30 June 2018

Debenham's MUA Masterclass

Last Sunday I had the pleasure of being invited to a Celebrity MUA Masterclass arranged by Debenhams with Amy's Makeup Box

Having never been to a makeup masterclass before, especially with a Youtube blogger with over 400,000 followers, I was more than a little nervous and unsure what to expect.

The event started with an introduction at 10.30 and we were greeted with muffins (always a good start!) and refreshments.  Amy was immediately lovely.  Friendly, chatty and open to any questions that we had throughout the day, she immediately put everyone at ease.  Amy was also more than happy to share her experiences of how she became an MUA and gave some great tips and advice of how to progress/start your career as a MUA and what you could expect.

We were shown how to do 2 looks over the course of the day, a bridal look and a glam look.  Amy told us what product and brush that she was using at each step, also suggesting alternatives and giving lots of tips along the way.  

I definately learned some great tips throughout the day, including a fool proof way of how to keep your eyebrows perfect all day with a great tip when applying pomade.  Check out Amy's Youtube channel (link above) to find out how!

I particularly loved the bridal look and thought that the model looked beautiful.  Gorgeous makeup without being overdone and was definately a look that I would re-create.

We broke for a lovely lunch of sandwiches and an array of cakes before getting into the second look, full on glamour.

I would not hesitate to recommend attending an future celebrity MUA masterclass. The whole day was wonderfully organised and we were made to feel very welcome.  I have started using some of the tips and tricks I picked up on the day in my makeup routine, particularly in terms of preparation and longevity.  

We were also gifted a wonderful goody bag of products supplied by Debenhams featuring Benefit, Dolls Beauty and Urban Decay which was a real treat.

If you see another event organised, particularly with the lovely Amy, go!  I would definately repeat the experience and pick up even more tips!

* The ticket for the event was gifted to me, but all opinions are my own, as always!

21 June 2018

Junior Styles

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not the maternal type.  I do not coo over babies,  I do not yearn for a mini me (god help us all) or a child that I can teach the ways of the world and hopefully, make it a better place.

I do confess though, I am a little obsessed when it comes to children's clothing.  I long for the day when my best friend has a child so that I can buy them all the amazing clothing.  There are so many funky, interesting and fun pieces available for children now and I do have a hankering to buy some of them, I'm just waiting for a friend to have one!

I was having a look at the OD's Designer Clothing website the other day and found myself, once again, checking out what options are out their for children, in particular girls.  I tell you, when my friend does have a child, they are going to be the best dressed child, ever.

Hear are some of my favourites:

There are so many styles available now and many, I confess, I would wear myself!   That gingham playsuit is simply adorable and can we talk about how utterly cool the Moschino playsuit is?   I think that I may need to create a "Best Friend's Baby" shopping list!

All of the above pieces are available on the OD's Designer Clothing website under Junior Clothing

Now can someone please make me that duck print dress in my size?

17 June 2018

Guest Post: Top 3 Menstrual Cups To Consider

One of my major life regrets is not discovering menstrual cups until my early 30's. Now that I know how amazing they are, I can't believe that I wasted so much money, exposed myself to more toxic chemicals than necessary, and threw so much trash into the landfill.

I'll give a brief introduction to the main benefits of menstrual cups, and then get into the details of my top three choices to consider.

Menstrual Cup Benefits

There are plenty of reasons why you might want to make the switch from disposable pads and tampons to a menstrual cup. The three biggest ones are health reasons, environmental benefits, as well as saving some cold, hard cash!

Health Reasons

Here’s something that scares me a lot…

Disposable pads and tampons sometimes contain pesticides and other toxic chemicals in them. Even though there are only trace amounts, it’s thought that repeated exposure to this stuff can cause some pretty serious side effects.

Top-quality menstrual cups are made from medical grade silicone. Be sure to get a cup from a reputable company (keep reading for our recommendations) and wash it well before use to ensure yourself a chemical free period experience.

There’s more! To date, there has been one case of Toxic Shock Syndrome associated with menstrual cup use; there are thousands of cases each year from tampons.

Environmental Considerations

Disposable pads and tampons create a lot of waste that goes straight into the landfill. Considering that the average person menstruates for 40 years, this really adds up. A portion of this waste is non-biodegradable plastic, which will still be here thousands of years from now. Due to the nature of these products, they cannot easily be recycled.

Compare this to menstrual cups—the average one can last for five years, and sometimes up to 10 with proper care and cleaning. They can often be recycled, depending on where you live. 4-8 menstrual cups over the course of a lifetime is certainly better than thousands of pads and tampons.It really does make a huge difference! Imagine if every single menstruating person in the world switched from disposables to reusables?

Save Money
I’m sure you know this already, but pads and tampons are expensive. This is especially true if you have a heavy and/or long flow. According to the Huffington Post, the average person in the UK spends 13 GBP on period products each month.

