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Going the Distance

I thought I’d wait at least until the end of my first year at university to write this post, although of course that makes me no expert in the field! People are often quick to say that starting university when you’re in a relationship is a BAD idea. In Fresher’s Week everyone thought I was a little weird because I had a boyfriend, and some people (who I’d only just met) told me that it wouldn’t work out. “Relationships never last at university” is of course a common idea.

In fact, it was one that I was very much aware of myself and Lewis and I, did in fact have more than a few, very awkward conversations about what would be the right thing to do. I was, I admit the pessimist, convinced that the distance and having independent lives would put far too much “strain on our relationship”. I do know a handful of couples who did decide to break up before Uni for similar reasons. But the more we discussed it, the more I could see that in our case I had to just give things a go or I’d never know.

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Ice skating at Somerset House

Lewis studies at Kings College London, a university I too applied and was offered a conditional place at, but turned down when I decided I liked Exeter better and felt that going to the same university would be a terrible idea – again, I actually know a couple who both came to Exeter together and ended up living in the same block on campus, so it can work!

For the first 6 weeks, we went without visiting each other in order to let us both settle into Uni life and make new friends without distracting each other I guess. It’s very easy when you have someone to stay over in halls, to become a bit of a recluse and spend most of your time with them and in your room – not very social for your first month at University.

With hindsight 6 weeks was a little bit of a long time to wait, but we kept in touch easily with FaceTime and text messages. In Freshers week, we’d ring each other when we got in from a night out – in fact this was a trend which carried on for basically the entire year – which turned out to be nice, as generally it was just a conversation of drunken “I love yous”. We helped each other through Freshers and the weeks at the beginning of term and it was so comforting to be able to chat to someone who “knew me” – a concept which I’m afraid won’t make loads of sense until you’ve moved into Uni and you’re spending everyday with lots of strangers. He had a particularly difficult time at the beginning, and I spoke to him several times a day just to make him feel a bit better. It was a relief really, to be going through the same homesickness and cooking mishaps, and just have someone to reassure you.

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Exeter Cathedral

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London at night from Waterloo Bridge

The journey between London Waterloo and Exeter Central takes roughly 3 hours 30 mins, which when I first started travelling was not fun at all. I remember the first time I stepped off the train in Waterloo and dragged my suitcase over to the ticket barrier, he was standing on the other side, easy to spot the 6ft 5″ blonde kid, with a massive smile on his face. I was so overwhelmingly happy to see him and hug him and kiss him. Although he did look a bit different in his burgundy shirt [I think he put on a bit of Freshers weight], I couldn’t have been happier to see his lovely face.

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I am pleased to say that we have survived our first year of University, and I’m hopeful that we can tackle this one too. For me, although the distance has been hard at times – where I’ve wanted a cuddle, or some reassurance or for him to just turn up at my door – it has also really strengthened our relationship. I’m glad that we went to different Universities and that we are both independent people with our own flatmates, and courses and friends. Chatting to him on the phone whilst I’m doing my washing up or walking back from town never fails to brighten my day. I love hearing what he’s been up to, or having loads to tell him about a lecture or a ball or a society.

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Halloween

Best of all, I love his visits and I love to visit him. Exeter is the most beautiful city, and there is so much lovely stuff to do and explore, so many great restaurants and cafes to try.

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Exemouth

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The Exploding Bakery

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Bill’s

And I absolutely adore going to London, walking across Waterloo Bridge, or around Covent Garden, having him take me out to a place he loves or just cook for me in his kitchen with his flatmates. Despite all this wonderful stuff to do, sometimes we’ll just have a day in bed watching films and eating pizza and soaking up each other’s company.

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First Visit to Exeter

I never fail to be upset when I put him on the train back to London, and occasionally I will cry most of the walk back. But, at the same time I never look forward to anything as much as I look forward to his visits.

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New Years Eve 2014

Lazy Sundays | Wandering around Bristol

Lewis popped down to visit me two weeks ago for Reading Week so we decided to go to Bristol. As it’s only about £10 and an hour away on the train it’s a pretty convent place to visit and there’s quite a lot to do. I had a quick google of things to do online and decided we should try and head for St Nicholas market. Luckily it’s a pretty straight walk from the station and we managed to find it without too much standing and staring at maps, looking touristy. I really loved the Market, it reminded me a lot of Camden, with the wonderful smells of street food and all the bright colours of market-stall selling. I was very tempted by the Eat-a-Pita stand, which I had read was one of the best places to eat in Bristol and by Pieminister (which is a new food outlet edition to campus this year, and one that I am obsessed with!)


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The Market was a lot bigger than we originally thought, with and assortment of shops selling books, records, vintage trinkets, haberdashery, chocolate and jewellery on one side of the food bit, and an indoor market selling everything from birthday cards to hot sauce on the other. I left Lewis in a few of the record shops and went in search of vintage finds.

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One of my favourite shops at the market sold homemade homeware items, most of which had a really cool, unique map theme. There where picture frames, bunting and ceramic decorations, all made using all fashioned maps and they looked really cool. I had to go and get some money out – as I never seem to remember that these are not the type of shops that take cards, and bought a really sweet ceramic heart for my bedroom

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There were a few other great stalls, including one with beautiful handmade jewellery – pendant necklaces and engraved bangals like the type that you might find on Etsy, and one that sold the most wonderful smelling candles. I could easily have spent about £50 in one go. Not to mention the really cool vintage shop on the edge of the market. Round the back of St Nicholas there was also a registry office, where a couple were getting married and we stood with the rest of the crowd and watched them come out to huge cheers and windswept confetti from their friends. It was a pretty cool moment.

