H O M E .      A B O U T .      C O N T A C T .      T U M B L R .      T H E   B O O K   J O U R N A L .      sailorjennie [at] gmail [dot] com

Monday, 30 September 2013

I mark the hours, every one.

Tomorrow marks the first day of my favourite trio of months. Is it peculiar to have a favourite three months of the year? Besides May - my birthday month, that is, the final three months of the year have been my favourite ever since leaving Secondary School. There's enough time left to achieve some of the goals I set out to achieve at the beginning of the year that I never quite got around to starting, there's a distinct chill in the air making it acceptable to dig out scarves, mittens & cosier cardigans and Christmas, that wonderfully magical time of the year is creeping ever closer. I've started making big batches of warming, comforting soup, it's perfectly acceptable - encouraged, even - to drink at least one hot chocolate per day and snuggling in front of a cosy fire in the evenings, one of my favourite things in the world, becomes an almost nightly occurrence.

These past few weeks haven't been the easiest but that's okay, because we all have to experience those times and they've allowed me the room to learn something new about myself. I've been reminded of the fragility of life and even though I'm very much at peace with the inevitible and unavoidable end of a life in this world, - those we love never truly leave us - it doesn't make the entire situation any less emotional. For now, we don't need to say goodbye and we're okay. A reminder that every day is precious. Every single day.

My love got a much deserved promotion and I couldn't be any more proud of him. He works hard and he deserves the world. It means he's away from home a little longer each week but I feel so silly feeling sad about that because we were apart for so many years, only seeing each other every month or so. And now we see each other every day. I think when you spend so much time with the person you love & falling into a routine that you like, any tiny change feels enormous.

I think perhaps, those are reasons why I've turned to the welcoming comfort of books, with their imaginary worlds to explore, different characters to get to know, to figure out & understand and narratives to get lost in. Sometimes it's nice to escape into something new or to be welcomed back with open arms into one that I have frequented many times before. University has also officially started again, I have a lot of reading to do and I'm looking forward to immersing myself in different theories I'm hoping will be a little easier to grasp than in previous modules. For once, this module has my full concentration and I hope to do well, I would really like to do well.

Carly and I are working hard on our little Violet & Ted project - we would love if you would like to follow our journey over on Twitter here. We've been getting to know them, learning what they like, what they don't, about all their little personality traits and why they do the things they do. They come from us, but we need to understand them so completely to (hopefully) make them believable and most importantly, loveable. We'll hopefully have some winter-themed illustrations to show in time for Christmas and perhaps some cards we hope you will love.

These next few months are also, hopefully, a new dawn for Sailboat - a place I love to retreat to but one I have been neglecting somewhat in recent months. I've made a few small goals; to post more even if it's just a few short words or a photograph (not necessarily daily, I don't want to force writing anymore - it doesn't work), to be better at commenting & replying because interaction has always been one of my favourite parts about the blogging community and to stay true to myself, which is an important one because it can be so easy to lose yourself without even realising.

I'm excited for the next few months and I'm looking forward to sharing them with you. 
Is there anything in particular you're looking forward to over the coming weeks? 

Love, Jennie

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Bookshelf: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling.

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. (£3.75 on sale from £7.99)
"In the idyllic small town of Pagford, a councillor dies and leaves 'casual vacancy' - an empty seat on the Parish Council. In the election for his successor that follows, it is clear that behind the pretty surface this is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, wives at war with husbands, teachers at war with pupils... Pagford is not what it first seems."

The Casual Vacancy is a book I was almost a little scared to read and I put it off for the longest time. Why? Because J.K. Rowling is someone I really look up to and I wasn't sure I would like this as much as I hoped. Her ability to piece together a whole world that envelops the reader, I think, is incredible and of course, she's the mastermind behind Harry Potter - some of my most treasured childhood books. I knew that this book would be very different and I almost had to prepare myself to read something from Rowling that wasn't about the wizarding world I love. A few weeks ago I watched an interview with J.K Rowling on YouTube and the interviewer said he thought she would have a bit of a rough ride (he was very right!), but that he personally enjoyed it. It was then I started reading and I need not have worried because I was hooked from the very first chapter. Even though I do look up to Rowling, I've tried not to let the fact that she is the author cloud my judgement, how successful I've been I'm not sure and admittedly I may have actively sought elements to like even if I didn't enjoy the whole story.

