Monday, 30 June 2014

Mani Monday #4

Whilst I was browsing the make up aisles of Boots, my boyfriend ran up to me with the Models Own Matte Top Coat excitedly explaining how much he liked the colour.  A few giggles later, I explained that it was in fact a top coat (he stopped listening at this point).  I'd never actually seen the matte top coat before so I thought I'd pick it up as I spent ages trawling various different shops for the Rimmel one but never managed to find it.

I paired the top coat with a hot barbie pink shade - Look Beauty's Corsage.  I find Corsage to be streaky and the formula to just feel quite cheap in general.  I needed three layers and even then I could've done with another one if I was being really picky.  The top coat was SO thick! The consistency reminded me of wallpaper paste, it even looks the same colour.  I waited for my nails to be magically transformed into a matte dream but unfortunately, that just didn't happen.  Apart from the polish looking a tad smoother, I didn't notice any difference at all!

If you were thinking of buying the matte top coat, I'd definitely hold on to your pennies as it truly did disappoint me.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Coping with panic attacks and anxiety.

Now you might want to grab a cuppa and a couple of biscuits as this is a major long post.  I know that there are hundreds of posts about panic attacks flying around the blogging world already but I really wanted to share my experience of panic attacks and how I've learnt to live with them.

My first panic attack happened when I was 15 but I didn't know what it was at the time. I just felt this cold wave wash over me and I felt like I was about to drop to the floor and die.  I know that sounds extreme but if you've ever suffered from a panic attack you will know what I mean when I say it feels like you are actually going to die! I thought it was a one off so I didn't bother questioning it any further but it was always in the back of my mind.

Fast forward to the age of 18 and I constantly felt this sense of not feeling like I was really here.  I'd feel like I was floating or in a dream. My arms didn't feel like my arms, they almost felt floppy, in fact my whole body felt lifeless.  At this point I thought I was either not getting enough sleep or was just a complete weirdo so I didn't bother saying anything to anybody as I was actually quite scared about what was happening to me.

Within the next year, I split up with my boyfriend, tried living with a friend and eventually moved back into my family home. I thought that maybe I was unhappy and living at home would make me feel like a normal person again.  Months went by and I completely forgot about how I'd been feeling before until one day at work, a panic attack struck me with a vengeance.

I was sitting at my desk on a Sunday just giggling with my work friends when suddenly I felt like I couldn't focus on anything.  My palms started sweating and I felt myself getting really hot. My arms went all weak and everything seemed to go into slow motion.  I felt like everything was so hazy. I kept muttering 'i don't feel well, i don't feel well' to my supervisor and then that wave came over me and I started screaming. IN FRONT OF EVERYONE.  I didn't care or even realise what was happening at the time but looking back I feel so embarrassed by the whole ordeal. 

My friend took me outside and by this point I was in floods of tears as I honestly thought I was dying. Everyone was trying to reassure me but I was just convinced that I was going to die so I got sent home.   I told my Mum what had happened and she explained to me that it was a panic attack. I then learnt that she'd suffered from them in the past which instantly made me feel more comfortable. 

The panic attack really shook my confidence and I had to have a couple of days off work before I could face going back. When I eventually went back to work, my confidence was just so low that I didn't feel like myself. That one panic attack really knocked me for six.  Long story short, after that I must have had about 3/4 more panic attacks at work that lead to me quitting my job.

After I quit my job, I had a lot of 'me' time.  I went to the Doctor's and they just said it was anxiety and that it was perfectly normal but I didn't feel normal. I felt terrified, trapped and overwhelmed. I felt like I couldn't breathe properly and I constantly had to take deep breaths. I thought I was actually crazy! I felt like I couldn't go out the house on my own in case I had a panic attack on the bus or in a shop.  The lights in a Supermarket always used to trigger my panic attacks too as I thought my vision was going funny but it was just the lighting! It sounds stupid but I seriously started to doubt everything. The tiniest little thing could set me off like a vein in my hand looking too blue, looking in the mirror and thinking that my eyes looked different, even my heart beats!  I decided to take matters in to my own hands and find the route cause of what was making me feel this way.