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On the look out for jeans we then headed towards Cabot Circus, which if you don’t know is a really big shopping centre. Lewis found some jeans in Next and of course I dragged him around Mango, Zara, Pull and Bear and Topshop. Feeling pretty starved, we decided to go for lunch at Zizzi’s. I chose to sit outside, which was a bit of a mistake but the food was really good. We shared Carmelised Onion Garlic Bread and then I had a salad with butternut squash, chicken skewers and dough sticks and Lewis had a pizza. It was really nice, but that didn’t stop us picking up free Pumpkin Spiced Latte’s outside Starbucks – I mean, they were free.

We wandered around Cabot Circus a bit more and back over to St Nicholas Market and then headed back to the train, passing on our way a Sardinian restaurant, which looked amazing. We had a quick peak at the menu and saw that they sold Ichnusa, a beer made on and named after the island and had some sauces made with Mirto – a spirit made from berries that grow on the island. I was so excited to tell my friend Giulia about it, I think she’s planning a trip already.

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Overall, we had a really great time in Bristol. I’m sure there’s a lot more to do and I think we will definitely go back, especially as it’s not too pricey. There were a lot of cool looking shops and places to eat, so you could easily spend a day there just wandering around.

I hope you liked this post, have you ever been to Bristol? Are there any other great things to do?

Harriette

 

Lazy Sundays | University Instagram Snaps

I’ve been at back at Exeter for about 7 weeks now, and away from blogging for about 4. So I thought this was a nice, little, easy update on how things have been going recently.

Working from the top down, I’m so happy to be back in Exeter as it has all of this beautiful countryside! The image featured above is of my walk to University, which is really lovely when the weather is nice and pretty horrible when it’s not. | I was lucky enough to review some amazing Arbonne products during Fresher’s week – you can read my blog post about them here. Since trying them out I have HAD to buy both the primer and the cleanser and absolutely love both, my skin has never looked so good! | Ofcourse, I had to get my hair sorted when I got back to Uni, as I’d just sort of let it grow out over the summer. Getting it cut and coloured was just what I needed – even if it did come with a horribly big price tag….

I went home briefly for an orthodontist appointment about 3 weeks ago, and picked up these lovely bits from Sainsbury’s – the TU clothing section is definitely not to be underrated | Here I am with my two lovely housemates Giulia and Anna, out for Giulia’s birthday at a really great cocktail place called Urban Underground, I was about two cocktails down at this point and wearing my new Topshop leather dress from the summer sale | The next two are a few of my cooking innovations, inspired by the wonderful Londoner – if you’ve not checked out her blog yet, the food stuff in particular is amazing! Here I have made her Dip n Share Eggs, and her Tommy Tart.

Next up is the typical “mug of tea” photo. I was procrastinating heavily whilst reading for my course and made myself a cup of Peppermint Green Tea to help fend off my cold. I got this mug for my birthday and I absolutely love it, it’s by Sophie Allport who makes a range of mugs with different patterns on, and different phrases printed on the inside.| Lewis came to visit me for a week, during his reading week and we had a really wonderful time. The first image is from St Nicholas Market in Bristol [ which is a must-see and reminds me a lot of Camden] and the second of course is from Halloween. I went dressed as a creepy doll and Lewis went as a zombie, with his very own homemade blood stained T-shirt . | The final picture is from my favourite restaurant Bill’s, where we had an amazing brunch [just looking at that image again is making me hungry] and I drank so much tea because that teapot filled about 8 cups – bliss.

I hope you enjoyed this little post, it’s something a bit different. From now on I will be posting on here every Sunday and Tuesday, so if you liked this post make sure you look out for more! 

Harriette

 

The No Nonsense Skincare Products*

This week, coinciding with my Fresher’s Week back at University, I have been lucky enough to test out some lovely new skincare products! I am a huge skincare fan and so I was very excited to try out a totally new brand that I hadn’t heard anything about before. If you have read my review of Sweet Cecily’s Lipbalms, then you might know that I am becoming very fond of beauty products that contain natural substances and companies that try to avoid nasty chemicals and animal testing. What is this magical new brand? One word. Arbonne.

Arbonne is a very unique beauty company, both in its set up and the products that it creates.The brand itself is not available in retail shops, but relies on the work of independent consultants like the lovely Emma Tellesey (@ArbonneEmma) who promote the company and its products, cutting out the middle man and thus making sure that you get more for your money. The consultants themselves benefit from commission on the products that their clients buy, and other perks like a large discount on all the products etc.

As previously mentioned, Arbonne products are free from nasty chemicals and animal testing, which is a great bonus as they are much better for your skin and your conscience. Although priced at a premium rate, they are considered to be high-end in their quality, with their unique, patented formulas.

Emma gave me the Arbonne FC5 range to test out, which she said is generally aimed at younger people’s skin.

IMG_4296 Cleansers + Toners IMG_4299 I tested out two cleansers, the Purifying Cleanser + Toner for Oily/Combination Skin and the Hydrating Cleanser + Freshener for Normal/Dry skin. As my skin is pretty fickle, I felt that both were pretty similar.

Generally I am used to using a cotton pad with my cleanser and toner, which involves little more effort than moving to and from my desk, however, with these products I actually had to wash my face, which I found made me feel a lot more awake first thing in the morning. Both cleansers contain natural products like fresh strawberry cells and golden jojoba, and they smell really fresh and clean and soapy, which was really pleasant.

Both cleansers were really nice to use, they were smooth and lightweight on my skin and foamed satisfyingly when rubbed onto my face so I felt like I was getting a really good clean. The end result, after only using a pea-sized amount of product was that my skin looked brighter, cleaner, fresher and more awake. Being a bit of a cleanser girl, I was really impressed with how little I had to use and how healthy and awake it made me look and feel.

