Wednesday, 31 July 2019

The Nightmares Truth

Ok, so you may be thinking this post is a little strange, and you may even think that a book review is somewhat straying away from my usual style of posts. You would be absolutely correct of course, and I’ll admit it’s not really in keeping with my usual beauty and lifestyle posts, but in this case I decided to make an exception. For very good reason. This particular book was written by a friend of mine, whom I used to work with. We sat next to each other for a long time, worked in the same team, and got on really well.  Even all those years ago, I distinctly recall him talking about his writing and his goal to publish his own book in the future. All these years later, from hard work and determination, he’s finally achieved his dream and done it!
For a start, this is a pretty incredible achievement that only goes to prove that if you keep pushing, keep working, and keep your eye on the goal ahead of you, you really can accomplish some pretty amazing things. 
Now, much to my frustration at the time, Luke didn’t disclose too much about the story he was writing. He shared teeny tiny snippets of information, but decided to hold the suspense until it was absolutely perfect, and ready to be let out into the world. So you can imagine how excited I was when the release date was shared and I could finally get my hands on a copy of my own!
So, I think I’ve probably babbled on enough about why I have the book in the first place, now I should probably tell you a little about it right? Right!
 https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1sA6XytlTqxF0S38Xs82qN3ONdlmRAUb4
From the very moment you turn to the first page, you are instantly transported into an epic battle of Gladiators, Spartans and Barbarians. Even by the first few paragraphs, the language and imagery had me captivated. I’m a Legionnaires, and I love when broad vocabulary is used, especially in books. You can’t help but feel totally immersed,  right up until the battle is rudely interrupted by the stories central character, Tyler Onorare, otherwise known as Ty, awaking from his dream. 
The tempo only increases from here on out. With a classic overarching story line of good against evil but with many twists, turns and side plots that eliminate the usual predictability you’d typically find in this kind of genre. Not that you can really peg this book down to a singular genre, as it encompasses many, from horror, fantasy, mythology, suspense and history, to name but a few.
I actually took a while to get round to reading this, as I was already in the process of reading another book, that I didn’t get through particularly quickly. When I did finally pick it up however, I couldn’t put it down and got through the whole thing in as little as three sittings, which is quite unheard of for me. The story has a way of sucking you in, as you quickly get to know each of the characters in such great detail it’s almost as if you know them personally. Their personalities, their quirks and their dialog is extremely well written. When getting to the end of each chapter, I was so enthralled in the story that I just couldn’t help moving straight to the next one.
The purchase of The Nightmares Truth was primarily to support a friend, but I’m really glad I got it, and really enjoyed reading it, to the point that I've now read it twice! This book is available on Amazon, so for those of you out there who are searching for your next read, I’d highly recommend picking this one up!

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Sunday, 21 July 2019

Live Colour Refresh │ Does it actually work?

I’ve had red hair on and off for years and years. In fact, if you were to accumulate the time I’ve not had red hair, between when I was around 15 and now, you’ll probably only total up a year or so. Of course its been varying shades, from subtle red tones over the top of my naturally dark hair, all the way through to the bright pillar-box red I have now. All of the differing shades I’ve loved, although my current colour is a pinky purple tone, I'm pretty sure I'll be returning to pillar-box red in no time.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1Lvbxmp9bktZvoNhc_BkiR9AooztLON-S

However, the is one thing I’ve consistently hated about my red hair, and that’s what an absolute pain it is to maintain. In fact, red is renowned as one of the most difficult colours to keep vibrant when it comes to hair. This is down to the pigments for the colour being larger, and unable to penetrate the hair as effectively as other colours may do. It’s for this same reason that red lipstick or other makeup tends to have a shorter lasting time that alternative shades of the same product.

Over the years I’ve tried various methods to try and keep the colour fresh for as long as possible. From reducing the number of washes, to using all kinds of different shampoos and conditioners – many of which don’t actually do what they say they will! One thing I haven’t tried however, is a top up shampoo, so when I spotted the Live Colour Refresh in Boots one day while wondering around the city, I of course snapped it straight up. To be fair, I’m kind of amazed I haven’t come across it before, clearly I don’t pay enough attention!

