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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Beauty Bite: The Fragrance Fix

There seem to be a couple of different schools of thought and approaches to fragrance.
Some people love to try all different types of fragrance and are always switching up their perfumes and sprays etc.
I prefer to have one fragrance and stick to it. Religiously!

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I have been involved in a love affair with Chanel no.19 since I was 16 (so we’re approaching our 5th anniversary!) and it’s a completely monogomous relationship! It goes on every morning when I get dressed and is topped up throughout the day. Pretty much without fail. (Unless I’m actually not leaving the house AT ALL…my flatmates just don’t care what I smell like!)

This comes from my childhood. For as long as I can remember, my Mum, Grandmother and Great Grandmother, who were all a big part of my life, all had their own ‘signature’ scents. They wore the same perfume all MY life and I associated them with those smells completely. I still think of my Great Grandma when I get a whiff of Chanel no.5 (the classic!) and although my Mum has recently changed her frangrance to Bobbi Brown’s ‘Almost bare’ (which is lovely by the way) I still feel her presence when I smell Eau De Ciel by Annick Goutal!

There’s a big connection between our sense of smell and our memories and experiences throughout life, so I see a lot of sense in having your own personal frangrance. My friends now all say they know when I’ve been round, beause they can smell my perfume where it lingers! And a year or so ago, a freind liked my Chanel 19 so much, she bought some, but she doesn’t use it because people kept saying she smelt like me!

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So, by all means, play with scents and fragrances, I think there are so many stunning scents out there and many that I love the smell of and would happily have as a home fragrance, but for me, I like to have one smell. People know me by it, they associate it with me and it’s also comforting for me. And whats more, because it’s so consistent, all my clothes smell of it now, after years of use, so I have to use less and less!

And I can always stock up in duty free too…

Our sense of smell is intrinsically linked to our emotional memories. A whiff of this or a gust of that smell can trigger a whole sequence of nostalgic memories, so I like to have a fragrance that is totally and utterly me. Chanel no.19 is young, yet timeless and a classic…no doubt I will change it at some point, but for now, it is my scent. People know it, they remember it and they associate it with me. it’s my signature scent and I love it!

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Mind Bite: Feminism, Racism and Equality…My Big Issues!

In ‘fighting’ racism and sexism…are we actually perpetuating it?

political Over the course of my studies, I have spent a lot of time dealing with these two issues. Everything can be seen in terms of feminism, racism, equality (capitalism, consumerism,marxism,postmodernism,post colonialism…any ‘ism’ you’d care to mention actually) and to be honest, I’ve kind of had enough.

This is a rather different direction, post-wise than most of my others, but it’s a big part of my life and it’s been pressing on my mind for a while, so I thought I’d get it out there! It’s a rant, but I feel it’s a fairly well constructed rant!

I am female. I am a woman. Of course I want equality and equal standards and rights, but to be completely honest, I’m not a feminist. And most feminists completely piss me off.

I can’t really approach racism in the same way, never really having experienced it myself and not being the ‘typical’ target for it (“Hey, skinny white girl…” in the South East London area is the closest I get and to be honest…I am Skinny (ish) I am white and I am a girl…how could that be offensive anyway?)

My point is this: In our over-sensitised, ‘political-correctness-maddened’ society, I believe we are doing more to perpetuate and breed racism and sexism than we are to remove it. When we cast a black child in the role of Billy Elliot (a white, working class 12 year old son of a coal miner in the 80’s in Durham) is this about equality and fairness or are we just drawing attention to race as being something that differentiates us?

In the utopian world of equality for all, man and woman, black, white or asian would all be exactly the same, enjoy the same rights and no one would even consider their skin/gender in terms of defining them. Of course, this is not, nor will it ever be the case.

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We as human beings define ourselves by others. We can have no real sense of ourselves until we have encountered someone outside of ourselves and compared ourselves to them. And being as we make about 90% of our first impressions of a person on their appearance, gender and ethnicity will play a big part in defining both ourselves and others around us. I see no problem with this.

