Lipstick & Chatter: Can We Stop With the Late Night Fireworks Now?

Everyone, can you believe its November? The German Market is just around the corner and so is the end of the year. I feel like it’s flying by quicker than I would like.

Shopping

These days, I get to come home to a great cinnamon scent in my room. I’ve been revisiting TK Maxx a lot waiting for a classically autumn scent like cinnamon or pumpkin in a reed diffuser. I own a few candles but I’m not allowed to use them upstairs for safety reasons, so the best near alternative for my room is a reed diffuser.

Now that I have my hands on a cinnamon scent, though, I think I would have preferred vanilla pumpkin or something without cinnamon as the scent is a bit strong. I’ve tucked away the reed diffuser in a corner where the scent will be less strong so hopefully, it won’t be so bad.

On the other hand, some of you may know that I love the Paper Place A4 Spiralbound notebooks from The Works. I’ve noticed that they’ve made their notebooks less pages recently although ultimately the same. I don’t know whether to be sad or happy seeing as it took me ages to get through them but now they’re less value for the same price!

University

I feel like I’m juggling so many things recently. Beyond university coursework, I’m also part of two societies, a language exchange group, a Japanese class and an extra module. I also have a gym membership and have been aiming for two days a week. I’d previously felt drained at most times during the week and at one point I started missing lectures and workshops in order to recover from my really long Tuesdays.

(This post goes out on a Tuesday, so rest assured I am probably dying at Uni as you read this.)

Until a few weeks ago, I also had two jobs. I’ve since quit the second job in order to have more time to fit all of these extra-curricular things with time to relax. The Tuesdays haven’t changed, essentially, so they’re still too long and tiring for the moment but I’m glad to have my Fridays and Sundays back – a few days where I can take time off and get ready for the next week. I feel as if I can still cramming in too much though and I’m still struggling to make it to the gym. I am hoping to change that this week.

NaNoWriMo

All this said, you’ll understand now why I’m finding it so hard to blog. You’ll be even more baffled to hear that I’m also adding NaNoWriMo to that list this year. For those of you unfamiliar, National Novel Writing Month is a writing challenge to get 50k words done throughout the month. I’ve only succeeded once in 2015 and not reached 10k in subsequent years since. So, of course, I’ve set a small goal for myself of at least reaching 10k. Right now, I’m at 1k.

On top of that, I haven’t concretely planned my novel at all, whereas I have attempted plans for most of my previous projects. This is because, in my mind, I am still in the mindset of getting to know the characters and setting and when I try to write with a plot I quickly lose the plot (pun sort of intentional).

So I am actually approaching the novel more like a plan, and hopefully all those words will help me become more familiar with my characters. Case in point is that I started this month with only three characters and simply by writing about their setting I’ve now got at least eight characters.

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Lipstick Spotlight

Recently, the lipstick I have been wearing the most is my Smashbox Be Legendary in Legendary. I know I did review this lipstick a little negatively saying that it was not fully opaque and a bit patchy at times, but it means I’ve fully embraced a messy lip look.

I want something bold this autumn and winter as well as not too drying, so I have been wearing this two ways: popping this in the centre of my lips on top of Skinfood’s tinted avocado lip serum, or using the lipstick first in the centre and using a lip brush to line my lips in lip balm and soften the lip lines. I don’t have defined lips so softening lipstick lines really improves the look in my opinion. The result is this super plushy and glossy-ish look that I like wearing on a daily basis.

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The lasting power of the lipstick is not great so depending on food type it may have to be retouched. However, with just a drink or so, it will last well and only lose some vividity, fading to a more blotted look.

I did wear a liquid lipstick or two recently but I couldn’t handle just how drying they felt so I think I am back to bullets, pigmented balmy products and glosses for life. I picked my recent gel polish to match – it’s Halo Gel Polish in Apple Red, which is slightly orangey yet not too bright. Ask your local nail salon if they offer it, and if not they’re sure to know a trade stockist that does.

And Finally…

On a random note, I find myself picking more and more vegetarian options recently when I am going out for food. I recently picked up a jar of pumpkin seed butter to try out – it’s the one option I saw that was not nut-based (my sister is allergic) so it was an impulse buy! I just look at what interests me and many times it happens to be vegetarian. I told myself in this regard that I would never force myself to eat vegan or vegetarian, and focus on what I like, and it’s interesting to see what I naturally gravitate to and what I could easily give up.

