Friday 26 September 2014

Life Update

Now I haven't had as much time to post recently as my grandma collapsed and was rushed to hospital two weeks ago and I've been visiting her and supporting my mum. Things were improving on that front and apart from taking Samhain to the vets after a scrap with another cat that resulted in a couple of nasty gashes everything was starting to get back to normal. Sadly my dad collapsed on Wednesday, he is currently in the intensive care unit in hospital, they haven't been able to find out what is wrong and when they initially tried to wake him Thursday morning even though he was able to breathe himself initially, he did go downhill rapidly and they induced the coma again. Of course not only am I busy with hospital but I'm also beyond distraught. Although when we are home we try to act somewhat normal anyone who has been in this situation knows that acting normal isn't really the same as being normal, you are instead distracted with thoughts and just not interested in day to day life. Although writing a blog post is a good distraction I'm just not in the mood to try things out, I do have some half started posts but I also think completing and posting them now is a bit weird. So for now I'm taking a sabbatical, I may pop on twitter with the odd competition entry but I can assure you they will pretty much be a half arsed attempt at being normal. 

Sunday 21 September 2014

Sunday Weigh-in: Short Update

Now this won't be much of an update, it hasn't been much of a week. My gran is still very ill in hospital, I've been visiting daily but to be honest she really hasn't been concious. I did skip a visit today and apparently she was a lot more talkative! Anyway, It's been a busy week, I mentioned last week I was at breaking point with everything and the same thing stands pretty much.

We've cancelled our holiday but fortunately I was granted last minute leave starting Wednesday afternoon. I've been concentrating on visiting my gran, looking after my mum and somewhat trying to rest although I've been panicking and not sleeping well so even though I've not been in work since Wednesday lunchtime I still feel shattered with everything. I will take a two week holiday at some point once we are on track with grandma, if she recovers, hopefully she will.

So back to the point of this post, health and fitness, I can't really say I've taken a break as nothing has changed that much but I haven't been logging my food so that it saves me a little bit of time and I made the decision to rest from exercise just from this week. I did think I would do it at the weekend but I was still juggling visiting hours with housework AND trying to rest a bit so I decided on rest rather than exercise. Now next week might be just as frantic but I will also be back of work as of Tuesday but I will be trying to get back on normal.

I have been trying to get my steps as close to 7,000 daily as I could - it's not so bad with visiting but it does make a big difference not going to walk as I clock up about 3,000 just getting there and back! Not quite there today but I'll be making sure I get up to 5,000 at least!

I've not been going overboard but as I say I haven't been logging food so I've been mainly sticking to three meals rather than my two light meals and plenty of snacks followed by a standard 600 calorie (on average) tea.

Short Term Goals
For now I'm just going to worry about my gran and my family.

Long Term Goals
Just to be fit, fabulous and wearing skin tight bat print trousers.

Anyway I hope everyone else is having a better week than I am!

Saturday 20 September 2014

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

Now I mentioned that I'd cancelled my Glossybox to move to another subscription box but I didn't point out what it was and also that really it wasn't for me although I'd be the one receiving it. I'd been interested in getting a cat subscription box for a while but as The Beast was so old and sick I was worried he wouldn't make it for his first box so I left it. Of course we adopted another cat quite soon after so I decided to go ahead and subscribe once he'd been out a few times and found his way home!

I decided to go with Cat Hampurr, once I set up a subscription I couldn't wait for it to arrive but as I subscribed two days after the cut off date we had to wait. I love spoiling him and discovering new products so this was a perfect combination of both.

Now I won't bother with the cut as I'm sure this won't spoil it for any cats. He was super excited with the box, waiting patiently for me to unwrap the tissue paper before fishing things out, so what did he get?

Natures: Menu Complete Wet food 3x100g (Average retail price: 65p each)

Applaws Whole Tuna Loin 2x20g (Average retail price: £1.49 each)

Lily's Kitchen Crunchy Nibbles (chicken) 2x40g (Average retail price: £3.99 for 300g)

Molly's Mice Spotty Red Catnip Mouse  (£3.99 each)

The Pet Business Tiger Teasers Lion Lure Mini (£6.95 each)

This first box was very successful. Samhain went from waiting patiently to rocking back and forth from paw to paw before reaching into the box and pulling out the mini tiger teaser, that was the first hit. We've had a few plays with this since, the small size makes it perfect to keep in our bedroom when he wants a little play just before bed.

