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Beauty Review – April Birchbox

I think this month’s Birchbox may be the prettiest yet! Partnering with Rifle Paper Company was always going to produce something lovely, but I adore the beautiful floral design on this box and I even used some of my Birchbox points to get two notebooks in equally pretty prints. I just can’t resist attractive stationary!

I was hoping the inside of the box would be as good…

First up is this foot cream by Kueshi. This is a new brand to me  but it smells good and I do use foot cream most nights.

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Next, a cult product in the form of a mini bottle of Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse. This is meant to be good stuff, adding hydration and a glow to face, body and hair – I cannot wait to try this as a full-size bottle is quite pricy.

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I have received a couple Parlor products via Birchbox and this Detangling Leave-in Conditioner sounds lovely. I use leave-in conditioners regularly but they can weigh my curls down so a spray version sounds perfect!

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Next, a black eyeliner from Cynthia Rowley. This is a creamy formula that gives a true black line and it has excellent staying power. I’m a liquid eyeliner gal so I may pass this one onto my Mum.

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Finally, Dew the Hoola from Benefit. I admit I had no idea what this was when I opened the box but have since discovered it is the liquid version of the Hoola bronzer. I’m not sure about this product. It doesn’t have a shimmer and is creamy to apply but I just don’t find it really does anything. It is meant to leave a sun-kissed glow but it doesn’t really show up on my pale skin. I may use this instead of foundation on holiday or when I have a bit more colour to me, but at the moment, it won’t make my daily make-up bag.

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Quite an interesting Birchbox this month – I don’t love all the items but then again, one of the reasons I subscribe to this is because it makes me try things I wouldn’t normally buy and for every item I don’t like, I find a couple of real gems.

I’m signing off for a few days now as I am off to France for the long weekend on one of my best friend’s hen weekends – expect lots of wine and cheese photos if you follow me on Instagram (and if you don’t, then you should!) x

My April Charity

After 27 years of relentless, gracious and dignified campaigning against corruption, lies and media slurs, the Hillsborough Justice Campaign finally got the ruling they deserved today.

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I love my football club and I love the city of Liverpool. Nobody should ever go to a football match and not come home.

You’ll Never Walk Alone – Justice for the 96

 

Sunday Summary #17 and #18

Life

I was really grumpy and miserable last Sunday so didn’t feel like writing my weekly summary and, to be fair, it wasn’t the most exciting seven days so I thought I would bundle the last two weeks together into one post.

The main reason for said misery and grumpiness is that I finally took the plunge to sort out my bottom teeth and got braces. I’m talking full-on metal train tracks like most of us had when we were sixteen. I’ve spent the past week with an aching mouth, not being able to bite down or chew food properly, having my inner mouth cut and swollen and feeling incredibly self-conscious. It’s weird because although I chose to do this (and had braces before as a teenager), I had no idea I would care so much about how they looked. However, it seems to be completely in my head as hardly anyone at work even noticed I had them!  I’m not feeling quite confident enough to post a picture of them yet but maybe in a few months’ time…

I’ve been back at work for two weeks now and our holiday seems a distant memory although I have managed to get my holiday posts written and uploaded. We’ve also booked another break for August so have something in the diary to look forward to.

When I haven’t been moaning about how much my mouth hurts, in the evenings Ian and I have been enjoying the finales of the OJ Simpson trial and Girls, The Island (which got really dramatic last week!) and we also discovered Murder in Successville which had us laughing out loud. We also loved watching Liverpool progress to the semi-finals of the Europa League – I feel sorry for our neighbours who had to put up with us cheering whilst they were probably trying to get to sleep!

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I’m still loving podcasts and The Archers has got so good with the latest storyline being discussed on Woman’s Hour and in The Guardian.

I am still reading Before I Go to Sleep but seem to be making quite slow progress with it. I think I’m going to join a local book group soon so I want to finish it so that I can start on the group’s latest title.

Next weekend, I am off to France for one of my best friend’s hen weekends. We have an amazing villa booked so I am hoping for plenty of sunshine, cheese and wine!

Food

I love brunch-style food for any meal of the day and can’t get enough smoked salmon/ avocado/ egg combinations.

I also made some killer meatballs and spaghetti this week!

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This weekend, we headed to the new Meat Liquor in Bristol with my bestie Lu for a good catch-up. It was achingly try-hard hipster inside and although we really enjoyed our meal, it was a slight case of style over substance for me. We couldn’t resist the ‘camel toe’ cocktail, quite literally served in a camel’s toe!

Beauty

My new additions mean I have to start using these little toothbrushes – it makes me so self-conscious every time I eat that I have something in my teeth!

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I had some new nail decals arrive in the post so had a little play with them when I painted my nails last week. Admittedly, they only lasted a few days but looked very pretty!

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I am also on the look-out for the Nivea Men’s shaving balm which is being heralded as an amazing primer to apply before make-up but am finding it hard to track down – I even have Ian on the case!

Fashion

After having my braces fitted, I left the dentist and went on a little spending spree in Bath. I think I was trying to make myself feel better and after popping into Primark for tights, I left with a full bag which included this pretty shirt and a new fringed handbag, both of which I wore out this weekend.

Cozumel, Mexico

The final destination on our Caribbean cruise was the Mexican island of Cozumel, known for great beaches, scuba diving and Mayan ruins. It was a slightly overcast day when we were there so we made a last minute decision to go on a tour of the island, stopping off at a few different places.

