Tuesday, 30 September 2014

In need of a pick me up..

When you are feeling down, what do you do to pick yourself up? Do you watch a favourite movie? Listen to a song? Go for a walk? Phone a friend?

I was feeling down earlier, well in truth I have been feeling down for a while, but whilst sorting through an old musty box from the garage I stumbled upon this old school news book from 1991/1992! For those who didn't do this, when I was at school, every Monday morning started with us writing some news in our books. 

Giddy with excitement in anticipation of what I as a 7 year old classed as news, I settled down with a cup of tea to read. 

Here are some of my favourite entries:

On 9th September 1991 I was pleased to announce that I now owned a bike - purple with TWO wheels no less! Slightly concerned that in my drawing I am not holding onto the handlebars and appear to be wearing a see through skirt! 

Slight early anticipation on 23rd September 1991 as I claim it is nearly my birthday but I don't know what I'm doing- I should think not, my birthday wasn't until October 26! I also appear to have changed into Ariel from the Little Mermaid as I seem to be dancing with Prince Eric and my cat! I was obsessed with the Little Mermaid! 

30th September's news took a more dangerous turn- me falling off my bike as I was too busy looking at my cat. I remember this happening but I cannot confirm if I wasn't holding the handlebars or was wearing a see through skirt (as in my previous bike related entry) at the time of my accident! 

I still remember Joe's party from October 3 1991- it was that good. I danced with a boy- whoop whoop- and clearly I was channeling my inner Simon Cowell- James I am sorry, your singing probably wasn't dreadful (or dredfell as I put it!) 

I clearly resented the fact I didn't stay for tea at Juliet's on the 11th November. Hence my rather aggressive speech bubbles! However I'm sure you will agree my multicoloured dress looks fabulous haha :-) 

If you ever wished to know the contents of my mouth, this drawing from 25th November gives you the answer. I love my innocence and confusion- WHY did the tooth fairy give me money if I swallowed my tooth? I still would like to know...

3rd December announced what was no doubt a wild party involving TWO friends coming over to my house. My 7 year old self would again like to point out my friends came over NOT FOR TEA! Slightly concerned by the 90's fashion and I have no clue why my cat is wearing a crop top, mini skirt and bow! I was a strange child! 

On 13 January 1992 I announced I might be going to Juliet's house. Possibly for tea. Juliet clearly looks thrilled by the prospect! 

Being an only child I had to make my own entertainment. On the 3 February 1992 I was in the process of making a tent which I might be sleeping in. I don't think I did! My teacher clearly wanted to know about my tent making skills, but a magician never reveals their secrets ;) 

It was great to read the things I considered news worthy back in the day. I now think of my poor teacher having to mark 30 news books, if the news was anything like mine :-) 

Needless to say it made me smile and lightened my mood- just what I needed. Now to find the lockable diary I had when I was 11- bet there is some juicy gossip in there....

Sunday, 28 September 2014

No I really shouldn't...oh go on then!

When I was a kid I was forever in the garden, getting mucky and climbing trees. Then as I got older something seems to change. I became more interested in clothes, shoes and bags - the more the merrier. Now my room is full of clothes, shoes and bags in all different styles and colours. I think I have become a shopaholic :) 

There are times where I do try to resist temptation and convince myself that I don't really need another cardigan/pair of shoes etc but fate has its little way of intervening.

Back in 2008 I went to America for a holiday. Our trip started in Denver, Colorado and while I was there I spotted a gorgeous mustard handbag in Forever 21 (one of my favourite US stores). I told myself that I didn't need it, and walked away, peering over my shoulder at it as I left. Fate just so happened to intervene when we returned to Denver before flying back home. It was the last day of the holiday and no joking as I walked past Forever 21 my handbag literally broke. Not fixable, totally broken. I just had to go back in to Forever 21 and buy the bag I loved...right?! 

Fate intervened again a few weeks ago. I was in a shop and saw a gorgeous mustard coloured satchel style bag (it appears mustard is a running theme! ) and once again I told myself I didn't need it. 