If two white, 20 year old women meet face to face and then you asked them about one another, answers like “she had blonde hair, she was tanned, she had lovely eyes, big lips, curly hair…etc” would not make you blink. And then if you asked them to make a judgement on the kind of person the other was based on only that brief encounter, an answer such as “she obviously takes care of herself, she was pretty, she makes an effort, she seemed very professional, she seemed care-free…etc” would also be acceptable. But this is because they are two white girls. If you mixed the race, suddenly ‘racism’ comes in to play and an answer “she’s black” becomes tricky and any judgement made about ‘the kind of person she seemed to be’ (based on minimal information) suddenly could be seen as ‘racist’.
We are so careful not to appear racist, that I believe we are actually being racist. If racism is judging and potentially discriminating against or having a certain opinion of a person based on their skin colour, then surely when we say “We have to have at least one black back-up dancer in this music video….we need a black presenter on the news etc” we are actually just being racist and perpetuating it. What if the white condidates are simply better? What if there is no genuinely suitable black substitute and WHITE people lose out in the name of ‘equality’? Is this not just judging someone for their skin colour just in another way?

I have plenty of ‘black’ friends, and one of best best childhood friends was Indian…but I never defined them by these terms. And if you asked me to point out my friend I would happily say “the black girl over there” and it’s not racist…it’s fact!

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The same goes for feminism and sexism. By constantly drawing attention to it, I believe we make it happen and cause it to continue. Any anyway, whats wrong with a few stereotypes?

I like shopping. Okay, I LOVE shopping.
I like make up, and hair and clothes and beauty and fashion and all ‘feminine’ things. So what? If people want to make a judgement about me based on that information, then they are entitled to. I don’t care, and if they want to treat me a certain way as a result, and I don’t appreciate their views and behaviours, then I don’t need them in my lives, I can move on and it doesn’t matter.

Stop being so sensitive. Everyone judges others based on appearances, stereotypes and initial snap judgements and impressions. It’s HUMAN NATURE! As animals, we had to judge if another animal was threat or not based on their APPEARANCE and our own EXPERIENCE AND INSTINCTS :
How did we know that the striped animal approaching was dangerous? A) Its sripey…but ORANGE and stripey, so its a tiger (not a zebra for example) B) We’ve seen people get eaten by tigers, so we know they’re dangerous C) It’s growling and has big teeth…stereotype suggests it’s dangerous so RUN!

The only information we have comes from our own past experiences, cultural stereotypes and what we see in front of our eyes. So of course we will judge someone based on those three elements. That doesn’t make it wrong, and we can always change our opinions…I don’t think anyone can say that the first impresssion they had of any given person didn’t change one bit upon getting to know them. Maybe we’ll be pretty accurate, maybe we’ll be completely wrong, but we can change our minds, develop our opinions and have new views. First impressions matter, but they are not the be all and end all and sometimes we need those first impressions just to go about or lives. Get over it.

nigellaAnd seriously, what’s with all the hate for Nigella becuse she’s ‘anti-feminist’, realistically, I don’t believe a female, ANY female, could possibly be anti-feminist! If she wants to claim power over he body and be all sexualised and such on her show, then let her. How is it anti-feminist? I love Nigella…

I appreciate that Racism and Feminism are issues which do need to be addressed. There are horrible acts of race-violence and murder and terrorism and some places, Women are treated horribly, but I am talking in terms of this, our Western world (UK, but USA too and other ‘forward-thinking’ countries) and the society here. I’m not saying these aren’t issues, I’m saying that we often make them much more than they are/could be/need to be, or just create them when they weren’t there in the first place.

Stop fussing about being ‘politically correct’ and ‘equality’ and ‘equal rights’. We are all people, we are all different, we all do it anyway, maybe we just don’t say it and maybe its on a more subconscious level but we do it. Deal with it and don’t let it define you or your actions and all will be well.

And anyway, I’m a girl and I want equal rights, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t nice when a man hold the door open for me based on his internal first judgements of me. In fact, I quite like it!!

Beauty Bite: Origins Modern Friction – The Debate!

Origins Modern Friction Exfoliator.

I am in two minds. One the one hand, I really like the product. On the other, I’m not sure how effective it really is.

