Beauty Treatment of the month - Lash tinting

eyelash tinting before and after

When I first got my grad job, one of the first things I treated myself to was getting my nails done properly, because having been a poor student for forever, I thought I'd see what the hype was about. Two years later and I'm still going to the same salon...

I was looking at the brochure a few weeks ago and looked at all the various treatments I would love to get done, and decided to take the plunge. I also decided to do this new series to document my trials, and to show people who haven't had something done before what the results are and whether it is worth it - one thing I found was that I really didn't know what to expect, so hopefully this will help some people along the way!

eyelash tinting before and after

I go to Eastern Arts in Southampton, so my experiences are based on that, but I think most things will be pretty standard whatever salon you go to!

I picked lash tinting this month as I thought it would be perfect for my holiday. Being ginger, I have quite light lashes, and have to wear mascara or I look terrible. I thought if this worked then I wouldn't have to bother with make up all holiday. yay! 

I have actually tried lash tinting with the at home kits before, but thought the professional results would be completely different - I was entirely right...

eyelash tinting before and after

My treatment was performed by Tina (who also did my nails, toes and eyebrow threading in that session - wonder woman!) who was so lovely and talked me through everything. 

I asked for black but was told they do a blue black tinge as it makes your lashes pop - I wasn't sure what the difference was, but trusted the pros.

The process is actually very simple - Tina put some Vaseline on pads along my lash line to protect my skin, and then put the dye on. I relaxed with my eyes closed for 15 minutes until she came back, took the dye off, and hey presto!

I am so so in love with the result. It will last two weeks, and I definitely think I'll go back and get it done again! It has made me feel so much more confident not wearing make up out of the house, so on that note, I'll leave you with a make up less selfie to add to this already face heavy post!

no make up selfie

Tada! Have you ever had yours tinted? Hit me up on Twitter if you've got any questions!
xoxo

Nails of the month #2 - Coral Rockstar


Following on from last month’s nails of the month, I might have already reverted to Shellac…it’s just sooo pretty!

I’ve fallen for pointy nails recently, and was toying with the idea of sparkly coral for a LONG time after seeing it on Instagram, so when I painted my nails a nude colour, they just weren’t doing it for me.

I was in a bit of a need of a pick me up when I happened to be working in the office and had the brain wave of getting my nails done in my lunch break. (I go to Eastern Arts in Southampton for everrrrrything if you’re wondering, always had a positive experience.)

45 minutes later and these beauties were mine! They’re my natural nails – I’m pretty happy with the length I’ve managed to maintain for a while – usually I’ve had a break by this point!



The colour is CND Shellac in Salmon Run with some orange iridescent glitter layered over the top and sealed with the Shellac top coat – the result is super smooth glittery nails that should last two weeks…perfect for summer!

(I keep waving my nails about and getting them to twinkle in the light like a child – I feel kind of like a unicorn!)

What do you think? I think this technique is called Rockstar – have you ever had it? Tweet me!
xoxo

The Two of Us - Andy Jones


The Two of Us, by Andy Jones is the latest book I've conquered in my reading quest, and I am so glad I did! (Check out my other reads here!)

I'm not entirely sure what made me pick it up in the first place - it was probably recommended by Amazon or something, but it's lucky it did as this is a lovely little book! (Even if it is heartbreaking at times!)

It's extremely well written, and easy to follow - not overly descriptive or anything like that - very relate-able and down to earth seeming.

This is actually why I like the characters so much - they are extremely plausible, and I wouldn't be surprised if they were based on people the author knew as they jump out of the page and into your head as you get immersed into their average lives - I actually read this book in a day as I couldn't put it down!

 This is a book about love, and heartbreak (not how you think) and growing up, and family relationships, all bundled into one - without giving too much away, the story follows Fisher, a completely average twenty something, who meets a slightly older woman called Ivy, and falls in love with her, and accidentally gets her pregnant two weeks in...the book then explores the implications of that for both of them.

Overall, I'm really glad I read this book, even if it did make me cry at times! It's one for those of you that edge between chick flicks and deeper storylines as it does hit quite hard in places! This is not an entirely happy book, you have been warned! 

On that note, I'm off to lend it to my mum!

