Wednesday 29 April 2015

Midweek Health & Fitness Update 20/04/2015 to 26/04/2015

Well it was a fantastic week, lot's of progress and positivity. I never did get around to sharing the other upheaval that has changed and will changed loads of things so instead I'll mention it now. I split up with my partner of a number of years over a month ago. We're still friends and as we haven't really been romantic for a couple of years things aren't really changing, except they are, and that takes time to adjust to. He is in the process of looking for a new place and once he does move that will change how I eat quite a bit, but for the better. Now that's off my chest I'll get on with what last week was really like.

Food wise it was all mainly balanced, still some heavier meals in the evening when James and I still have a meal together but nothing overly terrible. So no real change here.

Steps wise I'm on the up, slightly more than the previous week which is still going in the right direction. There was one well below 10,000 in the week but three that were plenty over, I was in at the weekend but I managed to get over 5,000 on the Saturday but just under 3,000 on the Sunday.

Exercise wise I feel nearly fully back in the swing of it. I did a 20 minutes HIIT style dvd a couple of nights along with some weight training. I also did 50 minutes of yoga on Sunday. The next step is being able to do more. I did something else another night but I can't remember what as I haven't logged it anywhere!

Through the break-up there will be some positive changes to my diet and lifestyle, hopefully that will kick in pretty quickly so that I can get one with my life!

Monday 27 April 2015

Barry M Speedy Nail Paint in Full Throttle (SDNP1) Review

Whilst choosing my next nail varnish for the coming week I decided to be optimistic about the weather which is currently chucking it down after a week of glorious sunshine. I'm guessing that once it is time to return to work the sun will once again poke its head from behind a cloud and give us some beautiful weather that I won't even be able to appreciate whilst shut away. My nails will provide a sunny glow for me instead. 

This is my second nail varnish from the Barry M Speedy Nail Paint collection, I'd say it is slightly brighter than the others as, although it looks rather like a pastel peach shade in the bottle, it happens to be super lucid once applied making it a perfect holiday shade. 

The main selling point of this Barry M collection is the time it takes to dry, I haven't heard anyone complain that their nail varnish dries too quickly so I'm sure most people would welcome this. I usually find myself not having the time to do my nails but this range does what it sets out to. After an application of two coats my nails were touch dry within five minutes and completely usable within fifteen, I now have no excuse for not doing my nails. 

At £3.99 Barry M are arguably the best value for money when it comes to nail varnish, there is no skimping on quality as I always find their nail varnish lasts as long as brands that cost twice the money. There just isn't a downside to this brand at all.

I'm now just simply dreaming of having every single shade that they have to offer. 

Saturday 25 April 2015

Lady Heyes Shopping Trip April 2015

Last weekend I had a fantastic trip out with an old friend from school. I'd been to Lady Heyes before and knew it would be something she would enjoy. I was also eager to go again, it's such a great place for picking up vintage items at a reasonable cost, plus there is a fantastic second-hand book shop as well as a candle shop. You've pretty much got everything you need there, including a cafe with fantastic frangipane.

There are so many photos so I'll cut a few in, but here are photos of my shopping spree last weekend!

I love West German pottery from 60s/70s so I paid a little more for this item as I really wanted it, at £12.00 it still wasn't exactly breaking the bank, plus this Scheurich vase really fits in with my orange/brown (eventual) kitchen colour scheme. 

It was a toss up between a complete coffee set for £8.00 or this for £4.50, I loved the design of this and was worried about the quality of the other set. I don't regret my decision as this Arklow Stardust coffee pot is just a beautiful design. 

This was a simple decision, at £3.00 it was super cheap and I like owls. The one thing that I'm not great at is saving money! 

The rest is after the cut....

Friday 24 April 2015

Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Pink Raindrops Review

Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Pink Raindrops £14.50

After a pathetic attempt at being good I folded after spying this nail varnish on Illamasqua's Instagram page. I'm certainly not short of nail varnish but I'm currently short of inspiration, be it being lack of time or the indecisive weather, I just haven't had a clue what to do with my nails. 