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The debate:

Argument one – The product is applied onto dry skin and is bursting with natural goodness and I really like how gentle it is on the skin, but I can still feel it working away at all the dry skin on my face. The smell is to die for and a little seems to go a very long way. Using rice starch as the exfoliant it has none of those nasty chemicals that I don’t like and utilises ‘natural technology’ to get results. For the most part, it works great on my face. Skin is smoothes and refreshed and the dry skin and all gone. Furthermore, it’s great when you have sensitive areas – it doesn’t irritate any spots or blemishes and actually evens out the skin tone and texture wonderfully. I’ve been using it three times a week and for the most part, it’s an excellent product.

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The Opposition – I have really bad black-heads on my nose. Only my nose, the rest of may face is remarkably clear. it’s just the nose and they’re really quite bad. I have never found a product that successfully clears them. Although Modern Friction does wonders for the rest of my skin, it doesn’t appear to have made much of an impact at all upon these blackheads, which is dissappointing, but not surprising to me.

As far as I am aware, blackheads aren’t pores clogged with dirt – it is actually the result of larger, open pores where the oil within the pores is exposed to the air and ‘oxidises’ turning black as a result of having contact with the air. You can be as clean and cleansed as you like, but the oil in the pores will always turn black when it meets the air. So they have to be ‘evacuated’ regularly. By most accounts, blackheads must be regularly cleaned out and exfoliation will help keep them clear.

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So, with this in mind I am persuaded to be generous to Origins and suggest that maybe I need to have a good facial and get those pores de-congested properly before I pass judgement on the blackhead preventing qualities of Modern Friction.

That said, I would still hope for a little more action on the blackhead front! it is an exfoliator afterall!

So judgement time. When all has been said and taken into account, I think that overall (for me anyway, this is after all only my opinion!) Origins Modern Friction is a pretty great product. It is gentle but effective (mostly!!) on the skin, doesn’t irritate or inflame, and clears out (most) pores and dry sken, leaving the face smooth, radiant and soft as a baby’s bottom!! And really, isn’t that the dream?!

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Origins Modern Friction uses natural products and utilises the organic exfoliating properties of rice-starch to gently remove sluggish cells, uneven patches and dry, damaged skin. Lemon Oil kick starts the process of illumination and Vitamin C mops up skin-menacing free radicals! Leaving the skin renewed, smooth and radient.

Origins Modern Friction used three times a week is a great addition to the beauty regime. A salon facial once a month or every 6 weeks will leave you with a clean slate and Modern Friction will be the perfect accompaniment to keep the skin clear and congestion free in the mean time!

Life Bite: Get Organised!!

With so much going on in my life at the moment, and so many different things that need to be done, I have to make sure I’m organised. I need to stay on top of things, and keep track of what I’m doing, what needs to be done…if I’m not careful the small errands get away from me or I don’t factor in the time I need to get bigger tasks done! It also means I can be sure to keep up a social life and get out and about the eevnts and parties etc. that I want to go to, as I can plan ahead and make sure I get everything done around having a life!

These tips and tricks are mainly useful for Students, as that’s a huge part of my life at the moment, but there’s still something in here for everyone…for me, being organised is the key to living a full life!!

IMG_0179The three things in life I wouldn’t get anywhere without…and the iPhone that this pic was taken with!

I have everything on this laptop. All the reading lists, schedules, timetables, deadlines, course breakdowns, essays, articles…everything for my uni courses is on here and it’s my first port of call when I need to get some work done! And I can’t stand a messy desktop or filing system…everything is filed away into conventient folders withing folders withing folders…But it means I can find exactly what I’m looking for when I want it. The same goes for off the laptop too though!

The iPad is more of a gadget and a toy, but I read everything on it. All of my books, both for leisure and any for my courses that come in ebook version or are electronic resources are on here and because it’s so light and compact, I always have it in my bag, so I can get some valuable reading done (whether for work or pleasure) wherever I am! I also have all my emails coming to the iPad as well as the laptop and iphone, so I never miss a trick! It’s also great to be able to type and do any little bits and pieces (ordering groceries, writing memo’s, emails, essay drafts, blog posts…) on the move without fiddling around on the iPhone.

