Saturday, 30 April 2016

Ziaja Skincare

Both times that I've been to Poland, my attention has very much been on what skincare and make up that I can get over there that I can't get here - and I've never been disappointed. Ziaja is a company that I've come across before over there and brought home for my mum and so when they offered to send me some of their products I could hardly contain my excitement. Skincare products from my favourite country in the world? Count me in. Interestingly, it turns out that you can actually grab these products for yourself over on their English website - and once you see the prices, you'll get why you'd want to.

Having tried face creams from them in the past, I was keen to try a couple more and so these were some of the first things that I opted in for. I picked two different formulas - the Goat's Milk Day Cream and the Natural Olive Cream. These are fairly similar, but the goat's milk formula is a lot thicker as it's targeted towards dry and ageing skin, whereas the olive cream is marketed as a much lighter formula. Out of the two, the olive cream is definitely my favourite - it's a thick cream in the tub, but it smooths out and absorbs almost instantly meaning you feel hydrated without that sticky face feeling. It's got a clean sort of talc smell, but the best thing about it? By far the fact that it will only cost you £2.47 for an entire tub. Seriously. Now the goat's milk offering is a little more pricey at £3.12, however it's definitely a much heavier cream than their olive offering and it has a very distinctive heavily dairy type smell, which should be expected but does knock me slightly sick. It's worth it if you have dry skin and you're willing to try anything, especially given the price, but if you're sensitive to smell or if you can get away with a lighter formula, I'd say probably skip this one.

My other two products were from the Argan Oil range, which I was excited to try as I was pretty sure that this wasn't out the last time that I went to Poland, or at least I know that I didn't see it because it's exactly the sort of thing that I would have made a beeline for. I opted to try the Natural Argan Oil Protective Body Lotion and the Natural Argan Protective Hand Cream so that I could be silky soft from foot to finger - but I have to say I've barely managed to get my hands on the hand cream since it arrived as it was promptly stolen by various members of my family. This resides in our kitchen now, and it's a firm family favourite - it sinks in quickly but really does help to soften any dry skin - not so bad for £1.96.

The body lotion is probably the product that I was the most impressed with, to be honest. It's softening, settles in quick and it comes in a pump bottle. This is better and heavier than most tub body lotions and butters that I've ever tried, and it came in a lot cheaper than £3.71. I have to say that this has also really helped towards healing my scars, I'm not sure if it's the oil in the formula or if it's the motion of rubbing it in, but it's worth a go if you're trying to heal any scars, especially as it's so cheap.

All in all I've been seriously impressed by Ziaja, and I'm very pleased to see I no longer need to take a trip over to Poland just to get myself some cheap, decent face cream. I'm sure I can find another excuse to visit though... Have you ever tried anything from Ziaja?

Sammy xo.
Contains PR samples/items gifted to me by companies however all opinions are my own - please view my disclaimer for more information.

If you liked this you might like: Mr Bean's Coffee Scrub

Friday, 29 April 2016

May's To Read List

April has been a month of many, many new novels to read and so I'm pretty excited about May's to read list. This month has a bit of a random selection, but essentially I just picked the four books I'm most excited to read out of the pile of new ones that I've amassed and so there's some murder mystery, some YA fiction and some chick lit in there; so essentially, there's something for everyone - keep an eye out!

1: Speaking From Among The Bones - Alan Bradley
This sounds like it's going to be an old school, Agatha Christie type novel; only interestingly, it's central character is only 11 years old. I picked this one up out of pure curiosity, and bizarrely I accidentally ended up buying book number five in a series because I'm incapable of actually ensuring that I take the right book home with me - but I'm sure that it's going to be fine, all in all. Maybe. Only one way to find out.

2: The One Safe Place - Tania Unsworth
This is a YA novel and we all know how I feel about them and so, essentially, this is probably the one that I'm most excited about out of the four. I have no idea what this is about, only I know that it's set in a suitably terrifying children's home. I don't have a clue what to expect, but I have high hopes for this one. I mean I've judged it by it's cover, and I'm pretty sure there's a saying about that, but surely that has to work sometimes, right?

3: This Secret We're Keeping - Rebecca Done
This one is probably the one that sounds like the most cheesy out of the lot - as this is about a student and a teacher that had a relationship nearly twenty years ago, only to come back into each other's lives now. I like the sound of this, and I like that it has a little twist in that it says the teacher has changed his identity - but I'm not holding out much hope that it's going to end in anything more than at least two people walking off into the sunset (not that I'm against that).

4: It's Not Me, It's You - Mhairi McFarlane
Straight up - I bought this for the title. This does sound like it's going to be one of those books that leaves me feeling as though my life has been slightly enriched by reading it - but even if it ends up being a straight up romance novel, I won't be mad about it. I'm actually really excited to getting around to reading it!

What's on your to-read list this month?

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: April's To Read List

Thursday, 28 April 2016

The Best Pale Foundations

I was going to start this post by saying that for the last few months I've dedicated my life to trialling pale foundations to find the best - but honestly, now I'm thinking about it, I've sort of spent the last eight years trialling out the best out of the pale foundations. Obviously I've tried more than these, and I've given them a good shot - but for comparison purposes I've only included in these set of posts (there'll be today's, an "okay pale foundations" and a "bad pale foundations") the ones I had in my immediate possession so I could give them fair testing and really rank them against each other. Obviously it depends on your skin type and undertones, but I usually come in as NARS Siberia and I have normal skin. Without further ado, let's get this show on the road - here's the best pale foundations in my humble opinion. They're in no particular order, but if I have favourites I'll mention them in their review.

