Life #1

So my poor little blog corner of the web has been significantly neglected of late due to a slump in my brain cells providing me with writer's block and lack of motivation. This saddens me, because I used to be so eager to pop up a post every day. At the moment my attention seems to have deferred to things in my offline life, for example:

  • My promotion into management and the thought of having to lead a team of 35 + people in a busy and chaotic working environment whilst managing to hit targets and provide excellent customer service. Eek!
  • The fact that I am now (finally) learning to drive and it's still truly terrifying - on my first lesson last Thursday I got thrown on the road and bam, I did windy country lanes, a dual carriageway, roundabouts, one way streets, roadworks, cross roads, traffic lights...lots of road things. So much to take in!
  • Organising my little flat, it's still not how I want it, and J and I are squabbling over wall art. 
  • Money wobbles, with a flat comes responsibility and once all the bills have been paid we haven't quite got the balance right between having fun and having a full fridge...
  • Working ridiculous hours...for example I've just finished a 7 day week and my shifts went like this: 4-1, 12-8, 11-7, 6-3, 6-3, 3-12, 2-10. All over the place! 
My point of this post, I think, was for me to put down everything taking over my head at the moment and to activate my little corner of the internet again. 

Hope you're all doing well <3


Recipe // Mars Bar Rice Krispie Cake

The other week I thought I'd whip up a simple tasty treat for J and I to munch on during a quiet night in. I say that this is my signature cake dish because I know it'll turn out perfect every time due to the fact that it's so simple and easy to make!

Yummy! What's your favourite type of cake?


Empties // August

**Excuse the crazy lighting in my empties picture. The days are shorter, the nights are longer...you know the drill.

So...another good selection of my stash emptied in the month of August. Not having much money to buy actual pretty things has seen me part with a few items I thought it might take me months to use up. As ever, clockwise from left:

Bumble & Bumble Gentle Shampoo
I loved this shampoo and was a real treat to wash my hair with it. I don't need to tell you how amazing I think Bumble & Bumble are as a brand, just that this shampoo is great and I'd definitely buy it again if I was feeling flush with my pennies!

Soap & Glory Clean Girls Body Wash
Another fabulous product from S&G! I think I received this at Christmas 2012 and managed to get round to using it in July, so it's definitely long lasting! I love the scent of this shower gel, it lathers well and makes me feel squeaky clean. A definite repurchase (or something similar from S&G) once I get through all of my shower gels. 

Quickies Nail Varnish Remover Pads
These pads are one of my all time favourite products to remove nail varnish. They're super quick, super affordable, and work really well. I'm constantly repurchasing them and will continue to do so!

Maybelline The Rocket Mascara
I love this so much I've already repurchased it! I wrote a review on it here if you'd like to see a more in depth insight into my love for this mascara. 

Bumble & Bumble Seaweed Conditioner
I have one major qualm with this conditioner and that is the smell. I really can't stand it at all. But, aside, this conditioned my hair wonderfully and I'd repurchase it if the smell changed.

Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Foundation
I finally managed to finish a foundation! I chop and change my foundation as often as a I change my bedding, so never seem to manage to use one up completely. However, Benefit's only liquid foundation was an exception to my foundation routine in that I seemed to be completely besotted with it and finished the tube...! 

The Body Shop Chocomania Body Lotion Mini
I seem to have had this in my stash for absolutely ages. I wrote a post on my picks from the Chocomania collection when it came out in the Body shop and to this day it remains one of my favourite scents of theirs. I liked this lotion, it absorbed well, made me smell divine and soothed my skin post leg shave. Fabulous stuff, and I'd definitely purchase the full size (perhaps a Christmas present idea...). 

