Wednesday 31 December 2014

My Top 15 Films Watched This Year*

A slightly different post than usual and being me it's not quite so straightforward. This is a list of my top 15 film that I've watched this year - not that have necessarily been released this year just that I first watched them. I haven't even watched 15 new releases, I have however made it to 365 films watched this year, yup, that's one a day.

Now these films aren't necessarily classics, none are really blockbusters and some aren't that easy to get but one thing can be said, they've entertained me immensely, some had immediate effect and other made me think afterwards.

So in true "Top Whatever" style I'm going to countdown from 15, if I can I'll also include a trailer along with a none give away line about why I love it. Well, I better put all this after the cut.

List also available on Letterboxd.

Tuesday 30 December 2014

Christmas Gifts 2014

Now I'm very nosy and always like having a look at what people receive as presents at Christmas or on their birthday, just like I love to nosy at what people buy when they go shopping. I also love receiving presents, I'm not going to lie, I also love to give presents and do go overboard on my little cousins each Christmas but I have to admit with the amount of presents I receive you'd think I was also a child.

Now Christmas has been different this year, we were fortunate to spend a few days with family and James and I decided that instead of trying to fit it all in we would wait and have a day to ourselves a few days after the chaos. We lazed at home, ate too many sprouts and opened our presents throughout the day whilst watching whatever was on Gold.

I did have a wonderful year and received many fantastic gifts, all of which will feature after the cut as it is photo heavy!

Sunday 28 December 2014

Christmas Day Nail Style - Part 2

Today marks my second Christmas day, the previous three days have been so busy and devoted to family so although we had Christmas lunch after visiting my dad in hospital on Monday and spent Boxing day with James' family the 28th December has been earmarked as our Christmas day. This means we'll be up early opening stockings, drinking Bucks Fizz, watching Christmas cartoons and having a proper Christmas lunch (to me that means brussels sprouts, bread sauce, mash and roast potatoes, carrots and Yorkshire Puddings - delicious) and letting Samhain have his presents - and setting them up. Now as my previous Christmas day nail style was already 4 days old I decided to do something different.

I decided to keep this one quite frosty but simple and quick to do. I was inspired by the recent snowfall to finally make use Nails inc. Snowflake Whitechapel nail polish. Instead of just applying it to each nail I decided to mix it up slightly using it on three nails on each hand along with Essie Tuck It In My Tux (white) underneath and Essie Jiggle Hi, Jiggle Low (metallic gold) on every other nail.

A nice, simple, clean but glamorous look for my postponed Christmas day. 

Saturday 27 December 2014

Merry Christmas: Part 1

It would be foolish to say this year hasn't been full of stress and heartache but I was still looking forward to Christmas. With all that was going on James and I have been super busy so we had postponed Christmas in favour of visiting family members first - which is also the most important bit. Sadly my gran had been sick for a while and has recently passed away, as we had been expecting it we're not exactly shocked and in a way we're glad she is now at peace after spending months in hospital going from one infection to another and just two weeks ago they discovered cancerous growths. She was 87, a fantastic age and to be honest since grandad died last year she has deeply missed him.

Dad is also still in hospital, neurological rehabilitation to be precise, but he is making progress and that is something to be positive about.

We could cancel Christmas this year but instead we're focusing on the positive, Christmas was always a special time of the year, we spent a lot of time together as a family, eating and laughing and although I'm sad I'm very lucky to have had such great grandparents.

Before gran passed away we already knew we would be busy so James and I planned to have a Christmas day to ourself when we had time but before New Year. We've saved our presents to each other including stockings and our presents to Samhain - we thought it would be unfair to give him all his presents before rushing down to spend the day with dad so we have dedicated tomorrow to being our Christmas day which makes today our Christmas Eve. We will have more sprouts and bread sauce, two types of mash and Yorkshire Puddings followed by my first Christmas pudding of the year. I'm sure I'll post photos of what I received after my Christmas day. For now I'll just post a photo of the snowfall we've had where I am, grandma did like the snow.

Friday 26 December 2014

Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Melange Review

I shouldn't have, I was shopping for gifts for others but I had to stop by the Illamasqua stand in Selfridges, I only had a quick browse but once I set eyes on this I just had to have it. 

I love green and I love a bit of sparkle, Melange is a very sophisticated sparkle, the green is a gorgeous golden teal. The whole effect, the glamour, well it's all very Art Deco. It's a great night time  party shade but it also works in the daytime at work. 

I applied two coats, it all went on very smooth and evenly. It dried to touch within ten minutes and rock hard within thirty. I applied a clear top coat and with that I wore it for five days before removing it, even at this point there wasn't even a single chip - I've never had a varnish last this long, it is just fantastic. 

It really is a gorgeously fabulous shade and such a quality product, I just can't fault it. It's become my number one nail varnish, I may even use it all up! 

Thursday 25 December 2014

Christmas Day Nail Style

Now I was determined to do something for my nails today. Nothing too fancy, I just don't have the skill, but I decided to do something a little more than the one solid colour as I had previously planned.

Really I didn't do that much more but I did top my over the top Christmas red nail varnish with a touch of glitter -  I do love a bit of sparkle.

I still wanted to keep it simple so that it would go with whatever I decided to throw on - I didn't have the time to plan an outfit so it needed to work with a few outfits I might wear (Tartan, floral or leopard print are all possibilities over the next few days).

