Friday 31 May 2013

Laparoscopic Partial Nephrectomy Imminent

The wait is finally over, well pretty much. Next Thursday (6th June) I will undergo a laparoscopic partial nephrectomy to remove the remainder of a benign tumour and part of my kidney. I'm really looking forward to getting my life back on track and getting the surgery over and done with, of course I'm really nervous about something going wrong but the pain I'm in at the moment I can only see it doing good.

I won't be gross and post links to videos of the surgery which I have stupidly looked up on youtube, nobody, other than the surgeon, needs to know more about this procedure. This is just a quick note as I don't know how much I'll be around for the next couple of weeks. I have some posts I want to do beforehand but I have things to sort out and I'm sure I'll be distracted. Although I'm counting on some sleepless nights so I may end up posting early morning thoughts.

At least I know I haven't quite got enough hair on my stomach for them to shave me like they did my Tabby, obviously before she died. I know after the surgery I won't look as cute as my Tabby did though so I'll leave you with a photo of her and her shaved belly.

Wednesday 29 May 2013

W7 Naked Nudes Eye Shadow Palette

The W7 Naked Nudes Eye shadow Palette was one of my bargain buys from Leek. I picked this up from B&M Bargains for £1.99, although it can be easily picked up online for a quid or two more. As mentioned in my Leek post I picked this up to try as I'd resisted splashing the cash and picking up one of the Urban Decay naked palettes earlier in the year. I like nudes, browns suit my blue eyes so rather than a trial with the colour it's more of a trial of quality.

I'm more than impressed with this set, to be honest I didn't expect much. There is only one drawback with this cheap set and that is the strength of the colours. As you can see from my hand above, the only strong shade is the brown, the rest are really light but saying that, they are great to work with. I always like to use a light colour just below my brow and a slightly darker but still light colour over my whole lid when going for a "natural" look, I just wish another of the eye shadows was a bit stronger. Working with all the shadows on the palette I was able to build up a nice effect as shown below.

This was done using only the eye shadows in this set. The eye shadows didn't irritate my eyes in any way, it also didn't feel cheap or smell cheap. There was one factor I did think would come in to play when using a cheap brand and that was how quickly it would fade. But it didn't, I wore it for six hours before going to bed, who knows how much longer it would have lasted if make-up remover hadn't come in to play.

Above is the full effect with mascara, using the darker eye shadow on my bottom lashes. It is a very natural, slight look but it lasted the night, at £1.99 its a fantastic buy.

Monday 27 May 2013

Gene Tierney's Eyebrows

Having recently re-watched Heaven Can Wait (1943) a fantastic film and watched Leave Her to Heaven (1945) for the first time, also a fantastic film, not only have I been blown away by these films but I have also fallen in love with Gene Tierney. She was such a beautiful woman, a fantastic actress with such a traumatic background. I realise with a background like hers talking about her beauty might seem a bit superficial but her personal life didn't stop her from becoming a fabulous actress. With her talent she left a legacy and I would urge you to seek out her films, especially the two above but also The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947) and to read about her life, there are some fantastic sites and blog posts dedicated to this but for the bare bones information just check out wikipedia.

Gene Tierney could go from looking lost, innocent to looking like a femme fatale. Beautiful bow lips, petite nose, wide eyes and what I'm fixated on, her eyebrows.

My eyebrows have been pretty much the same since I was 15. As soon as a hair grows out of place I have to pull it out. I don't hate my eyebrows, they do suit me, I just want my eyebrows to look like Gene's. While I'm stuck at home I'm trying to grow them out. How I'm hoping to do it is by letting them grow out a bit at a time to test the waters and still plucking them slightly until I can see I can fill out the bit between the inside of the eyebrow and the arch.

These are how my eyebrows look at the moment. There may not seem like much to grow out to get to where I want but I really have a way to go to get my desired look, eyebrow growth isn't consistent. Once I've managed to grow out where I need to I will go about plucking so they look more like Gene's which will mean thinning them out a bit at the centre.