Until Next Time,

X

[Makeup and Chatter] Back at University

Hi everyone!

Just like that, the summer is gone.

My new timetable is here, the new academic year is well on its way and for the third year in a row, I have not blogged almost all summer. I spent most of it at work and playing games… I didn’t actually wear that much makeup this summer, especially during the heatwave in July. Now that it is much cooler, I can wear foundation again without it melting off my face, but the long days at work or uni really put me off wearing makeup in case it looks horrid by the evening.

So I took these pictures ages ago but had to share. My boyfriend and I treated ourselves in September to some fancy food at Jailbird Birmingham, which replaces Nosh and Quaff where I went to a few times for their lobster. It was a nice treat after two or three weeks straight serving the back-to-school rush. We ordered the lobster at Jailbird, and we loved it. It was actually his first time eating lobster so I’m really glad he liked it. We’re slowly making our way around all the must-eat food places in the Birmingham city centre area, so if you need recommendations you can hit us up!

My new year at university started about a month ago and honestly, it’s been a little shock to the system. I took my camera with me on one Monday to share what food I ate!

I’d like to write a post about hair products at one point. I’ve recently dyed my ends a deep indigo blue. I was originally going to go green but with dubious looks from my mom when I suggested it, I thought I should go blue first to ease into it. I felt like clipping up my full fringe and showing a bit of forehead. That feeling was nice while it lasted. It’s faded a lot now as it’s only semi-permanent but the colour was so nice and I’d do it again.

I went for a more fresh faced look. No foundation or any kind of base. I was out for a good 8-9 hours, and there was no guarantee a base would have lasted on my face that long, so I didn’t bother. I had a few spots but overall this was a good skin day and nothing to worry about. It was also a good excuse to do my eyebrows which are usually hidden under my fringe. I know it looks like I’m not wearing any makeup, but that’s the point.

Products used:

  • Etude House Drawing Eye Brow in Dark Brown
  • Etude House Dr Mascara Lash Fixer
  • Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara
  • Maybelline Fit Me Powder in Soft Beige
  • Revolution Sugar and Spice Blush Palette
  • Etude Proof 10 Eye Primer
  • Kat Von D Shade and Light Contour Palette (on my eyes mostly)
  • NARS Velvet Matte Pencil in Walkyrie

That morning, I went to meet my friend AT at Damascena Coffee House. It’s my favourite of all the local cafés although as you all know I also frequent the one at Waterstones. Damascena is wonderful and often quite busy. I ordered the grilled halloumi.

I had two lectures that day with breaks in between. The workload hadn’t hit me then so I didn’t have much to do in between. I could have gone to the gym but I didn’t want to carry all that stuff around with me on such a long day, too. It’s the biggest pain when you commute, even if it’s just a twenty-minute bus rise. I’d love some sort of locker system for commuting students.

I spent that evening with one of my societies. We visited a Korean restaurant in the Chinatown area. I’ve been to Topokki a number of times already and I absolutely love it there. I ordered the Pumpkin Croquette Dupbap (i.e. with rice). I’d also recommend their kimchi jeon!

I spent the evening in bed winding down. I took some pictures on the way home to practice editing. I really love night photography and recently I’ve been totally inspired by @noealzii to try some edits on my own shots. Birmingham isn’t exactly like Seoul or Tokyo in terms of having an abundance of pretty lighting but I tried.

The first photo is the original shot, with some edits underneath.

After I did these edits, I found a way to keep the redness of the lamps whilst still having all the other edits apply. I was pretty chuffed, since it was all on Snapseed – my phone handles photo edits much better than my laptop ever will at the moment, although a new one is on the cards for much later on.

Anyway, as you might have been able to tell this post has been a long time in writing. I’m hoping that finally releasing it kicks off some sort of blogging mojo in my head. I often used this blog as an outlet for my thoughts but recently my boyfriend has, in the words of my brother, been taking one for the team!

Until next time,

X

Another Catch Up

Hi everyone!

It’s been a good month and a half since my last post. I made sure to take some time off after exams to chill then ended up diving into part-time work in a slightly drastic change to my routine that took some time to adjust to. I’ve managed to get a little bit of balance back, so here is a rambling post about some of the things I was up to recently, with some photos of other things I did.

This lil cat from The Kitty Cafe in Nottingham represents me during the summer. And maybe all the time.

