Tag Archives: Will Varley

November Favourites 

November welcome in the cold, and with it, a big old cold for me! Not to worry – we should embrace what life throws at us, right? If life gives you a cold, enjoy your warm bed, scarves, soup and plenty of cups of tea.

  
I was thinking of running separate beauty and lifestyle favourites posts but I’m not a fan of scrambling around to force favourites which aren’t necessarily favourites just to fill up a post. So the combined post was born…

So, in no particular order, here we go…

 

1. Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser

I’ve been using this for about 5 or 6 weeks now. I can’t comment on its ability to erase pores, as it’s so darn dark in the morning that it’s impossible to tell. However, I really love the formula of this primer. It’s velvety soft, without being powdery, and as it’s quite thick and siliconey it really does feel like you’re giving your make up a good thick base, whereas creamy primers can sometimes feel a bit thin and toothless. 

However, because it is thicker, it isn’t very easy to spread as far so I feel like I’ve been using more product meaning it’ll be used up more quickly and be poorer value for money than a sheerer primer. On the other hand, it is in a tube so it’s going to be easier to squeeze out the last traces than would be the case with a pump. Overall, a great everyday base; even better if there’s a deal on!

  
2. Vaseline Lip Therapy (Cocoa Butter)

This is more of an essential than it is a favourite. I always have at least one of these kicking around, and I have real trouble getting through a winter workday without one of these in my handbag. I’ve actually gone out to pick up a new one at lunch time before, it’s just that necessary (I should really keep one in my drawer….).

Anyway, like many, I really suffer with dry skin when the weather gets cold and the heating comes on. Particularly when it comes to my lips and eyes. I primarily larger this onto my lips throughout the day, and it’s the only product which has ever worked for me in terms of coming even close to being in any way moisture repairing. Some people hate petroleum jelly due to it being so greasy, but that seems to be necessary for me!

I have very sensitive skin and some really odd allergies, so I’m quite fussy about moisturising products. In terms of the scent, I prefer the cocoa butter or the crême brûlée (although I think it was limited edition) as I had an allergic reaction to the rose and I find the original and aloe vera to smell crude oily and a bit unpleasant – the cocoa butter makes it feel a but more like a lovely girly product. 

When my skin in general is really dry, I also use this to help give it a boost, anywhere I have set patches such as my undereyes, eyelids and elbows, as it’s much better for rescuing skin than an ordinary moisturiser, and can also be used sparingly just before you apply your make-up to give your dry areas a fighting chance.

  
3. MaxFactor Creme Puff Blush in Gorgeous Berries 

I mentioned this blusher in my recent Superdrug haul, as I picked it up as a deeper berry shade for the winter – farewell pretty, peachy pinks! It is a beautiful colour which goes into the skin as the darker of the two shades in the pan. It’s pretty matte, as far as I can tell, so it’s perfect for an everyday autumn/winter look. 

However, it is a drugstore brand blush, so it was always going to fall a little flat for me as I’ve used Benefit blush for years, and have recently fallen for a MAC Mineralize product so the quality is a little disappointing. It goes onto the cheek in a very pigmented but uneven way, but seems to buff off rather than in, meaning that you end up with only a slight flush at times. It doesn’t seem to have much longevity either, and you definitely need a mirror to apply it. I’ll keep playing around with it though as I may just be using the wekmg brushes. The Real Techniques Blush Brush is too soft for buffing but a Kabuki is perhaps too harsh. The colour is too beautiful to give up on!

  
4. Bicycle Jumper from Gap

I bought this jumper at an outlet sale towards the end of summer. It’s the perfect smart casual weekend jumper, layered over a shirt. It’s great quality snd was an absolute steal. I don’t think you can buy this particular one anymore, but there are lots of similarly shaped jumpers in the sale, which I’ve linked above. 

  

5. Miss KG Spitfire Tan Boots 

I’ve finally had to concede that my favourite River Island pixie boots are letting in water. My Nana bought me some great Moda in Pelle ankle boots last Christmas, but they have a 4 inch heel and I was in dire need of something comfortable, warm and waterproof for a trip to Newcastle at the start of this month. 

Solution found after about 5 minutes on the Debenhams website. A £68 impulse buy but really they’re cracking value. They are smart, comfortable, cushiony in the inside, with a hardwearing sole and they’re waterproof, with the uppers made from beautiful tan nubuck. I wore them all weekend (including standing up at a gig for about 5 hours) without breaking them in, but with no pain. Very lucky find!

  

6. Twinings Lady Grey Teabags 

Lighter and fresher than my old favourite Earl Grey (although I’m pretty sure Twinings changed the formula for their Earl Grey a couple of years ago and I’m not quite over that yet), so I’ve switched to this guy. A godsend in the cold evenings, and all day when I was ill. 

  

7. Rowntrees Fruit Pastilles Strawberry & Blackcurrant

Fruit Pastilles, only better!

  

8. Revival by Stephen King 

I’ve been a Stephen King fan for as long as I can remember. His writing is perfection, his plots have me hooked, and every story is totally different. I’m still reading this one actually, but it’s a good’un, and I would highly recommend it if you like a thriller. It’s supernatural but I’m not sure I would call it a horror. Not yet at least! Almost looking forward to the 75 minute train journey tomorrow morning just to have plenty of time with this bad boy. 