Changing your eyebrows can really change your whole look so I'm really looking forward to seeing the outcome, if I can be patient.

The Benefits of Having a Fringe

I love having a fringe. I didn't have one until my late teens and even with the hassle of having wavy hair I loved it. I grew it out in my mid twenties and after putting on a bit of weight I was reluctant to have my Mum (a/my hairdresser) cut it again. After some weight loss last year (50lbs give or take a lb or two) I wanted to take the plunge again, after being off work for a while this year I thought it's now or never if I want to give it a try. I first went for a side fringe but found myself cutting myself more and more of a fringe and I love it! I need to use my straighteners on it but have found myself straightening all of my hair which I love.

One thing I'd forgotten about was how much I loved to wear hair bands and head scarves. I need to dig out my old ones and look on eBay for some old vintage scarves, they really do look great with a fringe.

Yellow Polka Dot
Orange Stripe
I had a quick search on eBay a few weeks back for some headbands and found a couple of cute ones for 99p, no p&p, shipped all the way from China. I picked up two cute vintage looking items, one orange stripe and one yellow polka dot to try. These are referred to as rabbit ear as the inside is a bendable wire so you can twist them, stick them up, arrange them in bows, whatever you want. I also find these are more comfortable to wear and stay on my head a lot better than stretchy bands that I find to pop off. There were other colours so in the future I plan to pick up more, if you want to find them search eBay for "Rabbit Ear Ribbon Chiffon Headband", I'm sure, well I hope they'll be on for a while.

Yellow Polka Dot Headband with 'ears' up

Sunday 26 May 2013

Wedding Guest Outfits

Outfit I put together via the ASOS Fashion Finder
So far I have one wedding invitation this year, none of my friends are getting married except Alison and Tim. I'm really looking forward to this wedding and have really been thinking about what to wear even though I'm not going to be 100% sure whether I can make it until last minute due to the surgery.

I put together the outfit above via ASOS Fashion Finder. This would be my ideal outfit if I could afford it, I can't at the moment so instead I've set about finding and creating a couple of cheaper options. James did buy me the shoes and handbag though, these will both be worn for certain.

I have two outfits in mind the first a floral affair.

The yellow blazer is by Louche from Joy, I picked this up a while back for £30. The faux coral Art Deco style necklace I bought just last week from eBay. I had been coveting a piece like this for a while and there were plenty to choose from on eBay I just had to wait until I could get one at a decent price. I love this necklace and will be wearing it as often as possible. The rose print dress is from Topshop but old stock, I bought this on ebay recently for £13 including postage, specifically for the wedding. I wanted something loose and stretchy in case I have had the surgery, I didn't want something fitted around the insertion points. Now I'm 5'10", my legs aren't at their best and won't be until I can get back in to my exercise routine so I wanted something a bit longer underneath. I had planned on just wearing a slip but I tried it on with this pale pink dress from H&M and loved how it looked under the dress when worn. Now they just need an iron.

The second item is this pastel number. I was originally thinking I would wear this dress with the yellow blazer from Joy but as the colour of the blazer is more of a mustard yellow I didn't think it quite sat right with the pastel mint colour of this dress. The dress I love, I bought it on eBay for £9.55. If you search for it on eBay it is called vintage Korea pleated sleeveless belted chiffon mint green dress - a slight mouthful but while the seller I bought it from still has it up you can find it here. The animal print coat I've had for years from Warehouse, I remember that I bought it in the sale for about a tenner. It's a bit tight at the moment but I think I can get away with it, it will also keep my dress down if its a windy day. I also plan to wear my coral necklace with this outfit, I want to wear it with everything. If I don't, I'll go with multiple short gold chains and sparkly stud earrings.