Pink Raindrops has been the solution, it's a gorgeous, flirty, iridescent, opaque, grey-mauve pink with a hint of glitter - it packs a lot into one colour. It's really pretty but light, it makes a perfect alternative to a nude shade as it works well with other colours. 

I applied two coats but one would actually be strong enough. The nail varnish was touch dry in fifteen minutes. It lasted four days without a top coat before it chipped which for me is pretty good going. It takes a bit of rubbing to remove, it isn't terrible but the glitter does mean it takes longer tan usual, there was a bit of glitter remaining but after washing my hands this was gone.

This is a gorgeous versatile shade that will be winging its way onto my toenail any day soon. 

Wednesday 22 April 2015

Midweek Health & Fitness Update 13/04/2015 to 19/04/2015

It's been such a busy week with this and that, I haven't managed to blog much but I have managed to do a little more. I'll start with the steps as I've done so well.

I managed to hit over 10,000 steps on three occasions, two by quite a lot more. I'd like to get my five day working week up to 10,000 steps, I know on average I met them but I want a bit more consistency. The weekend started well, I was out with a friend on Saturday doing shopping (I'll be posting about this at the weekend) so I managed to do more than I usually would but on Sunday I just didn't have the energy, even after 12 hours sleep!

I'm hoping to keep my steps up this week as much as possible. The only thing that can put a dampener on this is my dad. Only because he is gradually having more home visits so this could distract me. I'm looking to getting a recumbent bike. This would be something dad could use, if we can encourage him enough, but I'll also be able to use it while I'm sat with him. My steps might not be up but at least I could do some form of exercise that doesn't include using the dvd player (as dad will be watching what he wants when he wants) and that I can do for a long period of time.

I'm also due a week off so my steps will go down then but I will aim just to keep active but also have a proper rest at home/holiday, as much as I can.

Food wise has been okay, still loving the yoghurt, granola, blueberries breakfast during the week. I still haven't got on top of my evening meals in the week but that will gradually become easier, for reasons I may have to mention in another post at some point.

I almost forgot, I did also do more activity. I love The Firm exercise DVDs but haven't done them for a while but I stuck one on this week. I was a bit out of practice but I really enjoyed it and can't wait to get back into a routine with them, they're hard work but so much fun!

I just hope this week is a little better than this week, or at least not worse! I hope everyone else is reaching their goals!

Sunday 19 April 2015

What's in Samhain's Cat Hampurr? April 2015 - 1 Year Anniversary

Samhain is having such a crumby month, three visits to the vets in a two week period due to abscesses, he's been shaved, lanced, drained and flushed! He is recovering okay but as we're having to keep him in it's been frustrating for him. Samhain does have some behavioural issues, mainly how he interacts with other cats. This was another issue that left him on the shelf waiting to be adopted, with me he has someone that is patient, caring and understanding so he's doing pretty well. I just wish he wouldn't fight and end up with abscesses! The fighting is becoming less and less unfortunately he has just been a little unlucky with picking up an infection in one of his puncture wounds.

I was so happy that a new Cat Hampurr had arrived for him this weekend as it meant my Sunday in with him would be a lot easier. It also made him happier, once again he loved the contents, it was full of fun and yummy goodies so he had a little play of his new toy, lick of his catnip pillow followed by a snack which left him very satisfied and very sleepy - he spent the afternoon fast asleep rather than trying to go out.

The April box marks 1 year of Cat Hampurr's, to celebrate their anniversary they've put together a box full of their most popular items. It's a great mix, a couple of items are new to me as I've only been subscribing since last September but there have also been a couple of favourites that I can't get around where I am so I'm excited to be able to treat Samhain again.

So what was included?

