Monday, 25 February 2013

What I've been reading.

When I finished my degree last July I rejoiced at the prospect of reading what I liked again. Unlike a lot of my course mates who were put off books for a while, I already had a stack at the ready. At first I whizzed through popular fiction such as Me Before You by Jojo Moyes ( fantastically romantic) and Before I Go To Sleep by S.J Watson (a predictable thriller). Recently though, I'm on with a slightly more challenging reading list. My aim is to read some of the popular classics I didn't study whilst at uni. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell was one I knew was on the syllabus for a lot of people but I myself had missed. I enjoyed having something more challenging to read and the content of the book was thought provoking.

Orwell's vision of the life in the novel is claustrophobic and his character's lack the privilege of privacy. The world is over run by technology and each home contains a television which can watch the inhabitants. Not only can the government not be trusted but a number of the surrounding population are part of the 'thought police' (a group who report thoses who have negative thoughts about Big Brother to the government). Noone can be trusted and individuals are discouraged from having relationships, referring to those around them as comrades. The children are to be feared most of all as they have no allegiance to anyone - not even their parents!
Written in 1949, Orwell's interpretation of life in the late 20th century was terrifying but in many ways parallell to our present day. The watchful eye of Big Brother can be likened to the amount of cameras which surround us on a daily basis.  Statistics say that the average person is caught on CCTV  60 times a day which is quite unnerving! The novel also contains elements of Orwell's present day, such as the repetition of war. The combination of the two makes the book very interesting to consider.
One of the most unexpected elements of this text for me was the inclusion of a love story. The protagonist Winston meets and falls in love with Julie. Together they try and have a relationship based on love despite the disapproval of Big Brother. It's interesting to read about their struggle for something we take for granted.
I'd definitely pass this book on as a must read. So much of our culture is based around our most popular fictions ( In this case the TV programme Big Brother!). There were some bits I found quite difficult to understand but it was worth persevering with.  

My reading list for the coming months is as followed:

A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
Mary Queen of Scots - Antonia Fraser
Kings of Albion - Julian Rathborne
A Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
The Importance of Being Earnest - Oscar Wilde
Little Women - Louise May Alcott
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

What are you reading at the moment? Can you recommend anything for my reading list?

Rose x

Sunday, 24 February 2013

My Instagram Week #7

I'm slightly cheating with this one as these photos aren't actually instagrammed but my week was so quiet I didn't really take many photos. I had Ash staying for a couple of days and the rest of the time I was working. Next weeks post will hopefully be a bit more exciting as I'm off to Preston/Manchester/Liverpool (Hooray for a week off!). I'm also half way through a post about what I'm reading but it's on the back burner at the moment as I can't think.
1. This is me today, a bit tired and scruffy round the edges. I'm wearing my Cowgirl shirt with my Topshop blue skinny jeans and black forever 21 boots which I think go okay. I've also got my hair up which I never really do. I tried to be fancy and curl my hair this morning but it ended up a frizzy mess.
2. This is me and my boy before he left. I get so used to him being around after a few days it feels strange when he leaves. 
3. I finally rewatched this after buying it last summer! It's such a great film (and play). Marlon. Brando is a babe too.
5. I went for a peruse round the shops and stopped at Costa for a break. Did you know you can still get Gingerbread lattes even though they're not on the board anymore?
5. On Monday I wore my Topshop sale tunic with a black body con skirt and my black suede wedges. I really like it but it is a pain for riding up. 
6. On Thursday I had a night off so we went to Cafe Rouge for dinner. They have a set menu of £11.50 for a starter and main which is really quite reasonable. I had a steak burger and fries which was super tasty.

Rose x

Monday, 18 February 2013

New favourites

Over the last week or so i've picked up some new things to wear. Most shops are getting their spring lines in and I couldn't resist having a look.

