This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

Hello from a glorious and sunshiny Buckinghamshire. I hope you’ve all been loving the weather we’ve recently been having?

I’m aware that by the time this post publishes, we could be sitting in jumpers and staring into the grey abyss, but as I write this I’m soaking in the sunshine, enjoying the cool breeze and sipping on an iced coffee.

I didn’t realise how much the weather affected me until a few years ago. Up until about 3 years ago my favourite season was always Autumn – not too cold but nice and crisp and you could wear cute jumpers and feel all cosy wrapped up and snuggly. And then I went to Florida and it broke me – in the best possible way. The sunshine, the humidity, the heat. Being able to whack on a summer dress and sandals and fly out the door. The wide open skies with only fluffy white clouds.

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Everyone is happy, everyone looks healthy. My skin was smooth and tanned, my mind was calm and I was getting so many important vitamins into my system. From that point I was a summer person. This year’s winter felt colder than ever. My joints hurt, everything felt dark and dull. Even this heat wave hasn’t been hot enough. I need at least 30c and humid…. I’m ruined!!

So needless to say I’ve been enjoying this taste of summer, and I can’t wait for it to return soon.

Other than soaking in the weather, I’ve been busy doing other things. At my job we celebrated 10 years of the business and all headed to Alton Towers.

It was my first time there, and since it was a chilly grey day we were able to ride every ride with no wait times on the majority. It was an epic day. My favourite rides were Oblivion, Thirteen and the new coaster The Wicker Man (UK’s first wooden rollercoaster in 20 years). Alton Towers is on a massive site. I was very impressed!

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I’ve also been cracking on with my calligraphy course. I’m nearing the end of the second module, learning minuscule (lower case) letters. I’m actually really impressed with how much I’m improving. This course really suits my learning style and I’m brimming with inspiration of how I can put it to use as I continue to learn. I’m waiting until I’ve learned both minuscule and majuscule letters (and possibly how to connect them!) before I start being too creative, though!

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We recently went off to London and to a restaurant we’d seen on Masterchef called Eneko, and had an amazing dinner there. I’m posting a separate review all about it, so keep an eye out for that.

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As you’ve no doubt seen, I’m still completing my 52 new recipes challenge and I’m really enjoying putting the effort in to discover and then make the recipes. If you want to see what I’ve made so far, you can do so by clicking this link. I’ve got a few ideas of recipes I want to try in the future but I’m actually enjoying looking up what I fancy on a weekly basis.

So, without a crystal ball I can’t predict what the weather will be like as you’re reading this post. I hope with all my heart it’s sunny. Even if it’s not in the mid to high 20’s like it has been, I hope it’s still sunshine!

Until next time…

Let’s Talk About Snow, Baby

When I was much younger, I always loved the snow. And to an extent I still do.

Snowfall seems to create a different world from the place you know so well. Streets and parks look unfamiliar even though you might have walked or frequented them over and over again.

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I’ve experience snow in a few places. Growing up it seemed like it snowed every year for the first years I can remember. In my mind’s eye I can remember photos I’ve seen of me bundled up playing in the snow. I remember the street I grew up on looking so magical, when there was heavy snowfall. The sides of the roads all slushy, deep and dirtied from vehicles trying to make their way (sometimes unsuccessfully) up the hill. And then for the longest time it just didn’t happen. For years it seemed, we just didn’t have any snow.

Then, as I grew into a young adult with responsibilities, snowfall started to become inconvenient. It once took over 3 hours to make a 30 minute trip home from work, my Dad driving, due to sudden heavy snowfall. Living in Milton Keynes, people often say all the roads look the same. I usually disagree, but on that night, everything all white and the road signs covered with the stuff, it was very disorienting.

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Working in a mall was always fun when it snowed (not). As soon as it started you would panic you wouldn’t get home. But until the head office had notified you could leave, you were stuck. Even if the customers had all left.

