Tuesday, 28 June 2011

My desert island beauty products

OK, so I'm aware my posts have become a bit thoughtful and literary of late. Therefore, as is my nature, I would like to switch directly from the philosophical to the unashamedly shallow and share with you my favourite beauty products for the summer. Now, I spend a lot of money on products that claim to do everything from give me a 'natural sun-kissed glow' to make my eyes bluer (yes... I'm an idiot). Most of these products fail to deliver any of the grand promises they state on the box, however, here are a few which in my experience actually do.

Benetint by benefit. I love the colour of this lip and cheek stain, I think it suits my Enlgish rose complexion perfectly. This is perfect for people who like a bit of colour on their lips but don't like the feeling of lipstick/ leaving marks on glasses all the time. The colour can be as intense as you like depending on how much you put on, but it is so light you don't even notice it and it stays on all day (I end up just putting Vaseline on over the top every now and again to keep my lips soft). 

XEN-TAN Transform 6 fl oz.
Xen-tan. After a few unpleasant forays into the world of fake tan (nearly always resulting in me a) looking like I had some sort of skin complaint and b) smelling like a biscuit factory) I had resolved to wait for pale to come back in fashion and avoid bikinis until that day arrived. However, after reading reviews of 'xen-tan transform' written by people who seemed to be as fair-skinned as me, I thought I would give it a go. It really is amazing: even I managed to apply it pretty near perfectly, it's not orange at all AND it smells good. Also the colour wasn't too strong on the first application as to make people suspicious that you were faking it but you can build it up gradually to quite a respectable tan. XEN-TAN Transform 6 fl oz.
Nivea Soft Refreshingly Soft Moisturizing Creme with Jojoba Oil and Vitamin E, 6.8-Ounce Tubs (Pack of 4)
Nivea soft moisturising creme. It's just the best all-round moisturiser I've found, it is absorbs into the skin so quickly and makes it so soft. You can use it on your face, hands and body, so I basically replaced three products with one when I switched to this. Also it's really cheap. Nivea Soft Refreshingly Soft Moisturizing Creme with Jojoba Oil & Vitamin E, 6.8 Ounces

Rimmel topcoat. There's nothing better than chipped nail varnish  for spoiling a carefully put-together look and in the summer you've got toes to worry about as well as fingers. I advise getting some help in in the form of a good topcoat, I made the mistake of doing without one for too long. It'll save you money (and time) in the long run too because you'll have to paint your nails less. This Rimmel one is pretty cheap, comes with a special wide brush which makes it so quick to apply, they do a matte one too if that's your thing. http://www.boots.com/en/Rimmel-Pro-Superwear-Top-Coat_1015757/

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Home alone

After two months crammed full of exams/deadlines and a few days of partying/being sociable, I am finally enjoying some time to myself. I find there is something so refreshing about being alone for a while, I'm no introvert but sometimes I do like to just be by myself; to read, think, pray and just generally have a rest.
There is nothing better, after a stressful time, than reading outside in the sunshine. Letting your mind be carried far away from the cares that had been pressing upon you and allowing it to be totally absorbed by some distant place or time is so refreshing. I find in striving to understand the feelings, hopes and dreams of other people I can see my own in a different light and understand them better.
I also like sit and listen to music, not the type of music I am subjected to in clubs, but real music with lyrics that read like a poem. I know that students especially always seem to have music playing in the background of thier lives and I am no exception, but it is rare that I actually listen to the words. However when I do I always find something interesting and often surprising to occupy my thoughts for a while.
I know that today's society holds up a busy social life as some kind of ideal, but i think... every now and again... it's good just to sit alone and think. Having said that, by the end of this week 'home alone' at uni, I'll probably be longing for a packed diary again...

Here is my list of the best books to make you think:
A Thousand Splendid Suns (Khaled Hosseini)
This was written by the same guy who wrote 'The Kite Runner' which I remember being insanely popular when I worked in a bookshop a few years ago. I actually prefer 'A Thousand Splendid Suns', although they are both thought-provoking and moving stories set in Afghanistan during some of it's most tumultuous times, as it tells the story of two women and the contrast between their lives and mine really affected me.

Nineteen Eighty-Four (George Orwell)
Every time I read this book I understand its relevance to our society today a little bit more. It always reminds me to cherish love, peace and truth because without them the world would be a very dark place indeed.