So here is everything laid out, Samhain was very interested in everything!

He was very quickly distracted, he caught a whiff of the catnip mouse, that was it, he was gone. I opened it for him and he spent the next half an hour licking it to death, waving it around so that he could track it, claw at it but mainly licking it!

At one point he managed to lick it off the bed - he tried to catch it on the way down bless him, he had such a panicked look on his face (see photos below). I'll be picking up at least four more of these to keep him occupied. He loves leaping for it, stretching up for it just so he can lick it.

I wasn't sure he would go for the Applaws tuna loin, he's much more fussy with fresh fish (but loves fishy biscuits) than he is poultry and meat - he adores the Applaws chicken and mango but the fish stuff he just doesn't go for (apart from the Ocean Fish Pate - he loves that). We're trying to get him to have better quality fish more often and I have to admit that if I'd seen this in a shop I would have bought it for him to try anyway. I was pleasantly surprised to find that he was actually quite taken by the tuna loin having had it for a snack Friday night. If they sell these locally I'll end up picking some more for him.

An item I was pleased to see was the Lily's Kitchen chicken crunchy nibbles - we have the fish ones which he does love and we also feed him a lot of the Lily's Kitchen wet food. I'd wanted to try these nibbles for him but as we're snowed under with biscuits I knew I had to wait. So it's nice to know his opinion on them - he loves them, I fed him a few out of my hand and I ended up covered in hot excitable spit - he even fished a few more out of the packet!

Now I have yet to try him on the Natures Menu wet food but I'm going to give him one for his meal tonight. This is another brand I like the look of but have been waiting to work through the food we do have. We received three flavours to try, Beef & Chicken, Chicken with Salmon & Tuna and Chicken & Turkey - having a few different flavours will really help us judge whether this brand is for Samhain. I love the fact that they use good quality ingredients - this is something I strive for when it comes to feeding Samhain, I want to keep it simple, natural, good quality, nothing artificial as much as possible and, more importantly, what he enjoys. Natures: Menu fits with most of this ethos so now it's just up to Samhain on the final point.

At £15.90 per month (including postage) it's a good chunk of money but if, like me, you love to spoil your furry companions and also want to discover new products then this is perfect. For the quality of the goods included the box is really a bargain. 

Thursday 18 September 2014

bareMinerals 5-in-1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eyeshadow in Divine Wine Review

I love liquid eyeshadow, I love the look, I love the ease of use. I don't think there are many out there that could be called perfect, it's hard to find one that lasts but I was excited to try this from bareMinerals

There are 10 shades to choose from, all of which I'd happily make use of making it hard to pick which I should go for first, something natural and light or something that will stand out? As this was my first time trying this product I decided to go with a dark brown, Divine Wine. I always like dark brown shades as they make my blue eyes stand out, perfect for when I just want a basic but bright look.  Divine Wine is a nice smoky, grey brown so stylish for both day and night looks. It would look nice as a base below a light mauve shade as well as on its own. 

It's a small tube but you wouldn't want it any larger, a little goes a long way and a bigger tube would possibly mean you end up with half of it drying up. A tiny amount (the size of a pin head) covers the eyelid completely for a nice, light daytime look, double it up for a darker look.

I was amazed not only how easy it was to spread on the lid but also but how quick it went from wet to dry without looking patchy, this meant that it stayed put the whole day without smudging or fading. It felt light on my eyelids with no irritation. 

It's such a fabulous little product - very much close to perfection. As mentioned earlier there are so many shades to choose from I know I'll be picking up a few more, well, once I've decided which to go for next, I think the only way to do it will be to put the names of each shade in a hat and pick at random! 