Don't start this book expecting Harry Potter, it sounds like such an obvious thing to say, but I've read a few reviews saying they didn't like it solely because it's not Harry Potter. It's about as different from Harry Potter as it's possible to be and before starting I think it's important to detach yourself from her previous work and any preconceptions or hopes that it will be anything like Harry Potter, because it's not and you'll be disappointed. This isn't a book everyone will enjoy, whether you love or loathe it will depend on many things (whether you like to explore less-than-happy worlds within literature & possibly where you sit on the political spectrum amongst others), I understand that and it's okay not to like it, but to not like it simply because it's not something else seems a little unfair to me.

It's not a super fast paced book, time is taken to describe the location, the character's and exactly what's going on in their world. Rowling has done it again, she has created an entire world that really enveloped me as a reader. I felt like I was there, like I was part of the community, silently watching and understanding the reasons why certain things happened the way they did. If you live in a small town or village you might smile, as I did, when you begin to notice certain similarities between a couple of characters in the book and people you know. The characters are all interwoven and there are quite a lot of them to keep track of. It took a little bit of time for me to get my bearings as it were, a few times I had to pause and think 'ahh who is this again and where do they fit within the community?' before continuing and this is something I know won't be for everyone.

I laughed and I cried because I was so invested in the characters lives. I'd got to know them, the way they thought, why they thought the things they did and why they did the things they did, no matter how flawed their logic or how much I was wishing them to make a different decision. They're so unapologetically human, they're all flawed in many ways yet I found myself rooting for a couple of them in particular. It's a very adult book, there's some quite colourful language, the topics addressed are gritty, raw and real - some of these situations are a reality for many when they should be a reality for none. There's no Harry Potter-esque 'innocence', that's not quite the right world because there's a lot of darkness within Harry's world and a lot of devastating moments, but in the end, as we know, all was well. Is all well in Pagford at the end of this book? You'll have to read to find out.

Rowling, for me, has created magic out of everyday life with this novel. I finished reading it last week and in many ways it's still with me. I find myself thinking about particular chapters and characters and I think this is one of those books that will stay with me for a long time because I love books that allow me to get lost inside them, whether they're happy or not. Taking a step back, would I have loved it as much if it were written by someone else? Yes, I would and for that reason it's a very easy one to rate.

Have you read The Casual Vacancy? 
I would love to know what you think, whether you love or loathe it and why! 

Monday, 23 September 2013

Currently Coveting: Warm Winter Coat, & Other Unnecessary Pretties!

Good morning! It's no secret I'm not the biggest fan of Monday morning's, especially when they're as gloomy as it is today, but I have so much to get done today I'm already on my second coffee and trying desperately to wake myself up! And what better way to get into a good mood, than a bit of online window shopping!

1. Andrea Garland 20's Seaside Girl Lip Balm.
Sometimes packaging really gets me. Goodness knows I don't need another lip balm but when it comes in a sweet tin that's as pretty as this one is, I almost can't help but be very tempted! In fact, I could quite happily own every single one of the pretty things in Andrea Garland's collection, they're all lovely!

2. Topshop Lipstick in Beehive. 
I like to browse the Topshop make up range quite often, usually I'm very restrained because even though I would love to own every one of their lipsticks, I'm not as into wearing lipstick as I once was. Every so often one in particular catches my eye, this time it's Beehive, which looks like a lovely almost muted, soft pink. It's my kind of colour for sure!

3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. 
Ever since I signed up to GoodReads I've found myself wanting to read anything and everything! One day I would love to have a room in my home I can dedicate to being a mini library, with everything alphabetised on pretty shelves. Until that day I'm working on building up a collection of books, if I read them and really don't like them I take them to a local charity shop, but generally I like most books! I've read a few pretty amazing reviews of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, so it's currently on my 'I must read this list'!