Outfit one: This is a midi dress from New look (£14.99). They had a number of midi dresses, the ones i actually had my eye on were long sleeve and block colour. However the material on them was way too thin and even going two sizes above they were still too clingy for me. I thought £14.99 was fairly reasonable. I like how it can be dressed up or down. In the photo above i've teamed it with my new bargain green Doc Mrtens (£5.99 off eBay!) and some Primark peace sign earrings (£1.50 for two pairs).  I'd probably wear my denim jacket over the top with a canvas bag (providing the sun sticks around.)

Outfit Two: This one i've actually had a while longer. The jumper was another eBay find. It was originally from River Island but cost me £1.50. The skirt is a Topshop Petite and was around £16 if I remember correctly. The shoes i got in the New Look sale for £14 and are the easiest heel shoes to walk in. They're really confortable too and I love the Victorian boot style of them. I'd also wear black tights with this and my leather biker jacket.

I can't really label this outfit three but I wanted to share my find! This was £10 from Primark and i'm so pleased with it. It's really well made and i'm in love with the embroidery detail. I'm not 100% what to wear it with though! I'd be grateful of any suggestions.

Outfit Three: This is my £7 Cowboy dress from Asda Living. I stumbled across it quite accidentally and had to get it because of the print. It reminds me of the Cath Kidston cowboy range. I must admit the fit isn't brilliant around the waist but other than that I love it. I've been teaming it with my dark green polo jumper and New Look wedges.

My Instagram Week #6

A busy week at work for me! These photos are ones I took when I was enjoying my break between shifts.  

1. I picked up this magazine hoping it would get me in a creative mood. It has some great bits in, including felt animals (shown on the cover) and DIY heart and pearl collars.
2.  I babysat for my neighbour on Saturday night and this is Frank her 9 week old  sausage dog puppy. He's so small and cute and wants to play all the time.
3. I was just enjoying the sun the other morning. It's made me think about getting my more summery clothes out. Hooray!
4. I bought this a while ago and found I ended up with a lot of break outs after using it. I'm going to try and include it in my regime and see if the result is any better.

5. On Thursday I went to see Django Unchained. Even though it's pretty long (Just under three hours) I was gripped from beginning to end. It's quite intense and has a number of violent scenes but I would recommend it as one to see.
6. My phone case came! I was so pleased with how quickly it arrived. You can't really see in this photo but it has little Hello Kitty ears on the top. Including shipping this cost me just under £5 off eBay. 
7. I'm finally running out of my lovely vanilla coffee. It's part of a great instant range from Whittard. So far i've tried this and the caramel flavour and they're just so tasty. Only £5 for a jar.
8. It has taken me ages to finish this book. I kept putting it down and being too busy. However, it is amazing and a brilliant read. The parallells with our society today are quite uncanny. I've already started my next book 'A Clockwork Orange'. I've found it a little difficult to get into as the author substitutes alot of words with made up ones. It's getting easier the more I read though.

Rose x

Saturday, 16 February 2013

MUA magnetic nail varnish

Earlier this week I went for a wander round town. I've been getting city shopping withdrawals as our town has so few shops. I ended up in Superdrug and looking at their MUA range. I've heard lots of positive things about these products and thought it was time to give something a go. This nail varnish is also the first magnetic polish I've tried. They had a few different colours and pattern results but this appealed to me best.

MUA magnetic nail varnish : squiggle effect £2.00 Superdrug

The first time I put this on I made a royal mess because I didn't leave enough time to do it properly. The instructions suggest two coats (which is definitely necessary for a good colour result).  You must apply the second coats individually and then hover the magnet on the lid over your nail. The closer you can get it the better result. I kept accidentally touching the magnet with my first attempt! 

I really like the over all effect! I think it's great value for money and I've had loads of compliments about the unusual effect. The picture below shows the nails I did first, they didn't come out brilliantly but I imagine that's getting used to the application rather than a fault with the product.

