Living as Hermione Granger #LicenceToChill

Monday, 25 September 2017
There is no hesitation in my answer when I am asked what my favourite movie series is, Harry Potter and this was the first film that popped into my head when I had an email about the #LicenceToChill campaign from Chill Money asking me to think about how much it would cost to live as one of my favourite movie characters. For me it's Hermione Granger, I even have her wand.
Figuring out how much it would be to live as Hermione in her muggle how would be fairly easy but looking at how much it would cost me in Galleons, Sickles and Knuts would be a little more difficult, however JK Rowling has already done the calculations.
According to JK Rowling the average tuition on your first year at Hogwarts and all the equipment you'd need. According to her, it would cost around £40,000 for just one year - and I thought my university fees were bad (!!). Which actually did make me wonder, what if you had a letter from Hogwarts but you couldn't afford the fees? Is there a Hogwarts Student Loan? Would they not be able to go?
I'm sure that anyone who was offered to live as a Witch or Wizard would naturally say that owning a Wand would be the most attractive part. The wands have so much power, although you shouldn't chase that as we know from the Elder Wand and The Dealthy Hallows, and I think they would make life so much easier. 

I know I'm old when my first thought is I could actually wave a wand and my ironing, washing and cleaning would be done with the swish of a wand! 
What movie character would you most like to live as?

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BEAUTY: Gel Nails at home

Saturday, 23 September 2017

This post could very quickly become an "ode to the gel nail" because, quite frankly, I love everything about them. I had my first set of gel nails whilst I was at university (over 8 years ago GULP!) and this was when gel nails was fairly unheard of. The only real brand that was on the market in salons was biosculpt and even back then you were looking at £40 a set in a local salon I went to. 

Back then you were lucky if your nail tech had more than a red and a pink - luckily mine had a whole set of crazy colours and the talent to go with it! I enjoyed many sets of nails including minx, crystals and all sorts of patterns before the cost of it all just got a bit too much.

Fast forward a few years and we are now benefitting from many more nail technicians and mobile technicians in the market, coupled with so many brands offering gel nail products - it's more accessible than ever to do your gel nails at home. 
I've used many brands over the years and have slowly but surely settled on these three as my "go to" products. Although recently I've come across a brand called "The Gel Bottle" and I'm hovering over the order button. It's more expensive that any of the brands that I currently use, but I have read and watched many great reviews.
Around a month ago I upgraded my nail lamp from a UV one to an LED one. LED lamps cure a lot faster than UV ones, but they do cost more and aren't compatible with all brands.

I picked mine up from Amazon for around £15 from the brand 'Mylee'.

Bluesky: This is a brand I was introduced to when I started to book to have my nails done with mobile nail technicians. I find Bluesky to last really well and at only around £6.50 per bottle, they are my first choice when it comes to new colours.

Semilac: Semilac is a brand that I haven't purchased much from, however I do have their builder gel and this is my first DIY version of a gel builder that I tried. Builder gels are so handy for repairing nails and creating a natural false tip when you break a nail!

Sensationail: I don't use any of the gels from this brand, I just found them too thin and that they didn't last for me. However, the primer is brilliant. This bottle has lasted me ages and helps to eliminate any oil left on my nails before adding a base coat. I forgot it once and my nails didn't last as long!

I'm not a nail tech and I learn pretty much everything from asking questions when I do get my nails done or watching numerous youtube tutorials so please research brands first before you go out and buy them.

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LIFESTYLE: Homemade Hummus

Friday, 15 September 2017
Fun fact for you, when I first decided to give up eating animals and animal products (a journey which I am still very much exploring and learning on) I pretty much panic ate hummus for the first week. I knew it was vegan, I knew I loved it and I knew it was fairly inexpensive. 

The one problem "eat within two days of opening". Whilst this is a challenge I accepted many times, the long term healthiness of hummus isn't the same when you are eating it by the bucket load!

Admittedly I hadn't realised before just how easy making your own hummus was, like most blender recipes,  so over the last 18 months I've made sure to have a stock of chickpeas and the ingredients below to whip up my own in my blend active.

Ingredients
  • 400g can of chickpeas
  • 2 tsp tahini
  • 1 tsp easy garlic
  • Crushed sea salt to taste
  • A squeeze of lemon
  • Cinnamon
  • 3tsp extra virgin olive oil


First things first is to drain and rinse the chickpeas in cold water and before placing them in my blend active I run a little olive oil inside the bottle. This is to just make sure the chickpeas don't end up stuck at the bottom when I turn it upside down to blend!



That's all the prep that is needed, just add the other ingredients to the blender and when the mixture is smooth add to your bowl or tupperware. You can stop and start to slowly add more olive oil if needed, if you had a proper food processor you could do this as the blades are running.



There are so many ways to eat hummus, but this one calls for a flatbread and a nice mug of coffee!