This is the palest pink toned foundation in this range - and although it looks pretty dark in the bottle, it's definitely sheer enough to look natural on me, and it's honestly one of my favourite foundations of all time. This doesn't have great coverage, all in all, with being such a thin formula, but it works really well with concealer on top of it to hide any of the heaviest blemishes. This always looks really good and really natural, however it is worth noting that I can add a lighter foundation to this and it still looks pretty natural without being too pale - so on some, this might show up a little too dark, especially if you're counting on building it up.

Out of my high end foundations, this is one of the foundations that I always rely on when I know that I want to make an impression and I want my skin to look amazing for any period of time. This is a really glowy formula and it doesn't have too much coverage, but it does last well without looking oily or like it's starting to patch off. The brush on this is awful, I'd say just dot it on your face and use a standard brush to blend it in - and don't be put off by how pink this looks when you first put it on, it's nearly impossible to do wrong and it blends right down to looking really natural; you won't end up looking too sunkissed, I promise.

This is one of my favourites of the whole lot to be honest, which I didn't expect as Liz Earle is a company that I always think of as doing skincare as opposed to make up. This is a really good medium coverage, but it's very buildable and although I'm never sure about this when I'm actually putting it on, whenever I wear this people tend to comment on how natural it looks. There are actually only a couple of shades in this though and so this one is too pale, or just not the right undertone, you're unlikely to get one that will fit you exactly.  Sort that out please, Liz.

This is a good all rounder, especially given that it's on the lower end of the scale price wise. This is good for most skin types from what I've seen online, and it's a solid medium coverage that builds up to a really natural, non-cakey looking full coverage that stays put a fair few hours even without a setting powder. It's got almost a matte finish without making you look like a child's doll. All in all - if you're unsure where to start; I'd say start with Vichy.

This is a good "going on a night out kind of make up". It's fairly heavy and lasts well and it's slightly darker than I would normally settle for, however I have to say that it does still look pretty natural given that it's one of the darker foundations that I have in my collection. It has a really good demi-matte finish and so doesn't particularly need powder over the top - and it's definitely a really good option given the price.

Okay so not technically foundation but we are moving into Summer months and so I think it's worth giving this BB cream an honourable mention. Extra light is a really soft pale colour and, although it takes a bit of concealer to really make it work for me, I absolutely love how this makes my skin look. It's dewy without looking oily and it has pretty good lasting power - just be careful layering though as it can very quickly look very orange.

Last but by no means least is Natio's Pure Mineral Foundation. This reminds me a lot of Mac Face and Body without the oily, greasy feeling at the end of the day - this allows skin to breathe but the colour is good, it's really buildable, and it's pretty cheap for what I would still consider to be a fairly high end foundation. Not my favourite out of the lot, but definitely worth adding to your collection if mineral foundations are your thing.

So there you go - the first of my posts on pale foundations, and there's all of my favourites. Got any more to add? Send them my way or mention them in the comments!

Sammy xo.
Contains PR samples/items gifted to me by companies however all opinions are my own - please view my disclaimer for more information.

If you liked this you might like: New Additions To My Make Up Bag

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Rossi Cleansing Oil

I spoke about Rossi Cleansing Oil a little back in my March Currently Testing #1 post, but since then I feel like our relationship has evolved and moved on quite a lot (too dramatic when talking about a cleanser?) I love myself a good cleanser, and I weirdly hoard them, so I expect a lot from each new one that I get, and this cleansing oil was no exception. Cleansing balms are more my things than oils and so although I've been testing this out vigorously, I have to say that all in all, it just isn't my jam. Open minds though, as they say.

First things first - I feel like this needs a better bottle than it has. The glass is heavy and the oil sticks to it making it frankly dangerous in hands such as my own, and my pump broke after only a few uses which means that I now have to take the lid off completely and pour the oil onto my hand which is just messy beyond anything else. It also seems like although I clean the bottle off after every single use, it's always absolutely drenched in oil and I always feel as though it's leaking. This sounds like a niggly thing, but it means that I never take it travelling with me and I feel as though I just want it gone because I can't lie it down anywhere in my skincare drawers. This is actually very inconvenient when you're as dramatic as I am.

Let's move on from the amateur dramatics for a minute, though. The cleansing oil itself is pretty good; it has a fairly strong almond/marzipan sort of smell so that's worth considering if you're not as big a fan of battenberg as I am - but I have to say that it does live up to the expectations. Make up removal wise, this does a brilliant job - you need very little in order to completely break down even the toughest eye make up and it doesn't hurt my eyes in any way, which I always consider a bonus. It is worth noting though, that if you don't use a toner this leaves a film on your face (as most oils probably do, I'd imagine) which can feel a little greasy and uncomfortable - so that's worth noting if you're not a big fan about the whole full skincare routine sort of thing.

Would I recommend it? It's hard to say. I think £14.75 is a really good price for an oil cleanser, especially when you need so little - but I'm just not so sure that this is something that I would choose to repurchase when mine is gone. I think perhaps if the packaging on this was better I'd consider it more highly, but if oil is your bag then this is definitely worth giving a go in my opinion. No product is perfect, but for what you get for the price that you're paying, I'd say that this was probably pretty close.

