August Catch-up

imageThese past few months I’ve been taking regular breaks from blogging and social media as I’ve found it rather overwhelming. I’m still trying to find a happy medium of what/when/how often to post things. Sometimes I feel I’ve nothing to inspire others. This past month I’ve been going through a change of direction with my lifestyle.

I no longer want the clutter that surrounds me at home and thanks to books about the Swedish/Danish lifestyle I feel like I may be turning a corner. First step has been decluttering my own space as I still live at home I do own quite a lot of things and craft items. In the kitchen, I have a cupboard solely for my mugs (this is changing immediately as I’m typing this). I just want to keep a maximum of 3 mugs of varying sizes – pointless keeping 3 mugs the same, 1 teapot and 1 mini tea set (trio and milk jug) for special occasions and special weekends. Alongside this I plan on adding one small plate, small bowl for a healthy portion of cereal and 1 egg cup. These will be purchased carefully so I get it right first time around.

I find most British people (not all) very focused on materialism and consumerism. We are always after the next best thing. We often think well I’ve got the money why shouldn’t I buy it mentality. The reality is in a few weeks time we’ve seen something else and we no longer want what we’ve got. And so this circle continues. I want to turn my back on this for good, I was never that bad to be honest. But I recognise I have had a problem with buying in the past. It’s the same with food, we feel guilty of leaving food behind and wasting it. Why not prepare less. Why not put those extra biscuits back instead of eating them? This is something my current read focuses on ‘Lagom’ not too little, not too much. Just right!

I’ve also been thinking a lot of my dream of living in a white croft. I’ve since decided that I don’t want to be as rural. I’d rather live in a small village or town, in either a single story cottage or a small house. Living in the suburbs it’s all crazy busy with lots of built up areas and not much greenery. I dream of a slower paced ideal really with lots of walking, a trip to the village store to catch up on the weeks gossip and no keeping up with the Joneses. A modest home filled with lots of love, happiness and laughter.

Talking of keeping up with The Joneses, I think this happens when we compare ourselves to others on social media just as much as in the real world. Instagram can appear all perfect, but what you don’t see on people’s Instagram feeds is the pile of washing that needs sorting or ironing. The stack of magazines that need reading or the sink that’s full of dishes. No ones life is perfect. Only we can determine our true happiness.

So going forward I would like a carefully considered pottery cupboard, a small wardrobe of things I know I’ll wear out before buying new. To not get bored easily or be swayed by others. To stop buying so many home magazines only to feel let down when I realise my home is nothing like this. To say goodbye to our consumerist society. To live a carefully curated lifestyle of less really is more. To turn technology off after 8pm and no social media on a Sunday.

Another thing I’m implementing going forward is to bring light into my life daily with the lighting of a candle. I think as a nation we could learn a lot from the Danes and Swedes. Slow really is more!

 

Beauty Favourites

imageIt’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post on beauty related things. I thought I’d share my current favourites, the things I know I’ll stick to from now on and will be repurchasing.

These past few months since finishing my bottle of Kerastase Bain Riche Dermo Calm shampoo, I have been buying a few alternatives as and when I’ve finished a shampoo.

The first one was Liz Earle’s Botanical Shine Shampoo. After reading an excellent review in the Natural Health magazine, I thought I’d pop into boots and purchase it. The shampoo itself was lovely, from the scent to how it made my hair look. However after each use my forehead would break out. Something I wasn’t prepared to put up with.

After this was finished I tried a bottle of Sukin shampoo, I was very disappointed with this one. It didn’t make my thick/wavy hair feel clean. This has now been relegated to brush cleanser. Back to the drawing board I came across a L’oreal shampoo that offered everything the Kerastase one did, but at more than half price. This shampoo was lovely, it didn’t leave my hair dry. It was a great find until I noticed every time I used it my hairline would be red raw caused by sensitivity to the ingredients.

After all this trial and error and wasting money on things that didn’t do the job, I’ve decided to purchase the Kerastase shampoo from now on. It’s a lightly fragranced shampoo with no silicone. It lathers up easily with only a little product. It’s perfect for my sensitive scalp/dry hair and leaves the scalp cooled and the hair shiny. As I only need to wash my hair twice a week the bottle lasts on average 3 months.