First of all we went to ‘Discover Mexico’, a small museum that displayed Mexican art and crafts, mini replicas of historic monuments (having just studied the Aztecs with my class, I loved this!) and we also watched a Mayan flying group who did the whole performance with no safety ropes! This was interesting, if a little touristy.

Next, we went to the Mayan Cacao Company – anywhere with chocolate is going to win my vote! Here we tried some chocolate mole and tortillas, flavoured our own chocolate and had several other tasters.

We stopped off at the first church of the island, which was built next to some Mayan ruins. There was also a market there where I bought a cute guacamole serving bowl.

Then it was onto a tequila factory. We tried four types of organic tequila which tastes much better than the type I usually have as shots with salt and lemon (followed by horrendous hangovers!) This was good stuff although so overpriced so we decided to wait until we found a supermarket to buy ours.

We made a quick stop off at a beach to enjoy the view and I found several cute hermit crabs.

Before heading back to the ship, we decided to go for lunch as you can’t go to Mexico and not try some proper cuisine and a margarita! The restaurant we went to did not disappoint and I had the biggest margarita followed by freshly made guacamole and fish tacos.

We just had time to buy some hot sauce, tequila and mezcal before it was time to go back to our ship. Rather than feeling like we didn’t have enough time on this island, it has only whetted my appetite to come back and visit mainland Mexico properly!

Grand Cayman

A couple more holiday posts before normal blogging service resumes! The first week back at school has been manic (mainly because I was in holiday-mode over half term so did very little from my to-do list) so we are having a chilled weekend together.

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After a day in Jamaica, we set sail and woke up, docked just off Grand Cayman, the largest of the Cayman Islands. The only thing I knew about this place was that it was Caribbean island with great beaches and a known tax haven and that pretty much sums up what we experienced during our visit.

We had decided not to book any excursions and just have a relaxing beach day and headed to the Seven Mile Beach, known for white sands and warm, clear waters. On our way, I couldn’t help but notice the higher standard of living than the other places we had visited. Instead of the usual tourist tat, the shops were selling diamonds, Rolex watches, designer handbags and there were lots of American chain restaurant dotted around. Our taxi driver was pointing out houses owned by billionaires along the beachfront too.

After a short drive, we arrived and spent a blissful day sunbathing, swimming and, when it got too hot, enjoying local beers and chicken wings at a beach bar.

If you are looking for an idyllic island holiday with lazy days spent at the beach then this is a great choice of destination.

 

Mani Monday – New Nail Decals

It feels ages since I did a nail post so here’s one showing off some new nail decals I ordered from ebay. They contain a wheel of various designs and the thing I love is that they are black on one side and copper on the other. My favourite designs are the anchor, crown, diamond and cross.

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My nails grew so long when we were on holiday that I decided to cut them really short when we got back. I like the clean, tidy look of short nails but they probably aren’t the best for nail art!

I started with this pretty apricot shade by Sally Hansen in Sorbet. I needed three thin coats but I liked the smooth finish this gave.

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I decided to try a different decal on each nail and let me tell you they were fiddly to apply! Unlike stickers or water decals, these foil ones don’t bend to fit the natural curve of your nail bed so they end up sticking out slightly. I applied several layers of top coat but still had some little corners poking out and catching on things. For this reason, I can’t see these decals lasting longer than a few days.

However, I love how these look and now I have tried them all out at once, I think I know which ones work best and which I would use again.

Sunday Summary #15 and #16

Life

I wrote my last one of these weekly round-up posts the night before we flew to Havana for our Caribbean cruise. I am gradually writing up some posts on our holiday, but suffice to say we had an incredible time.

Whilst away, I read the fourth instalment of the Millennium series which revisited the world of Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. It didn’t quite live up to the previous trilogy  but was gripping in places. I have since started another thriller, Before I go to Sleep which has a unique concept that I am enjoying so far.IMG_5903

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Since being home, there has been a lot of catching up with friends and family, laundry, the gym and TV. We binge-watched our Sky Plus programmes this weekend, reacquainting ourselves with Girls, the OJ Simpson programme, The Island and also watched Jurassic World.

I am back at work tomorrow which fills me with equal parts of dread and excitement but it also means I am chained to my laptop writing reports today.

Food

I feel like I have eaten very well over the past week! The food on board the ship was exceptional and we also had amazing jerk chicken and shrimp tacos in Jamaica followed by fish tacos and Margaritas in Mexico.

I have since tried to recreate some of these dishes at home but sadly could not provide the sunshine too!

Beauty

My recent lash lift is still going strong and it was lovely to not have to worry about wearing mascara everyday on holiday. I would definitely have this treatment again.

Whilst away in the Caribbean, I had the urge to wear a tropical-inspired orange lip. This lip crayon in Tangerine Dream from Stila was perfect and has really good staying power.

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Finally, I took away several mini products from REN. All were lovely on my parched sun-kissed skin, especially the face cream which I would like to purchase in full size.

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Fashion

Being blonde and pale-skinned, I burn really easily therefore I am all about hats when in the sun. I found this straw trilby on ASOS and wore it to death on holiday.

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Ian and I have a silly amount of Ray-Ban sunglasses (my personal favourites are my Wayfarers, Clubmasters and Erikas) but they are the best. They look cool and mine have lasted for years.

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Although I tend to live in dresses, I wore my playsuit several times on holiday and it has made me want to buy more. They are so comfortable and I love ones with cool prints on…I couldn’t find a single photo of me wearing mine though!

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