Wild Swans : Three Daughters of China (Jung Chang)
The stories in this book are made all the more poignant because they are all true. I can't even begin to describe this book in one paragraph; it is truly extraordinary and will make you feel almost every emotion imaginable.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

I do apologise for my lack of posting recently. I know I said I would be back as soon as my exams finished but I've been totally distracted by all manner of things, including a book which so totally absorbed me I could think of little else until I had finished it. The storyline and characters captured by imagination so completely I have been pondering on it for days; in clubs, out shopping, having coffee... you name it. It's a classic, in truth I can't believe it's taken me this long to get round to reading it.
'North and South' (Elizabeth Gaskell) has officially soared its way to the top of my "favourite books of all time" list. Showing 'Pride and Prejudice' lacking in gritty conflict and real-life challenges. The possibility of enduring love at the end of 'North and South' is made all the more precious because of the suffering that comes before it. This is a book full of developing relationships: between the workmen and the masters, between Miss Hale and Mr Thornton, between the North and South of the country. All of these relationships start full of prejudices and conflicts. It is fascinating to watch their very nature change through the events in the book and equally fascinating is how each of these individual storylines intertwine and affect each other as events unfold.
Like I say, it captivated me... hopefully it will you too.

North and South
North and South (Book)

North & South
North & South (DVD)
For a more comprehensive review and summary: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_and_South_(1855_novel)

Monday, 6 June 2011

Sorry I'm not posting at the moment, it's exam-time so I've been a bit busy. Last one is the 15th June though so I'll be back then...

In the mean time can I reccommend to you a favourite T.V show of mine? It's called 'Miranda' and if you're from the home counties (or like laughing at people who are) you will LOVE it ;) All the episodes are on youtube - the clip below is a preview of one of my faves...

Friday, 27 May 2011

com·pas·sion. Noun: Sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others

I have recently made what may well turn out to be one of the best decisions of my life. I am sponsoring a child.
I am paying £21 pounds a month so that a little boy in Burkina Faso can have a chance at making a better life for himself. So that he can be educated and equipped with the skills and opportunities he needs to break free from poverty.  It's not just his life my £21 will change, but the lives of his whole family and the lives of the next generation too. It is mind-blowing that I, an unremarkable student from Surrey with a penchant for over-priced coffee, can make a difference to a community of people who are so  full of potential but just haven't been given the opportunities that I take for granted.
The little boy I am sponsoring is only five at the moment but I look forward to watching him grow into a young person who is educated, who knows he is loved and valued and who has ambitions to change his world for the better. Who knows, maybe he would have managed this without my £21 anyway, but it's a small price to pay (7 caramel macchiatos... yes I worked it out!) to help him along his way.

I am sponsoring him through a Christian organisation called Compassion (http://www.compassionuk.org/) they have centres in many of the poorest communities across the globe where children have access to health care and nutritional supplements, educational opportunities and social and emotional care.

I don't think it's fair that some children are born into this world with few opportunities and little hope for the future, we have everything here we could ever need - money, security, an education - but what do we do with it? In my case I moan about uni work and sit in cafes drinking caramel macchiatos... what a waste.

The video below is of Patrick Regan visiting compassion projects in Bolivia, but if you look on youtube there are so many more, each telling the story of a community which has been transformed by a few people and their £21.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The return of afternoon tea.

Is it just me, or is there an abundance of vintage-style teacups and cupcake paraphernalia in the shops at the moment? This can mean only one thing - afternoon tea is back! Hurrah! Wave goodbye to coffee mornings and afternoon frappacinos and go buy yourself a teapot.

2011's afternoon teas are super-sweet, preferably al fresco and involve a lot of florals. Here is my checklist for throwing the perfect afternoon tea:

Green Regency Teacup And SaucerRoses Regency Teacup And Saucer Pink Regency Teacup And Saucer
  • A teapot (because, lets be honest, proper tea needs one)
Strawberry Fairy Cake Teapot
  • Cute gingham or floral tablecloth (ooh maybe some bunting too?)

Taa Daa! Now you have an afternoon tea perfect for catching up with good friends, or celebrating something fabulous. 

If you prefer to let someone do the hard work for you, here are my fave afternoon tea venues:

My fashiony friend...

If you liked my post on cute fabric noticeboards, you should definitely check out my friend Clare's blog. She is a fashion design student and 'The world through creative specs' is packed full of creative designs and beautiful photos. I find her fashion wish lists are pretty spot on too.

SUCH a cute panda print!
(Image belongs to Clare Powell - not to be used without permission)