Have you read this? What did you think? Tweet me!
xoxo


An Interview with Nadiya (GBBO) at Eat Street Food Festival, Festival Place


A few weeks ago an email popped into my inbox inviting me to meet Nadiya Hussain at the Basingstoke Festival Place Eat Street food festival, and the stars aligned perfectly - our Wagon in the Woods adventure was the day before and 15 miles away (more on that another time), so I couldn't say no! 

This year Eat Street, which is in it's 4th year, was hosted by Nadiya. There were lots of cooking demonstrations throughout the weekend, free food from Nandos and displays of all the home cooking things that can be purchased throughout Festival Place - I now have a wishlist as long as my arm!

I popped into the shopping centre to explore the Eat Street event, chat to Nadiya, and get an early copy of her new book, Nadiya's Kitchen, which launches on the 18th of June! (Spoiler, it's amazing, I'm going to try so much of it! Nadiya actually demonstrated three of these recipes on stage - they all looked so good!)



I also got a full interview via email, which you can read below!

1) Chronicles of Nadiya - what an awesome name! [Her new TV show] Which ideas didn't quite make the cut?

Let's just say when you have a name like that nothing else really cuts the mustard quite like it.  

2) Where do you see yourself this time next year? What do you have planned?

I haven't really got any plans. Everything I'm doing now wasn't really a party of any grand plan either. At the moment I'm enjoying everything imp doing and everything I'm doing is so varied. So enjoying it is very important to me.

3) What would you say to your 16 year old self? 

Don't listen to everything everyone says and set it in stone. As a teenager it's easy to listen to every word of every single person you interact with. I wish I hadn't listened to every word. 

4) Red velvet or salted caramel?

Salted caramel.  

5) Any secrets to fluffy cakes you can share?

 I like the creaming method of making a cake. Where butter and sugar is creamed and then the other ingredients added. But the key is to not overbeat the mixture as this can make a dense cake rather than a fluffy one. 

6) What's your favourite way to decorate a cake? 

It varies but I love to every now and again use a new piping tip and see where my experimenting takes me.

7) Which of your recipes/creations are you most proud of? 

I am proud of all my recipes. They are hard to develop and each one has a story. But one of my favourites is my mango and parsley pavalova and my grandmas cod and clementine curry. 

8) What would you NEVER include in a bake?

 I have experimented with lavender and I must say it’s not something I enjoy in desserts. I will change my mind I'm sure as I always do. Just need to use it differently. 

9) What's the worst interview question you've ever been asked?

 Is your husband really that good looking? Well of course he is! 

10) Which element of Eat Street are you most excited about and why?

I'm looking forward to showcasing some of recipes and overall looking forward to the atmosphere.  There's always a great buzz.

I had such a lovely day, and have left with lots of new cooking ideas! I really hope there's an Eat Street next year, and if there is, I definitely recommend you checking it out!

Have you been to a food festival before? Tweet me! 
xoxo

Adventures in Venice


In short, Venice is stunning and I thought I'd share some of my photos from our trip with you!
(There are some more on my Instagram if you want more!)

Me and James (James and I?) hopped over to Italy for two weeks in May and spent a rather wonderful time exploring Rome, Florence and Venice. (We actually did the whole trip via AirBnB - I was skeptical at first, but we had such a wonderful experience! I'd definitely recommend it!)

It was everything I'd imagined it would be and more - it is so so beautiful and I can see why so many people fall in love with it!

We  basically spent two weeks exploring beautiful cities, eating all the carbs and cheese, drink all the wine and coffee and sunning ourselves. It was perfect!

(We went to Venice last on our trip, but for some reason I've decided to post about this one first...as you do.)


As you may know, Venice is made up of lots of tiny little islands and connected by canals with bridges. Mainland Venice that is. In the Venice lagoon there are actually lots of islands in their own right, each with a famous trade!

Above is Murano, which is famous for glass. We saw glass being blown in the furnace, and if you keep your eye out, you can see loads of these beautiful glass details everywhere - look at the flowers!


Next up is Burano, which is famous for lace making...and its beautiful rainbow houses!


Every building is so brightly coloured, and varied! I tried to take a photo of a house in every colour to create a rainbow, but I got distracted...


I like the aqua ones and the pink ones and the purple ones...


and the blue ones and green ones, and yellow ones and...ahhh, it's all so perfect!


Becky told us to go to Library Aqua Alta, so we did. Apparently it's 21st in the things to do in Venice - it's basically a very old, musty bookshop! It was interesting to go, but I don't think I'd ever be able to buy a book from there!


hehehe...


