I’m so excited to be writing the words I’m going to New York! I’m mega excited for this trip as it will be only my second time visiting the US and, unlike last time, my boyfriend is… More
It isn’t often that I had down to my local Superdrug and buy lots of beauty bits. I tend to be quite minimalist with my purchases because I don’t have a big budget, but when I do shop, I really enjoy trying new brands and products. So yesterday I headed to the shops, with the intention of only buying a lipbalm – as you can see from the picture, I didn’t even get a lipbalm! – but I did pick up some new skincare and makeup. I haven’t tried out all of this stuff yet, so keep your eye out for my beauty favourites posts to see if they make it into the big leagues.
Maybelline Dream Cushion Foundation & Colour Tattoo 24h
Last night I went out for a friend’s birthday and was able to give these a bit of a test out. With foundation, I have been using Bourjois’ Healthy Mix for ages so I was ready to try something new – and it was buy any two products for £12. I hadn’t tried a cushion foundation before but, as I have very dry and dehydrated skin, I was interested to test out something quite dewy. I applied the Maybelline Dream Cushion (ivory) it using a RealTechniques expert face brush and I absolutely loved it. The colour match was perfect and it left my skin looking even and didn’t cling to any dry areas. I love that it has SPF 20 and that it is a little more portable than my usual foundation. I’m excited to keep trying it out and see how longwearing it is.
I’m not a big eyeshadow wearer; however, I do like a bit of glitz when going out on an evening. I picked up the Colour Tattoo 24hr in On & On Bronze. It was very easy to apply and didn’t crease (something which I am looking for more now I’m getting older). The colour was really pretty, but you had to build it up to get more of an impact. I think it’d make a good base for eyeshadow so I might give that a try for my next date night.
Nip and Fab No Needle Fix Eye & Skin Republic Bubble Purifying and Charcoal Mask
These masks looked really interesting, but I haven’t tried them out yet. I decided to give the Nip and Fab No Needle Fix Eye Mask a try because I am heading to New York in March and was thinking about taking eye masks for the plane. These were only a couple of quid (I can’t really afford the fancy ones) and I thought they might be a good choice. I do want to try them out first in case they are too messy/don’t do much. The Skin Republic Bubble Purifying and Charcoal Sheet Mask was actually a freebie as part of a multi-buy offer. I have seen people like Tati use bubble masks and I thought it might be a fun thing to try. Who knows, I might get hooked on them!
B Hyaluronic Acid Facial Spritz & Simple Water Boost Hydrating Booster
Again, I’m thinking ahead to my long haul flights to and from New York. As I mentioned, I have very dry skin so it is important that I keep everything hydrated on the flight. I have actually used the B Hyaluronic Acid Facial Spritz before. It is one of those products that always seems to be on offer and I really liked using it before. It makes your skin feel all refreshed and hydrated so very good for travelling and these cold winter months. I had seen a few people talk about the new Simple Water Boost range so I picked this product up (it was on sale!). It is quite a small size so I thought it would be perfect to fit in my carry on.
Please let me know if you have any beauty recommendations!
Scotland is such an interesting country, but I’ve only really spent any time in Edinburgh and St Andrews so when I had an oppportunity to visit Glasgow, I took it! Glasgow is a really great city with some really beautiful architecture and an interesting history. I travelled there at the start of December for a research trip at the University, but I made sure that I had time to explore the area and do some sightseeing.
I live in Leeds, so it was only a four hour train journey to Glasgow. I packed lots of books and snacks to keep myself amused and fed along the way. I arrived in Glasgow in the late-afternoon so I headed straight to my B&B. The Argyll Guest House is in the west end of Glasgow, only about a 15 minute walk from the university. It is the more affordable sister to the Argyll Hotel. My room only cost £60 for two nights, including breakfast!
The room was small, but it had a brand new ensuite (with bath! I made good use of that). I had only booked a single room and was happy to find that the room had a double bed, which was super comfy.
After checking in, I did a little work in my room before heading out to dinner at Number 16. This was a really cute restaurant (it is quite small so I’d advise booking in advance) with such friendly staff. They were only running a Christmas menu so I got a 3 course dinner for £32.