Tuesday 16 September 2014

The Sims 4 - A Review

Now there are many times I've said something isn't my usual product and this is another one, now by this I mean it isn't my usual product to review, it is my type of product though. Having been gaming since I was 3, almost 30 years ago, I can talk about games forever. I've been a life long fan of The Sims, at 18 when the original game out, I felt slightly on the old side for this type of game then but my love of architecture hooked me in, I just loved recreating houses. I have kept all previous games but I can't find the original box right now - games used to come in boxes the size of houses so in theory it should be easier to spot BUT it's tucked away somewhere I can't see but I found the following;

Now for those of you that haven't a clue about The Sims I should mention the basic plot - you create a character, you decide who you want this person to be and control their every movement. You make them work in whichever field you decide - if you want them to work the don't have to, buy them a house or even build it yourself and of course decorate. Is your sim going to fall in love, get married, have children or be eternally single? Well that is of course up to you.

Now as a life long fan I have to admit to being disappointed in recent years, each new game does feel like you're starting again, paying money for the same thing. If you get all the expansion packs you will end up shelling out a £200-£300 in the lifetime of a game. In early versions it was very easy to install fan made content but I found that the last game, The Sims 3, was extra bug ridden whenever custom content was installed although not the items bought from the EA store - I'm very cynical so this coincidence didn't sit well with me. Despite my pretty decent computer The Sims 3 was slow, jerky and always left me uncertain when it would crash. So I've gone from a major fan to expecting the worst, but with a new game coming out I just couldn't resist pre-ordering it knowing this time if there were problems from the start I would have to sadly end my relationship there. I looked at the reviews before I had my copy and to be honest it didn't look promising, most said that old fans would be disappointed so I really didn't know what to expect.

So before I move on to my review of the new game, The Sims 4, I should mention my PC, here's what I run, Windows 8, Intel Core i7-4770, 16GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 645 - I've been meaning to get a new graphics card since picking up a new PC but I decided to just wait and see, I've not even thought about what to go for.

Well, I'm actually pleasantly surprised, sure it's paying for basically the same game but there are improvements, plus (at the moment) it runs a lot better than The Sims 3 does, it's also nice to see Maxis on the front of the box again.


  • Quicker to load, switches between screens very speedily
  • Smooth game play, it runs seamlessly, no jerking or pausing between speeding up and slowing down modes
  • When sims are asleep it really does speed through although not so much when at work
  • It's possible to search for items in the catalogue, it's quick and you don't have to be exact. This is amazing, so many times with the last game I just couldn't find items I'd previously used from the catalogue
  • Want your sim to be an author? Well there is a new way of doing it, books aren't automatically sold, instead you have the choice to either self-publish or sell to a publisher, sure a small change but it does make things much more exciting
  • You have to pay when you paint, okay that might not seem like a pro but it does feel slightly more realistic
  • You can gain skill just discussing topics with friends
  • There are items shown in the catalogue that you can only obtain by completing certain tasks - I like having extra goals in play
  • New ways to build, new items, the features when building houses are better than ever
  • Sims can now multi-task in some ways
  • Items on the wall can be in different positions, this was true for some items in The Sims 3 but it wasn't quite as easy to do as it is in 4. 
  • So far no crashing!


  • At the end of the day it is still just another version of the same game
  • Although it switches between screens a lot quicker there is a load screen between areas that you previously could just run to in the last game so going from the library to the gym will include a loading screen - but this only takes a few seconds
  • Played all the other games? Bought all the expansion packs? Well you'll have to do that all again because you're back to bare basics

The Sims 4 manages to be both the same old game and something new. I was worried this version would be too much like the console versions but it's not like that, it's fun, quick and easy to play and great to look at it has all the features it once had and new features that make building your dream home even easier - I also think the possibilities with house building are more realistic

Keeping track of your sim's needs and desires is slightly different, in fact the whole layout is different (see below) it is easy to get used to after a few plays. It's also nice to have a sim's phone on the menu bar rather than having to click on your sim to open it up.

