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Sunday Catch-up #33

Whilst most have been bemoaning the rain this week, I have secretly quite liked it as I have been stuck inside essay writing…3 down, 1 more to go! We’ve also been dog-sitting Ruby Soho and I have loved taking her for her morning walk and watching her run through the fields, barking at imaginary dogs. Let’s not mention the fact that this was also the last week of the summer holidays and I have to go back to work next week.

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This week I have been…

Making: my bed every day and feeling like I’m getting into fresh sheets every night (I’m sure most other grown-ups do this as standard!)

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Going: to watch Bristol City play

Wearing: my hair in a centre-parting again

Eating: Sicilian sardine pasta

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Drinking: homemade sangria

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Reading: Pop Goes the Weasel (and it’s just as gripping as the first one!)

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Watching: Sons of Anarchy all day errrryday

Buying: a sneaky Birchbox order

Planning: my lessons for the next few weeks

Cooking: my smoked haddock chowder

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Baking: peanut butter and jelly bites

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Writing: on my blog daily again – I hope I can keep it up when I go back to work!

Favouriting: the new Autumn/ Winter fashion on ASOS

Working on: these damn essays

Trying to decide: what to get Ian for his birthday

Wishing: we could get a pet dog

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Enjoying: the rain

Needing: to start getting up earlier…10am lie-ins just won’t cut it anymore

Feeling: excited about starting a new term

Giggling at: how cosy this little one looked all wrapped up on the sofa!

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Latest Purchases #88 – Sephora Haul

Possibly the visit I was most looking forward to making whilst we were in America, I had a list and was a woman on a mission when I went to Sephora in Georgetown, Washington! I am so surprised this store hasn’t made it to the UK but I think that just makes it a little bit more special when you do get to visit one. I picked up a range of make-up and beauty items, some I had been lusting after for a while and others I grabbed on a whim. I also bought two lipsticks which have gone missing since returning home…I’m still hoping they will turn up one day soon!

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First up, a little bottle of Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray that I bought as a present for Ian. I don’t use anything like this in my hair but I’m told this stuff is the best so like the good wife that I am, I popped one in my basket.

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Next, a bronzer from Sephora’s own make-up range in the shade Aruba. This formula has some serious shimmer so gives a lovely glow when used. It is quite dark but with a light hand, gives a beautiful golden sun-kissed look.

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I had to pick up another one of the Instant Nail Polish Removers when I saw it. It is one of the best I have used and my nail varnish was so badly chipped, I used it as soon as we got back to our hotel room! I was toying with this and the ‘white chocolate’ version from Ciate but it was such a tiny pot for the same price, I thought the Sephora one would last a bit longer.

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Next, a Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in the shade Trooper. I had been after one of these eyeliners for so long and they are raved about in the beauty world. I have used this a couple of times and am pretty impressed. The staying power is the best I have seen in a liquid eyeliner. My only complaint is that it isn’t as deep a black as I was expecting but you can build up the colour quite easily. The tip is really unique too – very fine but you can get a thick or thin line from it. I now wish I had picked up a couple of other items from her line as the packaging seems just as beautiful as the products.

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A bit of a less glamorous purchase now – deodorant! I have read a lot lately about how harmful aerosol deodorants can be so decided to try a more natural version and see how I get on. I had read recommendations for the Pure Vanilla Healthy Deodorant from LaVanila so picked up a stick.

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I picked up these Sephora Sleeping Masks for gifts and really wish I had bought myself one too!

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Next, a cleansing oil to try out from Boscia (another one recommended by beauty bloggers). I use these type of cleansers every evening and keep finding gems so hopefully this one will prove as good!

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One reason I love/ hate Sephora is how easy they make it for you to spend more than you had planned! I wanted to try out the First Aid Beauty Radiance Pads (a favourite of Lily Pebbles) but when I saw this lovely kit with their Face Cleanser and Ultra Repair Cream included, I decided to try out a bit more from the range.

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A real treat now from Tarte. Their Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blushers are raved about but quite pricey. After not buying one the last time I was on holiday, I decided to try out the shade Tipsy, a gorgeous bright coral-pink shade. I also love products that are embossed and this pretty jungle path means I will be really reluctant to use it too much!

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I have saved the best for last as this was the purchase I was most excited about trying. I love the ‘Sephora Favourites’ boxes where they select the best items from different brands based on a theme such as ‘bronzers’ (which I have bought in the past). I picked up the ‘Time to Prime’ box which contains a variety of amazing primers. Included is a Formula X Base Coat, an Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer, an Urban Decay Subversion Lash Primer, a Smashbox 24-Hour Photo Finish Shadow Primer, a Bite Beauty Line and Define Lip Primer and a Living Proof Prime Style Extender for Hair. I think you’ll agree, this is a pretty awesome collection!