To start, I had chicken liver parfait with savoury granola and cranberries. I decided to go traditional for my main course and ordered the turkey with all the trimmings – it was so good though, even the sprouts were delicious! I was already pretty full when the time came to order dessert, but I decided to go with the chocolate and brown butter ganache. It was beautiful and very rich so I felt like a lie down afterwards, but it was totally worth it.
After having a big breakfast at my hotel (it was a standard continental with cooked options, nothing to write home about but still nice and filling), I headed to the university. It was a lovely, crisp morning. I was all wrapped up in a coat, scarf, and gloves and everything looked so pretty all covered in frost. The sun was just rising and was casting a beautiful light on the buildings (#nofilter).
I walked through a really pretty little park and over a bridge to get to Glasgow University. It was so quiet, just a few dog walkers and parents taking their children to school. It was such a lovely way to start the day.
I spent the entire day in the library so I don’t have much to report. For dinner, I really wanted to try Ox and Finch, a restaurant that had an amazing menu of tapas (with a Scottish edge). They were fully booked (again, book way in advance) but they keep one table free for walk-ins. It was beautifully decorated with an open kitchen so you could see the chefs at work. A perfect place for a date!
I had mozzerella, parma ham, with pear followed by butternut squash and merguez haggis, roasted carrots. I finished off with an amazing praline crémeux with ginger icecream that tasted just like a ferrero rocher! The best dinner I’d had for a very long time.
I had finished all my work early, so I decided to spend the rest of my time in Glasgow doing some more touristy/cultural stuff. I started off by walking to Great Western Road, which has lots of cafés and cute shops. I stopped at this book shop and spent half an hour brousing the shelves. I came out with a couple of great second hand books for the train journey home.
I was in need of some caffeine so I stopped by a vegetarian place, the V&V café. I had my first (and probably last) matcha latte, it just tasted too much like grass for my liking.
I then finished off my trip with a few museum visits. First, I headed to the Hunterian museum on the University campus. It is housed in a really beautiful building, and had such a diverse collection – something for everyone! It had roman ruins, dinosaur and animal skeletons, and a really fascinating medical collection. I even saw a vial of Joseph Lister’s urine (gross, but kinda cool for those that did the History of Medicine GCSE module!).
Last on my list was the Kelvingrove art gallery and museum. Like the Hunterian, this imposing building has wide range of items, but the art galleries are not to be missed. They have interesting impressionist collections, but my favourite was the selection of works by the Scottish colourists. Definitely worth a visit, and it is free!
Once I had done a tour of the Kelvingrove, it was time to head back to Leeds. It was such a great mini-trip. I wish I had more time to explore the city centre more, I was definitely focussed on the west end of Glasgow. I hope to make another visit soon, perhaps on the way to the Highlands!
If anyone has any other recommendations, please let me know!
We are three quarters the way through January, so you might be surprised to see a post about my 2018 goals and resolutions. However, I am trying very hard to stick with them this year and I thought putting them on here might help me keep going. You know – guilt me into sticking with it!
I have two sections to this: my goals and my resolutions. The goals are something that I can achieve and cross off the list, but the resolutions are an ongoing part of my year. In the past I have been pretty rubbish at keeping my resolutions. This year I tried hard to make them managable and achievable. I have even started a sort-of bullet journal to help me track my blog posts/workouts etc.
- Move in with my boyfriend (see my post here for more info!)
- Publish a research paper (I’m doing a PhD and this is an important part of the process)
- Finish my secret project. It is only secret because I use a pseudonym on here and writing this one out would tell you all my real name!
- Write a blog post (at least) once a week. I really am trying to get back into blogging!
- Do yoga at least once a week. I used to be so into yoga (specifically Yoga with Adriene), but I barely did any in 2017.
- Write for at least 2 hours a day, five days a week. I’m in the third year of my PhD now, and I definitely need to start cranking out the words so I better keep to this one!
Wish me luck!
I’m moving. Well, not actually until July but I’m moving! I have lived in my current house since September 2015 and I have really loved it here. It was the first time I had lived on my own, and in a proper house too. But, the time has come for me to move in with my boyfriend! I’m so excited!
So, why am I moving if I love it here so much? The main reason is actually a practical one. My PhD funding ends in August and I don’t have enough money to kept renting alone. However, it isn’t JUST because of money. I have been with my boyfriend for coming up three years and we have spent most of that living 200 miles from each other. It will be really good to be able to spend more time together, without having to spend hour on train or in the car to do so.