The red I chose is an absolutely gorgeous metallic red shine shade from butter London, it's called Knees Up and it is unbelievably amazing. I then added a minimal amount of glitter using OPI's When Monkeys Fly!.

I know it's nothing too special but it's nice to have something different on for over the Christmas period. I am hoping to mix it up and go through a few different shades before the New Year, if I have the time.

Anyway, I hope everyone is getting to spend time with loved ones today, a very Merry Christmas to you all! 

Wednesday 24 December 2014

What's in Samhain's Cat Hampurr? December 2014

Well I made a huge mistake ordering Samhain's Christmas presents early. For months he has been sniffing around all his presents before going off in a mard - two items I bought are from previous Cat Hampurrs, one from Molly's Mice and a Plague Rat, he just loves them so it's doubly hard to keep him away from them. To make matters worse we're postponing Christmas, or extending it, It can be viewed either way. We're leaving presents until the day after Boxing day so that we can spend more time with them and him (and more time with family on the 25th). On the 27th we will wake up to open the Stockings, drink Bucks Fizz (Samhain won't!) and then open the presents under the tree - he also has a few big toys to play with, followed by Christmas lunch (for me that is so many sprouts and bread sauce that I start to feel ill along with more veg, potatoes and Yorkshire puddings - Fortunately this box comes with something for Samhain) anyway, enough about that and on to the point....

Well, the point is I was glad when the Cat Hampurr arrived so that I had a treat to give my little Samhain before Crimbo. This was especially needed as he was in another fight (same cat, still an ongoing territory war) because we have so much going on he will be kept indoors for a few days to properly recover but this will make him miserable so again, the treats are welcome.

Yet again he was very happy with his selection, even in his melancholy state he got up to have a nosy and a play before he tired himself out - not hard at the moment.

It's a wonderful selection this time, a very special Christmas menu is provided which is so perfect, I'd meant to shop around for something but I was beginning to run out of time, now I don't need to! So what did he get?

Starter: Arden Grange Tasty Liver Treat 75g tube
This is like a pâté for cats, funnily enough I had been thinking about getting something like this, he does love his offal. This is the perfect little starter for him, I can't decide how to serve it on the day. I've already given him a bit and he loved it.

Main Course: Lily's Kitchen Turkey Dinner tray 100g & Chicken Crunchy Nibbles 2x40g
Samhain loves Lily's Kitchen, we were ever so pleased when he started to go for this as he used to be a very fussy eater. The turkey dinner tray is going to be lovely for him on the day, along with the crunchy nibbles which he has had before and loved, I must pick up a proper tube in the New Year.

Dessert: Natures Menu Freeze Dried Treats Chicken & Duck 40g
He does love freeze dried treats but he hasn't had this brands version. They're slightly different to the usual as they're absolutely huge chunks, it was funny watching him try to work out how to eat it, they were too big for his tiny mouth, but he loved the taste so kept licking - I broke it into smaller treats in the end.

Playtime: Krafty Kat Christmas Catnip Mouse toy
I've never had a cat love catnip so much, he loves his little mice but this big mouse is also great, he does love to cling onto his toys and kick the hell out of them, before giving them a good licking, he also likes to rub himself against the toys so at least with the bigger toys he can hold onto them and not knock them off the bed! It also makes a perfect sized pillow.

Playtime: Natural Pet Toy Company felt balls
Another catnip toy for him to love, we have a few standard plastic balls downstairs and he tends to play with these when he is on his own - the usual kick, juggle, run after them etc. He has already started to play in the same way with these - I'm sure he will prefer them as he can actually pick them up rather easily, they're really good quality so I don't need to worry about them falling apart after heavy use. See photo below for a better photo of them as they don't quite show in the top photo.

Knackered after his play! 

Another wonderful box for Samhain - I think I enjoy them just as much as he does, I just love to spoil my little boy. 

Tuesday 23 December 2014

What's in my Birchbox? December 2014 - Sophia Webster Special

With so much going on at the moment it's nice to have a distraction, it's also nice to receive something in the post which isn't a present for someone else. I was really looking forward to my subscription box even though in just under a week I'll be receiving the odd present I'm just in the mood to discover something new.

Now the December birchbox isn't quite a typical Christmas theme with the type of contents or how it looks but the fact that's it's such a generous exciting party box makes it festive to me. This month is a very special box that sees them collaborate with accessories designer Sophia Webster, what exactly does that entail? Well details of the box and pretty pictures of the contents can be found after the cut.

Saturday 20 December 2014

Christmas Gift Guide - Yummy Goodies

Christmas Gift Guide - Yummy goodies

The Bubble: The World's Smallest Bottle of Bubbly £13.00 // Montezumas Chocolate truffles £13.00 // Christmas Rudolph heat change mug £15.00 // Harrods Marzipan Stollen £22 // Harrods Christmas Mini Tea Tin Gift Pack £20 // Emma Bridgewater Christmas Wreath Reindeer 1/2 Pint Mug £20 // Charbonnel et Walker Pink Marc de Champagne Truffles £13 // Classic Panettone £22

This is my last realistic gift guide this time concentrating on yummy goodies. Now even if you consider yourself a very healthy, clean eater for the rest of the year over Christmas you should allow yourself to indulge, this doesn't necessarily mean hideously calorific items. For example I love spicy Christmas tea and always makes me feel festive so I tend to replace my normal tea throughout the month, this is hardly indulgent but it always gets me in the mood. Giving and receiving edible goods is lovely any day but there are so many gorgeous sets out over Christmas I just had to pick a few.

