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Monday, 28 January 2013

GHD and the 1920's Bob...

Hairstyling is a minefield: so many products out there, countless styles and variations, lets face it, it is sometimes hard to even know where to start! Me? Well, I have incredibly short dark hair and well, the choice for my combination of hair is hard, I cant use tongs, I cant use hot air stylers with ease but one product was pretty much made for my style hair: the GHD

Most of us all know and recognise the name GHD and to be honest it was the first ever premium brand beauty/hair product I purchased and I've always had a soft spot for them. Now, as well as just straightening hair (duh) GHD's make for amazing all-round hair stylers enabling just about anyone to create various different looks using just their straighteners - perfect non? 

I was kindly set the task by Best British Bloggers and GHD to set upon creating a Classic well known hair cut using a lovely pair of GHD Hair Straighteners gifted to me. Now, being of limited amount of hair there really was only one look I could go for: the 1920's bob. To be honest, the 1920's bob is all kinds of lush and has had me as a fan for as long as I can remember.

The 1920s bob, was considered scandalous, and was once even blamed for loose morality, but once it came on the scene, there was no stopping this hairstyle and I love it! And so, me and my gorgeous new Limited Edition Gold metallic GHD styler set to work to create my very own modern day 1920's bob.

Firstly this kind of style will work well on short/mid-length hair and even better if you have a fringe cut in. If you dont have a fringe you can now buy some clip-in fringes to create a more realistic look.
  • Firstly wash and condition your hair, you really want your hair to have a luxe sheen.
  • Once hair has been washed, add a little hair serum and dry with the hair-dryer using a large, round bristle brush to create as much shine and flatten the hair cuticles 
  • Once dry, here comes the GHD working their magic - start with the fringe. You want the fringe to be nice and full and preferably a lot shorter. Do this by taking a section of the fringe, slide the GHD's under the piece of hair and roll the fringe out and over, almost like creating a 'C' shape.
  • Carry on doing this until you have the entire fringe section - keep going until the fringe looks smooth and shiny.
  • Now section off the lower part of hair and run the straighteners down and out over the under sections  but the key is the almost curl the end of the hair completely under. Then grab the ends and turn them under with your fingers

  • Once all the under layers have been curled under, realise the top sections and do the same to these. 
  • Once all completed, brush through and add a little more serum and smooth the hair down.
  • Ta-Da!!

This is such an easy, but almost iconic look to go for. I do love the way the GHD styler makes it so easy to create this style but the way it does it with shine and health. When you have such short hair it is often hair to disguise anything, its all there on show, that is where the GHD hair straightener really comes into it's own - it manages to keep the shine that is sometimes lost when you use heated stylers.

I cant wait to keep coming up with new found ways of making my short hair look different, either way it'll be nice to put a fresh spin on the 1920's bob.

What styles have you done with a heated styler? are you a GHD fan?

Saturday, 26 January 2013

On the Radar...Pearl and Queenie

We all like a good statement necklace but as much as I like the new trend to go big, bold and statement with a collar necklace, I cant help but wonder what happened to the simple strand and pendent necklace.

Something so normal and simple has kinda drifted off people's radar when the fashion is to wear it loud and proud. I do love a collar necklace and have gone a little bit nuts buying way too many, but the simple side of me hankers after the simple chain and pendent, after all pendants can say much more than a collar necklace.

On my radar lately is luxury jewellery brand Pearl & Queenie. All made in the humble UK, this jewellery brand is not only exquisitely beautiful to look at but it brings me so much joy to say the designs are original and quirky. I dont mean the type of 'quirky' that makes you not want to wear the pieces, each and every design has a high level of sophistication but all with some much needed fun that manages to captivate. This is the type of jewellery that makes the humble necklace place itself firmly back on to the trend list. Not only am I taken with the designers version of the necklace, the rings, bracelets and earrings carry the theme over so well, and that is why it is going straight up on my radar.

