Catching up on the end of 2014 and an apology for absence

First up apologies for not posting much over the last month or so. I got hit pretty badly with my SAD, and it wasn’t fair on anyone to try and post when I’d got no enthusiasm for anything. Thankfully I’m coming out of the other side of that now, so it’s time to play catchup and move forwards! So here’s a bit of what you can expect coming up!

Coming up over this month, you can expect the lowdown on the Plus Sized blogger meet-up from last month at Meadowhall, a review on Christmas Lights, TWO book reviews, which brings me up to date, and then you can expect my first clothing reviews, and something that arrived in the post for consideration today. So things certainly haven’t stopped!

I’m also preparing to move to my own domain as well soon, something I was going to look into doing for the New Year, but I got caught away from home in the snow that hit on Boxing Day and then being stuck for a week until it cleared and I was allowed out again. I’m going back to work next week as well, which I’m quite looking forwards to, but will obviously impact on my time now, but I’ve already planned for that, and hopefully you’ll hear from me two or three times a week.

I’ve also got a couple of events lined up already for this year, which seems really organised, the first of which is two weekends away, and I’ll be there with my new camera as well to catch all the action with at least one or two other blogger friends.

So there you go, the ice has been broken (quite literally) and you’ll be hearing from me again soon.

Sara x

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#SheffieldBBloggers #3 – the Goodiebag!!

Well, it’s been a little while coming I know, but it is here – rightfully deserving of it’s own post; the goodie bag from the #SheffieldBBloggers event!

As you’ve already seen in previous posts – if not you’ll find part one here, and part two here – there were LOTS of companies involved, so I figured the easiest way that I could actually do this was to post a couple of pictures, and then go through the products that I have tried so far, with comments. A good few of these will no doubt get their own posts (and rightfully so) later, but this way I think works – so here goes!

Once again here’s that first look from at the event…

 

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The  first thing you’ll see is just HOW generous the companies involved were, any why it would be nigh on impossible to provide a full write up of everything! So let’s take a look at it laid out a bit neater, once I’d gotten home and recovered from all of the excitement!

 

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The first thing that I would say is that I love the bag, which was kindly supplied by The Blogger Programme. I’ve got a thing for tote bags at the moment, and am pretty much solely switching between this one and one a friend brought back from a literary festival a bit earlier in the year. As you can see, it holds a lot! So, onto the contents; which I’m going to list, so I make sure I don’t miss anyone out, as not everyone got absolutely everything, and I still want to thank everyone! If I’ve tried the product, I will write my initial thoughts, and if not, I will come back and do an updated post in a while to include it!