Now these are the shoes and bag I will wear with either outfit. I sometimes struggle to find shoes and bags that look smart and cute that aren't leather or suede, I'm always on the search for polyurethane items I love! My partner bought these for me recently. The shoes are New Look but bought from ASOS for £19.99, the bag was bought from ASOS for £13.

Now the make-up I'll think about later, I'm not going to fixate on which outfit to wear until I know I can definitely go but at least I feel prepared.

Saturday 25 May 2013

Bargain Hunting in Leek - Haul-o-rama!

I have never ever been to Leek, Staffordshire. I live fairly close yet I have never considered going to Leek shopping. I've heard good things about it before but without a car it hasn't been somewhere I've managed to get out to. A good friend of mine was talking about it the other day and was saying how great it was for shopping. The very same friend who is visiting from Wales at the moment offered to take me out today, just as a chance to take me out for a run, get me out of the house which is something I rarely do at the moment as I'm not able to. I'm wary of going out at the moment as it's really painful, at the same time I need to get out at least once a month as it's of benefit for my mental if not my physical health. We were going to go to see donkeys but what with the weather being terrible I suggested a bit of shopping and was really happy when he said we could go to Leek! With my handbag at the ready, a bottle of water, pain medication, Bob to drive us and James to help me get around I was raring to go, just in a slow unsteady way!

Leek is really a beautiful town and the shopping is fantastic especially if you love a bargain and I'm pretty sure we all do. I haven't got any income at the moment so my funds were limited but I gave myself £25 and James also bought me some items. We bought loads of goodies at great prices. Now I could just describe them but nothing beats photographs, even of my bargain food buys!

Now this won't be in chronological order, I'll start with my favourite bits from today and then go in to the numerous bargains towards the end.

Old Cat postcards, I mean who doesn't love cats? I know there are some fervent dog owners out there that swear cats are the devil but I just see them as cute bundles of independent fluff. Dogs are cute too. Anyway I was drawn to these postcards by the haunted look of the cat on the right, the postcards were 2 for £1, another bargain, so I flicked until I came across some slightly naughty looking kittens. If I would have had the strength I would have gone through the whole lot but I was struggling at this point.

This in some ways is my buy of the day. It wasn't a bargain if you compare it some of the items bought today but at £4 for this old, odd, Pisces pendant I love it.

I'm an avid reader, I'm even more of an avid collector of books. These were 50p each. From left to right top row: Coquerico - A book in French for children, possibly just about what I can manage reading in French, I mainly love the cover and the illustrations/One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn - a story set in a Soviet labour camp in the 50's, this one is more for James although I'm sure I'll read it at some point. Trouble with Lichen by John Wyndham - This is about a biochemist that discovers a chemical that can slow down the ageing process leading to people living for hundreds of years, looking at the repercussions of this in society. I'm a huge John Wyndham fan but I haven't read this book and although I may have another copy I'm pretty positive I don't have this cover. Finally the book at the bottom I opened to the front page as there isn't a cover, this page is a Christmas Greetings to members of the Butlins Beaver Club the book in question is Holiday Camp Mystery by Margaret Cole.

Kitchen jars! For the last few years I have been collecting items for my dream kitchen. My dream kitchen happens to be something most people would consider a nightmare. A 70's style orange and brown kitchen. So I pick up pieces in charity shops, car boot sales and second hand stores. I buy a lot of Hornsea, mainly because it fits the bill but I was really happy to find these jars. Okay, one of the lids is missing but I do hate honey. They were 50p each, 25p for the one without a lid, they were a bargain at that price.

A pin cushion, a new pin cushion from a sewing store in The Buttermarket. 60p, I've left the label on for a effect, it was only 60p! The first thing James said was that he wouldn't be having nightmares about me losing needles in the bed again, as mentioned in the Cross stitch blog article.

Now let's move on to the stuff I bought outside the buttermarket. A mixture of Home Bargains and B&M Bargains both fabulous store for really cheap brand products.

