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Sunday, 26 January 2014

I wanted to talk about something a little different on the blog today - something that is most certainly beauty related, but not necessarily often discussed in the blogsphere - and that's hair removal. One of my favourite things about being a woman is things that are quite specific to us - being able to wear makeup, playing around and experimenting with different hairstyles and perhaps best of all - having silky smooth skin. I'm especially biased when it comes to my Sunday evening ritual or having a night out. Every Sunday I love taking an evening to myself and having a long bath, pampering myself and slathering on lotion so that I end up with lovely smelling, looking and feeling skin. And on a night out, I'm a firm believer of flaunting what you have - hence why you'll always see me in short dresses and tall heels that make the best of my legs, one of my favourite parts of my body. Just ask my friends - usually once I have a few I demand they feel my legs and be in as awe as I am at how smooth they feel!

Unfortunately, it does come at a price. Hair removal can be such a long process that takes part far too often and can even be painful. Shaving nearly every day takes it's toll so bad that even I admit on the days that I know I'm not leaving the house and no one will be seeing my legs, I do skip shaving as my daily routine (this is probably why I'm single). Waxing isn't an option for me - it seems far too painful and silly to go through that pain for something that isn't permanent and I'll only have to do again in a few months time.

So what other options does that leave me? Laser hair removal seems to tick all the boxes. It's virtually painless, and what's even better is that after a few treatments, it's pretty much permanent too. It seems much more tempting than waxing which is painful and regular, and even though laser hair removal might hurt just a little, I'd much rather put up with that small pain for a few sessions if it means being completely smooth in the long run and not having to worry about it anymore. Laser removal treatment doesn't have to be painful and it's certainly less painful then waxing!



Sk:n clinics is a fab laser hair removal clinic that is completely safe and affordable. At Sk:n clinics, they take the time to do skin tests and consultations to ensure that you're getting the right treatment, and the hair removal treatments aren't too expensive either which is a bonus! If laser hair removal is something that you're thinking about lately, then Sk:n clinics would be perfect for you.

A lot of my friends have admitted to giving in and having hair removal treatments in the past and have agreed that when it comes to hair removal, it is one of the best options out there with pretty much permanent results. Therefore it's something I'm definitely considering! For more information, check out the Sk:n clinic website. You can view Sk:n clincis affordable prices on the website or you can just go ahead and check out their blog for more information.

*Sponsored post


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Monday, 20 January 2014

Christmas is over but winter is still here to stay - for the time being anyway. The number one thing to drink this season is, as always, hot chocolate. I adore hot chocolate and love how soothing it is. There really is nothing better then getting in out of the cold and drinking a hot chocolate next to a crackling fire on a winter's evening - it's heaven! And even better is that you can drink hot chocolate as it is or you can go all out with marshmallows, cream and chocolate shavings. Yummy. I'm always on the look out for a new hot chocolate to drink, my usual favourite being the malteasers one. 
Back when I attended the amazing Salon Du Chocolat, I enjoyed wandering around all the different stalls, trying and testing what each company had to offer. One brand that really intrigued me was Jaz & Juls, who create and sell ethically sourced hot chocolate. Their quirky and unique designs caught my eye (and one of the ladies who had awesome bright pink hair!) and I immediately shimmeyed over to try some of their hot chocolate. It was delicious!

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I was looking for something to get my mum because she can't eat dairy products so I was pleased when they told me their hot chocolate was completely dairy free. Despite this, it somehow still tasted amazing. They had lots of different flavours on offer such as Cinnamon Rose, Raspberry Dream and Chilli Con Chocy - yes, each flavour has an adorable name too. I quickly purchased a variety pack of three and chose Gingerbread, Man!, Cinnamon Rose and Orangeytang.

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The instructions state that you can make two cups per box but I've actually managed to make a few more. I've yet to try Cinnamon Rose but the other two flavours are very yummy. I'm not very good at describing tastes but Orangeytang tastes like real hot chocolate with just the perfect subtle hint of chocolate - not enough to be overbearing but just enough to taste lovely, and Gingerbread man just tastes like Christmas, haha!

I absolutely love this range and you really can't go wrong with it. It uses natural and wholesale ingredients, has the cutest packaging and actually tastes delicious! It's not cheap at £8.50 per full sized pack, but it IS worth it. If £8.50 is a little too pricey for you, taster packs (the same size as above) cost only £3.00 (and last AGES) or you can buy a variety taster pack of three for £8.00.