The idea behind this product is that you use it in place of shampoo. You buy the colour refresh to match the shade of dye you’ve used, and the formula is infused with pigments to match the colour. So it is essentially shampoo with hair dye in it. The price point is a little higher than a regular shampoo, (only £3 but only enough for 2 washes for me) but hey, if it works and saves you dying your hair as much, it’s worth the investment right? Right! I chose the shade ‘Pillar box red’ which was the shade nearest to what was on my hair at the time.

Being the excitable sort, I couldn’t wait to try out my new purchase, so I gave it a go the very same day I brought it. From reading the instructions I knew gloves were recommended, and whilst I have loads medical grade gloves I use to colour my hair I decided not to bother.

When washing my hair the formula was indeed red, and very similar in tone to my regular dye, although I’m pleased to report it didn’t stain my hands at all. It didn’t lather up like a normal shampoo, which actually made it quite difficult to spread evenly throughout my hair, especially given the length of mine. As instructed, I left it on my hair for 5 minutes or so before washing out, and then continued with my usual routine.

Upon getting out of the shower and drying my hair, the first thing I noticed was that my hair was a lot more difficult to get a brush through than normal, especially at the roots. It felt matted and almost as if I hadn't used any kind of conditioner. I must say though, whilst I wouldn’t say I had day one colour, the red did look a little better than before I’d washed my hair.

So in terms of whether the product works or not, the short answer is yes. It will provide a boost, or at the very least increase the time needed between colouring. However, I didn’t love how difficult the formula was to work with, nor how it made my hair feel afterwards. I’m not sure if mixing it with my usual shampoo would negate some of the problems I found with it, but then, it would probably heavily dilute the colour, so it’s a bit of a trade-off.

Do I think its worth the money? Perhaps not. Given that Manic Panic and Crazy colour as so gentle on hair, I feel I’d be as well off putting those on my hair after shampooing, or even create my own version, to provide a boost, as it’ll work out much cheaper. I did continue to use the rest of the bottle, but for me personally, it’s not something I’ll look to repurchase.

Do you have any tips for keeping colour looking fresh?
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Monday, 15 July 2019

Tropic Nail Nectar

During my little adventure to the Norwich Vegan and Yoga festival a few months ago, I came across many beautiful vegan and cruelty free brands. One of those brands, with whom I’m very familiar was Tropic. In fact, I actually used to work for them as an ambassador all the way back in 2014, but stopped when my day job had me working in London more frequently leaving my calendar totally unpredictable. 
For those of you who haven’t come across or heard of them before, Tropic are a cruelty free brand, focused on providing fresh products derived from natural and ethically sourced ingredients. All of their products are Vegan and none are tested on animals. Having once worked for them, there was a time when owned almost all of their products and so can absolutely testify their high quality and proven results.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1KWFMCcNRC47aWI6UthvxvbC9VFNW6Nbf
One product I hadn’t tried before however, was the Nail Nectar. This is mainly down to the fact that for one reason or another, I’ve always had fairly short nails so have never really had a need. They had to be cut right down for Judo and Netball, and it was downright impossible to have them long for American Football. Now that I’m solely exercising in the gym and not playing or competing in any sports that require short nails I’ve allowed them to grow out – only to find that they keep breaking! As it turns out, I don’t have particularly strong nails, and I’m forever snagging them on things or breaking them off entirely.
The Nail Nectar is a deeply nourishing oil designed to help strengthen and improve the overall strength and condition the nails and cuticle with continued use. With the combination of almond oil to soften, calming May Chang essential oil and vitamin rich passion flower oil this little bottle is bursting with everything your nails could possibly need.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1DTplc0r2Gc_5-es8vf8e8L-vBI8IfB6b

The oil is applied in the same way you would a nail varnish, and then gently rub it into the nails and cuticles. Like many of the Tropic products, the oil has a gorgeous citrus scent that I can’t get enough of. I personally found it better to apply in the evening, as it does leave a small amount of oil behind if you aren’t sparing with it, and I like to sit with it on the nail for as long as possible.
As it takes around 6 months for the nail to grow from root to tip, I wasn’t really expecting to see much of a change until at least a few months of use. After the very first application my nails looked shiny and my cuticles softer. Having now been using this oil for a little over a month I’ve noticed a huge difference to both the appearance and strength of my nails. They no longer break off all the time which has meant I’ve got them to a nice length and been able to keep them there.

