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Leather and Glitter

Badass, with a bit of bling!

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5 Things – The Lockdown Beauty Edit

So we’ve been in lockdown for I don’t know how long thanks to the dreaded C-Word. No, not THAT C-Word; I’m talking Coronavirus. Every day has blurred into one for me and my daughter; and the little things like trying some new beauty products via the miracle that is online shopping has been keeping me sane. (Oh who am I kidding? I was never really sane before lockdown began, but let’s just say, I don’t think I could cope without these little things right now!). So, let’s jump right in with my favourite new beauty products I’ve tried during lockdown.

  1. XHC Banana Conditioner – £1 – B&M

OK, so I know I said I bought everything online but this is one thing I actually bought before lockdown started when I was popping into B&M to get my usual bargains. I saw this, read the ingredients and thought it was worth a try. It has no silicone – a HUGE winner for me. But what I also love is the freaking smell! I thought I’d have to travel to lush every time I wanted a fragrance hit this strong, but DAMN! I feel all tropical and ready for sunny weather (Ha!) whenever I shower. Definitely will be getting it again when I can get to B&M (Unless I can find it online for the same price) Because for £1, it’s an absolute winner.

  1. Lee Stafford Shampoo Massage Brush – £5.99 – Boots

While we’re on the subject of hair, let’s talk about this little gadget. I have wanted a shampoo massage brush for ages as I’d heard they can help to stimulate the root of the hair and encourage hair growth. Perfect for postpartum hair loss – if you know, you know! I don’t know if there’s any truth to it but after buying this I’d totally recommend it just for how good it feels! My hair has started to return to normal after having my daughter now, and has always looked pretty healthy – something I’m very grateful for – so being totally honest, it’s hard to know if something is working well for my hair. It’s usually easier to know if something isn’t working! But the feel of this massager on your scalp sends tingles down your spine in the nicest way possible.

  1. Eucerin Hyaluron Filler Night Cream – £25.99 – Superdrug

I ordered a few items from superdrug, and was promised a free gift. I had no idea what would turn up but I got a little pot of this. I’ll be honest, I was excited to try it as my skin seems to flourish with anything that contains hyaluronic acid in it. After one night of use, my skin looked incredible the following morning. I have a relatively young face anyway (I’m almost 30 and still get asked for ID if I’m not wearing makeup); but this stuff made it baby smooth! It’s a lovely lightweight formula (which is surprising for a night cream) and feels luxurious. There’s no smell, but that’s probably a good thing as I have rosacea and some fragrance sets it off. I’ve been using the cream for a few days now and my skin is looking and feeling amazing. I will be splashing out on a full sized pot of this when my generous-sized sample has run out.

  1. L’Oreal Paradise mascara primer – £11.99 – Superdrug

This was one of the things I ordered from Superdrug. I’ve always been a sucker for a 2-step mascara as my lashes always need boosting and who has time for falsies every day? Whereas an extra coat of mascara takes a lot less time and adds plenty of impact. I wasn’t a fan of the main paradise mascara, as I found it to be a little clumpy and the brush was just not right for me, so I use old favourites like the W7 Absolute Lashes over the top; but applying the primer first makes for a much more dramatic set of lashes, without the need for falsies.

  1. Nivea Q10 Firming Body Lotion for Normal Skin – £9.29 – Boots

I bought this for my stretch marks, not expecting a miracle. I’ve never been bothered by the colour of them – I earned my mummy stripes and I’m proud of them. What I don’t like is how my stomach seems to have aged 80 years over 9 months! I’ve lost my “baby weight” now, and my body is back to its pre-pregnancy size; but my skin stretched so much that it looked ridiculously wrinkled. I decided I’d give this a try and see what happened. Apparently you’d get noticeably firmer skin in 10 days. I thought that if the worst came to the worst, at least I’d have a very moisturised tummy. It’s been 2 weeks of using it every morning – I love the handy pump bottle, which, when left on my bedside table gives me quick access before I get dressed each morning. I can honestly say it’s working! My tummy is nowhere near what it was (and probably never will be) but my skin is definitely firmer and the wrinkles are flattening out. I am so pleased, and it’s giving me a bit more confidence to get out my old crop tops again, without the fear of my “elephant skin” peeking out from underneath.

So, that’s my 5 beauty faves for lockdown. What are yours? Have you tried anything new while we’re stuck at home?

Drop me a comment! I love to hear feedback!

SHEIN Haul

So I have been wanting to order from this site for a long time; but I’ve always been a bit dubious as I’d heard a lot of mixed reviews about the quality of the products, as they come from china and some people have loved the items, some have said they weren’t true to size / didn’t look anything like the picture.

As it turns out, I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

The SHEIN website itself is easy to navigate, but the app is even easier. If there’s something specific you’re looking for, the chances are that you’ll find it here. They have some budget items like the kind you’d expect to find on wish, and some higher end items that you’d expect to find in shops like River Island. The prices reflect as such and while you do get what you pay for, I would say that even the cheaper items are still pretty good quality for what they cost.

I also love that you can pay by PayPal or by Klarna – which feels a little bit more secure than just entering your card details.

So, here is what I bought, and what I thought of each item.

Clothing:

As I said above, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but there’s a HUGE choice! And I got a bit of a mixed bag. Overall, I’m fairly happy with my purchases, and I can’t wait to wear them, mainly when the weather is nice.

Simple Twist Front Longline Top – £15.49 Size: XL

 

It’s pretty clear that Sixe XL is a size 16, which you’d think would be too big for me, but all of my tops are a size 18 usually as I like them to be a bit on the loose side for that “slouchy” look. This top looked gorgeous, and when it’s had an iron I have a suspicion it’ll be one of my go-tos. I’m a sucker for grey. It’s a lovely soft jersey fabric which is super comfy too!

Beach Slogan Graphic Tank Top – £6.99 Size: L (12/14)

 

I’m low-key obsessed with this top! My husband and I always joke about my “Resting Bitch Face”, so this is the perfect top for summer – even if I don’t get to the beach until next year! It’s a nice stretchy cotton fabric and the print is really bold and eye catching. I would say that the sizing was quite large on this one, considering I went for my actual size, but as I said above, I like the oversized look so it didn’t bother me; but it might be worth noting if you want something more fitted.