Has anyone tried anything else from the MUA range?
Rose x

Monday, 11 February 2013

My Instagram Week #5

1. A pretty quiet week for me, mainly because I'm working on my personal statement. It's for a creative writing course which is super exciting, however writing this is not!
2. I finally got round to upgrading my phone and now have myself a lovely IPhone 4s. I've ordered some really cute cases which I'll post when they arrive.
3. I dyed my hair! Am still getting used to it at the moment as I had it red for so long. It's only a semi permenant so going red wont be too difficult if I decide to go back.
4. I've listed a load of things on eBay as its time to get saving for my this September. Click here if you want to look at what I've posted. Everything is starting at 99p.

5.  I love the picture from my Gemma Correll calendar for February. Valentines is only a few days away now and I have no romantic plans as Ash and I won't see each other. Instead I'm off to see Django unchained with my friend, I have a feeling we'll be the only non-couple in the cinema.
6. It was super cold this week and I was very grateful of my lovely Eco cup my sister got me for Christmas. It's so useful for on the way to work. Keeps my hands warm too.
7. This is the tunic I got from the Topshop sale for £7! I was coverting it last October but decided it was a little too pricey at £38. I'm so glad I waited as I think it'll be great during spring.
8. My Dad picked me up this little chocolate bunny the other day which means Easter is on its way. He's too cute to eat!

What did you do this week?
Rose x

Sunday, 10 February 2013

A Clean Slate

For the past few years i've been struggling with combination skin, every time there's a big change in the temperature it takes a drastic turn for the worst. At the moment it seems to be mostly oily and no product i had was helping it improve. I decided it was time to rethink my skin care routine. Previously, it would be limited to face wipes and moisturiser with a face scrub in the morning. I did some investigating and read some blog posts highly rating products from Lush. I wanted to run down there and buy every one! They all sounded so promising. Alas, going back to my previous blog posts i am still on budget currently. So i ended up in perusing other shops instead, deciding that even if i got discount products that didn't work - at least i wouldn't be losing out on much cash!

Here's my budget oil reducing routine.

1. Beauty Formulas : Oil Control Facial Wash. 99p from Bodycare
I bought this with much skepticism due to the price. The blurb on the front insists the face wash 'controls the oil balance of the skin and clears away the excess oil and grease that blocks pores' which all sounded very promising. Since purchasing, i've used it twice and have been pleasantly surprised! It has a prominent tea tree smell but without being over powering. It's cleansing without over drying the skin. As my complexion is combination,i expected very dry skin after the first use but instead it's reduced the amount of oil i was often getting in my t-zone and around my forehead. I plan on using it most days and will let you know if there's a dramatic change in the next couple of weeks.

2. Simple Kind to Skin Face Cleansing Wipes. £3.99 from Sainsburys
These are some of the priciest face wipes i've bought. I usually get the cucumber ones from Boots but i ran out and had to make a dash to the supermarket. They remove eye make up well but i don't think they're anything special.

3. Olay Essentials Conditioning Milk. £1.49 (half price) from Superdrug
I haven't used a proper cleanser and toner in years so I had no idea what to look for. I knew i needed
something light and got this on the basis it was suitable for all skin types. This was the first time i'd tried an Olay product and i'm already tempted to go back to Superdrug while the range is still on offer. It smells fantastic and is gentle enough to use daily. The amount of foundation which appeared on the cotton pad whilst removing made me realise that the face wipes were not leaving my skin as clean as i thought.

4. Witch Blemish Stick. £3.99 from Boots
I've only just rediscovered this! The witch hazel helps break down the excess oils that lead to breakouts. It's still the most effective blemish stick i've tried. I'm now using it in my evening routine if need be.

5. The Body Shop Cucumber Freshening Water Toner. £1.59 (In the sale) from The Body Shop
I bought this a while ago in the sale and only used it a couple of times before shelving it. I found my skin was drying out horribly and i'd have big dry patches around break outs (not attractive). However, as my skin is currently battling oil, it seemed a better time to use it. It compliments the cleanser really well and isn't as chemically and harsh as other toners.

