Monday, 31 January 2011

Monday Musings VI

Hello lovelies! Hope you're having a wonderful start to the week and that life isn't proving too stressful :) Last week really seemed to drag, hence I'm happy to be bringing you my Monday Musing for this week (which I hope will move a little more speedily!)

Quite a few posts this week from me :)

On Tuesday, I finally got round to doing my epic current skincare post, which is basically a Liz Earle Love fest hehe
On Wednesday, I treated myself in The Body Shop BOGOF sale offer and got a genuinely awesome bargain!
On Thursday, I posted an Alva Showergel review
On Saturday, I treated you an an Inspirational Interview of epic epicness with Caitlin from Shiro Cosmetics
On Sunday, I had a fight with several videos but eventually brought you my video review of ELF bamboo brushes and some other ELFy bits :)

♥ Eye Eye
This week I feel like I've mainly seen a lot of school - my week moved really slowly for some reason and it felt like I spent most of my time there... however, this can't be true as the other thing I spent a lot of time seeing was friends! We had 2 different sets of friends over for dinner, and hosted our cell group and I went for dinner with a couple of friends as well! (Not to mention the obligatory meeting up for coffee midweek!)

I've also been doing lots of reading this week which has been a nice distraction from work and a good bit of escapism - I utterly love trashy vampire fiction and have ever since I was about 10 or 11 and got a copy of The Secret Vampire by L.J.Smith free with Just 17 magazine. At the moment, I'm in the middle of the Morganville Vampires series, which I'm enjoying for its distinct lack of sparkly vampire (although I am partial to a bit of Twilight on the odd occasion when I want my brain to feel like mush)

♥ Whirring Cogs
You're probably bored to death of me saying this, but this week I've been thinking a heck of a lot about my GTP. I sent off my application last week and now I start the joyous process of waiting to see if I've made it through the first round of short listing.

I've also spent a fair bit of time wishing I worked a more flexible/financially rewarding job for two reasons - firstly, because I would have utterly loved to go to IMATS and secondly because I was invited to the Professional Beauty show bloggers event at the end of February but as it's term time I'll be working :( I was devastated.

♥ Hidden Treasures
This week I think you should check out...
Sprinkle of Glitter for super cute posts that often make me giggle, lots of lovely reviews and pretty pretty pictures!
An Exception to the Rule because she's a genuinely awesome person and picked me up an Inglot palette at IMATS - her blog is also choc full of reviews and the latest beauty product news and she doesn't have nearly enough followers!
Life of a Cosmo(naut) for amazing amounts of swatch p*rn....another utterly fab lady with not anywhere near as many followers as she deserves!

♥ The Path...
This week, I'm going to remind myself to let go and let God.

♥ Respect Yourself
Over the last week, I've had the privilege of being able to support a fair few friends (in my actual life and my blogging life) who've gone through some pretty difficult times. Hence my "Respect Yourself" idea of the week isn't actually related to things for us but to things we can do for others. Sadly, Western Culture is very focused on the "Me Monster" - when all that's important is yourself and we end up so busy that our sense of self preservation kicks in and we allow those around us to fall to the peripheries of our priorities. I think it would be amazing if this week, everyone who reads this makes an extra effort to help the people around them who need help. Put a line through the gym visit and go visit the friend who's having a tough time instead, buy an extra cup of tea when you're in Starbucks and give it to the first homeless person you see (better still, buy an extra Boots meal deal and give them that instead), send a spontaneous bunch of flowers to your mum/aunty/best friend and tell them that you love them, that you're thinking of them and that you're always willing to lend a hand where needed.... don't let the person have to wait an 30 minutes for the next bus because they don't have the correct change - pay for their ticket and don't expect them to pay you back, send a message to the person on twitter who seems hurt and upset, ask a friend how they really are and just listen for a while. Imagine if everyone who read this post did this - I think there'd be a few happier people out there, and that wouldn't just be the people that we show a little love to :)
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Sunday, 30 January 2011

Elf Bamboo Brush Review Video (and a couple of other bits too!)