New York snow is definitely the prettiest I’ve seen. I can’t explain to you why, but if you’ve ever experienced it, you’ll know what I mean. I visited for Valentine’s Day in 2003 when the city saw a record-breaking blizzard (there’s even a Wikipedia page all about it) and I was snowed into my hotel. I mean, of all the places to be snowed in, New York’s a good one. We survived on deli sandwiches and watching the great President’s Day movies on the tiny TV in our room. It was pretty fun in hindsight.

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There’s something exciting and magical about snow. It seems to blanket over the monotony of day-to-day life, and add an extra level of interestingness. Your trips to work might be a little strange, the view from your kitchen window will be iced, and if you’re at school there’s always a chance you could get a bonus day off!

In England we’re a little famed for our over-reactions to this weather. Granted it can be genuinely dangerous on the roads, but that’s usually down to people not driving responsibly. The shelves in the shops will end up bare as people hunker down for what could be a whole 12 hours of inconvenience. Okay, I may be over exaggerating.

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My now conflicted opinion of snow comes from being a fairly new, and quite un-confident driver. When I met Gary, I couldn’t understand his negative opinion towards snow, despite his explanation. But now I’m going to stand up and say, snow is inconvenient and dangerous – and bloody cold!

Despite this, I don’t think I will ever lose the feeling that there’s a bit of magic in this kind of weather. As a child I have a distinct memory of going to bed, and listening to the main road outside. And then all at once everything became silent, and I knew it had started snowing. I wasn’t the type of person, back then, to look at a weather forecast, I was just a kid caught up in my own world, so I have no idea if it was due to snow. All I knew, without even looking outside, was that it was the kind of snow that would have turned the world white when I opened my curtains.

I used to have a theory, that if you looked directly into the sky as it started to snow, if the sky was that weird opaque pale orange colour, and all you could see was thick snowflakes rushing towards you, it would definitely stick to the ground, instead if just melting away. I was usually right.

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Today I’m talking about snow, because as I write it’s falling on the UK. And by this I mean literally – I’m watching it come down. I woke this morning, at a stupid time, in the anticipation of a snow-covered cul-de-sac outside, and I wasn’t disappointed. Some plans have sensibly already been cancelled, whilst others hang in the balance.

a snowy scene from the kitchen window

This time around, I feel a little like this snow will be a tad more special since it’s Christmas time. We don’t often get snow in December in these parts any more. It tends to land in January or February, which at least adds a little something to those nothing-y months. But that postcard idea of snowfall at Christmas rarely occurs. So this year is different.

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I’m not a big fan of being wet and cold, so skiing, snow angels, snowball fights or building snowmen is never on my to do list when it’s snowy. But I will say, if you’ve got nowhere to go and you’re warm and safe somewhere, it’s blooming beautiful to watch it fall.

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

This past couple of weeks has been filled with glorious sunshine and warm weather (for the most part!) It meant I’ve been able to get stuff done and generally feel more productive just because they weather has put me in such a good mood!

A couple of weeks ago I met up with a couple of friends, one of which I hadn’t seen in a LONG time and we sat in the pub garden and enjoyed the sunshine on what was, at that point, one of the hottest days of the year. The sun shone, the cider flowed and the bunting flapped in the breeze. It was bliss.

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Last weekend was Glastonbury festival, and I watch it every year. It holds a special place in my heart, being the place I met my husband and every year I watch and wish I was there. This year was no exception, and I really enjoyed what I saw on the TV, my highlights being Radiohead, Chic and The Foo Fighters – all of whom I’ve seen live before and all of whom never fail to impress.

In true honour of Glastonbury and Somerset, I had to have a few ciders during my watching time, and I picked this little beauty up from the supermarket just to try it.

 

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In true Role Models style, I like the idea of Jack Daniels more than I actually like the taste of it, so I was intrigued by the idea of Whiskey Cider. I have to say, I was very impressed. The whiskey takes the acidic edge of the cider, and the cider takes the burning from the whiskey away so they compliment each other beautifully. I need to pick up some more!

Last week wasn’t so warm, and we had some rain too, but it was a nice break in the humidity and a chance for me to get some decent sleep – which I didn’t really achieve, for one reason or another.

We were gifted some beautiful flowers are work, which helped to brighten the office even when it looked grey outside.

