Sunday Snaps: My Week In Photos – 31 May!

It’s been a pretty quiet and uneventful week, mostly spent in bed as I have been pretty unwell… what’s new!!

Enjoy the last photos of Milo the kitty cat as he has now gone back to his mum, who is home from holiday.  I’ll miss him so much!

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I may have a lip product addiction…!               These are veggie enchiladas my husband cooked for us, yum!

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Been doing a bit of art therapy/adult colouring – can only do 5 minutes at a time though or my hands get really painful.

I got the unicorn tee as a birthday present from two friends, and I couldn’t agree more with the sentiment, haha!

Happy Sunday everyone.

May 2015 Favourites (What I’ve Been Loving This Month!)

Hi guys

As I mentioned in my April 2015 favourites was that one of my favourite things to read on blogs or watch on YouTube is monthly favourites.  It’s a great way to find out about products that people genuinely love and use day-to-day.  I can’t believe it has come around so quickly – it’s the end of the month already!  Here are my May favourites.


Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation (Shell)

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I procrastinated over buying this for such a long time, as I generally buy more budget makeup.  I was really put off by the price, and wondered whether it was really so good as to justify it.  After being given a sample and using it for a few days, sadly I concluded that yes… it really was that good!  I finally invested in it towards the end of April and have been using it all month.

You can see what I love about it over on my Foundation Fight review post but basically it is the perfect colour match, provides great coverage whilst still managing to look natural and lasts all day.  It is also quite matte, which I really like (yes, I know the dewy-look is in fashion but it just doesn’t do it for me!)  Find it here.

DUPE ALERT: I have found a very close dupe to this foundation, which I have actually bought as well.  I think I will use the dupe for work/daytime and the Estee Lauder Double Wear for going out/occasions (not that I really go out any more haha!)

The dupe is Revlon Colorstay foundation.  It has a really similar shade, application and skin finish.  It also lasts really well.  Overall it’s a great dupe if you need something more purse-friendly, and retails at just £8.49.  You can find it here.


Miss Budget Beauty – YouTuber

This is something I haven’t mentioned on my blog yet, but I watch a (and I mean A LOT) of YouTube. It started off with the usual more well-known YouTubers like Zoella, Tanya Burr etc but I have discovered some lesser known gems on there too.

Miss Budget Beauty (real name Mikhaila) is from nearby Sheffield and has several YouTube channels and also a blog.  I tend to mainly watch her Miss Budget Beauty channel, which focuses on budget and affordable beauty.  She does product reviews, tutorials, makeup and outfit looks etc.  She is really down to earth, with a dry sense of humour. She makes no claims to be an expert, she just talks about what she does and doesn’t like and I have come to trust her opinion over the last few months.

If you’re into watching YouTube videos, definitely check her out here.


Number 4 Lumiere d’Hiver Hair Masque

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I received a sample of this luxurious hair mask (or masque, as they like to call it) in my first ever Birchbox.  It lasted for three uses and by the end of the sachet, I knew I wanted to buy it.  The price is pretty extortionate, and I’m not someone who spends a lot on hair products.  I literally use nothing day-to-day, a bit of hairspray every so often if I style my hair for an occasion.  I use Superdrug own shampoo and conditioner as it’s cruelty-free and does the job.  You get the picture… I’m just not that into hair products.  But this mask left my hair feeling amazing – so soft and silky.

Since it was almost my 30th birthday, I justified buying it by telling myself it was a birthday present!  I will probably never spend this much on a hair mask again but I am really going to enjoy this whilst I have it!  If you have some money to spare, or like to invest in hair products, I’m pretty confident you’ll like this.  You only have to leave it on between 2 and 5 minutes for it to work, and can use it every shower, or just once a week if you prefer.  You can buy it here.


Elemis Rehydrating Ginseng Toner and Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Night Cream

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I booked some Elemis facials whilst there was a good offer on (another birthday present from me, to me!)  As a result of that, I received a free gift of Elemis products.  I have been using both the toner and the night cream for the last month and I absolutely LOVE them.  Not just because they are pleasant to use, but because of the amazing effect they’ve had on my skin!

I recently heard about and researched into acid toners (not as scary as it sounds!) because apparently exfoliators alone won’t get rid of all your dead skin.  Acid toners dissolve the skin gently and leave it much smoother and clearer.  I bought the Boots Botanics Toner (made from plant extracts), which I use twice a day.  I follow this up with the Elemis Rehydrating Toner… this may seem like overkill using two toners, but they both perform really different duties.  I use the Elemis toner to add some moisture back to the skin after the exfoliating acid toner.  This has really, really made a difference.  My skin has been clearer than it has been for years in the past few weeks.