Contemplating the food
Before deciding to start with the catnip toy, he is trying to open the packet

Fish 4 Cats Complete Dry Food - Rich in Mackerel 400g
A very generous sized bag of biscuits. Samhain has a wet/dry mix diet, two tins of cat food a day along with some biscuits, I like to give him good quality food which may cost a bit more but it's worth it. I'm trying to incorporate more fish in his diet and these biscuits will make it easier as they're 65% fish content. I've put them out for him today and he loves them - I was a bit wary as he is fussier with fish but he doesn't seem to have noticed!

Natures Menu Treats in Chicken & Liver 60g
Samhain has had these before and loved them but unfortunately I can't buy them locally. These are like deli chew sticks except broken into smaller pieces. He really does love these as a treat, hopefully I'll find somewhere nearby that stocks them, even if I have to go to the next town over. Not only does he love them but they're free from artificial colours, preservatives and flavours, they're 95% real meat so even though they're a treat, I hardly feel that they're a guilty pleasure so can easily be worked into his diet.

Licking it like a lollipop before eating the whole thing! 

Applaws Whole Tuna Loin 2 x 30g
Another treat he has had before, loved, but I can't pick up locally - I think I'll have to put faith in having a trip out to the next town over as they have a big pet shop there. Just like the Natures Menu cat treats they aren't something to feel guilty about feeding him, they can simply be part of his normal diet. Now Samhain is a lucky cat as he is fed Applaws wet food daily. I'm really trying to encourage his fish eating and the one thing I can guarantee is he will eat this and it contributes to his daily diet in a good way. I always find on a week where his diet has been fish heavy his coat is shinier and he has a bounce in his step. Samhain loves this treat so much, he ate the whole thing in one sitting - I had considered saving some for later but every time I put it away Samhain would tap my hand signalling he wanted more. The one downside is I opened it on my bed, now I laid a makeshift picnic blanket but on opening I managed to squirt some of the broth on my bed, not such a nice smell for me to have to deal with but I'll put up with it for Samhain to be happy!

Yes please, give me the toy! 
Eco Kitty Limited Edition Cat Hampurr Hand-crafter Organic Catnip Pillow
Samhain doesn't understand what limited edition means but I'm pretty happy for him to have something this special. He is a true catnip connoisseur and has given this his seal of approval. It was the first thing he wanted to look at and has now, licked it, rubbed it and slept on it. This led to a truly blissed out afternoon for him, snoring away on my bed it also meant he didn't miss going out today giving him a chance to heal without stressing.

Flying Frenzy Limited Edition Cat Hampurr Special Flying Frenzy Short Wand
This is another limited edition especially made for Cat Hampurr, it's a smaller trial version - similar to the sort wand. It works quite well as I can catapult the feathers which makes Samhain go wild pulling them down. Although Samhain's age is estimated to be around 10 he just loves to play and I always want new toys to add to the mix, he is completely spoilt rotten. The toy itself is incredibly sturdy, the hook and the cord used are really made to be played with, this means we should get quite a few months of rough and tumble with it before any wear starts to show, if at all!

Full on bliss pose! 

So Happy Anniversary Cat Hampurr - Hopefully this time next year I'll be doing a 2nd Anniversary post - I just hope Samhain keeps out of trouble for that long as I'm sure Cat Hampurr will be thriving! 

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Midweek Health & Fitness Update 06/04/2015 to 12/04/2015

This week felt like it went better, I was slightly more positive and made the effort to do more exercise. My daytime diet is getting better, I'm enjoying the change with my breakfast, granola, yoghurt and fruit in the week instead of toast. I find it more filling and healthier, I'm quite smug about it really, lunch is still durum wheat, carrots and cucumber I usually have a little something else with it a long as some fruit but it varies day to day. My tea also varies, I've been eating a little later again but want to get on top of early teatime again - and possibly moving to lighter meals rather than cooking something from scratch.