  • Balance Active Formula Day & Night Cream – I’ve been using this for about a week now, and it feels pretty good! The cream itself is an 8 in 1 cream, and whilst I can’t yet say it’s working in all 8 ways, I have noticed that my skin does feel firmer for using it, and a bit more even when I’ve used it before applying foundation.
  • Passion for Natural Aloe Vera Product – this hasn’t just been used by me since it came into the house! I was expecting a strong aloe smell from this, but was pleasantly surprised to find there wasn’t. I received the Aloe Vera Lotion in my bag which is a full sized sample, and I’m finding I don’t need a lot, so I think this will last ages! I get quite irritated skin especially in winter, so this may well be a godsend!
  • Benefit Cosmetics Lola Tint, Big Easy Sample I’ve yet to try this
  • T-Zone Facial Scrub I’ve only used this once or twice, which isn’t for lack of wanting to! From very first impressions this left my face feeling incredibly cleansed, though, so will definitely be coming back to it.
  • Crabtree and Evelyn Product I received a shower gel, which smells amazing, and when I’m able to have a shower again (hopefully the plaster will be off soon!) this is going to be used.
  • Skinetica– I haven’t tried this yet
  • Cloud 9 Skin Solutions – I received the varicose vein treatment, which it says is also good for achey legs. Once the plaster comes off and physio begins I’m definitely going to be needing this, so I’m saving it for later.
  • Essie Nail Varnish – I’ve had one go of this, so far, and I was astounded by how well it went on, even onto my really crappy nails!
  • Somerset Toiletry Company – I received the Verbena luxury hand cream, which smells and feels amazing. I’ve used it a couple of times so far after being out in the cold in my wheelchair, as I can’t wear full gloves and it’s done a fantastic job of replacing moisture.
  • Papier Poudre Blotting paper – I’ve yet to try this
  • Body Shop Nail Varnish – I received a pink and green shade, and wore the pink one this Tuesday to an event I’d been invited to. It went on pretty smoothly, but seemed to come off incredibly easily. I’m going to give it another go or two just in case it was a fluke, but it looked good, so I hope so!
  • Lyons Leaf Beauty Balm – I haven’t tried this yet, but I’m really excited about it. It smells really really good, and the little bit I put on my finger was quickly absorbed. Really cute tin as well!
  • Quinoderm Face Wash – I haven’t tried this yet
  • Macadamia Cleansing Conditioner – I think this is probably my favourite thing so far – it’s been an absolute godsend! The no suds formula has meant I’ve been able to wash my hair without having to bend over the sink so I don’t get shampoo everywhere, and it’s rinsed out really well, leaving my hair the cleanest it’s been since July (which I know sounds really bad, but my hair is SO THICK that it just doesn’t wash properly with shampoo and a sink and cup) Definitely a keeper.
  • Mondss Underarm Pads – I’ve not tried these yet as I haven’t had occasion to, but really am intrigued to!
  • Nanshy Makeup Brush – I haven’t tried this brush yet.
  • Transforming Lives £100 Voucher
  • Bare Minerals Eyeliner – eyeliner and me don’t always get on when it comes to my top lid, but this has really worked pretty well. I’ve worn it more as I would normally wear, but have experimented a bit, and it’s gone on really smoothly and has been easy to  fix when I have smudged
  • Beauty UK Nail Varnish – I received a bold blue of the Grit FX textured polish and this went on well, and has stayed on. I’m a real git for chipping nail varnish but this lasted long enough to get me through the day without having to touch up.
  • Only Naturals Samples – I haven’t tried yet.
  • Charnos Stockings from No Bull PR – I didn’t receive this in my bag
  • Urban Decay Primer Potion from the White Rose Branch– this was one of the big surprises, as it was a full size tube, not just a sample! I tried this on Tuesday and it’s shimmer is great on it’s own. I teamed it with the Lush Motivation I also bought on the day, which worked really well, and really glowed on top of this!
  • Clinomyth Toothpaste Challenge – I didn’t receive this in my bag
  • Lypsyl – I received a cherry flavoured tinted lypsyl. It’s something I would use anyway, so it’s been in my bag pretty much since! And the cherry flavour is irresistable.
  • Deborah Milano – I haven’t tried this yet.
  • Dermocare WWF Plasters These are adorable! I got the ocean set, and to be honest, I hope I don’t have to use them as they are so sweet!
  • Epic Blend Lip Balms – I’ve not tried this yet.
  • Crownbrush Eye Brush – I haven’t had a chance to try this yet.
  • Punky Pins Earrings – I received a set of heart earrings, which seem sturdy enough (I tend to bend them and allsorts) but the size do cover my second peircings, however I’ll be having a look for some more having had a quick look at the site.
  • Tiny Wishes Bracelet – This was an adorable four leaf clover charm. I’ve worn it a few times when I’ve been to hospital appointments (so call me superstitious 😉 ) and it’s simple and elegant.
  • Go Splash Water Flavourer – I’ve not gotten round to trying this yet – mostly as I’ve forgotten to put it in my bag when I’ve been to the hospital.
  • Makeup Revolution Makeup  – This is another of my favourite things. I received the Give Them Nightmares palette, along with a deep dark purple shade of lipstick. Both have been used, and not just on Halloween! (although the palette is great for making a realistic looking corpse face!)
  • Vanilla Shimmer Midi Ring – I’m probably about to make you all gasp, but I’d never actually heard of a midi ring, and had to look up what one was! I’ve never really done rings at all, but this is cute, and I’ve worn it a couple of times. I think it will make an appearance on special occasions.
  • Jurlique Mini Goodie Bag – This looks to be a real treat, and wonderfully packaged with lots of info too. I’ve not tried using them yet, but I’ve had a good smell, and can’t wait!
  • House of Wonderland Badge – These went straight onto my rucksack, which has a rather geeky and random badge collection on there, so these fit perfectly!
  • Old Wives Tail Hair Treatments – I didn’t receive this in my bag.
  • Demadew sample – I’ve yet to try this.
  • Joico Colour Therapy – Once I get the plaster off, I’ll be redoing my hair, possibly a rather ludicrous colour, so am saving this for then.
  • Flurt Frozen Yoghurt – I haven’t been yet, but I know what I’ll be picking when I do!