The night cream contains enzymes which also do a similar thing to the acid toner I mentioned.  In full size, it is actually around £60, so it was a great free sample to receive and has lasted about a month.  I feel like the combination of the two toners and this night cream have been really beneficial to my skin!  My mum even commented on how nice it looked and was convinced I had foundation on one day, when I had nothing at all on my face.  Result!

You can find the Boots Botanics Toner here, the Elemis Toner here and the night cream here.


Barry M Sunset Gel Nails

Barry M Sunset Nails

I won’t write too much about these gel-effect nail polishes, as I recently did a full review of them which you can find here.

All I will say is that I have been playing around with the shades I bought all month and am really impressed with the application, the colours, how well they last (mostly) and how good they look!  I think they are a really reasonable price for how well they work.  They’ll never last three weeks like a real gel manicure, but if I can get 5 or 6 days out of my nail varnish then I’m happy with that, as most of them chip after a couple of days!  Well worth checking out.  You can get them at Boots or Superdrug.


Crazy Rumors- HibisKiss Lipbalm

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I received this tinted lipbalm in my The VeganKind quarterly beauty subscription box.  You can see my initial impressions in this post.  As I mentioned, I wasn’t initially too excited about this product as I prefer to wear lipstick or gloss.  But then I thought about it and realised I actually spend most of my time at home in bed, where I wouldn’t wear lipstick or gloss, and I do actually use a lot of lipbalm.  I have been using it all month and I still stick to my initial impression that it is one of the best balms I have ever had for sorting out dry lips.  It has left my lips in much better condition than they were.  It also smells gorgeous – winner all round!


What have been your favourite products this month?  Have you tried any of my favourites?  Let me know in the comments box or follow me on social media!

Nails of the Day (NOTD) // Nails Inc Gel Effect Polish in ‘Bond Street’

Purple, how I love thee!  Purple is my favourite colour (with pink coming a close second, but as a 30-year old, purple somehow seems more socially acceptable!)  This particular shade of purple, Nails Inc Bond Street, is beautiful – it’s sort of mauve, almost a very dark lavender. 

It is a lovely creamy shade and opaque within two coats.  It’s very easy to apply, and you can take the big rectangular plastic bit off the lid and there is a normal little round handle to hold as you paint your nails.  I hope that makes sense!

Nails Inc Gel Effect in Bond Street

            Nails Inc Gel Effect in Bond Street

This polish is part of the Nails Inc ‘Gel Effect Polish’ range, which boasts placticiser technology (anyone know what that is?!  No, me neither!).  Similar to the Barry M Sunset Nails range I reviewed a few days ago, this is intended to give a gel-like look and finish without the use of UV lamps.  It can be removed with normal nail polish remover.  The only difference with this one is that it doesn’t require a special topcoat, the curing effect is within the nail colour itself. 

This is two coats of Nails Inc with one coat of Sally Hansen strengthening clear polish.

[Updated to add:  this lasted so badly!  For a £14 nail polish, I really expected so much more.  It chipped early on the second day and was unwearable by day 3.  I don’t know why it chips so badly, but it’s rubbish!  Particularly as it claims to be a gel-effect polish, so you kind of expect it to last longer than standard nail polishes.  This was a present, but I would never pay £14 for one of these myself!]


What do you think of the colour?  What are your favourite nail polishes at the moment?  Let me know in the comments box or follow me on social media!

My 30th Birthday – vintage afternoon tea and giant balloons!

I still can’t quite believe it, but it was my 30th birthday over the bank holiday weekend.  I don’t feel like a 30 year old!

Sadly my ME and fibro were really, really bad which made celebrating rather difficult.  I think I’ll do a separate post about that, and keep this one positive!  Here are some photos of the beautiful vintage-style afternoon tea my mum held at her house for me, including a gorgeous cake and some gigantic balloons my mother-in-law got for me.

_20150525_023658             DSC_2093   (Lots of yummy cake!)

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This is me after zero sleep (fibro painsomnia), still somehow looking half-alive!  Look how big my balloons are!

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Are you in thirties club?  How did you feel about turning that age?  Let me know in the comments box or follow me on social media!

Chronic Illnesses and Social Occasions Just Don’t Mix…

I don’t often write about my health on here, which is strange given that it’s such a huge influence on and part of my everyday life.  I suppose I don’t want to seem negative and I also genuinely love makeup and beauty, so I love writing about them.  But sometimes I think I owe it to my fellow chronic-illness sufferers to give an honest picture of how my life is, living with several chronic illnesses.

Having ME and fibromyalgia is extremely hard on a day-to-day basis.  As I mentioned in this post, sometimes I can’t even get out of bed.  More often than not I am weak, exhausted and in pain.  Sometimes it feels like I just can’t cope any longer, but of course I do – what other choice is there?!