A menstrual cup costs about double that, which means that you'll recoup your costs very quickly. A bit more up-front, but savings for years down the road? It's a price I'm willing to pay!Let's get into the Top 3 Menstrual Cups that you might want to consider.

#1: The Diva Cup
The Diva Cup is the most popular menstrual cup in the world. The name is often used interchangeably with "menstrual cup" for this very reason.

The Diva Cup is made in Canada, and has a reputation as a top-quality cup. It's often the one that people try first, and end up sticking with for the rest of their lives. It really is that good!

The Diva Cup has a nice firmness to it, which beginners usually appreciate. The advantage to this is that it should just "pop" into place once you insert it in your vaginal canal. It will then seal to your walls, and not leak.

Check out the Diva Cup website for additional information.

#2: The Lena Cup
Although the Lena Cup is a bit of a newcomer to the menstrual cup scene, it's becoming increasingly popular. The company's mission is to provide an affordable, high-quality menstrual cup and they have certainly done that; it's often a little bit cheaper than something like the Diva Cup.

The Lena Cup is made in the USA from top-quality, medical-grade silicone and it has some of the highest user ratings on Amazon. It's easy to insert, and remove and most people find that it doesn't leak.

The regular Lena Cup has a medium level stiffness, which means that it's easy enough to insert, but not so stiff that it's uncomfortable. There is also the Lena Sensitive if you’re looking for a bit softer of a menstrual cup.

Find out more details at the Lena Cup website.

#3: The Ruby Cup
Taking the last spot on our list of the best menstrual cups is Ruby Cup. Although it's one of the most expensive cups, it has a place on our list because of their buy one, donate one program. For every cup that they sell, they give one to a person in need. To date, they've donated thousands of cups to underprivileged people around the world.

As far as the Ruby Cup goes, I love that the small size is actually small, and the large size is actually large. This is unlike many menstrual cup companies who put out two cups, where one is slightly above, and one slightly below average.

Although the Ruby Cup is made in China, they do have strict manufacturing standards and quality checks in place.

More details at the Ruby Cup Website.

How to Choose Which Menstrual Cup is Right for Me?
If you take a look over on Amazon, you’ll notice that there are 100+ menstrual cups. It can be a bit overwhelming to choose one.

A good place to start is out list here: the Diva Cup, Lena Cup, and Ruby Cup all make an excellent choice for your first menstrual cup.

Of, you could also consider this menstrual cup quiz. There are five simple questions that will only take a minute of your time. At the end, you’ll get a recommendation for the best menstrual cup for your body type.

What do you Think?
Leave a comment below and tell us your pick for the top menstrual cup.
 Author Bio: Jackie Bolen is a tree-hugging, friend of the Earth who can usually be found paddling the rivers, on top of a mountain, or drinking organic coffee around Vancouver Canada. Her hope is that reusable feminine hygiene products will be found in the hands of every single menstruating person in the world.

You can find her at Reusable Menstrual Cups (https://reusablemenstrualcup.com/) or on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/menstrualcups1234/).

14 June 2018

Navigating a Dating Life

If you have read this blog before, you may have come cross a post that I wrote in June last year about how I was done with online dating.

It was an experience that I did not forget or stop thinking about in a good while, but eventually I decided that I did not want to be single for the rest of my life so something had to change.  I decided to try a new platform.  This time, Tinder.

To be honest apart my past experiences with online dating made me more than a little dubious but I was as honest as I could be about myself and the images I shared in my profile and decided, what the heck, give it a whirl.

I started talking to someone, I will call him "A" (yes, that is all you are getting) a couple of months ago and we have been dating since then.  So far, no psychotic tendencies I am happy to note!

The thing about dating is that I have not done it in so long that I have forgotten what you are supposed to do.  How to act.  Where to go.  When the other person is similarly out of dating practice too, you are both going blindly ahead.

If you are not used to a dating life for example, you don't know where the dating staple of nice restaurants are in your area, how to navigate to them and figure out between you who is driving, where you are meeting, are you meeting half way?  So many questions.  One of the first things that I did in order to find my way around was to buy a sat nav

Seriously though, how did people function without them?

Naturally I tend to wear my heart on a plate and give it away before I should.  This time, I am being cautious.  I have had my heart broken and have let it be broken before so this time, it is nice just to date, have fun and enjoy ourselves.  Eventually of course something more serious would be nice, but for now, whether it lasts or whether it fizzles out, I am having fun.

I will be talking about dating as a plus size woman in a later post.

I am generally learning the ins and outs of dating but the thing that I am taking from it so far is be honest, be open, don't have preconceptions and go with what you both want and forget what the supposed rules are.  Make your own!  That is what I intend to do from now on.