4. Zara Wrap Around Overcoat.
A new, warm winter coat is something I would love this year, I seem to be quite picky though, which is strange because when I really think about it my only must-have's are that it's grey and has a tie at the waist - but I'm still not sure I've found the one just yet. I love this Zara beauty but it's a bit too pricey for me so I'm going to be on the lookout for something fairly similar but not as expensive. I might have to pop to Primark soon, they never usually let me down when it comes to coats!

5. Black Milk Weasley Weather Bottle top.
Black Milk clothes aren't really my style and I don't really have the figure to be able to pull most of their pieces off well BUT their recent Harry Potter collection is pretty amazing! If I had legs for days and a figure to flaunt, you bet I would be snapping up some of those Marauders Map leggings but I think my favourite piece is this tee, I'm a Weasley at heart!

6. Gifts & Pieces Bunny Ornament.
Gifts & Pieces is one of my favourite shops to browse for cute homeware things at the moment because everything is completely adorable! Of course I gravitated straight for the bunny things but there's so much more to choose from too! Their beautiful shop isn't that far away from me either, so I think I'll have to pop in one day very soon!

What's on your wish list at the moment?

Friday, 20 September 2013

Clinique Superprimer Face Primer: Colour Corrects Redness.

Clinique Superprimer Face Primer Colour Corrects Redness* (£20.00 / €27.00)
I'm a recent convert to face primer. If you had asked me a few months ago if I used a primer regularly, as part of my everyday make up routine I would have said 'no, it's just an extra unnecessary step, right?!' Well, turns out I was almost as wrong as it's possible to be. An extra step yes, but certainly not an unnecessary one. It's also no secret that I'm a fan of a good multi-tasking product and the Clinique Superprimer Face Primer is just that and I'll tell you why.

There are six different versions in the Superprimer range including one universal and five others that promise to correct either redness, sallowness, discolouration or dullness. This is one of those ranges where there's sure to be something for everyone. Being particularly fair & with temperamental areas, (mainly my cheeks and chin) one of my main skin concerns is redness. Many years ago I remember having a moisturiser that claimed to help with redness, it was bright green in colour and even when properly blended in made me look like I was about to be violently sick - I'm VERY pleased to report that this Clinique Primer does NOT do that at all.

I've been applying a small, just larger than a pea sized, amount after my moisturiser mainly concentrating on my cheeks and chin but also blending over the rest of my face too. Instead of the bright green shade I was expecting, it's actually a pretty light yellow with a hint of green that blends seamlessly into my skin leaving no out-of-the-ordinary-I'm-not-feeling-well colour behind. It tones down the redness in my cheeks with ease allowing me to go a little easier on the concealer after I've applied my foundation - perfect.

It's completely oil free and I had feared it may leave my already pretty dry skin feeling tight and highlight dry patches but instead it smooths everything over, gives a soft matte but incredibly silky feeling to my skin and provides a perfect base for the rest of my make up allowing my foundation to glide on a lot easier than it usually does. It wears very nicely thoughout the day easily lasting a full work day, the bus ride home and a sneaky glass of wine with the girls after a particularly stressful day without drying out my skin. It hasn't necessarily made my foundation last any longer throughout the day, but I don't think I can hold that against it when it already does so much; after all I wouldn't expect it to mow the lawn and make me a cup of tea either, however handy that would be!

NEW Clinique Superprimer Face Primers are available in one universal formula and five tinted formulas designed for specific skin care needs. 30ml RRP £20.00 / €27.00

Shop now at www.clinique.co.uk or visit a Clinique counter to discover your skin type. Ask for a foundation fitting and you will receive a complimentary 5-day sample of your chosen formula.

Have you tried the new Superprimer? 
Which version from the range is the one for you?

*Disclosure - Compensation was provided by Clinique via GlamMedia.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Clinique.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

A collection of thoughts: change, silly little things & daring to dream.

It's funny how plans can change, how much we can change in a short space of time. This growing up lark is confusing, amazing, odd and a little scary all at the same time. It teaches you to be brave, to be patient, understanding and to take some chances.