And the book. I do not know how I would survive without the book. It’s my diary and it’s my to-so list and it has everything I ever need to know about what’s happening, when, where…

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If I could only give one piece of organisational advice, it would be this: Keep a diary and make to-do lists! I record all events and committments and appointments and lectures etc in the diary dection, but at the back I have individual day pages and I have lists of everything that needs to be done. I can keep track of what reading I need to do for what lectures (Friday I read for Monday’s lecture, Saturday for Thursday’s, Sunday for my Dissertation, Wednesday and Monday for my French Course etc.) but I can also move things around to suit what else I need to get done. If I can’t finish something one day, it goes straight on the next day’s pag and that way I keep on track of it all. I lvoe a good list, but it’s honestly my number one tip for staying on top of everything that needs to be done…even if it’s just making sure the recycling goes out for collection, or remembering to ring the landlord (again!)…today I defrosted the freezer!

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We also have a flat calendar so everyone knows who’s doing what, when and who will be in/out/available or of use at any given time without running around trying to communicate! We’re all dashing around and work very different schedules, so we often don’t see each other for days at a time, but we can leave notes for each other and sort things out much easier when we know what everyone’s doing. I can set up a meeting with the landlord when i know everyone will be in, without having to ring them individually and then call him back! He’s tricky, so you never want to leave it open-ended!

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For students; Files, folders, colour coordinate. Whatver works, but keep everything organised and together and in the right place! It makes it a thousand times easier to keep on top of work and get things done when you know where your notes for that particular lecture will be, or need to find a book while you’re dashing out because you’re late!!

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I love storage and organisation, as I’m sure you’ve gathered. But you can get pretty cheap units like these and keep everything where it should be! I have several of these little towers in my room, and I have a drawer for facial products, body products, hair products, nails, make-up, and many more…and then there’s the miscelaneous drawer! But keeping things where they should be just saves that extra time when you haven’t got much to spare.

And finally, it’s just about making time! I like to take care of myself as much as I have plenty to do. So I plan it in. I don’t sit and write down daily schedules (I’m not THAT crazy and neurotic!!) but I do map out the day in my head a little. I wake up at 6, because that’s when I’m up. It happens and it’s actually convenient, but I always make sure to plan the night before.

For example: If I have to be at work at 9, I need to leave at 8:10, so I need to be pretty much ready to go at 8, which means I need to eat breakfast at 7:30, which means I need to be ready at 7:15 which means I need to be IN the shower at 6:15, which means I need to get up at 6…see what I mean? I always over estimate, because I hate to be late and stressed out, but that’s the general idea! It means I allow time for my beauty routine, time to get the make-up on and time to sit down and eat breakfast and be well set for the day! I also plan and lay out my outfit for the day the night before to make myself all the more efficient the next day!

So really, as it turns out, my organisation tip is this: BE ORGANISED! Note things down, keep everything in one place and where it should be, make lists, make plans…and when you’ve done all that, go out and have fun! (As long as it’s in the plan…!!) I’m not saying be neurotic and if things go off schedule, it’s not the end of the world, but this way, you’re more likely to keep on top of things and make the time to relax and live your life!

Beauty Bite: Omorovicza Deep Cleansing Mask

I reeived a free sample of Omorovicza’s Deep Cleansing Face Mask from What’s In My Handbag last week and on Friday evening I had the luxury of the flat to myself, no plans and no pressing matters to attend to!

So, I put on my lovely Hush Pyjamas, had some lovely warming stew bubbling away on the stove for dinner and settled down to watch Downton Abbey and give this mask a go!

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It’s a thick clay mask and feels a dream when you apply it. It says to ‘apply a generous amount’ but I found that a little goes a long way! I think generous is realtive! I’ve always loved the feel of clay – taking me back to childhood art classes and the odd desire to plunge my hands into the clay (and oil paint…?) and squidge it between my fingers! – and it’s whipped and smooth and feels very luxurious as you apply it.

