found the missing cables for Steve's Playstation 2. Life is good.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

A little bit about running, part ii

Yes, that's an old picture that I've used in the blog before. In all honesty, it's bad enough to have these pictures where I'm sweaty and gross. I'm not gonna go outside and snap new ones anytime soon. But let's talk about running! (You can read my first post on running here.)

When to run - Out of all my paragraphs, this is definitely the most subjective one. This is not hard rules, I've made this up based on my own experiences and internet forums. I've found that running in the morning works the best for me but not if I've been up too long. Ideally, I wake up around 9am and eat a banana (which I've conveniently placed on my bedside table. I'm not against eating in bed. How messy.) Over the next half hour I put on my running clothes, wash my face and sip on a glass of water. Then I run. I don't ever eat more in the morning because if I run shortly after eating a bigger meal I feel nauseous. If I'm running in the evening I make sure to wait until at least two hours after I finish my dinner. You know when else to run? In light rain. It seems like such a chore when you're standing at your door and looking out at the miserable weather. Trust me - running in rain is almost comfortable. It's almost like something you'd like to do again. Sunny weather is the worst for running.

How to run - This seems like something that is far too often forgotten about, but it's actually quite important. I know that during a run you may be exhausted and life may feel miserable and you really just want to stare at the ground. This is bad practice. Keep your eyes firmly fixed on something in front of you. Don't slouch. I've read this at so many websites and although I appreciate minimizing damage etc, running also becomes a lot easier if you keep your body upright. When I run my goal is to run the full interval (which is currently at eight minutes per interval) rather than running as fast as I can in a short amount of time. It's okay if you feel like your legs aren't lifting far off the ground - they're apparently not supposed to if you're running for longer periods of time (... which is what I consider eight minutes to be. Hrm.)

Stretching - I've heard of people who stretch before running but I've also heard that it's really bad when the muscles are stiff and "cold". So I don't and instead I walk quickly for five minutes before I start my run. However, stretching afterwards is really important due to lots of stuff that I know nothing about but it seems to be summed up in 1) preventing damage and 2) maintaining flexibility. Don't quote me on this. Googling "stretching for runners" will give you a million different tips on what to stretch and I'm sure they're all great. For me, this video is the one that has worked the best and so I highly recommend it. Let me know if you have a good stretching routine to share! Don't run and not stretch, people. This is serious business.

At risk of sounding overly cynical; I have never been someone to enjoy exercise. Let's face it, I'd much rather lie on the couch and eat greasy food. However even I realise that maybe it's healthy to work up a sweat now and then. And I can recommend running. It's easy and running for 30 minutes three times a week doesn't take much time out of your schedule. At times it's almost enjoyable. Even better, the general smugness after running is definitely enjoyable. I think that's what they call endorphins. Take it from someone who knows the goodness of lazying about - exercise is not so bad after all. Maybe.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

10 reasons to smile 14.0

My guest just went back home to Sweden and it's a little bit empty here. You know what that means? Happy post!

Warm Bodies.

one - I got my degree classification yesterday and I ended up getting a first! For people who are not from the UK; according to Wikipedia a first is usually the highest awarded level (some universities award even higher but I don't know if my university does) that you can get. I was really not expecting it at all for many different reasons and I was genuinely shocked when I saw my results. There may have been a bit of squealing and jumping going on in my kitchen when I saw it. How embarrassing.

two - As mentioned, my friend was here over the weekend and my family is arriving in nine days. The last few years I've felt like June was the worst out of the months of the year but this June started brilliantly with my birthday, extended days of celebrations and then lots of visitors. Ending the first half of 2013 on a high, in other words.

three - The combination of guests and the news of my degree results means that my cupboard is stacked full of chocolate that Steve and his parents provided as celebratory treats. I actually have more chocolate than I have normal food. (I'm not entirely sure if this is a reason for my waistline to be happy but I'm not gonna say no to chocolate for dinner.)

four - I watched Wreck-It Ralph on Sunday and Warm Bodies last night. Warm Bodies is right up my street - weird and romantic with a great soundtrack. Plus zombies. Who doesn't like romantic zombies? (In related news, go listen to M83 - Midnight City.)

five - Saturday night I drove through a drive-through at McDonalds. Yeah, I can't believe I survived it either. (I would also like to suggest that my friend Kathryn decides to go down the career route of recording calming statements for nervous drivers.)

six - Running is still going well, as evident by my latest running post. I started week 5 yesterday and although I several times wanted to lie down on the sidewalk and give up on life... I didn't.

seven - Steve gets paid in nine days.

eight - It's sunny outside.

nine - The weekend is already looking good as me and Steve are babysitting in exchange for a Chinese on Saturday and on Sunday I have planned an IKEA trip with old gift cards that I had forgotten about until now... Maybe I should inform Steve of these plans?

ten - As I've been visiting bragging about the little country I live in and entertaining my guest, I haven't had a chance to read blogs or watch youtube videos over the weekend. This means that I've built up a little backlog. Tonight I'm going to have a footbath and watch beauty videos all night long. It's sad but I love it.

