Thursday, 31 July 2014

The Sky's Awake

"If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad."
- Jane Austen


Monday, 28 July 2014

Beauty Tales - Skin as White as Snow

The mirror had never seen the Queen in such a rage. She had entered the room, overturning her vanity and stormed towards the Magic Mirror, her eyes filled with fire and her face oily and orange.

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall, whose the fairest of them!?" she gasped through heavy breath. 

The mirror sighed, and repeated, once again, "Snow White is the fairest, your majesty."

The Queen screeched, her voice piercing the night air. She calmed herself, turned to the mirror and whispered, "How? I have tried everything. The oily patches just appear! I cannot stop the running of the concealer!"

The mirror felt a little sorry for her, as she broke down, clutching her face which she now so despised. It was then that the door swung open with a bang, and standing in the doorway was the woodsman.

"Your majesty," his voice rang out, "I think I have something you might be interested in."

In his hand, glimmering in the dim light, was a small, red makeup bag.

If I had to give up all makeup and pick just one section to keep, I would definitely drop the lipsticks, mascaras and blushes, all for base products. For somebody who has an incredibly blotchy nose and possibly the worst dark circles since Panda bears were first discovered, a good concealer, among other things, is a must. 

I have often been told that I resemble Snow White (rocking the pale skin and red lips, I suppose), and I have always been in awe of her skin, in whatever version you see her. So, I have picked my three go-to base products that I use pretty much daily. 

I have already written a post on Collection's Lasting Perfection Concealer, so I shan't say too much, but it is the best one I have tried. It covers my dark circles and blemishes and isn't too heavy. Plus, the price is incredible and I never feel guilty about repurchasing.

After my concealer, I apply the Nip+Fab CC Eye Fix. This is an eye cream and concealer in one which I received in my beauty box. As it's a little too light to actually create any coverage, I use it almost as a highlighter for my dark circles. 

I suppose you could say that I've replaced foundation with powder, as this part is crucial to my base routine. I dust the Boujois Poudre De Riz De Java all over my face, especially on my forehead and nose, where makeup is more likely to melt away. This leaves my skin feeling very soft and matte (which I love), while sealing my face. 

I have to be honest and say the only thing I hate about this product is the packaging. Not the design, that's beautiful, but the actual inside. The only way to get the product out is by twisting a little plastic fitting, which releases the powder as you would talcum powder. Because of this, it's really difficult to get an even coverage on the brush because you either get a little or a lot of it come out at once. 

I hope you enjoyed this little insight into my favourite base products. Let me know in the comments your favourite ones and what you thought of this latest Beauty Tale. 

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Friday, 25 July 2014

The Walter Mitty Complex

"I haven't really been anywhere noteworthy or mentionable." 

This is my life. From the moment I put pen to paper and began this blog, I knew that it would be difficult. It would be hard to keep going, to be original. And I so wish that I had the time or the money to do amazing things and eat at amazing restaurants but the truth is that I can't. And recently, I haven't done anything noteworthy or mentionable. 

On my way from London to Florida a few months back, I watched a film called 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty', which I cannot recommend enough if you're feeling down about life. It is not only a great film, but a great work of art. The main character, Walter, develops photos for a magazine, doing very little else with his life. 

This is me. I am Walter. 

The majority of my real life is made up of shifts at a little cafe, where nothing different happens one day to the next, with the exception of the ever changing specials board. When I go home, I read, have a shower, sleep. 

I am so proud of this little blog and what I have achieved through sticking at it, and I guess this post has become almost an apology (to you, reader, and to myself), that I haven't had the inspiration to write anything lately. As bloggers, we are constantly under pressure to create something new, something original, something creative, or else we will lose our readers. But we are all just normal people. The expectations we place on each other are ones which if placed upon ourselves would make us feel like failures. 

The film shows Walter's journey from a quiet office worker, to someone who is brave, strong and unafraid of the world. Instead of daydreaming about what he wishes he could do, he goes out and he does them for real. Someday, I'm sure I will be able to do these things; to experience the world in all it's glory and share it with you, but at the moment, the Summer months pass in a blur. I hope that if you too have a blog, you will understand my predicament. 