Needs now show in a bar on the right which can be closed down, same with the other little buttons which link to aspirations, careers, skills, relationships inventory and simology with needs on the end
Rewards store is under Aspirations and is different to previous versions similar rewards
The catalogue is now searchable, it's also possible to buy pre-decorated rooms if you aren't in the mood to be creative

Now as mentioned before I've read reviews of the game saying old fans would be disappointed with The Sims 4 but I've been playing since The Sims first came out and in no way do I find this a disappointment, I'm more impressed with this than I was with 3. I know things can change, adding extra bits might slow game play down, buying more expansion packs might start to make me feel ripped off and I may still have some bugs and crashing to come but right now I'm happy with it and I'm once again excited to be playing the game - I'd completely recommend this not only to old fans but also to any newbies out there.

There are still lots of elements to the game I have yet to discover but I'll be trying to find out as soon as possible - next time I have a day free it will be dedicated to The Sims 4! 

Sunday 14 September 2014

Sunday Weigh-in: Still going strong-ish

This week has been pretty good, busy but good. This weekend was supposed to be our first restful weekend in two months, what with a wedding in Scotland, visiting James' mum, cat-sitting - all very enjoyable and fantastic but it is nice just to have a weekend at home. With James working every third week we haven't been able to do much. Nothing ever runs smoothly as my Gran has a fall yesterday morning and she's now in hospital, unfortunately she made quite a mess so her bedroom needs to be stripped but she herself is doing okay, nothing is broken and hopefully the rest in hospital will do her good. This may mean that my two weeks holiday will need to be cancelled, we're not going away but were planning to spend two weeks at home relaxing. If my parents cancel their holiday then I'll need to cancel mine, it can't be helped, gran comes first but nothing is certain as she is possibly in a better state for being in hospital than if they would be going right now anyway. I am just about ready to crack though, I'm at breaking point, I'm seriously burnt out so I desperately need the rest, I'll just have to wait and see.

Other than that everything else has run to plan this week. I worked out Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (although I forgot to log on Wednesday as I had to run off half way through but I promise I did work out), I managed nearly 60 minutes of my new workout from The Firm - 12 Minute Calorie Blast as it's new to me I did take it easy but it was still very hardcore but also very fun!

I will do my yogalates this afternoon after visiting gran in hospital. Hopefully I'll also meet my goal of 5,000 steps a day at the weekend. Speaking of steps, I've managed over 10,000 Monday to Friday including slightly more on my rest days. I had hoped to make closer to 12,000 a few more days but I did okay.

Food wise I've come under each day, not too under which is good. No fantastic healthy home cooked recipes this week, yet again a bit too busy and completely burnt out. A bit obsessed with baked potatoes at the moment which isn't too bad.

I've been feeling more toned and my clothing has been fitting a lot better. I know it's slow progress but I really feel it's worth it.

Short Term Goals
I just want to get through this week, I'd like to manage the same amount of steps before really aiming for 12,000 a day. I want to keep up with the exercise. Now depending on what happens I might be having two weeks off, this will mean not logging my food for a couple of weeks, I won't be going overboard I usually take the approach of healthy breakfast, moderately healthy lunch and whatever for tea when on holiday - even the staycations. In the past I've felt that I've spent too much time when on holiday focussing on keeping everything up that the holiday has flown by so I want to keep it simple by not logging my food but keeping up with exercise. My steps will also be on the down side but this will just be for the two weeks, I expect to get back on track straight after. This all depend on whether my parents do go away though.

Long Term Goals
Still thinking about Halloween and Christmas!

Saturday 13 September 2014

The Wet Brush Paddle Review

The Wet Brush Paddle £13.99 (from Cult Beauty)

A different kind of product for me with this review, I know it can be kind of hard to review a brush as everybody has different hair types, needs, but I was so amazed I just had to write something. Now I'd heard a lot about it but in my head a brush is just a brush, it doesn't plug in, have a thousand attachments, it's your standard looking hairbrush BUT with all the hype about it and a serious need for a new hairbrush (mine keep going missing, I really don't know what is happening to them!) I decided to take the plunge with The Wet Brush. 