You all know I have a long list of hobbies and interests I like to switch and rotate between a lot. Makeup has fully fallen out of the rotation, it seems. I haven’t touched my box of new items in MONTHS and I wear the same casual lipsticks for work all the time, although to be fair I have rarely gone out to do anything else. So, as a result, I am kind of stuck for beauty content.

I have picked my reading back up again as well, although it seems my pace slows every time I do. I finally finished reading The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, and then I finished Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin, too. I particularly loved the latter, especially the second half. It’s very sweet and emotive, not romantic in the typical sense, and deliciously dark. I will be seeing Sarah Maria Griffin in an event in a few weeks, which I am really excited for now.

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Some terrible doodled versions of covers of the books I read.

Just a few days ago, I finished Blade Runner, or originally ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’ by Philip K. Dick – It’s a shorter read compared to my last two but I am enjoying it a lot so far. I’m only two chapters in, and the worldbuilding is done really… concisely, with lots of ‘show, don’t tell’. As much as I can deal with flowery prose, I really like this about this book so far. Gotta take notes.

Anyhow, my next pick will be Sabriel by Garth Nix. I have a goal to make it through as much of my current TBR this summer as possible!

This is Zaap Thai Street Food, also in Nottingham. I thought I had stepped out onto a street on the other side of the world! The details were amazing and reminded me of a night in Ho Chi Minh City, too.

I recently acquired a Nintendo Switch, so most of my days off have consisted of wandering Hyrule semi-aimlessly. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is so OPEN and I love it – almost everything can be interacted with. At some point, I am going to have to learn and actually remember some combat controls though because simply charging into the nearest enemy flailing a Boko Bat and panicking won’t work all the time…

My favourite part of the game beyond exploring is probably gathering ingredients and cooking food, as boring as that sounds. Autosaves in this game make me feel invincible even though I’ve gotten ‘Game Over’ at least nine times. I do like to dive into new areas but you know when it’s misty and I paraglide in only to have the mist reveal a bunch of Lizalfos that kill me in one hit? Sigh, yeah that kind of sucks.

The Warehouse Cafe is a nice Veggie Only place to check out. I wasn’t into this dish (the filo parcel) personally but I’d love to go back and check out other items on their menu!

I also bought Stardew Valley, which I really like because whilst I loved Harvest Moon DS, it was… tedious, for lack of a better word. Stardew Valley feels very similar… maybe better, though! I tend to like these no-pressure games a lot more. I also bought Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles, for another open-world like BOTW, but also no-pressure kind of thing. It’s okay so far. Can’t climb things though. Can’t even enter buildings or swim, so it’s not as open, and sometimes the movement and camera controls make me dizzy, but it’s a welcome change from Guardians and Lizalfos.

I feel stuck with my drawing. I’m finding it really hard to be happy with stuff I draw at the moment making it really hard to continue. I keep thinking every line and resulting picture needs to be perfect (I finally understand the idea of ‘meaningful lines’ my art teacher kept going on about in school but it’s hard!) and it’s so frustrating that I can’t put my ideas on paper/computer yet. I think I will start experimenting with brush settings and some other digital techniques beyond just sketching. I have actually gone back to dabbling in writing too, but like… actually writing stuff instead of just planning forever and never getting words down on the page.

Anyway, I am scheduling some long-overdue beauty posts from before the hiatus, and I hope to still be chatting to myself here afterwards. If I’m not grinding for money or still dying in games.

Until next time,

X

Places: Paradice Gelateria, Harbourne High Street

I’ve never done a review of a place before so this is interesting!

One evening, J and Q were discussing a nice place to go eat ice cream when I realised that I, too, also had free time to go try some of this good stuff! So off we went.

Paradice Gelateria on Harbourne High Street is about 10-15 minutes away from Birmingham city centre by bus, using the 22, 23, or 24 routes which all go along this road. The Gelateria is right next to one of the bus stops. It was my first time visiting this area and I saw about ten charity shops just walking along afterwards with Q and J, so I’ve put it on my to-do list to visit again to have a look at all the shops! I really love charity shops.

Anyway, Paradice has really lovely decor with off whites, mint greens and chocolate coloured decor. It’s also well lit without a dark corner in sight, as it has large window-walls on both sides of the shop. There’s a kids play area in the corner if you are bringing little ones, and if you are not, the kids are the only things breaking the quiet vibe there.