This oil is now firmly embedded as part of my evening beauty routine, and despite daily use its barely gone down at all. For only £8 a bottle this is a must have addition to any routine, plus with the tiny flowers at the bottom of the bottle it looks gorgeous on my vanity. I’m so very glad I gave this little gem a go, and now that my love has been rekindled for Tropic I think I’ll be doing a little haul come pay day.
 
Have you ever tried anything from Tropic?   
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Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Moi-meme Monthly │ Yang Sheng │ June 2019


As you likely already know, one of my favourite subscription boxes of all time has been the quarterly box from Moi-meme. They are so consistent when it comes to the diversity and quality of their products, which are always well thought out. My one and only gripe was that I had to wait a whole three months in between boxes, which feels like a really, really long time with a box as wonderful as this one is. This all changed last month however, when Moi-meme finally launched their very first monthly box, which I of course made sure to get my hands on as quickly as I could.

A month has passed since then, and so of course I was absolutely thrilled when my second ever monthly box landed on my desk. The focus for this month’s box is wellness and self-healing.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1Y4ENd8LUqnzjOXmIP1ncZExCgyhq7F0O

Yang Sheng – The art of Chinese self-healing
The first item I laid eyes on upon when opening up my box was this stunning book. It’s quite large, and the reason this month’s box was delivered in one of the larger, quarterly boxes rather than the mini version that was used for May. This item is absolutely perfect for the theme Moi-meme were going for, is full of great information and is lovely to look at. This book is all about achieving balance within your body, using techniques such as slow movement and focused breathing, it ties in very nicely with my Yoga.
 I’ve had a quick thumb through, and when I’ve finished my current read I’ll be moving straight onto this to give it the full attention it deserves.

Gua Sha Tool – Rose Quartz
I’ll be honest, when I first pulled this out of my box I had absolutely no clue what it was. Upon reading the description card in the box it became apparent that this lovely stone is to aid in application of facial or body products. It also helps promote blood flow as well as natural drainage of the lymph nodes, which in turn helps improve the overall health and appearance of the skin. Being made of Quartz makes in much cleaner, as it obviously won’t absorb and hold product. Admittedly it isn’t anything I’d ever think to purchase for myself, so it was quite nice to get something a little different and out of the ordinary.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1tz7d2Qhz_BQz8VM5p8HQkny-03PV_b1h
The stone chosen was a lovely rose quartz, partly for its beautiful colour but also down to the healing properties associated with the stone. I did have one very minor gripe with this, and that was that the information card simply stated to look on online for the many different ways this can be used. That’s fine, but I’d have much preferred to have something within the box, even if only a few simple steps or techniques with the advice that there is more out there if you look for it. Whilst by no means the end of the world, to have nothing was a little disappointing. This does flow on very nicely from the book we received, and is really consistent with this months theme.

Raw Halo – Mylk and Vanilla Chocolate
Of course I love chocolate, and I’m so thrilled that Moi-meme have decided to incorporate a sweet treat in each monthly box. They don’t just send a standard chocolate bar either, it’s always something a little quirky or different that I wouldn’t buy myself, which gives me the chance to try something new.
For this month, the bar was well in keeping with the theme of healing and good health. This bar is gluten and dairy free, with no refined sugar makes it suitable for pretty much everyone. Plus with the lack of refined sugar and use of natural sweeteners you could almost consider it healthy. Or at least that’s what I told myself!
The bar is a dark chocolate, which is perfect for when you need a chocolate fix but don’t want to scoff loads. It isn’t bitter like dark chocolate can sometimes be, and I enjoyed this over a longer period which was nice.