I first saw The Bubble on a shopping trip to Selfridges, I didn't pick it up for myself as sadly that wasn't the point of my shopping trip. I had hoped someone would pick this up for me but I can 100% say that nobody will have done. It's such a great, quirky, kitsch gift with its Alice in Wonderland style packaging, I know if I did receive it I would, after drinking the contents, adorn my dressing table with this gorgeous bottle, as long as I was still able to reach my dressing table. 

As mentioned before I love my Christmas tea so I've featured a lovely little set from Harrods, the reusable tins make it an ideal gift. I also had to feature some kind of chocolate so went for two different brands, two sets of truffles, the Montezuma's collection is fun and festive with packaging to match whereas the Charbonnel et Walker set is just a classic.

I'm also featuring some traditional bakery goods, Stollen which I actually hate (I can't stand marzipan) but I love the idea of it, it's easy to pick up stollen these days, everywhere has it from Aldi to Waitrose, it makes an ideal little extra or spare present to have in, same can be said for the panettone, an Italian sweet bread loaf that I do actually love. 

I had to feature a couple of seasonal mugs, the classy Emma Bridgewater reindeer mug which is so delightful and at 1/2 pint is such an amazing size but for a totally full on kitschmas then the Rudolph heat change mug is a must, it can be purchased from a number of shops including Joy.

How do you feel about receiving edible goods, love or loathe? 

Tuesday 16 December 2014

OPI - Nordic Nail Polish Collection 2014 - Thank Glogg It's Friday!

I'm pretty sure I can't go a week without picking up a new nail varnish no matter how many times I say I'll be good. I wanted something from the OPI Nordic collection and on a whim I went for this, Thank Glogg It's Friday!

Thank Glogg It's Friday is a stunning strong red with pink undertones, it's such a vibrant glossy shade. In an unusual move I took the photo above three days after I applied. In yet another unusual move I also applied a top coat which meant the nail varnish lasted all week, apart from a few light scratches (these didn't chip the paint but dented it a little). I applied two coats of this colour followed by a clear top coat. It all dried amazingly quickly, touch dry within five minutes.

It's a really nice versatile colour which will is going to be perfect on my toes once I've stopped with all the festive glitter!

Monday 15 December 2014

Christmas Gift Guide - Beautiful Beauty Accessories

Christmas Gift Guide - Beautiful Beauty Accessories
ASOS Cat Ears Make Up Bag in Leopard £10.00 // Paul & Joe Beauty Mirror £20.00 // Anna Sui Beauty Compact Mirror £20 // Harrods Crowning Cats Travel Pouch £7.95 // Rachel Ellen Pretty Compact Mirror £6.50 // Rendezvous Vanity Case £35 // Parlux 3800 Eco Friendly Ionic & Ceramic Hair Dryer (Green) £86 // Oliver Bonas Copper Hand and Foot Nail Clippers £7 // Mi-Pac 24K Make Up Bag £18 // Wet Brush Leopard Print £12 // Catseye Animal Nail File Pack £2.50

More gift ideas, this time looking at beauty accessories. I have so many make-up bags but I could always do with more as I have so much make-up. Sadly I don't think I'll receive any of the above items but I would happily accept any or all of them!

Sunday 14 December 2014

Sunday Weigh-In: More of a General Update

Now this isn't my usual Sunday Weigh-in, not that they're ever that usual just I'm not going to mention much about exercise or what I've eaten as this week has been topsy turvy.

A quick update about that would be I walked as much as I could when there was time and my eating was erratic towards the end of the week but I'll be clearer in a second. I do need to look towards having a better diet, at the moment I'm eating calorie rich food in small doses rather than large doses of lower calorie food.

Well back in September by gran collapsed, my dad actually collapsed two weeks after. She had been medically stable for a while but took a turn for the worst this Thursday. They had found a few obstructions in her colon which were preventing her from passing anything in the normal way, instead she was throwing it up. I went in with my mum and aunt to discuss the options and she has had a procedure just to make her comfortable. We don't know how long she will last, it could be days, weeks or months although I think it will be days considering how out of it she has been since the procedure. I've kind of said my goodbyes although this is only because I'm presuming it won't be much longer and she really isn't aware. It's just heartbreaking but I have to remember she is 87. Update: Mum has just got back and gran was doing better today so I'll be trying to get down to see her again although things can rapidly change so I can't get my hopes up.

Dad is still in neuro-rehab, making small steps but is frustrated and wants to come home, this isn't going to happen any time soon. Also, because of how he is I doubt he will be home to spend time with us at Christmas for fear that he won't return to the centre.

This just means that everything is everywhere at the moment. This will be my last weight post until next year although I promise not to go bonkers over Christmas.

I did manage to go to the Christmas Markets in Manchester, I was determined to go shopping and I did, it was great, although we did a lot of walking (that will be the high score on Friday) and not a lot of eating, I can shop on an empty stomach when I'm shopping! I would have preferred to eat properly but we had so little time. I had lovely snacks at the Market though, half a nutella Pretzel, half a cinnamon crêpe and cherry glühwein - I only had halves as we were loaded with shopping and had to work together to eat! I would usually make sure I at least have a solid breakfast but time was so short. 