Since my friend Emily recommended I tried Ren due to my skin being so sensitive, I’ve enjoyed using their Evercalm cleansing milk. I’ve struggled since last April to find a suitable moisturiser. One that would offer hydration but wouldn’t break me out. This month I decided enough was enough it was time to start searching for the perfect moisturiser. Whilst searching the web I came across a hidden gem with lots of five star reviews. The moisturiser is fragrance free, free from any potential irritants and a little indulgent.

I popped into Boots armed with this information. As I walked around the Estēe Lauder counter, I couldn’t see the moisturiser anywhere. The girl on the counter had said it’s a hidden gem and it’s never displayed. Since using this for over a week my skin has never felt better. The skin feels plump, there’s no dry or flaky patches and the skin is less red. If you have sensitive skin, I’d highly recommend Verite by Estēe Lauder. Whilst making this purchase I asked the girl about a cleanser and I’ve been using a 30ml size of the Perfectly Clean cleanser/mask.

My current summer routine consists of Estēe Lauder’s Verite moisturiser and Perfectly Clean cleanser. My winter routine will consist of Ren Evercalm cleanser milk and Estēe Lauder Verite moisturiser.

My favourite exfoliator is an affordable one from Marks and Spencer. Their gentle exfoliator rivals Clarins gentle refiner in terms of exfoliation. This is definitely a repeat purchase for me and it’s gentle enough for daily use.

For beauty I tend to purchase my things from Boots, Space NK and Marks and Spencer. All of which have a points recognition card.

I am yet to find a lip balm, eye cream and conditioner I love. Any recommendations?

Surprises!

The lovely Paula @type_writer_girl nominated me for a Liebster Award. As I’m still relatively new to blogging and finding my feet/blogs to follow I’m all new to this.

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So I thought I’d start off by answering the 11 questions and to thank Paula with this post.

1) What is your favourite part of blogging? My favourite part of blogging is receiving comments. The interaction with followers is lovely.

2) What country, city or continent would you most like to visit and why? I would like to visit Denmark. After reading about ‘Hygge’ I would like to experience this first hand and have a ‘real’ cinnamon bun.

3) What was the most inspirational time in your life so far? The most inspirational time in my life so far was seeing my Nanna again after a period of not seeing her.

4) What are you passionate about? I am passionate about a lot of things but I would say the important one is spending time with my family.

5) What is your favourite book and why? Anything by Margery Allingham or Agatha Christie. There’s nothing like reading a mystery on a rainy afternoon.

6) What is your favourite time of year? My favourite time of year is Autumn. The changing colours of the leaves, crunchy underfoot. Candles, books and throws – perfect!

7) What are other interests you have besides blogging? My other interests are cooking, baking and gardening. I’m a real homebird.

8) Do you prefer the beach or the mountains? This is a tough one as I love the countryside but don’t fancy climbing mountains. So on this occasion I’m going to say the beach, only based on our quiet beaches in Northumberland.

9) Where did you go for your most memorable vacation? My most memorable holidays are our camping ones. We used to cram so much into our days.

10) Do you prefer a sunny or a rainy day? I prefer a sunny day but not too hot.

11) If you had a day all to yourself, how would you spend it? A day all to myself would start of with a leisurely breakfast, a morning full of baking sweet treats. Whilst they’re in the oven I would prepare my meals for lunch and tea. Jump in the bath for an hour, pop my pyjama’s on and spend the afternoon with pots of tea and lots of books. There’s nothing like a day at home.

Thank you for the nomination.

Aspinal of London – review

AspinalAfter purchasing a new purse out of my birthday money in April only for the stitching to be coming away after a months use I decided to return it back to Radley.

Whilst looking around the department stores afterwards, I stumbled upon Aspinal in the House of Fraser sale. Aspinal is a brand I’ve loved for many years, but had never bought anything from their.

My Mam spotted their business/credit card case in the sale in the brown saffiano and espresso suede colour way. The size of this is perfect as a daily purse in a small bag and it fits nicely in a clutch bag so your cards/change don’t end up at the bottom of the bag.

Having used this for a month there are no issues with stitching or marks. It’s perfect! I’m now after one of their larger purses for my winter capsule wardrobe.

Simple Matters – Erin Boyle

imageAfter seeing Simple Matters by Erin Boyle on several Instagram feeds, I decided to purchase it and see what all the fuss was about.