Tribal Print Scoop Neck Tank Top – £4.99 Size: XL

 

I love this! I got this in a nice big size so it was floaty. It’s a lightweight fabric that’s a little bit like silk. The print is vibrant, and the colours and pattern are very bohemian – which is a vibe I love, especially in summer! It’s the sort of top that’ll go with jeans, shorts or a skirt, and can be dressed up or down. I’m pleased I managed to find such a cheap, yet versatile addition to my wardrobe.

Frill Trim Buttoned Front Cuffed Shorts – £7.99 Size: XL (16)

You’ll need to make sure you’re wearing nude underwear with these! They’re really pretty summery shorts but they are a tad see-through! They’re a lightweight linen fabric; and perfectly true to size. They even came with a spare button. My only regret is that I should have maybe bought a size smaller but that’s what I get for being under-confident in my body size.

Tie Front Floral & Polka Dot Peplum Cami Top – £10.99 Size: XL (16)

When this arrived I was disappointed. The fabric looked cheap, and the colour wasn’t what I was expecting. I was expecting “more” – especially for the price. But when I put it on and tied all the ties up, my faith was restored a little. II was expecting such a stiff, lightweight fabric not to hang very well, but it’s actually really flattering for my shape and while the colour was initailly a shock (I was hoping for a rusty burgundy, what I got was cherry red) it looks nice on me and will look great with some matching lippy!

High Neck Fitted Plaid Top – £3.49 Size: XL (16)

This is a kind of “scuba” fabric; and I got it to wear under my collection of pinafore dresses. I was a bit disappointed that the print wasn’t a little “finer” as it’s kind of pixelated but it still looks alright. It’s very tight for a 16 (Usually I’m a 14 on top, 12 on the bottom), but it’ll definitely still get worn, and it actually looks quite good with my jeans – I think!

Notch Neck Ribbed Tank Top – £4.99 Size: XL (16)

This is tight! And also another one for a nude bra only. (So please, excuse the bra that’s very visible and the fact that I don’t look too confident in this top!) I was hoping since I ordered a 16 it’d be a little on the looser side, and while it feels like a comfortable fit, it certainly looks tight! For the price, I’m not mad. It’ll be a simple comfy piece I can wear just for slouching around at home, under a tee for some extra warmth or even as nightwear.

Jewellery:

I didn’t get much jewellery as there’s not a lot I need and I tend to like to buy jewellery in person but I did have a little snoop through, and found the following items:

Rhinestone Moon & Star Earrings – £4.99

OK, funny story. Did you ever have a favourite piece of jewellery that you wore all the time until one day you lost it, and then missed it every day since? I did! It was a gorgeous pair of moon and star drop earrings that I got from Tesco for a fiver. While scrolling through SHEIN’s jewellery pages I came across the EXACT same pair. So they went straight in my basket. When they arrived, I can confirm they were identical. Absolutely identical. So I was thrilled that my favourite pair of earrings are now back!

Star Decorated Chain Choker – £2.49

So every time I watch SophDoesLife on Youtube, I always have serious necklace envy. I have a bit of a thing for her star choker, but when she said where she got it, I checked out the price and I decided I wouldn’t pay that much! Especially when my jewellery tends to have a habit of going missing (see above). So when I saw this little thing, I grabbed it! Metaphorically, of course. But needless to say, I am now the proud owner of a pretty, star-charm gold-tone choker. Yay!

Homewares:

As if the clothing and accessories weren’t enough, SHEIN also has a range of homewares, and cleaning products. I wonder if Mrs. Hinch knows about SHEIN as she loves a barg!

Crown Print Wall Sticker – £2.99

No haul nowadays would be complete without a little something for my daughter! I decorated her room last year before she moved into it at 7 months old. Everything looks gorgeous in there except the wall behind her cot, which is a little bare. I didn’t want to hang any frames up for two reasons: 1) if they fell down while she was in her cot they could hurt her. 2) she’s at the age where if she can reach anything, she’ll grab it, and I didn’t think it was safe. A wall decal, however, seems much safer, as once it’s stuck firmly to the wall, not a lot will get it off, even little toddler fingers! I couldn’t think of anything more apt than a pink princess sticker for this blank space! It was a bit of a faff to fit but once it was up in a configuration I liked, it looked awesome and I was well chuffed!

Rotating 9 Hole Clothing Hanger – £2.49

 

I’ve seen these things all over pinterest and at that price, I had to give it a go! So I bought 3. It’s nice and sturdy and has really helped increase my clothes space (which is just as well since I’ve bought a load more!). I did have to assemble it myself as the hooks weren’t attached but it was simple to do. I would totally recommend if you’re a clothes hoarder like myself!

Geometric Pattern Cushion Cover – £2.99

I knew this wasn’t going to be an actual woven cushion cover like it appears, and just a printed pattern on what I assumed would be polycotton, but I was pleasantly surprised when what turned up was a thick, microfiber fabric with a pretty good quality print! I’m going for a bit of a beach theme with my cushion covers this summer (even if we don’t actually get to go to the beach thanks to lockdown) so this was perfect!

Anchor & Letter Graphic Cushion Cover  – £2.99

Sticking with the beach theme was this lovely cover, which was also a nice heavy microfiber fabric. I feel like it’ll be a lot more hardwearing than a simple polycotton, which is great with a toddler and a dog about! And also considering I was expecting a lot less for the price, needless to say I’m happy!

Slogan Print Cushion Cover – £2.99

I went all out with the beach theme for this one. I can’t wait for summer now to get this on the sofa! I actually want to see what other slogan cushion covers they have as I have 2 spare cushion inners that could do with covering. Again this came in a lovely microfiber fabric which, I’d also like to add, is very soft and will be lovely to lay my head on!

3 Layer Hanging Storage Rack – £6.49

I needed something to organise my bags, because currently, they’re shoved on a shelf in a random mess and it’s impossible for me to ever find the one I’m looking for without making a huge mess. So I got this. It’s the same sort of canvas fabric as the organisers you can get from Argos, but I imagine if Argos sold this it’d be £12 at least!

Stationary:

So, Not only do Shein do clothes and homewares at bargain prices, but they aso do stationary. I was so excited to get some of this stuff! I started bullet journaling again at the beginning of May, so needless to say, I had to buy myself a few pretty things to go into my BuJo!

Slim Simple Print Washi Tape 20rolls – £3.49

I chose the black option. This is the cutest washi tape I have ever seen and I am so excited to incorporate it into my journal!