People say you should live life to the fullest, take every second as if it's your last and do everything you want to do. But the honest truth is that sometimes that's not possible. I'm not going to be able to go to Bora Bora or swing on the Swing at the End of the World any time soon. 

What I will do is live in happiness. This blog has given me more happiness than I have ever felt from any other hobby, which sounds a bit sad, but it's the truth. I will write, but for me. I will create what makes me happy and share with you my days, adventures or not. And one day, I will do something as incredible as Walter Mitty. 

"To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life."

- The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

Disclaimer: I do not own the picture above. It is a painting by the incredibly talented Jan VavruĊĦa, who's other work can be found by clicking his name or the source link above. I wanted to share it with you all because of how beautiful it is and how it made me feel. I hope you experience the same.

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Monday, 21 July 2014

Beauty Tales - Little Red Riding Lips

Rimmel Apocalips Big Bang

Knock! Knock! Knock!

"Come in!" replied the high pitched voice of her grandmother. Red pushed open the door tentatively, stepping inside with her basket clutched firmly in the crook of her arm. The house was as it should be, but there was something not quite right about it. The air smelt different. It smelt like the woods, and Granny never walked in the woods. 

Moving slowly into the bedroom, she saw her grandmother sitting upright in bed, a newspaper held in her glove covered hands, covering her face up to her...ears?

"Granny?" Red murmured. 

"Ah, Red! I've been expecting you! I-" 

"Granny" cut off. For the first time, she had peered over the top of the newspaper, her strangely yellow eyes widening at the sight of her granddaughter. 

"My dear!" she gasped, "What red lips you have!"

The inspiration for the story above is that I was wearing this lipstick at an airport once and a little girl of about six walked by, looked at me, then turned to her mother and said "Mummy, I just saw a girl wearing too much lipstick." 

Being smacked down by a small child only made me stronger, however, and to this day my Go to red lip is Rimmel Apocalips Lip Lacquer in 'Big Bang'. To me, it is the perfect red. The colour is flawless and stays that way throughout the whole day. Even when it transfers onto food or drink, my lips remain red until I choose to remove it. 

Rimmel Apocalips Big Bang Red Riding Hood

Be warned; this is a gloss, not a lipstick! For me, this is no problem as I've always liked a bit of shine on my lips, but if you like a matte finish I would say to blot with a piece of tissue. This removes the shiny residue and leaves the red stain. 

The only downside is, because it is gloss, you need a very steady hand when applying. The applicator provided with the lacquer is too big and always picks up too much product to creating the perfect line, so I use a smaller lip gloss brush to paint the shape I need.

You may only wear this on evenings out, but I love red and so this makes an appearance frequently in my day to day makeup. What's your favourite red lip product? 

I'd definitely recommend for any occasion where a red lippy is in order and a few wolves need shocking. 

Rimmel Apocalips Big Bang Red Riding Hood

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Saturday, 19 July 2014

Love Me Beauty - July

Love Me Beauty, you have won me back. 

After last month's pretty rubbish postal disaster, I am so happy that this month's box a) was actually delivered to me, b) contains a load of products I LOVE and c) is worth over £60! Pure madness!

For those of you who don't know, Love Me Beauty is a monthly beauty and lifestyle subscription box, for which you pay £10.95 + P&P. I love that LMB allows you to pick your box every month, so you'll know what you're receiving and can be sure that you're going to like at least a few of the items!

So, as I've said, this month's box was pretty amazing. 

OFRA Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick in 'Hollywood' ~ Full Size ~ RRP £11.60

Gosh, that's a lot of L's. I think this has to be my favourite product of the lot. I've never heard of OFRA but I'm seriously tempted to go crazy with this product in a couple more shades. Firstly, it's the weirdest thing I've ever worn. It's like melted lipstick. It's super thick and creamy and I kid you not was still as bright and beautiful eight hours after application. It also doesn't dry your lips, it feels more like a balm than anything. I absolutely LOVE IT!