Head over the their website HERE and are stocked at the lovely Wolf and Badger in their branches HERE

Friday, 25 January 2013

The big 'Un-Friend'

I've read countless articles about this supposed 'Toxic Friend' syndrome and to tell you the truth I just thought it was a load of bunkum, I mean come on, if you're friends with someone WHY would they be toxic, it just doesn't make sense right? Well, yeah.. you'd think, that is until I found myself sat in front of my laptop on Facebook, staring at 'another' status update by a certain individual and found myself physically wanting to cry. Tear of being drained.

Y'see this Toxic Friend syndrome exists, its not just an idea, oh no, this syndrome,  it is more than real. What I assumed started as a healthy fun friendship would soon turn into something that I doubt even the people that dislike me would struggle to inflict on me. Dont get me wrong, they never said things outright, but at that moment, with my eyes glazing over at that status I knew that this so-called simple friendship I thought belonged to me, really was a load of crap and in fact this person had drained me, drained me of myself and drained me of the ability to even be a friend.

However the circumstances around why we were friends, well, that wasn't an easy one. We have/had mutual friends/connections and therefore to even contemplate pressing that button seemed near on impossible. Often our emotional history will cause us to cling to to a relationship which we know has passed its sell by date, yet despite me knowing this I still couldn't press that button.

However, here we are in 2013. Did I mention I'm going to be 29 soon? well, I am... scary... and for the first time in 9 years I love my life. There are things that need help moving along, but as a whole, dare I say it, IN ME, I am happy. Y'see for years I had an eating disorder, and alongside this I ruined whatever relationship I had with myself. I dont mind talking about it now, I actually hope that by talking about it I might help people, but the one thing I never thought I would have to deal with would be, a 'friend' taking me back to the dark depths of despair, the ones I had with my body and myself when I was suffering.

My toxic friendship took me right back there. How? well imagine being asked how much you weigh on a weekly basis..... Imagine being shown photo's of them and being told in depth about how much weight they are losing..... Imagine being told that 'you dont half eat alot dont you' the comment just compounded onto me, every day, every time I logged..... but today, I'm done.

Done with that.

It took me years to better myself, to get healthy, to smile and to be me again - the curvy, voluptuous girl I am. I am finally at ease with ME, yet I read these comments and all I felt was that familiar hatred for myself again. That's got to be toxic right?

Y'see, today I pressed the un-friend button. It felt good, I felt alive, I felt I'd accepted life, and closed the door on the past. I dont need a 'Friend' that opens that dark door again. I have grown so much more than just my age.

*Please note that if the person should be reading this (which I doubt) please understand why I feel we cant be friend*

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

On the Radar... Neon

I'm feeling drab. I seem to be wearing black, grey and err..... more black, It gets depressing really. Lets face it, we're in January, pay day is a little too far away and well, the weather leaves little to the imagination, but in an effort to put a smile back on my face I turn to neon.

Thanks to the gorgeous Alex over at The Frugality, my attention has turned back to neon, I kinda got so used to it being a 'staple' item in my wardrobe I'd forgotten it was new to some. A style that has been around for what seems like ages, but really never has gone away. I cant seem to shake it, I just want everything neon. Before you all accuse me of being a bad 80's raver, stop, my kinda neon does not contain any bad neon leg warmers, just dont. Dont do it.

The beauty with neon is that it makes just about any outfit look pretty, as in 'wowzer' pretty. It's eye-catching, it packs a punch, and to me, you dont have to match it to make it match.. if you get me? and so, here are my top picks to add a neon accent in your life

The key with working the neon trend? Be loud and proud, it's not the time to shy away! Remember, go crazy with the neon and work it into any outfit. My favourite type of outfit? Leopard print, checks and even florals - chuck it all in there! But if you are daunted by neon? Only go for a neon accent, it will still give your look a much needed pop.

Would you do 'neon'?