Hello lovelies

Hope you've all had a lovely weekend! I feel like I've spent most of my weekend trying to make a little video review of a couple of bits I was sent by Elf (and a couple of bits I bought myself) It's been a bit epic though - first, I filmed it in HD... it was going to take 23 hours to upload :| Then I started filming it again this morning only to have my camera die out on me. In the end, I gave up on the camera all together and decided to film it on my Macbook and hurrah it uploaded super quickly, but I'd not set the fps correctly so much audio and video were all out and sync hence I've just had to go back and edit it and finally it's done!! Hope you enjoy xx

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Saturday, 29 January 2011

Inspirational Interviews - Caitlin from Shiro Cosmetics

Hello beautiful followers! I'm so flipping excited about today's Inspirational Interview - Shiro Cosmetics have become one of the hottest names in the Indie Makeup scene over the past few months and as one of the first customers through Caitlin's virtual doors, I'm super excited to be able to bring you today's Inspirational Interview with the dinosaur lady herself. Enjoy my lovelies!

Thank you so much for agreeing to take part! Firstly, can you tell me a
little bit more about yourself please?

Oh, let's see here. I'm 20, half-Chinese, 5'5, a single mom of an
almost-2-year-old, a full-time student (math major), a nerd/geek, a black
belt in Tae Kwon Do, a pianist, a hobbyist model, an occasional
codemonkey, a business owner (ORLY?), a fairly awesome person, and a
velociraptor. I stay quite busy. :)

How long have you been making makeup and what inspired you to start?

Shiro Cosmetics opened in late April of 2010, so I haven't even been open
for a year yet! My inspiration was Ana of Lipsticks and Lightsabers and
many of her wonderfully geeky readers. I'd already developed a strong
interest in makeup, but then I read one of her blog posts about how
awesome it would be if somebody made nerd makeup, and her followers were
suggesting really fantastic names for colors, and I was like, "PICK ME,

What are the best and worst parts of running your own indie makeup company?

The best parts are meeting amazing people who share so many of my
interests, and making enough money to support myself solely through
something I created. The worst part is definitely the sleep deprivation. I
don't think it would be bad if I didn't have so much else on my plate, so
I really can't blame the business for that, but it's definitely a
contributing factor...

Your company has had fabulous success so far and has been really well
received - did you expect to take off so quickly?

I knew there would be an enthusiastic niche market for nerd-themed makeup,
but I'm shocked that the niche turned out to be so very large and so very
enthusiastic. I also certainly didn't expect to be making enough to
support myself in less than a year since opening! A huge thank-you goes
out to everyone who's made this possible, because you guys rock my life on
a daily basis. <3

If you could choose only 5 colours from your current collections to use for
the rest of your life, what would they be?

Meowth, SS Anne, Temple of Time, Veran, and Gengar.

Had you tried many other Indie Makeup Companies before you started making

your own makeup? If so, where were you a frequent customer and did anything
about them inspire you in making your own cosmetics?

I did buy a lot of makeup before I opened - it was all in the name of
science, of course! My purchases were mostly from Fyrinnae so I could
admire and attempt to emulate the complexity and pigmentation and adhesion
and whatnot. The other thing I did before I opened was to read a LOT of
reviews of other companies. I took note of what people appreciated and
what they didn't like, both from a product and a customer service
perspective, and tried to model my business after all of the good things.

What does your average working day look like?

No school: I wake up whenever my son does, which is between 4:30 and 9:30
AM (usually around 7-7:30). I get both of us ready for the day and then
play with him or drive him around town until he decides he wants a nap
(usually around 11-12ish). As soon as he's asleep, I begin frantically
filling orders. I manage to keep most of my items in stock, so filling
orders just means grabbing the correct items from their bins, occasionally
making a quick batch of new things when needed, picking out complementary
samples, bagging, writing cards, and packaging. My son wakes up around
2:00, and at this time my mom is usually available to take him until 4:00
or so. I continue order-filling during this time and am generally ready to
go to the post office as soon as my son returns. The rest of the afternoon
either consists of playing with my boy or bribing my brother to watch him
so I can restock items, work on new products, answer conversations and
emails, et cetera. Son goes to bed at 8:30 and my work continues well into
the night - I restock items (this seriously takes a LOT of time every
day), get started on the next day's orders if there are many of them, help
clean the house... Around midnight I print out the orders I've received
during the day and their packing slips, and then I get to bed around 1 AM
most nights.

