Thursday, 24 July 2014

Holiday Essentials / Summer Reading

I'm an incredibly fast reader so when I go on holiday, although they take up precious suitcase space, I have to take a lot of books. I decided to buy some new books for my holiday this year as I've started to outgrow some of the ones I currently own. Nowadays it's quite old fashioned to read an actual paperback book, but I prefer to have a physical book to read instead of reading on a kindle or something similar. I actually bought all 4 of these books from a seller on eBay and the total cost, including postage, was just over £8 which was amazing. 

The Art of French Kissing by Kristin Harmel

How do you say, 'So many men, so little time,' in French? 
Well, Emma Sullivan can always figure that out later. The point is -- she's in Paris! Which would be great, except that she's stuck doing public relations for one of the hottest -- and craziest -- rock stars on the planet. Making things worse is Gabriel Francoeur, the sexy and stubborn reporter who refuses to believe her when she tells him that her client was just playing Go Fish in that hotel room with all those scantily-clad girls....
But Emma will always have Paris. The City of Light, of romance, of high fashion and of unfathomable varieties of cheese. If a girl can't reinvent herself here, there's no hope! It's time to leave the old Emma Sullivan behind and become someone courageous, exciting, successful. The type of girl who, when faced with a reporter who won't stop asking questions, knows just what to do. After all, they don't call it French kissing for nothing!

The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst

A marriage in name only...
To save her family home, impulsive bookstore owner, Alexa Maria McKenzie, casts a love spell. But she never planned on conjuring up her best friend’s older brother—the powerful man who once shattered her heart. Billionaire Nicholas Ryan doesn’t believe in marriage, but in order to inherit his uncle’s corporation, he needs a wife and needs one fast. When he discovers his sister’s childhood friend is in dire financial straits, he’s offers Alexa a bold proposition.
A marriage in name only with certain rules: Avoid entanglement. Keep things all business. Do not fall in love. The arrangement is only for a year so the rules shouldn’t be that hard to follow, right? Except fate has a way of upsetting the best-laid plans....

A Family Scandal by Zoƫ Miller

The mystery of rock musician Zach Anderson's tragic death has never been solved and now, twenty years on, renewed media interest in his life has thrown the spotlight on his daughter, fashion model Lucy, and her half-sisters Ellie and Miranda.When the pressures of notoriety and family become too much, Lucy returns to London full of unresolved questions about her father's death while Ellie flees Dublin for the anonymity of New York, and Miranda, desperate to spread her wings away from her family, reclaims her life in Hong Kong.

When their mother falls ill, the sisters return home to face each other and, in doing so, confront the truth about Zach Anderson and what happened all those years ago. But will their love for each other hold them together or tear them apart?

Torn by Casey Hill

Read the clues. Decode the science. Reveal the murderer. That's Reilly Steel's mantra. Find the answers, solve the crime. But the Quantico-trained forensic investigator is finding her skills aren't enough when a ferociously intelligent killer strikes Dublin. The modus operandi is as perplexing as it is macabre. What connects the two seemingly disparate, high-profile victims? Their corpses refuse to give up their secrets and the crime scenes prove a forensic investigator's worst nightmare. Reilly soon suspects that she may be dealing with a killer - or killers - who know all about crime scene investigation. The police are just as frustrated by the crimes' impenetrable nature and it's only when a third murder occurs - equally graphic and elaborate in its execution - that they discover that this particular killer is using a very specific blueprint for his crimes. Who is the killer's next victim, the real target? And what's his endgame?

I decided to choose a mixture of genres so I have a lot of romance but there's also a murder mystery type book. The only title I've ever heard of before is 'The Art of French Kissing' but I don't know if its supposed to be any good. I didn't look at any reviews before buying these books, all I looked for was the blurb and genre. 

Please let me know if you have read any of the 4 books, or perhaps if you'd be interested in me writing a review for them all once I've read them. 

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

#BeautyDaysOfSummer / Summer Eyes

It's week 4 of the beauty days of summer challenge and the topic today is summer eyes. It doesn't really feel like summer in England yet as our 2 weeks of sun seems to have passed, so I'm basing this post on what I would wear in warm weather, rather than what eye makeup I'm currently wearing.