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Recipe – Spiced Roasted Chickpeas

Last week, I made a chicken dish and I wanted to make a really flavoursome side dish that didn’t involve my usual default ingredient of potatoes. I found a tin of chickpeas in my cupboard, my brain started ticking and I came up with this little beauty.

We ate them warm from the oven but I think they would be lovely left to cool as a salad ingredient too.

Ingredients

1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

One garlic clove, crushed

One teaspoon of cumin

One teaspoon of smoked paprika

Salt and pepper

A drizzle of olive oil

A handful of fresh coriander

How to make it

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C, Gas Mark 4
  • In an ovenproof dish, place the chickpeas, garlic, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper and oil. Stir well to ensure the chickpeas are coated in the spices

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  • Roast for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and slightly crispy

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  • Sprinkle over the coriander and serve

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Latest Purchases #87 – Huge US Clothing Haul

So I think it was fairly safe to assume that I would be returning from America with a much heavier case than I left with! I saved my pennies for months before I went so although this is a lot of stuff, I had been pretty restrained over the past few months and I cannot see myself buying many clothes for a little while. I love reading blog posts about clothing hauls so thought I would take a quick snap of my goodies before I packed them away in my (now heaving) wardrobe.

I bought them from lots of different places but decided to roughly group them by clothing type…first up, dresses!

I bought this pretty dress with yellow roses on from Forever 21 in Times Square whilst Ian was queuing for theatre tickets. It is quite short so I would definitely need to wear tights or leggings underneath but I think it is a perfect autumnal dress and I love the sheer long sleeves on it.

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Also from Forever 21, is this grey marl tunic. Worn with leggings, this is my ultimate Sunday outfit as it is soft and cosy but also looks great with a statement necklace if I do venture out.

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I think I must have a thing about long sleeved dresses with sheer sleeves as I picked up another one from H&M. This is navy with a swallow print and will be good for work. My mum got married in a navy swallow print dress so I think of her when I wear it!

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This dress was one of my pricier purchases but also one of those that looks so much better on than it does on the hanger. It is an H&M striped shirt dress with gold details and is just such a flattering cut. I love all the detailing on it, like the folded sleeves and gold tie-pulls and I feel like a woman who has her shit figured out when I wear it!

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A more summery dress now from a shop called Loft…stripes and lace, what more you could you want?!

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Next, onto tops and my best bargain. This shirt from Forever 21 had a label on it for about $30 but rang up as $3 when I took it to the till! I love the geometric pattern on it and it looks great with jeans and boots.

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A nice Breton-style top from Old Navy.

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A New York-inspired t-shirt from Aeropostale. I love the semi-distressed material and the images in silver foil…a little reminder of our trip to the Big Apple!

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Similarly, a cityscape t-shirt from Aeropostale in the same soft, sheer material.

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A slightly cropped red jersey top from Aeropostale. I picked this up on a bit of a whim but like that it is made from thicker material so I can wear it as it gets colder.

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Is it wrong to buy a t-shirt because you like the back more than the front? I don’t know, but I love the plaited neon of this top so much and it is made of a really soft, sheer material.

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Another purchase from Loft, I bought this pineapple t-shirt as I just thought it looked cool!

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As it was our 2nd wedding anniversary when we were in New York and it is tradition to buy gifts made from cotton, we bought each other an I Love NY t-shirt….naff or romantic?! Anyway, I plan on wearing this for working out and will have to co-ordinate with Ian to make sure we aren’t twinning!

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I bought this long t-shirt from Aeropostale (yeah, went a little crazy in that shop!) and I really like the silver geometric pattern on it. It hangs really nicely and looks ace with leggings or skinny jeans.

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A little random at-the-till purchase now in the form of this woven clutch/ make-up bag from H&M.

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Onto some shorts now, something I never used to wear but I seem to have found a style that suits my short legs! These black and white geometric print shorts are from H&M and I love them. They kept me cool on holiday and looked great with a loose black t-shirt and sandals. I’m hoping we get a few more warm weekends this summer so I can wear them again.

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Feeling emboldened by my H&M purchase, I also picked up a floral pair of shorts from Aeropostale which actually look quite like a skirt when they’re on.

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Let’s talk skirts next. As you may know, I am slightly obsessed with anchors and I just love this nautical navy skirt from Aeropostale! I’ve worn it with a plain white tee tucked in and it feels very ‘me’.

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Also from Aeropostale is this mint green lace skirt which is another one I am hoping I can wear again before the sun disappears this summer.