Since I'm on a bit of a health kick this year (aren't we all after new years!), this hot chocolate is the perfect alternative to the usual cheap and not healthy hot chocolate I buy. I love that everything is sourced properly and it's 'real' hot chocolate, yet despite the natural ingredients it's not as expensive as you'd expect it to be. As a bonus, my mum loves it too which means even if you can't have dairy, you can still drink this! The taster packs are ideal for gifts for people, not only for Christmas but for all year round.

You can view the full range here and you'll also find the hot chocolate available at selected coffee shops, hotels and retails across the UK.

Please note, this is NOT a sponsored post, simply a review of a product I bought myself because I love it THAT much which is saying something!


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Thursday, 16 January 2014

Since getting an Apple TV for Christmas, I've shamelessly become addicted to Netflix. On days off from work, I've spent endless hours lounging in bed watching episode after episode of New Girl and falling asleep to random films that don't quite always hold my attention but keep me occupied until sleep takes over. I pretty much love Netflix because not only can I get completely up to date on my favourite shows, I've also discovered lots of different movies on there that I wouldn't have normally.

One of those films is Tonight You're Mine, which caught my attention when I was browsing the romance genre. The eye-catching colourful cover immediately intrigued me and when I looked it up on Wikipedia and saw it described as a 'British Rock 'n' Roll romantic comedy' I was already hooked. I love any romcoms that are also based around music, hence why I loved Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist so much, so I knew this wouldn't be any different. It's an indie flick which didn't get much recognition at the time either, and I'm a big fan of quirky different indie films.

Please note, this film is also known as 'You Instead' in the UK, but since I discovered it with it's American name, 'Tonight You're Mine', this feels more fitting to me!
 
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The film is set at T in the park, which is a really great background setting. The story captures the atmosphere of the music festival perfectly and I really loved that this festival and the subject of music was just as much as an important storyline as the romance. The story is about two 'rock stars' who meet and immediately argue, before some mysterious guy comes and handcuffs them together before zooming off in a little golf buggy thing. Unable to escape, the two singers have to spend the remainder of the day handcuffed together until they can find this man again.

In reality, the whole basis behind it is very cliché, but I can't deny that it made me smile. Considering they get off to such a bad start, the two characters - Adam, played by Luke Treadaway and Morello, played by Natalia Tena - end up discovering that when handcuffed together, they actually have a lot in common and may even have a better connection between them than they do with their other halves. I thought Luke Treadaway played his role very well, so much so that it wasn't until I had a proper look on Wikipedia afterwards that I realized he wasn't actually a rockstar/in a band in real life!

The film reminded me a lot of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist in that the two characters didn't hit it off right away and the whole film is based around one adventure that takes place over one night. This idea was really fun and meant that we really didn't miss any essential parts of their relationship developing or the way they slowly changed from disliking each other to friends instead.

The characters were a little annoying at first - Adam seemed to me like a cocky rockstar and Morello just seemed pretty irritating as well, but I think this worked well. As a viewer, I didn't think much of them to begin with which is how they saw each other. But as the film developed and so did their feelings for each other, I began to understand them both a little better. The film was kind of shot like a documentary, sometimes using a handheld camera affect too, so in a way it felt like I was also handcuffed to them as a viewer, not missing anything.


This film was really different and captured the essence of a music festival perfectly. It reminded me a LOT of those random nights you spend meeting strangers and creating friendships that might only last for that one night but seem so different during those hours where no one else seems to be awake. I think there's always an indescribable connection with the people you spend time with in the middle of the night and this film reflected this well.

Sure, the storyline and ending was a little predictable, but I think it was tackled in a really raw and different way. It wasn't a usual cliché love story, it was very human and realistic which I loved. I think it's definitely a film that doesn't sound all that great on paper and hasn't done particularly well financially, but will still become a firm favourite and might even gain a little cult following.

I'd recommend anyone giving this film a watch, especially if you enjoy indie films or you're a big fan of music and/or music festivals. It has a great soundtrack and also features some cool little appearances from other musicians (I loved spotting Kids In Glass Houses, another favourite band of mine). And, if anything, it'll definitely tempt you to attend a music festival and just give in and get lost to the music. It reminded me that music festivals are about more than just the music.

If you've got any spare time this weekend, I'd suggest grabbing some popcorn, putting your phone away and just spending some time watching this film. It might not be a huge blockbuster hit, but if you give it a chance and give it your undivided attention, I guarantee it'll become a firm favourite for you too.

 "Nobody is going to save the planet but you folks, you know that? You cram a hundred thousand people together, no music. What do you get? A riot. You give them music, we all in this together. Music turns a mob into a movement." - The Prophet  

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P.S Check out the Film Reviews tag for a mooch at some of my other reviewed films!