With school: CHAOS.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time when you're not making makeup?

What is "Free Time" and where can I purchase some? In my very sparse spare
moments, I love playing games (video/board/card are all great) with
friends, reading, watching good movies, taking super-long hot showers...

You recently released your Mini Kawaii Collection - what other collections

can we look forward to in the near future? *coughstarwarsplease*

I'm sorry, were you subtly hinting at something there? :P My next
eyeshadow collection will be Sonic-themed at Ana's request. I'm also
planning on releasing a little something new right around Valentine's day
if I can get it done in time; we'll see how it goes.

I know you're an avid gamer - what's your favoured platform and what games
are you loving right now?

I love my Nintendo DSi because I can take it everywhere and be ready to
play in an instant (I'm one of those sorts of people who never turns it
off). I'm currently playing Trauma Center: Under the Knife 2, which is all
kinds of fun. Obviously I'm a huge Pokemon fan as well - I'll be buying
Pokemon White in the Spring! :)

Ok time for some quick fire questions:
3 Favourite Items of Make up:

Corporate: Bourjois Liner Effect mascara; Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner in
Zero; Too Faced Shadow Insurance
Indie: Fyrinnae Velvet-Gel Silica Primer; SoBe Botanicals Oil Control
Powder; Hi-Fi Cosmetics Spotlight Lip Glaze in Gin and Sin

3 Favourite Foods:

Potstickers; Ben&Jerry's Mint Cookie ice cream; shrimp sauteed in butter
and white wine and garlic

3 Desert Island Items:

Water purifier; satellite GPS; fully charged cell phone with reception

3 People who've inspired you:

My first Tae Kwon Do instructor, Mr. Davis; my dad, who is one of the most
driven and hardworking people I know; Jesus

3 blogs you'd like to recommend:

Other than yours?  Lipsticks and Lightsabers; Le Gothique; Phyrra

3 words of advice:

Find some way to make a living doing what you love; don't get addicted to
anything *coughworldofwarcraftcough*; travel if you can because the world

is awesome.

Caitlin, thank you so much for your fabulous interview! I utterly adore your company and am in awe of all that you've achieved and all that you do (I can't believe you're only 20 - I think you might be my new hero!). Ladies, if you haven't checked them out already, I suggest you go visit the Shiro Etsy shop now!
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Thursday, 27 January 2011

Alva Naturokosmetik Exotic Shower Gel Review

Hello my lovelies! Hope you're all doing ok - very excited that it's nearly the weekend. I feel like this week has dragged on forever! Today I'm going to be bringing you a little review of this Alva Naturokosmetik Exotic shower gel that I've been trying as part of the My Pure bloggers panel.

Just incase your secondary school German isn't up to scratch, Alva are a German organic skincare brand who have been going strong since 1988. The have quite a few different ranges including skin and body care and makeup.

I decided to give the exotic shower gel a go for two reasons - 1) because I love exotic smelling showergels and 2) because we were running out of shower gel. Like everything sold on My Pure, this is free from sulphates, parabens and phthalates and the showergel itself is actually plant based.

Based on the list of ingredients, it sounds yummy enough - soothing aloe vera, skin softening glycerine and sweet orange water. However, I found it to be a bit of a mixed bag.

The shower gel itself foams up fairly nicely if you use a shower puff (don't even think of just using your hands because you're not really going to get that far) but its the smell that's really disappointed me. It just smells... odd. It's not really exotic fruit, it's just a weird slightly synthetic tropical inspired smell. Looking at the list of ingredidents, this makes sense as there are no essential oils or fruit extracts (other than the sweet orange water) listed - merely parfum, which tends to be synthetic (as opposed to perfume, which tends to be essential oil based, however I'm willing to be corrected on this if I'm wrong)

Also, the packaging is a bit of a nightmare - its got a flip top lid which stores up pools of water if you leave it on your shower shelf... also the showergel has a tendency to just run out the minute you open the lid meaning that you waste a fair bit of product every time you use it.

My overall thoughts that are whilst this isn't a bad showergel, I imagine that there are better (and cheaper) organic showergels out there.