Yesterday I went back into the store and ooh 25% discount on all clothing, shoes and accessories! Everyone loves a bargain so without even hesitating I claimed one of the bags as my own.

So here it is, my new Autumn bag. It's the perfect bag for my upcoming birthday outing for afternoon tea - all I need to do now is work out my outfit :) 

But you don't look sick...preparing for my birthday celebration.

One of the common things us spoonies get told is "but you don't look sick". This is because ME falls under the category of "invisible illnesses" - very real, very painful but not always visible. This often leads to comments and judgements being made- some can be laughed off, others are extremely hurtful. 

As much as people's comments can be hurtful there are times where I (and others I'm sure) would welcome the comment "but you don't look sick". Many sufferers are housebound, but for those that can get out now and again the preparation in order to actually get out and look "normal" is incredible. My fantastic fellow spoonie friend Sian wrote a great article on her blog about preparing for a family gathering. I'm sure you will agree she looked fabulous!

Sian's blog post got me thinking. Next month is my birthday as well as the birthdays of two of my dearest friends. We are all turning 30 (eek where has the time gone?!) so we decided to organize a joint celebration prior to all our individual birthdays. We are going to a posh hotel for afternoon tea (blog post will follow about that event!) and I am so excited. This is definitely an occasion where I don't want to look sick... 

There are six of us going and it is a great chance to catch up especially as 3 of the 6 live further away. I know I am likely to crash as a result of this day out but the stubborn side of me is determined to go and enjoy our special day.  Also my friends are utterly fabulous and understanding and will make sure I have regular rest breaks during the day. 

So in the month leading up to our birthday day out, I have been looking into a straight forward beauty routine that won't take hours of preparation.

I haven't thought about my outfit yet, apart from the new boots I bought in preparation, but these are the products I am likely to use on the big day itself: 

My Bag Of Magical MakeUp

As Sian said in her post, preparing your makeup bag in advance is a great idea. There is nothing more annoying than thinking you know where you have put something and you waste time and energy trying to hunt down your missing items. Now I have sorted these items they will be staying in my make up bag! 

My apologies for this awful photo (I know Halloween isn't yet so sorry to scare) but this is often my morning face! Hair a mess, pale skin and generally looking and feeling awful! Make up is definitely essential!

Shower Time!

Thankfully my house has a separate walk in shower. It really is a godsend when I'm in so much pain that I find getting in and out of the bath a challenge. What I like about these products is that if I couldn't manage even the shower, I could still use these products in a bowl when having a wash. 

Soap & Glory Clean on Me: This is a small bottle as it came out of a gift set. I love the miniatures as they are handy for travel but also are just the right size to test a new product - sometimes if we buy a bigger size and don't like it we end up wasting it. Not that I would waste any Soap & Glory product - I love them! It has a lovely smell and made my skin feel lovely.

Ro's Argan Body Conditioner from LUSH: I will hold my hands up - I am a massive LUSH addict. I could easily live in the shop! I love trying new products and I was bought a massive gift set (£100!) as a present. Although it was pricey, it contained 25 items - many of which I may not have initially tried if browsing in the shop. This body conditioner was something I had not tried before but it felt lovely on my skin and I definitely felt pampered after using it. 

Creighton's Keratin Pro Smooth Treatment: I am in the process of trying products to help the condition of my hair which can get dry and break easily. This leaves my hair feeling silky and smooth after using it.  

Nivea Facial Wash Gel: While the conditioning treatment works on my hair, I use this facial was to help my skin. I do come out with a glow and feeling refreshed after using it. 

Avon Dry Ends Serum: Again to help my hair, this serum is applied to the end of my hair after washing and is left in (don't do what I did the first time of using and slosh it on - you end up a sticky mess!). It smells amazing!

After Shower

 Benefit Pore Professionals Balm: A friend of mine loves Benefit makeup so a while ago I treated myself to a make up lesson with a Benefit beautician. This Pore Balm is lovely, smooth and creamy and can be worn without foundation. 

Benefit Hello Flawless Foundation: I was recommended this foundation when I went for my consultation. It is fantastic! I often find with moisturizers I end up with a shiny face, so this foundation is a great alternative. It is matte finish so doesn't leave me looking shiny and is light so my skin can breathe - I often forget I have got it on!