6. Neutrogena Visibly Clear Oil Free Moisturiser. £2.99 from Bodycare
Purchasing this was another skeptical moment. I've never bought a moisturiser this reasonable before but was persuaded by the brand name. It's a different consistency to most moisturisers, making it a little harder to spread about. However, once it's on the skin does feel hydrated. I find the fragrance a little off putting as it's similar to the Neutrogena facial washes i have bought before and it's a bit overpowering. But, i will be sticking with it as i've noticed a considerable change in my skin's overall condition just in the last few days.

So far i've been thoroughly impressed with my purchases. For the first time in ages i don't feel embarrassed my skin! I've had no further breakouts (touch wood) whereas I was getting them daily before. I'm also using less foundation and reapplying make up less frequently!
Have any of you got any beauty bargains to share?
Rose x

Small changes.

Whenever I'm stressed, the first thing I want to do is to eat unhealthily. As soon as I start, I find myself in a terrible routine very quickly. I'm no good when it comes to dieting but I find making little changes to my food crutches really helps

1(l-r) : I've always liked a really sugary tea and coffee. I've tried going without, but it just isn't the same. My housemate introduced me to Sweetex last year and so far they're the best sweetener I've tried. They do take a little getting used to as it is not the same taste as sugar but they are much better for you.
There's 15 kcal in one (4g) teaspoon of sugar opposed to less than 2 kcal in one Sweetex. On average I drink 5 cups of tea/coffee a day so 150kcal a day was purely on the sugar in my drinks!

2. Another coffee related one! As I mentioned above, I do drink a lot of caffeine. This seems to be worse when I'm stressed as its a comfort thing. Decaff coffee (or tea) is a good move if you drink as many as I do. It reduces the risks of caffeine headaches whilst still tasting the same.

3. I used to get 'nowhere near my five a day' guilt quite regularly. Now I always make sure I have some fruit along side breakfast. If I'm on a quick lunch break, I usually pop to sainsburys and they do these great little mixed fruit pots for £1. They're a good alternative to grabbing chocolate.

4. Crisps are my biggest vice. If they were calorie free I'd happily eat three or four packets a day! It's recently i've started studying the labels more carefully. Chilli heat wave Doritos contain : 162 kcal and a huge 8.2g of fat! Walkers Salt and Vinegar contain : 184 kcal and 11.9g of fat. I discovered the weight watchers crisp range which seemed like a good alternative. There aren't as many in a bag and there are one or two flavours I'm not too keen on but compared to the above their Salt and Vinegar Hoops contain : 77kcal and 0.7g of fat. You can get a bag of four for £1 in Poundland.

5. I really like these Actimel low fat yogurts . They're really tasty but only made with fruit sugar and sweeteners as opposed to sugar. If I fancy something sweet these do the job nicely.

6. Final vice - fizzy drinks! I was probably drinking at least three 500ml bottles of full fat coke a week. I really don't like the taste of the diet one but discovered i really like Pepsi Max! Even though I try not to drink as much as I was, I find Pepsi Max a fine alternative when I need a fizzy boost. Full fat coke contains : 210 kcal and ... 59g of sugar! This seems like a crazily high amount but on the label they only list the nutritional information for half a bottle. In comparison, 500ml of Pepsi Max contains : 2kcal and trace of sugar.

Overall, I feel better for the changes I've made so far and they've become part of my routine very easily.

What are your food vices?

Rose x

Saturday, 9 February 2013

A new lease of life.

I've mentioned in my previous posts about my selling on eBay. In the past i've been terrible for hanging on to things I don't wear or use just incase I might ever need them. Needless to say my drawers and room were cluttered! I like the idea that the clothes that weren't right to me went to someone who would love them better than me! As well as this declutter of the unworn I've also promised myself i'd only get well fitted items. Unfortunately, in many stores petite ranges can be more expensive so eBay seemed the perfect place to have a look. Before my enforced clothes ban (it's still going strong at the moment) I used some of the money i'd made to buy more. It feels like a good way of recycling! Here's what i got :