Price: £6.50 for a mere 150ml
♥ ♥ 1/2 out of 5
Would I buy it again? No
Available from my pure
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Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The Body Shop BOGOF Offer

Hello lovelies!

Just to give you a quick heads up - The Body Shop are currently offering buy one get one free on their current in store sale line (by in store I mean High Street store, not webstore - they have different offers!) - this includes some of the amazingly reduced box sets, shimmer cubes and body butters amongst other treats! This offer is available in their regular high street stores until February 13th (or until they run out of sale stock)!

Also, if you have a Love Your Body card, you still get a further 10% off ... and if you're super lucky like me and have your birthday ion January or February, don't forget to claim your £5 birthday treat money against it.

I was really lucky today and managed to get two massive gift boxes with a combined total of £68 for a mere £8.50 (£34 of products in a £23 box reduced to £15 on bogof with 10% love your body discount and £5 love your body birthday gift!) Here's what I got:

Pretty awesome no? I picked up the Pink Grapefruit (my favourite!) and Mango gift sets, both of which contain a shower gel, soap, body butter, scrub (all full size) and a shower puff!

Have you managed to pick up any fabulous bargains in the sales this year? Will you be checking out The Body Shop bogof?

Also, a massive thank you to the sweet assistants in The Body Shop on Stonegate who were just lovely today and a wee heads up for York peeps - Stonegate Body Shop are offering Free Makeovers every Friday at the moment, perfect for getting your makeup done before a big night out or maybe just giving something extra a go. If you pop in and book, be sure to tell them I sent you :) xx

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Tuesday, 25 January 2011

My Current Skincare Regime (aka a Liz Earle Love-in)

Hello lovelies!

I hope you're all having a wonderful day. Today I thought I'd share with you my current skincare regime... you might notice that it contains one brand and one brand only, and although technically all of these products were sent to me free for review purposes (and I'll be giving you a mini review of each and every one), I'm already making plans to repurchase my Cleanse and Polish as I'm down to the very last pump and know for certain that I'll be sticking with this long term.  Since starting to use Liz Earle bits and bobs, my skin has dramatically changed - my skin is never dry or flakey (something it has always been, regardless of how intensive a moisturiser I've used), my blocked pores and blackheads are pretty much gone and my skin itself is just much more radient, less dull and grey and less prone to redness.

Cleanser - Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish
I've done a full review of this before just here and I'm still just as smitten. This takes every little scrap of makeup off and gentle exfoliates too thanks to the muslin cloths. The essential underpinning of my entire skincare regime and I really can tell the difference if I don't use this. 

£11.95 for 100ml, £13.25 for 100ml Starter Kit - lots of other sizes availiable too.

Toner - Instant Boost Skin Tonic
I'm a complete and utter toner addict.... well, alcohol free toner addict. Anything with alcohol in sends my skin wild and some toners are just evil (looking at you Clinique 3 Step). This, however, is beautiful and I love having it in spritzer format (it's also available in a regular bottle) to give my skin a nice quick blast of rehydration post cleansing or just to perk it up in the day. It contains lovely skin softening Aloe Vera and Vitamin E, as well as lots of yummy soothing things like cucumber, calendula and chamomile. The fab thing about a spritzer is that it eliminates the need for cotton wool - saves money and the planet!

£12.00 for the 200ml Sprizter, £11.75 for the 200ml bottle (other sizes also available)

Moisturiser - Skin Repair Moisturiser (Normal/Combination)
I've never really thought of myself as a normal/combination girl before, but in the Land of Earle, I'm just that. This is a truly luxurious cream that's rich without being overpowering - less is more ladies and with this you only need the smallest amount on the end of your finger. I use this morning and night and really do adore how it makes my skin feel. It sinks in quickly and you're not left feeling tacky or sticky for hours on end. It's also full of yummy treats like avocado oil (mmmm hello natural source of Vitamin A and E), borage oil which is a fabulous natural source of the fatty acid GLA to keep your skin plump and soft (also, I recommend googling Borage - it has such pretty flowers that you can actually eat!) as well as lots of other lovely skin treats. 