Day Lotions  IMG_4304 IMG_4305 The two Day Lotions I tried, were the Oil-Absorbing Day Lotion and the Nurturing Day Lotion, both of which contain SPF 20. They both come in handy pump bottles, so that it’s easy to only use the small amount of product that you need. I was however, put off a bit at first as the white colour and thin consistency made it look a lot like suncream, which gave me the impression I’d be rubbing for ages before it actually sunk into my skin.

However, I was pleasantly surprised to find it blended into my skin really quickly with the same fresh, cucumbery, slightly floral scent that the cleansers had, prompting my boyfriend to cuddle me and tell me that I “smelt great” – always a bonus. Although I don’t think of my skin as particularly oily, I much preferred the Oil- Absorbing Day Lotion to the Nurturing one, as I found it left me with a wet, oily finish that I didn’t really like. It did however, make my skin look rather radiant and glowing, so that was pretty nice.

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IMG_4302 IMG_4303The Moisturizing Night Cream I think probably got overshadowed by all of the other products that I was trying at the same time, and had I the time to test it out on it’s own, I probably would have got a better idea of what exactly it does. What I did get from it is that it uses ingredients such as fresh mango cells and olive leaf extract and has a much more floral and soothing scent than the other products in the range. Just like the other products, only a small amount is needed to completely cover the face and neck, and after applying my skin looked and felt really soft and healthy.

Primer

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I would argue that I have definitely saved the best until last. This primer is hands down the best one I have ever used (though I have to admit I have not tried a large variety of premium primers). It is absolutely fantastic! Just like the day lotions, again here the pump bottle comes in really handy as it makes sure you don’t waste any product – and one or two pumps is definitely enough which is great.

The primer itself has a gel-like texture, which instantly feels smooth and nourishing on the skin. It immediately reduced the redness on my cheeks and around my chin, and gave me a really healthy dewy glow so that I was happy to wander around the house all morning wearing it just on its own.

The true magic of this product however is revealed when you apply your foundation over the top. Typically I only use high street foundations, but with this primer it looked absolutely amazing. My skin literally looked photo-ready, as if my makeup had been done by a professional, absolutely radiant, mattified and pore less. And one major bonus to add, is that the texture of the gel works to smooth out the under-eye area and so I didn’t experience any of the usual concealer residue lines in the creases under my eyes. I was really, really impressed with this primer and I definitely think it’s one for my wish list, just because I think it can make even a cheap foundation look really expensive and well-applied.

The Round-up

As a whole I was very impressed with the FC5 range from Arbonne and the wonders that it did to my skin. All the effects were very positive: some little dried up spots, which generally would take ages to go away were gone within two days of using these products, and a few horrible little spots that threatened to move in around my chin area shrunk back to little bumps and disappeared. Miracle!

The top two for my wish list are definitely the cleanser and the primer, as I felt I could really see what they were doing – another benefit of Arbonne of course is that you get to trail the products in advanced to see which ones best suit your skin, but also so you can see what you’re paying for.

Although the products themselves are certainly more expensive than I would usually pay, I really do think that you get what you pay for, both in how far the products themselves actually go and in the visible results. My skin has looked disappointingly dull and lifeless ever since.

Have you ever heard of, or tried out any Arbonne products? Which ones did you test? 

Harriette

Strong Not Skinny

The word “role model” is often banded together with the idea of fame or celebrity in modern media, as the majority of big bloggers might be only too aware. Writing a blog that becomes very popular, or appearing in a reality TV programme can mean that an individual comes to be regarded as a role model, and that of course comes with the heavy burden of responsibility. A role model’s lifestyle, dress code and eating habits can easily be picked up by an eager fan, and this is where debates about good and bad role models arise.

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Made in Chelsea star Millie Mackintosh was criticised at the beginning of last month after sharing a photo of herself on Instagram and Twitter at a photoshoot. The uncaptioned photograph, showed Millie wearing a silver bikini, highlighting her slim, muscular frame. This Instagram picture quickly sparked outrage as Mackintosh’s husband, Professor Green retweeted the photo onto his own Twitter account, adding “#thinspiration”. Experts (according to The Daily Mail) criticised the couple for encouraging young girls to starve themselves. Despite Mackintosh’s prompt reply to her husband’s joke, highlighting that her message was actually one of “fitspiration”, the media soon caught hold, with the uploading of the photo and Millie’s “role model” status even being debated on popular ITV programme Loose Women.

As a young (just about still teenage) girl, who has followed Millie’s Twitter for a good year now, I would have to respectfully disagree that she is in anyway a bad influence to young girls. There are a plethora of horrendous and harmful images available to young people on the internet with the label “thinspiration” – often used by pro-anorexia groups – but this isn’t one of them. Mackintosh’s “strongnotskinny” message, which she promotes heavily both on her Twitter and Instagram pages, encourage healthy, clean, eating and plenty of exercise. Despite her slim frame, it is her strong body which she is promoting, a body far away from the skin and bones look incorporated in most “thinspiration” images.

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It is a sad and indisputable fact that the majority of women and increasingly, younger and younger girls, will at some point, or maybe several points in their lives think about losing weight. However, adding tone to you body, can give the illusion of lost weight without getting to an unhealthy stage. By acting as a role model for young girls, celebrities like Millie Mackintosh – who children should be made aware, are generally slim as part of their job description – are at least sending out a message that strong is the way to be, not skinny, whilst at the same time promoting the empowering idea of improving your body for yourself.

