31 December 2012

New Year 'Resolutions'

Hey everyone! 2012 is almost on the way out and I'm hopping on the end of year posts bandwagon! I put resolutions in the title on the post but I don't really believe in them- there's no real difference in saying you'll do something at the start of a year than at any other time of the year!
There are a few things I do want to achieve this year though so I thought I'd pop them down here- and maybe I'll be able to look back on them this time next year!

  1. Stop drinking so much fizz: I love a really cold fizzy drink! I always drink the diet ones because sugared ones make my teeth feel weird but I still know they aren't good for me. So I'm going to try and drink water more regularly next year; I know I should drink water anyway, but it will also hopefully have other benefits.
  2. Sort my skin out: Since starting this blog and regularly reading other blogs that I admire, I've really started to take notice of my skin. I've always washed my face of course, but I never really took the time to properly investigate products tailored for my skin. I've noticed my skin has been looking really dull lately and it seems to be multiplying blackheads (sorry if that's gross!) and I really want to sort it out and get it looking tip-top.
  3. Move more!: Last year I took up running and I was actually quite good at it- nobody was more surprised than me! But I gave it up in April to concentrate on exams and never took it back up again, so I'd love to pick it back up. I also enjoy doing workout DVDs and things so I'm going to try and do those more regularly and just generally be more active. I like the feeling of achievement it gives me, as well as being good for me.
  4. Travel: This April, Pete and I will have been together for 4 years but we've never had a proper holiday abroad just the two of us, so this summer we can hopefully change that. I'd love to go to Croatia, Greece, Italy or Sweden (to start with!) so hopefully this will be the year for that. To manage that, though, I'll need to....
  5. Budget: I'm generally good with money but alas there is no more student loan coming my way so I have to be more frugal with the money I do get. My job is also finished now so I won't be getting much extra through the year. Unfortunately, blogging has made me aware of so many amazing products that I want to try out! I think I am just going to have to be super-strict and save up if I want anything pricey- but hopefully that will make me want things even more!
  6. Find my perfect foundation: I am still on a quest for my holy grail foundation! I find it so hard- if one is a good colour match, the lasting power isn't great or if it lasts well then it makes me look orange! So here's hoping 2013 will be the year I get perfect skin with and without foundation!
Sorry that was all a bit rambly. What are your aims for 2013? 
Happy New Year to all of you! xxxx

24 December 2012

Santa Baby, there's just one thing I really do need...

Well, the big day is almost upon us! I know that I'm getting a new phone this year as mine is unfortunately becoming very slow. Aside from that, my mum is very good at coming up with lots of little surprise gifts.

I thought I'd show you all what is on my fantasy wishlist- the things I would buy if money was no object! I normally don't really lust after anything that expensive- the odd lipstick here or nail polish there- as I just feel guilty splurging too much all in one go! I also never ask for anything like this- except when I was 21 I asked for a Chanel bag for my birthday because I did not realise how expensive they actually were!
If I could ask Santa for a few extravagant gifts this year, it would be these.

Untitled #8

Mulberry Oversized Alexa: I love Mulberry bags. Sometimes in my local House of Fraser I go in and touch them, just to see what they're like (is that really weird?) Alas, they come complete with a pretty hefty price tag- this lovely thing costs £995!- and after spending so much on it I would be terrified to take it anywhere with me!

Veil Mineral Primer:Firstly, sorry for the strange ghost-like quality of this picture! I am having such a problem keeping my foundation on recently. I've heard a few really good reviews which say this primer makes skin look amazing and helps foundation really last but it's £52 for 30ml which makes me feel sick at the thought of forking out so much when it just goes on your face! 

Emma Hardie Natural Lift Cleansing Balm: I feel like skincare is something that I really should invest in, and a few of my favourite bloggers have recently been raving about this. It's £34 which isn't quite as pricey as some other skincare from other brands and seems to really work, so this could be one of the things I invest in after Christmas. I just need something to help my skin and make it much brighter and less congested.

Christian Louboutins: My dream shoes! I love black patent round toed shoes and I would love a pair of Louboutins- their iconic red soles just look so lovely. I am, however, shite with high heels sometimes. I have quite wide feet so heels can be quite uncomfortable and I then find it hard to walk in them. I'd have to try these out before ever actually buying them (and win the lottery of course!)

Tom Ford Lip Colour in Cherry Lush: The ultimate in luxury lipstick! At £36 I would never ever dream of buying this, especially as there is most definitely a dupe out there somewhere but it just looked so nice! 

So, there you have it, my ultimate fantasy wishlist! What would you buy if you could have absolutely anything?

Merry Christmas to you all! I hope you all have a lovely day, even if you don't celebrate Christmas, and I hope Santa treats you kindly! 

16 December 2012

Jumbo Pre-Christmas Haul!

I know Christmas is supposed to be a time when you save up and spend money on other people but I have most of my shopping done already and been earning some extra money and have therefore been very naughty and bought a few bits for myself over the past few weeks.
I am definitely all shopped out now though and I am working a lot as well as writing 2 essays and doing some driving lessons so I probably won't be buying much until January now. Although I do need to head to Oxfam and get some 'Oxfam Unwrapped' gifts and maybe some charity Christmas cards.
ANYWAY, after than very long and waffley introduction, I present to you my assorted purchases!

I had a couple of hours to kill before work a few weeks ago so headed to Superdrug to take advantage of their 3 for 2 offer across all cosmetics. I was after a new liquid eyeliner for nights out so I picked up Rimmel Exaggerate. I have Glam'Eyes already and really like the formula and staying power but I am crap at using the brush! A friend of mine swears by this so I'm going to give it a try and will hopefully finally master the perfect eyeliner flicks.
I also purchased the L'Oreal Superliner (which I can't seem to find online) as an everyday eyeliner, as I find felt-tip liners easy to use while in a rush.

The last thing was the Rimmel Kate Moss Matte Lipstick in 107. This is a gorgeous deep red that I'm looking forward to trying out over winter (although I don't really need another red lipstick...)