I wanted to update this week as I may or may not have time next week. With everything going on and having so much more on my plate at the moment I'm rushing around trying to get everything done, hence the calorie dense small meals rather than nibbling throughout the day.

Short Term Goals
As I really have no time at the moment I want to concentrate on what I'm eating and improve my diet there. I miss having my salad at work, it was so yummy but healthy, I won't have the time right now but plan to revert to this rather than sandwiches when I return to work in January.

Long Term Goals
Same as last time!

Saturday 13 December 2014

OPI Glitter-Off Peelable Base Coat Review

OPI Glitter-Off Peelable Base Coat RRP: £11.95 (currently £8.63)
I feel foolish for having not found this earlier, I only came across it while browsing ASOS. If I would have known about it sooner my year would have been more of a glitter-fest but as I hadn't (and my time has been short) I haven't been using my glitter nail varnishes as I wouldn't have the time or the patience to remove it. 

So what exactly is this stuff like? Just pretty amazing but it does smell and has somewhat the consistency of pva glue on application, a quick look at the ingredients reveals that it does include polyvinyl acetate. It is like applying glue to your nails, It doesn't however leave a glue like substance on the nails, I painted them before going to sleep with this stuff and in the morning there wasn't a trace, even when I touched them it didn't feel like there was a weird coating.

You can't even see that's on or feel that's on but you can certainly tell you're wearing something that makes a difference when you come to take off whatever top nail varnish you go for.
I became doubtful that it would actually work because there was no evidence of it being left on my nails but I went ahead and applied butter London's Henley Regatta, three heavy coats to be exact. 

The nail varnish dried as it should, to be on the safe side I didn't add a top coat. I figure that if you're using a base like this it is simply because you want either a strong and/or glittery look for the night that you can them remove easily. I did worry that if it comes off so easily it wouldn't actually last but it does, somewhat. Well, by this I meant I could do some standard tasks like clean the house, hang up clothes, type on the computer but if I had anything fiddly or tricky to do - basically anything that would rub the opposite way up my nails, well it would have chipped it or pulled quite a chunk off but I only managed this just before removal (even then it was just a tiny chip). 

As it had lasted so well I wasn't fully convinced that it would remove easily but instead it removed better than I could ever imagine. I used a cuticle stick to push them back, honestly the varnish just slid away from the nail without damaging my nail at all. Now the best way for me to show its effectiveness is to post a little video so here you go.

I was really impressed with how easy it was, how little damage it did and how I wasn't the usually glittery mess I'm in after removing glitter nail varnishes. It just slides off so easily, it's amazing.

Glittery nails removed in moments, nails were 98% clear and didn't feel at all like they had been damaged.
It really is a wonder product and just perfect for this time of the year now that we've entered party season. 

Thursday 11 December 2014

Ciaté Haute House Collection

Dark but not foreboding. What's behind the door?
I love the Ciaté sets, they're adorable. I've previously had The Dolls House collection for my birthday back in March, as soon as I saw the Haute House collection I knew I had to have it and finally I have!

I love Ciaté, they have a wonderful selection of nail varnishes and I find the bottles strangely comforting to hold. The mini size nail polishes are a good sized 5ml and I actually prefer them as it means I can have more shades. I've always found the varnishes to be good quality and long lasting, the ones I've tried from this collection have lived up to this standard.

It's a wonderful collection of dark glossy shades, featuring a red, purple, gold, green and finally a blue. They're all very dark, sumptuous shades suitable for most people from the colour shy to the prissy miss - also a perfect Christmas gift.

From top to bottom on the nail wheel we have: Ox blood (Can Can), Molten gold (For the Frill of it) - almost a russet brown, Deep purple (Sass Pot). Royal blue (Knee Highs) and Emerald (Tickle My Fancy).

You know how I mentioned it was a perfect Christmas gift? Well, it is also the perfect gift to get in as an emergency present, and as long as you're heavily prepared as I am then you'll get to keep it for yourself. 

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Lookfantastic Beauty Box Winter 2014

Now, I have cut down to one subscription beauty box but I was feeling down and felt the need for a surprise pick me up so I ordered the Lookfantastic Beauty Box last month and completely forgot about it, which is how I intended the surprise element to work and it did. It was nice to have a little something different, it was also nice to buy a one off for £15 including postage and packaging. The box itself is pretty huge so what was in there? It's all after the cut.

Tuesday 9 December 2014

Astrid & Miyu Secret Box December 2014

I love Astrid & Miyu, I've been having pieces from them for a number of years now. I say having as James usually buys them for me (although I pick) I love their pieces but I also think they're a great company. James is usually sent a discount in the post which of course he loses before ordering but they always respond to his grovelling email and the discount simply means I get to have more, it really is a win-win situation for me. They're just a nice company to deal with and more importantly, as I've mentioned I LOVE their pieces. So I really should have a pat on the back for resisting this up until now.