I thought about everything. Was it lack of sleep? Was it because I wasn't drinking enough water/eating the right things? Was I happy? Was I just simply bored?  I thought and thought and just couldn't put my finger on it.  I noticed situations where I felt more exposed to having a panic attack though - when I was alone at home, on the bus, in confined spaces and when I had to go and talk to people I didn't know. 

After a couple of months my panic attacks and anxiety calmed down and I actually felt normal again! I had a job at a local pub that I enjoyed. I started this blog that took my mind off things. I started playing Cafe World on facebook (it's the little things!).  I just forgot about feeling panicky but every now and again something would trigger that overwhelming feeling where a panic attack was about to hit me but it was different as I'd learnt to control them. 

I understand that panic attacks will probably be a part of my life forever but I haven't had a proper panic attack for 3 years now and this is how I've managed to cope with them:

  •  By telling myself that it is all in my head. I would just think to myself 'you are absolutely fine, there's nothing wrong, it's all in your head, nothing is going to happen to you' whilst deep breathing. 
  • When I feel like a panic attack is coming on, I pinch myself or pull a little strand of my hair. It takes my mind off the panic attack and I focus on the pain (which really isn't that extreme!).
  • Go outside. I just stand outside for a couple of minutes and breathe. It cools me down so I can't feel myself getting hot and I then just start to forget that a panic attack was coming on.
  • I always carry Bach's rescue remedy pastilles around with me.  I think it's a psychological thing but when I feel like I'm about to panic, I just suck one of these and it calms me down.  Definitely worth buying if you suffer from panic attacks.
  • Tell people around you what is going on. I'm not talking about telling everyone just people that you spend time with the most.  Tell them what you'd like them to do if you have a panic attack. This is really important as people can sometimes make you feel worse if they nervous laugh or just tell you to 'stop being weird'.  My boyfriend would always say 'you're fine!' and I would always scream at him 'I'M OBVIOUSLY NOT FINE AM I'. I just tell people to sit with me and reassure me if I have a panic attack now and it works.
  • Keep busy.  I find that I'm less likely to think about a panic attack when I'm distracted by doing something. I like to paint my nails or read a book or just tweet a lot when I'm feeling a tad anxious.
Obviously my tips are what works for me and they might not work for you but I would definitely give them a try if you do suffer from anxiety/panic attacks.  I know this has been a super long post but if it even helps just one of you, I'll be happy. 

If anybody would like to talk about panic attacks/anxiety in more depth then send me an email - and we can chat.  I understand how alone you can feel and although it sounds selfish, you do take comfort in the fact that somebody else has also experienced what you're going through too so just talkkk to me as I'd love to try and help you.

If you suffer from panic attacks, share your experiences below and leave tips that have helped you deal with the horrible little things!

Friday, 27 June 2014

You're driving me balmy...

Whilst I'm currently typing away with a face full of Sudocrem and lips that look like I've just consumed 20 bags of the greasiest chips in the world, I really felt like there was no time like the present to blog about an underrated staple of my makeup treasure trove.

The Body Shop Born Lippy balms were first introduced to me last September when my Mum bought me the watermelon balm. I then received the whole collection of the balms from my Sister for Christmas and I have been using them so much that I've had to repurchase them! There are two other flavours in the collection - Passionberry and Satsuma Shimmer but today I'm going to talk about my three favourites.

When you unscrew the lid, you are met with the most fantastical fruity flavour that really packs a punch! They are really soft to apply too, like your finger just sinks in to the balm which is a necessity for gals with long nails as the feeling of balm under your fingers is just eww. You want to be out of that tub fast! The balms are ideal for me as I hate not having any colour to my lips and these just leave a subtle tint. Once applied, the balms last around 2 hours on the lips and they honestly take moisturising to a whole new level leaving your pout seriously soft.

