ANIMALS: When you lose something you can't replace

Saturday, 30 April 2016

But you know, happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light

Yesterday evening I sat and cradled my two guinea pigs as usual, except this time it would be my last cuddle with them as a pair. I'm heartbroken to write that Basil passed away yesterday after a short battle with a mystery illness. 

We fought this illness together, as a team and I made sure he had everything he could have possibly needed to win and recover. Heartbreakingly his little body couldn't cope and over the space of an evening his body shut down and he fell asleep for the final time. 

At the beginning of 2016 my bright boy lost half his body weight as he battled off a chest infection, he recovered, but never fully. He couldn't gain the weight he lost, no matter how much kale I fed him. But he came back, he pop corned again and was fine for months.

This time things were different. 

After four days hand feeding him, there was no signs that he was going to eat by himself and the terrible conversations started to happen about his quality of life. My boy wasn't going to get better and that spark he had in his eyes was slipping away right in front of me. 

There was nothing I could do and nothing I didn't try. 

I am a team member down and I don't like it.

My arms ache for the little being that relied on me so heavily and my heart aches that I failed to fix him. 

I'm sorry, I'll miss you Guinea-Shit x

BEAUTY: The 2015 additions to my skincare routine that have stayed around

Friday, 29 April 2016

In the past few months I have been trying to find items/products that I can add into my skincare routine, but ones that will actually stick around. I say this like it's the products fault, what I mean is "products that I see a difference with quickly and aren't too much of a faff to use that I don't ignore them."

I think I've finally got it. Here's what has stuck around since 2015...

Cleanser wise is where I used to be an avid fan of the Botanics cleansing balm, until I tried the Vichy Purete Themale Fresh Cleansing Gel*. One pump is enough for my whole face, just be careful because the lather on this is insane - which has on several occasions ended up bubbling up my nose!! The gel leaves my skin very clean without the waxy feeling that the balm used to leave on my face. Big fan. 

I have started to use my Clarasonic again. I bought the Calrasonic amidst all the hype years ago and, as I suspect many others have done too, have just left it in a drawer. This year we are looking to buy our first house so when my skin was being a royal pain in the ass a few months ago, rather than buy more skincare I looked through my drawers and decided to crack this out again. After a very deep clean with alcohol I was ready to use it and haven't looked back. I need half the amount of the Vichy gel because the lather goes even more insane with the Clarasonic.

Micellar waters were huge in 2015, dominated by Bioderma. Other, more accessible brands, caught on and they filtered into shops here.  After trying a fair number myself I have settled on the Garnier version. There is very little makeup left on my face after using the Vichy cleanser so the micellar water is mainly used for left over eye makeup. Heavier makeup days do call for that little extra effort in taking the day off and I'd rather do that with minimal effort. 

The Pixi Glow Tonic is another product that has been very hyped up in the beauty world. It's just been a wonderful toner for my skin. I've spoken before about suffering from Keratosis Pilaris on my arms and until I'd started this skincare routine this had lined my face in a side burn style. Luckily this is all but gone as it really shows under makeup. 

I'd like to call this paragraph "random tools" because recently I've bought just that. Random face tools. Both relatively inexpensive yet I've found both really nice to use. The jade roller was one from ebay, I just searched and bought the cheapest one, I've found this really great for when my face is a little on the puffy side and I love using this just after a face mask. I roll around my eyes and with every stroke try and get a downward drainage movement - it's so cooling I can't wait to use this when my eyes are struggling from hayfever in the summer. 

From The Body Shop I picked up one of their Vitamin E oil and a facial massager. I've been loving both of these and they have been something used continuously. The Vitamin E oil is a great treat at the end of the day and I really enjoy massaging this into my face with the occasional use of the roller. 

BEAUTY: Lush Haul

Thursday, 28 April 2016
This post has been sat long and forgotten in my drafts with just the photo and being as I quite like this photo I thought I'd better write up the post, professional as ever.