 

So, there you have it! my first impressions of the goodie bag, and all that’s left is to say a big THANKYOU to all the companies who contributed.

I will update this post when I’ve had a chance to try more things, and of course some of these will get reviews in their own right!

 

Sara 🙂

November Wishlist…

November is always an odd month for me… The clocks have just gone back, so I’m struggling with the darker nights (I have mild to moderate SAD) and it always seems a relentless tirade of Christmas right from the off.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like some of Christmas, but there’s a time and a place for it, and that time is DECEMBER. I really like the 12 days of Christmas tradition personally, it gives it a bit more meaning and also a more manageable timeframe, but whenever, it should definitely be after my birthday, which also happens to be in November.

So this post, is basically my birthday wishlist I guess…. although I don’t tend to work that way – I have an Amazon wishlist, and people can look at that, or generally Steam or Amazon vouchers are great things for me… but there are a few people who like to buy things, rather than vouchers or money (especially some family members who know I’ll spend money on bills) so having had a good think, and in no particular order, here is my November wishlist.

 

1. An Aeropress coffee maker. Now, I love tea, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing like a good cuppa, but I also love coffee as well, and I like proper coffee, but I can rarely be bothered to make it at home in my filter machine. I’ve heard nothing but good reviews about the Aeropress, and I think it would be a great little thing to try. It’s got some pretty awesome claims about it, but the thing that excites me the most is that I can do it straight into the cup and it’s easy to clean. Perfect for work!

2. Makeup Revolution. This is a fairly new brand to me, but after using the  Give Me Nightmares palette that was included in the #SheffieldBBloggers goodie bag on Halloween to turn me into a corpse (the picture wasn’t great unfortunately as I was at the venue, but I’ll recreate at some point) there’s a bunch of other stuff I’d like to try.

3. Amazon Vouchers. This isn’t a cop-out, although they ALWAYS come in handy, but I’m going to start felting. I tried it at a craft event last month and really enjoyed it, so I’ve bought  bunch of stuff already, but there’s some stuff that’s cheaper on Amazon, so I’d put it to that, or give a list of the equipment.

4. Something off my Steam Wishlist. Anything off there would be well received, although my eye is on the new Fable stuff in particular!

5. New camera and gear. This one isn’t something that one person would buy, but I do want to update as I really need long manual exposure for night shots, and get a light now that I’m doing more photography professionally.

6. Ikea trip. I’m not a big shopper person, (although I do have my moments) but Ikea is a weakness. I don’t even have to buy much! It’s nice to just get out and about and have a browse. I love Scandinavia in general, and am looking forwards to going back and seeing more of it, but I really love the style elements, whether it’s the traditional wooden, or more modern sleek and clean design elements.

7. Yours clothing. I LOVE Yours clothing. Being rather plus-sized it’s difficult to get cute clothes sometimes, especially with a good fit, so when Yours finally came to Meadowhall (there’d been one in the Metrocentre for a while before I moved back to Sheffield) I was so pleased. I’ve already decided that when I’m out of plaster, and able to wear tights again I will be purchasing a skirt/dress from there.

8. Mead. Mead is a weakness of mine, and I do love a good mead (it’s the Viking in me!) and there are a good few to choose from now, especially thanks to Beer Central in Sheffield Market having a decent stock of varieties. I’m looking forwards to trying the Tournament Mead and the Christmas Meads, both of which are spiced.

9. Socks. Socks are another weakness of mine. Some people cheer themselves up by buying Shoes, I do it with socks. I like Fat Face socks in particular, although there are lots of funky ones out there. Another thing I’ll be getting when the plaster comes off!