Clockwise starting from the left: H&S £1.49 (I think, James picked this up); Plastic Spray Bottle 69p; usb mini vacuum cleaner £2.99; Wilkinson Sword Disposable Razors £1.39 (My favourite razors); Neutrogena Wave Starter Kit £1.99; Maybelline Dream Nude Airfoam £1.99; W7 Naked Nudes Eyeshadow £1.99
A mixture of the cosmetics & toiletries stuff I bought. I am still on track with the 6 month ban on buying things like that but any essentials or a good bargain I will pick up. Everything today was a bargain, I can't get over how great the shopping is in Leek. I really don't need the eyeshadow but I always need nudes and I did resist getting one of the Urban Decay naked palettes earlier this year so £1.99 is small change in comparison.  Again, I don't need the foundation as nobody really needs make-up it's just whether you want to wear it or not and at the moment I need help with my complexion. I haven't tried Maybelline foundation but at £1.99 I figure it's worth a try. The Neutrogena wave? I just like gadgets, end of.

From L to R, price is per item: Ritz Crackers 69p; Riesen Chocolate Toffees 99p; Vimto Sugar Free 25p; Bachelors Condensed Low Fat Mushroom Soup 39p; Blue Dragon Chow Mein Sauces 29p; Curry Sauce Mix and Chinese Curry Sauce Mix 29p

Now we did pick up a lot of bits of food stuff. It's always good to stock up on a few bargain bits. We regularly do rice with mushrooms, broccoli, peas with a mushroom sauce and tend to use the soups. We also like to do a quick stir fry with a sauce. Now the Ritz crackers, I've been craving them for a long time. I love Riesen dark chocolate toffees but you can usually only get them from bargain shops over here. I like to have fizzy sugar free Vimto in stock. It's the only drink I will have when having a chippy tea, we don't have them often but when we do the shops all seem to be out of the sugar free variety. Not pictured is the multi pack of Space Raiders or the Toblerone. I'm not going to scoff it all at once but they're next to me in my snack pouffe for when I can fit them in to my daily eating schedule. 

Now the above picture is a mixture of childish goodies, ranging from 49p-99p in price. Embarrassing to admit but apart from one of the Hello Kitty eggs and the Minnie flannel, everything here is for me. The Moshi Monster Keyring torch, the Moshi Monster surprise Mega Bloks (I just love surprises). I'm a Hello Kitty fan, a bit mad for my age but I won't change. I love surprise eggs and well I got plenty of them, including plenty of Kinder Surprise!

I'll finish this off by posting a photo of what was in the pink and white Hello Kitty eggs.

nails inc Queen Victoria Street

nails inc Queen Victoria Street

Now I don't need to comment on the quality of the nail varnish, nails inc is always great, if it ever goes downhill I will be the first to mention it. It goes on easily, dries in a matter of minutes, even on my 'difficult' nails and lasts on average around 3 days without chipping. For me nails inc is always worth the money for their varnishes, plus I've had the VIP membership for a couple of years and the extra discount and £5 birthday voucher is worth the £5 a year membership. The only thing I would like to see different is the shape of the brush. As mentioned before I love square brushes, I really feel that I'm able to apply them in a neater manner.

Green is my favourite colour so I buy green everything, by the bucket load. When green is in I don't know where to look, so many goodies to acquire but so little money and of course emerald is in this season so this nail varnish fits the bill. A gorgeous limited edition, glossy nail varnish a vibrant shade, perfect for colour blocking. Even a gentleman on a market stall said he loved my nail varnish today.

Thursday 23 May 2013

Does Anyone Bother with French Manicures Anymore?

In a world where all us nail varnish wearing peeps go wild for colour and nail art is there a place for the humble French manicure?

A while back I had purchased a Rimmel white nail tip colour nail varnish, designed for French manicures. I had no intention to use it for these type of manicures, I haven't had a French manicure since my teenage years, I did them myself and I always found the white tip looked too fake. I instead fell in love with white nail pencils and have since concentrated on whitening underneath the tip of my nail. I bought this pure white nail varnish as I figured it would be a good background colour for many effect nail varnishes and also for making the odd dot.