I couldn't recommend these enough at only £2 a pop! Have you tried any of the Born Lippy balms?

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Makeup Revolution Vivid Blush Lacquer in 'Rush'

I've never been very good with blushes and I can't quite put my finger on why. I'm not sure whether it's because they don't suit my skintone, I've just been buying the wrong shades in blush all together or perhaps I've just been applying them a little too heavy handedly.  This, of course, doesn't stop me buying an awful amount of them in desperate attempts to make blush work for me.

The thought of a liquid blush terrified me at first but when the Make up Revolution blush lacquer was mentioned to me on Twitter, I thought it wouldn't hurt to give it a bash plus it was an absolute steal at £3!

The packaging really reminds me of the GOSH primer because of the see through tube and the matte black lid. I don't think there's anything you can really grumble at with regards to the packaging. It's sturdy, sleek and small enough to pop in your makeup bag.

When first swatching the product I made the mistake of applying a bit too much. Trust me when I say, a little really does go a long way! Just look at the photo above where I've swatched the product on my hand. Being a bronzer lovin' gal since the age of about 15, I honestly thought I was going to hate the shade but I've fallen head over heels for the pink blush.  I was worried about the application as I thought it'd look as bright and out there as it does on my hand but it blends evenly into the skin as long as you work quickly with the product.

Something that really surprised me was the lasting power.  My usual cheek products tend to wear off around lunch time but this genuinely lasted until 5pm and probably beyond (I didn't bother looking in the mirror after then). I've been wearing it most days since I bought it so I really should invest in more of the liquid blushes - there's another 5 in the collection!

If you fancy picking one (or six) up for yourself then you can do so here

Have you tried the blush lacquers? If so, what do you think of them?

Grace x

Monday, 23 June 2014

Monday Mani #3: Barry M 'Sugar Apple' and 'Treasure Chest'

Please do excuse the untidiness of my nails! I clearly painted them in the dark last night. I can't actually remember how long ago I bought 'Sugar Apple' but I know that this is the first time I've used it. I hear that it's a dupe for Essie's 'Mint Candy Apple' which sadly, I can't personally vouch for as I've never purchased it for some unknown reason.  I'd say it's a dead cert going by the swatches and blog posts I've seen though. 

You just can't fault the application of the Barry M gel polishes, they're by far my favourite to apply. The brush gathers enough polish to cover two nails with just one dip which is a god send for when you're in a hurry (I clearly was when applying if the photo is anything to go by!). I've actually had people ask me if I've got gels nails whilst i've been wearing the polish too which is just insane considering it costs a tiny £4! The only thing I would say is that I needed three coats to cover the nail but I put that down to the pastel green shade as I get away with two coats with my other gel polishes. 

'Treasure Chest' is the pastel-y, semi neon-y nail polish's partner in crime and I for one think they make a great little duo!  I gushed about 'Treasure Chest' here so I won't bore you too much with what I think but I do think I'll buy this polish over and over again, I love it that much.

What's your all time favourite brand of nail polish? 

Sunday, 22 June 2014

A reflection of my week #2

Every now and again I like to have a little bargain hunt in Poundland. I couldn't believe it when I came across a stand of american sweets! They're usually £3/4 everywhere else. I picked up the Jolly Rancher gummies and peanut butter M&M's.  I wasn't too blown away by the gummies but the m&m's were delicious!

I also bought this book 'The Land of Decoration'. The reviews online say it's quite good so I can't wait to get stuck in once I've finished my current book.

On Monday I went to Cambridge which I posted about here.  I was also off work on Wednesday so my boyfriend and I decided to go and watch 22 Jump Street.  I'm not sure how I feel about the film really.  It was good but not hilariously funny like I expected it to be. I definitely preferred 21 Jump Street.

Whittard's banoffee hot chocolate is my new favourite drink although I think it's slightly more suited for the Winter.  It's like a party in your mouth! If you like sickly, sweet, creamy, chocolate-y things then this is one that's definitely for you.

