Wednesday, 18 November 2015

FOTD: Silvery Smokey Eye with Red Lip

Products Used: 
Arbonne Mineral Foundation
Urban Decay Eyeshadows in Shellshock, Lovesick and Smokeout (Vice 2 Palette)
Arbonne Pencil Eyeliner in Black
Arbonne Lipstick in Runway Rouge

As I mentioned in Monday's post, I recently had the pleasure of spending the weekend in London. Now why was I in London? To see Wednesday 13 of course! One of the best things about going to see my favourite music artist, besides seeing the man himself obviously, is the fact that it's the perfect excuse to go really overboard with black eyeliner! I absolutely love doing makeup that leans towards the goth side of things and naturally, I just had to share that passion with you all today.

I started off by prepping my incredible winter base. After my skincare routine, I use a generous two pumps of the Arbonne Primer to really smooth over my skin and hydrate it ready for the heavy products I use at this time of year. While I adore both the Arbonne CC Cream and Mineral Foundation, neither of them are quite heavy enough for me at the moment. Together though? A match made in heaven. My skin is always horrendous at this time of year and using two of my favourite foundations together gives me the coverage I really need and desire. 

Once my base is out of the way, I ever so lightly added the Arbonne Bronzer and Arbonne Highlighter to my face. I wanted to keep myself relatively pale, but I also wanted to emphasise my cheekbones. With the minimal contouring out of the way, it was time to move onto the best part: my eyes! After applying a primer, I applied the lovely silver shade, Shellshock, from the Urban Decay Vice 2 Palette all over my eyelids. I then took the matt black shade, Smokeout, and blended it into my crease. To make it all a bit darker and smokier, I blended the slightly glittery black shade Lovesick onto the outer corners of my eyes. To finish it off, I did a nice thick flick of liquid eyeliner on my top lip and outlined the bottom in pencil eyeliner, slightly smudging it for a nice grungey look. Of course, I also used my beloved Arbonne It's a Long Story mascara to finish the eyes off.

I had wanted to wear false lashes with this makeup look to really give it some oomph but the only ones I had available to me were some seriously cheap and nasty eBay ones I've had for ages. Sadly I am really out of practice at applying lashes and these ones are pretty damn difficult to begin with, so I gave up on them and moved onto lipstick. Initially I had wanted a deep purple, but as the top I was wearing was red and black, I went for a red lip with Arbonne's Runway Rouge lipstick. This shade is sadly not available anymore, but if you were interested, I will let you know which shade in the new range of Arbonne lipsticks (even BETTER than the originals) is close. 

Overall, I am really happy with this makeup look and super excited for my next chance to wear it again. Funnily enough, I actually saw Wednesday 13 two nights in a row this time, so maybe, just maybe, I've got another gothic makeup look to show you next week...? 

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

What I Wore: A Walk Round Coate Water

I'm Wearing:
Beret: H+M
Jacket: Boohoo
Blouse: New Look
Trousers: Miss Pap
Scarf: Gift

Arbonne Primer
Arbonne CC Cream
Arbonne Mineral Foundation
Arbonne Bronzer
Arbonne Highlighter
Urban Decay Eyeshadows in Dope and Strike (Vice 2 Palette)
Arbonne Liquid Eyeliner in Brown
Arbonne It's a Long Story Mascara

One of the things I really want this little blog to be is a reflection of real life. I find that so many outfit bloggers only show outfits because they've been paid to, or they think it looks good but then don't actually wear that outfit outside the house. On this blog I promise to show outfits I actually wear, whether it's the clothes I wear to work or the clothes I wear on the very rare occasions I *gasp* socialise.

Of course, that also means sharing outfits that, well, look awful. In the past I've shared a few dud outfits and sadly, today is one of those. In my head, a cream shirt, 'leather' pants and some leopard print accessorising was a great idea, but sadly, that didn't translate into real life. It's a shame, because each piece in this particular outfit is great on its own, they just weren't meant to come together.