10. As I wouldn’t feel right not rounding it up to ten, I would have to go for Tea here. Something a bit unusual maybe, but I’d equally be happy with a really good Assam, or Earl Grey. I like Mango Tea, and have recently discovered white tea, which I’m quite into the idea of at the moment.

 

So there you go! x

A quick one…just a few thoughts

This is just a quick post, as I’ve got tons to be getting on with today…

I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that I’m going to need to get organised very quickly for this blog. Being of a highly organised bent anyway, that’s not the problem at all, I just didn’t really think I’d need to for a while! It’s probably not a bad thing though, and means that I can schedule my posts as well… I don’t really want to name posts according to the day, but I think I will definitely set days to post on particular things… I’ve obviously got a lot of things to talk about from the #SheffieldBBloggers Goodie Bag, and I’ve also got two books I’ve been asked to review – one from Goodreads/Random House, and another from Fox Spirit.

PLUS I’m editing a book as well, and still going with my business consultancy, heaven knows what it’ll be like when I get back to work!

So, getting organised now, is definitely the best idea, but I think it’s important to set a few rules out. First of all, just because I’m scheduling does NOT mean you can expect four posts a week. I’m also not going to apologise if I don’t make a post on a topic that week -for example a gaming post might end up being once a month, because ultimately, I need to have time to play the game, and if I don’t have that, I can’t give it an honest review. Equally, I might just have too much on. This blog is my hobby, and of course, sometimes there will be deadlines I need to meet, when I’ve been lucky enough to get a product to review pre-launch for example, but ultimately, I’m writing for fun.

Of course, the plus side to scheduling is that if I get a bit of time, then I can write as much as I like, and know that I’ve got something ‘in the bag’ so to speak for the weeks where I’m mega busy, which will also mean I’m not sat feeling like I need to find something to write about this week. So, we’ll give this a try….

#SheffieldBBloggers (Part 1)

So, if you’ve read my last post which explains why I’ve been away and introduced the Sheffield BBloggers event, (and if you haven’t the easy recap is here) you’ll know that I left off having just realised that all of my stuff was at my house, and I didn’t really have anything where I am while I’m recuperating…

The next morning, I woke up feeling pretty fresh for not too much sleep, but not looking great, and certainly not looking good enough to turn up to a beauty event… as you can see (because, let’s face it, this is how I’ve looked since my accident pretty much, so I don’t  really care who sees it… plenty have!) This wasn’t going to cut it, and as much as I have some confidence in myself, and I know I’m a lot more interesting than I am pretty (which I’d rather be) like everyone, I’m still somewhat self-conscious, and despite my excitement for being able to go out ON MY OWN, as well as getting to meet a bunch of people I’ve known on Twitter for a while, as well as make some new friends, something needed to be done…

 

Not exactly the prettiest of sights, I think you'll agree!

Not exactly the prettiest of sights, I think you’ll agree!

 

I quickly formulated a plan to stop in at Boots (as there was one across from the venue for the day). So, after getting my hair washed, and dressed and booking a taxi to take me into town, I quickly dove into the shop and made an impulse purchase as what I’d been looking for wasn’t there so instead settled for some Rimmel BB Cream, and Extra Lash Mascara, which was hopefully going to be light enough to not leave my face feeling like it had had cement applied with a trowel, but enough to even out the imperfections (if not the giant zit!) For it being an emergency purchase, I think it came off OK. The BB cream is a 9-in-1; it’s lightweight  ultra-comfortable formula claims to prime, moisturise, minimizes pores, conceal, cover, smooth, mattify, brighten, and help protect, with an SPF of 25.

It didn’t feel too heavy duty at all on application, and did a good job of evening out my skin tone straight away, meaning I only needed a small amount and it was evenly covered. Definitely something I could get away with wearing more frequently, although I’m not sure that it’s ever going to replace my normal everyday No7, it’s certainly a good alternative if I’m needing something a little heavier. One slight downside was that it wasn’t the easiest when it came to removal, it seemed to take a fair while.