What cleansers would you recommend?

Sammy xo.
Contains PR samples/items gifted to me by companies however all opinions are my own - please view my disclaimer for more information.

If you liked this you might like: March Currently Testing #1

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

The Lake Of Dreams Book Review

A few years ago before we all went on our respective summer holidays, it came out that nearly every female in my family had bought one of the same novels to take along with us; The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards. It wasn't that weird, I think it was like a Richard and Judy Book Club sort of deal when they were still relevant, but the point of this now rather long winded story is that we all saved this book, excited to read it, and then when we did it just didn't live up to the hype that we'd given it. Still, when The Lake Of Dreams by Edwards landed in my hands, I have to say I was excited - would this be the missing puzzle piece, would it be everything that I had wanted from The Memory Keeper's Daughter? I sat down to read and find out.

The Lake Of Dreams follows the life of Lucy, a girl who returns from what seems like a lifetime of living abroad in order to check in on her other after a fall. Leaving her boyfriend behind in Japan, she comes back to the small town in which her father died - but when she finds letters and secrets hidden in the house, she quickly realises that everything she knew about the life that she had when she lived her before might not be true. Throw in some serious ex boyfriend drama and some stained glass windows with a history closely tied to her own, and it's clear that Lucy won't be leaving The Lake Of Dreams as the same person that she arrived.

The book is well written and beautiful, and although it's very complicated with it's delicate family tree that needs to be in the right places in your head in order for the story to work - its captivating, and everything that I felt that The Memory Keeper's Daughter was lacking. Beyond her family history, the story tackles the idea of coming home and facing things that you've been running from from for longer than you might like to imagine. It's heartwarming and heartbreaking in the same breath, and it's a book that really stayed with me, even as I moved onto my next offering. 

All in all - I think the blurb of this book didn't do it justice. Far from being the chick flick that I imagined, this is a deep, well thought out and beautifully written book from Edwards - and it's even made me consider going back to The Memory Keeper's Daughter to try it out again now that I'm older and (potentially ever so slightly) wiser. This is definitely one I'd recommend to add to your to-read pile though; it's one that you'll want your mum to read after you, and it's definitely one that will leave you thinking that just because life doesn't go how we expected it to, that doesn't mean that it's not going how it's supposed to.

What have you been reading lately that you'd recommend?

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: Severed Heads, Broken Hearts Book Review

Monday, 25 April 2016

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Skin Trilogy

When I met Charlotte Tilbury (have I mentioned this before, that I met Charlotte Tilbury? Because I did. Face to face. In case you missed that.) it was less about the make up and more about the skincare and, to be honest, I felt a little out of my depth because I didn't really realise that she even did anything in the way of skincare. So, when I came away from the event with my own set to try out, I really decided to put it through it's paces to the best of my ability. This stuff is far from cheap - you can buy them seperately, but the trilogy will set you back £195, so I really wanted to know - is it worth dropping just shy of £200 on products, or in this case are you really paying for a name?

So the trilogy consists of Charlotte's Magic Cream, Magic Night Rescue Cream and Magic Eye Rescue - all variations of creams that I use on a regular basis and so I decided to see how they fared against their cheaper counterparts. First up - Charlotte's Magic Cream. If you buy it seperately, this stuff will set you back £70, so let's just have a little think about that before we even begin to move forward; £70 is hella expensive for a moisturiser in anybody's eyes; however, this got it's reputation when Charlotte was still working as a make up artist and it has many celebrity fans and so I was desperate to slap it onto my face (and hopefully magically become Miranda Kerr.) Sadly, I did not become Miranda Kerr after slathering this stuff on, however it's hydrating yet lightweight and it does make your make up look amazing (and has the bonus of being SPF15). This stuff isn't one I'd use as an every day cream, for £70 there's no way I could afford to, but this is a cream that I put on first if I know my make up is going to need a helping hand. It does make for flawless skin if you put make up on top of it, and if you really need that extra something, it's likely worth every single penny.

Next up was the one out of the trilogy that I definitely needed most; the Magic Eye Rescue. This one is the least expensive out of the kit and will set you back £40, which isn't cheap - but, this one is worth every single penny. As a serial awful sleeper, I need anything to combat the bags under my arms, and this does a good job. It's a gel/cream texture and it goes on cold, and it really does help with the appearance of my under eye bags. It doesn't solve them, anything short of a sleeping curse is unlikely to, but it definitely does go part of the way to helping me look a little more human. If you can only afford one - this is definitely my top pick.

Finally comes the Magic Night Rescue Cream - ah, the one that divided me about the trilogy. Let's talk about that. First things first, there's no avoiding the price on this one, which will set you back £100. This was described as the kind of cream that would make you look completely refreshed and hydrated in the morning, and it does do a good job - but I have a couple of issues. Issue one; the smell. The whole trilogy smells the same, a strong rose based sort of scent, but as they others sink in you can't smell them; this one, however, stays on your skin and you'll keep getting a whiff of it all night. If rose isn't your thing, that's definitely something to think about. Issue two; the texture. Like The Body Shop's Bouncy Sleeping Mask, this is a tacky, gel like formula - unlike the Body Shop's offering that seems absorbed by the morning, I do feel like I'm washing the remainder of this off when I cleanse my face again in the morning. It does make my skin look great, but I just don't like the feel or the smell of it on, basically, and for £100 I think you can probably find one (if not multiple) alternative(s).