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BEAUTY: New range in Superdrug

Saturday, 2 September 2017
Superdrug is the "go to" shop if you, like me, want to change every cosmetic item you use to cruelty free. Their own ranges have featured heavily on my blog and line my beauty cupboard, you really can't go wrong with them.


I was genuinely so happy to have the chance to try out some of the new products in the Treat Me range from Superdrug. The range already included shower and bath soaks, but now you can get your hands on body butters and body sorbets!

The sorbets are in your typical "shower gel / body lotion bottle" and I have the Avocado & Strawberry and the Mano & Coconut to try. Fun fact, it's only in the last two weeks that I've eaten my first avocado!!

Both sorbets are absolutely beautiful and feel like a really refreshing gel when using them. Ill be honest here, they don't absorb into your skin as fast as some others on the market, but it allows you to really work the product in and I think these would be perfect to take on holiday for use in the evening after a day in the sun!






Now for my favourite - body butters. I absolutely love body butters and always make sure I have a stash of them on hand. These are hands down my favourite body butters now.



I can't believe how accurate these smell, it's almost scary. I've been really enjoying spending the extra time buttering up (that sounds wrong) after a bath and Superdrug have really hit the nail on the head with these.



These body butters do take longer than the sorbets to sink into your skin, but that's nothing new for a body butter. Spend extra time on the dryer skin and you'll be soft in no time.










The Salted Caramel is the best smelling beauty product I have ever had the pleasure of using. Two more tubs are already on my list of "things to buy in Superdrug" next.



We are heading to the Dominican Republic in November and these will be coming with me. You can't be a decent body butter on holiday.



Aside from the amazing scent, the best bit - they only cost £2.99. I'd happily pay more for them and even better, a lot of the range is on offer at the time of posting so go try them!!


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Animals: Overweight pets

Sunday, 13 August 2017
Let me introduce you to Pip, fortunately Pip is now no longer a resident of Cardiff Dogs Home and is happily living in his forever home, however when Pip arrived at Cardiff Dogs Home he looked like this: 
Pip is a Daschund and is (was!) quite clearly overweight. Morbidly obese and at a real danger of developing sores on his belly. At one point Pip was his owner's world and was very much loved, but just like we can reward Children, it's all too easy to show affection for animals by slipping them an extra scoop of food or just that extra treat!

However, what is thought of as a bit extra or a treat could actually be causing real harm to our pets and in Pip's case - ending in obesity and this is becoming a real issue for Britain's animals. According to research by the PDSA, one third of dogs (and a quarter of cats) are overweight - a statistic that is expected to grow in the coming months. 

The PDSA attribute the growing number of overweight pets to Britain's junk food lifestyle. Whilst we think we are being kind by giving in to those puppy eyes staring at our food - we're actually being far from it. 

You can't deny that Pip does look super cuddly, however the health implications for him were numerous. Pip could barely manage a walk when he first came into Cardiff Dogs home, I dread to think how he felt in the hot few days we had this summer and he just had no oomph about him.


The PDSA have provided me with some information on keeping your pets in great condition and what you can do if you think your pet needs to shift a few pounds!


Your animal’s weight can be influenced by a number of factors—not just its diet. Things like breed, age, sex and whether it has been neutered or not can all play a part. However, the most common cause of obesity in pets is diet—and, as an owner, it’s your duty to do all you can to ensure they get the right nutrients in the right quantity.
This is often easier said than done so, to help, we have enlisted the help of dogfood retailer Feedem — who offers a range of grainfree dog food — to share some tips:

Is my pet obese?

Before you can determine the best course of action, you must first establish whether your pet is overweight. Here’s how to examine your cats and dogs to check their weight:

Cats

·       Ribs, spine and hip bones should be easily seen and felt.
·       When looking from above, the waist should be clearly visible.
·       The stomach should only have a small amount of fat and shouldn’t sag.

Dogs

·       The outline of your dog’s ribs should be easy to see and feel.
·       When looking from above, the waist should be clearly visible.
·       From the side, your dog’s stomach should be tucked up.
If your pet fails any of the above checks, the temptation is to immediately put them on a diet. However, you should always speak to your vet to get their advice before any action is taken.

How can my pet lose weight?

In general, there are two ways your pet can lose weight: limiting their diet and increasing the amount of exercise they receive.
It’s really important to feed your pet a food that’s suitable for their age, lifestyle and health status. If not, it will be difficult for them to get the nutrients they require. Generally, cats require a meat-based, well-balanced diet, while dogs will need a balanced diet. Most human food does not nutritionally support cats or dogs, so should be avoided.
Monitor the amount of food you’re giving your pet. Cats usually prefer several small meals a day, while a dog should be fed at least once or as advised by a vet. Always read and follow the feeding instructions given on the pet food.
When it comes to exercise, the amount your dog needs will vary between breeds. For example, smaller breeds like a pug, a bichon frise or shih tzu will need around 20 minutes exercise, excluding indoor play. Larger breeds like dalmations, boxers and border collies will need more than two hours. Take a look at this graphic from the PDSA to find out how much exercise other breeds require.