The mascara is one that builds lashes with repeated use, so I can’t really say too much on that, but it wasn’t clumpy, and went on absolutely fine. The brush shape is standard, so not the most ergonomic I’ve used, but does the job, and in front of a proper mirror would be a lot easier.

Much better I think you'll agree?

Much better I think you’ll agree?

After an unashamed application in the window of the shop, I was finally ready for the event.

So, headed across the road, to locate the venue for the day, which was Maveli Restaurant, located towards the top end of West St, Sheffield. It’s somewhere I’d passed quite a few times before, but not while it was open, so had no real clue about it, other than knowing it was there, which is a shame, as it’s a lovely done out building. The restaurant specialises in South Indian cuisine, so there are things on their regular menu you wouldn’t find in a standard shop, and the staff there on the day were absolutely lovely – when it came to sampling the nibbles at lunchtime they were only too happy to talk us through it! This is somewhere I’ll definitely be coming to have a meal at in the future based on their wonderful hosting of the day.

 

Maveli from the outside

Maveli from the outside

 

The event itself was organised by Georgina, Ashleigh, and Heather, who had put the whole thing together FANTASTICALLY. Upon entry we were greeted warmly, given a brief outline of the day, and then given our goodie-bags (which are going to need at least a post to itself owing to the sheer amount of things in there!) Lush Sheffield were setting up and had brought lots of goodies with them, and over the other side, Jan from Look Good Feel Better – the Charity that the event was supporting was also setting up her information, as well as the table which the prizes for the raffle, and there was plenty of space in the middle to sit and mingle with other bloggers, known and unknown. People had come from Sheffield and the surrounding areas, and I think there were very few people, if any, who knew everyone there so there was plenty of time for networking, and plenty to break the ice in those bags!!

 

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After a good chat and getting acquainted with people and surroundings, I went over to the Lush stall, who’d got a good selection of the goodies, including festive things and products from their Emotional Brilliance range. I decided I’d treat myself to a ‘Motivation’ which is a very rich deep blue eyeliner, although you can blend it as an eyeshadow, or even use as a lip cover if you’re feeling daring! I’ll be quite honest, and say that I didn’t really pay too much attention to the bath stuff, as at the moment, because of the plaster, bathing and showering conventionally are out of the question (and I have a bag of Lush things to use when I can finally have a proper bath and shower!) I did however spot a glittery powder I should have had a closer look at though…one for next time I’m there…

In addition to their wares, the staff were also offering hand and arm massages and the chance to make an Ickle Baby Bot bath bomb. I’ve posted about making things with Lush before, and this was just as fun! You’d think that mixing together purple and white would give you a pale purple, but there’s something rather magical about watching the mix go from purple, to a little paler, to suddenly a bright blue! And the lady did give me a cracking suggestion for it, which was to use it in a foot soak, which I fully intend to do just before my next appointment (which if the plaster gets a little wet won’t matter then!)

arty bot

arty bot

After this, I went over to see Jan, who was here representing the charity Look Good Feel Better, to find out a bit more about them and what they do. The short version is that they help people suffering the effects of Cancer to look good, and to feel better! They’ve been running for 20 years (of which Jan has worked for them for 19 of those years!) and do this by means of workshops for women and teenagers who are suffering the side effects of Cancer treatments and teach them about skincare and make-up and how to disguise and conceal the effects. Each person attending is also given their own Confidence Kit, which is a DVD and Guide to using the products in their gift bag, which is generously donated to by a lot of leading skincare and make-up companies as well as practical advice on things like wigs, and scarves.

As I’m sure you can agree this is a fantastic charity, and one that I am only too happy to support, having had friends go through this disease and seen what it can do to someone’s confidence, as well as knowing first hand to a small extent what being stuck in a hospital bed for a period of time can do to you, so when the raffle tickets came round I was more than happy to put a considerable amount of my cash I’d saved in there. (one advantage of being stuck in the house most of the time means you don’t spend random money, which is a good job on Statutory Sick Pay!)