Now my steps appear to be down from last week but they are actually slightly up - but I cocked up which I'll explain in a second. I'm really hoping to get my steps up by quite a bit this week rather than the slow crawl upwards I've been doing recently - a normal working week will help!

I made the effort to do a bit more exercise favouring getting back on the cross trainer again, I planned to do twenty minutes but in the first few minutes I realised how out of practice I was with using the cross trainer so thought I'd give in at ten minutes, however, by the time I was getting close to ten minutes I was starting to feel a bit more energetic so soldiered on for twenty minutes - at about the fifteen minute mark I realised I hadn't moved my fitbit to my sports bra! Very annoying - this is why my steps appear to be slightly down this week!

I'm still feeling positive, adjusting to the small changes is easy. I'm just hoping to get more steps and more exercise in this week - hopefully the weather will be dry for the weekend!

Tuesday 14 April 2015

Butter London Nail Varnish in Clockwork Heart Review

Butter London Clockwork Heart (part of  Steampunk Ball Gilded Gears Set £24.00 for 4x6ml)

I love my dark red nail varnish shades meaning that I find it incredibly easy to pick up another that is just a slightly different shade to another I already own. I picked this up as part of the Butter London Steampunk Ball Gilded Gears Collection a few months back but have only recently used it.

Clockwork Heart is a very dark red with a shade towards brown. It is really a gorgeous, dark but practical shade. Now I've used Butter London nail varnish before, including the miniatures but I did struggle to get an even coat here. Part of me feels that for a dark shade you really need a better, bigger brush for an even coat. I tend to avoid using a heavily saturated brush to avoid it dripping either side but I think this would have been of benefit here. I found that I needed three coats for a closer to even coat which I still found to be a little patchy. It did dry relatively quickly, 20 minutes before I could use my hands again, for three coats once applied.

The colour itself is gorgeous but to benefit a top coat is need to add to the longevity as wearing three coats made it easier to chip, I found that after 3 days it was time to remove it.

Now although I've found this a little disappointing, apart from the shade, I'm still looking forward to using the rest of the set, and I'm certainly not put off the brand as darker colours can always be a little tricky unless you have someone else to apply it for you!

Saturday 11 April 2015

Barry M Lip Liner in Wine Review

I love my Friday after work Superdrug shop. It's my treat for the end of the working week I usually go in and pick myself a little treat. On a whim I decided I needed a lip liner, I haven't used lip liner for years but have been questioning the merits of doing so when it comes to the darker shades. Barry M is one of my favourite budget brands and so I didn't spend much time deliberating over which brand just which shade! 

I chose Wine (7) as this shade best fitted my collection of dark lipsticks and glosses. The colour itself is a very dark purple/red, the name of it really does fit as it is like a red wine stain. 

My memories of using lip liner have always made me a bit wary, I remember lip liners being dry, really dragging making it hard to create an even shape but that could partly be down to my own skill level! I didn't need to worry as this pencil applied like velvet, meaning I was able to create a decent shape.

Used as a lipstick
I found the liner long lasting and perfect for keeping my dark lipstick in check. Not only that but I also experimented with using it as a lipstick itself, it didn't take as long as you would expect to get it all over the lips and I was able to give myself a slight enhancement making my lips a bit larger than they usually would be. I used a tiny amount of balm underneath this which helped to make it smoother, it really created a dark dramatic, long lasting shade.

For £2.99 this Barry M liner is hard to beat not only is the quality fabulous but the dark gothic shade is perfect for me. I see myself stocking up on other shades in the near future. 

Wednesday 8 April 2015

Midweek Health & Fitness Update 30/3/15 - 04/4/15

It has been a more positive week for me, I've had more get up and got but fortunately not more time. I didn't even manage to recharge my batteries but it did force me to consider having a holiday soon, just one at home but time off to truly do nothing would be great. I always panic about wasting time when I'm off so I try to fit it all in but if I could at least have a couple of days of sleeping for 10 hours, well like would just be a whole lot better.