Basically - you get the quality that you pay for, but especially for the night cream, it's worth testing out the texture on the back of your hands. Would I recommend them? If you have the money, go for it. If you don't, you can find good high street alternatives that do a similar type of job for much cheaper, which is worth knowing before you scrape every penny you have together to buy yourself a set.

Sammy xo.
Contains PR samples/items gifted to me by companies however all opinions are my own - please view my disclaimer for more information.

If you liked this you might like: Skincere Skincare

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Finding A Label

Ever since I was a teenager, I searched for an elusive label - I fell in and out of different ones that seemed suitable for me - pansexual, bisexual, lesbian, gay, queer; but never quite settled for one. Instead, I settled for a girlfriend, and in that relationship I was given a label by others and maybe it wasn't what I identified myself as, but in all honesty - having the label was a relief. I fit somewhere, enough that I could come out, share it with people, make it a part of my identity. Then, when that relationship was over - I suddenly became aware of something; without that relationship, I'm back without a label; but where do I fit in?

It's not important to fit in if you don't want to, but it's something I've always wished that I had a word for. Do I like girls? Yes, I like girls. Do I like boys? Of course I like boys. I like people, I like the way they tell jokes, and the way people laugh awkwardly to cover up lulls in conversation, I like the difference in the way that people kiss, and the difference in the tricks that they have up their sleeves. In short - it's never been about a gender for me, I like people; genders are irrelevant, I search out a person who clicks with me, who's willing to still be up talking to me about absolute crap at 2am; more elusive than my finding of a label has always been finding someone who fits me, somebody who intrigues me enough to keep me interested.

So here's me coming out; and not for the first time. I'm pansexual, or queer, or bisexual or just somewhere in between. I want it on record that I'm not getting over a phase, I'm not too hurt to ever fall in with another girl, I'm not done with boys and trying something new; I will always search out the person that fits me best, not what gender that person happens to be. Whether for sex, or a relationship, or a future - I'm not willing to push myself into a box that I'm unsure about; I'm not gay, I'm not straight, I'm somewhere slap bang in the middle with no pull either way; people fascinate me and that's something that's simply never going to change.

This is a brain dump, as happens regularly on here as of late - but I wanted it on record. Falling out of the boundaries of a label that people assumed for you can sometimes feel like everyone is standing on the sidelines with their own opinion, ready to throw their hats into the ring - and so here's your clarification. I might have come out as gay, but didn't I say it was fluid? Here's the water moving down the path because what I truly like is people, and that's a label that's here to stay.

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: That's So Gay (Sort Of, Maybe)

Saturday, 23 April 2016

A Love Letter


This is a bit weird - I know, but bear with me. This is a love letter from you (me) to you (me) and although it's more than a bit strange, we're going to go with it. This is a letter because self love is important, and god knows that we could use it right now, and I want to remind you what you've done well, what you're good at, for when you really need it.

Never forget that beyond all odds you have made it to 22, survived depression, anxiety, heartbreak and loss - every time you thought you'd found something that would break you, it didn't. You picked yourself up, dusted yourself off and you came back stronger. You survived losing other people, but more importantly, you survived losing yourself and - maybe it's taken until recently - but you found yourself again. You alone have survived 100% of your worst days (and there's been a fair few) and you alone have been there for every tear and every panic attack.

You are more resilient than you know; it's taken some really shitty situations to work that out, but we're getting there. We're talking weeks clean and free of panic attacks not days, we're talking real recovery like you never thought that you'd achieve - we're talking about getting better, when all the odds were stacked against you. Just because nobody else could see that you were getting better, it didn't mean that you weren't still building and moving forwards - but you were, you are, bigger steps every single day.

A year ago, this day seemed like one we would never reach. We'll have falls, and fall outs, and we'll have breaks, and broken hearts, but we'll keep pushing forwards. I have more days filled with happiness and laughter, I'm getting there, I'm recovering, and it's important to remember that we alone did that - even when people doubted us, we learned to stop doubting ourselves. Know that you will always be able to sleep at night knowing your strength and passion; know that these years that you've spent ill have been anything but a weakness and anybody that made you feel that way were the people that needed the strength.

We made it. We're recovering. This is a love letter to us, because we had to do it alone for the most part - but we did it, we're here.

Sammy xo.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Decorating My Bullet Journal

When I started my Bullet Journal, I knew that I wanted one with a traditional cover so that when I looked at it in public it fit with my professional aesthetic (that I've just made up, nobody is foolish enough to think that I'm professional). However, I love bright colours and all things pretty and so I decided that much like a mullet, my bullet journal was going to be all business in the front and all party in the back - so, without further ado, here's the bits and pieces I've been using to decorate my Bullet Journal.

For the whole of March that I used my journal, I played around with different headings, pens and colours - as well as whether I'd be using washi tape or not. Although I loved the patterns on the washi tape, and mine are from MT, I just didn't like the feeling that it gave my journal and so I decided to move on from it. Plus, to get it neat I needed scissors and I'm too lazy for that, so it was promptly dropped as an idea. I did however, order myself some stickers to help myself track things like my period (the stickers are cute little pairs of knickers), my Doctors appointments (cute little doctors with stethoscopes) and some others for things like coffee or lunches. I find that I'm more likely to keep things recorded if there's cute stickers involved - which pretty much sums me up as a person; I bought my stickers from a cute little Etsy shop called Dook Plook Designs and they were pretty inexpensive.