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Leave for 15-20 minutes. So that got the first part of Downton out of the way (The Crawley’s threw a party and I could feel the glamour of the 20’s oozing out of the TV and into me!) The mask sets and dries on the skin, but doesn’t get too stiff and uncomfortable. I can have slightly sensitive skin, but I didn’t have any itching/tingling/reaction to the mask as I’ve had with so many before.

Wash off with a damp cloth. Done, it comes of easly and smoothly, no caked bits left clogging up pores and even as I was cleansing it off, I could feel the difference it had made to my skin already.

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I can definitely say this mask is great! My skin was left smooth and definitely brightened and more radiant. The mask claims to ‘clear congested pores and brighten skin as it draws out impurities’. Well, it definitely does! I have a big blackhead problem around my nose (as I’m sure so many of us do) and It definitely cleared out a lot of these clogged pores (not all, but I would be awe-struck if it had managed where no treatment had before!) and the rest of my face with significantly smoothed and cleared.

Sometimes I get build-ups of toxins under the skin of my forehead, leaving very small little bumps – not quite spots and they never become whiteheads, but I know its a clogging of the pores under the skin – and this mask definitely drew them out. I’ve had gleaming skin all week and I’m thrilled!
Omorovicza is a Hungarian company that encorporates the healing properties of Hungary’s famous thermal waters into their products. Combining over 200 years of the Omorovicza family’s experience in creating healing treatments in the Spas of Budapest and working alongside a Nobel-Prize winning laboratory, Omorovicza’s products are a pioneering range of skincare and beauty products that are natural, luxurious and bursting with the healing power of Hungary’s thermal waters!

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The mask comes in at £57 for 50ml, but I think it’s definitely worth it! My sample is only 5ml and I think I can squeeze 2 uses from it, so I reckon you’d get 15-20 applications from the full sized jar, meaning each application would be between £2.80 – £3.80. Not bad, and a great investment! One of my Autumn/Winter Musts.

A once weekly application of Omorovicza’s Deep Cleansing Mask would do wonders for your skin and I will definitely make it part of my skin care routine. It clears the pores, brightens the skin and left my face refreshed and fully cleansed! A definite must, especially this Autumn/Winter season!

Beauty Bite: Autumn Nails

Big and Bold! I’ve said it before…that’s what I’m loving this Autumn. I’ve talked about the berry shades and the burgundies and the blues…you don’t need me to prattle on! But what I’m very into at the moment it nails…I tend to let them go natural or neutral in the summer, but now it’s time to break out the dramatic nails…and here are my favourite three at the moment!

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Crabtree and Evelyn’s new nail lacquers are only £6 a bottle AND they’re offering free delivery at the moment, so I thought I would try a couple out. This is Pomegranate and my initial thoguht about it were not the best. I thought it was tricky to apply evenly and it appeared to have a very uneaven and mixed tone once dried. I was wrong. After a few hours, and a couple of top coats, it got better and better! I often find that nail polish looks better once its been on for about a day (it’s probably all in my head…) but it’s definitely true of this one!

I grew to love it over the days as I had it on, and it’s surprisingly reliliant. It lasted 5 days, completely chip free until i decided I wanted a change. The colour is great too. it’s got a touch of shimmer in it, but it also had a lovely blend of purples and reds that means it changes with the lgiht and the material it’s against. With a burgundy dress it looked almost exactly the same tone (yippee! Colour Coordination!) and with a pair of dark purple cords, it took on a much deeper violet shade. Overall, a great colour and a great polish!

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The second Crabtree and Evelyn Lacquer is in Blueberry and I’m in love with this colour. It’s amazingly deep and kind of…mesmerizing…A little bit more daring and different too, but it’s bold, it’s bright and I adore it. It went on much smoother than I expected and with a second coat, the colour and finish was flawless and, as with the Pomegranate, it lasted a full five days with barely a mark on it (and the evening after I painted my nails, I decided to undertake some household DIY, consisting of removing a door from its hinges and reattatching it the other way around…so well done nails for surviving that!)