I also took advantage of Debenhams having 10% off their beauty and fragrance department as well. I was helping my cousin choose a gift for somebody and we wandered over to the MAC counter. I used this opportunity to purchase my very first ever MAC lipstick! I chose Ruby Woo in the end, so that's another matte red lipstick to add to the collection. It's lovely though so I don't care, and there was money off so it felt like a bargain.

This Illamasqua nail polish duo caught my eye on the way out. I opted for this colourway but you can also get it in this variation. The duo I chose contains Viridian, which is a gorgeous deep peacock green, and Gliteratti which is a lovely purple shade with small flecks of glitter. It was originally £24 and I snapped it up for £21.60. It also comes in a cute little box and I think it would be a lovely Christmas gift- but I'm keeping mine for myself!
There's 10% beauty and fragrance at Debenhams until the end of today!

I have been trying to find my perfect foundation for so very long now. I heard great things about Lancome's Teint Idole Ultra 24 Hour Foundation working well with oily skin so I popped to Boots. If you go to the Lancome counter in Boots in Belfast, try and find Hollie because she is great! She was so friendly and chatty and explained exactly what she was doing and why. I felt under no pressure to buy anything but I decided to get the foundation in 02 Lys Rose. I haven't tried it out yet as I have way too many foundations on the go right now, but here's hoping I've found my perfect foundation!

And finally I got this beautiful nail polish from Topshop. I'm wearing it right now and I love it but my camera can't do justice to all the shimmery colours. It took me 4 coats to get it opaque enough for me but I love it and I've had lots of compliments on it at work this week.

So there you have my jumbo haul. I'm going to be very good and sensible now and maybe even try to save some money! Have you bought anything new recently? Maybe I'll want to buy that as well!

16 November 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful #2

I made my first of these posts about a month ago and it was quite nice to read back on and see what I have to be happy about, so I thought I'd make another!

1)Impending Visits: Pete will be arriving next Wednesday and I can't wait to see him. He's only staying for a few days but it's better than nothing and we are trying to arrange for him to come over for New Year's Eve, so if we manage to get that sorted then it will be great. We've been together for 3 and a half years now so we'll also hopefully get to go for dinner or to the cinema while he is here as a mini celebration. I miss him very much when we aren't together but I love how easily we go back to normal when we see each other. Anyway, enough of mushy ramblings!

2)Having a Job: Yesterday I started work in Waterstones! I have always loved reading and applied for a job there when I was 16 but didn't get it. I'm so happy to a) have a job and b) have a job in a bookshop. A friend from school has also started there too so it's nice to know somebody, but everybody I've met so far has been lovely too.

3)Catch Ups: After work yesterday I met my friend Andrew and we had a little walk around town before going for dinner. We hadn't seen each other for a little while so it was nice to have a good talk. We then went to see Argo and it was truly excellent. It's really exciting and tense and, although some of it has obviously been a little exaggerated for the film it never felt unbelievable. Also, Ben Affleck looks pretty good in it, as well as doing a sterling job as actor AND director, but that is a minor point, and it really is an excellent film!

Have any of you seen Argo? What's making all of you smile lately?

12 November 2012

Lust List #3- Autumn Leaves

It's undeniable- autumn is most definitely here. I've realised that I have a distinct lack of suitable autumnal clothes (I probably don't, to be honest, but that's never stopped me...) and have been loving some of the new autumnal bits and pieces in the shops at the minute.

Lust List # 3

I love the bird print skirt from New Look. At only £14.99 (with a bit more off with student discount!) I think it's a really affordable piece which you could dress up or down. I also want to wear skirts more so this is a simple piece to work into my wardrobe.

These Topshop Acton boots in burgundy and black are so beautiful! I love the cut out detail and buckle detail and the heel looks sturdy so seems it would be really comfy. They cost £78 which is a bit pricey but they seem like really good quality. My only problem is that I can't decide which colour I like most!

These Essie polishes are a perfect way to incorporate autumn colours. Priced at £7.99 each, Angora Cardi and Stylenomics are two lovely colours which I can imagine loving all year round as well.

I own 4 Topshop lipsticks already, and this new shade, Wicked, would be a nice new addition to that collection. A deep red shade, I think it would look lovely against simple make up and would fit in with the autumn days perfectly.

What are you lusting after this autumn?

11 November 2012

Liebster Award

I have actually been nominated for the Liebster Award twice. A few months ago my lovely friend Melissa tagged me when posting her version of this. I started making my own post then but it has been left languishing in Drafts for quite a while now. I was recently tagged by Alexia Jade which gave me the boot up the bum to actually complete the post!

As per the rules, I first have to tell you all 11 facts about me- hopefully this won't be too boring...

  1. I have a degree in Law and German from Cardiff University. Getting a 2:1 in my degree is one of the biggest achievements of my life so far.
  2. I can speak German, but unfortunately not as fluently as I'd like to. I also lived in Germany for a year during my 3rd year of uni.
  3. I have a lovely lovely boyfriend called Pete and we have been together for 3 and a half years. 
  4. I am mixed race but definitely don't look it. My Grandad on my mum's side was from Pakistan.
  5. I am a feminist and am also really interested in human rights, politics and social justice.
  6. Sometimes I get really scared there will be a snake in the toilet when I go to the bathroom. I have no idea why and I'm not even really that scared of snakes.
  7. I am scared of sharks, even though I have never come across one in my life. Even in the sea at home (that is, the Atlantic Ocean) I am scared a shark will appear behind me.
  8. I have never ever had any colours in my hair, not even semi-permanent ones.
  9. I'd love to travel but have so far never left Europe. I definitely will one day though, hopefully in the not too distant future.
  10. I love to read.
  11. When I grow up I want to be Beyonce.
Alexia Jade has set 11 questions for me to answer.

1. How old are you?
I'm 22. My birthday is April 18th.

2. What is the reason for starting your blog?
I was supposed to be preparing for my final exams and thought this would be a good way to procrastinate. Very naughty, I know.