If I’m 100% honest, whilst I did like the contents and thought it was very well thought out, I didn’t enjoy this month’s box quite as much as I did the first. You can’t win them all though, and this is only the second ever box and I have every faith that the July box will be amazing. For those who would like to get their hands on their own, you can still use the discount code I shared in my last post. Simply use ‘EMSWORLD’ at checkout for a discount off your first monthly box.
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Tuesday, 2 July 2019

June 2019 look back

Despite the weather for June being most un-summery at times, especially near the beginning, June was been a pretty good month for me and has created many fond memories. There’s been some fun times with friends, I’ve not only learned a new skill, but I’ve also set the wheels in motion for what will be one of the biggest events of my life.

Anyway, enough vague hints about what I got up to, let’s get onto what I actually did.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1eiyVkhk9PLfddzN1bMWHO6KtVKQejwss

Baby showerA friend from work is expecting her little one soon, so a few of us got together to do a baby shower for her. I’ve personally never been to one, as none of my close friends have got to the stage that they are having babies yet, and I don’t live anywhere near my extended family who have started having children, so didn’t really know what to expect.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1kanzry6aUw5kQRfpFo6dX5OyqLQdDOHi

We did a raffle, in which the entry was a pack of nappies which the mum to be gets to take home. Sadly I didn’t win the flamingo drinks holder… We played guess the baby with photos of all of us when we were small, and had a lovely afternoon tea together. Sarah from work did such a great job organising everything and decorating. The house looked absolutely beautiful and the soon to be Mum had a great time.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1eA0n3Gj0JQKhX1LYgS1Q1LyNBYZ_LM85

I’d been warned prior to going that all the baby talk would make me broody, and whilst it did a little, all the talk about labour put me right off. That along with all the talk of sleepless nights and never ending poo… I think I’ll stick with my fur-baby for now. To be fair, I’ve never been particularly interested in babies, I’d much rather a puppy...

BikeSo I mentioned in my look back last month that I was booked for a CBT as a birthday present from my friends. This came right at the end of the month, so I spent the whole of June being nervous excited for it, having never ridden a motorbike before. It’s also the reason this post has come slightly late in the day as I wanted the chance to include it properly. Although let’s face it, being a little late is pretty normal for me anyway!

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1WoJ6WVUvcS89GTbRH87zOJEGU5-azREt

Luckily a friend of ours also wanted to do his, so we went together which meant that at least there was someone I knew there. You go for the whole day, starting at 8:30 in the morning and not finishing until around 5 in the evening, so its pretty full on. Once finished you can ride a bike up to a 125cc with L plates on, or, you can take a theory and two practical tests to get the full bike licence, allowing you to ride any bike you like.

You can borrow any of the protective clothing from the test centre, but I was really glad to have my own already from riding on the back of Mike’s bike. The thought of putting on a helmet for the day, that someone else has worn, is absolutely not something I want to entertain. I mean, people take exams wearing those, I don’t want to wear something full of nervous head sweat… ewww...

Unfortunately for me, we had blazing sun all day, and I ended up with heat stroke, threw up, and couldn’t finish do the road ride. I’ll be back next week to finish it off, when it will hopefully be a little cooler. Despite being poorly, I still really enjoyed it, and seemed to pick everything up reasonably quick.

WeddingProbably the biggest highlight of the month… Mike and I have finally found a venue that is absolutely perfect for us, and have our wedding booked at long last. We’ve been engaged for well over a year, despite neither of us wanting a long engagement. We’ll be getting married in June 2020, so have a little under a year to get everything sorted. My Pinterest is currently full to the brim with wedding spam while we get everything sorted for the big day.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1ESDvL8ypO9_VfZKoYxu3nhAAQ-UmPNwT

Despite not being one of those people who has had their whole wedding planned out all their life, I’ve quickly got a pretty good idea of what I do and don’t want, and I’m lucky that my friend Katie has been pretty great at helping. Now I just have to focus on not eating chocolate all the time, and should probably ramp up my effort in the gym…

Despite my bout of sun stroke, I really enjoyed June, and can’t wait to see what July brings. With the better weather, and my birthday, I’m sure I’ve got a great month ahead.

What did you get up to in June?
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