You know I love my subscription boxes although I was on a very sensible two (and one of those is for Samhain) up until now. I was spurred into signing up for the Secret Box when James was ordering my Christmas presents, the ring I so desperately wanted went out of stock, forever! Deeply saddened I vowed to increase my Astrid & Miyu collection tenfold and because I haven't seen an item on the site I didn't like it made good economical sense to subscribe to the Secret Box - that's the story I'm sticking to, a ring that I really wanted did seriously go out of stock (if you don't believe me check the highest priority items on my wishlist) it was the My Crystal Ball ring in rose gold, it was only added to that list in November, It had been on my wishlist for a lot longer, I really should have made sure I picked it up.

So I looked into signing up to their Secret Box, at £39 a quarter with free UK & EU shipping it's actually quite a bargain if you tend to pick up a few items a year. You're looking at £39 on average for an item so even if you receive just one item of jewellery it would be still nice to have the surprise. You aren't tied into a minimum amount so you could cancel after one box or continue until you need to invest in new jewellery boxes (must make sure I do that). Although the items are surprises there is some tailoring, you receive a survey to fill out before each box which not only covers general tastes but also some very important areas, a few questions I was glad they asked were my ring size, my plating preference (Rose gold!) and, more importantly, what other items from Astrid & Miyu I already have.

I should mention that the last order date for this quarters Secret Box is 10th December so if you're reading this after then (I know that's only 24 hours away) you'll have to wait until March for the next box.

Enough of the talk, time to bring on the pretty photos, so what did I get? Well, as I don't want to spoil it all is revealed after the cut.....

Monday 8 December 2014

butter London - Henley Regatta Nail Lacquer Swatch and Review

butter London - Henley Regatta £6.00 for 6ml or £12.00 for 11ml

butter London are a brand that I have been meaning to try out properly for a while, I say properly as I do already have one pot which I do love but I haven't picked up any more despite there being dozens and dozens of shades on my wishlist. As there was an offer on for Black Friday/Cyber Monday that offered 30% off I decided to pick some items up (I'm in love with the Brick Lane collection) and as Henley Regatta had been on my list for a while I decided to take the plunge.

I actually picked up a mini (also known as fashion size), at 6ml this is still very generous. It's also ideal for trying things out or, if like me, you buy so many nail polishes you never actually get through them all. I still think it would be possible to wear this shade half a dozen times before the pot runs out, not bad for a miniature.

Henley Regatta is a gorgeous clear varnish with blue-green glitter, I'm wearing three coats in the photo here, it went on easily and dried quickly for a glitter shade. I didn't add a top coat, mainly as I was also testing out a base coat but also because I didn't plan to wear it for long. It lasted well while I had it on, I find glitter nail varnishes tend to chip but it remained intact after being quite busy with my hands.

It's a really stunning shade, I'm also impressed with the quality of the nail varnish. In a world full of nail varnish brands with thousands of shades it can be hard for brands to shine through but there's is just something about this brand that I'm beginning to love. 

Sunday 7 December 2014

Sunday Weigh-In: It's Snowing!

Okay I'm losing the plot when it comes to my titles, I'm also easily distracted by snow!

It's been another mixed week, I find it really hard to remember now that I'm not logging but it has generally been okay or at least no major hiccups.

I haven't quite hit 10,000 steps each day but they've been more on the up. I've had two extra days off work this week to get on with Christmas stuff and to go to the carol service at the rehabilitation centre my dad is in, my steps are always down when I'm off - I was especially weak of Saturday and Sunday. It's also been another week where I've only done two strength routines, again this is something I need to work on. I have increased the weight that I'm lifting yet again.

Not very impressive thanks to letting myself down on Saturday and Sunday - I might be able to get a few more steps in today though.

My parent present came this week which I will also find myself using - a wii! My mum does like the odd game and she doesn't feel compelled to exercise so I think this would be great for her and I also thought this would be good for helping dad with his rehabilitation when out. It was second hand and came with a couple of games including Abba - You Can Dance so I "tested" it and it was good fun so I might aim to do 10 minutes of that a night when I'm busy.

With trying to get in a festive mood (I'm really struggling with all that is going on at the moment) I treated myself to some sprouts with bread sauce, I know not many people would see it as a treat but I love sprouts, I just did my usual Christmas dinner which is usually just a bit of mash, some roast potatoes, sprouts, carrots and bread sauce - not exciting but not that calorific either.

One positive thing I noticed only today was I was looking at a fitness post and this girl had an amazing body and it occurred to me that I never once thought I wish I looked like that, I know my body has a way to go but I've stopped comparing which is a bit more of a positive outlook.

Short Term Goals
Do more - if I don't have time for the strength routines then it's gonna have to be ten minutes of Abba dancing!

Long Term Goals
Same as last week, it's always similar, Birthday outfit, holiday outfit, etc....

Samhain's Catnip Review: Yeowww Cigar

Another catnip review from Samhain, this time focusing on something he has had for a short while now. I had been meaning to pick up the Yeowww cigar for him since he came to live with us but I decided to be reserved as I had already spoilt him rotten, this would at least be something to get him in the future, for Christmas, and in a way I did wait. I then picked it up rather early in time for Christmas and then ended up giving it to him after he had been in a pretty rotten fight, I can barely move for cat toys!

Yeowww are possibly his favourite big brand catnip, he prefers the smaller independent brands in general but there is just something about Yeowww that sends him in a happy frenzy. Now he already has a few Yeowww toys but the cigar is his joint favourite along with his pollock. I believe this is because of the shape, they're long so he can wrap himself around them and kick kick kick with his back legs, he just loves to do that. He is also big into licking so he completely soaks the toys - he then likes me to rub the toy around his head for him.