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My third favourite at the moment is YSL’s La Lacque nail Lacquer in Black Tulip. The colour hasn’t come out particularly well in the photo, but it’s a much more vibrant purple than shown and it’s great. I had a bit of a faff getting it on, as I was also trying to get a lot of work done and kept smudging it with impatience, but to be fair to it, it went on smoothly, the second coat left a perfectly even tone and it dried pretty well. It’s been on for three days now and has held up well, and the colour is beautiful in life…dark enough to be sophisticated and elegant but stands out against a muted outfit wonderfully!

Go bold with the nails this Autumn and bring on the dark tones and deep shades. Bring a bold statement to any outfit with a deep coloured nail…and make the most of it before the gloves have to well and truly go on!!

Life Bite: the Versatile Blogger Award!

“The Versatile Blogger Award is an award given to you from your blogger peers, for writing quality posts that have somehow touched them, having good quality photographs, and the uniqueness of the subjects covered. The award is to honour the bloggers who bring something special to your life.”

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It was such a lovely surprise to get up this morning and see that I’ve been nominated for this award! After I was nominated for the Liebster Award on the weekend, this is just a great addition to what’s been something of a good week for me! I’m touched because I do really strive to have a varied content and discuss all aspects of life…although admittedly it’s been rather beauty and fashion centric at the moment!

My blog is about living life to the full, in a scultpted and curated kind of way and filling it with things you enjoy and make you happy. Like I’ve said, Look Good, Think Good, Feel Good…Live Good. So it’s really nice to see that others have seen this is my blog, so thank you very much Charlotte from Makeup by Candlelight! Go and check out her blog, it’s great and for me there’s something about the concept of beauty and makeup by candlelight that I find beautifully luxurious!

The rules of the Versatile Blogger Award are as follows:
  • Display the award certificate on your blog
  • Announce your win and thank the blogger who nominated you
  • Present 15 deserving bloggers with the award
  • Link your nominees in this post and let them know of their nomination with a comment
  • Post 7 interesting things about yourself

Now…7 Interesting things…hmm…

1. I study Theatre and Performance at a very avant-garde Uni…but I’m probably the least ‘Drama-student’ Drama Student ever…

2. I grew up in Wales but I’m 4/8ths Scottish, 3/8ths English and 1/8th Irish…So I would say I’m truly British!

3. I’m a proper Lord of the Rings Nerd…I’ve read all the books + The Silmarillion, The War of The Ring, The Journey To Mordor and The History of Middle Earth…and I do not intend to stop…I know an excessively geeky amount about Middle Earth…

4. I did Kung Fu for years and have an Orange Belt in the Shaolin Qu Shi discipline.

5. I simply adore cooking. I will cook anything, any time, for anyone! Experimenting with flavours and foods and different combinations and techniques is what I love to do…but I don’t get to as often as I’d like because I’m poor and I cook for one when I’m at home…When I visit my parents or cater meals for my grandmother or parents’ dinner parties/lunches I get to go all out…next on the agenda is Individual lamb Shank and Ale Pies (complete with the bone sticking out of the pastry!) and some sort of trio of chocolate with caramel baskets and brandy snaps…

6. I hate exercise. I will avoid it at all costs!

7. For longer than I’d care to admit, I thought that eating Peanuts made you need to go to the loo…because when I was about 5, my Dad told me “Don’t eat too many of the nuts, they’ll make you want to pee…” Childish humour from a Dad, childish naivety from a child…

So thats a rather random load of information about me, I’m sorry I’m not more interesting!

That’s all from me for now, but new posts are on their way! Now, the bloggers I’m nominating are:

Hailey at Red Running Hood
Megan from Chic is the New Black
Sophie-Pearl from Imitation is the Greatest Form of Flattery
Fei at Peonies and Lilies
Megan at The Briar Rose Blog
My Fair Lala
Tess at Plastic Bows
Breakfast at Bergdorfs
Kirsty at A Yellow Brick Blog
Hayley at Tea Party Beauty
Becky at Bex and the City
Lola at Lola’s Patchwork
Molly at What Molly Loves
Steph at Steph’s Inside Voice
Laura at The Style Doll

Lots of love xx