Bonus-happiness-reason - It's less than two months left until we got to Malta. I realise that I'm obnoxious but... I can't help it.

Monday, 17 June 2013

A week full of treats

All images are from my Instagram.

First things first; this is going to be short because I don't have much time for blogging. Secondly, it's a day late because yesterday I most definitely didn't have any leftover time at all for a casual Sunday blogging experience. Overall it was a good week. I went to Steve's nieces' Sport's Day on Monday. I love the concept of Sports Day when you're an adult; You arrive and sit down on chairs, you watch children do lots of exercise and in between you eat buns and drink coffee/tea. It's amazing. Until you find out that apparently there are events for the parents afterwards and as I came as a substitute parent, I had to participate in a race. It was obvious that some of these parents took these races very seriously (sportswear, trainers - I had to run in jeans and with bare feet) but I feel like I could at least had gotten second place... If I hadn't tripped halfway through. My ego is still a little bit bruised.

Despite the fact that my birthday was last week, this week felt pretty special too. The two online orders that I had made with my birthday money arrived and I have now stocked up on cleanser, toner, lots of moisturisers, soap and a nail file. Also on Thursday my friend Kathryn took me out for an entire day dedicated to just spoiling me! (I don't mean to sound so full of myself. She really did go out of her way to make it an amazing day.) First we went to Boots and she bought me very sophisticated and blog-famous makeup brushes from Real Techniques (I've been wearing foundation everyday since just because I want to use the brushes). As if that wasn't enough, she then took me to the Merchant Hotel for a champagne afternoon tea. For people who are not from Belfast - this hotel is fancy. It's so fancy that I didn't dare raising my voice above a whisper for the first half hour and I had to peek at the table next to us to figure out what cutlery to use when. Apart from pink champagne we also got tea, little sandwiches and a selection of pastries and such. It was delicious. Kathryn wrote an in-depth post about it here that describes the whole afternoon far better than I ever could.

Later that day I found out that my friend Nicolette from Sweden had booked tickets to come and visit me! She's never been here before despite me constantly nagging about it and after sorting out some trouble with her passport she arrived Friday night. On Saturday we + Steve went to Lisburn where we visited a couple of shops and had a coffee. One of these shops was Cex and Nicolette was in heaven. (The last picture is of Nicolette picking out stuff that she wanted to buy. She then decided to restrain herself and put two things back. It was heartbreaking.) We then asked Nicolette if there was anything in particular that she wanted to see or do. "I'd like to go to KFC" she replied. Steve looked as if he had found his soulmate (which didn't bother me in the slightest I might add) and I agreed to eating greasy chicken for the sake of the majority of my company. Later that evening we went out and Nicolette got the chance to meet all of mine and Steve's friends which I'm sure was a trial but she handled it very well.

We slept in late yesterday and were supposed to take it easy until I found out that Belfast would be on lockdown today because of the G8 summit. Change of plans. We basically threw ourselves out the door to catch the next train to Belfast. It was a slightly surreal experience as Belfast felt nearly empty in comparison to the usual buzz and crowds. I showed Nicolette around the city centre and the Cathedral Quarters, we had coffee (and I forced Nicolette to try red velvet cake and caramel shortcake - she liked neither) and then we went to Primark. Primark is a must if you're going to the UK. When we got home we made dinner and then we watched Wreck-It Ralph which is soo good. Today we're taking it easy as she's going home tomorrow. I can't believe the weekend is already over. (I also can't believe I just managed to write this much within the time it takes for her to have a shower. Is she slow or am I really that quick?!)