When it gets hot, like everyone else, I sweat. There's nothing you can do to avoid it. So I try and wear less makeup on my eyes so that there is less makeup to smudge. I can't go without mascara so I still wear that, but I try and wear a waterproof mascara when possible so that it isn't as affected by the heat. I also continue to wear pencil eyeliner in my waterline and lower lash line to define my eyes. However I don't wear liquid liner on my upper lash line because my eyelids tend to get quite oily so there's the risk of the eyeliner transferring itself up my eyes. I don't wear eyeshadow either for similar reasons during summer, but I might wear it on a night if I'm going out when the weather is likely to be cooler. 

At the moment I don't have any specific products that I use on my eyes as I've recently bought some new products to try out. What are your holy grail summer eye products?

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

#BeautyDaysOfSummer / Base Makeup

During the summer the base for my makeup depends to vary on the weather and what I'm doing so I have 3 products which I currently use.

As you can probably tell from the picture, I love Rimmel products. I don't know why, it's just my favourite brand for most products so quite a lot of my makeup is Rimmel.

On days where I'm going out but it's unlikely that I'll see anyone I know, for example going to the supermarket, I'll wear the BB Cream. It's very lightweight so is good for the days I don't want much coverage or to look like I'm wearing a full face of makeup. I'm slightly disappointed with the colour range as the last time I checked there was only 3 shades available, but you can't really notice you're wearing anything when it's on so having the wrong shade wouldn't matter.

I don't really have an opinion on the Match Perfection, it's the first foundation I bought and is slightly too dark for me, however it does its job but is pretty average. I won't repurchase it but I get it in my makeup draw for after my summer holidays when I need a darker foundation. I would say it is light to medium coverage with quite a dewy finish.

Finally is my current favourite foundation, the Rimmel Wake Me Up's amazing. I've put off buying it for so long as I usually prefer a matte look but since I've been wearing it, it is much less dewy than I thought it would be and provides a good amount of coverage. I still wear a powder with it just to be on the safe side, but I could probably get away without one. 

This is definitely the best base product for the summer that I've found so far from the drugstore but I'd be interested to know which foundations or BB Creams you use.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

#BeautyDaysOfSummer / Summer Tanning

It's week 2 of the challenge, and this post's focus is on tanning. I am a naturally tanned person (I wear NC20) and have always been the most tanned one out of my group of friends; because of this, I've never felt the need to fake tan. I know that recently fake tanning has become really popular and most girls now fake tan regularly, but I continue to think that it does look fake and isn't flattering. 

I was struggling to think of ideas for this post until the other day when I watched a YouTube video by Gaby aka velvetgh0st called 'My Beach Bag Essentials'. Towards the end of the video she discussed tanning and advised girls to fake tan rather than get a natural tan and risk skin damage. I personally think that this is the wrong message to give to teenage girls. People always seem to be complaining that girls are becoming fake so why would you encourage it? I'm not sure if I'm the only one who feels like this, I'd really like to know your opinion on the topic but I think fake tan should always be a last resort and should never be favoured over a natural suntan. 

I'm sorry for the short post, but I'm not sure any of you would have continued to read it if my ranting was any longer. Please watch Gaby's video and see if you think she is giving her viewers the right message. 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Primark Haul / April 2014

Over the Easter holidays I decided that it was time to start buying summer clothes for my holiday in August. This year I'm going to Phoenix, Arizona which is going to be boiling hot, so I've tried to buy lightweight clothes that won't add to the heat. Please note that even though it might seem like I've bought too much, I've gone down two sizes in the past year so most of my old summer clothes don't fit me.

Bikini set - £6
Bikini top - £6 / Bikini bottoms - £4

Bikini's are obviously an essential for a summer holiday and for me it's important to have at least two, preferably different styles, to try and eliminate some tan lines. The first one is definitely my signature bikini style as its the type I've worn for the past few years, the top is a twisted bandeau with removable straps and normal bottoms. Although I don't think strapless bikinis are as flattering, they're a must for tanning at the pool or beach. I also bought a normal bikini (picture 2) which is more of a traditional bikini. On the hanger it said that the top was push-up, but to me it just seems well padded and doesn't make your boobs look like they're popping out.

Jade Shorts - £3
White Shorts - £3
Grey Shorts - £5

I also picked up 3 pairs of shorts in colours that will hopefully go well with my bikinis and vest tops. During the day on holiday I prefer to wear shorts while walking around because the heat plus my thighs can make them quite sore, which I really don't want. 