3. Can you speak any other languages?
I can speak German. I'd love to know Greek and Swedish as well.

4. Whats your favourite season, and why?
I like them all for different reasons! Maybe spring but I'm not sure at all.

5. Favourite make up/beauty brand?
Ooh, this is hard. I like Barry M for nail polish and I also really like Topshop's make up range. Maybelline do some good foundation too but I like to sometimes reward myself with brands like Chanel. I guess I don't have a favourite!

6. Drugstore or High end?
I like both. I use mostly drugstore brands, especially for day to day use, but I have some Chanel and Urban Decay bits that I love too. It just depends on the product I guess- if it's good, I'll use it no matter what range it's from.

7. Favourite guilty pleasure TV show.
I have absolutely no idea! I used to watch TOWIE when I was in Germany but I don't any more. Maybe those random shows sometimes on BBC3 that are 'documentaries' but they are about odd things sometimes.

8. Where is your favourite place to shop? (clothes wise)
I loveeee Dorothy Perkins' dresses! They are so so lovely. They also do some good jeggings.

9. How did you come up with your blog name?
It's the name of one of my favourite songs, by Fleetwood Mac, and I also thought it was good because I was passing my opinions on to people 'second hand' I guess.

10. What is your favourite drugstore brand of makeup?
Barry M for nail polish and Collection for mascara and eye make up.

11. What do you enjoy most about blogging?
Seeing all the cool things there are and finding a new product that I end up loving!

My Questions for You!

  1. Where is your dream travel destination?
  2. Can you speak any other languages?
  3. What is your proudest achievement?
  4. What is your biggest regret?
  5. What beauty product do you love the most?
  6. What is your favourite thing about yourself? Choose one physical and one non-physical feature.
  7. What would be your dream job?
  8. Who is your guilty celebrity crush?
  9. Do you have any favourite bloggers?
  10. If you could have one thing bought for you, money no object, what would it be?
  11. Where do you see yourself or hope you'll be in 5 years time?
I tag all of you who haven't done a Liebster post before. Let me know in the comments if you make a post so I can check it out- I am so nosy and like to read about people!

2 November 2012

October Empties

Hey everyone! I've finally amassed enough products to justify my very first empties post. There's something really satisfying to me about squeezing out the dregs of a product and I'm making a conscious effort now to try and use things up so I don't have to chick them out when they go out of date.
I've managed to collect 6 empties this month which I know isn't much but hopefully they'll grow in months to come.

L'Oreal Elvive Nutri Gloss: This is one of my favourite shampoos. This formulation is for hair that gets greasy quickly which is a problem for me, but I also try not to wash my hair every day if I can help it because that can strip its natural oils away (or so I have often read!) I find with this that I can get away with washing my hair every other day and it feels really fresh and clean on in-between days which I love. I'd definitely buy this again.

Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Oil Free Moisturiser: I love this stuff! It makes my skin feel so soft and moisturised, without leaving a residue and I really feel it's helping improve my skin. This tube was 30ml and came in a set with cleanser and toner (below), costing £30 but I've already repurchased a larger tube. It costs £18 usually but I found it in an outlet store for £11. I'd definitely buy it at full price- a little goes a long way so it would last a good while.

Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Clarifying Lotion: I'd never used toner before this but it was part of the set. I really liked using it and it made my skin feel really fresh but not tight. I haven't repurchased this yet but I almost certainly will. A large bottle costs £16 I think but it's really big so it'll last me a long time.

Technically these aren't 'empties' but they're all eye products that I've been using for over 6 months. I am so paranoid about something happening to my eyes and the last time I used the Clinique mascara I got a sty on my eyelid so I knew then they had to go!

Collection Extreme 24 Hour Felt Tip Liner: This is the third or fourth one of these that I've bought. It's really cheap at £2.99, so easy to use and lasts for ages on the eyes. It does smudge a bit if I get really warm on nights out and things but it's not too noticeable and it's a tiny drawback when weighed up with the benefits.

Collection Collagen Curl Mascara: I liked using this. It has a funny little spoon brush which makes it easy to apply but I don't think it's dark enough for me. It does make lashes much more curled and defined though, and I love the packaging!

Clinique High Impact Mascara: I got this free with a magazine in April and I love it! It applies so easily and makes eyelashes so dark and defined, as well as really long. If I didn't have so many mascaras already then I'd definitely repurchase this, and I probably will do in the future when I narrow down my mascara collection a bit more!

So there you have all my empties for October. Have you tried any of these products before? What do you think of them?

25 October 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful #1

Hello hello! Now the weather is getting chillier and gloomier, it's really hard to get good lighting to take pictures. I will endeavour to take get some nice snaps soon though.
I thought today I would do a little post on things that are going well and making me happy at the minute. Sometimes I get a bit down because I feel swamped with work or worried about the future so I think I'll make this a regular post so I remember the good things in my life.

1) Driving Lessons: I recently started learning to drive and it is going surprisingly well. I was so worried at the start and the first few lessons I could not go in a straight line AT ALL. Today's lesson was really good though and he actually said it was a 'pleasure to teach me today' so I was really pleased about that.

2) Planning: My boyfriend has finally booked flights to come and visit me so now the countdown is on and there are less than 4 weeks to go! I won't lie, long distance can be so, so difficult sometimes but when we are together everything is so lovely. Hopefully we will be able to live in the same place in the not too distant future, but until then we make the most of the time we do have together.

3) Job Hunting: I know it's difficult and sending out reams of CVs and applications aren't really that fun, but part of me really loves trawling through jobs and imagining what it would be like to work in that position and live in that city. I've also applied for some temporary jobs while I'm studying for my LLM so hopefully I'll bag one of those to help me out and buy some lovely Christmas presents!

I am also really enjoying this song as well- it's so cute and lovely to sing along to.

What sort of things are you all happy about this week? I am so nosy so let me know!

12 October 2012

Lust List #2- Autumn Edition

The nights are getting longer and the weather is grim right now! So, on this chilly autumn evening, I've put together a little wishlist of some things I'd like to get to help endure the oncoming colds, dry skin and frosty footpaths that I envisage!