80pcs Mixed Pattern Photo Sticker – £3.49

These are amazing! They look like someone’s super cute Instagram aesthetic and, of course, I chose the pink option. They come in a matte finish so you could even write over them if you wanted! Some of them have quotes on which are badly translated English so they don’t all make sense but to be honest, for the price, I’ll definitely be buying more! I like the fact that you get two of each sticker too.

Flamingo Print Pencil Case – £4.99

I couldn’t resist this beaut! I have a slight obsession with pens so I wanted to get an additional pencil case to store some of them. I have a bit of a thing for flamingos and so when I saw this I was sold! As well as the heavy duty, gorgeously designed fabric, it’s also super practical as it has multiple storage compartments inside. I also love the zip tags which are little metal hearts – cute!

Cartoon Graffiti Sticker 50pcs – £3.49

These are so cool! I got two different packs! I love the 90’s vibe and the pink aesthetic! There were so many to choose from but I will probably end up getting more at some point! They will look great in my journal but I could also use them in card-making and scrapbooking too.

46pcs Planet Pattern Sticker – £2.49

These are stunning! I love a good galaxy themed bullet journal page so I thought these would be ideal. They didn’t disappoint! The box that they come in is unbelievably cute and the colours and designs are gorgeous. For the amount you get for the price it’s definitely worth it!

Mixed Pattern Photo Sticker Set 70pcs – £2.99

These were another Instagram style of stickers, again in pink. They came in the same matte finish and had lots of different sizes and themes. I love the floral looking ones. They don’t have any quotes on these ones so it’s literall just photos. Again you get 2 of each which is great for recreating a style if you loved it. I can’t believe the prices of these either!

10rolls Floral Pattern Washi Tape – £2.99

I couldn’t not get these. Obviously I chose pink! They’re such good value and I’m a sucker for washi tape. I’ll definitely be buying again! (That is, when I’ve figured out how to house all my other washi tapes!)

50pcs Cartoon Graffiti Pattern Sticker – £3.49

Here’s the second pack of 90’s vibe stickers. I love these and they’re quite big which makes them good for not only journals but other projects too. So excited to get these in my journal!

Round Random Colour Dot Stickers – £2.99

I thought these would be good for noting things down. I got sent the purple ones but it’s a lucky dip. Thankfully I loved all the colours there so for me I wasn’t bothered, and I use a lot of purple. For the price, you get a LOT of dots! I thought it’d just be a few sheets, but nope, they come on a roll! So chuffed with this!

Kraft Paper Cover Spiral Notebook – £2.99

This is a great little book for a journal or just for note-taking. The pages are pretty thick and hardly have any bleed through. I tested 2 types of felt tip pens, my staedtler triplus fineliners and my stabilo highlighters. Also the fact you can choose your page style is great! I went for dot grid as it’s easy to use for journaling and versatile for doodles etc. You don’t get a huge amount of pages – the overall book is quite thin in comparison to a lot of my other notebooks. However, for a dot grid notebook this is brilliant for the price!

Flower Print Random Notebook – £5.49

For the price, I have to say I was a little disappointed with this! It is not A5 size, but not quite a “pocket” sized notebook either. I was expecting dot grid all the way through, but it actually has all kinds of pages, which is kind of cool, but at the same time, doesn’t allow for continuity. That being said, it’s a lovely hardcover notebook, the pages don’t bleed very much at all – using all the same pens I tested on the Kraft journal. However I’ll be honest, I do prefer the Kraft one for journaling because of its size and continuity.

 

So that’s what I bought! Overall I’m chuffed and will absolutely be ordering some more things when I have a bit more money as there are so many things I’ve found since this last order! The postage was fairly quick – about 2 weeks! And if you spend over £35, you get free delivery. If you spend less, delivery is £4 which isn’t too bad since it’s coming from China. The packaging is really nice too, although it’s not sustainable as it’s very plastic, so that might be something worth remembering if you want to stick to environmentally friendly deliveries.

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How I helped my baby to sleep through the night

Before I begin this post, I’ll just point out that EVERY baby is different! Our little girl is an amazing sleeper and has always been quite independent; but there were a few things I did to help her along the way. Don’t get me wrong, she doesn’t sleep through every night – but as an adult, do you? Don’t tell me you’ve never woken up because you’re cold, afraid, or need to pee. But she does sleep well. And when I learned how to help her do that; I slept better. When I sleep better, my Postnatal depression is pretty much non-existent. Yes, I suffered. It was awful. And sleep deprivation in the first two weeks didn’t help. Once I went on medication for it I was able to cope with the sleepless nights, and had a clearer head to be able to deal with them; and help my daughter to sleep better.

This is not a sleep training post. We were thinking about sleep training but we don’t really need to as our daughter is a good sleeper; once we made a few changes to our routines.

Do: Eliminate Day/Night confusion

When a baby is first born, they have no idea about the time of day and they have no circadian rhythm. This means their sleep/wake cycles are all over the place. So, help them understand. Make it bright and loud during the day; and dark and peaceful at night. Have differences in day and night sleeps and they’ll eventually learn what those differences mean.

Do: Wake a Sleeping Baby

In the first few days I let my daughter sleep when she wanted. This usually ended up being during the day; which meant she was up all night. It also meant my milk supply was low because she was sleeping through her feed times and we had to resort to combi feeding to help her gain weight.

Eventually I started waking her every 2 hours during the day to feed her; and then let her sleep longer at night.

Do: Cluster feed in the evening

Cluster feeding in the evening (feeding closer together and longer / more substantial feeds) helps her to have a full stomach for longer so she’ll sleep for a longer stretch. It really made all the difference and we still practise this now.

Don’t: Put them in a sleeping bag during the day

We learned that our daughter slept well in her sleeping bag. It was a breakthrough. So we used it at night, and only gave her a blanket during the day. It helped her differentiate between night and day; and also helped her sleep better at night. And because sleeping bags are safer (as they can’t wriggle underneath them and suffocate); it was a no-brainer to put her in them at night so we weren’t as worried about the SIDS risk.

Don’t: put them to sleep awake.

It’s impossible to spoil a new-born. They need your help to do everything! That includes falling asleep. I nursed my baby to sleep and put her in her cot fully asleep right up until she turned 7 months old. Now she can self-soothe, I’ll put her to bed sleepy but not asleep; but until she learned to do this, there was no point in fighting with her and having to listen to the crying. It won’t be a bad sleep association – you don’t see 18 year olds still breastfeeding to get to sleep! Just do it and get some rest!