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Thankfully, this weekend the weather has picked up a little more, which was fortuitous because I had plans in London which wouldn’t have been all that great had it been rainy and grey. I’ll share more about what I was up to in a later post, but I will say (and I’ve said it many times before) that there’s nothing like London in the Summer sunshine. If you haven’t visited in the summer before, you really must add it to your travel bucket list.

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We spent the majority of our day by the Southbank, however we ventured off to Covent Garden and Soho, and had a lovely vegan lunch in Veggie Pret (the vegan brownies are the things dreams are made of!) followed by a stroll through China Town before we headed home.

I keep alluding to things on my twitter account, that I don’t want to jinx by telling everyone (fyi. not pregnant) and I’m hoping to be able to share things with you soon. I’ve put a lot of things on hold for the time being, but soon I’ll be back to my blogging/vlogging social media self (I hope!).

In the mean time, I hope you’re enjoying this gorgeous weather! Stay tuned for my upcoming post, on my trip to London. It’s a quacker! *wink wink*

A Beautiful Wedding

We have just returned from a lovely break in St Ives where our good friends Sarah and Nick married at Carbis Bay.

The weather for the two important wedding days was perfect just when it needed to be. We arrived in Carbis Bay on Saturday evening just in time for the sun to begin shining. All gathered together, friends and family relaxed, caught up and ate fish and chips on the beautiful beach, which looked like something from another country.

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We even managed a dip in the sea!

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The following morning was the big day and the bridesmaids showed up early to get our hair done. We had been given free rein on how to have our hair, but Sarah had said we should all have a plait somewhere. I’d seen a picture a while back of the kind of thing I wanted, and showed the hairdresser. She nailed it!

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I was so pleased with it!

The weather had been grey and rainy, but the sun shone bright and beautiful as soon as Sarah put her dress on.

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After a few photos it was show time. The ceremony was stunning, with the back doors to the conservatory where we were seated open, we could hear the waves from the bay below, throughout.

Photos afterwards on the grass and then the beach, along with drinks and chats. It was perfect.

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We all got a little sunburnt, and I was delighted that my tinted moisturiser, which has spf, protected my nose and forehead which normally burn first. I’m planning another post describing the make up I used, soon. I was so impressed with how my face still looked perfect at the end of the day!

Wedding breakfast, coffee and then disco later we were all pretty shattered. But it was a wonderful day. The DJ agreed to play some corkers, including a Book Club only dance to Wannabe by the Spice Girls, which was definitely a highlight.

Thank you Sarah and Nick for including us in your day, allowing us to share a wonderful week with you and friends, and for asking me to be bridesmaid. The day, and week, was perfect!

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This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

Last weekend was Bank Holiday, and in true British style the Monday was grey and rainy. But thankfully I’d gotten all my good stuff done already.

Sunday was Sarah’s Hen party in London, and all us bridesmaids headed to Trafalgar square to meet with some of Sarah’s other friends and family for a day of girly fun. Donning pink feather boas, we hopped onto a London bus for some afternoon tea and sight-seeing.

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Yummy cakes and sandwiches were washed down with prosecco and then tea. We then headed to Shoreditch to Mixology for fun cocktail making – and drinking!

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We had great fun, and it’s awesome to think the wedding is now just days away.

Over the weekend, we watched two really great films. The first was The Gallows, which is a found-footage movie about a school play where one of the actors was accidentally hanged by a prop and then years later the school decide to put the play on again in homage. It’s creepy and very effective.

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The other was 10 Cloverfield Lane. We really enjoyed Cloverfield and were intrigued to watch this new one, which isn’t a sequel but is in a similar vein to the first. Again a very interesting film, and brilliantly acted. If you liked Cloverfield I recommend it!

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The rest of the week was grey and rainy and so so chilly. It felt like autumn had come back – we even had the heating on! But the forecast for next week is warmer and brighter and just in the nick of time because we’re all heading to St Ives on Friday and Saturday to celebrate Sarah and Nick’s wedding. We all can’t wait!

Before that though, Tash, one of the bridesmaids, lands in the UK after being in Thailand since September last year. I cannot wait to see her! It’s been too long but before we know it she’ll be heading back.