I've also trialed a fair few types of pens - however, I figured that coloured biros just weren't working for me and so I opted for Stabilo Point 88's which are good for both writing and drawing, as well as not transferring too badly onto the next page. I've found that using the same pen in different colours just makes it all look a little more uniform which makes me super happy and so these are the perfect set of pens for me (plus, all my friends had them in school but I didn't, so any excuse to buy them now I'm an adult.)

I've also taken to using post it notes in my journal - I don't like to cross things out, so these are the perfect way to store little notes to remind myself of things that might not get done immediately, or to house shopping lists and similar. I have a whole variety of post it notes in different colours in order to make sure nothing gets overlooked - also, if it ever comes to the point where I need to completely cover a car in sticky notes like on those prank websites, I'll have my tools all at the ready.

Mostly, I've really enjoyed playing with my bullet journal - it's been a weird learning process where I've loved some things and scrapped others nearly straight away; I think that's the whole charm of the bullet journal idea though, that you just keep working at it until you've managed to hit the perfect set up for you personally. All in all, I've enjoyed the experiment, and I can't wait to see what May turns out like!

Sammy xo.
Contains PR samples/items gifted to me by companies however all opinions are my own - please view my disclaimer for more information.

If you liked this you might like: Starting My Bullet Journal

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Living Life Online

Since starting Little Fickle, I made it a word dump. Between this place and my twitter, I publicise my entire life, and maybe it's only to a combined following of 9000 or so - I'm not exactly Zoella - but it seems sometimes there's a fair few eyes on my life. When things are going well, and I need support, this is great - it means I have a small virtual army who have my back, with their kind words and messages of encouragement. When things are going bad - I want to keep this place as open as it is and so that means I have to bring it and announce it to 9000 people. It's supportive, and in the end I'm always glad that I did it, but is living my life out online everything I made it out to be?

I started writing about my life when I was questioning my sexuality - it was a place that I felt that I could rant to, it was a place to let myself and other people know that I wasn't alone. It brought me friends, support and a sense of relief and so I did it again and again with all the big things in my life. Within minutes of coming out to my family, I officially came out online - when I was off work ill I wrote about my struggles. This place has always been for me, but as it slowly becomes for other people, and becomes such a piece of me that I don't want to leave it in the dark anymore, I've suddenly realised the enormity of the space that I've created on the internet.

Whether 4 people or 4000 people are reading what I write - it's there. My life is catalogued and dated neatly, every big struggle is written on the internet - and I'm proud of it, I want it there. But, when it takes one click to find my Facebook and a further four maximum to find my blog; I wonder if this will keep away people who might otherwise have been in my life. As you're meeting someone, finding a blog like mine can be the equivalent of getting a book of their history before you've even decided whether they're worth your time yet. It's something I've come to terms with - the fact that my life is on the internet is definitely something that is going to put some people off.

I get it though, I do - flick back a few months and you'll see my entire last relationship posted here, you'll see me cutting exes out of my life, you'll see me battling with a mental illness and somewhat recovering from it, you'll see my therapy sessions, what I've been reading, where I've been eating, what sex toys I've been trying and even what make up I've been loving. When I decided to be this open on the internet, I'm not sure I realised the enormity of the things that I was typing. My blog has helped me to survive, but it's also immortalised huge parts of my life forever. That's not to say that I regret writing them, I'm more than proud of what I've created - but it leads me to wonder, would I do it all the same knowing what I know now?

Mostly - this is just a post because I wanted it off my chest. I don't think I'll ever be a girl who doesn't put too much of her life in a public forum, I don't think I'll ever have a completely quiet sex life where I don't talk about the toys I love on here - I don't want to be that girl - but it doesn't stop me wondering whether things would be different if I was.

Sammy xo.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

New Additions To My Make Up Bag

It seems that day by day my make up collection only gets larger and larger and I tend to put it all away and forget that I even own it and so I thought that today I'd make a post showing all the latest bits and pieces that I've managed to accumulate in the last few weeks. Helpfully, they're all gold or rose gold and so they match and look cool together - small mercies, thanks cosmetics companies.

First up was one of the most exciting additions to my make up collection in a long while - the Mai Couture Like A Diamond Trio, which is a tiny book containing sheets of two different blushes and one highlighter. These are literally sheets of paper coated in pigment that you can use to top up on the go. In theory, these are amazing - they have a really soft champagne highlighter, a rose gold sort of blush and a soft pink blush - but in practise, they just don't swatch that amazingly. The highlight is good, it's strong and you can use it with a brush if you rub it against the paper - but the two blush colours just don't have the pigmentation and come out splotchy and uneven. Mostly, I hate the idea of rubbing the sheets against my face; I can never get it even and where I want the product to be and, to be honest, it's just a lot more hassle than it's worth. These are just a little gimmicky in my opinion, and probably just use the $18 to get a standard blush and highlight. In theory, great, in practise? Just take a brush along with you and it'll do the same job.