I remember being younger, in my teens, and having a plan. I wanted the high-flying career despite never knowing exactly what I wanted to do, to get married, to adopt a puppy and exactly one year later, have a baby. I wanted the beautiful house with 2 bathrooms and enough room for a dining table in the kitchen. And them something happens, so unexpected. That hurts so much at the time but eventually heals. Things start to feel easier, you begin to feel happy again, but ultimately it changes your whole perspective on the best way to live. It's exactly then that nothing else matters other than being happy.

I sometimes forget that other people get nervous about silly everyday things too. That inner monologue has a lot to answer for, but it gets easier. My heart used to race having to describe which salad bits I wanted in my subway sandwich. I couldn't begin to tell you why and you know what, when I'm in a particularly introverted mood, it still does make my heart race. But that's okay, as long as I force myself to just do it because in all likelihood it'll be easier the next time.

I've felt a real shift within myself over the last couple of months. I've taken a leaf out of Luna Lovegood's book and I've reached the point where I'm so content within myself, that I honestly, truthfully don't care what anyone else thinks of me/my choices/the way I look/whether I've gained a few pounds/whether that decision I made 6 months ago turned out to be the wrong one and I should have taken their advice instead. Making a conscious effort to distance myself from people who were making me unhappy, people that busy themselves with other people's business, judging them, gossiping behind their back and being their best friend to their face has been one of the best things I've ever done. It must all be so time consuming, I have no idea how they manage to get any of their own things done when they're too busy passing judgement on others. Snore. They can't pretend forever, surely? One day something venomous slips through their facade in the end. I'm trying to be more forgiving with this, maybe they're just having a bad day, a bad week, a bad year? I'm not sure it's an excuse though.

Nobody stays the same, we all have those years where nothing much changes but we also have those years where we learn so much more about ourselves, about what we want from life, about who we can trust and who we can't, who we want to be around and who we don't. I feel different because I am different. And being different to the person I was isn't a bad thing and if you feel different too, don't ever let anyone tell you that changing is a bad thing. I never wanted to be 19 forever, I never had any intention of being 19 forever.

There was an interesting #lbloggers discussion earlier in the week about whether blogs should be positive all the time & I don't think they have to be but it depends on what the individual feels comfortable sharing. I read blogs written by people I can relate to and sometimes those people feel sad. We all feel sad sometimes and if you feel comfortable sharing your feelings then it can be the most freeing thing in the world to talk them through. We're not all lucky enough to have close friends near by who we can talk things through with. I've had some incredible advice from people from all different walks of life, whom I never would have had the chance to talk to outside of the bloggersphere. They have helped me shape certain parts of my life so perfectly, simply by offering their thoughts and by just being there, at the end of an email.

My blog started off as a beauty blog, but now my main goal is to always be relateable. I tend to be fairly open with my feelings but I keep the details to myself. I don't think you need to explain the ins and outs of every situation if you don't want to. Always be careful with what you put out there, some things need protecting and often once they're out there, you can't take them back.

Right now, in this very moment, I'm content. I'm making goals and daring to dream because one day my dreams might come true.

And maybe yours will too. I hope they will.
I always want the best for you.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Sleep Tight: Neom Luxury Organics Perfect Night's Sleep.

NEOM Luxury Organics Perfect Night's Sleep* (£55 reduced from £75.50) 

** Note - I have mini versions of the products here, but if you purchase the package you will receive three full sized products!

I've just woken up from one of the best nights sleep I've had in what feels like forever. I downloaded the Sleep Cycle app a few days ago, I always considered myself to be a pretty good sleeper, but the app (and my recent development of the mid-afternoon grumps!) seems to suggest otherwise! I'm in and out sleep like a yo-yo and I have a feeling that firing off emails at 1am might not be helping! Mark is currently on a boys holiday, no girls allowed apparently - I asked if he was forming some kind of anti-girlband - yeah he didn't laugh at my joke either ;) But anyway, that's besides the point. Last night I took the opportunity to partake in a super relaxing, peaceful evening with the help of NEOM and their Perfect Night's Sleep Package*