Beach Dresses - £5 each

My sister pointed these out to me and I fell in love! They had quite a few colours and styles to choose from so it was difficult to limit myself to only two, but I'm pleased with the two I picked. These will be perfect for when we go out for a casual meal, like to a diner, so it's more dressed up than shorts but isn't a full on dress which will make me overheat. The only negative I can find about these dresses is that the top half of the first dress has got gaps in so you can see your bra through it, but one of my bikinis is a similar colour to the dress so I'm hoping that will eliminate the problem. 

Sandals - £6

I was in need of some flat shoes to wear for walking around in America, I've got some slip-on sandals for walking by the pool so I decided that I needed a different pair for meals ect. I've seen so many shoes with the strap around the ankle and I've finally caved in and bought some, but I think the strap looks quite stylish on these when it can sometimes not really match the shoe. I have tiny size three feet so I was really happy when I saw that primark actually did my size.

Bra and Underwear Set - £3
Bra with removable straps - £4

I know that for some reason people don't like seeing underwear on blogs or in YouTube videos, but I find it really interesting to see the styles of bras people wear, and if that makes me weird then so be it. The top set does come with matching knickers but they were in the wash when I took these pictures. This is the first 'pretty' bra I own, all of my others are just plain black or white so purchasing this set was quite a big milestone for me. The only downside I can find isn't going to be a problem for most other girls, it's just that even though the straps are adjustable, they don't go tight enough to fit properly on my tiny shoulders; I'll still wear it, I'll just have to be careful that nothing slips out. 
However, I don't have this problem with the second bra as the straps easily tighten enough to fit my shoulders and even smaller. I'm really impressed with this bra as its got three rows of three clasps on the back so it fits its purpose and is secure enough to wear without the straps.

Necklace - £3 Rings - £2.50

I've bought my first ever primark jewellery! My sister has a necklace similar to this one that I keep borrowing so I decided to buy myself one. I haven't worn it yet but it seems like it will be easy to style. I also bought a pack of rings which contains 12 different styles. I chose to get mine in a medium, which fit fine but are too big to be worn as midi-rings

Aztec skirt - £6

I couldn't resist buying this skirt, it's so perfect for summer holidays or even warm weather in England. It comes with a thin belt and has buttons down the middle. I love the colours and the pattern, I think it will look quite good with my dark hair so maybe I'll do a blog post on how I style it.

I also bought two tank tops from primark, one in a medium pink called lipstick and one in black. They cost £2.50 each and like the vest tops I've bought previously they are quite long.

Boob tube - £4

I purchased this top from Matalan and I think the pattern is amazing. Even though it is a bit dark, the colour on it matched with some lighter shorts will look really cool. I bought tops similar to this one from Matalan before and I really like the fit.

Kaftan - £12

Finally I went to Select and bought this Aztec fringed lace kaftan to wear over my bikini. My dad initially showed me it in a bright orange/pink but I thought that would clash with my bikinis so opted for the safer white version. The cutout detailing and the fringing makes the shapeless dress look more flattering and I love the way it looks with a bikini underneath. 

That is it for my haul. This will probably be my last blog post for a few months as my exams are only three or so weeks away and they're my priority.
Please let me know if you would be interested to see how I style any of these items, or even give me some suggestions. 

Monday, 16 June 2014

#BeautyDaysOfSummer / Summer Skincare

During the summer I try not to use products that feel too heavy on my skin, like moisturisers that feel really wet or a mask that will dry out my skin, of course there will be the occasional day when I will need the extra moisture but I try to avoid adding too many products to my skin.
Here are the four basic products that I use throughout the warmer months, however what I use isn't set in stone as on some days my skin will need more or less attention.

This is my Skincare as if I was wearing makeup throughout the day, as I use significantly less products when I'm not wearing makeup.

To start with I dot some of the Simple Kind To Skin Hydrating Light Moisturiser all over my face and rub it in using an oval cotton pad in circular motions. I have oily skin but I find that this hydrates my skin without adding any extra oil or stickiness to my face which is a huge plus for me. However if you have dry skin this might not work as well for you so you might want to try a more heavy duty moisturiser. 

I take off my makeup on a night with either a face wipe or an in shower cleanser, these are bought and used out of convenience rather than for quality.