Lust List # 2- Autumn Leaves

This jumper is from Dorothy Perkins and looks like it would be nice and cosy on cold mornings on my way into university. I don't really have many jumpers at the minute so I'll have to start building up my winter wardrobe before the cold really hits!

When I purchased Benefit's They're Real mascara, the girl on the counter also filled in my eyebrows for me. I've always been too scared to do it before in case I go a bit OTT but I loved the look- it was subtle but definitely made a difference. She used the Browzings kit in Light on me, and I'd like to try it myself to make my brows stand out a little more.

My skin is generally slightly oily but the cold and wind of winter can really dry my skin out and make it a little painful. I'd like to invest in a good, rich moisturiser for the evenings to help replenish my skin. Clinique are renowned for their skincare and their Moisture Surge is available for oily skin as well, so I'd like to give it a try this winter.

When I went to the Urban Decay counter, the girl there used the Super Saturated Lip Pencil in Firebomb on me and I loved it. I can't really make up any autumnal excuses as to why I want it- I just really loved the look of it and feel like I need to own it!

Finally, there's nothing better than snuggling up all warm and toasty on a cold night, preferably with a good book/film/TV show. When Buffy the Vampire Slayer was on first time around I was a huuuge fan, to the point of going to conventions! (Please, do not judge. I was 14 and she was kick-ass.)  I'd like to relive my Buffy-love all over again and get myself the box set to watch.

What are you lusting after to keep away the chill this autumn? 

9 October 2012

New In: Beauty Bargains

Everybody loves a bargain, don't they? I certainly do; I use my student discount at every opportunity and am constantly looking out for sale and special offer signs. This is a collective haul of various beauty products I've picked up in the last month and I haven't paid full price for any of them, which could be why there are so many here...

The last thing on this earth that I need is another mascara, but recently Debenhams had 10% off all their beauty departments. Benefit are giving you the opportunity to pick up the normal They're Real, with a little travel-size tube thrown in for free. Usually £18.50, I picked this up for £16.65. I haven't tried this out yet- I really, truly have too many mascaras so I'm aiming to use some of those up before I try this out, but pretty much all the reviews I have see of this have been positive, so I'm looking forward to trying this out.

 After I picked up 'They're Real', I wandered out of the Debenhams Beauty Hall so I wasn't tempted any further, but I was approached by a woman who worked on the Urban Decay counter who was offering free make overs. As I said, I am a sucker for a bargain, so off I went to get made up.
The girl was so lovely, chatting to me about all the products she was using and she wasn't pushy in the slightest, which I loved. She tried the new Naked Skin foundation on me and I loved the look, so I picked this up in shade 5.0. This is usually £27 but I got 10% off this too. I still haven't used this yet either as I'm waiting to pick up some Real Techniques brushes first to make the most of it.
 Also from Urban Decay is this Afterglow Glide on Cream Blush in Crush. It is shocking in person- a very, very bright pink, and when I saw it in the light of my bedroom I was horrified by how bright is really was! But now I've gotten used to it, I think it will be perfect for the autumn/winter flushed cheek look that I am aiming for.
I think these cost £16 and I'm going to have a look at some other colours as I love how they apply and blend with the skin.

In my local TKMaxx I saw these OPI polishes in a set together for £9.99! Given that a single OPI polish is about £11, I couldn't resist. The green colour is Mermaid's Tears from the Pirates of the Caribbean collection and the pink is Come to Poppy.
The Revlon polish is Tropical Temptation which I got for a snip at only 99p in 'Discount Brands NI', which I had originally popped in to to find some stationery- but this was much more exciting!

I found this Anatomicals cleanser in a boutique shop one afternoon when out with my parents. It was half price and I was a bit naughty and opened it in the shop and OH MY WORD, it smells amazing. So off I went to the till to snap it up. I had a look online and it's still available, just in different packaging, which I presume is why it was half price. I haven't used this enough yet to review it properly, but I'll do so once I've given it a proper bash.

 Aaaand finally, there is this. This is the Illamasqua Alter Ego Mystery Selection Box. For £26.60 I received £91.50 worth of Illamasqua make up. Every box contains the gold cream eye shadow (which smells so great, just by the way) and the neon pink nail polish, while the other gifts remain a mystery until you open the box.
I was pretty happy with what I received- I love a good red lipstick and the blush is something I wouldn't have normally tried myself but I'm glad to have it now. The eyeshadow is perhaps a bit much for me, but I'll definitely give it a try!

So there you have it, my bargain buys of late. Have you tried any of these items yourselves? Or have you got any tips on where I can get more beauty bargains?!

27 September 2012

The Woman in Black Theatre Review

Pete's sister very kindly bought us tickets to see The Woman in Black on stage in London, so as part of my visit to England we planned a trip to London for a few days. If you'd like to see what I got up to in London, you can have a look here.

The play was in the Fortune Theatre in Covent Garden, where it has been showing since 1989. The theatre itself is lovely- it has lovely decoration and is relatively small, which adds to the claustrophobic and unnerving atmosphere of the play.

The play is similar to the book in that former solicitor Arthur Kipps recounts his terrifying encounters with the 'woman in black' who haunts the town of Crythin Gifford in northern England. This version, however, adds the dimension of 'a play within a play', when a young actor helps Kipps tell his story by acting it out together.
The play is actually quite funny to begin with, which threw me- I was fully expecting to be scared from the get-go. However, I found this to be much more effective as it lulls you into a false sense of security before the horror actually begins.

With only two actors on stage, it seemed that the play would be quite difficult to make work, especially in terms of scaring the audience. However, with excellent use of props, lighting and sound effects, it is genuinely terrifying and jumpy- especially with the addition of some unexpected surprises, which I won't divulge here lest I spoil the play.
As a side note, the safety curtain of the theatre, which was lowered during the interval, is lovely!

I really enjoyed the play and actually found it better than the book- it was much more engaging. That said, I would recommend the book as well.
After watching the play, we decided to watch the film version starring Daniel Radcliffe. Unfortunately, I found this to be a very poor adaptation. It is totally different to the book and play, changing huge chunks of the story. It also seems to try and throw in as many jumps as possible, without any attempt to build atmosphere like the play does.