I ran myself a bath using the Tranquility Bath Foam, which I've been lucky enough to try before and I already know I adore it. I've repurchased this a few times as gifts because it's just so luxurious, not something you would buy for yourself on a regular basis but it makes a beautiful gift for someone who loves to take relaxing bubble baths. With my bath I started a new book and lit the Tranquility Candle, which I've also had before and is absolutely beautiful. Again, not something I would purchase for myself on a regular basis because they're expensive, but a stunning gift - everything about NEOM screams luxury. For the final step I sprayed my pillow with the Tranquility Mist (I know, I wasn't totally convinced either but stay with me!), climbed into my cosiest pyjamas and... I was out like a light! For 9 glorious hours. 9 whole glorious hours. Of course this all might have something to do with not having a certain someone snoring in my ear all night - I joke, he doesn't snore...much!

Do you have trouble drifting off sometimes? 
Have you tried anything from NEOM before? 

Monday, 16 September 2013

Bookshelf: Coco's Secret by Niamh Greene.

Coco's Secret* by Niamh Greene.
"Coco Swan has always been embarrassed by her name. With a name like Coco, she thinks people expect her to be as exotic and glamorous as the famous designer, not an ordinary-looking small-town antiques dealer who could win an award for living cautiously. But when a vintage Chanel handbag turns up in a box of worthless bric-a-brac, Coco's quiet world is turned upside down. Where did it come from? And is it just coincidence that it's the same bag Coco's late mother always wanted for her?

When Coco discovers a mysterious, decades-old letter hidden in the bag's lining, she sets off on a quest to piece together the story behind it, stumbling across secrets that span three generations as she goes. Could the beautiful Chanel bag be about to teach Coco more than she wants to learn? Or will it show her just where her heart can take her if she lets it lead the way?"

*** ***

I'm not completely sure I would have picked this book up if I were faced with an entire bookshelf in a shop, I'm still kind of discovering my favourite types of books to read, but I can honestly say that this is one I'm very glad to have read because it's incredibly charming and thoroughly heartwarming.

Coco is such a relatable and lovely character; she likes to spend time at home, she's imaginative and creative, funny and tries to keep her life as uncomplicated as possible. She's at a point in her life where she's trying to figure things out and throughout I was hoping she would because I found myself wanting the best for her. The supporting characters all bring something to the story, with Coco's Grandmother, Ruth, being my favourite. She is utterly fabulous and I hope as I get older I can be a little like her, feisty and determined not to have to grow old gracefully.

From the very first page I was hooked, I couldn't put it down so on a particularly rainy afternoon I grabbed a mug of hot chocolate and a blanket and I finished the book in an afternoon. I always felt pretty safe in the knowledge that Coco would solve the mystery, she starts to realise she shares more in common with her late Mother that she thought, but I didn't expect to tear up slightly when things begin to unfold. I think this is a testament to both the story and to Niamh Greene's writing, it's a thoroughly lovely read that I would recommend if you're looking for a book that will make you smile.

My Rating: 

Have you read Coco's Secret? 
What are you reading at the moment - I would love some recommendations?

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Love Me Beauty Box: September 2013.

Love Me Beauty* (formally known as BeautecoBox) is a beauty subscription box with a slight difference; not only are there a few boxes to choose from each month, the company also strives to be as environmentally friendly as possible with an entirely recyclable box and the lending of their support to various charities in order to promote a sustainable future for people and the planet. With a seemingly never-ending array of beauty box companies around at the moment, it's refreshing to see something a little bit different and their eco-friendly ethos is incredibly appealing.

Each month there are three boxes to choose from & you are able to opt for the one you like the look of the most, so even though this does take away the surprise element, you can be sure that the products are ones know you would like to try and you shouldn't be left with samples that will begin to pile up because you simply have no interest in them. It's also nice that you get to see exactly what's in every box so you won't be left feeling you didn't get your money's worth while thinking another version of the box that month was amazing & wishing you got that instead - no more box envy!

This month there were two products that were in every version of the box & the other three varied but they all seem to be incredibly well balanced and fair; there's no 'bad box', it's all personal preference. The two products featured in every box this month are the Matriskin Technology Collagen Serum and the Murad Osmolyte Tonic.