Do: Eliminate Colic and other tummy troubles.

Our daughter struggled terribly with silent reflux, and also constipation. We raised the head end of her Moses basket (not the mattress, but the whole basket); so she didn’t have such bad reflux. We gave her infacol every time she had a bottle as she struggled with wind. When she was old enough to have gripe water, we tried that and it seemed to help. We also had to give her lactulose (on prescription from the doctor!) to treat her constipation. And the absolute game changer was to keep her upright for 20 minutes after every feed. YouTube helped tremendously with this as I’d start a 20 minute video after she’d finish feeding so I knew how long to keep her upright for. This made such a huge difference as it brought her wind up, and helped her acid stay down. If you’re concerned about any tummy troubles, ALWAYS consult a healthcare professional.

Do: Be prepared for sleep to go backwards at some point.

Ever heard of a sleep regression? I hadn’t. They happen at major stages in baby’s brain development and cause babies to wake up more frequently and/or be harder to settle. It will pass. We’ve had 2 so far and they were awful but she’s back to sleeping well again and it is heaven. Enjoy the good sleep while it lasts.

Don’t: Brag about how much sleep you’re getting

When you get to the stage where you’re getting good sleep – be it at 3 weeks, 3 months, or 3 years – don’t brag to other mums! Chances are they’re tired. Every mum is at some point. Be empathetic and silently smug if you got a good night’s sleep. Talk to other mums about anything but sleep; and you’ll both be happier.

So, those are my tips. I’m totally winging this whole parenting thing though, so feel free to do your own thing. Don’t be afraid to follow your baby’s lead and your own instincts. Rejoice in the little victories and draw a line under the bad days (or nights). And if you’re ever unsure about anything regarding your baby’s health; ALWAYS consult a healthcare professional.

If you have any other tips, leave them in the comments below!

I’m a Selfish Mum – And That’s OK!

Hi Readers, I’m back again with a post that I’ve been wanting to write since the very beginning of my motherhood journey.

I’m a selfish mother.

Now, before you judge me (or mum shame me) hear me out. When I was pregnant, somebody I know made a comment that I wouldn’t be able to have nice things because all my money will be spent on my baby. Another comment was that I wouldn’t be able to wear full glam makeup because I wouldn’t have the time. I’d have to chop my hair off because baby would be too busy pulling it. I’d better get used to not sleeping because I’d never sleep again when baby arrives. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Well to that I said Pfft! I was not about to sacrifice the things that make me who I am just because I’m going to be a mum. I’m me, that doesn’t stop when I have a baby. I totally understood that I would be a different version of me; but I was determined not to lose myself entirely.

I went into hospital in labour with full glam nail extensions and a pedicure; and all the way through my 14 hour labour, I exchanged beauty tips with my midwives. But then I took my daughter home. For 2 weeks, I felt like I had completely lost my sense of self. I mourned the days where I slept, did my makeup and even left the house. But then I thought “what’s stopping me?” Just because I’m a mum, doesn’t mean I can’t do my makeup. So I did. Immediately I felt better. Then I went ahead and played “Jurassic World Evolution” (While I was Breastfeeding). I started to feel more like me – I can be a gaming mum if I want to be! I sorted through my wardrobe and got myself some gorgeous nursing friendly items. It. Felt. Great! I combi fed, so my baby girl slept longer at night. Best. Decision. Ever. (It turns out I had low milk supply, and she wasn’t sleeping because she was CONSTANTLY hungry! So making the decision to combi feed was discussed with my midwife, health visitor and husband who all agreed to help me on this path.) At 3 weeks, I went to baby group for the first time and it gave me a new lease of life. At 6 weeks I went to Slimming World and getting out of the house made so much difference to me. I felt like my old self again. When my baby girl was 8 weeks old I left her with daddy for an entire weekend to go to my Sister’s hen party. It was the best thing I ever did. My husband loved it and I was able to get a really restful weekend. I believe it was what helped me to overcome my very quick spate of postpartum depression – which was definitely more than just the “baby blues”.

Now, at 9 months, my daughter sleeps through the night, and I’ve had the time (and energy) to spend on myself. When I want to buy something for my daughter, I do, but I never feel bad about treating myself either. Once a week, I have a bath night where I have a whole hour to myself while my husband looks after our daughter (or more precisely, plays with our daughter. I can usually hear her shrieks of delight or laughter while I’m lying in a nice hot bath with a face pack on).

I work-out while she’s napping, and make my health and wellbeing a high priority. I’ve read countless times “Happy mum, Happy Baby.” So perhaps it should be more OK to put this into practise. My daughter doesn’t come first, I do. Because if I’m not healthy (both mentally and physically), then how can I expect my daughter to be?

Just so we’re clear, my daughter never goes without. She’s healthy, happy and has all the unconditional love from her mummy and daddy. I love being a mum; I just feel that it’s important not to feel guilty about practising a bit of self-care or having a bit of me-time. Losing your sense of self after having a baby is common, because there’s so much pressure to be the “perfect” parent. Parenting is hard! But being “Just a mum” is harder. Give yourself the break you need, and be a little “selfish”! You deserve it mama.

Speedy Makeup

Hello, Hello! Today I want to talk about Makeup again (I know!). Being a mum, I’ve learned that time is really of the essence! you barelyu have time to finish a cup of tea, let alone do a full face of makeup! So I’ve been practising. I have recently perfected a 15 minute makeup routine. It makes me look a little bit more presentable; and feel a whole lot more put-together. I’ll talk you through the products I use and the tricks I have up my sleeve to make you look more “hot”, and less “hot mess”! (Even if secretly you’re still a hot mess!). One thing I will say is that it took some practise and preparation. It helps if you have all your products and tools ready to go and easy to reach – be it in a makeup bag or on your dressing table.

After washing my face, I’ll apply a tinted moisturiser – this one from e.l.f. is my current fave – with my fingers, massaging as I go. Then I’ll apply a concealer to all the red spots, dark circles and uneven areas (basically my whole face, but who’s perfect, right?). I choose one with a fair amount of coverage – this Maybelline one is brilliant! I use my fingers to blend it in.