Friday, 14 June 2013

A little bit about running, part i

As I'm typing this (Thursday) I'm lying in the couch, a berry tartlet next to me and the only exercise I'm getting is through the act of balancing the laptop on my stomach (that is full of takeaway, champagne and treats. I had a good day.) The point I'm making is that I'm currently not feeling very exercise-y at all at the moment. However I promised myself that I would sit down and write a little bit about what I've learnt so far in the process of running when I've reached halfway through my schedule. Which happens to be now, sooo... I hope this is at least vaguely interesting. I originally wrote a much longer post and then realised that there will never be anyone, ever, who will manage to get through all of it without yawning, so I've now split it up in two parts. The next installment will be published in a week or so.

This is why you read my blog; for these very not-romanticized snapshots from my life. You'd think I'd at least clean them before taking a picture.

Equipment - One of the better things about running is that you can do it with relatively little preparation. However, decent running shoes are a must. I'm not saying that you have to spend a huge amount on them, but they need to be comfortable and they need to fit your feet well. You know what's shallow and really shouldn't make a difference? Clothes. Two years ago I ran wearing old sweats and t-shirts. And a normal bra (TMI). It's not that you can't run in those clothes, but they're a lot less comfortable and feel slightly heavier and more limiting. I now run in super tight running trousers with about a million air-holes and although the act of putting them on is about as exhausting as the running itself, I do think they've made running a lot easier. Lastly, I recommend getting an armband to hold your phone while you're running. It leaves your arms free for flailing or other running-related activities.

Schedules - I don't know about you guys but I am the kind of person who needs a schedule. I found my beginner's running schedule here (and I've used it before so I know it works) and I follow it religiously. When I'm nearing the end of my run and my feet are sore and in general I just want to lie down and die, I think "the schedule says I should be able to do it, so I have to". Is this really a sign of unhealthy mental activity, my obedience to a schedule? I don't care, because it works for me. My boyfriend's sister ran this schedule with me in 2011 and in six days she's running her first half-marathon. Behold, the power of the schedule.

Apps - This is oh so high-tech. Apps are good because they allow you to keep track of how far you've run. I'm not a very competitive person (unless we're talking about Scrabble or other life-changing games) but even I like to compare my run against a previous one and note that I actually improved, even though I feel like the sweatiest and most exhausted gross person in the world. I use RunKeeper, which is great because it allows you to create activities. Cue example; I've just finished the schedule for week 4 which means that I had to run for five minutes and then walk for two (repeat three more times). I set these intervals up as activity "week 4" and a beep accompanied by a robotic voice will tell me when it's time for me to run and when it's time for me to walk. I'm sure there's other great apps out there, but I love this one and although I'm currently using it with my iPhone, I know that it's out there for Android as well.

P.S. Next week I'll talk about when I like to run, how I run (it seems self-explanatory but I was certainly not running the way I should when I started) and about the importance of stretching. Riveting stuff.

P.P.S. This is my 200th post! Celebrations and stuff all around.

P.P.P.S. My best friend from Sweden is visiting this weekend and I am SO excited.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Garden inspiration

Do you remember there was a time before I became clothes and makeup obsessed*, in which I wouldn't shut up about my house and all my grand plans for it? Spoiler-alert; If you click on the label 'new house', you will see proof of this, indeed there was a time when I nurtured all kinds of crazy ideas. You know what happens when you move into a house? First you quickly realise that half of all the ideas will not happen because they are impossible in the current situation and then you gradually run out of money. At first, not having any money for stuff for your home seems like the worst thing in this world but then you get used to it. And suddenly you do not care that there's four cardboard boxes in your guest room with things that need to be put on a shelf that you do not have. Or three paintings that are still not framed and hung up. Remember that TV we were supposed to put in our kitchen? It has temporarily been used as Steve's PC monitor since January. This has somehow become a long paragraph about nothing, but the surprising thing in midst of all this is that even whilst planning like a mad woman for my house I just never cared about my garden. Obviously, the past few days of actual sunny weather has changed this and the fact that I suddenly remembered that I have a gift card at IKEA. (Of course, today it started raining again, but my mind is still set on carrying out this BBQ-friendly transformation of our garden.)

Here's a rough layout of our garden. Oh yes, I drew this in paint within five minutes because I'm sure it was desperately needed and also because I figured that you all probably missed these not at all accurate layouts of my house. The orange square is our house with the backdoor and the steps on which Steve currently sits on when he smokes. They're dirty and gross. To the right we have our three bins (I gave them the right colours and all!) which cannot be moved because there's nowhere else to put them. To the left we have a small patio area which is shoddily done but it will do for now. Straight forward is a small piece of grass which happens to be landscaped so that it's a hill. A diagonal hill, the upper left corner is the highest point and from there on it goes downwards. I don't know who planned this but he or she has a shocking opinion of what a functional garden looks like. The circle is our clothesline. Oh, and in the top right corner is a giant, ugly oil tank and boiler which I somehow failed to draw. I'm gonna assume that I had pushed their existences to the back of my mind.