The reason I’m writing this post is that since I have become more ill, I’ve come to a realisation that chronic illness and social occasions/events really don’t go well together!  I have had ME/fibro for a while now, but ‘crashed’ on 24 December and have been much worse since then.  So I have now experienced a Christmas and a birthday whilst being very unwell.  I won’t dwell on Christmas too much as it’s a bit of a blur, but I wasn’t even well enough to open my own presents – my mum and husband had to do it for me!

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As you may know, it was my 30th birthday on bank holiday Monday.  I made a very deliberate decision this year not to make big birthday plans, in case I wasn’t up to it on the day and had to cancel.  I didn’t want to put people out and change arrangements, as it always makes me feel guilty and unreliable.  A lot of people asked what my plans were and wanted to do things with me.  As much as I appreciated people wanting to celebrate with me, I just knew it wasn’t the right decision at this moment in time.  When I can barely wash my own hair or cook meals, planning a meal or night out is the furthest thing from my mind.

As a concession (many people felt I couldn’t do nothing at all, and it did seem a little sad not to mark turning 30), I agreed to some very small-scale plans.  My wonderful mum hosted a small vintage tea party at her house.  She planned it deliberately so that I had nothing to do but turn up and enjoy it.  She did all the planning, decorating and baking.  I was looking forward to it and was really grateful to her for all her efforts.

But sadly…. I woke up on the day feeling absolutely terrible.  My fatigue was awful and my mobility not so great.  It took me 6 attempts to get dressed, brush my hair and cover my dark under-eye circles with some makeup.  I had to keep lying down to recover between each thing I did.  Shortly before setting off, I broke down in tears to my husband.  I really didn’t feel well enough to be out of bed but couldn’t let people down and the thought of cancelling after all my mum’s hard work just made me feel sick.  So I went ahead and set off to my mum’s.  I arrived early so that I could have a lie down after travelling (only 20 minutes).  Everything looked beautiful and please understand that I’m not in any way being ungrateful.  I appreciate my loved ones more than I can express.  I just really wish I had felt better that day and able to enjoy myself!

The tea party was fairly short and I was sitting down the whole time, apart from 10 minutes where we stood in the garden in the sun whilst people arrived.  In hindsight it was stupid of me to have stood up for 10 minutes solid, as it takes a lot out of me… I suffered so badly that night for it!  My legs and hips were in so much pain that I couldn’t find a single comfortable position to lie in.  I didn’t get a minute of sleep the whole night, and gave in at around 7am on the Monday (my actual birthday), and stopped trying.  I was in absolute agony all night – my painkillers, relaxation techniques, positive thinking etc were not working at all and at one point I just wondered, can I cope with a whole lifetime of feeling this much pain?  Thankfully I chatted to a few fellow sick-girls online, whose positive words and encouragement got me through the night.

I was a little better on the Monday (god knows how after no sleep!) and managed to see some family, but crashed and went to bed early that night.  Rock and roll birthday hey?

A friend with ME and fibro pointed out to me that she had noticed a lot of her ill friends having bad crashes around their birthdays – she thought perhaps the stress of feeling obliged to make plans and the extra socialising and stimulation lead to a worsening in the conditions.  I can’t help but think she’s right!

Unfortunately, ME/fibro doesn’t know it’s your birthday, or Christmas, or an occasion you’ve been looking forward to.  It doesn’t care if you’ve got plans or you need to go to work.  It flares when it feels like it and sadly you have to accept that you just can’t make concrete plans any more.  A few people have suggested that I celebrate my birthday as and when I have a day where I’m feeling a bit better.  I think this is what I’ll do – I just have to work in a different way than I used to!

Sometimes being in pain almost all the time and being so fatigued, weak and unwell makes you wonder what the point is and whether you can see yourself surviving a lifetime of it… but whenever I have felt this way, I have turned my thinking around (eventually) and realised that I can still find joy, meaning and happiness in small things like a text from my mum, a hug from my husband, a card from a friend…. at times of extreme pain, it clouds what truly matters, but if anyone reading this is struggling in a similar way, please remember that there is always something worth fighting for!  And who knows… one day they might find some effective treatment or a cure for us, and we can tick everything off our “when I’m better” bucket lists!

Signing off now to have a cuppa and go to bed!  Thanks for reading.

New Barry M Sunset Nails Review: Gel-Like Nails at Home!

Hi everyone

Barry M are a ‘drugstore’ brand, ie very affordable and available in places like Boots and Superdrug.  They offer a wide range of cosmetics, but are best known and liked for their nail polishes.  It’s definitely something they do well!