We have started looking online at places. It is still much too early, but it is fun to look and see what we can afford. We’ll be moving to a new town so we’re trying to do lots of research so we don’t end up somewhere horrible! This is another slightly scary aspect of this moving process is that I’m moving back down south and I’ll have to try and make new friends. God, I hate making friends as an adult! Anyone got any tips?
Anyway, I’m very excited! Is it too soon to start packing my things?
Winter really is the season of the bath. The nights are drawing in and the cold weather makes the idea of a warm, bubbly bath seem so much more tempting. It is time to break out the candles and face masks.
I am a big fan of the bath. Like lots of people, I find them a great way to relax on an evening and a good opportunity to do a little pampering. Another perhaps more unusual reason why I enjoy baths so much is that I can actually see what I’m doing! I am very, very shortsighted so being able to keep my glasses on is great and makes shaving my legs much easier and less precarious.
I would love to have slightly fancier bath and body stuff but, as PhD student, that isn’t really an option but you don’t need luxury products to get totally relaxed. In this post, I will chat all about my current winter bathtime routine.
When it is bathtime, I like to make my bathroom a calm and relaxed place to be. I do a quick tidy up, get my towels all ready, and light a candle. This Oliver Bonas candle is in the Green Tea and Lotus Flower scent, which I love but warning – it can be overpowering in a small room.
Every bath needs some bubbles and my current bubble bath of choice is the Imperial Leather pearl rose and forget-me-not. Despite the name, this is not overly floral but the fragrance is pretty and doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin. This bath cream provides the bubbles and the luxurious bath time feeling we all want for only a couple of quid!
I am rubbish at remembering to use face masks so I find baths the perfect time to apply. I have very dry skin so I only use this L’Oréal pure clay detox mask on my T-zone. You don’t need to use much and it helps to keep my skin clear and blemish free.
Honestly, I don’t really use body scrubs very often but this Scrub Love coffee scrub came in a recent BirchBox so I thought I’d give it a try. You don’t have to use it all at once as the pouch is re-sealable, which is useful. However, I don’t plan on using it again. It was incredibly messy and although it smelt nice (of coffee and orange oil) in the bath, it left my skin smelling like instant coffee all day long. Also, the scrub did not seem to improve the texture of my skin that much. So all in all – it is a pass.
A Good Book
Whilst my face mask is doing its business, I like to relax with a book. I always have one on the go and I’m currently re-reading Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford Chronicles. Gaskell isn’t for everyone, as her books mainly focus on lower and middle class life in the North of England, but if you like nineteenth-century writers, like Jane Austen or the Brontës, give Gaskell a try.
After the bath
I won’t bore you with the details of my haircare or shaving routine. After my facemask is off and I’ve caught up with the goings on in Cranford, bathtime is over. My after-bath routine can be described in one word: moisturise, moisturise, moisturise.
I first use the Le Petit Marseillais’ body oil with shea butter, argan and sweet almond oil. This is a French highstreet brand that I love and always get my mum to stock up on when she goes away. I’ve been using their shower gels and handwashes for years! They all have such beautiful fragrances and feel much more expensive than they are. After the body oil, I slather myself in Aveeno shea butter body lotion: this stuff has worked wonders for my eczema and dry skin!
Once all this has sunk in, I’m relaxed and ready to snuggle up in my dressing gown with Netflix. I’m currently re-watching Call the Midwife with tissues at the ready! To me, that is really the perfect winter evening routine.
*links are for information only.*
November isn’t actually over year but I have had such a good month that I wanted to talk about it now! Here’s a run down of my highlights and favourites from this month.
Crisp morning walks
I love this time of year: it is getting chilly but too cold, the mornings are still light, and I can walk to work not completely bundled up in scarves and hats. I live a few miles from my university and I’m loving my morning walks at the moment. I get wrapped up, stick on a podcast (current favourites are Crtl Alt Delete and No Such Thing as a Fish), and set off to work. I love the crisp, fresh air and I often make a slight detour to walk through the park for that extra autumnal feeling.