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Buying a whole new load of clothes always gives me a kick up the arse to have a good clear-out, mainly so I can fit everything in and also to get rid of the stuff I haven’t worn in a while. I’m really pleased with my US haul. It’s hard on holiday not to be lulled into buying really summery gear but I think I have a good mix of work and weekend wear and I luckily didn’t go over our suitcase weight allowance! x

Beauty Review – August Birchbox

I have to admit that I only really opened this month’s Birchbox and had a play this week – I think I have just been having too much fun testing out all the goodies I bought in America recently!

After last month’s contents arriving in a make-up bag, we are back to a box this month and what a pretty one it is…

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Covered in little beauty emojis, there was also a pack of stickers of the same design inside.

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Here was my first look at the beauty items:

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First up a Rice Scrub from Rituals. I have been wanting to try something from this brand and love a good scrub. This one has organic rice milk and cherry blossom from it so sounds less harsh than a lot of exfoliators on the market.

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Next, a clarifying shampoo from Kebelo. Although I don’t use a huge amount of products on my hair, my Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo has found its way into my weekly ritual and I love the squeaky clean feeling it gives my hair. I’m keen to try out another brand’s version.

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I also received a pale grey Grab & Go Ponytail Holder from L. Erickson. Now, I would never pay almost £12 for a hair tie but this feels very soft and is meant to avoid snagging. I have to say it looks a little chunky for someone with quite short hair but always handy to have in my handbag.

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A Cleansing Water next from BioNike. I hadn’t heard of this brand before but like that this looks very delicate and soothing on the face. I always use these type of products to remove my make up so a welcome addition for me.

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Finally, two make-up items. I love The Balm Cosmetics, especially their retro packaging. I use their blushers so was pleased to see a bronzer. I know it’s only a sample but it isn’t the best size for a bronzer given that I like to apply mine with a very large, fluffy brush – I would have preferred another one of their lovely blushers but I found this also looks lovely as a golden-brown matte eyeshadow.

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I had another multi-use product from Lord and Berry in their blusher in the shade Lotus. When I opened the box, I was really disappointed in the cheap packaging. The colour looks nice and although isn’t the most pigmented, it is very silky to apply. I like that this can be used as a blusher or eyeshadow…I just need to find a better way to store it as I really dislike the plastic case!

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I’m not blown away by this month’s Birchbox and am probably the most excited about trying out the shampoo which isn’t exactly riveting. However, I have noticed there is a great sale on their website at the moment and I happen to have racked up a lot of points to spend so that’s practically free make-up! x

Dismaland

This weekend, Ian and I braved the crowds and visited the latest ‘bemusement’ park in the South West, Banksy’s Dismaland.

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Hotly anticipated tickets meant the website crashed so for the opening weekend, you could just turn up and try your luck. Having missed his last exhibition in Bristol, Ian and I were determined to see this one down the road from us in Weston-Super-Mare so set our alarms and after a swift 3 and a half our wait (!!!) we were in!

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As soon as you stepped inside the once-derelict Tropicana building, the experience started with in-character staff giving you a very gloomy greeting. My first impressions were of a sad, tired, ageing seaside resort  with a dilapidated castle as a centre point and various attractions dotted around.

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We visited the art galleries first of all which were incredible. A mix of sculpture, art installations, paintings and a whole model village; the subversive art genre was very much alive. My favourites were the tattooed ornaments and the cross-stitched car.

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We spent the next few hours wandering around, watching some short films in deckchairs, riding the big wheel, eating pizza, visiting the exhibits and having a go on both the carousel and rotating caravan.

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Having grown up in a seaside town that is dependent on a holiday park, I loved the social commentary behind a lot of the exhibits here. It was great that there were a variety of artists’ work here and as I would say is normal, there were pieces I enjoyed and others I didn’t. It was refreshing to be able to see these works of art in an alternative setting and despite the rather lengthy queue, I felt once inside the organisers got the numbers just right and there was no queuing or having to wait to do anything.

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I believe that it will be ticketed entry from this week onwards and although I cannot say that anyone else will ‘love’ these pieces of art, I do recommend a visit here, simply to experience the originality of the whole concept and you can go for fish and chips afterwards on the sea front! x

Mani Monday – Flowers

Hello to another Mani Monday post! This is a really simple bit of nail art where you can play around with the colours to create a whole host of different looks.

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For my base colour on all but one of my nails I used Essie’s Meet Me at Sunset, a vibrant, deep orangey red that looks amazing on the hands or feet – I would love a lipstick in this shade!

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On the nail with no colour, I used a very fine nail art brush (I got mine in an ebay set) to paint a bright yellow half-moon shape above my cuticles. I used Ciate’s Big Yellow Taxi and needed two layers.

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I then used the same nail brush (after giving it a quick clean) to paint on petals using the Essie shade.

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I sealed the look with my Calvin Klein Splendid Glaze top coat et voila! A fun, summery look that I think anyone could do. x

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