Friday, 25 July 2014

Best friends...

Me and two of my best friends - from way back in the emo archives, yes c'est moi on the right.

My Dad always used to tell me about his best friend and him. They could go years 
without seeing each other and when they got together it'd be like they'd never been apart. 

As a kid I couldn't understand how that could work but now I get it. 

I met my best friend about 10 years ago at school. We didn't really speak all that much in Year 7 but in Year 8 we became very close. 

We did all the typical things teenage girls do: played the Sims on console for days straight, obsessed over members of Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance, went to gigs, ate rubbish food, woke up at 11AM and made cookies. 

My best friends Mum was often a part of this; she is a brilliant lady who tells it like it is and has so many tales to tell. 

She always likes to embarrass us and tell people stories of 'the great unwashed weekend'.  

What happened was, The Sims Urbz had just come out on PS2. My friend got it on the Friday night and I stayed until Sunday night. She claims that we didn't move all weekend and were glued to the Playstation. I have nothing in my defense apart from; I'm sure we must have moved for food at least. 

Most of my favourite memories with my best friend were playing the Sims and trying to speak Simlish and all the daft things we used to say. 

We see each other less now as I have a job and she has university but every time we get together it's like we've never been apart. 

When you're growing up it can be hard to figure out who your friends are and unfortunately that's part of growing up. I've been wrong about it a few times as well. 

There will also be people who you think are your best friends but somehow you'll just drift apart.

Your best friend will be there for everything: not just the big things or the tough times, they're there for the small things too like obsessing over a new song by a band, talking about cats or a book. 

On behalf of everyone - best friends you are awesome people. 

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Nourish Balance Starter Set*

I think it's fair to say these products received a very intensive test. I've been using them for a few weeks so I've got a pretty good hold on these products now. 

Nourish are a UK based brand that product organic products free from sulphates, parabens and other nasties and they aren't tested on animals. 

This starter set is for combination skin and contains four products: 50ml balance detoxifying cleanser, 50ml balance refining toning mist, 15ml balance nutritious peptide serum and 15ml balance essential moisturiser. 

They also do products for dry, sensitive and normal skin. 

The starter set costs £25 and full size products are around about £11, which I don't think is bad at all. Sure you can find cheaper on the high street but these are high quality products which don't have a lot of rubbish in them, so for me it's worth it. 

Balance detoxifying cleanser:
The bottle recommends you apply this with a cotton pad but I prefer to use my hands as the pad soaks up so much cleanser. 

It's very gentle and left my skin looking clear, clean and matte. It's so gentle I have no issues with rubbing it on my eyelids to remove eye makeup. 

In the morning I like to use this and then LUSH's Dark Angels to exfoliate and my skin looks nice and clear. In the evening I just use this because I'm too lazy for all that LUSH-Y mess twice in one day. 

I will definitely by a full-size version of this when it runs out. 

Balance refining toning mist
Toners help to even out your skin tone and tighten your pores. My skin tone is fairly even apart from my cheeks which are noticeably red. 

I've never used a toner that has made much of a difference to my skin and this was no different. If you're someone who sees the benefits from a toner, it might be worth a try but I didn't notice a change. 

Balance nutritious peptide serum
Having never used a serum before, I didn't know what to expect from this. It's quite runny and a little bit goes a long way, so you only need one pump to cover your face. 

It takes a couple of minutes to dry but when it does your skin feels soft and looks shine-free. 

I felt like this balanced my skin out and help to moisturise it and I will buy a full-size bottle when this runs out. 

Balance essential moisturiser
This is one of the best moisturisers I've ever smelt; it smells like the juciest apple you could imagine. It's almost like a balm in texture and you don't need much to cover your face. 

Unfortunately I didn't get on with this moisturiser. When it was drying it felt uncomfortable, like something sticky had dried on my face. Applying makeup over it was uncomfortable and felt like my skin was really tight. 

On top of that I kept getting mini-breakouts when I used it. My skin quite often takes issue with moisturisers so this isn't shocking for me or a case of 'OMG DON'T USE IT!'. 

It wasn't a major breakout or anywhere near as bad as breakouts I've had when using other moisturisers, so if your skin doesn't normally take issue with moisturisers you should be okay.  

Conclusion Apart from the moisturiser I liked this handy little kit. It kept my skin shine free throughout the day and kept it looking clear. 

I'm impressed with how long these mini bottles last. I've used some mini versions that lasted just a week but I've been using the cleanser most days and I've been using it about a month know and there's at least 2/3rds left. 

I really liked the cleanser and the serum and will probably buy full sizes versions of both when the minis run out.  

*I was sent this by Liv in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the product. 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

City of Bones (Mortal Instruments #1) - Cassandra Clare | Book review

Spoiler free!
Title: City of Bones - book one in The Mortal Instruments series
Author: Cassandra Clare
Pages: 485
Genres: Paranormal, young adult, fantasy.