Oh one other fun thing – Gary managed to get us tickets to see Bad Company in October. I love classic rock and can’t wait to see them. We’ve been waiting for a UK tour for a while and finally they announced it! I’m gonna get my rock on!

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Summer in the City

Last weekend the UK appeared to skip straight from Winter, right into Summer. The weather was so glorious that we couldn’t believe just a week before we’d been wrapped up tight and watching snow flurries through the window.

So what better way to enjoy the glorious sunshine, than to head to London for a mooch and some food. I love London in the Summer. Everything’s so pretty and shiny.

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We headed straight to lunch when we arrived and to Shoreditch, where I wanted to visit a place called Pump. Built on an old petrol station forecourt, Pump is a little al fresco world food court. We’d arrived at about half 12 and most of the places hadn’t started serving food yet, which was a little surprising. We’d seen some photos of what the place had to offer on instagram so we both headed to Nosteagia.

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I grabbed some teriyaki chicken with rice and a strawberry green bubble tea. The tea was so refreshing and the food was yummy! Gary wasn’t in the mood for a big meal at the time, so just went for desert!

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This bubble waffle was filled with strawberries and chocolate sauce. The waffle was so light and crisp and the filling was fresh and sweet.

We then headed over to Boxpark, and Gary came across Voodoo Rays, and amazing pizzeria selling pizza by the slice. He went for a slice of cheese and tomato. I wished I hadn’t already eaten because the bite of Gary’s pizza I tasted was amazing. He said it was the best pizza he’d eaten in this country! They even had a vegan pizza.

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It was a really funky little place and we HAVE to go back so I can have some of my very own!

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The rest of our day was wonderful, just wandering around London. I was just telling Gary about how I might wake up the following morning and go for a run, early, before I started my day. I am only just getting back into running since my injury last year and so it’s still a hard job to get me to actually go out. I was telling him how I actually probably wouldn’t go out, and that I was feeling too lazy…. and that second I spotted this graffiti on the wall…

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It was, quite literally, a sign. Incidentally, we took this photo opposite a homeless man who was singing into a large traffic cone, the same mermaid-like phrase of song over and over again. And after about 10 minutes just got up and walked away, leaving the cone behind. I love London!

It was such a good day – it felt like we were on holiday! And guess what? The next morning:

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At half 8 (and 18c already) I went for a run! It was tough, and it was hot, but I’m so glad I did it! Sometimes listening to graffiti pays off!

 

Blood and Blogging

My week so far has been fairly uneventful. Though it is only Tuesday so what else can be expected?

I say uneventful but I did almost pass out yesterday after bending my thumbnail back half way down the nail bed, and after seeing the blood I lost consciousness for a few seconds and then could hear nothing but ringing in my ears for about a minute. So that was fun. But my nail didn’t break so I guess I have OPI Nail Envy to thank for that.

It’s annoying how I manage to cope with pain and stuff but as soon as I see blood that’s it, I’m gone. And it’s not even like seeing someone else’s blood does the same thing, or talking about blood, or seeing it on the TV – I only have that reaction when it’s my blood…. And thinking about it now I’m fine, and I know how odd it is. I can’t rationalise it. One minute I’m fine…. Until I’m not.

G and I have been feeling rather under the weather, him more so, but we’re both feeling incredibly run down. The weather isn’t helping. We’re being offered a smidgen of spring, and before we know it we’re watching snow falling outside. I’ve picked up some lovely new summer tops for my trip in September but I’d rather like to start wearing them soon, please.

Next weekend is a Bank Holiday, so a 3-day break, and we’ve got some stuff planned which is nice. I’m hoping the sun shines and it brings some of my happy back.

I’ve been really enjoying reading more blogs and seeing what other people are writing. As much as I love to read all about makeup and fashion, it’s great to see there’s still some intelligent and substantial blog writing happening. Sure it doesn’t bring in as many ‘likes’ or follows as the latest palette review, but I appreciate it. And I’m not suggesting that beauty isn’t an intelligent subject, but you know what I mean.