Speed is the name of the game here, so to set my face I use a powder foundation for a bit of extra coverage – NYX “stay matte but not flat” is fab! I usually use a big fluffy powder brush but sometimes if I really need to mattify (I’m an oily skin gal after all) I’ll use the sponge that comes with the powder. Then, I’ll grab a face palette that has bronzer, blush, and highlight – Primark have some great ones from time to time; I also love Rimmel’s palette as it’s perfect for travel. I apply a dusting of bronzer around my forehead, cheekbones and chin to warm my face up, then sweep blush on the apples of my cheeks, and highlight my cheekbones and T-Zone. I have 3 separate brushes for this that are job specific so I don’t ever get them mixed up and know exactly which ones to use for each powder – it saves a lot of time.

I’ll use a brow pencil to fill in my brows (I’ve tried several, but W7’s come up trumps at the moment), and an eyeliner pencil (NYX’s retractable pencil is beautifully smudgeable) to line my waterline, then I’ll grab a fluffy eyeshadow brush and dust a little bit of bronzer into the crease of my eyelid and underneath my eye, and a little highlighter on my inner corner and over my brow bone.

Spray on some setting spray (I love the BarryM Mist & Fixspray in the dewy finish) to hold it all in place. Fan it dry – this will save you time as you can go to the next step in your routine more quickly; and it also makes sure nothing smudges if it’s still wet.

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Then, a very important step, that only takes seconds, but makes me look so much more awake – I curl my eyelashes. 10 seconds on each eye is ample.

I add a mascara (Loving this one by L’oreal), a tinted brow gel (W7’s Majestic Brow Mascara comes up trumps again, but it’s now discontinued, so I’ll be looking for a replacement soon!), and chuck on a tinted lip balm like Vaseline “rosy lips”; and I’m good. To. Go!

I timed this look several times, and because I’ve got it all in a makeup bag – tools included – It takes me less than fifteen minutes each time. Despite my oily skin, this look stays on really well and gives enough coverage for my rosacea. I also think because I’m not faffing around with extra steps like using a beautyblender, adding colourful eyeshadow, or attempting winged eyeliner in a hurry (never a good idea!) it takes so much hassle out of the routine and therefore saves a LOT of time.

If you’re a busy mum, or just a busy person in general, I’d definitely recommend this look! If you’ve got any other time-saving beauty hacks, be sure to leave them in the comments below!

5 Things – The Pregnancy Edition

Hello, hello my lovely readers. It’s been a hot minute! In case you don’t follow my Instagram or twitter, or are new to my blog, there’s a good reason I’ve been away. In March, I became a first-time mum. I didn’t want to write about my journey in too much detail during my pregnancy because I was high risk; and felt like I’d be witching the whole thing if I wrote about her before she was born.

Back in July our lives took an unexpected turn, when I started craving olives. Don’t get me wrong, I like olives, but I’d never craved them like this before. I craved them so badly I was ready to make a 15 mile round trip just to buy a jar of them. I took a pregnancy test the next day, and it came up positive in a few seconds (much more quickly than the recommended 30 seconds you’re supposed to wait – I was impatient!). I was high risk because I fell pregnant with the copper coil still in place. And it was stuck. Once I’d had a couple of scans that confirmed my pregnancy was viable, we were away. I was at higher risk of miscarriage up to 6 months, and higher risk of pre-term labour in the third trimester. Despite this, our little fighter developed healthily and was perfect at every scan.

Now, my baby girl is approaching 8 months old! Time really moves so fast! So I figured I’d write about my pregnancy as my first blog post since I’ve been away. Let’s get down to it with 5 things I learned / would recommend during pregnancy.

  1. Sea Bands

Morning sickness in the first trimester (which for me happened all. Day.) was Hell. I was never actually sick, but the nausea drove me to distraction. I decided to give sea bands a try, and they worked amazingly! There’s no medication involved, they work on acupressure so I wasn’t adding anything to my body that could potentially harm my baby.

 

  1. The elastic Band Trick!

If you know, you know. Expand your jeans / trousers with an elastic band / hair tie to make room for your growing bump when you’re not quite ready for maternity clothes. I did this until I was about 22 weeks pregnant!

Image result for elastic band trick jeans

  1. Maternity AND nursing clothes.

If you’re planning on breastfeeding, get maternity clothes (or clothes youll wear while pregnant) that are also nursing compatible. Think wrap tops, deep v-necklines, zippers and buttons. Anything with easy boob access. #IfInDoubtWhipItOut

I didn’t do this, and bought a few maternity items, then had to rethink my entire wardrobe once I’d had my baby and had very little nursing friendly clothes.

  1. Birthing Ball

The name might suggest this is an item for the birth, but actually, you can use this right through your third trimester. It’s so comfortable and I spent most of my time on this when I was at home. Bouncing on them helps to strengthen your pelvic floor, and there’s also some people who say it helps get the baby into position, ready for the big day. You can buy a gym ball as they do the same thing, just be sure to check the sizing before you buy as some gym balls can be a little small to use as birthing balls.

Purple - USA Pro - Yoga Exercise Ball

  1. The Emma’s Diary App

I had seen somebody else post their pregnancy updates from the Emma’s Diary website, so I thought I’d check it out. It turns out there’s an app, which allows you to track your progress week by week, gives you a picture of what the baby should look like at each week (it’s kinda weird at first!) and how big (or small) it is. It also prepares you for what you’ll be feeling in the days / weeks ahead which for me were exactly spot on. There’s links to helpful articles on the Emma’s diary website and voucher codes for some free samples. I absolutely loved the app and it helped me stay calm knowing that what I was feeling was normal – because when it’s your first pregnancy, there’s so much going on in your body that you’ve never experienced before that it’s understandable to want some reassurance.

Emma's Diary Baby App

So there you have it. My (very condensed) pregnancy blog post. I’ll be writing a few more motherhood blog posts soon but don’t be fooled, I’ll still be writing my usual stuff too!

Let me know what you thought! Drop me a comment!

My Face Base

Hello readers. Since my last post was a skincare post, I decided to go to the next level and share with you my favourite base makeup products and how I apply them to get a flawless finish to set me up for the rest of my makeup look. As I mentioned before, I have oily skin and rosacea; which means makeup is always a struggle for me. But yet again, as with my skincare, I’ve managed to get my makeup base application down to a great routine.