Matriskin Collagen Serum.
This is an incredibly pricey serum that promises to plump the skin and give a lifting effect without surgery. I can't really comment too much on those promises, but I can say this is an incredibly hydrating serum that feels beautiful on my skin and is something I know I'll be reaching for a lot when the weather gets that little bit colder. The full size price tag makes my heart race, I don't think I'll ever be able to afford to purchase so I'll certainly be making the most of this sample.

Murad Osmolyte Tonic.
This is a refreshing mist that promises to replenish and moisturise your skin with essential nutrients that increase cellular hydration leaving it plumped, firm and soothed. I've been spritzing this morning and evening directly after cleansing, it's incredibly refreshing - I do love a good face mist and I have noticed my skin feels less tight. One I will also be reaching for a lot during the winter months when my skin tends to be particularly dry. This 15ml sample is worth £10.

Anatomicals No Old Bags Allowed Eye Gel.
I've tried quite a few Anatomicals products over the past few months and I have to say, I've quite liked them all. This eye gel feels super cooling and refreshing, I've really been enjoying using this in the mornings, especially on those days where I feel like I just can't wake up. It doesn't seem to be a miracle worker, but it's a nice product and one I will almost certainly use up and probably repurchase. This is a full size and retails for £3.49.
The other options from Anatomicals are the Puffy the Eyebag Slayer eye mask (£3.50) and the Day & Night Spot Fix (£3.15)

Essential Care Organic Lip Silk.
I definitely didn't need another lip balm, but I've become a little obsessed with them in recent weeks so it's a very welcome addition to my make up bag. This is a completely organic lip balm with beeswax, shea butter, coconut oil and orange essential oils that nourishes, repairs and protects the lips in all weathers. It's super moisturising and it's the perfect base for lipsticks, I love it! This is a full size and retails for £5.50.
The other options from Essential Care are the Lemon & Tea Tree facial wash (£6) and the Gentle Herb shampoo (£3.50)

Nip + Fab Dry Leg Fix.
The final product is from Nip + Fab and it's my favourite product in this month's box. This intensively moisturising balm smoothes and soothes the skin to leave your legs feeling silky smooth. It really works and it has been my lifesaver over the past few days! This is a full size worth £10.25.
The alternative products from Nip + Fab in the other boxes are the Stiletto Fix (£9.95) and the Clean Fix Gel (£4.95).

Overall I'm really quite impressed with this month's offerings because I know I'll use every single product in the box. Love Me Beauty boxes retail for £10 plus £2.95 P&P. I'm certainly looking forward to seeing Love Me Beauty expand, I think they're on to a good thing here!

What do you think of this month's box?

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Harry Potter Studio Tour!

Earlier this week, on an unsuspecting slightly rainy Tuesday afternoon, my boyfriend & I went on a little trip to the Harry Potter Studio Tour and it truly was like stepping into a whole other world full of magic and wonderment. Perhaps it's because I pretty much grew up with Harry, Ron and Hermione (I was a similar age to the characters when the books were released) but there's really no other word to describe it other than, magical!

I had such an amazing day and it was a lot of fun exploring the sets and seeing all the details that went into making the films so wonderful. It is absolutely worth every penny of the £29 ticket price, you can spend as long as you want looking around and I think we were in there for around 3 hours. It's one of those places where even if you're not a huge Harry Potter superfan, you'll still enjoy and appreciate the day.

When the doors to The Great Hall opened I caught the eye of a couple of girls tearing up a little and saw little twin boys that were wide-eyed, like they couldn't believe what they were seeing. It was adorable! The tables were set and to be honest I was all ready to grab my robes, settle down to a huge feast and start my lessons!

The Gryffindor Common Room looked so welcoming & cosy and there was so many little details there waiting to be spotted - there's even a little bunny on the tapestry at the back, super cute! Dumbledore's Office was one of my favourite parts because there are so many interesting looking objects in the cabinets that lined a few of the walls, I almost started taking interior design inspiration from it!