Garnier Pure Active Fruit Energy Face Wash
I bought this face wash on a quick whim in Boots in Southport. It was the first thing I saw in the 5 minute window my Mum gave me to shop in and to be honest it's not a bad little face wash. I'm not so used to gel washes and this was a refreshing change. It managed to remove 85% of my makeup and left me looking a little bit like Gene Simmons from Kiss on occasion but overall it was a nice wash to use. I won't be repurchasing it however as I'm still on the hunt for my HG face wash and am not repurchasing until I find it!

Aapri Face Scrub
This was less of a face scrub and felt more like rubbing sandpaper across my face, which, for someone with dry skin is both a blessing (to get rid of dead cells) and a curse (it made my face feel incredibly dry and tight). I think this is a case of you get what you pay for as I found it in Savers for around £1.49 and thought it'd be a bargain. I was wrong, and this is definitely not someth
ing I would recommend. 

Wei Eye Cream
I received this minature mini sample in a Birchbox when I was subscribed to them a while ago. I think the full sized version is somewhere in the region of £100+ and I know that I won't be purchasing it at all. What do eye creams even do? I've noticed no difference in my skin...

Benefit Refined Facial Polish & Facial Wash
I actually need to come up with the cash to purchase the full sized version of the Benefit skin products because everytime I finish a minature I seem to go back out and buy the £10 try me kit and now its time for an upgrade. I love the Benefit skin care, the fash wash and face polish removes all of my makeup, makes my skin feel super soft and helps keep dry skin on my nose at bay. Benefit skin care also smells heavenly - an incredibly important factor in my books! Definite repurchase.

So those were my August empties...what have you finished this last month?


August Reads

Welcome to my first edition of my 'Book Corner/Monthly Reads' post. I wrote here about wanting to include some more literature based reviews on my blog and thought that it'd be a good month to begin, having just seen the summer through with plenty of fabulous novels. Unfortunately I can't photograph them all because I've leant my copies out to friends and so on, but aside from Slated (Teri Terry) and Scatterheart (Lili Wilkinson), pictured here, I've also read The Virgin Suicides (Jeffery Eugenides), When She Woke (Hillary Jordan), I Heart Paris (Lindsey Kelk), and half of Life After Life (Kate Atkinson, although I shall actually review this once I've fully read it).

The Virgin Suicides - Jeffery Eugenides (*****)
This is such a hauntingly beautiful book, I read it an entire 6 hour train journey from Somerset to County Durham and literally couldn't put it down. It's incredibly well written from the perspective of an anonymous group of teenage boys (although I somehow managed to forget this whilst reading) who chart their understandings of the events of the suicides of the five Lisbon sisters, Cecilia, Lux, Mary, Therese and Bonnie. This is one of those books that I really want everyone to have a go at, the story line is not too complex, it's the descriptives and the fascination with such a tragic event that had me thinking wow, this is the kind of book I want to write and it's certainly the kind of book that everyone should be reading.

When She Woke - Hillary Jordan (*****)
Lately I've been absolutely loving the world of teenage dystopian fiction. I began with The Hunger Games, moved on to Tris Prior in Divergent and find myself really reaching for books that contain the same human world we live in now, but with an added ultra modern twist. When She Woke tells the story of Hannah, a girl who wakes up and finds herself branded with red skin, the punishment in the state of Texas for the killing of her unborn child. She refuses to name the father of her child and instead, she is guided by her religious beliefs and attempts to live a normal life in spite of her new skin colour. Her family are unable to take her back into their lives as a result of her skin branding and instead she goes off to live in a refuge house run by a militant religious couple. Not content with that life Hannah begins to question her faith and runs away to try and find some freedom. I won't ruin the surprise of who the father is or what happens to Hannah but this book is incredibly fast paced and quite the page turner!