Description from Goodreads: 'When 15 year old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder - much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the Police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing - not even a smear of blood- to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicating to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within 24 hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attached by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know...'

I bought this book over a year ago and it wasn't until I heard people raving about the final installment in the series, City of Heavenly Fire, that I decided to read it.

I'd pretty much forgotten what it was about but I had high expectations after hearing so many people praising the series.

The world building was brilliant. I had a great idea of what things looked like and I loved the world that Clare created. To put the world building into perspective: I enjoyed it as much as the world building in Harry Potter. So, it's good. 

We were given a lot of information and some characters had very detailed back stories which made the world more interesting and intriguing and really supported the plot. 

The plot itself was exciting and a good idea; it was a fairly unpredictable battle between good and evil. The twist at the end was exciting but I had a little inkling that it might turn out to be the way it did. 

My biggest issues were with the main character, Clary. 

I didn't connect with her or care for her and she was a pretty flat character. She didn't develop throughout the book and on reflection she didn't really do anything. For the most part she seemed to stand there and let everyone else do all the hard work.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

LUSH: No Drought - Dry Shampoo | Review

LUSH No Drought Dry Shampoo

I've been on the hunt for a cruelty free dry shampoo for ages so I was excited (really, excited) when I saw that LUSH did one. 

LUSH's dry shampoo comes in a bottle rather than a spray can. This does make it a bit messier because it can be hard to judge how hard to squeeze the bottle. However this 50g bottle is perfect for putting in your bag. 

It's a white powder that smells fresh and citrus-y, which is never a bad thing when you're half asleep trying to make your hair look presentable. 

No Drought does a brilliant job of making your hair look clean again and it does add a bit of volume.

You don't need to use a lot of product to get a good result. I've had this bottle for about three weeks now and haven't used that much at all. 

I get through cans of dry shampoo fairly quickly but I think this is going to last me much longer. 

In terms of price it's about the same as a can of Batiste but I know that for me this 50g bottle it will last longer than one of the big cans of Batiste. 

Another bonus is that because it's not an aerosol it won't count as a liquid in your hand luggage. I was told by Monarch that powder products are fine if they're in their original packaging. That may not apply to all airlines but what I'm saying is, hopefully they won't think it's something illegal. 

In short: A fresh, clean smelling dry shampoo that revives your hair and keeps it looking fresh and clean. 

Price: £3.75 for 50g / £6.75 for 115g

Is it cruelty free: Yes, LUSH do not test on animals. No Drought is also vegan friendly. 

Would I repurchase / recommend: Definitely to both. 

Have you tried LUSH's dry shampoo? 

Monday, 21 July 2014

Time for a book buying ban

Over the past few months I've bought a fair few physical books only to have them sit on my shelves unread. I have no idea why because I don't do that with ebooks. 

Physical books are usually more expensive than their electronic counterparts and I probably have about £80 worth of physical books sat unread. 

The next few months are going to be pricey with hotels, flights and travel things to book for a few races and mine and Tom's holiday so I need to cut down on spending and get saving. 

Plus last week my car showed an accelerator fault before resetting itself and the garage informed me it will cost £250 to fix if it happens again :|. So I need to get some more money in the kitty. 

I am imposing a book buying ban (both physical and electronic) on myself until either the end of August or until I get through all of those books. Whichever comes first. I'm fairly sure it's going to be the end of August that comes first. 

There are two exceptions: I can acquire ARCs or free eBooks. 

There is no reward (other than y'know, being able to afford things) it's just something I need to do. 

So the big question is: who's in? Let me know in the comments and we can all slap each other's wrists when temptation arises. I'm thinking of using the hashtag #bookbuyingban so we can talk about it on Twitter, what do you think?

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Jousting + falconry at Kenilworth Castle | Photos

My Mum got Tom and me a joint English Heritage membership for our birthday's. Tom loves jousting so when we heard about the jousting event at Kenilworth Castle there was no doubt we were going to be there.

They had a whole medieval camp set up, with some brilliant musicians, a jester and a falconry show on.

Friday, 18 July 2014

The One (The Selection #3) - Kiera Cass | Book review

Contains spoilers about previous two books.

Description from Goodreads: The Selection has changed America Singer's life in ways she never could have imagined. Since she entered the competition to become the next princess of Illea, America has struggled with her feelings for her first love, Aspen -- and her growing attraction to Prince Maxon. Now she's made her choice...and she's prepared to fight for the future she wants.

Now down to the final four girls the selection is heating up and it's become more than just a reality show, there are bigger things at stake. 

Throughout The One we find out a little bit more about the other three girls, one in particular who seems to grow up and becomes a bit more likeable. It was nice to see that and it left me with a bit of a warm fuzzy feeling. 

America faces a few dilemmas throughout The One and I really felt her pain and found myself wondering what I would do if I were in her shoes. The issues she has to overcome helps her grow more than she did in the previous two books. 

Of the three books in the series this is the most action packed. Cass managed to fit a lot into 300 pages and kept me turning the pages. 

09 10