These are what I picked up from Lush when we went to Oxford a few weeks ago. To be honest I could have picked up more things, but the staff we pretty over bearing and it became impossible to shop. Don't get me wrong, I really appreciate the staff but this time it was so bad that we walked out of the shop and I was borderline putting these items back and not bothering at all. 

The Mint Julips is a pretty standard favourite and a product that I really like having to hand. As a bright lipstick fan it's really important to ensure that I don't have nasty flaky lips. What a delightful sentence. Anyway, it tastes of mint, works as a lip scrubs is supposed to - perfect. 

At the time of the trip my skin was going pretty crazy and there were break outs everywhere. I couldn't figure out what to do or what I needed to buy to solve it. I know that tea tree is supposed to be great for troubled skin so I picked up the Tea Tree Water in a flippant effort to sort the spots out. I've really been enjoying using this in the bath when my pores are open to really help it sink in. 

Finally, BIG - a sea salt shampoo which I bought on the recommendation of Leanne, so naturally I bought the biggest pot as her opinion is one I trust. A shampoo to use once a week, and one I won't be using just yet as my hair has just been dyed. This provides a deep clean and you end up with insane volume! I'd 100% recommend to anyone who wants volume and zero grease. 

BEAUTY: Superdrug Beauty Hall Haul

Monday, 25 April 2016
In Cardiff there is an amazing shop which I hadn't really ventured into before. It's a Superdrug which is only beauty and, well, that's just a store that I am more than happy to spend time in.
That gross brown coloured lump (oh wow that's a great description!) is what is left of my first ever Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge which I received as a gift last Christmas! I've used it everyday and it's time for an upgrade. In hindsight I should have picked up the two pack for £9.99, so that's what I'll be picking up in another 4 months. 
I own all the Naked palettes, I own a custom Inglot palette and numerous nude single eyeshadows and yet I still felt it appropriate to put this in my basket? Why? Well, just look at the beauty in these colours. That palette wasn't expensive either at just short of £8 and I was pretty impressed with the quality when I swatched the tester in the store. 
After months of gel nails, it's time to give my nails a little TLC. I tend to do this a couple of months out of the year and these are the two products (aside from copious amounts of coconut oil) I'm going to be using to get them on their way. 

Sally Hansen have always been a "go to" range for my nails when they are a little bit worse for wear and who am I to change that, especially when Superdrug were running a 3 for 2. Although, I'm always open to suggestions for new nail care.


Tuesday, 19 April 2016
I'm not sure when I will learn not to buy cheap purses, but I think that moment finally hit me this week when I realised that the £4 New Look Sale, bright yellow (yes I know) purse that I'd been using had finally broken and was just a bit of an embarrassment whenever I needed to get my purse out. I'm very guilty of shoving every single receipt in my purse and busting it at the seams, so I guess I can't really blame the price. 
TK Maxx Purse
I'd be lying if I said the Fiorelli Purse that I've picked up from TK Maxx was an investment. At only £16.99 I did have to do a double take at the price tag before swiftly clinging onto it, not allowing the purse to get lost in the sea of purses on the display. 
Termex Hairbrush
My hair isn't in the best condition and it's on looking back at my old Youtube videos that I realise just how bad it got. My hair used to be long and I thought it was the length of a bob! Can't believe it. 

I spotted this brush for only £4, the Termix Proffessional? It's not a brand I've ever heard of before so it was a little "guess purchase" and I've been impressed to far. The only downside is the bristles are so sharp - but that does work out great when you have a really bad itchy scalp.
Epsom Salt
Last week I started to come down with this cold that's doing the rounds and I wanted nothing more than to soak in a hot bath with some salts. I had a dig around in the bathroom and found some old radox ones which did the job for that night. However I craved a more luxury feel and came across these in TK Maxx for only £3.99. So far so good!

Have you had any great finds in TK Maxx recently?