Overall, I would definitely recommend the play to anybody who wants a night at the theatre. It's funny and scary and really enjoyable, with a few really good twists and jumps.

Have you seen The Woman in Black on stage? What did you think of it?

26 September 2012

All Go!

Hello hello! I am firstly going to apologise for my very long absence from the Internet. A lot has been going on since last we spoke!

I am officially a LLM student in Belfast now; I've finished my first week now and so far am really enjoying it. I'm studying Human Rights and Criminal Justice and it has been so interesting; I've also met some really nice people already. Also, I have a student card for another two years which means lots more discounts, yay!

Before starting my course, I jetted over to England to visit my boyfriend. He lives in Cheltenham but while I was visiting we did a little travelling.
First of all, we went to Oxford for his aunt's wedding. The weather was absolutely beautiful so the ceremony was held outside in the Italian Garden. Here we are in all our wedding glory.

The day after the wedding, we went to stay with Pete's grandparents who live in Oxford too. We went to the Sheldonian Theatre where the Oxford students have their graduation ceremonies. It has the most wonderful ceiling; I loved it so much, I even bought a postcard of it.

Afterwards, we went punting on the river. It was lots of fun but I was absolutely horrendous at it! I kept steering us into the river bank and squealing because I felt that I was going to fall in! Unfortunately there are no pictures of me punting so here we are again, this time on our little boat.

After our time in Oxford, we went straight to London. Pete's sister bought us tickets for The Woman in Black at the theatre so we went down to spend a few days in the city. Here's the sign from outside the Fortune Theatre in Covent Garden. I loved the show- it was excellently acted and very scary. I'll have a proper review up for you all in the near future.

We went to the amazing Borough Market where I had the yummiest baguette, filled with chicken marinated it herbs- it was delicious. You can also see the Shard in the background.

We also popped over to Baker Street for a little look at The Sherlock Holmes Museum. I'm not really a Holmes expert or even really much of a fan, but it was still interesting nonetheless. 

Before we left, we went for a wander around Carnaby Street and Soho where I spied this mural on a wall.

I love London so much. It's such an exciting city and everything there just seems so much better! I'd love to go back again soon and catch another play- I'd love to see Les Miserables on the stage. And I'll definitely have to do some shopping next time!

Hope you've enjoyed this little snapshot of my trip away!

13 September 2012

Mini Hiatus

Hello lovelies! I promise that I haven't forgotten about you or my blog but I have been traipsing all over England for the past 10 days. I came to Cheltenham to visit my boyfriend and we have been to Oxford and London in the past few days. I'll be home on Monday and normal service will resume then and I'll tell you all about what I've been up to!
I hope you've all been well! Til next time xx

30 August 2012

Nails: Topshop Flamingo Coral

Hello! A little post on a nail polish that I actually picked up in April but have only recently got round to trying out- these are the perils associated with owning more than 50 nail polishes I guess!

Topshop's Flamingo Coral is a gorgeous and very bright pink that I slapped on in an attempt to inject some brightness into the non-existent summer we are having. It is really lovely and bright with a good colour payoff and it was cheering to see it on my nails in the gloom of a grey Belfast day.

 The polish dries really fast and has a lovely shine to it. It was also fully opaque in 2 coats and stayed chip-free for 5 days until I took it off my nails.

I also really love Topshop's packaging with its cute polka dots and I find the brush really easy to use and control and find that it gives good coverage.
Flamingo Coral costs £5 and is available from Topshop stores and the website, and students get 10% off as well. I think the price is really reasonable for the quality and I'll definitely be picking up more Topshop polishes.

What do you think of Topshop's polishes? What colours do you recommend?

24 August 2012

Book Club: Little Star by John Ajvide Lindqvist

I've been taking great advantage of the fact that I finished work last week and have been reading a lot. It's so lovely to just curl up and lose yourself in another world and I have been doing some extensive travelling with the help of various authors of late.

One of my favourite films of recent times is Let the Right One In, based on the book of the same name which was Lindqvist's debut novel. Since reading and absolutely adoring it, I've devoured all of Lindqvist's subsequent novels, and Little Star was snapped up as soon as I saw it on the bookshelf of my local Waterstone's.

Little Star initially tells the story of Lennart Cedestrom, a former Swedish pop star who enjoyed a modicum of success, who finds a baby girl abandoned in the woods near his home and brings her home upon hearing her produce a perfect musical note. However, it soon becomes apparent that 'Little One' is not an ordinary child and here the tension begins to build as her odd habits begin to escalate to their grisly conclusion.

The focus then shifts to Teresa, a girl who is deeply lonely and unhappy. She uses Internet trolling as a way to get any kind of reaction from her peers. Eventually, the paths of the two girls cross and they find an affinity with each other and each finds a cure for their issues in the other. The tension increases with every page until the girls reach a decision and the book ends with them instigating their grim desires.

It is quite hard to describe what happens towards the end of the book without giving a lot away, so I'm sorry the end sounds waffly and vague! It has a lot akin to werewolves in the sense that it explores the idea of being two different people in different situations. This is what I love so much about Lindqvist's novels- as well as being terrifically creepy, they also deal with human ideas and emotions too.

Lindqvist's writing is honestly so evocative and descriptive- quite near the start of the novel he describes an injury and I honestly felt so ill reading it; I know that will probably put a lot of you off but it is just so well written!

It is perhaps testament to Lindqvist's amazing writing that I, a huge coward who sometimes cannot bear to be left alone at home after dark, have been enamoured by every single one of his horror stories- and they are genuinely terrifying books. I seek them out and always check the horror section of the book stores to see if a new title has been released- and I genuinely hate to be scared but there is something mesmerising about these books.

I would say that Let the Right One In is better than this and is a great jumping off point if you would like to explore Lindqvist but this book is good in its own right. It is perhaps the 'weakest' of his four novels but I still loved it and read its 530+ pages in just 3 days.