It has an extensive menu with a variety of things to eat. Of course the highlight is the gelato, but they also serve it with crepes and waffles, and they also offer other hot desserts and savoury crepes too.

I chose to have a warm Belgian Waffle with mango sauce and a scoop of their Ferrero Rocher ice cream… And it looked amazing. I was a bit worried that mango and chocolate would be a strange combo but honestly the mango sauce adds so much bright colour and is fruity to taste, too. If I were not in public I would have licked the plate clean.

Q chose to have two desserts for lunch, an apple cinnamon tart and some warm cookie dough, whilst J chose to have scoops of gelato – Ferrero Rocher and Cappuchino being her choices. I admit I was tempted by coffee-flavoured ice cream too because I always am, but wanted to try something new.

 

Those chairs! 

 

Overall, I really enjoyed my experience at Paradice and I’d love to visit again to try the cookie dough, apple tart or fondant – there’s also the selection of gelato to get through too…

Thanks for reading! Until next time,

X

Food Adventures

Mom has been gone for about a week now. I haven’t missed her much- it’s only 10 days. I know I was ranting on for a while in my last personal post but I was madder about the short notice than her going abroad.

Dad has had to run the Nail Salon in her steed, leaving me at home with a half empty fridge to feed myself and my siblings with. On Saturday we had Mom’s smoked mackerel that she bought but didn’t eat due to her trip, leaving it close to the use by date. Three servings, which was perfect for the three of us. On Sunday, whist Dad was out I made omelettes, throwing in some chopped shallot (like mini onions to me, perfect if we can’t use an entire one in one go) and  yellow pepper for the illusion of healthiness. Derp attempted to add cheese as well. It was the soft cheese spread type, and whilst the result looked edible, it wasn’t a five star dish.

Then I made mug cakes. It’s been quite a while since I’ve made some at all. After my attempts to be healthier, mug cakes have been off the cookery list, but there are no snacks available at home. I use the recipes from food blog Kirbie’s Cravings (note to self – link!), improvising where necessary. None of my recent mug cakes have been rising well, and I think this might have something to do with the self raising flour, even though I have used it many times before without trouble. I used apples from our garden for the ones I made yesterday, and banana and cinnamon lying around to make this one.


It was edible, just really really dense!

I probably won’t be the next master chef or Nadiya Hussain (that British Bake Off final was too intense! ) but you could probably count on me to feed you in a sudden food emergency…

X

Textbooks and Apple Sauce

Laughably, if anybody wants a decent textbook to study with this year, the School will be of no help. Last year, having fallen short on AS textbooks they had to give us revision guides for free. The AS textbooks in question weren’t even the right ones for our specification and I’m personally not fond of revision guides as they are condensed versions of textbooks and sometimes leave out important detail – my notes will usually do, in that case.

Their reason for not buying new ones? The specifications for our courses have changed and there is no point in buying new books for only one year group. So every time I see the year 12s walking around with their pristine, new books I can’t help but glower, even if they’re bulkier to accomodate 2 years of A-Levels.

(If you don’t know, AS and A2 levels are now separate so there’s no point doing 4 and choosing to drop one at the end of Y12- it won’t count for anything. All A2 level exams are taken at the end of the course – i.e. the new Y12s have internal exams that help their teachers make UCAS predictions, and then they have twice as many exams in Y13. For this reason different schools are approaching this differently: my brother’s school has told them they can only do three subjects in Y12, but at my school they still do four and drop the subject with the worst end-of-year grade.)

Having received unsatisfactory AS results I am taking absolutely no chances this year and bought my textbooks out of my own pocket (I know, this is like, the parental area of spending but it’s easier to order them myself). Firstly, I bought AT’s AS biology textbook as she did well enough to not have to resit biology – the money will go towards her own A2 textbook! Then I ordered an AS CHEM2 unit guide. (I know what I just said about guides. But my notes are actually quite good so this is a little supplement, specific to the unit I’m retaking, that is easier to carry around than my huge lever arch folder. Plus it was only £3 with free shipping. I need all the help I can get.)

I did attempt to bid for textbooks on eBay but, when shipping was taken into account, I did just as well with buying it right away. Plus, I am awful at bidding. Sigh.

My A2 chemistry textbook was ordered new for a discounted price and arrived a day later than estimated, but it came with this lovely post it note scrawled in beautiful handwriting.