Now before I start, I will just say that this is the base for a full face of makeup. I don’t wear this every day, because there is no need for a full face unless you really need it; and also, who has time for a full face every day? I will probably share my fast, everyday makeup routine in another post. Some great ideas to look flawless on a time limit – I’ve been practising because I know when I’m a mum, my makeup time might be a little sparse. But without further ado, keep reading if you want to know how to get a flawless makeup base that will last all day, even with oily skin. I am sure that all of the products except the first one I mention have been previously talked about on my blog, both here; and here. There’s a reason I raved about them so much then, and why I’m still using them now. They’re just so good; however this is a slightly more in-depth post about the way I apply each product and why I love them.

Step 1 – Primer

primer2primer

I’m a firm believer that a primer can make or break your look. There’s a bit of a science to it. If your foundation is oil-based, you’ll need an oil-based primer. If your foundation is silicone-based, you’ll need a silicone-based primer. And if your foundation is water-based, you’ll need a water-based primer. My foundation is silicone based, so I opt for two different primers. The first primer is the No7 Airbrush Away Colour Balancing Primer in green. I apply it with a damp sponge using a dabbing motion (The AOA Wonder Blender from Shop Miss A is my Favourite sponge currently) to the areas that are in need of some redness neutralizing – usually my cheeks.

sponge

Then I go in with the Max Factor Facefinity Primer; which I apply with my (clean!) fingers, all over my face. It’s a really great mattifying primer that doesn’t feel too heavy on the silicone which means that the foundation doesn’t slide off. It also has some serious staying power; which is what I look for in most of my base makeup – because my oil usually makes it slide off within hours if it’s not a long-lasting product.

Step 2 – Foundation

foundation

I freaking LOVE this foundation and have yet to find anything better. You should have guessed it by now, but in case you haven’t, it’s the Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation. For oily skin types this is so good. It’s not full coverage but a couple of coats nicely covers everything I need it to; and if you’re using concealer anyway (Which I do) then it won’t matter. I apply a few drops to the back of my hand (usually 2-3 pumps) and dab it on with a damp sponge (the one I’ve used for the primer is totally fine to use).

For info, I use the shade 2C3 – Fresco

Step 3 – Concealer

Concealer

When I’m done with the foundation and happy with the coverage, I go in with the concealer. My all-time favourite concealer to date has to be the Makeup Revolution Conceal and Define Concealer. It’s supposedly a dupe for Tarte Shape Tape – but since I haven’t tried it yet I can’t say how it measures up. This has a doe-foot style applicator, so I paint it onto my face in the areas that need extra coverage – usually my forehead, under my eyes, my nose, lower cheeks and chin; plus any blemishes. I then blend it out using the same damp sponge in dabbing motions. The dabbing is important because if you wipe or sweep the sponge, all you’ll end up doing is pushing product around your face and wiping off what’s underneath; making you look streaky. This concealer is such a good, full-coverage concealer that by this stage I usually look like I’ve had all my features erased. When I paint them back on, my “second skin” looks so flawless.

For info, my shade is C3 (I used to use C5, but found I looked a little too tanned)

Step 4 – Powder

Powder2Powder

Now, I love having flawless, matte skin; but I don’t want to look flat. It needs to have a little bit of dewiness to it in order to look like actual skin. So the setting powder needs to be the product that does that. And a trick I like to use is to mix a very small amount of loose highlighter pigment into my loose setting powder to give that gorgeous healthy glow.

The base powder that I use is the Maybelline Fit Me Loose Powder. It’s not yet available in the UK directly from Maybelline (despite so many beauty influencers begging them); but you can get it on eBay at a reasonable price. For info, I use the shade 05 Fair (I used to use the shade 10 Fair / Light, but it was a bit too yellow for my skin)

The powder highlight I mix with the setting powder (in a ratio of approx. 1:5) is the Makeup Revolution Pearl Lights Loose Highlighter in the shade “True Gold”. When I’ve mixed the two together I use that same damp sponge (I know, it gets a LOT of use) to pick it up and press it into my skin. Dabbing again; I pack it all in, all over my face. A lot of people bake at this stage, pressing it into the oily areas and under eyes then gently and dusting off any excess, adding a sheer dusting to any areas that haven’t been covered; but I tend to just push it right into every part of my face; because I have such bad oil that the powder helps to keep it under control.

Once I’m done with the powder, then I’m ready to go on with the other parts of my makeup routine, including the bronzer, blusher, highlighter, eyes, brows and lips.

Step 5 – Setting Spray

spray2spray1

The final part to a good base is actually the last step in the routine, but it takes all that powderiness and turns it back into flawless-looking skin. Normally I use two setting sprays. One to give me a little bit of extra glow; and one to seal everything in and make sure it all stays locked in place. The first spray I use is the BarryM Mist & Fix Dewy Finish Setting Spray which I shake vigorously to release all the shimmery particles; then spritz on. Before it dries I use my sponge (again!) to dab at any chunky spots of shimmer so it doesn’t look like I have sparkly freckles. Then I use a fan to dry it.

The second spray is the famous All Nighter setting spray from Urban Decay. I spritz it on once my face is dry and then fan again.

And there you have it. My steps to a flawless base for creating looks that will stay in place all day long, even with oily skin; that looks smooth and matte, without looking cakey.

Do you have any other steps? Any products you would recommend? Would you use these products / techniques? Drop me a comment below. And don’t forget to follow me if you want to see more of these posts. Your following really makes me happy!

My Skincare Regime

Hi Guys! Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I have to admit that since going on maternity leave, the nesting instinct kicked in, and I have been so busy with preparing the house for our little arrival! Now It’s March! Where has that time gone? Little one could arrive at any moment now as I’ve reached early term. February was also a really busy month because it was my birthday, and I literally had people visiting all the time. I’ve never felt so popular or so loved.

So anyway, I thought I’d share with you my skincare regime with you guys because after a lifetime of trying products and not quite getting in quite right, I feel like now, I have my routine perfected. I have found products that are perfect for my skin type and the order in which I put them on has made such a huge difference to my skin that I feel totally confident going makeup free most days now. In all fairness, it’s probably just as well, since I probably won’t have much time to do my makeup when baby girl arrives.

