• this post is an advertised collaboration with Boots, but all thoughts are my own •
Summer is here (although I don't think anyone has told the weather) which means a change in beauty routines for many of us. More focus on the prep and protection, and a little lighter on the make up. We want glowing skin which is allowed to breathe, rather than being caked in make up - especially if we get another heatwave this year... I'm crossing my fingers and hoping we get one soon!
I got to choose a few lovely things from Boots to help me switch up my skincare & beauty for summer. I decided to only select things that were cruelty free, as I'm trying to gradually change out all my beauty bits for less harmful things.
First up, a bit of prep and care. The No7 goodies were thrown in as an extra, but an SPF for your face is always needed and incredibly important. This face primer from Ole Henriksen is amazing - it smells lovely and gives your face a fresh glow. I'm still feeling too pale to go completely bare faced in public, but I'm sure that once I am, a little bit of this will be all I need.
I don't know about you, but I also like to wear a lighter scent in summer, and Boots have so much choice! This Sanctuary body spray is lovely - floral and sweet - and lasts really well. It really reminds me of my teenage years, before I discovered my usual perfume. I love a bit of nostalgia.
Next up, for the face I went for this loose mineral foundation from bareMinerals. I'm not sure I've ever used a powder foundation before, but I like how light this feels on the skin. It almost feels like you're wearing nothing at all! The powder bronzer works really well alongside this too - having the paler shades in there is really working for my skin right now, and I can see it being versatile well into the summer months when I eventually get a little more colour on my face.
For my eyes, I like to keep it pretty simple in the summer. A bit of definition in my eyebrows is always needed, as you can see from the photo below, they disappear a little without any make up at all! I usually love a brow gel, but this No7 eyebrow pencil gives a soft and natural look too. One end is the pencil, and the other end has a spoolie to brush and blend it in.
Waterproof mascara is a must - whether you're jumping in a body of water, or just simply getting a little hot day to day, you want to know that you're not going to end up with smudgy mascara all around your eyes. This one is great because it also gives good length to your lashes!
A simple bit of eyeshadow to make your eyes pop is the perfect finishing touch. This Barry M palette of nudes is lovely - a couple of light, shimmery shades, and a bunch of different pinks and browns. I went for a mixture of a couple, along with a bit of the dark gold from the bronzer, which really compliments blue eyes. The slight shimmer of the bronze Stay Perfect eyeliner makes it really lovely to use along the lower lash line.
As you can see thought the progression below, these few products give me that glowy, sun-kissed skin, without overdoing it. And that's what a summer make up look is all about for me! No fuss.
What's your go to for a summer look? What products are you excited to use this summer?
A hazy childhood memory - I wasn’t sure if this place really existed, or if I’d dreamt it up.
We drove along the familiar winding roads, past my second home - my grandparents’ house - they were the ones who took me to this beach. Branches full of leafy fingers waving to us - hello, and welcome back! Those sweet smelling hedgerows full of colour and promise and froths of flowers. Ferns unfurling. Curling up to the sky, arms outstretched like morning. Chasing shadows along the road.
Down we went, and down and further down the steep path. The seaside flowers shivering in the wind, nodding us in the right direction.
I knew it when I saw it: on the right hand side of the beach, behind that big rock - a magical place where the waves crash differently; the waves sound different here.
Imagine me, a child, hand-in-hand with my older brother or perhaps a cousin, in a hand-me-down cozzy, small feet in the water, excited screams and laughter as the water rushes in.
Now on the cusp of 31, I feel just as small as I did then. I was so happy to see that I really did remember it right.
The dusty moon guided us home with the white bellied birds dancing below.
It reminds us to celebrate the most important women in our lives, because there is no limit to what they can achieve.
When Muru offered to gift me some jewellery, I decided I wanted to share this with someone I love. Matching necklace for me and my kindred spirit. Someone who really deserves something special.
I have always had a thing about the moon, and knowing it's significance as a talisman meant I had to choose that design.
I decided to post one to Bee, along with a matching card. It's a surprise, and as I'm writing this, she has no idea. I can't wait for her to open it!
She has always given me unwavering support. The most fiercely loyal friend I have ever had - she has seen me through thick and thin, and always, always had my back. She does everything with strength - especially loving. She takes no shit, and sticks up for what she believes in.
Not only that, but she is incredibly talented, and has created some of the most beautifully written pieces of poetry and prose. She's got a gentle and sensitive soul, mixed with a wicked and dark sense of humour. She's sassy AF. She's beautiful.
She's someone I know I will have a deep connection with until the day we die, and maybe after that too. She's very special and she deserves to be celebrated.
I don’t know how long I’ve lived with a chronic illness, but some days it feels like forever. Dragging at my heels, holding me back. I am one of the lucky ones - most days I barely even notice it, thanks to medication. I’m not used to feeling bad anymore, so the bad days hit hard.
I’ve felt tripped up by it lately. I was smugly going along, doing all of my 4 jobs to a reasonable degree, having a busy social life, and even getting to the gym when I could fit it in. And then the crash came.
I forgot my medication one very hungover morning, and the combination of the two set me off into a spiral. I have found myself feeling anxious the day after I drink anyway, and am always exhausted by it, so the combination of that plus a lack of what my body needs to function led me into a few days of feeling utterly terrible.
Tired, anxious, low. I could barely make conversation with my best friends, let alone anyone else. I didn’t want to do anything, I couldn’t concentrate on anything, I didn’t even want to look at a screen.