This is ideally what our garden would eventually look like**. Even I understand that this will not happen, ever, but lets try and bring in certain elements that will make our current garden a little more cozy. Steve's parents have a round wooden table and chairs that they've generously agreed to give to us. These shall be placed on the patio area. Ideally I would've liked to have some kind of hanging canope over this because of the rainy situation but it would have to hang over our bedroom windows. As sunlight is so limited already, blocking more of it is just out of the question. Plus our garden is really too small for such things. However, I'm getting those round garden lights and there is nothing that can stop me. Eventually I would like modern chairs to go with our wooden table but that won't happen this year.

Here's a couple of pictures which really captured the essence of what I want from my garden; an inviting place where I can read a book and drink my coffee. I love the idea of having a big old shelving system to put plants on but 1) all my plants die and 2) again we have the issue of windows existing in this world. There's just nowhere to put it that wouldn't block sunlight. An outdoors rug (although such a nice idea) would never work in our rainy garden. So I figure that what I need are pillows that can easily be transferred in and out between uses, candles to adorn the table and plants to make the place slightly more lively. Like, two plants maximum. Preferably two that would survive a nuclear war so that they have high chances of surviving with me and that like rain, wind and cloudy weather. They also need to be sold at IKEA. Does anyone know of such plants?

*Don't get me wrong, I am still makeup and clothes obsessed. With my birthday money I sensibly divided it up into two halves; one half has gone towards beauty and skincare purchases which I desperately wanted and the other half went towards bills and other important expenses. Such as cocktails. Don't judge me. Either way, I'll write a little about the skincare purchases some other time.

**All images are from my Pinterest, and yes, I know that my dream-home board is in dire need of organisation because I can barely find the images that I want nowadays.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

The past week and my birthday

Images from my Instagram.

I am currently in that state of overwhelmed "I'm so lucky and my life is the best, no matter what hardships I go through I will always have people who care for me". I don't consider myself a soppy person. Is this a general birthday-hangover? Did all that attention yesterday go to my head and now it's slowly seeping out, causing withdrawal symptoms and hormonal, cheesy blog posts? (Disclaimer - it may be the actual hangover, from actual cocktails. The emotions are just as pure anyway.)

In case the title and the previous paragraph did not make things clear - it was my birthday yesterday. And in case you haven't read my blog before I am a major fan of birthdays in general, including my own. I like receiving/giving stuff and eating my favourite foods, both of which birthdays commonly include. As far as weeks leading up to birthdays go, this was fairly uneventful, apart from Tuesday. On Tuesday I went to Belfast with my friends and we walked around shops. I'm lucky to know people who have a serious interest in beauty and who are willing to visit all makeup shops that Belfast offer. I believe we visited Boots and Superdrug twice and I also made a very small purchase. I claim it's to get me by another week without accidentally making crazy, huge online purchases. (It was a 3 for 2 offer, it barely counts.) We went for lunch at Avoca and I had delicious calamari served by a guy who looked like a younger and better looking Sam Merlotte from True Blood. If that isn't a successful lunch I don't know what is. The day ended on a high with a recruitment agency meeting followed by cocktails at Cafe Vaudeville. I'm easy to please when there's food involved.

Tuesday was also the start of a heat wave which is still going strong. It has actually felt like summer all week and I have shifted from pale blue to kind of eggshell white with only a tiny bit of help from fake tan but mostly actual tan. Wearing sun cream of course. I'm not advocating sizzling like bacon here, but I do believe that I suffer from sun deficiency (is that a thing?) and it does wonders for my health and mood to spend an hour or two in the sun every day. On Saturday Steve woke me up with an amazing breakfast. We do breakfast in bed on birthdays and he had asked me what type of breakfast I wanted. I answered, half-jokingly, that I wanted a general theme of 'continental hotel breakfast', not realising that Steve is big on following exact instructions. So I got two platters of yogurt, berries, toasted oats, croissants, parma ham, salami and cheese. I was in food heaven. Later on I got my nails done by my friend who is really good at nail art and the afternoon kind of just disappeared in a nail-painting and oreo-eating whirl. In the evening a bunch of friends came over and then we all went to a bar for cocktail drinking. Hence my general tiredness and soppy feelings today.