I'm not the best at being organised especially when it comes to blogging but I'm really trying to change that.  I've had some really good ideas for posts so I want to write them all down somewhere in case I forget them so I thought this pad was ideal. I promise I didn't just buy it for the aesthetically pleasing pink pages. 

If you're like me and end up throwing half a strawberry away trying to take off all the leafy bits then your problems are now over. I was watching Islay's video where she baked a strawberry and cream cake when I noticed her strawberry prepping technique! She basically just took a straw and pushed it through the centre of the strawberry removing all the unwanted leafy parts (i don't know the technical name).  I tried it and you end up saving so much of your strawberry! Thanks for the tip Islay!

Hope you've all had a great weekend. I can't believe it's Monday tomorrow already. BOO.

Grace x

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Forever lusting over homeware

                                          one / two / three / four / five / six / seven / eight

I obsess over homeware on a more than daily basis.  I fill endless amounts of online baskets with things I want and wish I could buy but in reality, I don't have enough space for them in my teeny weeny one bedroomed house. 

I thought I'd share my latest 'wish I could haves' with you! I'm particularly loving the Zara tea towels and the palm tree frame as it's always good to inject a little colour in to your house during the hotter months.  The tea storage box is a fantastic idea too! I have loads of little stray tea bags from boxes of various fruit teas in my cupboards.  

Did anybody else realise Accessorize had their own line of china?! I was shocked when I came across the sugar pot from them.  There's also some incredibly pretty plates and mugs on the House of Fraser website.

Are you forever lusting over homeware? What are your favourite homeware websites?

Grace x

Friday, 20 June 2014

The benefits of Coconut Oil

I discovered Coconut Oil about a month or two ago after buying it on a whim.  I'd heard about some of the benefits of this multi purpose product before - the mane (get it) one being for the hair.  Since researching it a little more and testing it out for myself, I wish I'd picked this product up years ago! Let me share my top coconut oil little miracles with you...

Hair  - First and foremost and frankly my most favourite, HAIR! The oil is quite hardened in the tub but upon contact with the warmth of your skin, it quickly melts.  I shampoo my hair first and then distribute a generous amount of the coconut oil through the ends of my hair. With any excess, I apply a little bit to my roots but not too much because it'll look seriously oily otherwise.  I left the oil to work it's magic for around 20 minutes, rinsed it thoroughly and then shampoo'ed my hair again.  This is such tough stuff to get out of your hair so remember to rinse rinse rinse! It's definitely worth all the work though as you're left with the silkiest tresses ever - even Chezza would be jealous.

If you have super dry/frizzy hair, you might want to leave the oil on your hair overnight and wash it off in the morning for an even more silky result!

Makeup Remover -  As coconut oil is a natural product, it's suitable for everyone! The tiniest amount will remove the most stubborn of mascaras. Bye bye panda eyes!  It's very smoothing too so it'll also act as a moisturiser AND you'll have a beautifully scented face. 3 benefits in 1 here! 

Lip Balm - If you can stand a lot of grease on your lips (I have to admit, I can't) then you ought to consider slapping some coconut oil on. It does feel very heavy on your lips and I had to wipe it off after a while but it still made my lips super soft after just half an hour. 

Massage Oil - A coconut oil massage is just the most heavenly thing.  I find the scent really soothing whilst your relaxing. Try not to fall asleep!

Cuticles - Dabbing a teeny weeny blob of coonut oil will really soften your cuticles and you can treat yourself to a hand massage at the same time too.

There are so many other ways to use coconut oil but these are my favourites! I bought my tub from Superdrug but it's available to buy everywhere.  

Do you use coconut oil? Any other benefits you can recommend?

Grace x

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Pancakes, punting and beautiful sunshine.