Having ordered online I really didn't know what to expect. Before I opened it up I took advantage of the peep hole to take a quick feel at the bristles, they look normal but they feel different, they are softer, less rigid and thinner (this will be the 'IntelliFlex' technology they mention), after feeling them I was excited, I knew this would make a big difference to my hair. 

I always brush my hair immediately after I shower, on occasion I brush my hair in the shower when conditioning, this brush will work wonders in both situations. The flexible bristles meant that unlike standard brushes my wet hair didn't stretch whilst being brushed but it still worked its way through any knots. 

Front and back
Another feature of the brush are the 'AquaVents' which allow any water to drain, this will be perfect for when I use it in the shower. The handle is also comfortable to hold and feels non-slip, another feature that will come in handy when in the shower. 

Afterwards my hair feels super soft and immediately it's feeling less damaged that usual. On top of that my scalp feels invigorated and only now do I realise how aggravated my scalp had been with other brushes. It's strange as I never realised how much of a difference this brush would make but it's truly a marvellous brush.

Thursday 11 September 2014

What's in my Birchbox? September 2014

Birchbox time again which is always exciting, I've been so busy this month it really has flown by which is why I missed out on the chance of choosing one of my items! One day I had the email then when I got around to choosing I was a few days too late. Luckily I ended up going with what I was going to choose, not only am I happy with that but, as usual, I'm over the moon with all of my goodies in this months box, so what did I get? It's all after the cut!

Tuesday 9 September 2014

Barry M Gelly Hi Shine Effect Nail Paint Autumnal Picks

Barry M Gelly Hi Shine in Paprika, Chilli and Cardamom £3.99 each

With a chill in the air (I'm hoping it will get even colder) and the leaves falling to the ground, Autumn is well and truly in full swing - even with our recent heatwave I'm fully in the Autumn mood. Last week I picked up some nail colours apt for this time of the year, now I could have chosen a few from different brands but there were so many perfect choices from Barry M I decided it was best to stick with them (especially with the 3 for 2 offer currently on at Superdrug).

Three Hi-Shine shades perfect for this time of year, adaptable for this time of the year, three different shades that all work perfectly together just as they do individually - now the names are that of different spices and the colours perfectly match but I just have to give a description, Paprika is a perfectly hot burnt orange (also the colour of my dream 1970's kitchen), Chilli a hot, dark red and cardamom a somewhat perfect pale green with a tiny hint of grey. 

I don't think I've ever used a nail paint from Barry M that has been disappointing to apply, they always apply smooth and evenly, drying remarkably quickly and with the hi-shine they leave a glossy finish. I find they last just as long as nail varnishes at twice the price.

Barry M once again proving that just because they're a cheaper brand doesn't mean the quality is compromised. 

Monday 8 September 2014

Sunday Weigh-in: Another Busy Week!

Another week over, another super busy week at work which meant longer days. Another disruptive week for exercise too unfortunately! At least I did 3 days worth of proper exercise but two hiccups starting Tuesday, Samhain was out and he hadn't come back, the lady cat next door was holding him hostage under a bush! This meant a lot of running around to rescue him - bringing it to 7.30 without having anything cooked so I concentrated on that seen as though my steps were on the up. Thursday ended up being a no exercise night too as I had a sore shoulder and didn't want to make it any worse.

Step wise it was a bit hit and miss, Monday and Wednesday I was just under 10,000, Tuesday I was way over 12,500, Friday I was close to 12,500 and I also managed to do over 5,000 on both weekend days - hooray! Add to that two good exercise sessions it made for a pretty decent weekend. 

I'm starting to do more and more bits around the house, I'm having more energy with less tablets so I have to get back to normal and do my share of the housework. This at least means more cooking from scratch rather than quick cheat meals. Nothing overly complicated just yet but a good decent vegetarian spaghetti bolognese on the Monday and a vegetarian cottage Pie on the Tuesday, both coming in at under 600 calories. Now the weather is starting to cool (not enough for my liking) I've gone back to my love of chocolate ready brek which is actually quite good, not overly calorific or fatty but lovely, chocolatey and very filling! Lentil soup is also making a comeback in our diet, tinned at the moment but I will be starting whipping up my own creations sometime soon. 

