Wednesday, 19 March 2014

My 'Me Time'

The lovely Vicky over at Pretty Witty Things recently blogged about her love of reading, and how this is her escape and 'me time' as a Mum. At the end of the post she asked - what is your me time - so I thought I'd take up the challenge and answer that.

After a good few years of working from home I have come to realise that unless you work from home, you just don't realise what it's like. I love working from a home desk, but can and do get surrounded by it sometimes, so having some time to switch off is important. Especially since I suffer from anxiety as well.

I guess 'Me Time' isn't any one particular thing, it just depends on what I feel like and what works, but I love the Spring and Summer sun, because I can sit outside a cafe or sit in the garden, and the weather on my back will help me switch off and indulge in my passion for reading. I don't know what it is about those times, perhaps just the weather helping me unwind helps me concentrate on my books.
Love to find wildlife on a trip out

Typical British weather doesn't always help this though, so I also enjoy getting out on my bike and going for a ride to blow the cobwebs away. Unfortunately most of the good places to ride are the other side of town, but I've managed a few trips, and some refreshing rides from a to b. I'm a bit out of practice with swimming, but I pushed myself to take it up again the year before last, and have loved the odd visit I've been able to make - that really has been 'me time', but our pool building is a bit cold and drafty in winter, so I save that for the summer months as well.

Crafting I can do all year round though, and it's such great therapy. I could write about it for ages, but it's just the pure joy of covering my bedroom floor with my crafty stash, staring at it with a blank face for a while, then trying to create something, normally ending up with binned bits of paper and fingers covered in glue.

One of my makes

I'm a bit opposite to Vicky though, I'm not a Mum but an Auntie, so in a way it is 'Me Time' when I get to turn off and entertain my little cheeky monkey of a nephew or take my favourite furry dog friend Wilson for a walk.

Have you got one thing you do for 'Me Time' or is there several, if you have any stories to tell, I'd love to hear from you. Please post your comments and links below, and let's all share the joys of indulging in our favourite things.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Me - The Reluctant 30 Something

Me and Wilson 3 years ago
Writing an age related post could quite possibly bring even more cries of "age is just a number", but I am taking the chance and declaring myself a pretty reluctant 30 something. Some things I share with my parents are probably harder to put my fingers on, but I know one thing I do share with my Mum is we both hated turning 30. I wasn't sure exactly why at the time, but it didn't feel good, and made me feel old, well old in my sense of the word.

I have the odd (ugh) grey hair to cover up, my teeth which were once seen to in seconds by a pleased dentist now need a bit more attention of the stressful variety, and yep people keep telling me age is just a number. Maybe it's also the expectation that comes with being 30 - people don't exactly judge, but always seem surprised to meet a 30 something who isn't settled, married, has started a family, well actually not necessarily all of those, but they seem to be looking for one or the other or moving up the career ladder - something that marks you out as having moved on from your student years.

Then there's the comments such as "how can you stand living at home at your ages", and "shouldn't you have moved out by now", and the best one has to be "you better hurry up if you want a child" suggesting my vital baby making organs might dry up anytime soon. If you're in my shoes as well, then you'll know it all gets a bit boring, and those comments made in jest just unfunny.

Well my life is what it is, it may not be perfect, or quite the way I want it to be at the moment, and maybe that is partly why I am a reluctant 30 something, but if age really is just a number, perhaps that number should be without stigma or expectation, and reminders of how I am half way to old age.

Luckily I have one trick up my sleeve in that department - I don't LOOK my age, a pleasing thought every time I am reminded of the date on my birth certificate!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Sheer Cover Mineral Makeup Tox Challenge

If there is such a thing as a stereotypical beauty blogger, than I am most definitely not it! I have been out of the house (shock horror) without makeup quite a few times, I have little idea what the latest trends are, and my attempts at applying makeup can be pretty clumsy - picture way too many failed attempts at painting my nails, and ending up with more mineral foundation on my jeans than my face the first time I tried it.

I do love blogging beauty though, trying out products I otherwise may not have tried, and discovering what best suits me. I like a challenge as well, and I've read my makeup choices are on-trend for my age group so I figure that earns me brownie points!

Sheer Cover want to convert more people to the mineral makeup cause through setting this mineral make-up challenge. I was sent a Sheer Cover Studio Kit in medium, and my challenge was to replace my normal makeup with the kit for a whole week, then blog about the results.  I could use a few items that were not in the kit from my own stash but that was it.