The toy is still going strong after about a month, it hasn't lost any strength and he still seeks this out. Even though he has licked this repeatedly it isn't falling apart and more importantly it still smells of catnip and not cat saliva. I think this is rather high quality even for a mass produced product.

This would make a lovely little stocking filler for any cat from nip fiend to doubting Tomcat.

I picked this up for £3.99 from Amazon but the price does fluctuate frequently.

Finally, to sum it up, how does this make Samhain feel?


Saturday 6 December 2014

Christmas Gift Guide - Toiletries

Christmas Gift Guide - Toiletries

Trilogy Rosapene Skincare Sensations Gift Set £27 // Noble Isle Summer Rising Gift Set Duo £38 // Origins Gloomaway Grapefruit Body Duo £20 // REN Mini Gift Set 2014 £16 // Burt's Bees Honey Pot Bodycare Gift Set £7.19 // Compagnie De Provence Discovery Box of Liquid Soaps £34 // Aromatherapy Associates Essential Bath and Shower Oils £26 // Rituals Ayurveda Skincare Gift Set £26

I always think that Christmas is the time of discovering new brands and I love to introduce friends and family to those brands. This list is a mix of new discoveries and old favourites. 

Noble Isle and Compagnie De Provence produce my favourite shower gels, they're just so luxurious and delicious smelling. I've ended up picking up some box sets to give as presents. I would honestly love any of the items for myself, I just love receiving toiletries at Christmas for some reason. 

Korres Jasmine Eye Make-Up Removal Lotion Review

Now a lot of my posts focus on putting make-up on but today I'd like to do the opposite and instead focus on removing it. I have to admit to being completely slap dash about make-up removal until I hit my thirties, just a general quick wipe over if I was feeling generous. Now although I possibly wear just as much make-up as I did ten years ago I'm becoming a lot more fastidious, wanting every last scrap removed. This led to me searching for an eye make-up remover to use before my general removal. Luckily I didn't have to search far, Korres are one of my favourite brands so I had a look at what they had to offer first and fortunately I didn't have to look anywhere else.

At £16.00 for 200ml this isn't the cheapest eye make-up remover on the market but that wasn't important, I wanted something that would work without much scrubbing and that wouldn't leave my eyes feeling irritated.

One swoop across was enough to remove eyeshadow and mascara from one of my lids.

Only a couple of drops are required to remove a basic daytime look featured in these photos. When wearing heavier make-up I tend to use two pads, one for each eye. Eye make-up removes easily meaning that I don't wake up to find that all the mascara I thought had been removed is now stained below my eyes adding to the dark circles. Not once have my eyes felt sore or have been left red and so far in two months I'm only half way through the bottle after daily.

One sweep, most make-up removed from the one eye
It's the best I've tried and as the winter has come I'm wearing heavier eye make-up but it still tackles this leaving not a trace behind.

Have you got a miracle make-up remover?

Friday 5 December 2014

Christmas Gift Guide - Make-Up Gift Sets

Christmas Gift Guide - Make-Up Gift Sets
From Left to Right: Benefit Sweet Tintations Gift Set £18.00 // NARS Laser Cut eye cheek & lip palette £35 // MAC Keepsakes Plum Eye kit £40 // Laura Mercier Make-Up Palette For Eyes, Cheeks & Lips £38 // Illamasqua Multi Facet Palette - Aura £45 // Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G mini lipstick trio £29.00 // Bare Minerals Moxie Kissing Booth kit £25.00 // Topshop Smokey Eyes Gift Set £22

Possibly my favourite list to do so I've crammed plenty of sets in. I'm never sensible with my make-up, I have too much and I always want more. I'm the girl that is excited by flashing lights and sexy colours. If I was sensible I would be happy with one of the items above but if someone said I could have them all I would simply say yes please, of course I need them.

Now I'm not going to list reasons why I've picked these, the photos speak for themselves, they're all stunning kits that most people would love. The NARS set is technically top of my list followed quickly by the Illamasqua but as I said I'd have them all! I've picked up one set on the list for my mum but I better not say which.

Is there anything catching your eye? What is on the top of your Christmas make-up wishlist?

Wednesday 3 December 2014

Essie Winter 2014 Collection

Well despite vowing I would not buy any further nail varnishes until after Christmas I've gone ahead and broken my vow, as it is only a set of mini nail varnishes I suppose I've only half broken it. I'm sure you'll understand why, they're all stunning, versatile and very festive!

I don't buy as much Essie as I should, I really like the brand but I have to admit to forgetting about them. It's such a shame as they do have wonderful collections, just like this. I know some people would be disappointed with miniatures but at 5ml a bottle I believe it's generous enough - I really find it hard to get through full size bottles!

This collection includes four shades;

  • Jiggle Hi Jiggle Low - A really shimmery molten gold/silver - a perfect party piece
  • Tuck it in my Tux - a milky white shade - perfect for snowy nail backdrop
  • Jump in my Jumpsuit - a rich opulent dark red - ideal for any time of the year
  • Double Breasted Jacket - a light, bright, Christmas red

Now I love that there are two different types of red in this collection, they both offer different styles. Jiggle Hi Jiggle Low is so sparkly without being glittery, it really glistens in the light. Tuck in my Tux will make a perfect background under clear glittery shades but I'm also considering give white nails another chance.