Another busy week, mainly as I've got a two week holiday coming up in two weeks time so that will bound to go quickly so I need to get on top of stuff.

Short Term Goals
I want to really get a good routine going before my holiday - not that we're going anywhere but as we're having time off I want to spend it watching films, reading, listening to music and doing jigsaws so my steps will drop off but I will try and get some exercise in. I just want to make up for it beforehand.

Long Term Goals
Halloween, Christmas, I want to enjoy the festive season slightly slimmer and in gloriously fancy clothing!

Saturday 6 September 2014

Lipstick Queen Medieval Review

Lipstick Queen Medieval £22.00 for 4g

A new season is very much on the horizon which for me means I need to pick up a few new lipstick shades, okay want not need. I wasted no time in deciding what to go for from Space.NK, Lipstick Queen is one of my favourite lipstick brands (It's in my top three, possibly pushing at the number one spot) so I knew I wanted something from them and I didn't have to look far, Medieval would be the one for me.

Now although Autumn is a great time to pull out the darker shades they can be a lot of hard work to maintain. Not only that but the colder weather can mean drier lips so this is a great alternative. A colourful but sheer berry shade, completely bang on trend for Autumn 2014, this lipstick contains vitamin E meaning you not only get gorgeous tinted lips but it also moisturises. 

It's a gorgeous conditioning lipstick that feels light on the lips but leaves a beautiful tint, yet another Lipstick Queen shade that will be making its way into my handbag this year! 

Thursday 4 September 2014

Urban Decay Cannonball Waterproof Mascara Review

At one point in my life I owned more mascaras than I did lipsticks, kind of silly as I have more need for multiple shades of lipsticks than I do mascaras but for some reason each time a new one came out I had to have it. I'm a lot more sensible these days after years of having to throw half used mascaras away that had dried up I take my time and pick wisely. It kind of came as a shock to realise I didn't have a single waterproof mascara on the go, I have a lot of dramatic lash type mascaras but not many basics.

Now I didn't bother to shop around, I'd already spied Cannonball a few months back and had it in the back of my head that one day I should pick it up. Being miles and miles from proper shops I rely on online shopping and as offer free shipping for orders over £10 I I decided to take the plunge (it also prevented me from overspending just to get free shipping as I sometimes do).

I've been wearing it for a few weeks now (not continuously - I am taking it off every night), it's proven to be waterproof 99% of the time (Incredibly heavy downpour I was caught in, nothing withstood that), I've found it to smudge slightly on occasion but the majority of time it's lasted the working day which is ideal for me.

One eye with just the mascara the other natural

The wand is pretty standard although slightly thinner. It's easy to apply, the wand separates my lashes, I've yet to have any clumping and it even lengthens, the definition is fabulous.  It's a really gorgeous and perfect for casual lashes. Now it possibly won't work with heavy eye make-up but it's perfect for everything else.

Now I should have a couple of months left of near continuous use but when it runs out I'll be picking this up again as it's now my must have basic mascara. 

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet Perfume Review

Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet Eau de Toilette from £53.50 for 50ml

I have my favourite perfumes, my signature scent(s) BUT I'm always looking for new scents to love, especially as it took me so long just to find the one. I was super excited to try the new Miss Dior scent as Miss Dior Cherie (now simply Miss Dior) was one of the first perfume I fell head over heals for.

This sample was courtesy of What's in My Handbag - always exciting to receive a goody from them! The packaging always makes me feel special and the little envelope with it in even more so. My first thoughts on reading the description was isn't it a bit too late? The top line is Embrace Summer which, for me, is well and truly over but then again I buy and wear winter perfumes in summer so I'm not that bothered about doing things the right way round.

I expected a light floral fragrance but this instead it is strong, rich, still floral with a hint of musk, certainly a scent suitable for the cooler weather as much as the summer months. Although it's strong I wouldn't say it's in anyway overpowering just the perfect day to night scent.

A perfect addition to the Miss Dior range which will be making its way to the top of my Christmas wish list.