Thumb tip done. I know I'm not that good at straight lines so I tend to make the tip too big and then use nail varnish remove and a cotton bud to wipe the excess off the inside and get a straightish line

This evening, I say this evening but I really mean the early hours of the morning as I'm typing this at 2:30 am (although I won't post until later), I decided to give myself a French manicure. I prepared myself, cleaned my nails, filed, buffed them and tried to sort out my cuticles, tried being the operative word here. I also dug out some sharp sticks, my nail varnish remover and some cotton buds, determined to get nearly straight tips.

Handy tools
That's what I did, I got nearly straight lines, Yay for me! I then applied nails inc kensington caviar base coat for a top coat, a gorgeous nude pink. The colour forever reminds me of a cough syrup I loved the taste of as a kid but have never been able to remember the name of. So am I converted to French manicures? eh, not really, I like the white tip but still prefer the more subtle underneath whitening. I do like looking at my nails like this, I find myself extending my arm fully to look at them, like looking at a sparkly ring. I like the idea of doing this but using a darker but pastel top coat.

The Final Result!

A Quick Post to Whine

Now of course my blog started because I wanted to give myself something to give me purpose. I've been off work since November 2012 and housebound pretty much since then too although I do occasionally get taken on trips out it's just frustrating (for those taking me) and slow, I'm also wary about being out of the house when on the medication as it makes me ill. Slowly I have gone from making posts solely about nail varnish, to general cosmetics and toiletries to completely personal stuff and this topic is of that nature.

Now I'm on two different medications, I switch between the two. Only one of them gives me the energy to actually want to do something, which is when I do my blog, otherwise I'm just blah. Unfortunately this is the stronger out of the two and has worse effects so I try and take it less, although it's hard to, I limit to do 4 days a week, which is still quite a lot really. I want to do everything then, I want to write, draw, cross stitch, play video games, read. I love those days even though it makes me ill. I'm finding the days in-between so frustrating. No energy, no drive, no appetite. I spend my days in bed mainly sleeping, eventually that becomes too painful so I get up and slump in my chair for a while. I'm torn between taking the medication and being bed-bound, I've found no happy medium.

I'm on the meds that make me feel like doing something at the moment, normal posts will resume but looking back at my lack of posts, it just brings me down. My life is going by so fast and nothing I can do will slow it down. I just have to hope it gets back on track before the end of summer.

Now to avoid ending this post on such a downer I thought I'd post this photo of a hedgehog that made a guest appearance outside my house last Saturday, it was taken at night from a little bit back as not to scare it but hopefully it will return so I can take a better photo of it.

Saturday 18 May 2013

nails inc Blowout

My very lovely boyfriend treated me to a spree on the nails inc website, I think it is solely so I will praise him on my blog, not that this is much of a gain for him but I'm really not complaining.

I've been doing my best to restrain from anything new, not having the cash has really helped, but I accept gifts! I'm drawn to anything green, anything, put it in green and I'll take it. I even swear that green ketchup tasted better than regular ketchup. Nail Varnish wise I picked up two greens, queen victoria street - a glossy emerald shade & battersea - an emerald green glitter which is a web exclusive. On top of that I also picked up the special effects hologram nail varnish westbourne park, I also picked up a corrector pen - I think this was more for the shock of seeing it in stock, every other time it's not been available, I did buy a corrector pen about 6 weeks back but it's handy to have two around.

I also received a free gift, I love their free gifts and usually spend enough to get a free gift each time. This time it was a denim bag, nicely padded so handy for putting breakable nail varnish bottles in. I was surprised to see it came with two full sized bottles, I had thought they were miniatures. The free nail varnishes are kensington mall -a bright orange and chalk farm road - a nice nude, pale brown.