£17.60 for a 50ml jar/tube

Eye Cream - Daily Eye Repair
Eye creams are something that I'm always a little unsure about - do I really need one? Really? I figure that as I inch my way closer towards 30, I should probably start investing a little more into my eye area so I decided to give this a try. It's lovely - nice and light and I love the fact that it's in a tube rather than a pot to reduce any risk of contamination or infection (no-one wants a scabby eye). It also has an SPF 10 and light reflecting pigments to help conceal dark circles.

£13.25 for 10ml

Serum - Superskin Concentrate
This is another product that I was utterly skeptical about - oil.... for my skin... to go under a moisturiser? Eyebrows were very much raised but the lovely Louise managed to convince me to give a try when I was at the opening of the Leeds flagship store. Oh my goodness, I'm so glad that she did. I think that this is one of the moist important parts of my entire skincare regime and is probably the thing that's helping with the tightness and dryness that I used to experience. On the few days when I haven't used this, I have definitely noticed a big difference in the way that my skin feels and how well my moisturiser soaks in. Ladies, you need this. I use it every single night after toning and before moisturising. It is literally packed with goodies - avocado oil (see above), rosehip seed oil for locking fatty acids in, Argan Oil for vitamin E and general skin restoring goodness, Neroli oil (my favourite essential oil) to help uplift and revive you and tonnes of other treats. It's also an excellent way of reminding you to give yourself a daily facial massage - even if it's just for a minute or two, this can dramatically improve the condition of your skin. Also don't be fooled into thinking that this is just for us dry, sensitive types - this is perfectly fine to use on oily skin (so I've been told). Also, don't be put off by the price - I use 1/2 to 1 pump a day... that's nothing! It will be a long lasting investment :)

£37.80 for 28ml bottle or £18.40 for 10ml roller ball.

Exfoliator - Gentle Face Exfoliator
I don't know about you but I love exfoliating - there's just something so satisfying about knowing that you're scrubbing off all those dead skin cells and knowing that you'll be left with lovely, soft, refined skin. This is very gentle but surprisingly effective as well - normally I go for facial exfoliators which are the equivalent of a sand blaster, but this is much kinder to my face and much more effective. It's got a lovely fresh eucalyptus scent which will help to rid your skin of any impurities (it's also a natural antiseptic), skin softening treats like cocoa butter, beeswax and sweet almond oil and jojoba beads as a natural exfoliant. Fabulous!

£12.50 for 70ml pump

Face Mask - Brightening Treatment Mask
For the first time in my life, I use a weekly face mask. Why? Because one of the most fantastic things about this mask is that it's speedy to get to work - anything between 30 seconds and 2 minutes is acceptable time for it to work its brightening magic making it perfect for those of us that can barely find 10 minutes to sit down let alone 10 minutes to mask up our faces. I use this after exfoliating (which apparently doubles its effectiveness - who knew?!) and come away with radiant skin.... my dull skin days are very much over. It's got a very errrr exhilarating smell (read as "a little bit antisepticy medicinal but in a nice natural way" but don't let that put you off. This is a fantastic mask for those of us looking to brighten up tired looking skin and give it an extra boost. 

£12.25 for a 50ml pump

You can buy Liz Earle products here

Phew! Blimey - well done if you've made it right to the very end. You really are a trooper. There you have it - my current skincare regime which I truly and utterly adore. What are you using at the moment ladies?

*Disclaimer* These products were provided as PR samples for review purposes however my opinion is my own. These are products that I love and will be buying again in copious amounts with my own money :)

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Monday, 24 January 2011

Monday Musings V

Hello my lovelies - apologies for the lack of Musing last week - the combination of my birthday on Tuesday and getting sinusitis meant that I wasn't really in the Musing mood (far too excited/ill!) However it's business as usual today and I hope you enjoy :) Do feel free to leave me a comment telling me what you've been Musing over this past week.

Ok so lets cast out minds way back in time and see what the last couple of weeks have held blog wise!

On Tuesday 11th, I reminded you all about the Nails Inc/Diet Coke promotion
On Wednesday 12th, I shared some info on the beautiful polishes from A England that appeared in my inbox
On Thursday 13th, I swatched like a mad woman and treated you to my review of the beautyuk palettes I picked up in Superdrug
On Saturday 15th, I brought you an Inspirational Interview with the fabulous Phyrra
Then it all went quiet whilst I celebrated my birthday and got ill until...
Thursday, when I bought you a little NOTD with a beautiful Spa Rituals polish I was sent and also a swatch fest of some more Darling Girl Cosmetics pretties that I picked up :)
Finally on Saturday I brought you one of my most popular posts to date, an Inspirational Interview with the utterly wonderful Lipglossiping!!!

