(totally unrelated, but nevertheless stunning, photo of the view from Bishops Castle Barn)
This post is a little on the late side. My grand plan was to do a summary every month of all the things I’ve been loving in the previous 28/30/31 days, but time has run away with me a little and suddenly we find ourselves slap-bang in the middle of February! But, late is better than never, so here we are – the things that were rocking my world in January.
A Fresh New Outlook
I really feel that with the start of 2018 came a lifting of some of the weight from my shoulders and the stress that 2017 brought me. I know the changing of the date from one year to the next on the calendar is really pretty insignificant, but from a mentality point of view, it feels like it really was a turning point for me.
I’ve changed the way I live my life in small subtle ways which have combined to make a major difference. I’ve stopped investing my time into the wrong activities/worries/people and into the gaps left behind I’ve slotted new positive habits, indulging in more ‘me time’ and focussing more on the relationships that build me up rather than bring me down. It’s honestly life-changing when you start practicing self-care, even if it’s in seemingly minor ways.
Getting Life In Order
January saw a lot of organising and planning, laying down the foundations for the future and – hopefully – getting my life in order! It’s baby steps and you’re not going to see any changes to my life imminently (unless I win the lottery. C’mon Universe, sort me out!) but in 6-7 years I hope I’ll be in a position where I’ll be able to buy a house rather than throwing my money away in rented accommodation and, honestly, just knowing I have a plan in place to reach that point is exciting!
For the first 3 weeks or so after cutting meat from my diet I felt horrendous. I was exhausted, covered in spots, emotional and didn’t know quite what was going on. I did some Googling, asked for help on Twitter and was reliably informed that my body was probably going through a detox. I did some reading up and it seemed like the best possible explanation. So, I upped the amount of water I was drinking every day and invested in some vitamins. Lo and behold, here I am, a whole 6 weeks into being fully veggie (and around 5 months after going part-time veggie) and I am feeling so much better! My skin is clearing up, I no longer feel like the walking dead, and I genuinely don’t miss eating meat at all.
As well as ditching meat I’m also trying to cut down on dairy. For a serial tea-drinker this mainly means stopping using milk in my eleventy-billion cups a day, so I’ve swapped it out for oat milk which is bloody delicious, let me tell you. I’ve also swapped dairy yoghurt for ones made from coconut and they’re just as nice, in fact, a little tastier with that sweet coconutty twang to them! I’m not sure if I’ll go fully vegan in the future, but I’m definitely trying to make sensible, ethical changes.
One thing I will say I’ve noticed since going veggie is how many people seem to be deeply offended by non-meat-eaters. I don’t really see how it impacts someone if another person has chosen a different way of eating, but honestly, it’s incredible just how often people look at you like you’ve grown another head when you say you’re living that herbivore life. Baffling!
I have watched some bloody brilliant TV recently and, for the most part, I have Netflix to thank for that. I’ve become fully addicted to Designated Survivor, binge-watching the entire first series and almost all of the first half of season two in just a couple of weeks, plus I’ve laid on my sofa fully engrossed in Mindhunter: Unabomber, Hunting Hitler, 24 Hours In A&E, Active Shooter, The Undatables, and we watched Thor Ragnarok the other day which I really enjoyed (big fan of Marvel over here). We also went to the cinema to see The Darkest Hour which was I thought was absolutely brilliant and, for a film with no high-adrenaline action, it kept me hooked from the minute it began right up to the very end.
A little perk of having this here blog is that from time to time I get opportunities, whether that be visiting somewhere new or trying out a new product. Not every product I get sent will feature on this blog as it very much depends whether I have liked them or not, but January saw me trying out some new items which are well worth telling you about.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big fan of Kiss and I wear their nails all the time, but I’m a bit rubbish at anything beauty related so wearing false lashes is something I gave up on a couple of years back after I’d got them stuck repeatedly to pretty much every part of my body except my eyelids. I even bought a special tool for sticking them on a few years ago and couldn’t get that to work either. So, when Kiss sent me over a pair of their Ritzy lashes I gave it a whirl prior to a night out… before screaming in rage and giving up totally, opting to go with my natural stumpy lashes once again.
In this case it was very much ‘user error’ as I am completely useless, but I can confirm the lashes themselves are really lovely quality and I love the thickness of these ones – perfect for dressing up for a night out but without looking like a camel. They’re made of 100% natural fibres but having checked with the brand these are made from human hair, so are cruelty-free – something I think is incredibly important. So many lashes out there are made from animal hair and, honestly, there is absolutely NO excuse for an animal being put through so much fear and pain simply to make your eyes look more fluffy. No excuse at all.