 

Barry M Sunset Nails Range and Barry M Sunset Topcoat

Barry M Sunset Nails Range and Topcoat

Last month, Barry M released a new nail line called Sunset Nails.  These polishes claim to bring salon gels into the home, as the long-lasting nail colour’s formulation enables it to bond to the nail like a gel, without a base coat. The topcoat then sets and cures the nails without the need for a UV lamp.  You cannot use any other topcoat with the colours, as it will not work.

 

A key question I asked myself as a spoonie who spends a lot of time indoors, in bed… will they still cure if I don’t go outside?!  I googled this and found out that they also cure under artificial home lighting, so no worries there!


The coloured polishes come in seven shades, four of which I own, plus the specific topcoat.  The first colour I tried was this beautiful purpley-pink called Fuchsia Generation.

Barry M The Way you Make me Teal          Barry M Sunset Nails The Way You Make me Teal

It applied like a total dream (freshly applied in the above photo).  The wand is quite wide and splays perfectly to coat the whole nail in one swipe.  A lot of nail varnishes claim to do this but not many actually do so this is great!  The directions are to apply one thin coat of colour straight onto the nail (no need for a base coat as the formulation adheres directly to the nails like gel would), let it dry, apply a second thin coat, let it dry and then apply one layer of the topcoat.  Thankfully it dries really quickly so the whole process is pretty fast.  You get a tiny bit of transfer of the colour onto the topcoat brush but it doesn’t seem to cause any problems.  It dries with a really glossy sheen and does actually feel and look slightly like gel nails.

Barry M claim this polish will last up to ten days.  Emphasis on the ‘up to’!  I don’t know about you but I have yet to find a nail varnish which lasts anywhere near as long as it claims to.  Generally, they last a day or two unchipped on me, then start with slight wear or chipping at the ends.  After 3 to 4 days, it’s game over!  So the fact that the fuchsia polish actually lasted 5 to 6 days without any chipping really impressed me.  It might not be 10 days but I’ll take it!

Barry M Sunset Nails in Fuchsia Generation

Barry M Sunset Nails in Fuchsia Generation

This is just before I removed it at the 6 day point.  A lot of the wear at the end of the nails had only appeared that day.  Plus I’m often using my nails to open makeup, peel stickers off things etc, so they do get a bit of a bashing!


Fuchsia Generation and the Sunset Nails Topcoat were the only ones I bought at first, but I was so impressed with how well they lasted that I went back and bought ‘Can’t get you out of my red’ (classic bright red); ‘Peach for the stars’ (neon pinky peach); and ‘The way you make me teal’ (teal… obviously!)

Barry M Sunset Nails The Way You Make Me Teal and Topcoat

Barry M Sunset Nails The Way You Make Me Teal and Topcoat

I wondered whether all shades would wear as well so my next test subject was the teal colour.  Unfortunately, although it still applied extremely well and looked great, it didn’t wear as well and chipped much earlier than the Fuchsia one.

 

Barry M Sunset Nails in The Way You Make Me Teal

Barry M Sunset Nails in The Way You Make Me Teal

 

Above is the polish freshly applied.  It actually chipped the very next day, but that was because I had a flaky bit of nail and the polish just came off with it!  So I touched up the chip and gave it the benefit of the doubt.  Unfortunately by day three it was a lot more chipped and worn but not so bad that I had to remove it completely.  I just did another coat of the teal polish and a further topcoat.  On day 5 or 6 it’s still looking good so the rescue job seemed to work!

 

Persian Maine Coone Cat

Milo the Persian Maine Coone Cat!

 

Also, Milo The Cat approves… so it can’t be bad!


The polish comes in seven shades: Do It Like a Nude, Fuschia Generation, The Way You Make Me Teal, Can’t Get You Out of My Red, I’ve Been Pinkin’, Peach For the Stars and You Drive Me Navy.  Find them here.

RRP: £4.99 each (although Boots and Superdrug often do 3-for-2 on cosmetics if you want several shades).  You MUST get the matching topcoat for it to cure.


Will you be trying Sunset Nails?  Are you a gel nail lover who could potentially be tempted back to polish?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments box or follow me on social media!

Sunday Snaps: My Week In Photos – 24 May! (Better late than never!)

Happy Sunday everyone!

I’m preparing this post a few days early because as you read this, I’ll be celebrating my 30th birthday at my Mum’s house (the land of no internet!)  I’ll let you all know how my birthday was and how I celebrated etc but here is the past week (including bits of last weekend) up to Saturday in photos!  [Edit – I was super poorly and didn’t get chance to make this post live… sorry it’s late!!)

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Enjoy the rest of your weekend!