♥ inmywindow

inmywindow has been ridiculously quiet - I've not even done my Project 365 updates (although I do have the pictures - I just need to upload them!). I did bring you a recipe for my favourite stew though which I definitely recommend you giving a try!

♥ Eye Eye

This week I've seen yet more of my GTP application form although I won't be saying that anymore as it's been sent! I'm very excited and a little nervous and utterly glad to not have to sit and stare at it anymore!

I've also seen quite a bit of sunshine which has made me really happy. I love winter sun - it makes things such a beautiful colour don't you think? It also means that I've been able to take quite a few pictures which is nice - one of my favourite things to photograph at the moment are the Geese that live by the river.... although I'm utterly terrified of Canada Geese, I have a real soft spot for the Grey Geese. They're such funny characters and are incredibly photogenic!

Another lovely thing over the past couple of weeks has been having the chance to see a lot of friends - in some ways I'm not a naturally sociable person, but I've really enjoyed catching up with people and having them over for dinner/meeting up with them for coffee. 

Finally, I've been seeing a heck of a lot of my beautiful beautiful Macbook - it's such a joy to have a laptop again!

♥ Whirring Cogs
Oddly, my Whirring Cogs is very similar to my previous one - GTP, money, God/church stuff. However unlike my previous post I'm feeling fairly chilled out about it all. I've made some pretty major decisions with regards to certain things that are hopefully going to make life a little less stressful and a little more enjoyable.

I've also been thinking quite a bit about food and cooking - I've been felling fairly inspired recently so I've enjoyed cooking lots of different things!

♥ Hidden Treasures
Oooo what to choose this week? These are three blogs that I really do love and I definitely recommend checking them out:
The Roxy Loves for a delightful mishmash of beauty, makeup, crafts and baking
Darling Girl Cosmetics for exciting DGC news and lots of wonderful FOTDs
Lauren Loves for lots of beauty bits and bobs (and also because she's a generally awesome lovely person)

♥ The Path...
This week, I plan to chill out and stop being anxious about the little things that are beyond my control.

♥ Respect Yourself
Anyone else feeling this mid-January slump? I am! It can be so hard at this time to keep yourself motivated with the same excitement and determination that you had at the start of the month when you were making all sorts of crazy and exciting plans.

It's easy to view that lack of determination as being a sign of failure and weakness, and when we let ourselves think that, all we do is trigger a cycle of negative thinking which is counterproductive to motivation! You haven't failed - you've just had a momentary wobble long the path. We all have them don't we? So instead of beating yourself up, why not use this week as a chance to set yourself back on the straight and narrow! However, I've got a challenge for us - instead of just trying to get stuck back into things straight away, I think it's a good idea to pinpoint exactly what it was that made us stop trying in the first place - did we set ridiculous goals? Did we not set tough enough goals? Were we trying to do something that we truly hated?

For me, I know that my lack of exercise at the moment was triggered by trying to convince myself I was going to exercise everday - for me, this is a ridiculous goal. I work a lot and have a fairly active schedule in the evenings... there's no way I can exercise everyday! Instead I want to aim for 3 focused sessions of exercise a week in addition to my daily cycle/walk to and from school. How do you need to modify your goals? What steps can you take this week to Respect Yourself just a little bit more? x

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Saturday, 22 January 2011

Inspirational Interview - Lipglossiping

Hello lovelies! I hope you've had a wonderful week. This week's Inspirational Interview actually caused me to let out a fangirl squee when she said yes.... it's the fantabulous Charlotte aka Lipglossiping!! Charlotte's blog is responsible for many things in my blogging life - a desire to improve my photography skills, the start of my Urban Decay palette obsession and a fair few others, and I know she's a huge inspiration for a lot of other bloggers out there too! Anyway, enough waffle, let's hear what she has to say for herself!