In a very unexpected turn of events, I was sent a few items from Joan Collins’ make-up range. First off, I have to say I really like the styling of the products. It all feels high quality and – as you would expect from Joan – it looks quite glam. It’s also pretty sturdy and that bronzer compact makes the most satisfying snap when you close it.
So what about the products themselves? Well, as I’ve said a thousand times in the past, I am not a beauty blogger so these comments are based only on what little old me thinks, so make of them what you will.
Starting with the lip gloss, it’s a nice peachy-pink tone and has pretty good coverage, but I found it a little on the sticky side. That said, I don’t like glossy lipsticks/stains/glosses of any kind and always opt for matte, so this is personal preference. The Compact Duo is more up my street; the bronzer, being golden in its tone and ideal for sweeping across the cheeks to give this potato face of mine the illusion of some kind of definition. Staying power is good and I’ve been using this in my daily make-up routine, taking the edge off this I-wish-it-was-the-season-but-no-I’m-just-pasty white skin of mine. Alongside the bronzer came a complementary nude toned lipstick, meaning you’ve got the ideal matching combo in your hands whenever you need it. The mascara, in all honesty, is ok – it lasts well and doesn’t flake, but it doesn’t have the holy grail lengthening abilities that I have seemingly spent my entire adult life searching for.
All in all, I would definitely buy the bronzer in the future and I will be taking a look at the other lipsticks in the Joan Collins beauty range based on the quality and pigmentation of both the gloss and the lipstick I received here!
Personally, I think I would have walked past this brand in store as I would have assumed it was for an older range of clientele, but honestly, when I think about it seriously that’s really stupid of me. Make-up is make-up and can be used and loved by anybody who wants to do so. I really like what I’ve seen so far and will definitely be checking the range out in more detail – I’ve got my eyes locked firmly on the Sabina shade of lipstick as a future treat to myself!
I’m going to let you in on a little secret here. I hate baths. I always think “Ooh I’ll treat myself to a bath”, set Spotify to shuffle, light some candles, pour some wine, release a bath bomb, then climb in only to lay there for approximately 2 minutes before I remember that baths are really intensely boring and either get out or force myself to endure another 10-minutes of supposed relaxation as I stare at all the different parts of the grouting that need re-whitening.
I’m a shower girl, through and through.
Anyway, a few weeks back Sanex sent me their new 0% gel which is stated as being better for the environment with its limited packaging waste and meeting of biodegradability requirements, plus better for our skin due to having less chemicals than you might find in other shower gels. To be honest, when it comes to shower gels I’m basically looking for something that smells nice and gets me clean, and this does both of those things, so with the added benefit of being environmentally aware, it’s got to be a good thing.
Oh you guys. I tried so hard to take Proper Blogger photos of this, I really did. This failed for two reasons. 1, I have nowhere really appropriate to take swimwear photos and standing outside the garages down the road in winter wearing a kaftan wasn’t happening. 2, I am a potato person blessed with the gift of unceasing awkwardness in front of a camera. So I gave up and decided photos of the product were better than nothing at all. That said, I will be taking this with me on our travels later this year so who knows, maybe you’ll get a candid Insta-pose of me sucking my gut in just as the light reaches golden hour in a few months time?
This particular Kaftan comes courtesy of UK Swimwear who very kindly sent me it when I
had temporarily forgotten I hate photos of myself was feeling brave. I sized up to give me a little bit of breathing space and so I could get myself comfy when lounging around the side of the pool drinking the fifteenth cocktail of the day and I would say it’s pretty true to size in that regard. In terms of quality, it’s really good too – the material is lightweight so is perfect for hot sunny days, but is thick enough that it doesn’t feel completely see-through (it is a little bit see-through though and you can definitely tell what you’re wearing underneath). The stitching around the neckline and sleeves gives it an extra little bit of interest and jazzes it up a bit; ideal when you’re not accessorising to the max for fear of tan lines.
When it comes to our holiday later this year I will be in need of some new swimwear (despite the fact I never go in the pool) and I will 100% be going back to UK Swimwear get myself kitted out. Due to various life issues I’ve bored you all with before I’m a bigger Penny than I used to be and with the growth of my body has come the shrinking of my confidence, and I love that this brand has plenty of more modest and covered-up options as well as the usual bikinis you find yourself inundated with in stores. I’m really impressed and very happy to have been introduced to them. (Take a look at this Kaftan on the UK Swimwear website here).
What have you been loving recently?
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