How about you?

7 June 2018

Tips on Buying a New Build

So, you have decided that the time has come to move home? Perhaps you are in the process of looking for your first house? No matter what applies, it goes without saying that purchasing a property is something that requires a lot of consideration. There are so many different options to choose from, and you have everything from your budget to the location to take into account. One factor you need to consider is whether or not you are going to buy a new build. If you feel like this is the best route for you, which many do because they are able to take advantage of a low deposit by opting for a new build, read on to discover some useful tips to keep in mind.
Be prepared for delays – Let’s get the bad news out of the way – delays are fairly common with new builds. It is not uncommon for a new launch to run behind because of delays during the building phase. These delays can be a caused because of the weather, an issue with supplies, and so on! Therefore, it is important to keep this in mind, although buying any sort of house (new build or not), can encounter delays. It is a good idea to agree on a ‘long stop’ completion date with the builder, though. This means that the building firm will be liable to pay you compensation if the work is not completed by the date you have both agreed on. This can give you peace of mind while also ensuring any rental costs are covered if the worst does happen.
The financial side of things – There is no denying that one of the main reasons why new builds make so much appeal is because you can find yourself eligible for lower deposits and government help-to-buy schemes, which is ideal for those looking to get their foot on the property ladder. However, there are a few things you do need to be mindful about on the monetary side of things. For example, if you need to sell your property quickly after you have purchased it – say within a year or two – you may struggle to get back the money you have spent on it. This is because new houses depreciate in value in the short-term once you have put your key through the door. Nevertheless, it is not all doom and gloom because there are a number of different ways that you can tackle this. For example, you may want to think about enhancing the value of the property you have purchased. There are many different ways you can do this, from loft conversions and landscaped gardens, to adding a conservatory on the back of your house. Of course, planning to stay put for a few years is the best option. When you buy a new build, make sure it not only satisfies your needs now, but in the future too. You will also want to shop around for good deals and do not be afraid to negotiate with developers. You may not be able to get the price down, but you may get a few extras thrown in, for example, they may offer to pay for your legal fees or you may get some free furnishings. Finally, it is also important to compare your new build with older properties that are the same in terms of space and value. This will help you to understand the resale market should you need to sell.
Stay away from dodgy developers – The last thing you want is for your house to be built by a dodgy developer, which is why you need to carry out due diligence during the early research phases. There are a number of different ways you can narrow down your search and carry out the essential research that is required. Of course, the Internet is always a good place to start. You can begin on the developer’s website, but you should never merely rely on their promotional material. You need to read reviews that have been left by previous customers and make sure these have been left on independent review platforms so you can be certain of their authenticity. Not only this, but you should take a look at some of the houses they have built so far. There is only so much you can learn from photographs, so if you can visit any of the properties, great news! You should also get to know the developers. Once you speak to them, you should get an instant feel as to whether this is the sort of company you want to work with or not.
Get an independent inspection – Last but not least, make sure you get an independent inspection so you can make sure there are no issues before you move in. A lot of people skip the property survey when they buy a new house because they assume a new house is not going to have any problems! Well, you should be surprised! An independent inspection now can save you a lot of money and hassle down the line.

As you can see, there are many different factors that need to be taken into consideration when buying a new build property. If you follow the advice that has been presented above, you can increase your chances of finding the perfect new build for you while ensuring that the process goes as smoothly as possible.

4 June 2018

Can Working From Home, Work For You?

Being an office worker myself, the idea of working from home has always intrigued me and caused to wonder whether it is something that I may wish to incorporate into my working life.

Accordingly to research carried out by Seareach with 2000 office workers, only 21% are allowed to work from home, with  a further 16% with some restrictions in place.  

Security is obviously a big concern and many employers have cited fairness and productivity as potential reasons why they may not like the idea of staff working outside of the office environment.

Staff jealously of other co-workers having flexible hours and working from home days can also be a factor.  People do tend to wonder whether in fact any work is actually being done or whether their co-worker is just in fact sitting in front of the television, channel hopping with their feet up.

From my point of view, working from home can be greatly benefit and something that I do from time to time when I have projects on the go that require concentration and little distraction.  Other staff members calling into your office, the telephone ringing and other smaller projects being brought in for your attention can all cause a huge intrusion and cause you extra time.

Whenever I have a project that will involve pages and pages of notes or statement preparing, working from home is perfect for me.  I am able to organise what I need to do and do my work in a quiet, calm environment where I know that I will not get disturbed and as a result, the work gets done faster.

The mental stress that comes with working in an office too is often negated when you know that you have the flexibility in your job to take your own work and work on it there.  

As long as the work is done and in a timely fashion, in the days of Skype, email and the internet, do we really need to go into the office every day any more?

All images from Pixabay.  Collaborative piece.