Have any of you read any books by John Ajvide Lindqvist? Don't hesitate to ask if you would like to ask me  anything about Little Star, or any other books for that reason!

21 August 2012

Graduation Gifts

I graduated just over a month ago and my grandparents very kindly offered to buy me some jewellery as a graduation present. I know that I'm extremely lucky that my grandparents are very generous and this post is in no way intended as a way to brag or show off what I got, so please don't take it that way!

My first choice was a watch. I usually wear brightly coloured and patterned Swatch watches but I thought that, now I am a proper grown up graduate, I should perhaps aim for something a bit more sophisticated. This simple silver watch from Guess caught my eye- it's not too 'blingy' and looks simple but quite elegant and sophisticated at the same time. It's also not too big which I prefer. I was too scared to wear the watch to work as I was doing various arts and craft activities and didn't want it to end up damaged, but now work is over I'm looking forward to showing it off.

In the shop, I spotted absolutely beautiful necklaces from Dogeared Jewellery. There were various charms on the necklaces and I loved all of them! After a lot of deliberation I settled for the wishbone design. I thought it was so cute- the charm itself is very small but so well made- and also that the wishbone itself is quite an unusual charm to see. I also love the cute inspirational message on the card to which the necklace is attached.

I was so happy with what I got but then my grandparents surprised me a few days later with another Dogeared necklace! The charm on this one is harder to describe; it's like a spiky sun or something but my grandparents had chosen this one due to the lovely message printed on the card which said I could achieve anything. It was such a lovely surprise!

Overall, I am so pleased with the generous gifts my grandparents got me. I am a very lucky girl to have such a lovely family who give me such beautiful things and I know I'll look after and treasure these items for years to come.

15 August 2012

Lust List #1

Hello hello! It's a hideously wet Wednesday evening here in Belfast so I put together a little wishlist of things I would like in my life as a way of cheering myself up!

Untitled #5

Bird print peplum dress This gorgeous dress is from Dorothy Perkins. It took me a while to warm up to the peplum trend but I love this dress and think it would be a great way to take the peplum plunge.

Laura Mercier Oil Free Primer I'm still on the hunt for the perfect primer and have heard good things about this. I am a bit of a slave to my oily skin, particularly during the warm(ish!) summer months and I sometimes feel like all my make up just slides off during the day. It's slightly pricey at £28 but if it gives a beautiful, long-lasting base then it could well be worth it.

Chanel Vitalumiere Foundation This is linked to my desire for long-lasting and lovely make up. At the minute I also feel very paranoid that all of my foundation is the wrong colour so I may take the very exciting step of getting properly matched for a premium foundation once my job finishes this week.

Suede Drum Major Slingback Heels I'm dying for a pair of comfortable black heels and I loves suede and round toed shoes so I adore these.

Topshop Lipstick in Rio Rio I've developed a bit of an obsession with red lips of late and I am really into Topshop's lipsticks and the minute. I currently only own Brighton Rock so I might have to double my collection with the addition of this.

So there you have it- these are some of the things I'm currently craving. I finish work this Friday and I haven't actually spent any of my wages from the last five weeks so I may have to take a cheeky trip into town and pick up a few things on this list...

5 August 2012

I am the diamond glints on snow.

A very personal post today. On Friday, my granda sadly passed away after a short illness. He was a great man and, although I never realised it as a child, he was extremely brave. He left his entire family in Pakistan to study in Glasgow before coming to Northern Ireland. He married a white woman in the late 1950s and settled in Belfast, a place which is not exactly renowned for accepting other cultures, even now. He worked hard for a very long time to give my mother and three uncles the best in life and he always displayed love towards me and my brother.

I am so glad to have known this courageous man and I hope one day to see the bravery he displayed in myself. RIP Granda, you brave and wonderful man.

2 August 2012

Nails: L'Oreal Color Riche Sky Fits Heaven 611

My granny picked up this nail polish for me one day recently and I've finally got around to using it. I've never owned a L'Oreal nail polish before and am forever loyal to Barry M, but I was interested in trying this polish with its gorgeous colour.

I really like the brush that accompanies this polish; it's fan shaped and thus distributes the polish really evenly and covers practically the whole nail in a single stroke. It's also very quick drying and it was practically opaque after one coat, although I used two coats as I always like to ensure the whole nail is equally covered.
The polish dried to a really nice shine too and I love the colour itself; it's a lovely rich blue.

This is the polish under flash...

...and here it is under natural light without flash. Please excuse the clutter in this picture!


Overall, I would definitely recommend this nail polish. It's got a lovely shine and feels nice and smooth on your nails. It's quick drying which is great for me as I can be a bit clumsy with wet nails! I'll almost certainly be picking up a few other colours in this range.

L'Oreal Color Riche nail polishes are available in a massive range of 41 shades and can be purchased at Boots and Superdrug, priced at £4.99 per bottle, although there are currently offers on L'Oreal in both shops, for all you bargain hunters out there.

 Have you tried any polishes from the L'Oreal Color Riche range? What colours would you recommend?

24 July 2012

Even Children Get Older.

Hello hello, lovely followers! I'm so sorry for my very long absence but I've had quite a hectic few weeks. I started a summer job looking after children which has been very tiring. Also taking up a lot of my time was preparing for graduation! I am officially a Law and German graduate from Cardiff University.
I went to Cardiff last week for a long weekend with my parents and brother and had such a lovely time; everything was so nice and we had a great time together.

Here I am in all my graduation glory! I was so hot in my robes but really enjoyed wearing them; I didn't want to give them back at the end of the day. 

I know I've said it before but I really, really promise that normal service will resume now and I'll be posting more regularly now. 
I hope you're all well and that those of you who are also graduating really enjoy your day.

9 July 2012

Book Club: Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer

Yay, here is the first ever book review on the blog! One of the benefits of having left university is having a lot more free time to read whatever I choose to. This is, shamefully, only the second book I've read this year, but I hope to spend the summer adding to that amount. I also do reviews at goodreads.com and you can find a link to my account on the right hand side of my blog if you'd also like to join me there!