We were super lucky with weather, apart from on the last day when it was really stormy, though it was beautiful to see the effect it had on the water!


Have you ever been to Venice? I'd love to hear your stories - tweet me!
xoxo

My blogging habitat

 Look, I'm in a booklet!

I was recently contacted by PowWowNow about my flexible working habits, and asked if I'd like to contribute tothe ultimate flexible working guide, which I was more than happy to add my two cents to.

We have flexible working at my actual place of employment, but because we're client facing it's not always possible, so I wasn't sure what I could contribute, but after having a little think, I realised actually, I'm super flexible with the way I blog, and that's a pretty big deal to me.


I find that when I am home at my desk and I set out to blog, I just can't do it. I get the ultimate block. It's like, as soon as I feel I have to do it, I can't. 

What do I do when that happens? I pack up my laptop (which is super light - James got me it for this exact purpose...) and head down to Mettricks in Southampton, which is a super cool coffee shop that basically feels like someone's front room. But with coffee. And better wifi. 

So, that's where I am now, writing this, and planning my next few blog posts. I'm 100% more productive than I would have been at a desk, and I can pretty much do this whenever I feel like it, as they have pretty extensive hours.

Coffee, wifi and creativity - what more could I want?

What does your workplace do to induce flexible working? Where are you most productive? Tweet me!
xoxo

10 things no-one tells you about...finishing university


I've picked leaving university for the latest in my 10 things series!

I graduated uni 2 years ago, on my 21st birthday, and life has been an unexpected whirlwind since! 
There are loads of posts floating about on the internet like this, but most focus on the struggles of getting a job - I luckily had a grad job from an internship I did, so I didn't have to worry about this, and thus I'll focus on the more light-hearted side of things!

1) You will have to pay council tax if you move out of the family home (or maybe even if you're in it...). OhMyGosh this is expensive. Try as you might, you won't quite ever understand exactly what it is it goes towards - you will moan to other 'adults' and get told just bins, and lighting and stuff - I have no idea what mine does as our bins are privately collected, and there's no street lighting so...anyway. Point is, you may think it's like £20 or so, but add another £100 to that and you'll get closer - to the MONTHLY amount! Wahhh.

2) Student discount will both upset and annoy you. Why are things 10% more expensive than they were a couple of months ago? Why do students deserve it? It's painful to relinquish your discount, and worse, to  be asked for your student card at the till and have to say you are no longer a student. My wardrobe is probably at it's lowest Topshop percentage of the last 5 years at this point. RIP student card perks.

3) Unless you stay, you will miss your uni town dearly, and familiar cities will never stack up to it. Time to find somewhere new! (Don't cling on to the image of your uni town though, it will be entirely different if you ever go back!)

4) Everyone has a degree, and no-one particularly cares about yours. End of. Soz. (Obviously aside from it being a required qualification for the jobs you're going for...)

5) Student finance is still there, and you still owe the money. It will start randomly deducting money from your pay to pay it back, and you will think to yourself that you really should dig out the details/log on etc to check statements and the whatnot. You will never be able to find this information, and will make peace with the random amounts coming out each month. £5 one month, £57 the next? Yep, totally logical...

6) You may think you never have to do another exam again, but they always crop up - I guarantee you it will be just when you think you are safe - it may be for a professional qualification, or health and safety training...who knows? It will find you and hunt you down though.

7) You may think you are done with education forever, and then decide a year later you want to do a Masters, having never considered this before in your life. Working full time will make you miss education...and free time...and hey, you'll get student discount again so...

8) It's a LOT harder to meet people. Once you've done the rounds in the office, you won't meet another new person for MONTHS, and when you do, they're probably not that exciting. 

9) You probably won't see 80% of your uni friends again. Tough, but true. People move on, and get different lives. Sorry bout that.

10) 10pm is a late night for you. You're old now. Accept it.

Can you think of any more? Tweet me!
xoxo



An Astronauts Guide to Life on Earth - Chris Hadfield


An astronauts guide to life on Earth, by Chris Hadfield. 

Hmmm. 

I did intend to read this as part of my 25 before 25 quest, but since I didn't finish it, I can't include it. (You can see my thoughts on some others here!)

It's not often I don't finish a book, and I think the last one I abandoned was Elizabeth is Missing. I hate abandoning books, but sometimes plowing on and reading isn't worth the effort.