The long weekend was still great, I managed to get my steps up on the whole but I did have an extra day at home which meant less steps. I did try hard to move about a little more though and on the Sunday I went out for a walk as there was a record fair on in town so that got my steps up a little. This week I'm aiming for even more, even though I will have three days at home yet again!

I haven't made any further food changes but eating earlier is working well. Next week I'm shaking up my diet a little further, instead of having yoghurt, granola and fruit solely at the weekend I've picked up a little two layer pot from Waitrose so I can take some yoghurt and granola to work for breakfast each day. I'll stick to salad at work although I need to shake it up a bit as it can be rather dull to have the same thing each day. I should mention that I didn't go bonkers with chocolate at the weekend!

I haven't got my exercise routine fully back on track, I really need to get into the swing of it all again, the will is nearly there but not the energy, I did lift weights this last week,I also moved the weights I used when I do steps up, I just need to do a little bit more.

Tuesday 7 April 2015

Barry M Showgirl Extra Volume Black Mascara Review

I've been expanding my Barry M collection having previously mainly stuck with their nail varnishes, which I love, and the odd dazzle dust eye shadow. Over recent years their range has expanded greatly and at their prices it's hard not to have a flutter.

I'll easily spend £20 on a mascara but if I can save money I will, this comes in at a very reasonable £4.99 for 7ml. The packaging is rather grandiose with its metallic pink tube, show-stopping font and lid of stars it makes a rather sweet gift for a loved one or girlfriend.

Now price is spot on, the packaging looks great but moving on from the superficial aspects, how well does it work?

The wand is quite standard but I found it coated my lashes evenly and lifted them without leaving clumps or uneven coverage. I found as well as lifting it curled my lashes neatly and although the wand was quite dry I liked the effect, it may not have been over-the-top, false lash effect I was left with grand daytime lashes without much effort. As the wand is fairly dry I was able to easily coat my lower lashes too.

I found it to be durable, I was able to wear for 8 hours without a single smudge or dried lash. I sometimes find that I have wear showing leaving a slight smudge under my lower lashes but I was able to make it throughout the day without this happening.

All in all this is a perfect budget mascara not only giving lush lashes but durable ones to boot. 

Sunday 5 April 2015

Favourite Films of the Month - March 2015 (Part 2)

Well this month has been split into two parts starting with last weeks TV plays, it needed a whole post. If you missed it see here. Taken from my Letterboxd diary, these are my favourite films watched this last month, as I've mentioned previously, these films won't have been released this month all though they could be a new release of an old film.

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927, USA) Director: F.W. Murnau

The plot of this could easily come from a modern film, I'd describe it as a dark, romantic comedy. A married farmer falls for a woman from the exciting, modern city, will he be convinced to do away with wife and move to the "modern" world? Considered one of the greatest films of all times, the first of German F.W. Murnau's U.S. films, what really could be seen as a fairly simplistic plot is uplifted by the astounding, fantastic, exciting city sets which, for a film that is close to 90 years old, seem so futuristic and promising. This film is the first in Eureka's Masters of Cinema collection.

Don't Go in the Woods...Alone (1981, USA) Director: James Bryan

I understand I'm going to appear to be an 88 Films fangirl as this is the second month running I've gushed about one of their releases. I think it's completely deserved and as long as they are putting out quality films I will continue with being a fangirl. Now of course they're releasing the films not making them, but their remastering is worth a prize in itself. All of their blu-ray slashers collection releases, including this, have been remastered perfectly with crisp picture to rival a modern release. Don't Go in the Woods...Alone is a video nasty which has been hard to get in the U.K. until recent years. I've been dying to watch this film and I'm so happy with this gorgeous release. The plot is typical camping catastrophe but with decent actors, well thought out plot and interesting twists this film is very entertaining although tame by standards these days - not that I'm a fan of modern horror. This release is number 3 in 88 Films Slasher Classics Collection

Handgun AKA Deep in the Heart (1984, UK) Director: Tony Garnett

I wasn't expecting much with this film, now I thought it would be decent but spectacular? no. To take a basic view of this it is simply a revenge film. A young girl is a victim of sexual violence after having recently moved to Dallas, Texas, what ensues is her thought out, slow paced, act of vengeance which also gives us an interesting look at gun culture in the USA. Karen Young is spectacular in her role as the protagonist although all main characters are convincing. A smart, thoughtful drama really worth seeking out. This is the Network release of this film on dvd.