 OFRA Pressed Eye Shadow in 'Bliss' ~ Full Size ~ RRP £8.80

Another gorgeous product from OFRA, this eyeshadow is so beautiful. The shade is right up my street and is apparently from their 'Diamonds Are Forever' range, which means it looks like diamonds on your eyes. I applied three coats before work (because I like a lot of coverage), and again it was still going strong at the end of my shift. It's also lovely and pigmented, which is always a bonus. 

 So Susan Flutter Mascara ~ Full Size ~ RRP £14.95

I have briefly heard of So Susan before and I have heard good things about their products. I was excited to see a mascara in this month's box as all of mine have nearly dried up now. I haven't yet tested this as I am saving it for when I need it most, but hopefully it lives up to it's quite high price tag.

 So Susan Dual Brow Powder ~ Full Size ~ RRP £11.95

This kind of reminds me of my Benefit Browzings kit without the wax. I used the darker colour on my eyebrows today before work and the staying power is pretty high. I don't think I would use the lighter colour at all, however. The thing about So Susan is that the products seem really nice, but I hate the packaging. I feel like whoever designed it thought 'simple is fine' and then just slapped any old font on any old colour. BUT, do not judge a book by its cover, as they say.

 The Teashed 4am Tea - 20 whole leaf teabags - RRP £3.50

As you may or may not know, I'm literally the only person in England who doesn't drink tea. I'm not even joking. There are babies that drink tea and here I am with my hot chocolate. These look like lovely teabags and it's so nice to receive a huge pack of them, but they will be finding a home at my mama's house :)

Weleda Sea Buckthorn Body Lotion ~ Full Size ~ RRP 15.95

This was a total surprise as it wasn't on the Menu I chose and doesn't even appear on the information card. It's a really expensive lotion as well and it was so nice to receive this! A lot of people have recommended Weleda as a brand as well so I am really looking forward to trying this out when my current body lotion is finished. 

LASHEM Lash Enhancing Serum ~ 2ml Sample Size ~ RRP £40 (3.5ml)

This is probably the product I was least excited about, simply because I had never heard of a 'lash enhancing serum' before. It's supposed to nourish and condition your lashes to make them look longer over the course of seven weeks. I would be unlikely to pay out £40 for a full size, especially when it's only 1.5ml bigger than my sample one, but it's a good concept and I'd like to see how it affects my eyelashes!

Overall, this box has been absolutely brilliant. Love Me Beauty have definitely kept me on for their subscription and have completely made up for last month. Hopefully they'll be able to keep up the good work as I will be expecting a box this great every month now! 

I'm also seriously going to go wild on the OFRA website because I now LOVE THEM.

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Thursday, 17 July 2014

The Fat Duck

There are places on this Earth that you have to visit before you die. This is one of them. To me, The Fat Duck is just a building filled with the absolute magic of food and the mastery of human skill that goes into making each and every one of these courses. And as you know, I love food.

Let's begin our journey.

In April of last year, I took my boyfriend to Heston Blumenthal's legendary restaurant The Fat Duck. I knew he had always wanted to go there, and I knew that it would be an experience that we would not forget for a long time coming. 

It has three Michelin Stars, which is perspective for those who aren't aware of what this means, it's the highest number you can receive. It is also on the list of the top 50 Restaurants in the world. Have I sold it to you yet? 

The photo quality of today's post sadly won't be up to normal standard, as these photos were taken on my phone before I even had a digital camera. However, the likelihood of me ever being able to return to The Fat Duck means that I should share my first experience with you anyway! 

We arrived and took our seats at our intimate round table. The restaurant is built inside what appears to be an old cottage, with only around ten other tables present. The atmosphere was relaxed and welcoming and from the moment you walk in the service is incredible. 

Here's my man looking extremely happy to be there!

We were given the menu to scan, bound in a heavy, leather book which reminded me of something from a fairy tale. There were also only two pages in this.