As I had a day off work yesterday, my boyfriend and I decided to have a day trip out.  It was a toss up between Cambridge and shopping in Freeport but the weather was so beautiful, we had to pick Cambridge! We started our day off with a cheeky Mcdonalds brekkie. I had the pancakes with syrup and they were delicious. Does anyone else have pancakes when they go to maccies? I think a lot of people don't realise they exist!

We'd looked at things to do in Cambridge online and decided that we might as well be proper tourists and go on an open top tour bus! I absolutely love it when it's a hot day and you go on an open top bus and the wind is blowing in your hair, when you have to duck to avoid the swinging branches of trees, it's just really good fun AND you get to see all the sights that are a little bit out of the city that you wouldn't get to see if you were just walking around.  The tour cost £14 but lasted 24 hours so we could just hop on and off whenever we fancied. I really recommend doing one if you're visiting a city you're not familiar with. 

I spotted this cute looking chocolate shop on the bus so I dragged my boyfriend in to have a look. The chocolates looked yummy and they all had really unique flavours. I snapped this photo of the chocolates but the woman said I couldn't take photos in the shop in a really rude tone so I just left and sadly didn't sample any chocolate. I don't see why you wouldn't be allowed to take photos. Does anyone know why this is?

We were getting a little peckish so stopped to get a bite to eat. I'd seen a few EAT shops around London but had never actually ate in one. I had the Mozarella meatball toastie with the most gorgeously refreshing pink lemonade cooler.  Sooo good!

After lunch we jumped back on the tour bus to do some more exploring! Do you not think these hanging baskets outside this pub are just beautiful?! I took a photo to show my Mum as I'm hoping she'll be able to make me some to go outside my house - she loves doing that sort of thing.  There were so many people punting on the river too which was hilarious to watch. You can be chauffeur driven or hire a punt yourself and do the 'punting'. We thought about hiring one ourselves but we're both really clumsy so we'd probably just fall in the water or tip over in our boat or something horrific like that!  I also had a mint choc chip ice cream whilst we watched people punting. Who can resist an ice cream when it's sunny eh?!

I can't do a 'day in the life' post and not include a cheeky selfie can I?! Haha. I was also silly and forgot to apply sun cream. When you're on the bus and it's breezy, you just don't truly notice how warm it actually is resulting in this lovely sun burn!  

We did a little shopping but not too much as we wanted to spend time seeing the sights. We went to this really cool shop called Tiger which I haven't seen anywhere before. It's like ikea, really cheap prices and just full of little handy bits and bobs.  I picked up this rabbit light and the raspberry cutting board for £2 - bargain! I've never had Whittards hot chocolate before either so I bought the banoffee hot choc which I'm going to try for the first time tonight! Excited!  No shopping trip would be a true shopping trip without popping into Boots. I felt a bit like an extreme couponer as this perfume was £23.99 but I got it for £5 as I had a few gift cards to use up. 

Hope you enjoy this post - it's a little different from my usual so do let me know if you liked it and I'll post more like this! :) 

Grace x

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Barry M Aquarium glitter polishes: 'Treasure Chest' and 'Mermaid'

The Barry M Aquarium range had completely escaped my eye line until I noticed the polishes in Tesco a couple of days ago. The range is made up of the above two glitter polishes 'Treasure Chest' and 'Mermaid' and four duo chrome polishes that I may pick up when there's a 3 for 2 on in Boots/Superdrug. 

'Mermaid' immediately reminded me of the Sea Life Centre, I could totally see it in the little gift shop you get to at the end of your tour as a 'limited edition' type thing. I have seriously put too much thought into this!  The shredded pieces of gold, green and blue mismatched glitter look stuning over a white nail polish as it really picks up each individual colour.  What I like most is that no tiny speck of glitter is the same, I always find myself looking at my nails appreciating that fact.

'Treasure Chest' is such an apt name for the gold and rose gold flecks of glitter that you find jam packed into the bottle.  It has a really luxe look to the polish and I think it'd look perfect over Essie fiji or Models Own utopia - y'know just something nudey/pink toned. Aaah I could gush over this all day so I'll just stop now.