Monday, 21 January 2013

Mavala Arabesque Collection - Tried and Tested

Can you believe I have only just taken off my Christmas nail varnish - gone is the sparkly reds, golds and green and now I am left with just boring nails. It seems a little inappropriate to still go all out with the sparkles when January holds nothing but bad weather and cold! 

With having bare nails comes the whole 'what colour now' thing, I really struggle with this and being the type of bore that I am have endless supply of RED nail varnishes. I never actually knew there were so many different types or varieties around the theme of 'red' nail varnish - cherry reds, burgundy reds, pink reds.. yeah it's endless and to be honest, I think I pretty much own every single one. That being said, I am getting a little, how we say, bored with always going back to my staple red varnish and thought it was time to stop playing it safe and try something new - step forward Mavala.

The lovelies over at Mavala UK kindly offered me (and my nails) the chance to push away from the normal red syndrome and allowed me to trial the new Arabesque range. I have to be honest and would've never really chosen metallic shades for myself normally, but I instantly fell in love with these. All the colours were a superb mix of intense colour but the metallic sheen gave the end result a real opulant, super smooth finish. 

I have never used Mavala nail varnish before and was really excited to see how these would apply and cover. The application was easy, the brush a nice size and even after just one coat the polish itself covered really well - alot better than some of the more cheaper brands I have used. I decided to use the vibrant Purple Sensation on three of my fingers - I loved this colour, and it instantly caught my eye, a real bright purple that had a almost pinky metallic-ness to it, and on the remaining two fingers I chose the equally vibrant Peacock Green - again another vibrant colour, a total difference to the normal greens I'd used. Both colours seemed to merge well with each other and using two different colours on the one hand ended up in a really fun result.

Along with the two more vibrant colours, I cant wait to try Blue Mint which is a real icy sky blue in colour with a gentle silvery pearlescent running through it, Infinity which is my personal fave! It's an almost pinky beige with the metallic sheen that almost changes the entire colour when it catches the light and finally Shimmer Violet which I think will look perfect when teamed with Blue Mint. A soft violet lavender metallic colour. The collection itself is so beautiful and is simple but really elegant all at the same time. 

It has completely made me fall in love with using other colours but the classic red, no longer will I avoid being a little more adventurous with choices!

Check out more of Mavala UK collection HERE

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Sunday Reading: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Today's Sunday Reading book review is a really different one for me, normally I read more mainstream books and ones that aren't that difficult on the brain, however this book Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is so far away from the normal for me, and I ruddy well loved it!

It is so hard to give a review on this book as I dont really know where to start! This novel mixes fiction with vintage and haunting photography, and makes for a thrilling and sometimes unsettling read. As the story opens we are thrown into a horrific family tragedy set around sixteen year old Jacob and his much loved but very eccentric Grandfather. We learn alot about Jacobs relationship with his Grandfather, the amount he looks up to him, favours him instead of his parents and their reliance on each other - it's a heartfelt relationship and Riggs manages to explore the complexities between the two of them in a soft but intense way. This book starts in a familiar way, with familiar surroundings but quickly turns into a complex mix of eccentric scenes that often left me wondering 'what the hell' at the end of each short chapter. 

Following the horrific event at the beginning of book, Jacob begins an incredible journey to a remote island of the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Piecing together parts of his Grandfather's past and realising that some of the old tales that were often dismissed by Jacob, were in fact real, Jacob starts to realise that there was more to his beloved Grandfather than he ever knew. Riggs describes Jacob exploring the abandoned bedroom and hallways with such indepth detail it honestly feels like you are there and with often a tense tone. As Jacob explores the old home further, it becomes clear that the children who used to live there really were peculiar and that his Grandfather was in fact, one of them. 