The menu consists of a set, 14 course meal, which is supposed to take you on a journey into the senses.

As soon as we were ready, funny shaped, edible objects appeared on strange plates. This cutie was beetroot, transformed into a puff of air which dissolved in the mouth immediately. 

To cleanse the palette, our waiter rolled up with a cart where he would proceed to make our own Nitro Poached Aperitif, made from our choice of alcohol and citrus. 

 I had tequila and grapefruit, which was created with a bang of a spark and an overflow of Liquid Nitrogen. 

"Eat quickly!" the man instructed, as he saw me struggling to take a picture.

With the snap completed, I popped the whole thing in my mouth. It melted like snow on my tongue, with a strangely soft texture. It tasted amazing.

This was followed by Red Cabbage Gazpacho, with pommery grain mustard ice cream.

Yep, you heard me right. Mustard ice cream

After came one of my favourite savoury courses: Jelly of Quail, Crayfish Cream, with chicken liver parfait, oak moss (that's the thing with the mist!) and truffle toast. 

Before consuming, you were given a tiny, wafer thin rectangle to place on your tongue. This filled your mouth with the flavours of the oak moss, before consuming the rest of the dish.

I also took a picture of the bread because a) I love bread - carbs for life, and b) this was seriously some of the best bread I've ever tasted. And the butter was to die for. 

You take me to the best restaurant in the world and the thing I'm most impressed by is the bread and butter...simple pleasures people!

This was the course I was least looking forward to; Snail Porridge. I'd never eaten snails before and to have them in porridge seemed almost grotesque. However, I actually really enjoyed this dish. 

We then shared two different dishes for our next course. 

My boyfriend had Roast Foie Gras...

While I had possibly the biggest scallop I've ever seen.

We both realised quickly that we both preferred the Foie Gras over the scallop, so fought quietly for the remainder of the dish. However, our agreement to share became void and he ate nearly the whole lot for himself.

The thing I was most looking forward to was the Alice in Wonderland themed course.

A gold pocket watch, dipped in a teapot to create Mock Turtle Soup, and then drunk from a teacup.

With toast sandwiches, and the Mad Hatter's hat, of course.

This was followed by the famous 'Sound of the Sea' (including edible sand!), which is to be eaten while listening to the crashing waves.

Sadly, despite the magical experience it provided, in terms of flavour it was probably my least favourite course.

But I loved the Anjou Pigeon, with smoked onion and malt.

To prepare us for dessert, we drunk a hot and iced tea. Somehow, when drunk, it tastes hot and cold at once!

Then we ate an egg. 

Did I have you fooled? It was more like the world's poshest Kinder Egg; white chocolate shell with a panacotta white and citrus yolk. The base was ice cream and sweet caramel.

But my favourite dessert was 'The BFG' - Black Forest Gateau. Simply because of how perfect it looks. It was perfectly balanced in flavour as well, with not too much Kirsch, which made me very happy. 

For afters, we had Whiskey Wine Gums, which I didn't touch as I loathe Whiskey. But my boyfriend happily ate all of his. 

To take home (or eat in if you're a piggy like me!), we were presented with 'Like A Kid In A Sweet Shop', with a variety of sweets in a bag that smelt like old fashion sweet shops. I'm also in love with those pink striped plates. 

I felt like I was in Willy Wonka's factory when eating the fudge with the edible wrapper. It also tasted like apple pie!

But the detail on the white chocolate Queen of Hearts was something else. 

Each one is hand painted, and filled with strawberry jam. I could have eaten ten of these, although it was almost a shame to!

We rolled out the door with our bellies full and our minds blown from the absolute splendour of it all. 

This place is not cheap by any means. I saved up all my pennies to treat my boyfriend for his birthday but it was certainly worth it, simply to say "I ate at The Fat Duck". You can visit their website here for more details to experience this incredible delight. 

Although I think the reason it's called 'The Fat Duck' is because that is literally what you become when you've finished all fourteen courses. I was quacking for days after.

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