Daisies (1966, Czechoslovakia) Director: Vera Chytilov√°

I can only simply describe how this film makes me feel, both happy and wishing I was young again, if only I'd have viewed this as a teenager. It is a completely absurd film following two girls in what could loosely be described as a coming-of-age tale. It's so wonderfully bizarre and vibrant, a visual masterpiece but to truly describe it is impossible, it just has to be seen. I watched the Second Run dvd release of this film. 

The Girl on a Motorcycle (1968, UK/France) Director: Jack Cardiff

I chose to mention this film next as it very much made me feel the same way as Daisies did, happy and wishing for my youth again. An almost tranquil film up until the end, the plot follows Marianne Faithful's character, Rebecca, a married woman, as she travels across countries between her husband in France and her lover in Germany. Now this isn't a masterpiece but it's an enchanting road movie and a slice of 60s Euro youth culture, weaving between Rebecca's thoughts and memories. This is a US region 1 release of the film from Kino Lorber.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964, France/West Germany) Director: Jacques Demy

My final choice on what has been a super strong month is this, a true musical, all dialogue is sung. With a gorgeous rich and colourful setting this is such a beautiful romantic tale following Catherine Deneuve's character, a young girl, separated from her lover by war, and facing a difficult decision. A real weepy but for the right reasons. The only thing that mystifies me is how it has taken me this long to watch this film. My copy is the StudioCanal release on blu-ray.

This has been a really strong month and, to keep it short, I've chosen the six strongest although I could have easily doubled up my list. I just hope April brings as many captivating discoveries in the world of tilm. 

Saturday 4 April 2015

Simple, Pretty, Easter Nails 2015

I love my pastel shades, any excuse to wear them on my nails and I will. Easter gives me even more excuse to wear as many colours at once as possible. As my nail skills are pretty weak I've kept it simple, here is what I went with.

I used five different shades, four different brands. Starting on the little finger with a pastel blue from Barry M's Speedy Quick Dry Collection called Eat My Dust, next a pastel pink from Nails inc. NailKale collection called Lexington Street, the middle finger I went with an effect nail varnish I've had for a couple of years, Illamasqua's Mottle (review here), it has a speckled egg effect which is perfect for Easter - it comes out of my collection every year for use at Easter. On my index finger I have a lovely lilac another from the Nails inc. NailKale collection this time Duke Street (review here) and finally on my thumb is a Ciat√© mini called Ivory Queen which is a glistening peach.

A very simple look but also very pretty and perfect for Easter. 

Friday 3 April 2015

Wardrobe Updates - April 2015

Well in a very optimistic fashion I have updated my wardrobe with items I could only wear in warmer weather. Yes, it has been snowing, hailing, raining, incredibly windy and the temperature has dropped, but it will pick up soon, it really will!

In my defence there are a few items that were low stock so I had to buy them now or I'd lose out, I also think I've been very reasonable only picking a few pieces. The sad news is I only managed to pick up one item from my 70s lust list, I stalled over the platforms (can I really walk in them?) the space dye top went out of stock and the skirts I wanted to wait until I was back up and running (and my hips are under more control therefore making the skirts not as short). So what did I get? In short, oodles of goodies but photos are more descriptive.

Topshop Daisy High Neck Shell Top £32.00
Topshop Ribbed High Neck Top £12.00 - the link leads to a white version as
I actually got the last of this colour in any size! 

 The rest of the goods are after the cut...