I have never been a girl who’s been desperate to lose weight. Of course I’ve had my moments of “Oh my God, my jeans don’t fit!”, but generally I’m quite lucky that I’m mostly happy with myself. Recently however, I have felt inspired to exercise at least 3/4 times a week, trying to add a bit of tone to my tummy, but also, in the hope it might have other health benefits, such as giving me more energy. Since going to Uni and being able to pick my own food, I’ve always tried to eat well. I’d rather make all of my meals at home from scratch and go for the occasional meal out than eat a ready meal [mostly because they taste vile]. If I can swap a potato for a sweet potato, I will and if I can have slightly more veg and meat on my plate than carbs I will.

Personally I don’t believe in dieting, as I really don’t think it’s sustainable. But making little lifestyle choices, like cutting out bad food and trying to eat more eggs and apples and low-fat yoghurts makes me feel like I’m doing my body a favour. And ofcourse, I’m not good all of the time. I absolutely LOVE bad food. Yesterday I had lunch out, came home and ate 6 profiteroles…. I’m not denying my body food in the slightest, I’m just trying to think more and more about what I’m putting into it.

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In the way of exercise, I am working on strengthening my body through cardio and strength exercises. I’ve been enjoying using Davina McCall’s Body Buff Workout Video, which provides a range of warm ups, workouts and strength exercises allowing you to focus on key parts of the body, as I’m going on holiday soon I’ve been focusing on my “abs”.

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We also at the moment have in our house a spinning bike, which my Dad borrowed from my Uncle in order to train for a cycling race. I was slightly reluctant to give it a go, as  I had previously read a tweet from a female comedian (I’ve forgotten who) that spinning is very much like being punched in the v***** – nice. I have to say the seat is not incredibly comfortable on our old model, but I’ve found once I’ve got all my gear on and found a great workout/pop/r&b playlist on 8tracks I’m pretty good to go AND it helps me mix up my workout if I need a change from Davina.

Personally, I think I’ve been really inspired by Millie’s #strongnotskinny mantra. To me it’s a really important and empowering message to send out to young girls, that if for what ever reason you want to slim down [although I do not believe in doing so if it’s unnecessary] then at least go about it in the right way, with a healthy diet and exercise, to strengthen your body rather than weaken it. Celebrities like this, should be encouraged to spread such a positive message about looking after your body. Hopefully when girls who watch Millie strutting her stuff in her Louis Vitton, look up to her as a role model, and admire her body they will be inspired by the her happy, healthy, balanced lifestyle.

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I hope you liked this post, to read Millie’s reaction to the media attention surrounding her Instagram photo click here.

Harriette

Sweet Cecily’s Cocktail Flavoured Lipbalms *

I really love finding new beauty brands, and Sweet Cecily’s is certainly one of my favourites so far. I stumbled across the brand at the beginning of the year, when I recieved their Mojito Lipbalm in a goodie bag at the Bristol Bloggers Meet. I was instantly intrigued by the small metal tin, with it’s quirky, vintage-style label and by the company itself.

As a student, I love a good cocktail and so the idea of a cocktail flavoured lip balm is definitely my kind of thing. I was very excited, when I saw that Cecily had tweeted to ask if any bloggers would be interested in trying their new “mystery flavour’. However, as well as just receiving the brand new Espresso Martini Flavour, I was lucky enough to find out I’d been sent another Mojitio Flavour Lipbalm and a Pina Colada Flavour Lipbalm alongside it.

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Sweet Cecily’s products are unique, they are all 100% natural – with no Parabens, Petrochemicals, harmful preservatives or SLS. None of the products, nor any of  the ingredients are tested on animals, and they are all made by hand in the North Yorkshire Moors. Sounds dreamy right?

One of my favourite things about Sweet Cecily’s lip balms, except the bold flavours and natural goodness, is the packaging. Each small, handy-sized lip balm tin [ which is no bigger than a 50p piece – cute!]  comes in it’s own coloured cardboard sleeve. The labels are also really sweet, with their circus style “C” logo on the front, and the intricate details, such as the lime and mint leaves on the Mojito Lipbalm and the pineapples on the Pina Colada version.

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The lip balms themselves are made from great natural products such as Shea Butter, Beewax, Almond Oil, Cocoa Butter and Sunflower Oil. The product itself inside the tin is hard like wax, rather than creamy like some other lip balms, but when rubbed with a finger the balm melts giving you a thin layer of oil, giving a light but nourishing application. As mentioned previously in a post, I much prefer this lip balm texture to some of the thicker,wetter ones, as they tend to leave me feeling all sticky. On the other hand, if you prefer those cream lip balms that are a bit more like a gloss, this might not be for you.

Now on the the flavours…

Mojito Flavour Lipbalm

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I’ve owned this Mojito Flavour Lipbalm for about 6 months now and I absolutely love it. The smell and taste is absolutely spot on, a kind of minty, lime, which reminds me every time of drinking homemade Mojito’s at my friend’s birthday party. Yum!

Pina Colada Flavour Lipbalm

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I’ve never actually had a Pina Colada, so I can’t really say how accurate the flavour of this one is. But I do really like it, it’s got a really sweet, fruity scent, with a hint of coconut.

Espresso Martini Flavour

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Here it is – the brand new Espresso Martini Flavour! The packaging for this lip balm is still being created Cecily informed us via Twitter. However, for now the little label with it’s white background and typewriter font got me all excited as it felt like I was sampling a top secret product.

I’m not a big coffee fan, but I really do love the smell of coffee and for me this lip balm is spot on at capturing that. It smells quite a lot like a coffee truffle, which is really nice. I even caught Lewis trying some as he loves coffee, and he really liked it!