As my birthday tea will be during the day I don't want to go too crazy on the makeup. Once my foundation is done, I tend to just add black eyeliner to the corner of my eyes and black mascara to my lashes. Where possible I like to add waves to my hair using my hair straighteners but I'm not sure whether I will do this on the big day. In my handbag will be my trusty red lipstick though, just in case our day adventure goes into the evening.

Let's hope on the big day I can pull off the "but you don't look sick" look!


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Saturday, 20 September 2014

Break the habit

Ok I hold my hands up...well actually I won't. You don't want to see my nails because I have a confession. I am a nail biter. I have been since I was a child and now as I near my 30th birthday I am determined to break the habit once and for all. 

I don't really know why I became a nail biter, it just kind of happened. Sometimes it got so bad my poor fingers would be sore and bleed. Not attractive. 

I have tried stopping before and have had some success. After all, I do love having long nails that I can paint pretty colours. I have tried false nails which did look lovely but in the back of my mind I do worry about wearing false nails long term and the effect it could have on my already weak nails. Not forgetting the cost for regular maintenance! 

So I have been going around buying things to try and help- things to condition my nails and make them healthier, things to strengthen the nails and most importantly things to stop me biting them! 

These are my current products- Stop N grow (which tastes gross!) nail and cutie cream which smells lovely, nail strengthener polish, skin, hair and nails tablets (one a day) and Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream. Fingers crossed these will help! 

Are you a former nail biter? Let me know what worked for you! 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Falling into Fall

I previously wrote about what I love about Autumn/ Fall. A major part of that is the clothing. There's something strangely satisfying packing away my summer clothes and reuniting with my old Fall favourites. 

Where I live at the moment the weather is still quite warm- today I was wearing a tshirt, leggings and sandals- but I'm sure when October arrives things will become more Autumnal. Then out will come my comfy sweaters, cardigans, leggings, skinnies, scarves and boots.

Check out my favourite looks (images from Pinterest) 


I love the large jumper here - a very Autumn colour complemented by the accessories and boots. Think I will be looking to buy a jumper in this colour!

My eyes were drawn to the beautiful scarf in this outfit collection - another Autumn colour - and I like how it is linked to the colour of the bag. The pumps are a great alternative to boots and the layers of t-shirt and cardigan make this a great early Autumn outfit if the weather is still mild. 

A friend of mine owns a similar jazzy cardigan like this and I'm desperate to find one of my own. Patterns like this remind me of ski-wear and make me dream of log cabins, skiing and hot chocolate. The simple white vest and plain scarf allows the eye to be drawn to the bold cardigan while the bag and matching boots compliment each other and don't distract from the cardigan.  

I do own grey clothes but I often worry they can look draining, particularly in colder months when my skin isn't tanned. However my eyes were drawn to this outfit due to the texture within the jumper and the yellow within the scarf. Being blonde, I'm not sure how well suited I'd be to the scarf but I can definitely imagine my brunette friends wearing it!

This outfit collection reminded me of France and the effortlessly chic styles I have seen over there. I love how the jumper and bag compliment each other, as do the pumps, scarf and jewellery. The perfect outfit for a wander round Paris with a loved one!

Moving away from the knitwear, this outfit collection reminds me of my uni days. I love all things American so I fell in love with the Brooklyn jumper immediately. I wasn't 100% sure about the trousers as they are not a colour I'd necessarily pick off the rail, but sometimes it's about taking a bold step outside of your fashion comfort zone :)

Told you I like American things ;) I LOVE this jumper! Although I'm not sure about the boots here - I have problems with my ankles so I need more support from boots than these softer ones. The white vest makes an appearance again, showing that key staple items like these can be the basis of many different outfits. 