Topshop Petite Polkadot dress £5.50 + 3.00pp

                                             Topshop Velvet Dress : £11.00 + £3

Topshop Petite Aztec dress £7.50 + 2.50pp

Topshop Petite Silver Dress : £11.00 + £3.50pp

If you haven't bought clothes off eBay before i'd recommend :
-Checking the feedback of the seller before bidding. It'll let you know if they have a history of poor shipping time or inaccurate descriptions.
-If you're bidding on something with an occasion in mind, contact the seller to ask if it will arrive in time.
-If the picture is of bad quality or the item is creased - don't bother. If they can't be bothered to present it well, it will most likely have been cared for in the same way.
-Most sellers will put on the listing if something is damaged. If you receive something with an issue that was't mentioned then you have every right for a refund.
-Make sure you're aware of the condition - people have different ideas when it comes to description!

Rose x

My Instagram Week #4

1. From Sunday to Tuesday morning, Ashley came to stay. It was so nice having him here and i was glad he could come to Ceri's leaving party with me on Monday. This photo we took after we got back. He usually pulls silly faces when i try and take photos so i'm pleased to have a nice one!
2. We went for a Pizza Hut buffet which was sooo yummy. I never used to be a fan of Pizza Hut food but their buffets are great. We had a 'Don't Open Me' envelope which we got last time we ate there. It was basically a guaranteed prize but we had to go back to the restaurant to have it opened by the manager. We were dreaming of a holiday but won a pudding instead!
3. I got a new duvet cover from Asda, spent my lazy Sunday making my room look all beautiful.
4. As i mentioned in my previous post, my friend Ceri moved to Brighton. We had a lovely time at her leaving do and i spent Tuesday and Wednesday morning with her getting things all sorted.

5. This is my new favourite lipstick. It's part of the Kate Moss for Rimmel range and i've worn it nearly every day this week. It's a dark purple/red colour on and has a matte finish. It also tastes like the sweets Nerds! I pointed it out to Mum a week or so before Christmas and she slyly bought it whilst i was there. However, she accidentally put it in my older sister's Christmas stocking! Luckily Nikki didn't think the colour suited her so i got it back. I'm so pleased i did.
6. So i've been a bit naughtier with my spends this week... i went shopping on Wednesday afternoon and picked up this cowboy print shift dress from Asda Living in the sale for £7. I couldn't resist it, it does seem a little long in the body and the print is a bit overpowering worn on its own. I teamed in with my green jumper today. I also picked up a denim shirt for £12 from New Look and the tunic i was coverting from Topshop (back in October!) for £7.
7. My mum spotted this coat in the Topshop sale for £35 reduced from £50. This picture isn't brilliant quality but it has faux leather sleeves with a khaki body. It's a bit cold to wear it on its own at the moment so i've had a hoodie underneath it. I love it.
8. Finally (another previous post mention), I got my rose tattoo! I'm so pleased with it and it's made me want to get another..

How was your week?

Rose x

Untameable. Outfit post

I did have a portrait to put in with this outfit post but as my title suggests my hair was crazy looking!  I seriously need a haircut but it's the longest it has been in ages, so i'm reluctant to. This is what I wore on my day off. I find myself making more of an effort lately when I spend more time in my uniform. I like to think this is quirky whilst comfy.

Collar: part of a top from Topshop Petite two years ago
Jumper : Asda living
Skirt : H and M

I wore my old burgundy converse too. I really love this colour with the dark green at the moment. I've had a bit of a clothes haul this week which I'll post about tomorrow. Hope you've all had a good week.
Rose x

Friday, 1 February 2013

Time to change.

So here's a slightly more personal post from me. I'm half way through my gap year and have really enjoyed being back at home thus far. This year seems to be running away and I feel like so many things are happening.

1. The most recent being my best friend moving to Brighton. We had such a mad rush trying to get her all packed and off, its hardly hit me she has gone! I can't wait to go and visit her, i've never been before.

2. I got my third tattoo today. I've wanted it for so long and finally got round to booking it. It didn't hurt much having it done but does feel a bit stingy now. It's at the top of my right leg. I felt it was only right to get a rose eventually!

This is just the start of things to come.
What will change for you over the next year?
Rose x