The Burrow looked so homely (always a Weasley at heart) and I definitely wished I could take home the magical knife that was chopping carrots all by itself and the magical knitting needles happily creating a cosy looking scarf! Again, there are so many little things to spot like the Cheeri-Owls cereal box which I think is adorable! Hagrid's Hut is complete with an incredibly sweet, yet enormous, looking Fang and looks equally as cosy as The Burrow. I think I'd even be willing to attempt one of Hagrid's infamous rock cakes!

The Potions Room was just as creepy as I imagined and filled with lots of mysterious looking glass bottles, test tubes and jars with handwritten labels. There are cauldrons stirring away all by themselves and a pretty sinister looking faceless Snape standing in there almost like he's waiting for you to do something wrong so he can take away some house points! A little further along is a cabinet full of Death Eater Masks, which are beautifully detailed yet mostly terrifying. It's safe to say I wouldn't want to encounter a Death Eater at night time!

The cabinet with all the graphic design elements was one of my favourite parts of the whole tour and I spent a really long time reading everything. All the newspaper articles and posters are real and so well designed and Lily's letter to Sirius is so incredibly lovely.
Outside we had a Butterbeer, which is definitely an acquired taste but my boyfriend loved it and he's asked me to try and find a good recipe so we can make it again. To me it was like a mixture of cream soda & butterscotch with a hint of Irn-Bru, interesting, definitely interesting. There are lots of photo opportunities outside including the Knight Bus & Privet Drive but Harry's House in Godric's Hollow was the stand out for me. It's so charmingly wonky and I imagine it was a really lovely home for baby Harry & his parents.

Diagon Alley is so amazing, it really is like stepping into it with cobble stones underfoot and all the inviting window displays. The display of Lockhart's books really made me smile and Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes looks like the worlds best shop in the history of shops. I definitely would have loved to have had a stash of Puking Pastilles for whenever I wanted to get out of something at school, I have a feeling they would have come in useful for those dreaded P.E lessons and presentations! 

The tour definitely ends on a high with the absolutely incredible model of Hogwarts! I was so impressed with the card version, so you can imagine my face when we turned the corner and there was the castle sitting there it all its glory! The lights change to show how it looks during the day and at night time. The warm glow from the windows at night is the most magical thing, you can really imagine it bustling with life inside.

The final stop was, of course, the gift shop! Whenever I visit anywhere I have to buy some sort of souvenir, no matter how small and even if it's something I can buy online for much cheaper because I think it's nice to have something tangible to go along with all the memories. Before I went I signed up to Pottermore so I could get sorted into a house because after reading a few blog posts I had an inkling of what I might like to purchase.
I thought for sure I would be sorted into Ravenclaw but much to my surprise I'm a Gryffindor, (I guess I'm braver than I thought!) so I thought I would show a bit of house pride and get one of the Gryffindor scarves - even though they're a whopping £25! I really loved the cardigans & jumpers but they were super pricey so I opted for a Gryffindor patch (£5.95) that I'm going to sew on to something, perhaps a simple grey cardigan, eventually. Lastly I couldn't leave without a chocolate frog (£7.95), these are solid chocolate & come with a wizard card inside! The shop is full of pretty much everything you can think of, from Honeydukes sweets and time turner keyrings to house robes and Hermione's jewellery with the Marauders Map and Triwizard Cup in between. I think you could easily spend a fortune (I saw a couple carrying three big bags & a VERY long receipt back to their car) but if you're restrained the damage won't be too bad!

If you're thinking of going, definitely do because you'll have an amazing time! There's so much to see, so much more than you see in the films and when you're there you can really appreciate how much work that so many people put in over those 10 years.


Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The One & Only Tag!

It feels like forever since I last did a tag post so I'm super excited for this one, thank you so much to Jess from Just Jess for tagging me! The question is: If you could only have one __*insert make up product here*__ what would it be and why? I definitely really had to have a good think about some of my answers (blush for example!) and some of my answers took me by surprise, but I haven't cheated once and picked a few like I usually do when I can't make up my mind!