Now I plan to do swatches of the new nail varnishes over the coming week, starting with queen victoria street. My main reason for actually posting about my treat was because I was pleased to see that the items, apart from the free gift, were wrapped and looked lovely, it almost made me want to give them away. I know it's only simple black wrapping with the logo but it really is a nice touch.

Friday 17 May 2013

Givenchy Noir Couture Four in One Mascara

Givenchy Noir Couture Four in One Mascara

I received this mascara in my May 2013 Glossybox. Usually with miniatures I save them as they're handy for when I do travel, this one felt smaller than the usual trial mascara so I decided to try it out straight away as I felt I'd get three goes out of it at the most.

This mascara comes with a tri-spherical brush, I'm not that bothered about there being three but I do like mascara brushes with a ball on the end to help work the end and the underneath lashes. I really couldn't tell the full benefit of this brush with the trial mascara being so small the brush was only 2.5" long including the handle so a little tricky to apply. I think with the full size version the brush would be great though.

The overall effect for me wasn't as dramatic as I expected. I applied three coats but still don't have a build up as dramatic as the Benefit they're real mascara but it does still make a nice evening mascara. It was clumpy, although I don't think I've ever found a mascara that works well without using a tissue to remove most of the mascara from the brush. I worked my lashes through with a clean dry brush which improved them tenfold.

Mascara on the left only
One really positive thing is that the mascara seems to last without flaking. After applying and leaving for ten minutes I was able to rub my finger along my lashes without any mascara coming off onto my finger, something a lot of other mascaras do. I can imagine this will last the night, only coming off when I want to remove it.
Overall effect with full make-up
At £22.50 I'm not convinced this mascara is worth the extra money, I think you could get the same effect from a £10 mascara but possibly without the longevity. I would have been preferred to have tried the Givenchy Phenomen`Eyes Mascara, I like the brush and I think I could get a more theatrical effect from it.

The Lost World of Pen Pals

I love flicking through my partners old White Dwarf, Your Sinclair and Computer & Video Game Magazine. I'm not reading them for the articles merely for the Wanted section. Back then humans were wanted, human contact was sought, not necessarily for romance, although some of the ads are questionable, but for friendship, to write actual letters to someone you have never met with the purpose of getting to know someone else out of your own circle. I think we all had pen pals, if you weren't seeking friendship from the back of a magazine you were being assigned a pen pal in your French class with the purpose of getting a better grasp of the language. You could actually apply for a pen pal, it was a big thing. I was a terrible pen pal, I think I had 4 in my lifetime, the longest lasting 3 letters.

What happened to having pen pals? You can still apply to be a pen pal but I doubt it's as popular as it was when it was in the past. Really the internet happened, it isn't as much of a novelty writing to someone in a different country as most of us speak daily to people in far flung places without giving it a second thought. We aren't as amazed as we should be, nor do we probe or find out more about others. In fact most of us spend most of our time online speaking to our doppelganger, I mean it makes sense we want to speak to someone with a common interest, someone that reflects ourself. I've made some great friends online, some I've met. Back when I was younger it was more random even sending an ad in to a magazines wanted section you would give a wider scope if you wanted a response and then you had no control over who you got, and applying for a pen pal through the forms you were given in school you were matched on your age and sex, you might mention you like to read or watch films but you weren't so specific, that was all that was needed.

Some of my favourite ads taken from White Dwarf 1986/7 Magazine, addresses removed to respect privacy:


Rather than desperate I like to think they are just very open minded


I wonder if any of these guys made connections and if they are still in touch with their pen pal? Maybe they even made a romantic connection? They could even be married to the person they met in the back of White Dwarf magazine.

Even if you did do a wanted ad in a magazine these days how would you feel giving out your name and address to the world? I know I wouldn't feel comfortable yet I talk about personal things online to anyone that will read.

I wish I had made more of an effort with my pen pals, I wish I could say after 20 years we were still writing letters but we're not, maybe the internet is my best option.