Into The Wild tells the true story of Christopher Johnson McCandless who, after graduating from university, decides he doesn't want to settle down into the life expected of him by his rich parents and instead travels around America. He ends up in Alaska where he walks 'into the wild' in an attempt to live off the land there. Unfortunately, it is there that his journey ends.

John Krakauer pieces together fragments of McCandless' diary entries, interviews with people who knew him and met him on his travels and the letters and postcards he sent. Krakauer narrates the history of McCandless' life in such a beautiful way- it feels like a work of fiction most of the time, with evocative descriptions and real drama, tension and emotion which pull you into the story. The interviews are especially well done- although emotive, they don't feel too overwrought and really add to the development of the elusive but engaging character of McCandless.

Krakauer also scatters the book with stories of other explorers, as well as his own story of adventure, in an attempt to provide an insight into McCandless' mind and motivation while he was travelling. This adds an extra dimension and more interest to the book.
In my case, having just left university myself, I can really feel the lure of the open spaces McCandless explored and the idea of travelling without borders and limits is so appealing. I think this is one of the reasons the book really resonated with me and I enjoyed it so much.

My only very minor criticism is perhaps the lack of pictures in the book. I feel that a few pictures of McCandless would have perhaps added to the intimacy of the book and really helped me visualise what he had seen and experienced. This is, however, a tiny point.

Overall, I'd really recommend this book. The story of the doomed McCandless is brilliantly told and it's clear the author has a huge amount of respect for him, while not being too sycophantic. It's really engaging and brilliantly told and provides and insight into a fascinating mind.

3 July 2012

Holiday Outfit

Untitled #4

At the minute, the weather is pretty grim here so I'm really wishing for a bit of sunshine or a holiday! If we somehow get blessed with nice weather in the near future, I think this little collection would be perfect.

Jamaica Sundress- £36 from Topshop. I really like the little pattern on this dress and think the shape is really clean and simple, which I love. Hopefully, I'll somehow manage to pick up a bit of a tan which will help set the dress off nicely if I end up buying it!

Sandals- I think these were £14.99 from New Look but I added these to Polyvore a while ago and now I can't find them on the website.  Gladiator sandals are my sunny weather staple and I really like the colour of these but it appears I was a bit slow and might have missed out on these.

Bag- This is from oasap.com and is priced at $28. I love the colour and shape of it.

Lipstick- This is the Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in 37 L'Exhuberante and I AM IN LOVE WITH IT! The colour is so beautiful. It's a matte pink and looks so stunning and perfect for summer and the matte-ness (I know, that's not a word!) of it makes it seems much less threatening, even though it is extremely bright. I really want to try it out with a natural face on a sunny day. It's priced at £25 which is quite a lot but I really like Chanel lip products and, in case it wasn't very clear, I am totally besotted by this lipstick!

Nail Varnish- I think this coral Yves Sant Laurent polish is the perfect colour for the summer sunshine, if it ever materialises. I've never tried a YSL product before and I think this would be a super jumping off point.

What summery items are you looking forward to getting use out of, if we get lucky and see the sunshine?

1 July 2012

Life Update!

After my last quite miserable and mopey post, I'm very pleased to report that things are on the up.

Firstly, I got my degree results and I got my 2:1! I am so overjoyed- I honestly didn't think I'd manage to get one so I'm beyond pleased that I did. This means I can apply for the LLM I want to do and should hopefully be able to do that, so my life for the next year is pretty settled. It's such a relief to have some kind of plan now.

I've also moved back home, so it's bye-bye Cardiff for a bit. However, this should give me much more time to read, watch films and shop, which in turn will give me a lot more to blog about so I should be much more active from now on. (I know I have said this quite a few times but I promise I mean it this time!)

Hope all you lovely people are well.

22 June 2012

In Which I Worry.

A warning: in this post, I deviate hugely from my usual style. I am feeling very confused and a bit disheartened at the minute, and this is my outlet; I hope, in venting here, I don't alienate those of you who have no interest in my dispirited musings.

I am no longer a student. I finished my exams last week and have since been coming to terms with the fact that my life is now in a sort of limbo- I haven't graduated but I am not a student any more.
Generally, it's a nice feeling that I don't have revision and work to do for the time being. but it is also absolutely terrifying. I have no idea what I want to do with my life and where I want to end up.

When I started university, I was convinced I was going to go into Law as a profession. I wanted to do Human Rights law and help everyone who had been left without a voice. However, I soon realised that I was in the minority with my dreams to help others, and most people saw a career in law as a way to make themselves- and, often, big companies and extremely wealthy people- rich or even richer.
I, on the other hand, still want to help people, but I've realised that the way I can do that may have to be reassessed.

I'm still very much interested in the possibility of Human Rights and have investigated avenues of further study, but everything is so confusing at the minute. I am still to get my final results and a lot of what I may do is dependent on those and the degree classification I end up with.
Really, what I want is to somehow land a job which I love which helps people, earns me enough to live on and makes my parents proud of me. Everything is so up in the air at the minute that I find it hard to focus, and I worry about getting a 2:2, never ever finding a job, my parents being disappointed and having to do another long-distance year with my boyfriend.

I know this has been quite negative and rambling, and I hope I haven't annoyed too many of you! I just wanted to get some thoughts down, and I also wondered if anyone else felt this way too. I know a lot of people are in the same boat as me, so if you are and would like to talk, please do get in touch!
I hope you are all well, and much less worried than I am!

7 June 2012

Marvel Avengers Assemble- at last!

I finally had a bit of free time this week after the pressure of exams eased up a bit, so my boyfriend and I went to see The Avengers last night. I've been looking forward to the film since last summer so I was excited about finally being able to see it.

Everything got off to a great start when one of the trailers was for the new Batman film, which is due out this summer. My excitement levels were even higher after seeing that!

For those who haven't seen the film, The Avengers are a group of superheroes who are called to action after Loki, the god of mischief, steals an energy source to unleash hell on earth so he can take control. It sounds far-fetched but it really works and isn't a complicated storyline with lots of jargon.