Thankfully, my rubbish outfit didn't spoil the day I had. On Sundays, I quite like to walk Genghis the shiba inu round Coate Water in Swindon. It's a really lovely walk and a great way to fit fresh air and exercise into my weekends. At the moment, it's particularly lovely due to the autumnal colours and scenes everywhere. It has been really mild in my part of the country so far, despite it being mid-November and for that I am very, very grateful. 

I'd also like to think that this terrible outfit is redeemed by my makeup. A month or two ago I finally invested in Arbonne's Brown Liquid eyeliner after enjoying the black one so much and it's not a decision I regret. I think it makes for lovely daytime wear and really enhances the green in my eyes.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Lush Haul

A couple of weekends ago, I had the absolute pleasure of staying in London for a long weekend and naturally, I had to make what can only be described as a blogger pilgrimage to Lush Oxford Street. It has been a long time since I've bought anything from Lush and as you can see, I went a little wild. I went in for two products: I was desperate to try the Cosmetic Warrior Fresh Face Mask again and my feet were in agony, so I wanted some kind of magical foot lotion too. Unfortunately, once I got going, I couldn't stop. It has been so long since I treated myself to something...!

I Bought: 
Cosmetic Warrior Fresh Face Mask
Go Faster Feet Foot Lotion
Damaged Hot Oil Treatment
Don't Look at Me Fresh Face Mask
Mint Julips Lip Scrub
Rehab Shampoo
Tea Tree Toner Water
Sparkle Toothy Tabs
Ultrabland Cleansing Balm
Retread Hair Conditioner

For the past two years of my life, I have exclusively been using Arbonne skin care. DO NOT GET ME WRONG, I still love Arbonne with all my heart, but every now and again, it's really nice to have a change, particularly when my skin is totally freaking out right now. I think that's why I went so overboard when I really shouldn't be spending on non-essentials right now - I was just so excited to have something different in my life. 

Cosmetic Warrior, Ultrabland and Retread are the only three products I bought that I had tried before. Cosmetic Warrior is one of my favourite facemasks of all time and my skin really needed a treat, whereas Ultrabland is one of my favourite cleansers of all time. Retread on the other hand, I actually seriously disliked but as I was buying the Rehab shampoo, I wanted a conditioner too. Retread was described as its perfect partner so I decided to give it one more chance in case the last time I tried it was a dud. 

Not only is my skin rebelling against me at the moment, but so is my hair. It's been a while since I really pampered my hair with a luxurious treatment and I was really intrigued by this oil on a stick offering. 

While I was hovering around looking for Cosmetic Warrior, I was asked if I wanted to try any more face masks. The woman who asked was so lovely and friendly I just had to say yes and next thing I knew, I was sat on a chair having every single face mask on offer gently massaged onto my hands and arms. A few seriously piqued my interest, but in the end, it was this gorgeous bright blue mask which I chose: Don't Look At Me. It reminded me of Ocean Salt

As I said, a foot lotion was one of the two products I had actually intended to buy. Walking round London in my creepers really was not doing me any favours, so I wanted to say sorry to my feet. This certainly did the trick! 

Previously I've been a huge fan of the Bubblegum Lip Scrub, but it has been quite a while since I've had that or any similar products. I did pick up the Santa Lip Scrub for consideration, but in the end went for this minty delight. I have no regrets.

I've heard so many great things about this shampoo, I just had to give it a little try. It smells seriously great. 

Traditionally my skin has never got along with Tea Tree, but it smells so delightful and on paper, sounds perfect for my skin. I looooove toner sprays and I simply couldn't resist this one. 

Probably one of the strangest products I have ever come across. I really love these little guys though. I can't wait to do a full review of them!

Over the coming weeks, I will be doing full reviews of everything I bought as I've been trying everything out for the past few weeks.

I really, really enjoyed my time in the store. It's so well presented and the staff were great. In many Lush stores I think the staff can be quite over bearing and almost a little creepy but here I felt so at ease, welcomed and like help was on hand if I needed it. I'm heading back to London in December and I think I will have to take another look round!

Have you been to Lush Oxford Street?