Before we begin, let me tell you a little bit about my skin type, so you’ll have some idea why I use the products I do, in the order that I do. I have a very oily skin type with fairly visible, sunken pores; and rosacea. I also have dark circles occasionally too. I very rarely breakout, but when I do, the blemishes are usually hormone related and appear in clusters of huge, nasty spots. So, here’s how I manage my skin and make sure it stays radiant and (ideally) blemish free:


Morning Routine:

Cleansing:

herbalism

I love to exfoliate; but unfortunately, due to my rosacea, I used to find that exfoliation left my skin very red and sore. The granules in most facial scrubs were far too abrasive and gritty, meaning that I was only exfoliating maybe once a week; when really, because of my oil, I should have been scrubbing much more regularly. That was until I found the holy grail of facial scrubs. Over a year ago, I went into a lush shop, and as usual, the friendly staff were more than helpful when I griped about abrasive cleansers and my awful, aggravated red face. They let me try their “Herbalism” Cleanser. Made with almonds (the nuts, not the shells), and chloroform water (which gives it that funky green colour) it was a match made in heaven. You take a pea sized blob of the powdery substance, mix it with a couple of drops of warm water to make a paste, the slather over your face and rub in circular motions until you feel thoroughly buffed. The almond is so gentle – because it’s the softer part of the nut that’s used as opposed to the hard, abrasive shells – that it works on sensitive skin, and the green pigment really helps with redness. It also contains a lot of other skin friendly ingredients that help with oiliness too. I’ve been buying pots of this stuff for, like I say, over a year now and really believe this was the first step in being confident in my skin.

Toning:

31kKo44HwXL._SY355_5013635830503_T1

Now, toners were something I used to use to suck the oil right out of my skin before I put on a moisturiser. I now know that this was where I was going wrong. If you suck out too much oil, your skin is going to overcompensate, and by the end of the day, it will be slick with lots of shine. Not. Good. I went to a beauty masterclass one evening with Arbonne, and learned a few things about humectant spray toners. Best invention ever. Up until recently, I used this rose water as a toner in a spray bottle; but then about a year ago I was reading up on some good skincare ingredients, and found out about the wonders of hyaluronic acid. It hydrates your skin deep down, penetrating the epidermis (outer skin layer) and moisturising the dermis (second skin layer); which in turn, prevents excess sebum production (makes you less oily). So now, I use the B. Hydrated Hyaluronic Acid Facial Spritz. Not only do I use it as a toner (about 7 sprays each morning usually works for my whole face), but I also spray it over makeup to keep me feeling refreshed throughout the day – especially in the summer. I used it on my wedding day to stop my makeup from feeling too heavy; and it make me look and feel radiant right up until I went to bed!

Moisturising:

elf-Beauty-Shield-Moisturiser-SPF50-50ml-75627829efc09a9913dfef75448b3ce21afa5cfabpore

Now, dependant on my plans for the day, I have 2 different approaches to moisturiser. If I know I’m going to be indoors all day, or if I plan on wearing makeup, I’ll use the Garnier Skin Active 3 in 1 Hydrating Aloe Water Jelly – which is made from ingredients that are 96% natural origins, contains soothing Aloe Vera for my rosacea and is silicone free – which stops my makeup from sliding off.

Afterwards I go in with my favourite oil reducing serum – Soap and Glory The Fab Pore Oil Control Serum. As you know, I’ve raved about this in the past and I still to this day have not found anything better! So I apply sparingly to my oily areas and the shine stays under control all day.

My other approach is for no makeup days, when I plan on being outside, or if I want a little bit of a glow. I’ll start with the serum, instead of the moisturiser; and then I’ll go in with E.L.F. Beauty Shield Tinted Moisturiser. It is the best tinted moisturiser I have ever tried. It doesn’t leave you orange, and gives a lovely, radiant glow. It also has an SPF in it, so if I plan on going out on a non-makeup day, I know I’ll be protected. On the days I do wear makeup, I always make sure my foundation has an SPF in it too.


Evening Routine:

Makeup Removal:

Simple-Micellar-Water-200mLRelated image

So in the evening, I always take off my makeup if I’ve been wearing any. I like to use good old fashioned coconut oil for slightly thicker, more stubborn makeup; and for less stubborn everyday makeup, I’ll use Micellar Water. Personally I favour Simple’s Micellar water because it’s nicer on my sensitive skin. I’ll use these products on a soft microfiber flannel or a bamboo fibre washcloth as it’s much more environmentally friendly than using cotton pads and the fibres actually get more makeup off per swoop.

Cleansing:

micellargeldove

I cleanse my face after makeup removal, just to make sure I got every last trace of makeup; because moisturising right after could mean pushing any makeup left on the skin into the pores and that’s not really going to help with breakouts. Also, if I’ve used coconut oil, it will eliminate that too. Coconut oil is good for some skin types (hello dry skinned ladies) but not for us oily gals. I like to use Garnier Skin Active Micellar Gel Wash for Combination & Sensitive Skin. I foam it up on a flannel with warm water and cleanse away any traces of makeup & dirt that’s left. It’s amazing that when you think you’ve got it all, there’s still makeup on the cloth after cleansing. A runner up product which I also like to use if I don’t have any of the gel cleanser is the good old fashioned dove crème bar. It’s great value for money and since they can be bought in multipacks, they’re great to have in the cupboard as a backup in case you run out of cleanser.

Toning:

B-Essence-Lotion-605300

Now, I feel like when you’re winding down in the evening, spraying an invigorating spritz on your face is only going to wake you up. It’s fabulous for a morning routing but for the evening I prefer to put the toner on with my hands. I also like something super hydrating, so I opt for B. Refreshed Essence Lotion. It’s got more of that lovely Hyaluronic Acid in it and it feels silky smooth. It’s a liquid, so I just pour a few drops onto my fingertips, then massage into my freshly cleansed face.

Facial Oil:

canvas

Yes, oil for oily skin sounds crazy right? But it really does work and since I started using oil on my skin at night, my skin condition has never been better. There is a catch though. Some facial oils are no good for oily skin as they are made of a different composition and are better suited to dry or combination skin types. The better oils for oily skin types are jojoba oil – which is very close to natural sebum – Argan oil and Rosehip Oil. These are antibacterial, and very lightweight, so perfect for those of us with oily skin. Personally, I use Boots Botanics Organic Nourishing Facial Oil with Rosehip. It also contains sweet almond oil which has sebum dissolving properties; and Argan Oil. I massage it into my face until it’s almost absorbed and leaving me looking a little bit greasy. But as I’m going to bed, it doesn’t matter, right?