This note has made my day, and the star stickers are a cute bonus. Thank you, ebay seller. I will do my best. The note has gone up on my wall and fits snugly in a gap between some postcards.

Altogether, my educational spending came around to just over £61. At full price this would have been over £90 so every pound counts!

Secondly, Twerp and Dad harvested some of the apples and pears from our trees in the garden. Our apples are really sour and not nice unless you like sour apples or eat them with a little savoury dip, so we took two out of the three harvested and had a go at making apple sauce using a simple recipe on the BBC Food website. It was surprisingly quick and really really easy – all the time taken is through peeling and chopping  the apples and cooking only took us 5-10 minutes.
Here is a really bad photo of our applesauce.

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It was a huge hit with our roast chicken!

This has been a brief summary of my day… yesterday. Not much else happens now besides stressful things.

Until next time,
X

Weekly Thoughts #10

I am typing almost half asleep and am blissfully wondering if I could squeeze in a nap before dinner…

  1. I think one of the single biggest factors of my skincare problems is my lack of sleep. The other is hydration, which has been easier to rectify. I get into bed at 10pm but don’t fall asleep until midnight, giving me an average of 8 hours’ sleep (7 on school days or when I stay attached to the family iPad) when I should try to get more as I definitely have the time.
  2. I have attempted to stick to a blogging routine but well, personal happenings do not happen on a schedule so I think I shall just roll with this semi-scheduled format.
  3. I have discovered a new eating place near Mom’s nail salon. I have walked past it so many times on my way to get lunch at Greggs’ (or another local eatery) but never entered the shop. The Spud Oven does simple lunch foods like jacket potatoes (with a great variety of toppings) and pork sandwiches and soups and regular sandwiches and sometimes other hot foods like cheese and potato pie. I am a convert and will be visiting regularly from now on!
  4. I bought a slightly battered copy of Game of Thrones from a charity shop to ‘try out’ but I think I may have dived into the deep end of the pool. I feel as if this series should be read first and watched later because knowing what happens by watching, I no longer have the patience to read all about it again. The books, however, are just as vivid and action-packed as the TV series which is a good thing to know. On the other hand I bought some old pop CDs from the 2000s and I’m really not sure whether to regret this or not – ah well, for 50p each I can’t go too far wrong… can I???
  5. I am developing a vague interest in tea, and have purchased Pure Green Tea and Mint-and-Green Tea for the health benefits of the Green, even though I am not a fan of the taste – the mint is a welcome addition and sometimes I put lemon in my Pure Green Tea. I also bought a small box of Chamomile Tea for the evenings to help me relax and possibly help with my sleeping routine. These teas are surprisingly really affordable at less than £1 a box for own brands (I bought mine from The Co-Operative Supermarket) and a bit more for Twinings.
  6. I (or rather, Mom) bought a pair of beautiful new boots at New Look in the kind of style I have been lusting after for months and months (Mom justified this by fitting well into them as well so we can share!). I love block heels with platforms in particular but they’re particularly hard to find sometimes, especially as I have small feet (I fit a size 3 with wide fit and 4 without). New Look have a lot of items in styles I love and the biggest blessing is that their stuff actually fits my petite frame. I spotted a long t-shirt style top which is now on my mental wish list for my next after-work shopping spree.
  7. I ripped out my Lael Cowl and started it over again as I didn’t like the rolling stockinette at the beginning. Instead, I replaced it with seed stitch which doesn’t roll and adjusted the pattern so that the bumps in the main pattern fall in line. I have knit enough to catch up to where I should be as the 3rd episode of The Great British Bake Off is on tonight.
  8. I have re-done my nails twice since my last nail-related update, so a post is long overdue. The parents have plans to redecorate the salon and I got a huge bagful of throwaway polishes that have questionable colours and half-full bottles… But c’mon. It’s free nail polish – even if my mom has a particular disdain for those brands (How could she not like China Glaze? Really.)

The back to school rush has well and truly started  – I’m exhausted from today’s shift at work, I mean we have a ticket system for a reason, dear customers, don’t tell us we’re crap for not catering to your every whim when you didn’t get a damn ticket or bother to get measured – and that only serves as a grim reminder that we have like, two weeks left of the holidays.

I swear, yesterday I still had my entire life ahead of me, what happened?

X

P.S. It’s my brother’s turn for GCSE Results Day tomorrow. Wish him luck.