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Operation Supervixen: November Goals

Hello everyone. It has been a while since I set myself some real goals to help keep me on track in my personal development journey. With October coming to an end (what, already?! HOW?!) I thought now was the perfect time to set myself some fresh goals to complete during November. At the end of November, I will update you all on my progress and get back into the habit of setting goals and writing progress reports on a monthly basis again.

  1. Take a packed lunch to work every day. This goal kills two birds with one stone: not only does it stop me spending extortionate amounts of money, but a lunch I've actually prepared myself is always going to be healthier than one I buy from the shop. 
  2. Have zero takeaways. Another goal which will be good for both my bank balance and health. This month I have had more takeaways than I care to admit to - despite the fact I can't afford it. Not only that but as much as a I love Domino's Pizza and dumplings, they aren't good for my waistline! This will be seriously tough to stick to, but I really need to start being tough on myself when it comes to this and I suspect my next goal might make it easier than it normally would be.
  3. Start a cleanse. Last month, I accidentally stumbled upon a cleanse programme that isn't just juice AND the recipes included actually appealed to me! When I look at most detox/cleanse programmes, I am horrified by how bland they are, or how obscure and inaccessible the ingredients are. However, the programme I will be undertaking has recipes that make my mouth water, an ingredient substitute guide (v. helpful for a fussy eater like me) and ingredients I've heard of - but it also has a guide of where to find all the ingredients anyway! I will be starting this programme on Monday 9th. I'd originally wanted to start on the 2nd, but I am away the weekend of the 7th and I knew I'd end up spoiling it before I'd even got started properly.
  4. Go to roller derby every week. This is with the exception of the first week, when I have other plans that night. So far in October, I haven't been to roller derby once and I am so annoyed and ashamed of myself. I would really like to turn over a new leaf in November and start going again. Every time I do make the effort I seriously enjoy it and it's such a good workout. 
  5. Workout on the weekends. I know, I know, weekends are meant to be 'time off.' However, I'm at work during the week - there's NO chance in hell I will get out of bed to workout properly before work and I am always far too tired when I get home (hence why I don't go to roller derby!) For a while I got into the habit of doing Blogilates videos on Saturdays and Sundays and now I need to get back into it. 
  6. Use my week off work in the middle of the month to breath some life back into this blog. Although I have finally started posting 2-3 times a week again alongside my shiny new blog design, I am still not very satisfied with this blog. I want to really revamp my content and posting schedule and not being at work is the perfect time to do it. Hoping to use the time to schedule content right up until the end of 2015, however my main focus is generating content I am really proud of again. 
So, six goals related to money saving, healthy eating, exercise and using my free time in a way that aligns with my values. I am feeling quite positive about these - although very nervous about number 2 - so looking forward to giving an update in a month's time!

What are your November goals?

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

What To Do When You Have "Nothing To Wear"

original image via Pixabay
OK, hands up who has ever said "OMG I have NOTHING to wear" while staring at their wardrobe which is, of course, full of clothes. I say it at least three times a day. I'm in a massive style rut, the majority of my clothes no longer fit me and I can't afford to replace them and the clothes that do fit me, I can't stand anymore. Last time my boyfriend and I went to the cinema, I nearly had a full on meltdown because I just "couldn't" find a date night appropriate outfit that made me feel how I wanted to feel - I almost cancelled on him because of it. Obviously, this is no way to live, so I've sat down and written myself an action plan to fall back in love with my own personal style again. Naturally, I thought I'd share it on the blog because I know I'm not the only person who faces this problem!

Step One
Clear your bed and make a lot of space. Empty your wardrobe. Empty your drawers. Empty anywhere that you store clothes and make sure you don't forget any laundry that's been hung up to dry for the past three weeks either. You need all your clothing in one place if this mission is going to be a success.

Step Two
Begin organising your mass of clothing into separate piles.: keep, sell, donate and chuck - that last pile there should be reserved only for items that are so far gone beyond repair that there's no hope left for them. You must be brutal and honest in this step! It's time to be honest about clothes that don't fit you and clothes you said you were going fix six months ago but never did. If you haven't sewn those buttons back on by now, you won't ever do it! Make sure mildy imperfect items and things that do not fit you are either in the sell or donate pile. Hang on to the sell and donate piles for now, but get rid of that chuck pile as soon as you can!