Moisturising:

vanishingcreamnaked_web

The last step in my evening routine is to put on a deeply nourishing moisturiser. My personal favourite is Lush’s Vanishing Cream. It sinks beautifully into the skin, and contains antibacterial Lavender – which means you also get a really great mini aromatherapy session before bed, and gets you all nice and relaxed.

Masks:

B-Detoxed-Clay-Face-Mask-50ml-741261indexRosey_cheeks29efc09a9913dfef75448b3ce21afa5c

Once a week I like to give myself two different types of mask. A clay mask, and a deeply moisturising mask. I do the clay mask after cleansing and before toner. Usually I do this of an evening because in the morning my skin looks even more radiant, but also because I have more time in the evenings to relax with a face mask on. Currently I’m favouring the B. Detox Clay Mask; however my other favourites include the L’Oréal Pure Clay Detox Mask, and Lush’s Rosy Cheeks Mask (which is also great for rosacea and smells a-maz-ing!). The best way to apply these masks is with a brush, as it’s so much easier and less messy than applying with your fingers. I use an old foundation brush which I wash after every use; but you can buy specific brushes for face masks.

The deeply moisturising mask is just a thick layer of my moisturiser, left on for 10 minutes or so before wiping of the excess with a dry flannel. I tend to do this mask as the last step in my routine; and again, it works better for me if I do it in the evening as I have more time to relax.


So there you have it. My fairly simple skincare regime for oily, sensitive skin. Do you have oily skin and have any product recommendations I could try? Do you have a simpler or more complex regime? Drop me a comment below! And don’t forget to follow my blog if you liked this post!

5 Things – The Pet Peeve Edition

Hi Guys! I’m well into my third trimester now (32 weeks! EEK!). I’ve also left work for Maternity leave, which means I have a bit of free time I didn’t have before. I’m going to enjoy it before all my time is taken up with nappy changes and feeding.

These last few weeks, my hormones have been playing with my moods (not much change there!). I’ve been decidedly more irritable and the pregnancy rage is real. Very real. Anyway; I’ve always had a few pet peeves, but figured since I’m a bit grumpy right now, it’s the perfect time to have a good old rant; and where better to vent my frustration than my own personal slice of the internet? So, here come my top five pet peeves. Be prepared for some very grumpy writing; which I don’t tend to do very much of here on my blog; so this is new. If you’re offended by any of this; I’m not even sorry. There, I said it.

peeves

1. Leggings as Trousers

They are NOT trousers! They are footless tights, designed to keep you slightly warmer on those in between days; whilst allowing you to wear ballerina shoes without looking like a granny; or sandals without looking like a tourist. They are also more versatile than tights in the pattern department; so you can wear leopard print or florals on your legs (provided you do it correctly). The only time it is socially acceptable to wear leggings in public without a dress that completely covers your arse is when you are working out. Even then; you should be wearing sports leggings which are made of a much less see-through fabric. Nobody wants to see your VPL. Nobody wants to see your camel toe. At the very least, put on a longer top so you’ve concealed everything nicely. If you want to wear something with a skinny fit that’s not jeans, look for the word TROUSERS on the label. If it doesn’t say Trousers, then they’re likely to be leggings. Stay classy, ladies. Wear leggings as they were meant to be worn. As footless tights.

2. Indicators!

When you approach a turning, and the driver in front of you suddenly turns into it with no warning and you have to slam your brakes on to accommodate for their stupidity. When you’re waiting at a roundabout, thinking the driver to your right is going straight across in front of you when, in fact, they turn left and you could have gone. F*cking indicate! I mean, it’s a little stick on the steering wheel, that moves the same direction as the one you’re turning. How hard is it? Usually when I see people do this you could hear me about three miles away, yelling at them. I may actually over-use my indicators; because when my husband is in the car with me, He quite often says: “Why are you indicating? There’s nobody behind you.” To which my reply is “just in case”. If everybody had that mentality there might be less road rage, fewer prangs and a lot less anxious drivers – myself included.

3. Poor Table Manners

Where did etiquette go since I became an adult? Am I the only one who eats with their mouth closed now? When you eat, you should NOT open your mouth. If you can’t breathe, you should take smaller mouthfuls so you can swallow them before opening your mouth again; not sit there chomping a huge mouthful with your mouth wide open making the most disgusting noises imaginable; and letting everyone see your half chewed food going around as if it were in a cement mixer. This one has REALLY got me riled up whilst being pregnant. So much so that if there’s someone eating with their mouth open, I’ll likely leave the room so I don’t end up smacking them. Not. Even. Sorry.

4. Being underestimated

I am female. And proud. But I hate to be underestimated because of my gender. I don’t consider myself a feminist, because of the bad connotations that go with it; but I do agree that women should be equal to men on at least some things – their knowledge base and understanding of the world being one of them.

When you’re talking to a man who doesn’t like what you have to say; but then your husband/ male boss/ father/ other significant male in your life; makes the same point, and said man agrees with him over you? Well it makes your blood boil.

When you go into a shop that is considered “Manly” by society (Hardware shops, computer shops etc.) and the male sales assistants assume you have no idea what you’re looking for. This is a favourite pastime of mine; because I love to see their faces when I reel off a list of item specifics that often leave them dumbstruck. You can see the cogs start turning. It’s a woman? Who knows what she wants? Good Lord No! It works even better when you look extra “feminine” (Heels, pretty dress, lipstick etc.)

So yes; I am female. And yes, I know some sh*t. Deal with it.

5. Then & Than

So, I don’t know when or why this started. I started noticing it about three years ago. At first I thought it was just a couple of insignificant, possibly innocent, grammatical mistakes. No big deal. But then it became more “popular” if that’s the right word. People using the word “than” instead of “then”; and the word “then” instead of “than”. Can somebody explain to me why? I mean, it’s not like anything extra needs to be typed. It’s just plain idiocy at its finest. In case you need re-educating because you didn’t pay attention in Basic English classes in primary school or you have just lost the ability to be grammatically correct in the age of social media; let me give you a little reminder:

  • Then – adverb – commonly used to detail a specific time; usually after another event.

“There was lightening flashing all around; and then came the thunder.”

  • Than – preposition – commonly used for the sake of comparison.

“The thunder was much louder than a jet engine.”

Get it right people! Or I may have to start correcting your grammar!


So there you have it. A totally new side to my blog – having a good old rant about stuff. Don’t forget to comment your pet peeves and let me know if you agree with mine. I promise I’ll write a less grumpy post next time.

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