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Thursday, 9 January 2014

Every girl needs some smellies and make up in their stocking on Christmas morning and here's some goodies that I got this year (well technically last year now!). Everyone that knows me knows I absolutely adore all Benefit products, so it's no surprise that I was spoiled with some this year. I usually get a Benefit palette every few years or so, but have especially been eager for a new one since my last one broke/smashed in my suitcase when flying home from Egypt.

So this is what I got this Christmas!

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I love Benefit because not only is the packaging gorgeous and vintage, the products themselves are also very high quality. I've experimented with different looks using Benefit products over the years and it's a range I return to again and again and again. Right now, their 'They're Real' mascara is a day to day staple product for me at the moment.

My sister got me the gorgeous Sugarlicious palette which I love because again, it's perfect for day to day wear. It features products perfect for a nude or simple look, as well as a booklet with suggestions in, including tips to glamourise the look too. Like all Benefit palettes, all the basic and bold items are included in miniature form which means you could basically carry the palette around in your handbag all day and whip it out to do your whole face.

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At the moment I'm really digging the Hervana blusher, it's such a feminine and flirty shade that I think looks great with my pale skin in this cold weather. It's packaging is cute (as always) and I love the pattern on the powder and the fact that it mixes a variety of different shades. The Ultra-Plus Lipgloss is stunning too. I haven't yet had the chance to test it out much as it was in the bottom of my birthday bag hidden under some clothes, but it's another really cute flirty pink shade and smells gorgeous.

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Speaking of smells...Mamaw treated me to the brand new Diesel Loverdose Tattoo perfume as well! I know, I know. How fitting is the name and bottle for me? I actually got a tester free with a magazine and fell in love with the aromatic sweet but sophisticated fragrance. This I've worn every day and as a bonus, I've discovered that it's really long lasting. I sprayed myself with it at 8am this morning and now almost twelve hours later I can still smell the subtle undertones of it on me and even more prominently on my wrists.

So there we have it! A little sum up of my lovely beauty haul over Christmas. I am hoping to do a few more beauty related posts this year and already have a few in mind but we all know how tough it is taking blog photos on an iPhone. I really don't understand how people can take nice photos of their make up (and especially their eye makeup!) without looking deathly pale and covered in spots with the flash on. Flash on = you look rough as hell. Flash off = you can't even see the makeup. There's just no winning...

What beauty goodies did you get this Christmas, or perhaps treat yourself to in the January sales?

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Monday, 6 January 2014

I came across this project whilst browsing on Pinterest and thought it was a really sweet and simple idea to spend the year getting to know yourself a bit better. Like everyone else, now that Christmas is out of the way, I'm definitely digging that 'new year, new me' phase which comes along every New Years. I really love the idea of documenting my time; I really have had some amazing experiences and wished I'd documented them better at the time. Along with a bunch of other ideas, I really liked this one because it's so personal and takes minimal effort. 

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The 52 Lists project is basically where you fill out a list once a week. I've always wanted one of those Listography books because I love how you can look back and see what your answers were to certain things months and months ago, and this is a really cute spin on that that takes less commitment. The list topics are varied too but a little more deeper, giving you the chance to really dig deep and get to know yourself a bit better. It's taken from Moorea Seal blog and I've noticed that although she didn't managed to complete the project last year, she's repeating the same list topics from last year of the ones she did do and adding some more. Which is another lovely idea because if you choose to continue this for a few years, the lists will be the same but you can see how your answers vary year by year. 

I've got to admit, I agonized for ages over the first list. Not because I didn't know what to write - but I didn't know how to write it. I wanted to be creative so I struggled to decide whether to write it out or print it, whether to keep it simple with just a few words or a long list etc...which made me realize that this could actually be a really fun and creative project too. As the weeks go on, I'd like to vary the list styles and experiment more.

I probably won't blog my lists every week if at all because it's nice to keep some things personal but I might blog at the halfway mark and when I finish. I'll also most probably put a picture or two of my lists up on instagram as I go on so feel free to check them out on there. I'm really excited about this as I feel it's a lovely way to just sit and reflect on things, as well as an excuse to get a bit arty and creative!

It also takes not even an hour once a week to complete so if you're looking for a new project that needs minimal effort as opposed to a photo a day every day for a year etc, aka something you think is easier to commit to, then maybe this it it!

Do let me know if you also take part, I'd love to see some of your examples.