Unfortunately for me, this was one of those books. 

I think it is due to a combination of the book itself, and that when I tried to read it, work was particularly busy, so it was very much a stop, start, one chapter a week sort of thing - not ideal reading conditions!

I picked this up in the first place, because I love all things space and JUST LOOK AT THE COVER! It's so pretty. That, and it had rave reviews.

The book basically charts Chris Hadfield's life and experiences in becoming an astronaut, or at least that's what the first few chapters do - I didn't get past that bit. I think this is due to the fact that I got a bit annoyed at how self centered and, dare I say it, slightly up himself the narrator seemed. (This is obviously just my opinion, and the streams of people that have read it before me have seen it in a more positive light.) 

In short, to me, it basically said 'Astronauts are amazing' (yes) 'Astronauts are better than normal people' (depends) 'Therefore I am amazing and the most important thing, and it doesn't matter if my wife has to change her life plans, and my kids are moved about - my job is the most important thing ever' (Errrr....). 

I guess it is the last bit that I hit an issue with - yeah, astronauts do a great job, and are insanely skilled, and I could never do it, but it upset me slightly that in my mind it came across that the job was the most important thing, above family and other people, and that made me sad for his wife - to the point hat I couldn't read it anymore.

Now, I'd like to make it clear I'm just commenting on my opinion of a book, nothing else - after all, this book is about space experiences, so why would it focus on anything else? 

I'd be really interested to see what you thought of it - I am obviously in the minority with this book, and I actually really hope I can re-read it in the future and enjoy it! Tweet me your opinions!
xoxo





Oxford - What I wore


It is not often you see photos of me on my blog, and that is purely because my 3D face doesn't translate well to 2D and I resemble a potato. (Though you can see some of my past attempts here...)

Becky however has a knack of taking nice photos, and once I saw these from our trip to Oxford, I just had to show my outfit to the world.

It was one of those rare days where I felt okay about myself and was wearing all my favourite clothes, so I think that's the reason I'm so smiley. That, and I can't pose for a photo to save my life so I always end up cracking up - the above shows my quick descent into giggles...


This bomber jacket from Zara is perhaps the most beautiful thing I've ever owned clothing wise, and I'm super protective of it, so it only comes out for special occasions. The embroidery is stunning - blossom and blue birds! The material itself is satin finish and the jacket is so so comfy.


What I'm not sure comes across is that I'm wearing high waisted relaxed joggers from Primark, and they are THE comfiest thing in the world. I've got them because my skinnies no longer fit, but we'll ignore that bit. 

The boat neck stripey tee is from Primark as well. Stripey tops are my go-to item.

The necklace is one I made! (You can check out my Etsy here...)


This bag is the most wonderful colour pop ever - it's from Accessorize and after umming and ahhing for a while, I went back to grab it and it was 20% off. Fate. I am in love.

Typical Converse, obvs, and my gorgeous Olivia Burton watch that James bought me for my 22nd birthday - it's stunning.

So, there's some pictures of me feeling all confident and what not. (How gorgeous is the jacket?!)

What do you wear to perk yourself up? Tweet me!
xoxo


25 before 25 Update #3


So, I'm 3/4 of the way through the first year of doing this, and I think I'm making good progress! Check out my other updates here...

6) Visit Venice

Done! Me and James went to Italy for two weeks in May and it was perfect! You may have seen some of the photos pop up on my Instagram...There'll be a post on each of the cities soon - Venice is STUNNING. The photo above is of Burano - every house is a different colour!


7)  Explore Rome

Done! A blog post on it will be coming soon! We spent the first 5 days of our trip here and got up to quite a bit! (The weather was laaaavely too, so that doesn't hurt!) Find other posts from our travels here...

22) Read 50 new books 

In progress! At time of writing I have finished 34! (Not including the three I have abandoned half way through!) See my opinions on these books here...(Not all are reviewed, but they will be!)

24) Run a half marathon

In progress!(ish!) My company sponsors a half marathon in the London parks, so I have registered my interest to run in a corporate space for that - I won't know if I've got the place for a while, but we'll see! I'm determined to take my fitness seriously, so have downloaded a couch to half in 20 weeks plan from Women's Running and plan to start a fitness update series on my blog!

I'm not sure how full my next update will be as I've got more exams in the next few months - we'll see!

What are your current goals? Tweet me!
xoxo