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Overall, I think that the Mojito Lip balm is still my favourite in the Sweet Cecily’s collection, as I really like the minty, citrus taste. But I am looking forward to using these other flavours as well, and maybe trying a new ones. As well as these ones, other Sweet Cecily’s Lip balm Flavours include: Strawberries and Cream, Banoffee, Chocolate, Lime and Mango and Earl Grey Tea. At only £2.95 they’re pretty reasonably priced.

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more Sweet Cecily’s products, I’m really excited to see what else they’ll come up with. With these great flavoured lip balms, I’ve got my fingers crossed for some candles. You can check out the Sweet Cecily’s range here at www.sweetcecilys.com.


If you’d like to find out a bit more about Sweet Cecily’s and about the lovely lady behind it all, you can read my interview with Cecily about starting up the company here.

Harriette

Holiday Beauty Essentials

We’ve all been there, you leave the holiday packing until the last possible minute (clever you). Then the minute that you start getting things in some kind of order, the bulging mass that is your toiletry bag threatens  to take up half of your precious suitcase space. My own, sweet, little Cath Kidston cosmetics bag is only marginally bigger than a good-sized pencil case and yet, with just a few extra products it easily swells to football-sized proportions.

As a result of this – and because I hate to fuss at the airport with tiny plastic bags and whether or not cream foundation counts as a liquid or not – I tend to restrict myself to packing pretty lightly on the beauty front when I’m off on holiday. If we’re being honest with ourselves there’s really only so much makeup that you need for a beach holiday, and it’s nice every once in a while to give your skin a bit of a break from all the powders and creams. So here it is, a peak into my recent holiday beauty bag and some of my top essential items for taking with you on your break away….

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  1. OK, so maybe I didn’t start with the most ‘essential’ item. But seriously, packing a little eyeshadow palette can be a great way to quickly go from a  casual by-the-pool look to dinner and drinks, just from simply dabbing a few different colours on your eyes. I received the Urban Decay Naked Palette the morning that I went to Tenerife (also my birthday), so of course I was desperate to take it on holiday so I could try it out. The different shades are so feminine and pretty, and instantly make me look and feel, nice and ready to go out.

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2. I think it might take me a while to find my ultimate product that I go to when I start to get a bit of tan, but this isn’t a bad start. I’m generally quite pale so my regular foundation is a no-go when I’ve got a bit of colour. In a panic, a few days before holiday I picked up this Olay Essentials BB Cream in Light and so far I’ve been reasonably impressed. It feels really light on my skin, smells wonderful, and just gives me a nice bit of coverage without making me feel gross in the hot sun. It’s also quite a bit darker than my usual ivory shades, so it gives my tan a bit of a boost without making me look weird. For now it’s doing the job well, I’ve definitely got a bit more exploring to do as far as changing my usual makeup routine for holiday goes, but for now, this little BB cream ticks all the boxes and it even has SPF 15.

 

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3. I’m sure I don’t know enough about what the sun does to your lips, and whether it can really damage them, I could probably do with getting myself some SPF lip balm… but at the moment this lovely little product is my favourite thing to stop my lips drying out in the sun. I’ve been meaning to write this lip balm its own blog post and maybe I will at some point, it’s the Sweet Cecily’s Mojito Flavoured Lipbalm and I absolutely love it. As you can see from the packaging it’s very well loved and has been banging about in my makeup bag for a long time now. The product itself is a lot more solid than most lip balms, which makes it slightly more preferable to take to a hot place. I can apply it quickly to my lips without getting that sticky, wet feeling AND it tastes like Mojito – what more does a girl want?

 

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4. Once you get a Tangle Teezer, you’ll never go back. They are absolutely amazing, especially for anyone like me who resents sitting and carefully brushing their hair through for any significant amount of time – I’ve got things to do! Obviously perfect for any holiday makeup bag, although it’s a weird shape it doesn’t take up too much space [or you can just bung it in your hand luggage] and will quickly and easily tackle those chlorine induced knots.

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5. Bit of a random one here you might think? I’ve only actually discovered Cocoa Butter recently when I went to Exemouth with a bunch of friends after exams and was silly enough to burn the tops of my feet. If you’ve ever done this it’s very awkward and painful, and after watching me hobble around for a bit my sympathetic housemate gave me her Cocoa Butter. I am (most annoyingly) allergic to Aloe Vera – a plant, the extract of which is [ironically] supposed to have soothing qualities and is often put into beauty products, particularly those such as aftersun. Although there are some after suns that don’t include Aloe Vera, it often either takes a lot of label searching or is expensive to track one down. Cocoa Butter, my lovely friend told me, helps in a similar way to most after suns to soothe the skin and re-hydrate it.

Her Cocoa Butter was a Derma V10 version, which she actually gave me the last of to take on holiday with me. I put it on every night and most mornings, just on burnt bits and it worked wonders – in fact I was the only one in my family who wasn’t peeling by the end of the holiday (result!). When I got home I tried to find the Derma 10 version, but through fear of peeling I bought this Palmer’s one, which I have to say isn’t my favourite as it smells a bit too much like chocolate for me and makes me feel a bit sick. The results however, are still the same and I would recommend to anyone who is allergic to products in after suns, or who has sensitive skin, to try Cocoa Butter instead, it is truly a holiday essential for me.

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6. My sister and I are both big preachers for the Toni & Guy Casual Sea Salt Texturising Spray and in fact we both took this little product away with us. The perfect size for travelling, and yet a product that seems to last and last, this sea salt spray is great for giving your hair just a little bit of oomph. In hot, humid weather my hair tends to either go frizzy or just a bit flat and shiny and so it’s nice after a good blow-dry, or just before going out to add a couple of sprays of this to your hair to just give it a bit more life and volume.