First impressions

My Sheer Cover Goodies

They were good - I wasn't sure what I was being sent to try, so when the box of full size goodies arrived I was surprised, and a little bit excited to try them all out. My Deluxe Studio VIP kit had a Conceal and Brighten Trio, Sun Kissed Bronzing Minerals, Perfect Shade Mineral Foundation, Lengthening Mascara, a set of brushes, and Lash Extending Fibers - though I was a bit puzzled looking at those - had no idea what they were.

The Challenge

Was pretty easy really - if I'm wearing makeup then my essentials are foundation, concealer and a bit of colour, and all I had to add was (in the spirit of the challenge) my Bare Minerals Primer (a treat last year) my FCUK lip gloss, and some shimmer eye shadow and glitter.

The kit contained all I needed to cover, protect, and add a bit of colour as a base, and enforced use for
Before Selfie
a week meant that my face to jeans ratio improved when I applied the foundation. It IS hard to be completely careful - even though I know a little goes a very long way.

The Results

I think the bronzer probably surprised and impressed me the most. I normally avoid bronzer like the plaque in favour of a little blusher or natural tan - but no harsh orange colours with this compact, just nice shimmering colour. A good alternative to blusher.

I may not have tried as many concealers as some, but I've tried a few, and the Sheer Cover one is the best I've had. The full size one looks like it will last for ages, and covered my blemishes easily, so I was happy with that.

The mineral foundation wasn't as easy to apply as liquid, and a bit paler than expected, but after a week of use coupled together with the bronzer I was pretty happy with the overall result.

I don't have any creative pictures to show you of my eyes, but the longer brush made the mascara easier to apply, and although I'm not sure the extending fibers will be remembered and shopped for now this challenge is over, to me the look stood out, but was a lot more natural than expected - a plus since my pet makeup hate is false eye lashes and lashes caked in mascara.

Am I A Convert?

I am a convert to a certain extent, the makeup looks after my skin well and covers what I need it to, and I like the results my kit gave me. My only problem is that when I have bought mineral makeup products before I've bought the odd thing as a treat when I can afford it.

Buying a whole kit, or replacing the items that run out from a Sheer Cover kit would be quite pretty expensive - so while I do like the Sheer Cover brand - I don't think it
will be forming all of my collection long term.

Find out more about Sheer Cover, their products and kits, and mineral makeup as a whole at their website.

* This kit was kindly sent for review but all opinions are my own.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Book Review - Chocolate Wishes By Trisha Ashley

One of my goals this year is to do a lot more reading. I absolutely love to read but in the last few years have often finished my day and just been tired or not able to concentrate. Hopefully there will be plenty of chances to switch off more and maybe sit in the garden on a sunny day with a book. I have finished my first read though, so thought I'd blog my first ever book review.

Chocolate Wishes is set in Lancashire and follows the life of chocolate maker Chloe, her eccentric family, and friends Poppy and Felix. Chloe's luck is out when not one but two ex lovers enter her life, as the arrogant David, and rock star turned Vicar both turn up in Sticklepond where she lives.

The story twists and turns it's way around the themes of love and betrayal and ultimate forgiveness, along with friendship turning to love for two of the characters, unwanted neighbours and protests, and the curious activities of Chloe's warlock grandfather, and his coven.

I think I would describe this box as a series of missed opportunities; some of them small, some of them not so small. I think more could have been made of some situations in the book, like the mischief Jake got up to - prime opportunity to ramp up the humour, and after the build up to Chloe and Poppy getting a makeover, I was expecting to hear more about their day out and transformation.

The plot kept me reading, but I think it was a case of introducing characters and situations well, but then at times both fell a little flat. Even Raffy's transformation from a vicar to a rock star didn't grip me as much as I expected when he arrived in the story. A voice in my head was saying you have a white witch, a warlock, a firestick juggler, and a rock star turned vicar in your story - where's the real mystery and magic!

Chocolate Wishes does have some interesting ideas, and setting them in a seemingly quiet country village works well - the whole what lays under the surface of village life idea coupled with a few surprises kept me reading. I also like it when a book manages to convince you 2 people will end up together, without the eventual result being obvious too early on in the story, as happens here.

Some good points, but not one of my favourite chic lit reads, so if I was scoring I'd probably mark it as 6/10.