Bourgois Rouge Velvet Lipstick
Lipsticks. There are just so many out there and most don’t live up to the hype. However, I have been loving the combination of this Rouge Velvet lipstick (03 Hippink chic) and the BarryM lipliner in Runway. It is really longlasting, i.e. it doesn’t leave you with that horrible lipstick ring round your mouth after one sip of coffee. I love this colour – I’ve really been channeling my inner Alicia Florrick (another November favourite, I watched ALL of the Good Wife recently).
I’m going to New York!
I’m so excited for this one! I have wanted to go to New York for as long as I can remember. As a child of the 90s, Friends and the like made NYC look like the place to be. I was lucky to win an academic prize that will fund a research trip to the Big Apple in March. It won’t be all fun but I’m really looking forward to planning my stay. I have the hotel booked (I’m staying at the AKA Wall Street and it looks so fancy), next is flights!
I won’t sugarcoat it, teaching is hard and I only have a few seminar groups a week. I’m so impressed for all those primary and secondary school teachers out there, it is so much work! Despite all that work and marking, I have loved teaching this year. My students are so nice and seem to be engaged with the subject, the latter is really all that I’m interested in. The extra money has definitely come in handy this month too as Christmas is fast approaching.
L’Occitane Shea Handcream
I mentioned this handcream in my review of the November Birchbox and I have really been enjoying it. I get very dry skin in winter and my skin has been loving this cream – it is so rich and moisturising. It is the perfect size for on the go but I have mine on my desk. I think I even prefer it to the Body Shop hemp handcream and that has been my favourite for years!
I recently subscribed to the Birchbox. Each month you get a five beauty bits, makeup, skincare, and haircare to try for £10 per month: most of them are minis – but you get a decent sample size.
I have to be honest, I’m often a bit disappointed by the contents for example, in two of my recent boxes I got coffee scrubs (that I can’t use because of my eczema) and sometimes the makeup is in colours I’d never wear (shimmery dusky pink eyeshadow anyone?). BUT I was very happy when I opened the November box and I’m going to share my first impressions of the products below.
Seche Vite: Dry Fast Top Coat
I had heard lots of things about this Seche Vite top coat. Lots of bloggers and YouTubers have raved about it so I was very excited when I got a full-size bottle in my Birchbox. I immediately got out my nail varnishes and went to town. Initially, I was impressed: my varnish dried really quickly and my nails looked pretty and shiny. However, less than 24 hours later, the varnish on one of my nails had flaked off entirely and now (3 days into wear), it looks absolutely terrible. Granted I have only tried it with one nail varnish so I will give it another go with a different brand but I was so disappointed.
I have used Benefit’s Hoola before so this is less of a first impressions. It is a good-sized mini but the packaging isn’t great quality – the lid doesn’t stay closed – so I wouldn’t want to travel with it. I don’t wear bronzer very often but I love this one. It is matt, a nice neutral colour (no scary orange bronzer here!), and has great wear time. I’m excited to start bronzing up my very pale face again this winter.
Rating: 3/5 (would have been 4/5 but the packaging let it down).
Percy & Reed: Smooth, Sealed & Sensational Hair Oil
I have wavy/curly hair and use a hair oil everytime I shower as otherwise my hair would be frizz-central. I gave this a whirl yesterday and I was very happy with the results. It smells great and left my hair soft, frizz-free, and didn’t make my roots oily. I’m excited to add this product into my haircare routine and, as you only use a few drops each time, this mini should last me ages. I’d definitely invest in the full-size.
Birchbox: Brush Cleaner
I don’t know about you but cleaning my brushes is a task I absolutely hate. It takes ages and you end up covered in eyeshadow and goop. Therefore, I was keen to give this brush cleaner a go – anything that will make it quicker to clean my brushes so that I can go do something more fun. It worked really well, especially with eyeshadow brushes. You just spray a little brush cleaner on the brush and swirl it around on silicone pad. Easy and clean to use, it has changed my brush cleaning life.
L’Occitane en Provence: Shea Butter Hand Cream
This handcream is the perfect addition to your handbag. It is small but a little of the cream goes a long way. As it has shea butter in it, it is a very thick, nourishing cream so it is great for winter when your skin gets dry and uncomfortable. As I mentioned earlier, I have eczema but this didn’t irritate my skin and the fragrance is subtle.