Next up are my favourite new additions to my make up collection; Charlotte Tilbury lip products. These ones all came in The Golden Goddess look, but you can actually buy the lip kit seperately here. It doesn't come cheap at £49.00 but they're so worth it - the kit contains the infamous Lip Cheat Pencil in Pillow Talk, the K.I.S.S.I.N.G. Lipstick in Stoned Rose and the Lip Lustre in Ibiza Nights. On my lips (and you can see the combination all over my social media) this creates quite a dark nude lip on someone as pale as me, but the lip gloss adds a little brightness, and makes my lips look a little fuller. I've been using this combination most days, and I'm really, really into it. Thumbs up for Charl Tilb on this front.

Next up comes Paul and Joe. Now, I'm not really that big a fan of cats and so Paul and Joe have always seemed like a bit of a novelty brand to me, however I did manage to get my hands on this Pressed Face Powder which is half translucent and half a very nude highlight. I like the compact for this which you can buy seperately for £9, but the powder itself is £17 and I'm not sure it's worth that. When you blend the two together it makes a really lovely, slightly glowy setting powder; however, I do think it's a lot of money for what it is. My pro tip would probably be get a cheaper setting powder and a good highlight and you'll probably pay around the same £26 mark anyway. The powder's good, but I'm just not sure that any setting/translucent type powder is worth that amount of money.

Finally up is the Hyaluronic Eye Primer by By Terry. This stuff is expensive at £32, and yet it's quickly become a staple within my make up bag. This goes on smooth without feeling siliconey, but really does seem to make my eye make up last most of the day without even a tiny bit of creasing. All in all - this is one of my favourite eye primers - it's even overtaken Urban Decay's Primer Potion - and I'd say that if you're going to buy anything expensive to go on your eyes, make it a really good primer; however, this does only come in two shades - light and neutral.

So a bit of a mixed bag, but that's the make up I've been trying out this month. What's been your favourite make up this month? What would you recommend?

Sammy xo.
Contains PR samples/items gifted to me by companies however all opinions are my own - please view my disclaimer for more information.

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Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Severed Heads, Broken Hearts Book Review

I'm a junkie for young adult books - seriously. There's just something about YA fiction that I find a lot more inspiring and uplifting than traditional adult fiction - and I love when I finish a book that's really had some sort of impact on my life, because I find it really amazing that it'll likely do that for someone younger than me that might really need it; and Severed Heads, Broken Hearts was the perfect example of this in my opinion. Robyn Schneider's novel tackles the idea that, at some point in every person's life, there will be an event that will change your life irreparably without you getting a say - and it's a beautiful, life affirming sort of read.

I like to read books that I can take something away from, and this was definitely one of those books - I felt like I put it down feeling as though, no matter how bad you feel, or how awful things can seem, everything will turn on it's axis and change and improve. The book follows the life of Ezra, whose life is turned on it's head at the age of 17 when he has to give up his dream of playing tennis professionally due to a car accident that fractures his knee. As he loses the friends that he had before, we see him fall back in with an old friend, Toby (whose life changing moment was catching a severed head on a Disneyland ride as a child), and we see their lives mould and change under the weight of irreparable change.

Add into the mix a pretty redhead called Cassidy, some questioning of sexuality and just the right amount of drunkenness and teenage rebellion and you've got the perfect mix for a book. Critics have compared this to offerings from John Green, which I completely understand, but in the same way, it's reassuring and beautifully written and a book that won't just be enjoyed, but one that you'll learn something from too. Like John Green - I can see Schneider easily making herself a household name - and this book really deserves every slither of recognition that it gets.

All in all, this is one for when you're feeling a little low, and you're not sure what's happening with your life. It's calming and beautiful and it's a book that you'll want to pass on to your friends and family. This is one I'd say needs to be on your to-read list and I can't wait to see what other offerings I can uncover from Robyn Schneider.

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: The Lie Book Review

Monday, 18 April 2016

Jane Iredale Greatshape Eyebrow Kit

If there's one thing I wish that I woke up with and had to do absolutely nothing to them - it's undoubtedly my eyebrows. All I want at the minute is to have my very sparse eyebrows micro-bladed in, but as I can't afford in, I have instead turned to every pomade, brush, mascara, kit and pencil on the market. Still though, I'm yet to find anything that really works for me and so I still get a little excited when something new comes around, and offerings from my favourite brand Jane Iredale only peaked my interest even more and so I happily agreed to be a guinea pig and test out their Greatshape Eyebrow Kit.

Up until now, the kit comes in only two colours; blonde and brunette. I wold say, if you have sparse, light eyebrows like me - the blonde colour is unlikely to be enough, so opt for the darker. If your eyebrows only really need an extra "boost" then try the lighter colour, and you might get away with it. Each kit comes with a double ended brush with a spoolie one end and a slanted brush the other, the coloured brow powder and a small disk of wax. In it's essence, it's not unlike the Benefit Brow Zings, and it's at a similar price point at £26, however, it's important to notice this contains slightly less product and doesn't have tweezers unlike it's Benefit counterpart.

Having said that - I do like it. The powder is pretty pigmented, and I find the wax does a great job at holding my brows in place; however, for me it's just not enough. No powder is ever going to do that block fill that I need as I just don't have enough hair to rely on powder alone - I had the same problem with the aforementioned Brow Zings. Good product, but I haven't got decent enough brows to have it work for me.