Thursday 16 May 2013

Huzzah! 1000 Items in My Film Collection

This is one of those random rather pointless goals I gave myself earlier this year. I'm an avid film fan, I'm not in to the big blockbuster, CGI fests that seem to be the norm these days, I tend to go for the older films, although my tastes in genres is pretty wide I am a huge horror fan, Kitchen-Sink Dramas, Old British Films, B-Movie Sci-Fi, 80's teen, old musicals, the odd teen movie from the 90's and movies that could generally be described as bad taste. Living in a town without a cinema I started collecting videos around the age of 12, those were taken over when DVDs came along although I still retain a few of my videos. Having a collection this big makes it hard to keep track so when a friend introduced me to Film Aficionado I signed up with gusto, James was 'happy' to help me out by going through the DVDs/Blu-Rays while I logged, my obsession with keeping things like this in order made it easy to work through and whenever I get something new I update my list.

Now here is the random bit, I made it a goal to reach 1000 even though it's actually a 1000 items logged - if I log a DVD box set with 5 DVDs it counts as 1, I actually have a 1310 titles on there but I'm celebrating a 1000 items instead!

The DVDs/Blu-Rays that made my goal possible arrived today, I know I have a huge collection but I'm a thrifty shopper when it comes to my film collection as well as everything else. I don't go to the store and pay full price when something new comes out, I wait, I look for offers, I use points I've saved. Steelbooks I rarely spend £15 on, I usually pick them up around the £12 mark, Blu-Rays I try to get for around £9 max and DVDs £6 tops but I also pick up second-hand copies for a few quid.

These three DVD's make up the Bronx Warriors trilogy, I'd wanted these for a while, originally I was after the box set with all three in but that was too expensive. Instead I got them individually, James actually treated me to them as he thought I would pout if he didn't!

Now these five I actually bought myself, Sainsbury's Entertainment had these BFI Flipside releases for a steal at £6.99, I wasn't going to as I'm a bit strapped for cash until I'm back in work but I then realised I could use nectar points. I love nectar points, I've collected them without even thinking about spending the points so I was nicely surprised when I checked my balance.

Blu-Ray's and Shameless Collection
That's it for now, I should catch up on watching before buying anything else. I have a couple of things on pre-order but with a collection like this I don't need to worry about running out of anything to watch for a while. When I get my own place I will really need some more custom built shelves.

DVD Cupboards built by my Dad

DVD Box Sets on top of the wardrobe and 'other' DVDs to the left

Summer Holiday Required

For someone stuck at home for the foreseeable future I'm rather excited thinking about my next holiday. My next holiday will also be my first proper holiday since 2007, it also won't occur until at least 2014 not just because of money but because of the operation, I'll be resting up for 6 weeks post-op which isn't long but I will also want to get back to work AND I don't feel safe travelling until I know my insides have settled down. I think part of me is scared as I started to feel bad again last year whilst I was on a short trip to see my friend in Scotland. It didn't cause it but I do associate the travel with feeling awful, but I'm planning ahead and thinking about the future. There is one reason and one reason only why I'm thinking about my future holiday and that is because I won a voucher for SwimHut so I now have a swimming costume ready!

Now I haven't worn a bikini since I was around 11 years old. My confidence was a bit all over the shop back then, it still is slightly and the last thing I wanted was to parade around in as little clothes as possible. I think after years of being encouraged to wear only the bottoms so that I would get more of an all over plan (roll eyes here) I covered up as much as possible, especially when puberty hit.

This is the only photo of me looking happy in a bikini, I'm 6. This photo overshadows the fact that I dropped money down a drain and some child threatened to shoot me.