9. Live Music and New Adventures

I’ve told you already that I had a great weekend with Mr Brooker at the beginning of the month, seeing some really great bands (Truckstop Honeymoon, Beans on Toast, Will Varley, Skinny Lister and Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls) all of whom are represented by Xtra Mile Recordings (apart from Truckstop) who I’ve linked above. 

It was the first time I’d spent a weekend in Newcastle and it was pretty eye-opening! Even though the weather was miserable and I got a bit grumpy thinking we might miss our train and then again re the start of the gig because we couldn’t get a table for supper, I really had a great time. Just not enough down time with Mr B for my liking!  

10. How to get Away with Murder 

A great new drama on Netflix with some great twists and turns. I was a bit disappointed with where they went with the season finale, but I’ll reserve judgement for the next season!  

That’s us for another month! What are your favourites this month?

 Sunday Chat

I just wanted to have a little catch up with all you lovely people to touch base about life in general and to say thank you to everyone who has supported me so far. 

  
If you’ve read my “After my Exams”post, you’ll know that studying for professional qualifications after work has taken up a lot of my free time. But now I’m finished, and I’m taking a well-earned break, and that leaves me free to dedicate more time and energy to a lot of things, but particularly my blog. Just this morning I’ve decided to sort out my Twitter account and start using it again, as well as trying really hard to get better at scheduling my posts, although I’m not entirely sure sticking to the same upload days is necessary (I’m not a YouTube sensation after all). 

I’m also going to take some time to consider hosting outside of Word Press, as well as thinking about how to make the leap to YouTube eventually. 

  
On Saturday, I’ll be taking part in my very first collaborative post, which I’m really excited about. It was spearheaded by a lovely lady, Siobhan, who has a fantastic beauty blog, Beautyandthelook and who basically out herself out there with a shout out to anyone who fancied joining in. So on Saturday, Siobhan, myself, Jennifer, Becca-Louise, Karen and BunniesBlanketsandBandanas will each be blogging about our top 5 Christmas party essentials – it’s really exciting for me to be part of, if for no other reason that it’s put me in touch with some lovely bloggers who have great blogs. That will be dropping at 6pm on Saturday 28th November if you’re interested. 

  
I’ve had a bit of a mixed bag this week after having an amazing long weekend with Mr Brooker, seeing two great bands (Truckstop Honeymoon and Beans on Toast) at the Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh after last Friday night, and then  Will Varley, Skinny Lister and Frank Turner at Newcastle uni on Saturday night before having some quality time being spoiled rotten by my wonderful husband-to-be.

  
Then it was back to work with a heavy heart and a scratch throat, only for that to develop into a horrid cold, then a cough, meaning I’ve been off work Thursday afternoon and Friday. I’m starting to feel a bit better now thankfully, however that’s been replaced by my right eye having a horrific allergic reaction to my parents’ central heating. All of that and a dozen lectures from my Mum about being “too thin”. 

This is something I want to take some time to address because it’s an issue that affects a lot of people, throughout the ages. I’ve always been chubby, curvy, whatever you want to call it. A UK size 12 on the bottom and a 14 on top, which might seem great to plenty of you until you add in the fact that I’m under 5′ 2″. I love food, you know that, of course, and yet I’ve never quite been 100% happy with my body. I loved having a decent cleavage, but I hated the cellulite on my thighs, my seemingly immovable muffin top and bingo wings, and I have been making numerous attempts with varying degrees of effort over the years to get into better shape.

  
I’m asthmatic, so exercise has always been a difficult concept for me, but I got into regular workouts when I moved into my own place last February. Davina’s workout DVDs were hard, but ultimately fruitless, although I suppose I shifted a few pounds by lightening my lunches a little and making breakfast bars for work. It was Jillian Michaels‘ 30 Day Shred which finally got my muscles to take shape and burned off some of that fat. After repeating that for a few months I was starting to get a lot happier about how I looked but also about how I felt. So I stepped up the healthy eating. 

I’m not going to call it a diet, because it’s not. It’s just a better way of eating. It’s not  even that super-healthy. I’ve swapped white rice and pasta for whole grain, stopped snacking on biscuits at work although they still sometimes sneak in, cut down on bread and increased the number of fruits and vegetables I eat. It’s not Paleo or clean eating or anything like that. It’s just being a bit more careful about what I stuff in my pie hole. I have a full fat yoghurt for breakfast every weekday, fruit to snack, then a homemade soup or salad for lunch, followed by more fruit. When I get home at night, I work out (I’m now doing Blogilates, which has kept up and built upon Jillian’s hard work, without there being too much off-putting cardio) and spend some time making a healthy supper of the type you see on my blog. I eat good portions. At bed time, I have a cup of tea and a couple of biscuits. If I bake, I’ll eat cake. If I’m eating out, as long as it’s not too often, I’ll eat pizza, pasta, bread, pudding and I’ll have wine.

 
I’m not hungry all the time and I’m not too thin. I’ve dropped down to a 10 on the bottom and a 12 on the top and people keep telling me how great I look. And I feel a whole lot better about the idea of prancing about in a wedding dress next May. I’m not trying to show-off here, I’m just trying to work-out when it became ok to tell someone they’re too thin, but still it’s rude to tell someone they’re too fat. I mean, it’s not like I’m Cheryl Cole.
  
Anyway, I’m off to put my glasses on and cook until I feel a whole lot better, before tucking into some fresh fruit and then a cup of coffee and one of my Nana’s cupcakes. Hope I didn’t bore you too much!