As for the film itself, it was amazing. Everything about it was just fantastic. The story was well-done and gripping, the characters were really well developed and the action sequences and special effects were just stunning. I loved every second of it and I'm so glad I got to see it on the big screen.

I was also really impressed with the handling of the Black Widow character. Played by the beautiful Scarlett Johansson, I was worried the character herself would be reduced to nothing more than a pretty face or a love interest for one of the male superheroes. However, she was an extremely intelligent, strong, brave and talented hero in her own right, which I was so pleased about.

I enjoyed this film more than I can say! It really was excellent and I can't recommend it highly enough!

5 June 2012

Barry M Limited Edition

I picked up this Limited Edition Barry M polish in Boots a few weeks ago. There was an offer on meaning you saved £1 if you bought 2 polishes. I was already going to buy my friend Raspberry, which is my favourite Barry M polish of all time, so thought I'd treat myself to this little lovely to take advantage of the offer.
The polish is a gorgeous lilac with great colour payoff- I'd previously bought Berry Ice Cream which I really liked in the bottle, but I felt it wasn't bold enough on my nails. This, on the other hand, was great. It's really bold and bright and a lovely summery colour. 

 As with all Barry M polishes, it's really impressive. I needed two coats for full opacity and the polish dried really quickly and lasted around five days without chipping, and even then the chipping was minimal. Overall, I love this polish. It's a beautiful bright colour which is perfect for the summer.

I bought the polish about a month ago so I'm not sure if it's still on sale in Boots stores, but you can still get it from the Boots website and it costs £2.99.

3 June 2012

A Change of Direction (Sort Of)

Up until now, all I've really blogged about has been beauty products and occasionally I'll throw in the odd wishlist post. However, when I started this blog my original plan was to cover all sorts of areas that interest me and review things and pass information along, part of the reason I chose the name Second Hand News.
 Unfortunately, I started blogging right before the most important exams of my life which meant I couldn't really devote a lot of time to the blog and was unable to make it as diverse as I wanted. Now, thankfully, I've finished my Law exams and have a little bit of time before my next set of exams, so I can finally get round to adding more to my blog and covering more topics.

I'm hoping to be able to do reviews and provide information on a host of other things now, especially books and films which I've had to neglect a lot recently while I've been revising. So hopefully you'll enjoy the new direction I'm hoping to take!

20 May 2012

Revision Avoidance Wishlist!

I'm currently studying for my final university exams, so what is really on top of my wishlist is Bernard's watch so I can stop time and fit everything in! Failing that, a lovely holiday somewhere sunny would be lovely! However, with neither of these things really being a possibility, I thought I'd put together a more realistic wishlist.


Lace Pencil Dress: This is from Dorothy Perkins and costs £30. I need to start thinking about graduation dresses and I think this is gorgeous. The colour is so lovely and I adore the shape; it's so classic and demure, but also fitted which makes it flattering. I also think the price is really reasonable, and Dorothy Perkins also offer student discount all year round which is another plus (although I won't be a student much longer!) If you couldn't tell, I really like this dress!

Topshop Nail Polish in Forget Me Not: I love Topshop nail polish and think this colour would be lovely for the summer and (hopefully!) the sunshine.
NARS Blusher in Orgasm: The classic! I recently purchased Deep Throat on Buyapowa and although I haven't had the chance to use it I'm pretty sure I'm going to love it! Orgasm is the classice NARS blusher that all beauty bloggers rave about so I'm definitely going to treat myself to some soon. I think the peachy sheen would be lovely in summer with lighter make-up, and I also just want to be part of the crowd!
Steam Cream: This is probably just like any other moisturiser but the packaging is so cute! It's sold in Topshop for £10- I think- so it is a bit pricey. However, moisturiser is a daily staple so it would probably be worth it- even if I'm only really attracted by the ladybird.
MAC Hey, Sailor! Lipstick in Reel Sexy: I adore the new MAC collection. The packaging is divine and the products look great. Unfortunately, as I'm revising, I haven't really been out much and I definitely haven't been on any shopping trips so I'm probably going to miss out on this little beauty- it's already sold out online. I've never owned a MAC lipstick before either so it's a bit of a shame. I might have to treat myself to another as a post-exam reward...
Well, that was a lovely distraction from work! I hope you're all well. What sort of things are you lusting after right now? 

14 May 2012

Barry M Magnetic Nails- Red

I don't really buy into the whole nail art thing. I like to have my nails one really nice colour, so I was a bit sceptical when my friend gave me the new Barry M Magnetic Nails in Red as a birthday present.

 I really liked the packaging of the polish. I'm a huge Barry M fan as it is, so the rectangular glass bottle didn't disappoint.The magnet is removable to make it easier to use,and this also means if you buy any more of the set you can mix and match the designs.  The instructions were clearly printed on the side of the bottle so it was easy to work out what to do.

I was a bit apprehensive before I used the polish as I thought it may not live up to the hype. When I painted on the first coat I was pleased that at least the colour was nice, so I could still use it if the magnetism failed to attract me. (Sorry, that was an awful pun!)

However, I needn't have worried. Once the first coat was dry, I applied a second coat then quickly held the magnet over my nail. The result was amazing! The diagonal lines were distinct and looked quirky. I was really impressed with how easy it was to use and the result was great for very little effort!

 The picture on the left shows my nails under flash, while on the right my hand is in natural lights.

 The finished product! Overall, I really liked this product. It was easy to use and I loved the results- I couldn't stop looking at my nails and even my boyfriend noticed and thought they were cool.
My friend purchased the dark blue for herself and loves it as much as I love the red. The product lives up to the high standards I expect from Barry M and provides something a little different, but the price is still very reasonable for the excellent quality.

The Magnetic Polishes are priced at £4.99. They come in 4 different colours and patterns, and you can use the magnets on all the colours. They are available from Boots, Superdrug and the Barry M website.

What do you think of the magnetic nail polishes? Have you tried them or do you want to try them? Or do you think they're just more hype?