You can up your cat’s exercise by encouraging them to play with cat toys. This should get them jumping, pouncing and leaping around.

Pip is now happily homed, but there are always beautiful dogs looking for their forever homes and you can read more about them here: http://friendsofcardiffdogs.proboards.com/

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BEAUTY: A realistic weekly beauty routine

Sunday, 30 July 2017
I've always been really fickle when it comes to any beauty routines, from being sent skincare to buying whatever is on offer - I've never stuck to any form of routine really.

Since living in our house this has changed and I've actually got a group of products together that I have been using regularly. I think this has more to do with having a good clean out before we moved and the realisation that I had SO MANY products that were close to going off. But there's also our beautiful bathroom that is my own little space of heaven, it's now a place I can throw open the window to our garden and enjoy my skincare time.

B. Melting Gel Cleanser - Moving over to cruelty free products is something that I am still transitioning through, especially as I have so much to use up, however the B. range by Superdrug was on offer a few weeks ago so I picked this cleanser up. Most of the range was half price, which naturally meant I picked up quite a lot and tried a fair few products out. This one isn't a favourite unfortunately, but it does do the job. It's a very milky cleanser when mixed with water and I feel this makes the product feel very thin. I won't be repurchasing, but for now I will use it up.

Botanics Soothing Eye Makeup Remover - A discontinued product and a previous "must have" of mine. I'm still on the hunt for a cruelty free eye makeup remover that doesn't struggle with waterproof mascara... answers on a postcard please.

Pixi Glow Tonic - The iconic Pixi Glow Tonic! I love this toner, it's one of my favourite products and one that I will always repurchase. Keeps my skin nice and smooth but in a very gentle everyday way. Highly recommend.

Superdrug Vitamin E Hydrating Mist - It's £2.99, that's all! Utter bargain and one which is really handy to have as a facial refresher in work. I also like using this as a "wake up" for my skin when I get out of bed in the morning.

Vitamin E Intense Moisture Serum - Confession, I bought this product years ago on the way to Egypt with Leanne. After the holiday I didn't really use it and I ended up having a phase of not bothering with moisturisers. To be honest with this the Vitamin E Night Cream and the Elderflower Eye Gel, it's all the same story. Put in the back of a drawer and forgotten about. Until now, where I'm using them regularly. The serum is light enough to use under foundation and the night cream leaves my skin feeling really plump the next morning. I'm a little unsure if the eye cream is actually working and this one feels like hair gel!


Everything already mentioned are what I use daily, so now it's time to round up the three products that I use once or twice a week! The Yes to Grapefruit Scrub is quite harsh for my skin, but I like to use it really sparingly to slog away at all the crap that's built up on my face by the end of the week! Coupled with The Ordinary Salicylic Acid, which helps to keep spots at bay - my skin is looking pretty clear.

One thing I'd like to point out here is that whilst I absolutely love the Diamond Whites Charcoal Powder, do not believe the sleek Instagram videos where the user looks amazing whilst using it - it is messy. My whole bathroom turns black (read: the sink) but the results are worth it. My teeth feel squeaky clean and are so much whiter, I just wish they did a mint flavour!


FASHION: A smaller handbag?

Monday, 24 July 2017

It's a bit of a running joke with almost everyone who knows me, I usually carry around a huge, heavy handbag wherever I go. Even when I'm not using a huge handbag, I cram so much in there that when I put my bag on my car seat it bleeps reminding me that a seatbelt needs to be put on. 

Fiorelli is a brand that has been on my radar ever since I bought a bright orange handbag second hand on eBay years ago. Aside from a lovely style, they aren't leather which is something that I am looking for in new purchases. 

A couple of weeks ago Leanne and her Husband visited and as usual when I see people I end up wanting things they have. This time it was a small handbag that she's recently talked about in this post and so on the second evening they were down we opened ASOS and I found the Fiorelli Sadie Contemporary Xbody bag

I'm quite surprised with how much I can get in the bag to be honest, especially as this bag doesn't fit my normal purse in. I don't feel like I've left too many things at home (a real struggle with my anxiety problems).

I now take: 
  • A couple of cards, cash and my driving licence in my new card holder/purse.
    • including my Nectar Card, Boots Card etc
  • Streamline the makeup I take out, I never use any of the makeup I lug around with me everyday. Limit this to a lipgloss, concealer and a mirror! 
  • Streamline the tablets I take out with me. Again, back to the anxiety, I take out paracetamol, ibuprofen, immodium and rennie. But not just one tablet, I carry boxes. So for my little bag I take just one dose of each. 
  • Pack of tissues. 
The one item that I will always take with me is a bottle of water. It's a huge comfort blanket for me and something that I'll never give up carrying around so I've managed to find a really small bottle that actually fits in the bag above! 