Throughout the book the storyline is heavily punctuated with these strange photographs, this creates a real felling of realism that draws you right into the storyline, almost leaving you reading just so you can get to the next lot of photos. The storyline, as it goes on, gets more and more strange, the peculiar children that feature are intense and sometimes a little nerve-wracking and all the while Jacob is left with trying to figure out what is actually happening to him and his life as he once knew it. At times I got a little confused, but it wasn't until over half way through that certain pieces of information are released and suddenly everything starts to make sense. Riggs use of description is needed along the some of the more difficult and confusing aspects to the book. 

I think some people will find the book too strange and towards the end could struggle with the influx of information but for me, the whole section towards the end was powerful, full of fantasy, action and heartfelt descriptions  I felt part of this story despite knowing it was deeply untrue, I couldn't help but want to see the happy ending for Jacob and for the children. Riggs cleverly ends the book completely open and I can only hope that there is a sequel - I find myself with a million questions but no answers, but could this be the appeal of the book?

This is a must-read, get yours over at Amazon HERE

Snow = Child

What with all this snowy weather we've been having, I could quite help but turn into my 8 year old self. I dont know what it is about that white fluffy stuff but something inside me wants to go out, roll in it, throw it, touch it, and embrace snow.

Sometimes I become all to aware that I've grown up, I've got older and perhaps often forgotten how to embrace the smaller things in life, that's not to say I dont enjoy what I do have as an adult, but there is so much innocence when you are younger. Everything is new and fresh, and life is one big adventure, getting older comes responsibilities, forever being short of time and the urge to stress about the smaller things. That is why I love snow. Dont get me wrong, the adult side of me panics: worries about travelling, falling over and possibly cancelled plans, but when you're out there, surrounded by white, there is nothing other than to revert back to that childhood self.

On came the wellies, the jumpers,thick coats, scarves and gloves (or should I say mittens) and I got out there. I stood alone in my garden - a weird juxtaposition of my adult self (own house, garden) and my child self (kicking around in the snow) it felt good to just be out there, feeling the soft, icy cold snowflakes on my face, that crunch underfoot and the urge to pick up the snow and just throw it! It was good, for that hour to be 8 again, where fascination with the world was part of everyday living.

What did you do in the snow?

Friday, 18 January 2013

Feel Good Friday List #2

This weeks Friday Feel Good List #2...

What are your Friday feelings?

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

The 'Size' of Running....

As I'm typing this, Ive just come home from a 4.5mile run, it was an easy, if not cold run but it was a run all the same. I've been running for say 2 years now, still relatively a novice I'm not even sure if I consider myself a runner yet, but boy oh boy do I love it. But what I don't love is the judging.

Y'see, when I started running the only thing that concerned me was, well, worrying that either my legs were going to fall off or that I was going to keel over, but no, not now. There is something else that consumes me with every step, every run, every mile and every darn time I talk about running, for I am a very curvy size 12 lady. I have thick thighs, a considerable chesticle area and arms that have their own wings, but yes people, I do run.  The looks of surprise give it away, the high pitched tone of questioning "Oh... you run do you" as they continue to survey my over-indulgent ass.. I see you, and I hear you. You try to hide the surprise by throwing questions at me "wow, have you really run a half marathon" and then you ever so politely finish your condescending talk with "well, good for you" I know you really mean "well done for being a large girl running"

I don't blame you for thinking it, there was a time where if someone called themselves a runner the mental image that would be conjured up would be that of a petite, size 8 slim, well toned athletic figure. It's no-ones fault, it happens to be 'just the way it is' but now I'm on the flip side, and it is me, this non-athletic formed body that is running and I cant help but think it is desperately unfair.

Should running be a size 8 sport? 