I was drawn to this outfit collection by the boots - I actually own a pair of cowboy boots like these (bought in Forever 21 in San Francisco a few years ago) and I love the warm socks peeping out the top of them! I am on the look out for a decent denim top - most of the ones I find are too short for my liking. I love the pattern scarf here as it again compliments the boots. At first glance I didn't even notice the warm cardigan! I think I'd pair the cardigan with something else as due to my ME I have trouble controlling my temperature and even sitting here in my t-shirt I'm feeling warm at the thought of layering the cardigan on top of the long sleeved denim shirt! I think I would have the denim shirt unbuttoned with the white vest underneath if I were to wear this look and save the cardigan for another occasion. 

My final look includes this lovely checked shirt. I love shirts like this, especially when the weather is mild. The accessories are perfect. Think I might be looking for a shirt like this too! 

What are your favourite looks for Fall? 

Thursday, 11 September 2014

A day to remember

When something happens in the news we often find ourselves in conversations saying "I remember where I was when I heard......" I was in bed when my mum called up the stairs to say Princess Diana had died, I was in the shower when I heard that Michael Jackson had died and today, September 11th 2014, I remember where I was 13 years ago.....

September 11th 2001. An ordinary day, I had just got back from food shopping with my Mum and Dad. When I got in the house, my usual routine was to put on MTV and quickly listen to some music before my Dad would tell me to "turn that rubbish off". September 11th 2001 was different. When I turned on the tv it immediately showed the last channel that had been on. It was a news channel. On the screen I was met with a view of the New York skyline and one often Twin Towers on fire. Initially it seemed like a tragic accident. I called out to my parents as I knew when they had worked for a bank in London they had colleagues working in the World Trade Center. "There's been an accident. A plane's hit the World Trade Center" I remember saying. 

As I continued watching I saw footage of a plane hitting the building. I was shocked as I had originally thought it was a small tourist plane but this was a passenger jet. Then I froze. This wasn't footage of the original crash. This plane was hitting the second tower. The first one was already alight. I screamed. My parents came in to see what was wrong. News agencies reporting on this were also jumping to attention. This was a second plane...the second tower. What was going on?!

The rest of the day was a blur, sitting watching the news, tears streaming down my face. More planes hijacked and crashing, towers collapsing.... It was like something out of a film. But this was a very scary reality.

The events of 9/11 were truly appalling. The news showing the aftermath of the attacks was heartbreaking- the broken New York skyline, the exhausted faces of the rescue teams, the distress of families left behind. 

13 years on, the pain is still raw. There are still empty seats around dinner tables, faces missing from family photos, families still waiting for their relatives remains to be found.

My thoughts today are with the thousands of people affected by 9/11 - the victims and their families, the survivors, New York City, Shanksville Pennsylvania and Washington DC. 

Saturday, 6 September 2014

An Alpaca Day

I love alpacas. And llamas. And donkeys. And sheep. Today I was given the opportunity to see these wonderful animals up close. In Hawkhurst, Kent there is a fantastic place called Lightfoot Alpacas, and today was their open day. My parents has been before, but this was my first visit and I was looking forward to seeing who I might meet!

We parked in a nearby field and were instantly greeted by alpacas, popping their heads up to see who had arrived. I loved the different colours and their kind and gentle faces looked so welcoming. 

We wandered up to the main buildings and there were lots of people- its always nice to see people visiting these events, it takes so much effort to host them. 

There was a craft tent selling lots of beautiful things, often made using alpaca wool. My eyes were drawn to some cat toys filled with alpaca wool and cat nip. The kind lady on the stall said they were a real hit with her cat so for the bargain price of 50p I picked up a pack for my girls. 

We then wandered over to the paddocks where we were greeted by gorgeous sheep (I want one!), llamas, more alpacas and donkeys. I was so impressed with how calm all the animals were, despite being surrounded by people. 

We had a little stroll round the paddock seeing the animals before making our way back to the entrance. The open day was free entry with donations to The Hospice in the Weald (http://www.hospiceintheweald.org.uk/)
gratefully received. I hope they raised a lot of money! 

When I got home I showed the catnip toys to one of my cats- she seemed to be a big fan! 

Thankyou to everyone involved in today's open day- it was lovely to see all the beautiful animals up close in such a picturesque location!

To find out more about the Lightfoot Alpacas please visit their website: http://www.alpacabreeder.co.uk/