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6. Ok so this one is more of a pre-holiday essential I would argue, although you could also take it with you if you wanted. My sister laughed so hard when she found me a few days before holiday putting my Cocoa Brown fake tan on. Ofcourse, the point of a beach holiday, other than relaxing, is to get a lovely natural tan. However, that doesn’t stop the first day of looking a bit out-of-place, and pale in a bikini, whilst you wait for your skin to bronze naturally. I learnt this after I went to New York, where everybody was beautiful and bronzed and me and mum were the pale tourists. Similarly on a package holiday you can always tell who’s just arrived…. So I faked it up and waited for my natural tan to arrive  – perfect. This St Tropez Wash Off Bronzing Mousse, I think is particularly good, for if you just want to give yourself a bit of a ‘starter tan’. You can simply put it on in the morning and wash it off that evening.

I hope you might have found this list useful if you’re packing for a holiday yourself, what are your holiday essentials? How does your makeup routine change over the summer? 

Harriette

 

Tenerife In iPhone Photos

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I had such a lovely time in Tenerife. I hadn’t been before, but I loved the beaches with the really cool, relaxed bars and our hotel was gorgeous. I love a good beach holiday, it’s so nice to just be able to lie and soak up the sun and read. I read A Long Way Down and The Kite Runner, both of which are good – although I think I preferred The Kite Runner. It was great to just be lazy, sitting in the sun, going for a dip in the pool, taking a stroll down to the beach. And if you want to be active there’s plenty to do as well. One day we just hired bikes from the hotel and rode down to Los Cristianos, the next town along from where we stayed in Costa Adeje. After cycling around Central Park in New York, I’ve always thought it’s a lovely way to really see a place and Tenerife was no exception. We cycled right along by the beach, locking the bikes up to grab a drink and sit on the sand. The other day we left our sun beds, we swapped them for the ones at Siam Park [ a well-know water park in Tenerife]. At first I was a little apprehensive, as having the high expectations governed by the Disney water parks in Florida, I wasn’t sure how a park in Tenerife might measure up. It was however, very impressive. Eloise and I spent the day going on a range of different rides, most of them inflatable ones [ my favourite], whilst Dad had a snooze by “beach” area on his sun bed. Overall, I had an amazing time in Tenerife. The food was great, the hotel was great, the cocktails were great, the landscape was beautiful and the company was of course perfect. One lovely week of relaxing in the sun and enjoying books and music.

Have you ever visited Tenerife? What were your thoughts? Where is your favourite holiday destination?

Harriette

 

 

Summer Staples *

The benefit to being a June baby, is that my birthday comes right at the beginning of the summer, just as I’m itching to get my hands on a new summer wardrobe. I’m pretty good when it comes to summer clothes, as I tend to invest and keep items for a number of years. This year however, my clothes selection was in need of a serious update. So here are a few of my Summer Staples for 2014….

The Bold Playsuit

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I really love a good playsuit in the summer. They are so easy and light to chuck on and they can be easily dressed up or down for day to night looks. There also tends to be a wide variety of choice, on the hunt for a bold floral playsuit I was over-whelmed by the variety of choice in a range of different shops. I did however, immediately fall in love with this sunflower pattern from Pins & Needles at Urban Outfitters. It’s made of a beautiful silky material that’s lightweight and the colours are really bold and summery. I found that it hung on me a lot better than other playsuits, as I have somewhat of a boyish shape some playsuits tend to be a bit baggy around the top, but this fitted perfectly. I especially love the scalloped detailing of the neckline, which adds a pretty, feminine detail to this lovely playsuit. Dressed up with my big floppy hat and round sunglasses, I felt a bit like an old school hippy in this and I can definitely see it easily teamed with a pair of wellies ready for the festival season. 

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This is another playsuit that I got from Topshop a little while ago now in the Easter holidays. Like the one above, the pattern makes it easy to wear just on it’s own in the daytime, and it can be easily paired with a leather jacket and some lipstick for a smart casual night time look. I have worn this playsuit endlessly since I first bought it and it is certainly one of my favourite items of clothing.

The Floral Shorts/ Skirt 

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Summer florals are always a major trend at this time of year, and so I thought it was about time I got my hands on some summery bottoms. This skirt from Topshop for me ticks a lot of boxes as it’s not just floral but it’s also a lovely vibrant red colour. I am somewhat guilty of sticking to the same old colours… black, white, grey and the occasional pink or green. So this year I’m really trying to make an effort with colours and bold patterns that I might not usually go for. For me, this skirt is ideal as it can be paired with so many different outfits and accessories. Here, I have worn it with a little white crop top from Topshop, my Cleated New Look Sandals, my Forever 21 Round Sunglasses and my Floppy Topshop Hat.

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I featured these Daisy Print Culottes in a recent OOTD post and  I absolutely love them. Although they are black and white, daisies are my favourite flowers and so when I first picked these up in Topshop I knew I had to have them. Here I’ve paired them with a pretty, little, black scalloped vest top from Topshop. I really like this top, it’s much prettier and more flattering than a regular vest top and yet it easily goes with everything. Like my dark Topshop playsuit, these shorts are great in the day time but also can look really smart for drinks out with the girls, or date night.

The Striped Tee

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Nautical is in this summer. The classic blue and white striped top is certainly a summer essential in my book, again mainly because it’s so flexible. Here I’ve worn it with my red skirt, but it also goes brilliantly with denim shorts for a cool dressed down look, or it looks great with a good old pair of dungarees. This long-sleeved number has lasted me a pretty long time, as it goes well with a pair of Mom-Jeans in the winter or a leather skirt and also works for those colder summer days.