It's such a beautiful collection, the packaging is simple but pretty - the perfect cube makes it ideal to wrap and the contents would make a welcome Christmas present. I picked up this set via Amazon for £12.95

Monday 1 December 2014

Lipstick Queen Liptropolis - Lipstick Library Volume 1 Review

The second of my pre-Christmas Space.NK splurges. This had appeared on my Christmas wishlist last year but sadly I didn't receive, so I've picked it up myself, I just couldn't wait a few months longer. I've purchased so many Lipstick Queen lipsticks this year, they are now my go to brand and for me they're totally worth the £20+ price tag so this set, at £40 for three lipsticks may seem a bit indulgent but it's a solid investment.

This beautifully packaged set has delightful artwork inspired by the film Metropolis, the lipsticks are named after districts in New York, Soho is a beautiful light red with a hint of pink, Upper East is a gorgeous nude-pink and Central Park is a striking peach pink shade.

This is a nice spectrum of daytime shades, a perfect nude, a striking red and a playful pink, a really nice set for anyone.

Now not only the shade of the lipstick is important, sure, that's what will draw you in initially but whether you carry on using lipsticks in the long term is really down to how it feels on your lipsticks. These, and all Lipstick Queen products, leave my lips feeling, soft and conditioned, they apply smoothly and it feels so light on. I find some lipsticks just feel gunky on but these are like wearing a balm.

A gorgeous set of practical shades, another great gift for someone or for yourself this Christmas. 

Sunday 30 November 2014

Sunday Weekly Weigh-in: It Really is Sunday

I'm pretty amazed I'm managing to post on time, I always mean to do this on Sunday but everything is everywhere at the moment. This week has been no better, to say it has been hectic is an understatement. I have got a couple of days off this week, Monday and next Friday so two long weekends to rest and get into a somewhat Christmas spirit.

I have to admit to some failings this week, I managed to do my 5 x 5 strength training on the Monday but not again in the week, I did it Saturday but this does mean I can't do it again until Monday.

I haven't done that much better with my steps, although not terrible apart from the days I've been at home, when I have been at work I've managed to do over 8,000. I'm typing this post in the morning, but by the end of Sunday (when I'll be posting this) I'm hoping to be at 5,000 steps, I'll just have to make the effort.

Food wise I've been a bit better than the week before but not ideal, it's so hard now that I'm not logging on MFP - this is something I will go back to when I have more time as it does really help me keep it all in balance. I had avocado and mozzarella salad for tea on Wednesday night and it reminded me that salad in the cold weather can still be lovely. I've also got frozen sprouts in the freezer as I just love them at this time of the year. Must pick up some kale too to go along with some Cauldron sausages, yummy!

On the plus side I did order my first £5 voucher from Bounts for Waitrose, it isn't much but it is something. If you do use something to track your activity like fitbit it's really worth signing up to Bounts as you earn points for your activity, it's all automated so I signed up, linked to my fitbit then forgot, it's been a few months but I've done nothing extra to earn the cash. If you fancy signing up if you use my referral code we'll both get 100 points.

Short Term Goals
An increase in steps next week and to workout three times, plus when I do work out I want be cranking up the weight that I'm lifting at the moment my top weight is 17kg but that is only with bent over rows.

Long Term Goals
To be closer to 70,000 steps each week. A couple of dress sizes down by March would be ideal.

Samhain's Catnip Review: Happy Pet Pressed Catnip Leaf

I love to spoil my cat Samhain. I adore finding new items for him to try when it comes to toys and treats, I love getting him the Cat Hampurr but I also like to seek out new things for him myself. I've already stocked up on some amazing treats for Christmas including the product we're reviewing today, I just had to buy two so I could try one out immediately.

Now how cats react to catnip vary but there is an obvious difference between good and bad catnip. Samhain "plays" with catnip in a different way to other cats I have known, rather than throwing it around like confetti and rolling in it he prefers to eat it. This is quite normal and perfectly safe but his reaction to it is usually to mellow out rather than get hysterical and jumpy.

Today we've been playing with.....

Happy Pet Pressed Catnip Leaf
I had wondered if there was a product like this out there when I realised he liked to ingest it, he loves just normal catnip leaves but he can have too much of a good thing and in what could be considered a rock 'n' roll move he ended up puking it up in my mums shoe after over indulging. We're careful to limit it but it's hard to tell what the limit is which is why this pressed catnip leaf is ideal.

Full review including a video is after the cut....

Saturday 29 November 2014

ASOS Black Friday Purchases

Now I didn't go to ASOS because of the whole crazy Black Friday, it just coincided with my pay day. This doesn't mean I haven't picked up some Black Friday deals across other sites as I have but I wanted to browse ASOS for some items in particular, at least, I had rough ideas of what I wanted but it was also nice to be able to then have a 20% discount.

Firstly I wanted something sparkly, really I wanted a silver pencil skirt but unfortunately I couldn't find what I quite wanted. Secondly I wanted a dress that would be somewhat dressy but also suitable for the day. Now as there are lots of dresses on the site and the majority are gorgeous, I was amazingly lucky to have found this dress. It's just so stunning.

