Tuesday, 29 November 2016

BEAUTY: Lab 2 - cruelty free makeup brushes

For the past month I have been putting some new make up brushes to the test, using them everyday and actually sticking to the routine of washing them every week. My collection of makeup brushes rarely get such treatment, however for these Cruelty Free and Vegan (!!) brushes from L.A.B.2 I wanted to give them a true test to prove that you don't need to rub animal hair on your face for that perfect finish. Borderline preachy there, so I'll stop. 
I've been sent the I'm Turning Pro brush kit which I think is a great starter set and the only other brush I've been using in the past month is an eye shadow brush from Real Techniques. The only reason for this is because the eye shadow brush in this set is PERFECT for blending concealer. 
The foundation brush is the only brush that I didn't like but that's not down to the brush. I have never really been a fan of the paintbrush style foundation brushes and favour the buffing style brushes. I found the foundation brush a little too big for concealer so this has been gifted to my Mum who loves it for her foundation. 
Now onto the stars of the show, the contour and buffing brush - both perfect, just perfect. Not only are these brushes soft but they wash so well. At the risk of sounding like my mother there haha, it's true though. They have a really fast drying time and keep their shape. 

I'd be looking for a really good contour brush for a while, some were just too small and most were just too large as I like quite a sharp contour on my moon face. 

Fair play to L.A.B.2, you've created some awesome brushes and most of the range are now on my Christmas list. 

Did I mention they are cruelty free and vegan too? ;) 

Sunday, 13 November 2016

LIFESTYLE: Saying goodbye to the iPhone 6 plus

My previous upgrade was a little disastrous. Two years ago when my contract renewal came around I called up EE and discussed my upgrade options with them and settled on having an iPhone 6. Fast forward a week and it wasn't the phone that was delivered - they'd sent me an iPhone 6 plus and it was HUGE. 

This was long before the time now where having a massive smart phone is a "thing" and I hated it to begin with, but I also didn't want to wait to send it back and be sent a new one so I stuck with it. It wasn't long before I fell in love with the massive screen which was great for working, blogging and taking photos. I bought a 360 degree phone cover to protect this ridiculous phone and I really did enjoy using it, despite it NEVER fitting in any pocket. 

My latest upgrade has just passed, in line with the launch of the iPhone 7, which I wasn't interested in in the slightest. No headphone port? No thanks. More importantly with the purchase of a house (yeah that topic isn't going away from my blog anytime soon) I needed to make sure I had a cheaper contract and I was getting more for my money. Through the conversation with the really helpful advisor I settled on an iPhone 6s - but this one has double the memory and a massive 10GB of internet - up from 4GB and this comes in very handy when working on the house which has no internet. Youtube videos whilst working is the way forward. 

At first the switch to a smaller phone was horrible, apart from being able to pop it in my pocket, I just hated a smaller screen. Watching any video on it wasn't as enjoyable and I was considering changing to the iPhone 6s plus or the iPhone 7 plus for this alone. But I stuck with it and now I am appreciating the other features, the more memory and internet, so I'm happy. 

As with my iPhone 6 plus I've still kept the iRing on the back of the phone, it's just something I am used to now and I don't think I'll ever not have one on my phone. I am stupidly clumsy and this has stopped me dropping my phone as much. My other tip, these 360 degree phone cases are brilliant and fully protect your phone if you drop it. 

*contains a sponsored link

Saturday, 12 November 2016

HOME: Renovating our kitchen

Before the work on the house turned into a full scale house renovation, the main project was the kitchen. After decades of not being maintained and the cupboards being eaten by the resident dogs - we couldn't live there and renovate such a big room in the house. 

The room is a huge L shape and will really become the heart of the downstairs once complete and now the bulk of the building work is complete, the daunting task of actually deciding on the worktops, appliances and decor. GULP.
I have always been a huge fan of a cottage style kitchen with plenty of wooden features and that's the style that (thankfully) we have both agreed on. The house has character and i don't want to loose that by putting a modern kitchen in. 