I Heart Paris - Lindsey Kelk (***)
I got caught up in the hype of the I Heart... series after seeing some fellow #bbloggers posting pictures of their summer reads on Instagram and Twitter. I then spotted the first three books in the series on 3 for 2 in Tesco and ended up reading I Heart New York, I Heart Hollywood and then this, I Heart Paris. I'm not saying that these books are badly written or anything truly negative, just that they are your bog standard Chick Lit and to be honest by book two I was bored. But I persevered and read I Heart Paris because I dream about being able to go to Paris one day. I Heart Paris sees Angela and boyfriend Alex travel to Paris, Angela for a job assignment and Alex to play a music festival with his band. Whilst there Angela encounters Alex's super fabulous French ex-fiancee and it all hits the fan. She even hops on the Eurostar at one point and ends up sitting in St Pancras in London mulling over her relationship woes before turning right around and getting back on the train and going to see Alex (now isn't that a little too farfetched or am I being an old sourpuss?!) There are more books in this series but I don't think I'll be reading them.

Slated - Teri Terry (*****)
Now here's another teenage dystopian fiction offering that really surprised me. I was completely sworn in by the blurb and I'm not usually one to judge an actual book by it's cover (I usually tend to open a novel to a random page and read it before buying just to be sure!) but this blub had me hooked. Why has Kyla's memory been erased, who was she before she was slated and what on Earth has she done to have been slated as punishment? What surprises me here is that I STILL DON'T KNOW! It's so frustrating. I read all the way to the end and found out that Slated is to be a series and all of the cliff hangers I am left with and all my unanswered questions remain unanswered, for now. What I like about this is that Kyla is different, she's inquisitive and wants to know what the Government are doing, after all she's still a child in school...how can she have been a terrorist?! I absolutely cannot wait for the second book.

Scatterheart - Lili Wilkinson (****)
The premise of this book is excellent in my opinion, a young girl in 18/19th Century London, brought up by a gentleman of a father and surrounded by servants and monetary wealth, is convicted of a theft (albeit wrongly) when her father abandons her and has squandered the family fortune. She is sent aboard a ship of convicts leaving for the colonies in New South Wales, Australia. Scatterheart is a novel with plenty of character, and interesting events but it's Hannah Cheshire, the protagonist, that annoyed me throughout the novel. She's far too naive about the world in my opinion, she finds it difficult to walk through the streets of her home town of London, has no idea what her father does for a living and certainly has no idea why the guards do not succumb to her whining and protests about who she is and how she's a 'lady of Quality' in order to let her out of prison. There's romance in this novel, a bit of gore and some stirring mental images of 18/19th century London to be had, it's worth a read for sure. I enjoyed it!

So that was my round up of my reads for this month. Have you read any of the books that I have mentioned? Do you want to read any of them now that I've told you my thoughts? What do you think I should read next?


Autumn Love

Borrowed from here.
Undoubtedly September 1st marks the beginning of my favourite time of year, Autumn. I don't care much for snow (it's pretty, but a frightful mess for those blessed with the balance of a newborn giraffe) and too much sunshine can actually ruin my mood (and my makeup!) so Autumn is definitely the best time of year in my opinion!

Let me tell you what I'm looking forward to Autumn/Winter '13:
  1. Cable knit tights, tea dresses and brown ankle boots. 
  2. Leaves changing colour and falling off the tree branches.
  3. Kicking leaves across the pavement.
  4. No one looking at me funny when I order hot chocolate (I don't drink tea or coffee).
  5. The spooky sight of naked trees at 5:30am when I walk to work. 
  6. Making lists for Christmas.
  7. Being able to pull out my dark berry hues into my everyday makeup stash.
  8. Wrapping up in a blanket on the sofa and reading a good book.
  9. Breathing in crisp, cold air in the morning and feeling alive.
  10. Festive lights appearing in town and city centres. 
  11. Boots putting their Christmas stock on the shelves.
  12. Swapping my summer scarves for my heavier scarves.
  13. Decorating for Hallow'een and then for Christmas.
  14. Thick knit jumpers, hats and gloves.
  15. Film nights with boxsets, DVDs and lots of popcorn.
That list is by no means exhaustive, there's so much more to look forward to A/W '13! 
What's your favourite time of year? Are you like me and in love with Autumn?