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I was listening to This American Life in the car on the drive home today, and they were talking about memories. The journalist hosting that particular part of the podcast was talking about how people she was afraid to forget parts of her life so much that she kept boxes upon boxes of memories so that’s she could look back and reminisce – she’d even lugged them to no less than 12 apartments over 10 years. That describes me perfectly (the memory part not the 12 apartment part). I’m so afraid of having an awesome time and forgetting it over the years – it’s petrifying.  I think that’s why I blog. It’s like a living journal – the living part being you guys, my readers. I love knowing you’re out there and that you like reading what I’ve written. My blog was started just for me, to memorialise parts of my life, but years on I now love how it’s an outlet to interact with like-minded people.

Over the years I’ve focussed on books, then fitness, running, food and now beauty. And a lot of you have come along for the ride. It’s nice to have you here!

So the rest of my week will be full of sweaters and chilly evenings wishing the heating wasn’t on. But if the forecast is to be believed things might be picking up by the end of next week. Until then I’ll keep my scarves out and curse the snow flurries. It’s April, Man. Give us a break!

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This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

The working week following a Bank Holiday is always difficult because you always burn the candles at both ends when you have the opportunity to have some extra time off. Plus my bank holiday followed a week of leave.

We were pretty knackered after all the house stuff, but the week went fine. Still, I’m finding I’m sleepier than normal. This is probably due to the clocks changing too!

Gary’s birthday was last Thursday so we went to The Akeman in Tring for dinner. It was a really nice relaxed meal but the place was heaving and a little under staffed. Still I had a nice smoked haddock dish and a gin and elderflower cocktail so I was happy. And Gary enjoyed himself too 🙂

The weekend just gone promised some good weather. Saturday we visited my sister and her kids – we’re teaching my niece to ride her bike so were happy for some fine weather. When we saw that Sunday was going to be 19c in London it was a no brainer, and we jumped on the train to enjoy the weather.

It was still overcast but warm enough for a tee and light jacket all day. We had lunch at Jamie’s Diner. It’s an okay american style food place, which never seems to be busy. Advertised as a pop-up diner, we were surprised to see it still there over a year after first discovering it.

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I had a lovely veggie burger, followed by a very large and very naughty slice of lemon meringue pie.

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I’m convinced our server brought an extra large piece thinking that Gary and I were sharing, as she brought two spoons, but I managed to eat most of it all by myself.. *proud face*.

We had a lovely look around the cosmetics section in Selfridges. I’d placed a Boots order for NYX makeup last week, and was so excited for it to arrive. When it came my HD Blush was shattered. There was no packaging and it had obviously been chucked around either in the warehouse or by the courier. I took it back to the store, but since Boots don’t stock NYX in store I had to go the Selfridges to pick up a replacement (and to fall in love with Lipstick Queen’s lippies!). To be honest, the shade of blush I’d chosen originally was all wrong for me. I could have got it to work, but I think it was fortuitous that it broke as I had a good reason to return it. I picked up an alternative colour (which I love!) and brought it home to add to my new NYX collection.

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There’s a sneeky peek of what I’ve picked up. I’ve tried all of it now, so expect a review soon. And I predict at least one of these featuring in my April favourites. In the UK we don’t have access to the full NYX range, but I’d love to hear from any of my American readers about what your favourite NYX lines are and what to look out for!

So it was a lovely day in London, and really felt like Spring was appearing finally! This week started out lovely and sunny, but the rest of the week’s forecast is for rain and wind. Oh well….. it is April after all!

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

Here we are almost at the end of February. Where is the time going?

My last few beauty posts have been very well received and I wanted to say hello to all my new followers! It’s lovely to have you here and I can’t wait to speak with you via your comments. Welcome 🙂 Feel free to follow me over on twitter too, if you feel like it! I’m @groggits

The last few weeks have flown by in a whirl of work and play. Last weekend Gary and I took the opportunity to visit a local pub, The Swan at Salford and have a lovely date-night. So we popped on some nice clothes, I brushed my hair, and we headed out. Both of our meals were delicious and I had a yummy cocktail which tasted like there was no alcohol in it (the most dangerous kind…!)