Tip: When doing a clear out, I find it's much easier and better for the soul to donate most items. However, when items are a certain brand or still have tags on them, it can be quite profitable to sell them - try Facebook groups first to avoid nasty fees!

Step Three
Now, sort these piles down even further - you want each type of clothing in a different pile - so, dresses, skirts, trousers, tops, playsuits and even your knickers and your bras ladies in their own individual pile. My reasoning behind this will become clearer at a later stage in the process.

Step Four
Now, let's focus our attention on the clothing in your keep pile. This should now only consist of clothes you actually wear on a regular basis or items you love so much you can't bear to get rid of them in anyway way. For the clothes you actually wear regularly: why do you wear these pieces so often: do they fit? Are they comfy? Easy to style? For the clothes you do not wear regularly but don't want to get rid of: Are they reserved for special occasions? Or are you just clueless about what to wear it with? 
Step Five
Using the clothes in your keep pile, write down a list of failsafe outfits, ones you know you can always fall back on if you want to look good and feel confident. If you have a lot of dresses, this is great because dresses = instant outfit. Now put your failsafe items and outfits right back in your wardrobe.

Step Six
You should now be left with the clothes you never wear but want to keep and the items you want to sell or donate. If the reason you never wear these items is because they're for special occasions, I think it's perfectly alright to pop it back in your wardrobe now. Everybody needs special outfits for special times! Now: lay out all your tops in one line, and all your bottoms (trousers, skirts, shorts etc.) in another line underneath. This is why I had you separate all your piles into invidual types of clothing. Do you see any potential matches? Laying out your clothes next to each other is a great way to visualise new outfits. You might think the reason you never wear your gorgeous blouse is because you have nothing that goes with it, but when you lay it next to a pretty little skirt, you might find the two are a match made in heaven! I've had you include you sell and donate piles in this exercise because you might be about to get rid of an item your wardrobe really needs.

Step Seven
Now, try on all your potential matches from Step Six. If they look good, add a note to your failsafe outfits list, and then pop the items in your wardrobe. Your wardrobe should now be full of great outfits that you love and on your bed you should only have your sell, donate, and what the hell do I wear this with items. Put your sell and donate items to one side and focus all your attention on the lonely clothing. Can you envision anything that will go with these items of clothing? If you wardrobe is just missing some essential basics, make sure you write these down and grab them on your next shopping trip. If it's just one of those items that doesn't go with anything at all, it's time to suck it up, and add it to the sell or donate pile.

Step Eight
Haul your donate bag to your charity/sister of choice and get listing those sell items wherever you choose!

Hopefully you now have a wardrobe full of clothing that fits you and is totally wearable. Not to mention you've got a list of outfits you know make you feel good, so make sure you hang onto that for days when you just can't decide what to wear!

If you enjoyed this post and/or found it useful, please do let me know as I am thinking of turning it into a full series about building a wardrobe full of clothes you really love and developing your own personal style.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Operation Supervixen: Where I'm At

Operation Supervixen is my own personal transformation programme. In June 2015, I decided I was utterly fed up of being miserable, unwell and feeling like I wasn't reaching my full potential in life. To combat this, I decided I was going to radically transform my diet, maintain an exercise routine and centre my leisure activities around personal development. To keep me accountable and help others in the process, I started Operation Supervixen

Hello everyone! As I took a little break from blogging during September, my Operation Supervixen kinda ground to a halt so I thought today I'd take the time to update you all on where I'm at. I find it suprisingly motivating publishing honest accounts of my personal development journey online; accountability really is key when you want to make a positive change.