 

After I’d done this, it was  lunchtime, and Maveli’s had very kindly made a taster platter for us of their food, which was stunning. I didn’t get many pictures of this, as being in the wheelchair I was at the wrong angle, and people were hungry! But I did manage a couple, which I hope will give you a taster of the wonderful things we got to sample! After lunch, there were other treats in store for us, and the raffle draw, but I think I’ll save that for part two…

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Lush Bloggers Event – Sheffield 28/09/2013

I had the privilege of being invited to the first Lush Sheffield bloggers event recently. I’m only just getting to write about it now, because I’ve been mega mega busy with real life things, and I wanted to be able to sit and give it my full attention rather than cobble something together quickly…

So, Having had a rather stressful week, I was quite looking forwards to a Friday afternoon with an early finish – time to go home and have a bit of me time before heading to the event and then on to a work party.
Plans are only great if they work out though!
Instead, my me time turned into “talk with the police and generally try and sort out issues going on, followed by a dash to the bus… ”
Said bus was then stuck in traffic, making me late – something I *hate*.

However, I got there at quarter to seven, was let in, and promptly offered a glass of schloer and given the outline of the evening. Three stations, all with different things happening, a chance to talk to the staff, have a look at the products as well as the other bloggers in attendance.

I began by chatting with the lovely lady who is the face behind the twitter feed, which was really nice to be able to put a face to the name, and then I wandered on to the first of the three stations, which was watching ‘Angels on Bare Skin’ being made in front of us.

This was an interesting process to watch as we were talked through the different stages of it being made. For those who don’t yet Lush, ‘Angels..’ is a cleanser. using ground almonds, kaolin (a type of clay),, glycerin and lavender and is based on a medieval cleansing recipe. The cleanser itself comes in a pot and when added to water becomes a paste that very gently cleanses without being largely abrasive. It perhaps doesn’t smell too appealing in paste form, but it a lot better when you have it on. We were each given a pot of the freshly made ‘Angels’ which was rather cool!

From there we all switched around some, and after a look at some of the new stuff that’s come into the store recently, I found myself at the Emotional Brilliance station, which for our evening was manned by a professional make up artist. She explained the premise behind the products – basically, each colour is associated with a word, and you can look at the wheel here>> https://www.lush.co.uk/emotionalbrilliance/ for the different colours, and the aim of this was to pick the first three colours which stand out to you after spinning the wheel, which indicates in order words which describe, your strength, your subconscious and your aspiration.

There was also the opportunity to get made up properly – I opted to have my eyes done. I’m not really very adventurous when it comes to make up – I usually find something that suits and stick to it, but for a change thought that someone else could have a go! I was also curious to see how this new range went onto the skin, as I had previously looked at Lush’s make-up when it had originally been launched under the ‘B Never too busy to be Beautiful’ range, and at that time, I wasn’t so impressed. It had been quite heavy, and didn’t really last despite the heaviness. I will admit that I was very pleasantly surprised with the new ‘Emotional Brilliance’ range though. It was light, which for me is kind of essential, and lasted very well- through to the following evening! (Before you all shout at me – I went out after, and got pretty drunk, so my bed was all I was thinking about when I got home that night, and then had to rush out the next day, so didn’t get to do anything else until the Saturday evening)
Hoping to get hold of a picture of my finished eyes as they looked very different! blending pink and green – something I would never have thought to do!!

The final station – which I went to was the massage station, where we got to chat about the different massage bars that are about at Lush now, before having a hand and arm massage with a chosen bar.
I’ve been an advocate for ‘Wiccy Wiccy Magic Muscles’ for years now – cinnamon and peppermint oils and jujuba beans make for a really good rub down after a days hiking, or just for stress relief – so I decided to try something different, opting to try ‘Each Peach’, which is actually quite a citrusy smelling massage bar, and very uplifting. It wasn’t too oily, as some bars can be, and the expert hands working away at my arm soon had my muscles melting. I did purchase and Each Peach off the back of this, for a way to treat myself from time to time.

Through the night we were also entertained with live music from two gentlemen playing a wide range of songs on guitar and double bass, adding to the jovial atmosphere that all too soon came to an end.

The staff had one last surprise for us though, in the form of goody bags. A wide selection of samples and products across the whole range, which I’m sure everyone attending was thrilled with. The evening all in all, was a great success I think, and I’m already looking forwards to the next one, if Lush will have me back… 😉