The book covers everything from Making a Home, Decluttering, Simplifying, Organizing, Decorating, Bath & Beauty, Getting Dressed, Cooking & Entertaining, and Thriving. The main focus throughout the book is purchasing quality over quantity and only buying what you need and will use. With this method, you don’t end up with things you don’t use or need. There will be less impulsive purchases and regrets. Less really is more as simplifying your belongings you will appreciate what is left even more.

I really enjoyed this book and would rate it 4/5. I would go as far to say it’s better than Marie Kondo’s method of tidying. It’s a book that you’ll go back to for certain things or to refresh the memory on key areas.

My Sisley Experience

imageIn February 2017 I decided to buy a few make-up items from Sisley. The ladies on the counter in the Metro Centre were very helpful. They also gave me samples of the skincare products suitable for sensitive skin. I used these samples sparingly as I didn’t want to use them up before my birthday in April.

The make-up items I bought were:

Kohl pencil in Plum – this is a lovely soft kohl pencil which doesn’t drag on application. It can wear off during the day. The colour is lovely and the application is easy. I would rate this 4/5

Eyeshadow in Stardust – an easy neutral which you can wear on it’s own as a single eyeshadow or use it with a second shade to create a smoky look. I would rate this 4/5

Eyeshadow shading brush – I bought this after reading about the quality of their brushes online. They’re made in Mauritius. Even though the brush appears dense, it is soft. I would rate it 3/5 as it’s no different to a cheaper one I have.

Update – April 2017

I received some skincare for my birthday after enjoying the skincare samples. They were the cleansing milk Lyslait and Compound Ecologique (Ecological Compound).

The cleansing milk I loved, it melted make-up away with no effort. I would’ve rated it 5/5

Ecological Compound can be used in two ways, either as a serum under a moisturiser or as a stand alone moisturiser for oily skin. The lady on the counter described this as a multi-vitamin for the skin. I would’ve rated this 4/5

I was using these products as recommended by the ladies at Sisley, after a week my skin was spotty and I looked like a teenager again. I decided to persevere, and after another week my skin was still spotty and on top of that it was red and angry looking. I had dry patches around my mouth and across the cheeks and temples. It felt like sand paper. I phoned the lady at Sisley to explain what had happened and when she saw my skin she couldn’t believe it and was very apologetic. She was shocked as one of the products she recommend is supposed to be for extremely sensitive skin.

If your skin isn’t sensitive then I’d say don’t let this review put you off. Sisley make lovely products. If you are thinking of purchasing anything, make sure you use the samples on consecutive days so you can see if they are suitable. Don’t do like I did and use them every 3 days. This is why I didn’t know how my skin would react to using the products daily until I bought the full sizes.

If you live in the Newcastle/Gateshead area I can highly recommend the ladies at Sisley House of Fraser.

Unfortunately I found my experience in John Lewis Newcastle disappointing and I won’t be returning to that area of the store.

A Fine Romance by Susan Branch

imageAt the weekend I finished reading ‘A Fine Romance’ by Susan Branch. A book about her voyage to England on the Queen Mary 2. The book starts off with the transatlantic crossing from New York, here she shares her experiences of life aboard the ship. A Fine Romance follows their journey throughout England, visiting places like the Cotswolds, Yorkshire and The Lakes. She also takes us to the homes of Jane Austen and Beatrix Potter.

The book travels back in time touching on when Joe and Susan met, and mentions how their relationship blossomed. The voyage to England starts on the remarkable ship ‘The Queen Mary 2’ embarking from New York. They will be spending two months in England travelling around various parts of the UK, where they will be visiting friends and national trust properties along the way. The book features beautiful illustrations and photographs of their travels. And this book wouldn’t be complete without the recipes!

It was an easy read which I couldn’t put down (I finished reading this within a week), it quickly became my bedtime reading. I was saddened when I turned the last page and the trip was over. So much so, I’ve just ordered Martha’s Vineyard and The Fairy Tale Girl. I plan on purchasing a couple of Susan Branch books each month as a treat to myself.

This would be the perfect read for anyone who loves the English countryside and historic properties belonging to the National Trust.

Have you read any books by Susan Branch? What was your favourite?

Rating – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️