The High-Waisted Denim Shorts + The Cropped Top

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High waisted denim shorts and cropped tops are a match made in heaven for me. I am a big fan of anything high waisted as they give a lovely flattering vintage feel to any outfit. Cropped tops are always out in force during the summer and I have to admit I love them, but I tend to shy away from them. Although they are often pretty and summery, I find they can be unflattering if not worn with the right items of clothing. I certainly don’t have a wash board stomach and so I’m rather reluctant to put too much of it on show. I got these shorts last year from River Island, they’re a lovely light colour and of course can be easily paired with pretty much anything. I picked this cropped, vintage-style, floral top from Urban Outfitters in the sale, as I thought it was really cute and pretty. Together I think they just make a casual pretty outfit, without showing off too much skin.

The LWD

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Forget the LBD when summer comes around it’s all about finding the perfect Little White Dress, that’s pretty and feminine and shows off your holiday tan. I found this dress recently in Topshop and thought it was just what I was looking for. The two-tiered detail gives this dress a nice tailored look. And the scalloped edges and crotchet pattern give it a pretty, feminine style.

The Gladiator Sandals 

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I tend to buy a new pair of ‘summer shoes’ (generally sandals) every year, mainly just because once I get a pair I wear them religiously for the whole summer. These Chunky Cleated Sole Gladiator Sandals caught my eye a while ago in New Look. I was impressed by the cleated soles and the gold strap details, which I think make them look much more expensive that £24.99. The chunky soles are much better for your feet than really flat sandals, and the zip down the back is handy for easily slipping them on and off without all the fiddling with little straps. I’m confident that these are going to last me a good couple of summers.

2014 Summer Staples I have yet to acquire….

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Top to Bottom, Left to Right  : 1| Pins & Needles Floral Lace Crop Top and Lace Trim Shorts – £24.00 + £22.00 (Urban Outfitters).  2| Lexi Large Floral Bandeau + Shorts Co-ord Set – £20.00 (boohoo.com).  3| Ribbon Floral Co-ord Cami – £14.00 + £16.00 (BANK Fashion).  4| Vintage Renewal Floral Crop Top + Skirt in Blue – £28.00 + £28.00 (Urban Outfitters).  5| Bold Floral Shorts and T-Shirt – £32.99 + Out of Stock (Oasis).  6| Reclaimed Vintage Bralet and Shorts in Floral Print – £32.00 + £35.00 (ASOS).  7| Reclaimed Vintage Crop Top and Maxi Skirt in Floral Print – £30.00 + £50.00 (ASOS).

Kimonos

As Numbered: 1| Kimchi Blue Scarf Print Kimono Jacket – £55.00 (Urban Outfitters).  2| Denise Floral Woven Kimono – £15.00 (boohoo.com).  3| Parisian Yellow Leaf Print Tassle Hem Kimono – £24.99 (New Look).  4| Ribbon Floral Fringe Kimono – £25.00 (BANK Fashion).  5| Tropical Bird Kimono – £40.00 (Oasis).  6. Printed Waistcoat with Fringes – £12.99 (Zara).

 

Got your eye on some summer staples, but not quite enough funds?  Check out Raise.com, a new website which allows users to buy reduced gift cards, which you can buy here. AND you can sell your unwanted gift cards too. 

Harriette


 

* This post was originally written as part of Raise.com ‘s Closet Swap Campaign.

The Birthday Wishlist.

So it’s my birthday on Thursday (the 20th of June) and I can hardly believe it’s come around so fast. Although, looking back my little cakes and wine party with all my best friends, and going out in a borrowed gold dress from my sister and a cardboard tiara made by a friend’s boyfriend, does seem like a pretty long time ago. This year probably has been one of the most dramatic of my life so far (duh duh DUUUHH), but first year at Uni has come and gone so quickly I can hardly believe I’m at the other side of it, celebrating a new birthday. 19.

Present-wise of course, my friends and family have had a slightly more difficult time this year as I haven’t been at home to drag them around various shops endlessly hinting that THAT looks very nice. I have however, spent what I think is probably a considerable amount of time, going into shops a ‘browsing’ unable to make my student budget stretch to THAT dress or THOSE really nice shoes.

So to help them out, and to hopefully acquire some of the many, many products I have been coveting I wrote a Birthday Wishlist. Some of things you will see below are actually on the list, a few our other things that caught my eye whilst I was sourcing photos. The original Birthday list, comes with the explanation that these presents are ‘ideas’ and that I certainly don’t expect everything on there, it’s really just a guide if they have no idea.

Birthday Wishlist 1

Clothing 

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Pins & Needles Floral Playsuit 

I spotted this playsuit in Urban Outfitters, next to the underwear and was a little confused as to weather it was some weird kind of nightie/ sleep suit. I did however resolve that I would wear it as a day playsuit regardless, as it’s so little and pretty. I can definitely see myself wearing this and a pair of wellies at Reading later in the year. I have recently seen a sunflower version of this playsuit, which is really pretty too.

Topshop Stripe Organza Trim Crop Tee

I loved this top when I first saw it in the shop, as I am rather partial to a striped tee in the summer – they’re just so easy to pull on over a pair of denim shorts and make a really cosy, casual summer outfit. This top is particularly nice because it’s cropped, and it has a really pretty lace trim on both the arms and the hem giving it a girly touch. I’ve seen quite a few people wearing this since my local Topshop starting stocking it and it looks great paired with a number of different outfits.