All in all it was such a good birthday and somehow the more I think of it, the better it feels. I got lots of presents (and people clearly know me well - it was almost all makeup, clothes and accessories. Which makes me sound like an awfully shallow person but I'm happy okay?) and I have a couple of awesome things to look forward to. And I ate lots of nice food and drank really nice cocktails, which in itself would make any day brilliant. Also I can confirm that 23 does not even feel very different from being 22, other than the official cloud of responsibility that is now hovering over me. Although I think that I've had that cloud since I was about eight years old, me being me. This post was a bit all over the place, but I hope you get the gist; It was a good week and I'm now officially a year older.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Reading Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Hello. This is another book review. I imagine that most of you hate this so... Do move on if you're not interested (but you should be because this is a good book. You'll be missing out). Anyway, I bought this book yesterday (on my Kindle app on my iPhone) on a whim after realising that it was shortlisted for Women's Prize for Fiction and I still hadn't gotten around to reading it. Well, now I have all the time in the world! (Cue manic laughing.)

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple is a book about Bernadette, her husband and their genius daughter who live in Seattle a giant house that is falling apart despite them being incredibly wealthy. The book is partly told through the daughter, Bee's, narration of the events and also through notes, letters and psychological interventions between the characters that lead up to Bernadette's mysterious disappearance. Bernadette suffers from severe anxiety and harbors a strong dislike for everything in Seattle which is downright hilarious to read about, (in particular because I think it makes Seattle sound like the most amazing place ever) but it quickly dawns upon the reader that she might be a little bit... crazy. In fact, they're all a little bit crazy. I'm going to give you another quote to illustrate Bernadette's way of thinking (the two previous quotes are by Bee):

"What you've heard about the rain: it's all true. So you'd think it would become part of the fabric, especially among the lifers. But every time it rains, and you have to interact with someone, here's what they'll say: 'Can you believe the weather?' And you want to say, 'Actually, I can believe the weather. What I can't believe is that I'm actually having a conversation about the weather.' But I don't say that, you see, because that would be instigating a fight, something I try my best to avoid, with mixed results."

This is a hilarious book. It was difficult to pick quotes of this book as I immediately thought of all the events that had me laughing out loud whilst reading (on my own in an empty house). But the jokes are the kind in which the punchline refers back to something that happened previously and so they can't be done justice in just one short passage. It's quite similar to the humour in Arrested Development (and maybe I'm just saying this because I know Maria Semple was a writer on that show). However, the book's finest moments are during the serious parts, the relationships between these eccentric characters that you grow to love, the ones that really touch you. And so although this book is well worth a read due to the characters, the sarcasm and the wit, it is Bee coping with her mother's disappearance that made me finish the book within 24 hours of purchasing it. Read it.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

May Favourites

Have I told you that I read a lot of beauty blogs? Possibly. Have I told you that my favourite moment of the day is when dinner is eaten and everything is washed (preferably by Steve) and I can snuggle up on my couch and read beauty blogs/catch up on the latest beauty videos? It's ridiculously relaxing. This is a round-about way of explaining that beauty bloggers have a tendency to gather up their favourite items at the end of the month and then they present them. Sometimes they talk about non-beauty related items and I like that too. In fact, I'm a person and so I can relate to finding certain things that I like every month. In short: This is happening now.

favourite on tv: Ooooh. This is difficult because I watched Game of Thrones last night and if you haven't watched episode 9 yet... You should go watch it right now. I shall say no more. If it wasn't for this particular episode which just about tipped the scales (the scales? The imaginary tv-show weighting scales?) I'd say Arrested Development season 4. It started off a bit rocky but entertaining and then about half-way through it got hysterically funny. You can find all four seasons on Netflix UK and you get the first month for free. No excuses. But anyway, Game of Thrones won.

favourite purchase: I bought a bath lily from the Body Shop last week and it. is. amazing. There was a time when I'd roll my eyes at people who bought these things because honestly, I can use my hands to lather soap on myself in the shower. But I was wrong about how well I can lather soap in comparison to this dreamboat of a bath lily. And the skin! It's so smooth afterwards! I need to buy one for Steve now because he keeps stealing mine and I do not share stuff like this.

favourite music: I have to say Kendrick Lamar's album Good kid, m.A.A.d city because I have gotten unnaturally fond of it despite the fact that it's rap. But I also loved Daft Punk - Get Lucky (eh like the rest of the world), The Drums, Peace, Arcade Fire and Tegan and Sara. The last two regained some love because I've used them as running music.