It is interesting though, and the packaging is sleek with a good mirror and overall, I like it - I like the shade of the powder and I have been using it to fill in the front of my brows whilst pencilling in the rest; I'd be keen to see someone with darker hair's reaction to the product because I think it's definitely one to add to the collection - but for me, until they're offering pencils, Jane Iredale just won't be able to do the job for me.

So this is a bit of a mixed one - I like it but it's not a product for me personally; I'd say if you've tried Brow Zings and gotten along with it - this is a great alternative with a brilliant shade of powder. Definitely worth a go for the money, though, especially if you have darker hair or fuller eyebrows than your girl.

Sammy xo.
Contains PR samples/items gifted to me by companies however all opinions are my own - please view my disclaimer for more information.

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Sunday, 17 April 2016

Sex Toy Wishlist

Since I made active moves towards making my blog more sex positive, I've spent a lot of time considering how I have sex, what I like with regards to sex - I figure the first step to making waves talking about sex is to really know myself down to the... ahem... core. So, I've been spending a fair amount of time looking at sex toys and aids, trying to work out what appeals to me and what I find most interesting. As such - I've formed quite the wishlist, and so I thought I'd share it with you lot. Without further ado, it's all yours (you're welcome).

Lelo sex toys don't come cheap, but they're amongst the best. They're pretty, in a league of their own and normally something just a little different. This is is inspired by the finger motions you'd expect from a partner, they move in a come here motion and stimulate the g-spot. Not at all the cheapest, but by far one of the highest toys on my wishlist (and the reviews are pretty good, I checked). Bonus - this comes in pink, purple and a gorgeous turquoise colour; not all that important, but definitely a nice addition.

Again not the cheapest, but definitely one that I'm keen on getting my hands on. Mostly - I just like the idea of being able to wear a vibrator; little pleasures (literally, in this case). This is delicate and pretty, it even comes in a rose gold option which is every bloggers dream, and you can even get it engraved. This is definitely a pricey one, and perhaps one I'd get as a present as opposed to buying one for myself, but it's one that's definitely something a little more luxury than the average.

Okay - I definitely only had this one catch my eye because it looks so much like a Clarisonic, but the more that I read about this, the more it seemed like a really good addition to my collection. This has a lot of information and technological know-how behind it - but essentially it omits long, low frequency vibrations and hits more than twice the nerves of a normal vibrator. This is part of Ann Summers Moregasm range and, with a name like that, who isn't planning on rushing out to buy a least one of the clinical looking toys.
When  I looked at getting a strap on I briefly considered getting an internal double strap on, but I read that it's not as easy as you might imagine and so I quickly pushed it aside and got a regular one - but still often talk about buying one in the future. A good one definitely doesn't come cheap, but this one vibrates, has a curved internal toy piece for the wearers comfort and generally just sounds like an great all rounder.

Oh come on, this one is from Coco De Mer, you knew that it wasn't going to come cheap. I love the shape and pattern of this, and I love the idea of it taking the edge off a gaudy, bright coloured plastic collection. Ceramic adds a whole new sensation into the mix, and I'm just really keen on adding this to the collection. I mean, probably not keen enough to drop £150 on it any time soon, but keen nonetheless.

What sex toys are on your wishlist?

Sammy xo.

If you liked this post, you might like: When I Think About Me, I Touch Myself

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Talking About CBT

When I knew that I was being sent to CBT, or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, I bricked it. Maybe I'm not that ill, I thought, do I really need a councillor? I'll just back out closer to the time, the waiting list is extensive anyway I won't get there for months; and so on, and so on, for months and months and months - until it finally rolled around. I sat sullenly in my first session and didn't know what to expect, but I left feeling positive - and although two left me with a new diagnosis that threw me a bit; this week, I found myself looking forward to getting there once again, to being able to say the worst worries on my mind to someone who won't judge or walk away because of them.

CBT seemed scary to me - but now it's something that I understand, something that I look positively towards, as when I step in that room I know I'm going to voice everything that's weighing on me, and then I'm going to leave them in that room and walk away with new coping techniques. I'm three weeks into my CBT course and I feel better, stronger, not fixed - but more able to ensure that I'm taking care of the broken parts in the way that I should be doing. CBT is teaching me to stay clean, it's teaching me to take care of myself, and it's teaching me how to react to those around me - all invaluable life lessons.

What it's taught me more than anything it to take care of myself, to cut myself some slack and give myself some patience even when it feels like there's nobody else doing the same thing for me. I find it comforting to know that no matter how bad things get, I'm never more than 7 days away from a full hour where I can rant, rave, sketch angrily on paper and tell someone something and know that at the end, they're still wishing me the best, still pushing me to get better, still knowing that one day I will.

CBT is a huge step - and I know how disconcerting it can be when you get that letter to say you're up- but trust me on this one, it's not nearly as bad as you think. It's your own personal diary that leaves no evidence, you can say anything in that room and then walk away from it - in fact, you should, it's sort of the point. It's like having a doctor and a cheerleader in one; only they're not expecting anything from you, they only want you to get better for yourself - and in a world where I know that I feel guilty for placing my problems onto another person; someone impartial and non-judgemental is exactly what I found I needed.

I'll update as I go along, but I just wanted to update after my first few sessions to say; it's going well. It's helping - in ten weeks, we'll see just how much.