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Monday, 11 April 2016
Sometimes there's nothing better after a tough week than heading straight into town from work on a Friday with a friend and hitting the shops, whilst fuelled on a vanilla creme frappacino. I'm not talking about spending a fortune either, most of what got purchased was in the sale or just in general not very expensive. 

H&M was one of the shops on the hit list. I'd noticed a distinct lack of smart yet casual hoodies in my wardrobe, most specifically missing them on a dress down Friday in work. 
After spending a good few minutes trying to decide which colour to buy and flitting between the idea of just buying them all - I settled on the bottle green. At £14.99 the hoodie didn't break the bank yet still has the quality that I'm happy with. It's thick, not flimsy and will do a great job at keeping me warm.
The marble tray has been an item purchased by many in the recent "marble hype" of the blogging and "real" world. I'm pretty sure everyone now owns at least one marble item, and if they don't own it - their phone screensaver is probably marble. 

This was nestled in the sale section between some questionably shaped candle sticks and a furry cushion cover with ears. With no sale sticker on I lived in hope that someone hadn't just dumped the tray in the treasure trove that is the sale section. I've stalked the trays online for quite a while and know that they are no longer available online so I headed off to the tills.

Asking the sales assistant to check the price made me feel a little skanky, however to be told that it was now just £1 (!!) I almost squealed with joy. Who knows what I'm going to put in it or where it will go. But for £1, it was coming home with me.
H&M had a fair number of sale aisles which was a treat to browse. I think I'm a little bit addicted to purchasing shirts, more specifically white and blue shirts. At only £7 this was an instant "I'm buying this" moment. It's casual enough to wear at weekends, yet I can dress this up for work - winner. 

Less than £25 and enough of a treat to feel like I'd spoiled myself.
Keep an eye out for what else I bought on my Friday town trip.

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FOOD: Atomic Burger

Friday, 1 April 2016
As soon as we knew we were heading to Oxford we needed a place to have lunch and Tom, Leanne's Husband, had put forward Atomic Burger! After quick look at the menu we had all agreed that Atomic Burger was the place to eat and our table was booked
We arrived slightly earlier than our booking time, you have to book  otherwise you have no chance of getting a table, and our table was ready and waiting. Just as well really, we'd been walking around Oxford for hours and the smell of burgers was just getting a bit too much. Looking around everyone looked like they were enjoying their meals and that just made me want my food even faster - we hadn't even sat down yet, impatient!
My eyes were soon distracted from the menu, just look at the decor. The whole place is top to toe in comic and cartoon memorabilia. Visually it is such a treat and we all had a great time pointing out our favourite cartoons from childhood. On the way to the toilets I stopped to marvel at the Pokemon cards stuck to a pillar. They have all the small details nailed - just look at the characters climbing the light shades.
Watching other people's food get served soon got our attention back to the menu where after a long look we decided on our burgers. Tom went for a milkshake, served in a glass bottle, I snuck a sip and it was the best butterscotch milkshake I've ever tasted - well it was the first one I've ever tasted - but it was great. I went for the apple juice which was delicious. 
Leanne and I both went for the Forrest Gump Burger - a plain burger (comes with salad), plain fries and the coleslaw. Potentially one of the best burgers I've ever eaten! I really liked that my meal didn't feel like a man V food challenge. Don't get me wrong, this burger was far from boring and if you really wanted to you could make your meal a challenge but I've been to far too many restaurants and ended up feeling sick from just pushing myself to finish the meal because it's there. The Forrest Gump was £8.95 and that included fries, pretty standard cost for an epic burger. 
Matt and Tom both had the same burger, the Daisy Duke which did look amazing. Burger, bacon, American cheese and BBQ Sauce inside the roll did look mighty fine. Tom mixed things up with his "Danger Fries" - yes that's what they are called. I'd say only choose them if you are more than happy with a spicy meal, the sauce gained a few comments during the meal haha. The Daisy Duke burgers were £10.50, Tom just had to pay extra to add on the DAAANGER Fries. 
To top it all off, you leave with a lolly.

Written before I decided to become vegetarian. More on that soon.