It's only been quite recently that I've began to appreciate what primers can do, I had always dismissed them as just an extra step that didn't really do very much, so maybe I was just using naff ones. My current favourite is from Touch in Sol* and I love the radiance this gives my skin. It also really smooths over any dry areas and helps my foundation blend much more seamlessly into my skin. Perfect! 
Base Product. 
A few weeks ago I would easily have said the Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint was my favourite base product, but unfortunately the colour is just too dark for me to use at the moment, which I thought might happen but it's a shame they don't have a lighter shade in their collection. Instead I've gone back to an old favourite, the Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation. I know they've repackaged/reformulated this in recent months so I'm hoping it's not hugely different, but I've loved this foundation for a really long time because it's so reliable. The colour is perfect, it blends super easily and it lasts all day! 
The one and only Collection Lasting Perfection has to be my concealer of choice because it's so reliable. It has pretty high coverage, which is a must for me and it's great for both blemishes and under the eyes as long as you don't use too much. Plus it's a total bargain!
A fairly new make up discovery for me is the Maybelline Fit Me powder* and it has fast found its way into my daily make up routine. I have the lightest shade (I think) which is perfect for me and this sets my make up beautifully without giving an overly matte or powdery look to my skin. I keep this in my make up bag for touch ups throughout the day and no matter how much I apply, it never looks cakey. 
In the end this wasn't as hard a decision as I thought it might be. I do own a lot of blush but easily the one I have reached for the most is NARS Penny Lane. It's the perfect neutral shade that gives me a healthy glow as well as helping to sculpt my face and give it a little more definition. 
I'm not really much of a bronzer girl so I only have a couple in my collection but the only one I reach for is Benefit Hoola. I love this because it's not too warm toned so it never makes my skin look orange or muddy, which is never a good look especially when you're as pale as I am. A lovely natural shade that I use in the hollows of my cheeks and up on to my temples. It's seemingly never ending too, I've had this for ages, I use it almost daily & I've not hit pan yet!
My Estee Lauder highlighter* from the Bronze Goddess collection is one of the most beautiful make up products in my collection and I love it. I used this pretty much every day over the Summer to give a beautiful warm glow to my cheekbones and with a lighter hand I think I'll be reaching for this well into the Autumn too!
Make Up Brush.
The Eyes Lips Face Powder brush is such a lovely brush because it's super cheap but really good quality and it's one of those I can use for a few different things. It applies and blends foundation super quickly, it's lovely for applying blush & bronzer and with a light hand it's good for powder too. A must have in my collection for sure! 
Eyebrow Product, Eyeshadow, Eyeliner.
This is where I fail a little bit because I never really do very much to my eyebrows, they're a little unruly so I just tend to leave them be and that works for me. As for eye make up, again I rarely reach for eyeshadow or liner because I wear pretty statement glasses and sometimes too much make up doesn't look quite right with them. 
I'm still faithful to my Maybelline The Falsies mascara, it's pretty reasonably priced and I know it works for me so I've repurchased it a few times in a row now. I love that it doesn't smudge or flake on me throughout the day, it doesn't irritate my eyes yet it's still really easy to remove at the end of the day. 
Lipstick/lipgloss/lip stain.
This is another category I thought would struggle with trying to pick just one product, but it was actually pretty easy. I almost went with the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector but they don't really give much colour and sometimes I like something a little bit more pigmented. In the end I went with Lovelorn lipstick from MAC because it has a really smooth and slightly glossy formulation and the colour is the most perfect mid toned pink shade. 
Lip Liner.
This is another category where I fail, I actually don't own a single lip liner! Beauty blogger fail! 
Lip Balm.
Lastly, my favourite lip balm is from Figs & Rouge and it's one of their tinted balms. I think I got this in a Glossybox* and it's fast become one of my favourite lip products. It gives a pretty subtle pink tint and it's really hydrating and smooth.

I tag you - please leave a link in the comments if you do it! 

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Happy Birthday little Ralphie!

Happy third Birthday Ralphie, my little ray of sunshine. Thank you for your sweet bunny kisses, your mischievous nature that never fails to make me smile & the occasional cuddle when you're in that mood where you don't mind being picked up. I love you.

Love, Mama.