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: Happiness

Friday, 15 April 2016

Ameriesko Liverpool

I always love it when I get invited to try out restaurants that are right in the centre of my stomping ground, and so when Ameriesko got in touch with Katy and asked us both to nip in to see what they had to offer - I stopped mourning the old Central Perk that used to stand on their spot and instead got ready to put them through their paces. So, a few weeks ago Katy and I set off to Liverpool's Bold Street for waffles, snooping and more - and it's safe to say that we weren't disappointed. Central Perk had become a Liverpool staple, and so filling the boots was no mean feat and yet Ameriesko seem to have taken no time at all in stepping up to the plate.

Gone is the bottle green front window and the heavy, dark decor and in it's place there's new fresh, clear glass and brilliantly spaced tables. Gone is the permanent playing of Friends over music, and in it's place is a muted Fresh Prince Of Belair adding a very different theme to the whole place. Still firmly in place though, is this nostalgia for the 90's/early 00's America that people of our generation grew up with and, alongside it, the programmes that have become cult now; the walls are littered with all kinds of merchandise, from the Simpsons and Ted to Breaking Bad and Family Guy - it's a treasure trove of TV and Movie merch.

There's something so friendly about Ameriesko that it's impossible not to be won over by it; it's like settling down in your childhood kitchen, kicking back with Will Smith and being served by old friends. Okay, maybe that's a bit too much, but the staff are amongst the nicest I've ever come across - they were willing to swap bits on the menu for us, try things out and we had a chat and a joke with both members of staff on shift that day. Good staff are the most important assets to a restaurant or cafe and so this was a huge tick in our book - we had a chat with the manager Connor and everything about the staff is professional and charming and yet laid back; the perfect balance.

Katy doesn't like milkshake but was keen to try an ice cream shake, and the staff were all too happy to make it without milk for her (she hated it so we swapped, but I have to say it was pretty good, if not my usual thing), and I ordered a coke. We also ordered one set of pancakes with butterscotch sauce and chocolate chips and one set of waffles with white chocolate chips and strawberries. The idea was to try a bit of each others, but in the end we each demolished our own and I can attest that they were amazing - really fluffy and delicious.

Ameriesko has it all - a charming atmosphere, great staff and amazing food and, in fact, we liked it so much that we actually secured their downstairs private function room for North West Meet. Ameriesko is a brilliant new addition to Liverpool's city centre, and I can't wait to see it grow and expand (as it undoubtedly will).

Sammy xo.
This meal and included drinks were provided by Mojo Liverpool in return for the consideration of a review - This has no influenced my opinion in any way and all opinions are my own. Honestly, try the Butterscotch milkshake. Read my disclaimer for more.

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Thursday, 14 April 2016

Rituals The Laughing Buddha Collection - First Impressions

This week has taken the mick even by my standards, and so when we popped up to Cheshire Oaks this week for lunch - my mum was all up for convincing me to treat myself to something to take the edge off and so after scouring every shop in the vicinity I decided on buying myself the Rituals Laughing Buddha Collection. The idea of the gift set is that if you smile the world smiles back and I think sharing some positivity, whether it comes from a body butter or not, is something not to turn our noses up at and so I loaded this beautiful gift set into the car and was determined to make myself just a little happier with it.

So - I put it to the test in one long pamper night. This particular kit contains a shower foam, a body scrub, a bed and body mist and a body cream all in the sweet orange and cedar wood scent which is supposedly some kind of much needed pick me up. I've never tried too much from Rituals in the past - but I was keen to rip this gift set open and give it a go and so I decided to use them all in one night. Wild. So, it all started in the bath with the Happy Buddha Foaming Shower Gel (I'm sorry, you just can't pamper yourself in the shower, it's just not the same). This is probably the most underwhelming of all of the products - but then again, it's only a shower foam and so I don't really know what I'd expected and so, although it smelt nice and did an ace job of washing me, to buy this seperately it's going to knock you back £8.50 and so you know, maybe see if you can get an Imperial Leather alternative before you splash out on this.

However, now we get onto the good stuff. Next up was the Good Luck Scrub, which will set you back £19.50 if you buy it seperately, but genuinely really is worth the money. This is a really coarse sugar scrub without feeling as though it's too much - this would be a good one to take tan off, but I just used it prior to shaving my legs because I like to get them super smooth. This one was expensive, but a hit (and it works out cheaper if you get it in the kit, and cheaper again if you get it in the outlet like I did, so that's worth thinking about).

Next came the one product I was actually about to fork out for when I noticed that it was in the set - the Touch Of Happiness Body Cream. This is a really soft and yet surprising hydrating body cream that sinks in quickly and smells like oranges, aka. it's amazing. This is £17 if you buy it seperately but you need the tiniest amount and if you're treating yourself to something, I'd put this pretty high on the list, it's so good. Finally came the Happy Mist Bed and Body Mist; I loved bed mists but normally they smell like lavender, which I hate, and so this was a welcome addition to the collection. I found spraying this on my sheets just led me into a much calmer nights sleep, and every time I moved I got a whiff which was very pleasant. It is £16.50 though so, you know.

The kit doesn't come cheap - I believe that I paid £26 for it in the outlet, but it retails for £38.50 on the website - I would say though, if you're looking to treat yourself or somebody close to you, Rituals is definitely worth looking at.

Sammy xo.

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