For the past month or so, I've really let myself go again. There's just something about this time of year that makes everything seem ten times more difficult and I really struggle with my mental health once it starts getting colder and darker. My emotions, my approach to healthy eating and the ways in which I have been spending my free time have been a total rollercoaster. One day I will have a green smoothie for breakfast, a vegetable based soup for lunch and a healthy dinner, the next I will eat a sharing size bag of Doritos and not much else. One day I will go above and beyond my to do list at work, then come home and clean my flat from top to bottom. The next I will spend the entire day wrapped in my duvet on my sofa and watch an entire series of a TV show.

I'm currently trying to find that ever-important balance between self care and not being too hard on myself, and knowing when it's time to give myself a kick up the bum and make a bit more effort. I know I find Autumn and Winter particularly difficult on my health, which in turn affects every aspect of my life, but I also know that I can't spend from September-early March hidden away and doing nothing of value.

Thankfully, it's not all bad news. Against all odds, I have not had a cigarette since May and I am so proud of myself for this. I haven't lost as much weight as I want to - I keep losing the same two kilograms just to put them back on again - but I have managed to keep an entire two kilograms off since I reached my heaviest ever weight. I have also been sticking with my driving lessons, which quite frankly, if I achieve nothing else this year, it'll be fine, because taking this step is going to have such a positive impact on my life.

Now that I am easing myself back into blogging again, I am hoping to keep up with the Operation Supervixen series. Alongside monthly updates and goals posts, I want to review the personal development books I read and the courses I take and share any useful lessons I learn along the way so you can benefit from them too.

If you have any tips on staying positive and keeping up with a mentally and physically healthy lifestyle during the colder seasons, I'd love for you to share them!

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

The Lazy Girl's Guide To Cooking

image via Pixabay
I don't know about you, but as much as I love cooking, I am often too exhausted after work to do it. The last thing I want to do is spend an hour prepping, then an hour actually cooking and then finish off my evening slaving over the sink washing 49395820 pots and pans up. Thankfully, I've found there's a few ways around the most annoying bits of cooking and I thought I'd share them with you today. I've called this the Lazy Girl's Guide to Cooking, but really, it applies to anyone with fatigue issues (like myself) or people who just want to save some time without resorting to unhealthy options like takeaways and ready meals.

Have numerous one pot recipes on hand
Hands down the worst parts of eating home cooked food is the washing up afterwards! I don't know what I will do if I ever have someone besides myself to clean up after! To get around this issue, I've found that one pot recipes are the best way to minimise clean up time. I recommend having a variety of different ones to hand at all times so whenever you're feeling like you CBA when it comes to doing the dishes, you can still cook yourself something good.

Batch cook and use your freezer
This is obviously a classic cooking tip, whether you're wanting to save time, or money or just generally be more efficient in the kitchen. Sadly, I don't actually have a freezer at the moment so I can't utilise this tip myself which makes it seem all the more valuable to me. If, like me, you love to cook at weekends because you have the energy to do so, but when it comes to weeknights, work has sapped the life out of you, having ready made meals is such a good option. *runs off to buy a freezer*

Buy your veg pre-chopped
Often, it's not the thought of cooking itself that has me groaning, but more the thought of prepping the ingredients. There are so, so, so many vegetables you can get your hands on today that are already ready to go - why not make cooking a little bit easier on yourself?

Use ground ginger/garlic/chili or those handy little paste tubes you can get
Sadly, using ground ingredients will probably not have the same nutritional benefits, but they still pack a good punch of all-important flavour. I love ginger but I find it so damn fiddly and annoying to prepare the fresh stuff so with certain recipes, I am much happier to just use the paste or ground stuff.

Plan your meals around your commitments
On Thursday evenings, I head to roller derby straight after work and so I know already there is no chance of me cooking a full meal from scratch when I get in. In order to avoid caving in to my takeaway craving or buying a dreadful ready meal, I try my hardest to cook a proper meal on Wednesday night and save the leftovers for Thursday evening.

Consider a service like Hello Fresh
In my last blog post, I talked about the Hello Fresh recipe box subscription had reignited my passion for cooking again. These boxes have a number of benefits for lazy girls: they take away the hard work of deciding what on earth to have for tea, they bring all the ingredients you need right to your door, and mostly, they are already in the quantities you require.