God gave us two legs and two arms, one head, a brain and well, with that we choose what we want to do with it right? So why all of a sudden are we all casting our 'ideals' onto others. I'm tired of magazines asking/telling us to all lose weight and start a detox, it's not so much the articles that bother me (well, they do really) but its the photos that are put against them... lo and behold there is the size 8 model wearing nothing but a bra top and bum-cheek exposing shorts, perfect makeup, elegantly swishing her perfect ponytail mid run, I mean last time I checked I certainly did not look like that when I was in mid-run (or should I say mid-exhaustion) but kudos to you if you do... What I don't understand about (some) women's magazines is, if you want to tell us, the reader, to better our lives, then put the focus on fitness. Tell us to get outside, get motivated and focus on our health. What we, as women, don't need, is the convincing us that we need to lose that extra 1/2/3/4/5/6 pound in weight by restricting ourselves to a ricecake of calories a day, or tell us to go and fast for 8 hours of the day.

I remember getting asked once (the person knows who they are) when they first found out I was 'running' my second half marathon whether I thought I could be a professional runner, cos "y'know, they're tiny and have no life" I remember staring at this individual and thinking 'HUH' I wasn't aware that by putting my trainers on and setting foot outside the door, that apparently I wanted and aspired to become a 'professional runner' For me, anyone who gets out there for 5,10,15 or even 20 minutes is a runner. I'm just a little bit tired of this 'beating each other down' because we don't 'conform' to what you or society consider the ideal.

Is it any wonder people, women , don't want to get outside, why they're so scared to potentially mess up their hair, get caught in the rain or dare I say it, smudge their mascara. Tell me, where are the pictures of the real women running, of all shapes and sizes? There are so many 'high' points when it comes to running, the feeling of freedom and escape is one of wonder, I've had some of my best moments in my life when I've been out running, but unfortunately the comments are a massive low point. So why do it to someone? Some say its jealousy but I'm still not sure. I'm used to it but what I do worry is that it will put potential runners off. Lets face it, the Olympics was the start we needed in female sports, to encourage women to get out there, but already I see the effect wearing off.

I'm tired of feeling embarrassed when someone asks me about running for fear of the 'judgement', I'm tired of having to justify why I want to run.... when in fact there is no other reason apart from I frigging love it. There, I said it, that is my reason, deal with it, think about it and digest it - I don't have to be the size you want me to be, to run.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

The Sanctuary Spa Body Wash - Tried and Tested

I love my baths and showers, in fact I would go as far to say I love them more than going to bed... I know right? and so, obviously I take it upon myself to buy truck loads of bath products and try each and every one of them out ( I am a shrivelled mess) One range I've been especially excited about trying is The Sanctuary Spa range. 

Now I have often looked upon this range in my local Boots and walked straight past because, dare I say it, it is rather expensive for the size. However, in a fit of wanting to A: look rich and classy and B: treat myself I decided to buy their Body Wash. Priced at £5.50 for 250ml I did wince a little, but hey it looked nice right? 

Upon smelling this body wash I simply fell in love with it - it smelt faintly spicy but had this real 'clean' type smell. Unlike some body washes that can be a little too 'perfumey' the Sanctuary Spa body wash smelt clean and fresh, and without sounding cliché  it smelt of spa, and lets face it, I cannot afford to go a spa all that much so this is pretty much the next best thing! 

The best bit, well aside from smelling so darn yum, it contains little orange capsules of moisturising goodness that upon placing on the skin, burst spilling out some lovely Jojoba oil that really does leave the skin all tingly and soft. It lathers up almost instantly and creates a real soft and light soapiness - a little product really does go a long way. 

I often struggle with body washes that end up leaving my skin dry after using them, but this product really doesn't. It makes me feel special using this product and dare I say it, has ended up becoming a regular in my cupboard, in fact I have failed to buy another brand since using this - that speaks volumes!

I even now am not even thinking of the price tag and just making a list to buy all the other products! 

Go check out this and the other Sanctuary Spa products on their website page HERE

What bath time treats do you use?

Monday, 14 January 2013

A snow day...

Not really a blog post as such, but after the impromptu snowy weather that hit most places today I just wanted to share some snow day photo's and the amazing sky that happened after, it was a good time to just sit and stare...

 Happy Snow day....

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