Gary and I took receipt of a new TV we’ve been saving for for a while now – its 50” 4K and 3D. I’d been given a copy of Frozen for my birthday a few years ago, which happened to have the 3D version on it so we were able to really put the TV to the test, and the picture is amazing! We’ve since bought a few 3D blu rays to watch and I must say, Tangled in 3D got me a bit emotional at the end with the lanterns. We’re planning on watching Life of Pi on it soon. So excited! Oh and I can watch YouTube on it too, which is amazing – this might be old hat to some of you, but I’m loving watching my subscribed channels on there! The remote control even has a Netflix button….. woah!

The weather has been swinging between icy hell in the mornings and spring like sunsets in the evenings. I’m getting tired of having to layer up and I’m craving being able to wear some of my prettier clothes with a light jacket. Everyone dresses cuter in milder weather and I think this is the first year I’ve really missed the Summer throughout the whole of Autumn and Winter.

We received a wedding invitation for Gary’s cousin’s wedding in July. It looks like it might be a festival in the woods type theme so I’m thinking along the lines of Midsummer Night’s Dream for my outfit. I adore weddings and really can’t wait!

I spent a little while in Boots this weekend, just mooching and seeing what’s new, and picked up some amazing new things to try.

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I got this little lot for a little over £30 – I can’t wait to try it all out, especially the Collection #concealandlightlikeapro Palette (£5.99!)  Anyone else find it weird calling it Collection and not Collection 2000 or is it just me? I’m also loving that Benefit are doing these £5 minis because it means I can try a few bits out without committing to the size or cost of a full sized product. They have an offer on at the moment for 4 minis for £15 and there’s quite a few lines in the deal. Go have a look! I’m all about hiding my dark circles and fine lines at the moment, so most of the stuff I picked up was the try in that area. Keep an eye out later in March to find out what I thought of these!

And as we’re nearing the end of the month, stay tuned for my February Favourites blog, due to hit your blog reader next week. See you then!

This Week I Have Been Mostly

this week i have been mostly

Wow, where did that weekend go? I’ve been super busy and before I knew it it was Monday.

Last week I:

  • Went to visit Amy. She’s just moved into a lovely little house with her boyfriend and even though they’d only been in for almost a week, it already looked cosy and homely.
  • I had dinner with an old friend and caught up with what’s been going on since it’s been years since we last hung out.
  • I went out with my sister-in-law, mother-in-law and niece for a meal whilst the boys went out in London.
  • I visited a sports therapist to look at my TFL joint as I’ve been in pain for a whole week since my last run. Some deep tissue massage later, I’ve been told not to run again until my Bupa 10,000 next Monday. That will have been two weeks off running so hopefully I’ll be okay for the event. Either way I’m still hoping for a PB!
  • Me and my Mum have been practising for a big concert on Friday, with Rock Choir, at St Albans Abbey.
  • I’ve been getting excited because two of the Book Club girls who have been out of the country for months are back in a few weeks and we’ll all be back together again!
  • I’ve been trying to understand lactose intolerance a bit more, and missing the food I used to eat with no problems. I had a big flare up this weekend and after speaking to some people who have dealt with LI for a long time, it seems the condition is really temperamental. You can be fine for weeks and then the smallest thing will set it off. So I’m going to try adding some dairy back into my diet to see what’s bad and what’s not so bad, and hopefully build up some kind of tolerance again.
  • Last week I drove to work and back on my own. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you may know how absolutely massive this is, since my fear of driving has prevented me from being able to drive on my own since I passed my test years and years ago. One day, whilst practicing, it just clicked. No anxiety… in fact no feelings towards it either way. Which is totally fine with me – the enjoyment will come with time, I’m sure 🙂
  • I’ve been getting fed up with the weather, since it’s still cold and rainy and windy. I want spring and summer now! I swear this time last year I had a tan already.
  • We’ve just finished re watching Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes again. They’re amazing shows, if you haven’t seen them before, you must!

And that’s what I’ve been up to. I have another busy week and weekend this week! I’ll slow down and relax one day 😀