It's so easy to apply to the nail picking up lots of glitter with just one swipe of the brush.  With some glitter polishes you have to sort of dab at your nails in order to make sure your glitter is evenly distributed but you can rest easy with Barry M's offerings as they are the total opposite to said glitters.

I think these polishes will be my favourites of the Summer!  I can't wait to start wearing them. Have you tried any of the Aquarium range?

Grace x

Monday, 16 June 2014

Make up Revolution Velvet Salvation Lip Lacquer in 'What I Believe'

If you read my blog then you will probably have already seen the makeup revolution haul I posted about here where I purchased this lip lacquer.  I've only ever tried the MUA lip velvets which I do like but the colours I bought them in were a little too 'extreme' for day to day wear so with that in mind, I picked up this peachy/pink shade from Makeup Revolution in 'What I believe'.

I'll start by saying, I'm not fond of the cardboard outer whatsoever but for a bargainous £3, I'd rather they focused on the actual product than something I'm going to throw in the bin.  The tube itself is pleasant enough with a cheeky bit of rose gold lettering thrown in to make allll the girls hearts flutter. Nice touch Make up Revolution.

There's no denying that this product is highly pigmented, what you see swatched on my hand above is just one stroke! That said, when applied to the lips, I had to give it two coats for it to look even.  I don't know whether it's just my personal preference but the product felt very uncomfortable on my lips, to the point where I nearly had to wipe it off but for the purpose of this review, I persevered and left it to see whether it'd impress me.  Despite the application, I really do like the shade and how it looks on the lips. 

At 11am I decided to pop my mirror out and see what my lips were looking like and I hate to say this but I was sorely disappointed.  After 3 and a half hours of application, the product had began to separate leaving me with a seriously patchy pout. I then decided to just remove it all together as I felt really self conscious and as I rubbed my lips, the lacquer just flaked off! I could actually see little flakes of colour all over the tissue and at that point, I vowed never to wear this lip product again.

Just because it didn't work for me doesn't mean it won't work for you. I just wanted to give my honest opinion on the product.  I don't have dry lips so I've no idea why I didn't get on with the product as I know the lip lacquers are highly rated across the blogging community.

Have you tried the lip lacquers? You can have a look at the whole range here

Grace x

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Magazine Freebies

 It's rare that I actually pick up a magazine these days as I much prefer to read blogs but as soon as I see the word 'free', I'm there quicker than you can say...well...FREE!  One month a magazine can have no freebies then another month all magazines are trying to entice us in with a generous little treat.

The first mag I picked up was Glamour.  Years ago now, I purchased a £30 eyeko voucher off Groupon for around about £10 I think and was really impressed with the items I purchased.  This was back when eyeko had the cutesy pink packaging and I fell in love with the felt tip eyeliner.  No eyeliner I have ever tried has compared to that.  Obviously I was delighted when I saw they were offering this skinny liquid eyeliner but honestly, I am so disappointed.  The eyeliner I received is dried out so I can't apply it without it having to trace over the line a million times resulting in it going all streaky.  I think a few people have had this problem but everybody else seems to have been ok so it's a bit of a gamble whether you pick it up or not! Despite the eyeliner farce, I do love Glamour magazine so will enjoy reading it.  Not a whole £2 wasted after all! 

Marie Claire isn't a magazine that I'd buy if it didn't come with a free product.  I guess I haven't really given Marie Claire a chance so it'll be nice to read this magazine to get a feel of what they're all about.  I love everything about Ciate polishes - the product names, the bottles, the shades, the way the caviar beads are messy and go all over my bedroom floor.  This cute mini duo is made up of the caviar beads in 'Ice Queen' and 'Sugar Plum' - see what I mean about the names? I can't wait to give these a try! It's an absolute steal at £2.50 so I might go and hunt for some more shades as there's 6 duo's to collect.

Have you picked up these magazines this month? 

Grace x