Still being uncomfortable in my body isn't actually the main reason I don't do bikinis, it's because I like to swim. I've been swimming since I was tiny, I used to go three to five times a week, sometimes for four hours at a time. My local pool was never busy enough to bother flashing the coloured lights to get you out of the pool. The ones that correspond with the rubber bands they give you when you hand in those unwieldy clothes hangars with all your belongings, of course swimming pools have been modernised but I like to imagine them how they used to be, plus nowadays I spend my time worrying that my key will fall off the rubber band and end up in the bottom of the pool, it takes all the relaxation out of competitive swimming, the people I'm competing with don't realise its a race though.

I also can't sit still, 30 minutes top, I can't just relax and lie still without falling asleep, nor am I after a tan. I love to read but after a while I just want to cool down and either get in the pool or the ocean. If I was wearing a bikini I would be constantly worrying about my top rolling down to my belly mid stroke, to me bikini's feel flimsy - I need more material. So this is why I'll never be comfortable in a bikini but nor do I want to be. There are so many gorgeous swimming costumes around, I love retro styles and with my voucher I decided to go wild and spend all of the voucher on one swimming costume. I have plenty of sensible swimming costumes, this is both practical and pretty.

I went for an O'Neill Swimsuit. It looks attractive but is still fairly practical, the top ties around my neck so slightly risqué but nothing that a double knot won't fix. Now I just have to wait patiently to try it out.

Wednesday 15 May 2013

The 6 Month Challenge - 6 Week in + Betty & Walter Vanity Case

Just slightly shy of 6 weeks in to my 6 month challenge and I'm doing pretty well. I'm halfway through the point of using up the dregs that are left in bottles and jars but I'm not yet fully organised. I'm still overflowing with toiletries, which ain't a bad thing, I just need to get organised so I know where certain products are. Another problem I have is I can't stand to use up a pretty bottle.

So far I've managed to use:
  • 1 x Nails Inc Belgravia Hand Cream
  • 1 x Soap and Glory Hand Food
  • 1 x Topshop lip balm (a first for me, I never use up my lip balm although James does!)
  • 1 x Fructis Hairspray (about 3 to go, I really bought these in bulk)
  • 1 x GDJ Glossy Brunettes Shampoo
  • 1 x Bourjois 123 Perfect Foundation
  • 2 x Nail varnish removers
  • 1 x Waitrose 3 in 1 Facial Cleansing Wipes
  • 1 x John Frieda Frizz-Ease Mirror Image Heat-Activated Laminator
For me this is pretty good going but my goal is to be tidy and organised, also frugal, at this rate I won't meet my goal. 

Although not to be down on myself, I did get a step further to being more organised. At Christmas I had a couple of products in the Boots catalogue circled. A Betty & Walter Vanity Case and a Betty & Walter make-up Purse. I wasn't really bothered about the toiletries contained I just wanted the cases for their design. Now I circle a lot of things at Christmas, like a child would, I don't expect everything, I didn't receive these at Christmas but my Mum plans ahead. My birthday is in early March so after Christmas she picked these up in the sale, I believe half price, she showed them to me straight away but I had to wait patiently until March to receive them. 

Both items are better than I thought they would be, both bigger and better quality. The toiletries smell divine although I'm yet to try them all out, the Elderflower & Lemon Hand Cream is really effective and smells delightful. I love the feel of the make-up purse- it could really be considered a wash bag and the vanity case is huge. I always had a plan for the vanity case but I didn't really have a plan for the make-up purse, I thought it would end up being another make-up bag, instead I have used it as a convenient, under the desk bag to stash my hairbrushes, combs, bobbles and clips. Now the plan for the vanity case was to actually use it to store cross-stitch, even with the bag James bought me I thought I would use this case to fit in all the larger kits but today I changed my mind.

Contents of the case before I filled it

Next to my computer desk I have the 'currently using' collection of toiletries, every day I knock them all down and James picks them up. This won't be a problem in future as now everything is stored in the generously sized, easy to open vanity case. 

Now Boots don't have any of the Betty & Walter items currently but I hope they have more sets this Christmas. There is the Betty & Walter site where you can buy their gorgeous, retro inspired pieces unfortunately not their toiletries.