Tips For Styling Bare Surfaces With Your Personality

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*This post is a paid for collaboration with Signomatic.

Before we start, I must preface this tips post with a warning that I am no home decor, furniture or interiors wizard; I just like rooms to look pleasant and have a certain amount of character about them. I do, however, like to switch up and create now vignettes every once in a while. That’s about as technical as this post is going to get: the use of the word vignette (mainly because I really like that word). So, a vignette: a small grouping of objects that creates a pleasing focal point, is what I’m talking about today and how you can create a lovely one with a sprinkle of your own personality.

Only make room for your most loved/most used

If it doesn’t bring you joy or serve a regular purpose, then you shouldn’t be reserving any room for it on your chosen surface. It’s easy to get caught up in trends, but at the end of the day, your surfaces are going to end up looking incredibly messy if you don’t follow this tip because the things that you use the most (and consequently end up leaving out) will pile up on top of the major sprinkling of useless knick-knacks, ornaments and trinkets already on display. So, depending on the amount of surface space you’re working with, try to limit yourself to just a few of them! Using my dresser as an example, my books are there to serve the purpose of being read, and my lip balm, hand cream, camera, cotton buds, paperclips and body spray are all things that I need on hand at all times, but I’ve allowed room for fresh flowers, a print and my beloved antique perfume bottle. Continue reading “Tips For Styling Bare Surfaces With Your Personality”

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A £2.95 Dupe For Pixi’s Glow Tonic?

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Admittedly, I’ve done a wee bit of click-baiting here, because although I did pay £2.95 for this when it was on offer a few weeks ago, the usual pricing is £5.99. Still, it’s still very affordable…isn’t it?

As with all hotly-discussed and trending skincare ingredients, glycolic acid has trickled down the market chain and is now available on the high street, and is no longer exclusively reserved for the higher end of the market. The science is very much the same as aside from PH level differences, glycolic acid is really quite a simple ingredient that can luckily be accessible to everyone, regardless of budget. Superdrug’s ‘glycolic tonic’ offering is being hailed as a definite dupe for glow tonic, but is it really just as good? Continue reading “A £2.95 Dupe For Pixi’s Glow Tonic?”

What’s Currently in My ‘To Be Read’ Pile

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Although my work schedule hasn’t allowed for much more than eating and sleeping at the moment, I’ve somehow managed to make my way through three and a half books so far throughout February. Usually, my reading lists and book hauls are largely taken up by thrillers of the psychological kind, but this time, I have a book with a hint of romance (omg) and a historical saga featured!

Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark T. Sullivan

Synopsis: Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager—obsessed with music, food, and girls—but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior.

In an attempt to protect him, Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier—a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich’s most mysterious and powerful commanders.

Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share.

On a rainy Sunday, if my work schedule allows me, I love nothing more than cosying up with a good historical saga. One I always recommend is All The Light We Cannot See, and I actually bought Beneath a Scarlet Sky because it didn’t sound too dissimilar; the plot line is entirely different, but the theme of hope and humanity in a time when there was little of both around features heavily in both books. I have a feeling this book will be really engaging and memorable, and I’m hoping it lives up to the rave reviews I’ve seen!

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Synopsis: Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live.

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

This was actually in the parcel of books that Tris bought me as a Valentine’s Day present, and I’m really looking forward to reading it. Particularly because it isn’t a genre or something I would generally lean toward, but also because it doesn’t sound as vapid as a lot of books that sit in the same genre; it explores loneliness and the protagonist I guess, Eleanor, sounds really interesting and a great gal who’s lost her way a bit which I think we can all relate to. I’m also insanely envious of the author’s surname.

Don’t Wake Up by Liz Lawler

Synopsis: Alex Taylor wakes up tied to an operating table. The man who stands over her isn’t a doctor.dThe offer he makes her is utterly unspeakable.

But when Alex re-awakens, she’s unharmed – and no one believes her horrifying story. Ostracised by her colleagues, her family and her partner, she begins to wonder if she really is losing her mind.

And then she meets the next victim.

If I’m honest, I purchased this on a whim. It was on offer for £2 Amazon. I mean.. that’s nearly half of what I pay for a Mcnugget happy meal that I consume within approximately 4 minutes. Luckily, it seems to have great reviews online, and an easy-read thriller is something I often crave after reading something a little more hard-hitting. I also think the plot is unique and compelling, which I think is quite hard to construct in an overflowing sea of thrillers!

The Shining by Stephen King

Synopsis: Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote…and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.

Pardon the pun, but much like little Danny, Stephen King has a gift. How cheesy was that? Anyway – I cannot believe I haven’t read this. I’ve read several other King novels and novellas, but I’ve not read two of his most famous: IT and The Shining. I think my reasoning behind picking other novels of his to read in lieu of these two is that I was scared that they wouldn’t live up to their film adaptions. Fool, I know.

I’m already half way through this, and I couldn’t have been more wrong; it’s as fantastic as everyone says it is. The prose is perfect and the way he writes is just so atmospheric. You really do feel as though you’re at the Overlook Hotel with the Terrance family. I know this book is famed for leaving readers sleepless and terrified, but as I suspected, it’s had no such effect on me! As much as I (desperately) want to, I’ve yet to find a book that really terrifies me. I just seem to be un-phased by everything; regardless of how unsettling or disturbing – maybe I’m a psychopath, who knows. Lol. Any recommendations?

Have you read any of these books? Lemme know! Jess x

‘The Girl Before’ Review

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Of the eight books that I featured in a ‘what would you rather see a review of?’ poll on my Instagram a couple of weeks ago, The Girl Before by JP Delaney triumphed (by a mile, I might add) and so I thought it only right to have it feature in my first individual book review!