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Saturday, 4 January 2014

Arizona bound rock band The Maine have just released their first ever fully acoustic EP named Imaginary Numbers. Despite having just completed a world tour following the release of their fourth studio album, Forever Halloween in June, they've both recorded and produced this EP on their own, using a studio they built themselves. It's safe to say that for their first acoustic EP, this record has been heavily anticipated, especially after Forever Halloween bought us a distinctive more grounded and sophisticated sound from the five piece band.

Imaginary Numbers gives us five songs - some of which derived from poems front man John O'Callaghan had previously written - that simply didn't belong on their previous album or fit in with it's sound. The result is a raw, laid back and truthful album that gives us a real look inside of the band's minds. It was only with the release of These Four Words from Forever Halloween that John O'Callaghan admitted it was the most revealing song he has ever written, which is far cry from some of their other more pop punk singles such as Inside of You and Everything I Ask For. This EP has only delved further into his mind and created an honest and upfront image of the world - and love - from his point of view. It's clear to see that as this band have grown up, so has their music.

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This EP strips away all the preconceptions of what an album should have - if you're expecting a mix of upbeat and inspiring songs, then this isn't the EP for you. Instead it's brutally honest and the fact that most of the songs were taken from what began as poems somewhat suggests that this EP wasn't put out with the aim to earn money and gain record sales. It's simply a gift to the fans; a full on and basic bunch of songs put together, something the band have perhaps enjoyed putting together in their own time and have just decided to share, as opposed to producing an album as a career move.

Raining in Paris is the first song on the album and lays the perfect foundation for the rest of the EP; it's easy on the ears, the lyrics are thought provoking and just listening to it immediately relaxes you with it's slow instrumentals and John's soothing and beautiful vocals. A slight ode to Kennedy Curse from their last album I feel, this song has a slight country feel to it, which I think accurately represents some of the bands biggest influences.

Room With No Windows reminds me a lot of a song called Happy from their previous album, in that it's a more upbeat tune and beat only to reveal much more when you listen to the lyrics. It's not a happy song but it's very easy to catch onto and sing along to. It has a very relaxed and acoustic vibe to it, with undertones suggesting that sitting around and sulking isn't going to change your life if you're not actually willing to get up and do anything about wanting that change.

Perfectly Out Of Key really stands out for me and is very powerful. Backed up by only beautiful piano keys, John sings about never necessarily fitting in; how everyone might feel a little different and weird sometimes but that despite the pressure of being expected to maybe be one person, you should be happy with who you are. He's singing about how he'd much rather be different and view the world through his own eyes, with his own mind because even if it's not necessarily right, it's a lot easier than dealing with some of the bad stuff this world sometimes has to offer.


Another firm favourite of mine, Visions is a hauntingly beautiful ballad which is clearly the second part to These Four Words from their previous album. It tells the story of how he's suffered a break up and as hard as he tries to get over it, he's constantly reminded of that relationship; their story and their memories. Visions haunt him, but as much as he wants to move on, in some ways he likes having that reminder and might be ready to let go, but he doesn't necessarily want to. It's bittersweet in many ways. It's a classic song that simply won't get old and I feel that I'll be listening to this in years to come. The simple but beautiful Harmonica solo adds further character to the song, and all you have to do is close your eyes and listen to the lyrics to this song to find yourself in John O'Callaghan's shoes, remembering and having visions of your own past relationships too.

Lovely Sad again has a slight country feel to it and I love that it rounds up that similar feeling from what the first song brought to the EP, ending the release with such a natural progression that you could press repeat and listen to the whole thing all over again. Lovely Sad is also what provides the EP with it's name and has some powerful lyrics, such as 'what if's and the should have's, they start to eat my brain' - another nod to one of the front man's previous published poems. This is another sad song, but this time it isn't disguised with a more happy tune. It's not a sad tune per se, but it's a beautiful song that successfully sums up the EP. It ends with the lyrics 'we're all sad, but to me we're lovely sad' which I suppose is a bittersweet feeling and a continuation on from the fact that we may be sad, but that's okay, if somewhat lovely too.

The Maine have yet again impressed with their newest EP which is a small and honest stepping stone between albums. I hope they keep their upfront honesty displayed in this EP and their last album for whatever they plan to release next.

You can purchase or preview Imaginary Numbers on iTunes. The Maine are about to embark on their first ever acoustic tour around America and tickets are still available from 81twentythree.com.

