17 January 2015

Review: Nip and Fab Glycolic Fix Pads

Of all the beauty and skincare products that I've tried in the past year, this is the one I would recommend time and time again. I love Nip and Fab as a brand and can definitely say that everything I've tried from them so far I have really liked. These Glycolic Fix Pads, however, are something else. I use them every morning and evening (may be a little excessive but it seems to work for me) and they leave my skin glowing, smooth and with significantly reduced pores. When used everyday they have dramatically improved the overall texture of my skin, eradicating any of those annoying slightly bumpy patches that I sometimes get on my chin a couple of days after exfoliating. 

My skin is normal-combination and not particularly sensitive and I don't find that they sting at all or feel too tingly, in fact I do find them quite soothing on the skin which is most likely thanks to the 'blue daisy' ingredient which claims to soothe and calm. Obviously if you are prone to sensitive skin it may be worth looking around for some more reviews of these to see what others have said about them. 

They are pretty affordable, you get 60 pads and they normally cost £12.99 at Boots (they are actually on offer at the moment with 1/3 off, but they're sold out online so get down to your local Boots ASAP!). So if you use them once a day they'll last you two months, or if like me, you use them twice a day they will last you a month. It might seem like quite a lot of money for something to only last a month but really that's only 3 or 4 trips to Starbucks that I am sure is easy to skip ;) 

I would whole heartedly recommend these pads to anyone looking for a quick and easy way to get refreshed and brightened skin in a swipe. Let me know if you've tried these and what you thought of them! 

p.s. Apologies for the shoddy photography here, I haven't quite gotten into the swing of taking pictures again yet. I will find another prop that isn't a cactus for my next one.

12 January 2015

Brilliant Books To Read This Year

I read quite a few books last year and read some absolute stunners, but below are a few of my absolute favourite reads of 2014. I'm hoping to do a lot more book reviews this year, so let me know of any books that you would highly recommend. 

I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith

My favourite book of 2014. It follows the story of two young girls, sisters Cassandra and Rose, living in beautiful, if slightly dilapidated, Godsend Castle with their father, Mortmain, mother-in-law, Topaz (an eccentric hippie who was a great secondary character), their younger brother Thomas and their house-helper, the handsome young man Stephen.  The story is not overly fast-paced, but I like a slow read and this one just managed to really touch me. There were a couple of paragraphs in particular, towards the latter end of the book, that I adored and bookmarked...

"Once I got used to the idea of being alone by 
myself for so long, I positively liked it. 
I always enjoy 
the different feeling there is in a house when 
one is alone in it, and the thought of that 
feeling stretching 
ahead for two whole days somehow 
intensified it wonderfully."

The main story follows older sister Rose who becomes romantically involved with the wealthy heir to the castle when he comes from overseas to visit. There is romance, some twists and turns, as well as an abundance of love, compassion and a truly relatable plethora of feelings. I recently read a review of this book on The Guardian that said the below, and I absolutely agree:

'This book was such a wonderful, enchanting and unpredictable read that by the end of it I felt like I almost was Cassandra'. Perfect.

The Penelopiad, Margaret Atwood

A recommendation from Jean @ Bookishthoughts on YouTube. She speaks with great passion for her love of Greek and Roman myths and legends, and studies the classics at university (possibly doing her masters now if I am correct?). She's got an easy to listen to Scottish accent and you can tell she just loves reading. Definitely go and check out her channel if you're into books at all. 

She recommended this book for some more easy reading from her favourite subject, and it was fantastic. This tells the story of Odysseus' travels after the Trojan War, but from his wife Penelope's perspective as opposed to his. Atwood, with her usual stunning writing, gives Penelope a magnificent, feisty and entertaining voice - it's a brilliant read, especially if you know even a little bit about the original myth. 

There is also a chorus of singing maids who were, in the original story, hung for their part in the myth and who tell their side of the tale in an interesting and fun way. This book is humorously written, interesting and easy to read. I would highly recommend. 

We Have Always Lived In The Castle, Shirley Jackson

How beautiful is this book cover? This is a Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition and is absolutely stunning in real life. Written by Shirley Jackson, an author renowned for her creepy, dark and often sinister fiction, We Have Always Lived In The Castle follows the story of Merricat and Constance, living in Blackwood Castle. Merricat offers a slightly unhinged narrative throughout as the heart of the story is revealed and the reason the neighbours of the nearby village are so hostile towards them comes to light. 