Three days later I woke up tired, again, after promising myself that it’d be a better day. I felt so frustrated with myself.
The parts the others don’t see of being self-employed and living with a chronic illness are things like: sobbing in the shower once your housemates have left for the day, and then just getting on with it because you can’t afford not to.
Things like: the internal monologue of being defective and not good enough, so you have to work twice as hard to “make up for” whatever you’re lacking. Just dazzle them, and they won’t notice that part of you is broken and rotting.
I put a lot of pressure on myself to be on good form around other people – which is probably quite detrimental to me and maybe to them as well - so when I feel this bad I just shut myself away as much as I can.
I've felt a little up and down since then - two weeks ago - but a week off full of lovely things and people seems to have recharged me, so hopefully it's all up from here, for now. We all know that recovery isn't linear, we all have good days and bad days.
Technically, this is a sob story (I cried again writing this) but I’m not here for sympathy, just empathy. Illness is not always visible. I hide this side of me from most of the world, but the reality is that we all have something we struggle with to some degree.
If you're feeling the same, know that you're not alone, I'm with you, and some days will be easier. And I will always, always listen to you if you need someone.
A couple of weeks ago, we were invited along to Lost & Found to try out the menu and sip a couple of cocktails. Having not been since the opening weekend, I was keen to see how they'd settled in and what had changed since then..
I arrived just before 7pm on a Thursday, and the quiet bar area soon filled up with people eager to drink lots of delicious cocktails. The restaurant at the back provided a little oasis away from the crowd, and we set about deciding what we fancied eating.
We chose a couple of cocktails, and our starters arrived not long after. Mike went for the crispy duck and shredded vegetable salad - really lovely crunchy textures and fresh Chinese flavours running through. I went for the crispy squid and chorizo with sundried tomatoes - clearly we were both in a crispy mood, and I can never resist squid, which thankfully was cooked perfectly!
These dishes were pretty generous, so come with an appetite if you're thinking of having more than just a main!
For our next course, we both ordered steak. It's been a long time since I had steak, and I was relieved to see that it was cooked perfectly and the meat soft and tender. The veggies on the side had a good bite and colour to them (I can't bear sad, overcooked vegetables!) and the peppercorn sauce had a great little kick to it.
Finally, dessert. We both chose something chocolatey - warm chocolate cake for me, which was cooked to order and had a gooey centre - the perfect ending. Dark chocolate and peanut butter parfait for him - you can't go too far wrong with the combination of chocolate, peanut and banana!
The drinks we chose were sadly a little too perfumed for us, but perhaps we just made the wrong choices for our tastebuds, as I don't remember having that problem last time! However, we left very full and happy - all the food was very tasty. Probably one for a more special occasion, especially as there is a huge menu of cocktails to go alongside!
• this meal was complimentary in exchange for a review •
It's slightly warmer, the sun is out for longer, and I just don't want to be reaching for dark colours anymore. This is what I've been wearing a LOT lately - comfy, cute, and springy. That's all I want.
There's a running joke with my boss at Rhubarb Jumble, that I never take these trousers off.. and well, it's almost true. I wear them numerous times a week at the moment! They're the perfect transitional trousers, and the fit is perfect - cropped and high waisted. Ideal with my chucks (although I'm hoping to be able to swap those for sandals more regularly soon) and a cropped sweatshirt, showing just a hint of skin.
I recently came back to this fun way of writing after about 10 years. I loved creating slightly abstract poems in college by way of black out or cut out poetry, but somewhere along the way, it got lost.
My wonderful friend Bee reminded me of it in one of her Patreon posts, and one evening after work, I spotted some books for free on somebody's wall. I took one home. I didn't want to read that book, but I did want to cut it up and make something of my own.
I spent an evening cutting out any words that caught my eye, and then tried to piece them together into something resembling sense. I had an idea of what I wanted to create, but as I went along, the words found me and turned into something completely different.
I've spent a good few more hours since then creating little bits of poetry and prose. Some of which have inspired stories. I kind of really like the ones that seem unfinished, too.
It's such a lovely process, and I really encourage you to give it a go!
• ad - this is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own! •
I take photographs of everything, all the time, but I very very rarely get any of those photos printed out, no matter how much I love them. I am obsessed with nostalgia, and love to look back on photos that remind me of particular times, so when Papier got in touch & asked if I'd like to make my own photobook, I said yes.
It took my a while to compile the photos I wanted to have in my book - I chose over 100 photos from last summer up until this month. Gradually, I narrowed them down to just the very best or most special.
Papier sent me a £100 voucher, which meant I could get two books. I chose the minimal, square option, uploaded all my photos, and set about filling the pages. I didn't have a finished look in mind when I started, but they came together so easily and so well. Once I'd planned it all out, I couldn't wait to receive my printed books.
It felt only natural to name the books "open", as they are filled with images from a very important time in my life, when suddenly it felt like there were so many doors opening for me. Inside there are photos from special days, special people and creatures I love, as well as photos I just love for what they look like.
I was so impressed with the quality - lovely thick, matte paper and the images have some out beautifully!
It's so lovely to have these memories in my hands. Having a tactile book of these special moments to flick through, instead of scrolling through my phone, is such a good feeling. I know these are books that I will keep forever.
The books are fully customisable, and would make incredible gifts, or a way to showcase your best photos and create coffee table book!
There's currently a discount code for 40% off photobooks, if you enter SNAPSNAP at the checkout!