I then remove any makeup left on my face with the Simple Kind To Skin Purifying Cleansing Lotion using the same method as I did with the moisturiser. The consistency of the cleanser is thicker than most others which I why I like it so much, it feels like it's being worked into my skin rather than just sitting on top of it. 

To get rid of any excess product on my face I use the Simple Kind To Skin Soothing Facial Toner, I really like this product but a toner is a toner so it's nothing special.

Once a week I use The Bodyshop Shea Butter or a similar face mask to give my face a deep clean. I prefer exfoliating masks as I feel like they're doing more, but again I only like them because my skin is oily. I do feel like the Shea butter adds a lot of oil to my face which is why I don't use it everyday.

I hope it has been useful for you to see which Skincare products I use throughout summer, this post is part of an ongoing series with other beauty bloggers called #BeautyDaysOfSummer so make sure you search the hashtag on twitter to get involved and read the other posts which will be posted every Wednesday at 6pm.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Haul / March 2014

Recently, I've been craving a shopping trip for some reason, I don't know why but I really want to spend some money updating my wardrobe. Unfortunately, my friends are being miserable and refuse to come shopping with me, so on a few occasions I managed to tag along with my parents into town.

I'll start off with the slightly boring, but essential items I bought from Primark. There's two Primarks which are an equal distance from where I live, the one I bought these items from is the least nice of the two as there's clothes everywhere, so I wasn't really interested in spending any more time that necessary there. Hopefully in the coming months I'll be able to go to the big, new Primark to buy some of their spring range.

The first things I rummaged through the piles to find (as you can probably tell by the creases) were these two vests. I wear vests everyday under my school top because I hate school jumpers but don't want to get cold. I chose a basic white one as well as a navy blue as its a similar colour to my school uniform so it won't be noticeable if my top rides up. A major bonus of these vests is that they have adjustable straps, which for someone with tiny shoulders like me is a lifesaver! I'm pretty sure these were around the £2 to £2.50 price so even if they don't last me forever, they won't make too much of a dent in my money stash. The only negative about them so far is that they're stupidly long as I can easily pull them down over my bum, I'm not sure if its just because I'm short, but I wish they did a shorter version.

Another necessity I picked up from Primark was this five-pack of neon socks, which includes baby pink, neon yellow, fuschia, and two coral pairs. As fair as I can remember these were £2.50 which is an amazing price for five pairs of socks, especially considering my mum bought a four-pack from bhs for £5. I'm really impressed with the quality of these socks, which I know is a weird thing to write about, but I'm constantly putting holes through socks and so far these have withstood my lethal toenails.

On another trip into town my dad wanted to treat me to some more expensive clothes, which I obviously wasn't going to say no to, so we headed into Hollister. I've never really been into Hollister before, mainly because my sister loves it and after seeing what she had bought there it made me think that all they sold was skimpy clothes. But I was on a mission to step out of my comfort zone and buy some more flattering clothing now that I'm happier with my weight and shape. 

I first saw this, and I know what you're thinking because its probably the exact same thing that I was thinking when I first saw it, 'who can fit in that?'. It's actually really hard to see it properly unless its being worn as the two straps cross at the back, which is why it looks half the size on the hanger. I walked past it on the hanger and completely dismissed it, but then as I walked further into the store I saw it on a manakin and knew I had to try it on. It really flatters my shape as my waist is tiny, and the frill detail at the top takes the focus away from my larger hips. Originally this was £49 which is outrageous, but it was reduced by 25% so I got it for the more acceptable price of £36.75. 

They had styled the dress above on the manakin with a crop top over it, which I thought was a really clever way to make a summery dress easier to wear in English weather. I'd never bought a crop top before as I personally don't like the look of them with high-waisted jeans, but I'm hoping by purchasing this it will push me towards buying skirts. To me, this seems like quite a reasonable length for a crop top as it comes to just under my belly button. When we got to the till we found out that this also had 25% off so was reduced from £22 to £16.50. 

My final purchase from Hollister was this floaty, skater skirt with a subtle floral pattern. This skirt looks good with the crop top, but I'm also hoping to wear it with t-shirts I already own tucked into it. When the weather improves I might make a look book that focuses on different ways to wear this skirt as I'm interested in seeing how it can be styled. This skirt wasn't reduced so it cost the full £29 but I know I'm going to get so much wear out of it. 

Please let me know how you would style any of these items, and also what shoes you'd wear with them so they're appropriate for sixth form.