Merricat, Constance and their Uncle Julian have, over the years, developed rules and routines that enable them to feel safe and protected, however, with the arrival of a distant cousin, Charles, things at Blackwood Castle turn awry. The end of the book is filled with a dramatic final few scenes and you are left feeling thoroughly disturbed and unnerved. Definitely give it a go if you like a mystery full of suspense and a slowly developing plot. 

Let me know if you give any of these a go. Do go and look for some reviews on t'interwebs because Lord knows I'm not great at describing books. 

I hope you had a great Monday!

N.B. I would not recommend reading I Capture The Castle and We Have Always Lived In The Castle at the same time, or even near each other. I made this mistake and found myself getting the two mixed up. They are both stories about sisters living in a castle. Just a heads up.

7 January 2015

Goal Number One

My list of new year's resolutions is ever growing at the moment. As soon as Boxing Day is over I always want the new year to be here and to clear away the detritus so we can all start afresh with renewed enthusiasm, and this includes compiling some, probably unachievable, goals for the new year. I have already written six of these in the post below, and already have another to add to that list...

I want to be kinder. I want to be more mindful of people and of people's feelings and I want to stop judging people or jumping to conclusions about people before I know or understand them better. This is a goal I will achieve this year. I will definitely need some sort of book or app to help me do this so any recommendations would go down well. I'm not an inherently horrible person, not at all. I think if you asked people who knew me they would say I was kind, or at least nice, but I know I could be kinder and more giving. Sometimes I say things, even to my friends, that just kind of come out of my mouth before I've really processed them (my girls from uni, my best friends, will know what I mean if they're reading!). Whenever this happens, and someone takes offence or things I'm being short or cold, I can honestly say I never intend it to come out that way. 

I want to stop this happening and be more aware of what I'm saying and how I'm saying it. But it's more than this as well, I want to change my thinking. I admire people that appear to get along with everyone, can easily strike up a conversation and are always accepting. I do think that having the natural ability to do these things is a big part of it, but I'm sure that this can be learnt too. I am not sure that this is a quantifiable goal, in fact I'm sure it isn't, but it is one that I think I'll know if I achieve or not. 

I'll keep you posted. 

6 January 2015


Number One. Be More Productive.

Number Two. Cook more from cookbooks. Jamie, Nigel, Mary, Tom.

Number Three. Do one new thing every month. January - going to Prague. 

Number Four. Read 50 books. Minimum.

Number Five. Get at least two rooms in new house finished completely. 

Number Six. Learn to play 5 songs on my ukulele. Part of being more productive. 

5 January 2015


Dear World,

What a fantastic thing having a blog is. It has been a year and a half since I last posted on my blog, and yet it has been on my mind almost every day since. What a strange thing this is. A blog is not a living thing, technically, it does not speak to you or comfort you, and yet it feels like something that is there in the back of your mind, waiting with open arms until you're ready to come back, ready to start writing and speaking and sharing. 

It is one of my biggest goals this year to BE. MORE. PRODUCTIVE. In the past two years I have developed a habit of being very unproductive. I watch YouTube videos any time I have a few minutes, or hours, to myself. I find it hard to remember what I even used to do without YouTube? I love watching them, and I won't stop altogether, but I need to use my time more wisely. This is where my blog comes in. I used to love blogging and it became something I was very proud of. It will probably never be the biggest, the best, or the most well subscribed, but it is something I have done and it allows me to be creative. 

I still love beauty and make up. I've worked for BareMinerals and Liz Earle, as well as working in the fabulous Liberty of London with the best beauty hall out there. Beauty will always be my biggest passion. I also love books. Books have become more and more important to me in the past year. Sometimes I do go through phases, maybe a month or two, when I won't read, mainly due to being too busy (genuinely, I've moved three times in the last year and a half and started three new jobs - I'm indecisive) but I have increased my collection and have discovered, in particular, two incredible books that have stayed with me since reading them. Books are something I am very keen to incorporate more into my blog, books are beautiful and inspiring and I hope some of you will think so too.

A revamp is in progress, but as I am sure you know, this can take some time to get it perfect and I wanted to get a post up today. TODAY. But please know that Duck and Egg will be coming back with a new look very soon.

Everyone says it, not everyone does it. This is the start of good things. I will remember exactly how I feel NOW and use that feeling to make this blog into what I want it to be.

I hope to see you here throughout 2015.