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*Image above taken from The Maine's Facebook page


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Thursday, 2 January 2014

Just like last year, I've decided to do a simple post to sum up my 2013 - a bunch of my favourite photos, and a quiz - the same as last year - which will be nice to see just how much has changed and how my answers differ :)

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1. What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before?
I went on my first proper road trip, I visited lots of new places, I got drunk with/shared beer with/spent a whole evening with my idol, I interviewed a band, I 'covered' a music festival, I tried rock and roll bingo, haha! I also went to my first proper music festival, Warped Tour, which is something I've always wanted to attend. A fair few things when I look back at it all.

2. Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I did say yes to more things and had a lovely year. I wouldn't stay I stayed particularly healthy but I did get into running and join the gym for a bit so that's something. My new years resolutions for this year are the same as always - be healthy, have fun, say yes more. I'd also like to advance in my career this year and hopefully go into music journalism.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Nope.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Nope.

5. What places did you visit?
Edinburgh (which was my favourite!), Leeds, Liverpool, Wolverhampton..

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2013?
A rockstar boyfriend please! Other than that, not much. Perhaps a job more related to my degree and my own car.

- yeah, pretty much the same as last year haha!

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched in your memory, and why?
The week in November I spent touring the country to see my favourite band - I'll never forget it. More specifically, 17th November, which was the evening I ending up attending the Vans Warped Tour after party and spending the evening drinking and chilling out with my idol.

8. What was your biggest achievement this year?
I got a few opportunities relating to music journalism, so I'd say either covering AmpRocks or interviewing Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I don't really have any. I'd probably say not saving any money, I got a tax rebate this year and planned to save at least half of that which didn't happen. But it went towards necessities like driving lessons, tour (not really a necessity but you get the picture), new shoes for work etc.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I suffered from the flu when I returned from tour but that's it.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Gig tickets (again)

12. Who's behaviour merited celebration?
Probably Tom! He's been the designated driver for so many gigs this year and single handedly drove us over 1,000 miles altogether for the road trip!

13. Who's behavour made you appaled and depressed?
No one's really ha.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Definitely on tour. Though we did most of it on a budget, it did cost a bit but was worth every penny.

15. What did you get really excited about?
Tour! I made playlists with album covers and everything..

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?
The Maine - Fucked Up Kids

which is all about being young, enjoying your life and living fast, choosing the fun option over the sensible one etc.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you :
a. happier or sadder? Happier!
b. thinner or fatter? Thinner, somehow despite eating nothing but junk food I managed to lose a bit of weight on tour!
c. richer or poorer? about the same...

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Nothing..

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Nothing!

20. How did you spend Christmas?
With my family, but I also celebrated Christmas a little early with my friends with a Christmas meal out which was nice.

21. Did you fall in love in 2013?
No, although I did find myself developing an even bigger crush on John Ohh after meeting him in person, simply because he is the nicest and most humble gentlemen you'll ever meet. I've always thought he was lovely, but after actually spending time with him he's only become more cool in my eyes.

22. What was your favourite TV program?
Breaking Bad or Supernatural.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate at this time last year?
No, I don't really do hate to be honest.

24. What was the best book you read?
I've read a lot this year, maybe I Heart Christmas by Lindsey Kelk?

25. What music did you get excited about?
The Maine, obviously, but also Fort Hope because they're a local band who are doing really well for themselves and are beyond friendly.

26. What did you want and get?
I got everything I wanted for Christmas...probably again just the chance to spend some one-on-one time with my idol/my favourite band. I still find it hard to believe, but it was really surreal to just spend a good few hours not necessarily picking his brains but just having a genuine conversation with him about all sorts of things.

27. What did you want and not get?
Nothing, I even got a cheese toastie maker haha!

28. What was your favourite film of this year?
I'm not sure! I haven't really seen any particularly out there films this year. Maybe the new Star Trek. I absolutely loved the Evil Dead remake mind!

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 24. Me and my sister went on a night out in London to a Brazilian bar with a bunch of her work colleagues and we also went ice skating. With my friends, we had our Christmas meal followed by a night out which I chose to have as my birthday night out too, ha.

30. What one thing would have made your year more satisfying?
Maybe passing my driving test and getting a job more related to my degree.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
Band merch. Lots of band merch.

32. What kept you sane?
Music. Even when feeling completely lost, music helped me through it.

- again, exactly the same answer as last year!

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Dougie Poynter maybe?

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
I don't really have an interest in politics.

35. Whom did you miss?
I haven't seen much of my brother this year, I miss him. Still.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Tom, Harry, Lucy, Tendayi, Jordan, Harriet..

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
'If it's meant to be, it will be'.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
'Don't stop listening to rock & roll'
and
'I am raw and invincible'

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