Until a few months ago I had never really used Pinterest and now it's become my new Instagram, here's my Kitchen Board - if that's the right term for it(!) and you can see exactly the type of look we are going for.
I will say at this stage, whilst I love having a large kitchen, there is one huge downside - cost. The wall space, appliance and furniture list is long because we have so much space to fill. 

Our idea is to have a bench like dining room table near the entrance to the kitchen, somewhat of a breakfast bar and coffee area. The rest of the kitchen will form a galley type kitchen through to the back door. 

As we are planning to stay in this house for many (many) years we want to fully kit out the kitchen in a budget friendly, but stylish, way. We considered lots of websites and review sites that show you the best cheap washing machines and dishwashers - but for us the solution was to have integrated appliances which I am more than happy with. 

As we head into month three of owning the house, the kitchen is due to be fully plaster boarded by today and the plasterer can now come in and skim the whole thing - goodbye dust! 

*contains a sponsored link

Sunday, 23 October 2016

LIFESTYLE: 7 months meat free!

Yesterday marked the day that I am officially 7 months meat free! I wrote about the reasons why here and I had always planned to revisit the topic if I was still sticking to it months down the line.

Well, I am and I'm pretty much vegan too. I am also pretty sure that I will never go back.

Roll back the clock to six months ago and I vowed that I would only make this choice if I was going to educate myself on the entire subject. This was really important for me because I didn't want this to just be a knee jerk reaction and potentially be something I wouldn't stick to. To put simply, the more you see and watch, the more you want to change.

After watching the documentary that made me not want to eat meat anymore, I then started reading everything I could and I'll be honest - I had to stop at one point because the information was just making me so angry. The fact that so much of the world's grain goes to feed animals in third world countries, which then just get slaughtered and eaten in the first world countries just infuriated me. All I could think of was the amount of food that isn't going to those who are literally starving to death.

I have my own veggie freezer drawer now, full of quorn and the supermarket vegetarian options which are surprisingly good! Eating out has been fine, but the only thing that I've felt really awkward about is eating at other people's houses. Whilst they have been so accommodating I do feel like it's my choice not to eat meat and this shouldn't impact other people. I will say that this hasn't been as bad as I thought with them making the same meal just using quorn instead of meat in a different pot.

I knew I wanted to look into veganism for a few reasons. I'd never really had the stomach for dairy and I knew that it couldn't be good for the animals, I just never knew HOW bad it was. Dairy milk was switched straight away to Soya, Almond and Coconut, cheese stopped pretty much (I've still had a couple of veggie pizzas) and chocolate switched to the dark variety.

Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

The switch to veganism will be a transition and whilst I am transitioning the key for me is in the definition above. This is taken from The Vegan Society website and has summed up my experience perfectly. The best example of this I can share here is a couple of weeks ago Matt's Grampy made me a cup of coffee, with normal milk. I decided to drink that coffee rather than explain that I couldn't drink it because I was vegan etc as I didn't want to cause offence and potential upset. In that moment it wasn't practicable for me to say no.

Cruelty free cosmetics and household products are another whole minefield that I've been looking further and further in to. The cosmetic side is fine, I'm only repurchasing cruelty free brands across makeup, hair products and body products. I'm still unclear as to how I feel about parent companies, but that's a whole other blogpost / video.

Household products are a whole other ball game. So far the only brands that I've seen in stores is Ecover and Method, both substantially more than your average products and supermarket own brands. With us just buying our first home a radical change to these products probably isn't going to be financially viable.

One part of this change (?) I wasn't expecting was the judging from others around me. Questions left right and centre about "Why the hell would you want to do that", statements that range from "I could never give up meat" to "I hope you don't turn all hippy". It's quite amazing really, if I were to turn around and say that I didn't want to eat mushrooms anymore, for example, I bet no one would bat an eyelid. Recently I spent the afternoon at a Macmillan coffee event where the organiser had battled and beat cancer. As part of the event there was cake everywhere and I got offered a slice of cake in celebration that she had beaten cancer, and do you know what. I ate it. I then had this said to me "You can't pick and choose when you are vegan!" from someone who is an animal product consumer. I didn't know what to say.


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