I've pretty much decided it's my favourite dress this year, it's from the Glamorous tall range at ASOS. Glamorous are fast becoming my favourite brand, they are really good value for money. Although their clothing is inexpensive they don't skimp on the quality, I also find their patterns stand out and are always fairly unique. A lot of their items have such a retro feel which I love, this dress is particularly 70's with its dark floral print, even the material feels vintage just without the wear and tear.

It's quite a heavy material and what you can't tell in the photos is the shape. It's a tea dress, fitted at the waist and flares out over the hips, the arms are to the elbow and it's very slimming. It's such a nice dress I'll be either wearing it in the day with boots or at night with velvet platform shoes.

The rest of my purchases are after the cut......

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar in Harlot Review

I love Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, I already own both a very dark shade of the lip tar, and a very light shade (which I'm still to try) but whilst picking up some Christmas presents for others I decided to buy a little treat for myself and chose to pick up an in-between shade, a light but bright reddish pink called Harlot. 

I love how the product is presented, the little case is handy for popping in your handbag and the brush is fantastic but also very necessary (I'll mention why later). I like the fact that having it all together makes it easy to find and quicker to use, I hate it when I have the product but not the brush and vice versa. The one thing that would make it better would be a little mirror in there too, but that's such a minor thing.

This colour is both light and vibrant on the lips, a real stand out, old Hollywood type pink/red. Even though this is quite light the colour can get everywhere if you're not careful, I would never apply with my finger as it's quite hard to get off, before you know it you'd be covered in it which is why the brush is rather necessary but it doesn't mean that it takes extra work to apply, it's just different. Although I like to be able to just throw lipstick on I always like to take my time with vibrant colours no matter what.

The product is somewhat goopy on the lips but this isn't uncomfortable. It's really glossy but once on it settles and somewhat sets after a bit rather than smudging.

I've found this shade to be long lasting, even after the initial layering had calmed down my lips were suitably stained meaning I was never without colour between touching it up. I still haven't picked up their primer, I imagine if I had that on underneath any of their shades the staying power would be even greater.

I just love OCC's Lip Tar, even though I wouldn't usually wear a lip gloss if I want that look my first stop is for the Lip Tar.

Friday 28 November 2014

Christmas Gift Guide - Nail Polish Sets

Christmas Gift Guide - Nail Polish Sets
Clockwise from top left: Ciaté Candy Cane House Festive Scented Nail Polish Gift Set £25.00 // Topshop Mini Pastel Nail Trio Gift Set £12 // OPI Nails -  Nordic Collection Mini Pack Gift Set £15 // butter LONDON Gilded Gears Nail Set £18 // nails inc. Whitechapel Snowflake Gift £16

I decided for this gift guide I'd look at nail polish sets, there are so many gorgeous sets out there so I decided to pick a few choice favourites.

Now the first set on my list is from Ciaté and is incredibly festive, not only are the four miniatures presented in a gorgeous candy cane house but the sparkly varnishes are also festively scented, I've loved to get my hands on the cinnamon one. The Topshop mini trio may no be festive for everyone but I find pastel shades incredibly fitting at this time of the year, I do love my gaudy red and green but pastels whisk you into the new year with ease. The OPI set is a lovely mix of shades, another miniatures set that isn't in your face festive but perfect throughout the rest of the year. The butter LONDON set is full on glamorous with a few daytime shades thrown in, I only wish these were full size rather than miniatures, Last but not least, nails inc. possibly the most special and the only one that isn't an actual set but a perfectly presents Christmas nail varnish, this is a lovely snowflake effect, this one has a slight hint of gold which is just stunning.

I am overloaded with nail polish but I know I'll have to pick up the nails inc. Whitechapel Snowflake before the festive period but I may try and resist adding any (many) to my Christmas wishlist.

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Benefit they're real! push-up liner Review

Bottom left without mascara and bottom right with

Quite a few months back Benefit released they're real! push-up liner to much fanfare, I resisted the temptation even though I'd loved its sister product, they're real! mascara. It's not that I don't love dramatic eyeliner, I do, but I've never been able to use a pen properly, my preference is gel liner with a separate brush. Well, it has been my preference since they discontinued Babe Cake eyeliner, this was a Benefit product and it was just amazing, a dry powder that you added a little water to, this created a paste which was amazing to work with. So I'm possibly also a little bitter that Benefit once made the perfect eyeliner then took it away from me.

Elle UK came with a sample with their December issue, I just couldn't stay away any longer.

I have to confess, I'm in love, no pen has worked so well for me. It took me a few squeezes to get to grips with how it dispenses but after that it was so easy to work with. It's not quite a brush, more of a flexible plastic funnel. I was able to draw fairly precisely onto my eyelids - the product is more of a paste so it's easier to work with than runny liquid eyeliner, I could do a fine line, build it up thicker and end with a neat flick.

As this product dries immediately it was easy to go from thin to thick without ruining what I had already applied with smudging. The product set immediately which may sound ideal but it did mean any tiny mistakes was hard to rectify, but this quality did add to the longevity meaning I got a good five hours wear before it started to dry and flake. I do wonder if it would be wise to top up occasionally?

they're real! push-up liner with added they're real! mascara
I really was cynical to begin with but this eyeliner was so easy to use and very portable which means it will be making its way into my make-up bag in the near future.