With it being such an in vogue book that has graced the New York Times, The Sunday Times and Amazon’s best-seller lists, I won’t bore you all with a lengthy introduction, and just put a small-ish synopsis below to give you an idea of the plot if you weren’t aware of it already! Continue reading “‘The Girl Before’ Review”

Homemade Mexican-Style Baked Beans on Toast Recipe

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Tinned baked beans are one of those magical kitchen cupboard staples that are always stocked up, ready to go, and patiently waiting to be opened in times where we have little else to eat in the house, or are in need of a filling meal that takes no more than 5 minutes to pull together. But as convenient and easy as they are, many of them are offer the same nutritional value as a piece of cardboard (well, not quite, but you get the jist) as they’re often packed with lots of sugar and salt. In saying that, I’m a big believer in the ‘everything in moderation’ mantra, but if you do have 10 minutes to spare, then this more vibrant, healthy and delicious alternative to its tinned counterpart is a great way to go. The great thing about this recipe is that it is suitable for all three meals of the day; for dinner/tea, you could serve it with some veg on the side and a couple of poached eggs, for example! I also love this for after heavy-hitting workouts, as the beans and a poached egg on top are great sources of protein.  Continue reading “Homemade Mexican-Style Baked Beans on Toast Recipe”

The Beauty Products That Pep Up My Winter Skin Instantly

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There are certain times I need a little help in the skin-pepping department; maybe I stayed up watching the entirety of Friends: season 7 on Netflix until 3am, or maybe I finished work at 11pm, had to be up again for work the next day at 6am and had plans in the afternoon that I need to look semi put-together for. Either way, these are the products that I turn to when my skin looks a little sallow and sorry for itself!

The Vichy peeling liquid* is my favourite liquid exfoliant as I love to incorporate antioxidants wherever possible, and there are high concentrations of both blueberry polyphenols and kombucha tea extract in this formula, which are both exceptionally high in antioxidants. I also love that this features hepes (5% concentration, so still fairly mild) alongside the glycolic acid, as it really works well for my skin but I rarely see it in liquid exfoliants currently on the market. This brightens without taking too much away from my skin; it isn’t left feeling too parched, and my whole complexion always just looks instantly brighter after using this.

I received this Pixi Glow Booster in ‘white pearl’* in a recent LookFantastic beauty subscription box, and I’ve been really pleasantly surprised with it. Primers don’t appeal to me as my rare use of foundation doesn’t really warrant me using them, but this works as more of a complexion enhancer for me. It’s marketed as a highlighter, but it really just offers a sheen, so I think you’d be disappointed if you used this in the hopes of achieving the glow that something like the Becca Shimmering Skin Liquid Perfector gives. This just makes my skin look so healthy as there’s no detectable shimmer, but it provides your skin with a glossy sheen without making things look oil slick-esque.

I think the Daniel Sandler Watercolour Blushers are some of the most amazing makeup products on the market. The colour pigment is very intense, but they blend seamlessly onto the skin and can be blended to a very sheer or very intense finish. The healthy, fresh finish of a cream blush remains, but this formula does semi-set, so it offers great longevity, too. The shade ‘cherub’ is one that I always reach for if I’m looking a bit lacklustre.

* PR samples

Have you tried any of these products? Jess x

Butternut Squash Soup with Walnut & Parsley Pesto

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Funnily enough, unless it’s roasted or soup’d, butternut squash sits fairly low on my ‘favourite foods’ list. I do love it as a base for soups though, as it offers the starchiness of a regular potato, which provides substance, but also a sweet velvetiness. Luckily, the humble butternut is a great source of fibre, and is packed with vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and vitamins A, C and E. This soup is delicious as a stand-alone dish, but if you’re looking to elevate this dish to new, delicious levels, adding a gremolata or pesto is the way to go. I added a little yoghurt into mine, so it does look a little…anaemic, but if you want to make it sans-yoghurt, it would look a lot more vibrant and greener than mine! Continue reading “Butternut Squash Soup with Walnut & Parsley Pesto”

My Favourite Books of 2017

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Interestingly, all six of these books were ones that I discovered towards the latter part of the year. Granted, having just six favourites when you read as much as I do is a little underwhelming, but I wanted to be ruthless and narrow it down as much as I could. Last year was seemingly the year of the audio-book, but I much prefer the tangible thing itself, so below are my favourite paperback books of 2017 that were memorable, thought-provoking and so well/beautifully written that I would read them again in a heartbeat.  Continue reading “My Favourite Books of 2017”

I finally found my perfect skincare routine

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I’m genetically predisposed to having good skin; every one of my family members has great, clear skin that seems to age at a much slower than normal rate, but I still like to nourish my skin. I’m very much of the pool of thought that overloading your skin with product, and constantly introducing new products is unwise, and so I like to use a limited range of products within my routine.

I rarely double cleanse anymore; I rarely wear foundation to warrant it, and I like to be as gentle with my cleansing as possible. Prior to using this cleanser, I always favoured balms and oils as I found face wash formulations to be stripping, but the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser is everything I’ve ever looked for in a facial cleanser. Continue reading “I finally found my perfect skincare routine”

My Skin, Hair & Body Care 2017 Favourites

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It’s no secret that my love for beauty sits more within the realm of skin, body and haircare than that of makeup, so I thought I’d start my 2017 beauty favourites posts off with the first of the two! I do already have three more skincare products that I now consider to be absolute favourites since the very end of the year, but I won’t include them in this post as they didn’t feature throughout the majority of the year. Continue reading “My Skin, Hair & Body Care 2017 Favourites”