White Chunky Cleated Sole Gladiator Sandals 

My favourite type of shopping is when I can actually completely justify ‘needing’ an item. I’ve recently had a few problems with achey feet and my doctor has told me that wearing flat sandals and esprdrills in the summer is definitely not helping. She suggested that if I could find some shoes with a bit more support on the bottom, then both my feet and back would be relieved from the horrors of wearing flat shoes all summer. I stumbled across this pair of sandals in New Look the other day whilst I was searching for clothes. They come in both black and white, although I thought I might be daring and try the white as it’s lovely and summery and all of my other shoes are black. These shoes weren’t on my original birthday list, however, they might be a bit of an essential if I am fortunate enough to get any spending money.

White No 1 New York Boutique Paris T-Shirt

I saw this T-shirt a pretty long time ago now in River Island, and I am both surprised and thrilled that they currently still have it in stock. I was really, really lucky last year and got to go to New York as part of a joint birthday celebration with my mum and ever since, for no particular reason I’ve really wanted some kind of t-shirt that says “New York” on it. This one for me is ideal, it’s crisp  and simple with the black and white writing and like the striped Topshop tee I can see it working nicely with a pair of denim shorts, or with jeans or skirts in the winter.

Petite Paint Floral Flippy Skirt 

Like probably a lot of people, come the summer time my wardrobe is usually in need of a bit of a colour injection. Black is certainly my winter staple and I love it, but I do like to try and mix it up a bit every now and then. I thought this skirt was a really pretty colour and could be matched with different tops for day/ night outfits.

Pink Floral High Waisted Bikini

After investing in an high-waisted bikini from Urban Outfitters, I have very much fallen in love. I just think the shape it gives me is much more flattering, and it seems to make my legs look a bit longer, which certainly is never a bad thing. Usually I wouldn’t go for a swimsuit quite as bright as this, however I really love this pattern from Topshop, I think it’s so pretty. Just have to watch out for those ‘unfashionable naked scenarios’ as Alexa Chung calls them.

Glamorous Tall Paisley Print Playsuit 

Although I certainly don’t fall into the category of “tall”, I really love the shape and pattern of this playsuit. It’s very summery and pretty and could be easily dressed up or down, for day or night.

 

Birthday Wishlist 2

 

Beauty 

From top left:

Elemis Total Glow Gradual Tan Bronzing Body Lotion

I’ve seen a couple of good reviews for this, and I am both a big fan of Elemis and of tanning products so I want to give this a try. Gradual tanners historically are not my favourite to use, as I find they are typically slightly more streaky to apply, however I thought this might be a good product for topping up my (hopefully natural) tan from my holiday. I’ll be sure to review this if I am lucky enough to receive it.

Benefit Dandelion Blusher

This is definitely one on the duty-free list if I get a few extra pennies. The Benefit lady used this on my face when I had my makeup done at the counter, and it really works for my paler skin. The colour is so light and pretty it’s perfect for summer as well.

Fairy Dust Scented Candle by Lily Flame

Lily Flame make some gorgeous smelling candles and Fairy Dust is by far my favourite. I used all of mine up at Uni, so I’d love to get a replacement so that I can get my room smelling like melted marshmallows again. You can read my post about this candle here.

Real Techniques Finish Perfected Blush Brush

I started out with the Real Techniques Starter Kit of brushes just before Christmas and I’ve really got on with them so well, I’d love to add the Blush Brush to my little collection as it’s just a bit of a better size for blusher that the Buffing Brush.

Benefit They’re Real Push-Up Liner

After seeing Anna’s review of this new product on Vianna Does Makeup I really wanted to give this a try. I too am a bit hopeless at eyeliner and tend to rely heavily on eye makeup remover to fix my wobbly mistakes and to make it look vaguely like a smooth line. Maybe with this product from Benefit my skills will improve!

St Tropez Face and Body Self  Tanning Kit

I have become rather fake tan obsessed ever since I recieved the Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan Mousse in a goodie bag at the Bristol Bloggers meet. And of course, I am curious to try the ‘real deal’ and to compare it to my first love of fake tan.

Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette

There’s a lot of hype around the Urban Decay Naked Palettes and I’ve always taken the opportunity to dabble in other peoples when I’ve had the chance. My friend Rachel is some what more of a makeup expert than me, so when I was having a little eyeshadow crisis she grabbed her Naked Palette, smudged a few shades onto her fingers and one, two, three I had a smoky eye in no time. The variety of shades and how easy they are to use certainly makes this product tempting.

MAC lipstick

Hands up, I’ve never owed a MAC lipstick and I think it’s about time I got my hands on one. At the moment I can’t decide whether I’d rather go for a lighter, nudey pink shade like this one for day use, or whether I want to go for a deep dark red for big nights out. Any recommendations on favourite shades will be much appreciated as the range is so vast!

Birthday Wishlist 3

 

Mugs and Books 

Of course, as an English Degree student there are a few books on my birthday list. The promise of having most of the summer to read whatever I like is certainly a nice thought, so I put a few on my list: God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy; Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck; A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby [making myself read this before I watch the film] and Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.

I have also been in the search for a really cute little mug to fill up with tea and get me through long days of essay writing next year – I really love these sweet designs from Paperchase, Emma Bridgewater and Indigo [sadly I don’t think this one is available for purchase in the UK].

So there you go, that’s a idea of some of the things I’ve got my eye on for my birthday. I’ll have to do an update on what I do get, my friends and family always have amazing surprises for me, so I’m sure I’ll be over the moon with whatever I receive.

Do you ever write birthday lists for your birthday? Or do you prefer surprises? Would your family be clueless if you didn’t give them a bit of help? Let me know.

Harriette