favourite food: Steve's birthday food was pretty damn amazing - peanutbutter buns, key lime pie and bacon & cheese swirls. And for the rest of the month: Meanies! Who knew vinegar-flavoured corn-snack could be so good?

favourite drink: Definitely the Coconut & Chocolate Frappe Creme that I had from Caffe Nero last week. I wrote an embarrassingly long paragraph about it in this post. (However I had another today and whoever made it did not blend it properly. I felt betrayed. (I still do.))

favourite beauty item: Barry M Gelly nail polish in the shade Blueberry wooed me to the point where I wore it twice in one month. That's two weeks with light blue nail polish. Well done, Barry M, but you cannot beat the Revlon lip butter in shade Wild Watermelon. It is red but with a very pink undertone and I've worn it a lot more than I care to admit. E.g. on "makeup free" days when not a scrap of concealer has touched my red, flaring nostrils or cave-like dark circles under my eyes I've still put on some of the Wild Watermelon. Because I love it.

favourite blog: Beauty blog-wise I've been loving I Covet Thee (I may or may not have read through every single post she has ever written) which is in English for all you English-speakers (which must be everyone, since you can read this). If you're a Swedish speaker and like interior design (hello mom); I've been loving Sa Fint Jag Vill which is just... adorable.

favourite event: I'd say it's a toss-up between celebrating Steve's birthday in the new house and finishing the last of my exams. Both of which were tremendously stressful and nearly gave me ulcers when it was happening but once it was over I enjoyed incredibly long lie-ins and cake. I liked betting on horses too which occurred the very last day of the month but it probably doesn't beat cake.

P.S. I wrote 12 blog posts in the month of May which I'm quite pleased about. Not exactly like the 26 posts that I wrote in one month early last year (what was wrong with me?) but I'm thinking quality over quantity. Riiight...?

P.P.S. All images are from my Instagram or from my Pinterest. Pretty crap compilation of pictures. I'll be better prepared next month!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

The first week of unwanted freedom

Images from my Instagram.

So this was the first week of being off and I'm not going to lie to you; I find it quite difficult. If you know me, you'll know that it's not that I'm the kind of person who is super-productive (to say the least - my idea of being productive is basically making dinner) or that I have this amazing sense of work ethics. I would love to be off if I knew for how long so that I could actually friggin' enjoy it!Anyway, there's no point in whining about it for now. We'll just see what happens.

If you read my Primark post you know that I went to Belfast on Tuesday and spent a little bit of my birthday money. I also had a plan B birthday present to get (which I couldn't say at the time because my blog is so tremendously popular - errr) after plan A didn't work out and when I explained to Steve that it was of utmost importance that I went to Belfast he believed me. Huzzah. Strangely enough the best part of that day (apart from falling in love with everyone in Lush - the staff in Belfast are the nicest and they smell. so. good. Naturally because they sell bath products I guess. I'm so creepy?) was the really warm weather which lead me to buying a Coconut & Chocolate Frappe Creme from Caffe Nero. At first I was kind of disappointed by the lack of coffee taste which can possibly be explained by the fact that there is next to no coffee in it but then I got into the idea of drinking what is basically a liquified Bounty and then I was all over it. It's also a bit ridiculously expensive which is why I'm lucky that the nearest Caffe Nero is in Belfast.

It was warm on Wednesday and Thursday as well (as evidenced by my outdoors-y picture in the middle) which makes it extra nice to have a garden. Running this week went well although on Wednesday when it was warm outside I wanted to lie down on the pavement and die. No exaggerating. If there is one thing good about the summer weather here it's that cloudy days with a bit of rain make for excellent running conditions. That is possibly the one good thing. And the minimized risk for skin cancer I guess.

On Friday I got fancy and put on a polka dot dress to go to a horse racing track for a friend's birthday (different friend - this one did not get a gift because I do favouritism like that). It turns out that betting on horses is loads of fun. My strategy was to pick names that I felt strongly for and hope that the odds weren't too bad. I once refrained from putting a bet on because it turns out that the odds were the worst for that one but other than that I stuck to my naming theory, and I won £23 from originally much smaller sums. So that night basically paid for itself. Yesterday mostly the same people (plus my Steve who couldn't join the betting bunch because of work - what a grown-up he is) went out to a local bar for continued birthday celebrations and I had too many shots. This lead to a day spent on the couch, having a four-hour nap somewhere in the midst of it and then going to a chippy for dinner. Classy is my middle name.