LIFESTYLE: Fitbit Charge 2 HR

Tuesday, 23 May 2017
Before I owned my Fitbit I thought I was getting (on average) enough steps in a day. When I was bought a Fitbit as part of my leaving gifts from my last job I was shown just how wrong I was! The suggested number of steps you should be hitting per day is 10,000 and I wasn't getting close to that which is unsurprising for someone who has what's technically a "desk job". 
Some days I won't even reach 5,000 and that's with walking around the Hospital (I now work in a Hospital) as much as I can. I've tried to up my water intake over the last few weeks which inevitably means more trips to the loo..! But even this isn't helping. 

I try to walk as much as I can outside of work, but let's face it at the end of the day I really don't want to go out for a walk, I just want to relax! I'm trying to find ways to increase my activity during the day and Furniture at Work are doing the exact same with their campaign sharing some easy "Office Yoga" moves to help desk workers be more active during the day. 


In our Hospital we have a Physiotherapy Centre which, once a week, puts on a Pilates class and as a team we are actively encouraged to attend. I'm going to go this week and see if that increase in structured activity helps. We've also almost finished the gym at the bottom of our garden so working out at home will be easier too. 

I've also set the notifications on my Fitbit so that if I don't move a certain number of steps in an hour it will buzz to tell me!

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BEAUTY: What's going to be the Summer 17 beauty trend?

Sunday, 21 May 2017
Being a beauty blogger there is no hiding from the latest beauty trends that are posting about throughout the year. I go through phases of really enjoying makeup and thinking about what to reach for each day, to just not caring as long as my eye bags and red cheeks are covered. When I first started beauty blogging, way back nearly 8 years ago, I used to love looking out for the newest products and buying into the latest beauty trends.
 Ellisons have recently published an e-book all about the beauty trends for the coming season. They are predicting; 
  • Matte lips will be replaced with a glossy look.
  • Eyeliner will go from perfect to a smudged look.
  • Finally, skin will be all about the dewy finish.
Are these trends that you will take on board?

For me there are three other trends that have recently (or not so recently) been bought into the spot light that I will be carrying on into Summer 2017. The trends may have been around a while and not new to some at all, but I've recently got my hands on the products!
  • Warm coloured eye-shadow.
    • I think the trend here for me started when the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette was being posted about everywhere! I've recently bought a warm palette from BH Cosmetics and it's a trend that I can't see me giving up any time soon.
  • Nude matte lips
    • I really wasn't interested in the nude matte lip trend at all, especially as it was so over-hyped. Then I tried the By Chloe Ferry Matte Lipstick and the colour "Envy" is just perfect, great for work and also great to wear with the warm coloured eye shadows. Apparently Chloe is famous for being on TV but I have to admit I have no idea where she's from but I love the fact her products are vegan and cruelty free! 

  • Correcting Concealers
    • Years and years ago when I was having one of my first melt downs over my red cheeks I was told about correcting concealers. No one had ever mentioned them to me before and they weren't widely talked about so I pretty much ignored it. I still wouldn't use a green concealer but I am a big fan of the under eye ones. Recently I picked up the LA Girl yellow concealer and I am really happy with how it helps to (almost) get rid of my eye bags!
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LIFESTYLE: 27

Saturday, 13 May 2017

27. Wow.


BEAUTY: Peel off blackhead mask

Saturday, 6 May 2017


If you haven't heard of one of these masks then where have you been?


From the Instagram and Facebook videos to the numerous bloggers and their hilarious videos of peeling off the mask. These masks a huge at the moment and being the type of person that will stare at a nose strip analysing what's been pulled out of my face, I bought one. 


Rightly or wrongly I've picked up one from eBay for around £3. Searching online and doing as much research as I could there wasn't really a clear winner and I'm pretty sure they are all the same but have just been white labeled. 


Anyway, I haven't used a pore strip for weeks so this nose is really ready for a mask. Let the pain commence.



Smell wise there isn't really anything significant to report but the consistency is really thick, thicker than any other mask that I have used. I guess it has to be to pull as much as it says it will out of my skin! 


Immediately after application it's a little cold (?) like most masks and I can feel it tightening already, especially on the edges where the product is a little thinner. 









I've just peeled it off and to be honest with you, this first go has left me a little underwhelmed. There was no real grand reveal and my nose looks the same. However, there wasn't as much pain as people made out and there was a little bit of dirt on peeled off piece of mask. 


Here's the up close gross photo: 


Not as much as I was expecting to be honest with you, which is a shame. Although after speaking to people on social media I think I may have put too little product on. 

I hope you've enjoyed the close up of my eye bags and uneven skin :)