Thank you so much for agreeing to let me interview you! Firstly, can you tell me a bit about yourself?
Thank you for deeming me interview-worthy!  I love reading these things about other bloggers so I’m excited to join in too! 
Well, I’m 29 and Mum to my 18 month old daughter.  I’ve been with my husband for 11 years and I repair computers for a living (though it wasn’t always meant to be that way).  I love taking photos, eating chinese takeaways and I’ve been an avid geocacher since 2006.  I’m too geek to be chic and too chic to be geek which means I’m just a bit uncool really.  I have a bad habit of sharing too much of myself and demanding too much from others in return... someday I’ll learn what the word “facade” means.  I’m really bad at arguments because I’m horribly inarticulate but I’m really good at staring someone out.
How long have you been blogging for and what inspired you to start a blog?
My first blog was on DeadJournal back in 2001 but before that I had a website, it had comic sans and animated gifs and everything! 
My first proper blog was angsty and mostly about how much I hated my course at uni and wanted to be with Mr. L (my husband).  We met on the internet in 2000 and had to live apart for a year or so... I was a grumpy teen blogger of the worst kind. 
More recently, I had a photography blog which I loved, with readers and fellow photographers who provided no end of inspiration.  I still miss it a lot but until Leila is older, there’s no way I could contemplate re-starting it.
I fell into Beauty blogging when I was 8 months pregnant and unable to blog about photography.  Bored, fat(ter) and reaching the end of my tether with how completely hideous I looked... makeup (which had always been an interest) became one really useful tool that I used to make myself feel better.  I came across many, many swatch photos online and decided that I wanted to join in with the big discussion!  It also meant that my photography equipment got some use again.
What's the best part of being a beauty blogger?
Being able to talk to like-minded people through my blog and watching something that I’ve created grow, evolve and on rare occasions – make a difference to someone. 
I love that at 29, I still have a justification for playing with my makeup and I love being one of the first to know about new products and sometimes being sent them to try too!
I’ve met some really good people through beauty blogging and ‘pushed’ myself out of my comfort zone to experience new things.
And the worst?
If I’m completely honest, most of the bad stuff comes from the PR/Network side of the world.  It’s created new breeds of entitled bloggers that can be spotted by their incessant press release posting and the way they work Twitter like marketing professionals.  They don’t care if their swatches or write ups are shit because the post/review is the afterthought... the real effort goes into hunting the freebies.
At times, I feel that beauty blogging has lost it’s heart.  I also feel that this issue annoys me ‘too’ much and that I should let people get on with whatever it is that they want to do... but I struggle with it and inwardly seethe instead.  I’ll probably get an ulcer (again).
A couple of months ago, you did a very personal series about laser treatment for some hormone related hair growth - how did you find writing the series and being so open about something so personal?
It didn’t feel any different to writing about anything else in terms of difficulty.  I’ve had the issue for 10 years now and I’m comfortable discussing it amongst friends, though I appreciate that perhaps my 17yr old self wouldn’t have been quite so willing. 
Recording the video was hard but that was more to do with the fact that I kept wondering which camera angle would make me look the slimmest.  Turned out, it was none of them.
Since starting the series, I’ve had emails from women in the same situation who’ve written to say that reading about my experiences has made them feel less alone.  And one particularly memorable email from a 17 year old who was distraught by the way she looked and felt.  She Googled her symptoms and landed on my blog.  Everything I said resonated and she’s since been diagnosed with PCOS and is now receiving treatment.  When I read this, I was sat in a cafe outside Harrods (there was a sale on in the beauty hall!)... my cousin brought my coffee and cake back to the table and had to ask me why I was crying!  One of the most worthwhile things I’ve ever done and I don’t care if that sounds twatty.
How has the treatment held up? Had it made a difference to your life at all?
So far, the regrowth is soft and downy like you get on the side of your face.  It’s pretty amazing.  I still get some dark (but fine) hairs along my jawline and the ones that are white will and (always will) remain stubbly.  I’ll be paying to have 3 more sessions because I’ve come so far I feel that it would be a crying shame not to give it the VERY BEST chance of success for the sake of a bit more money.  SK:N Clinic have always been upfront with me about managing my expectations and with about 70% improvement... my results have exceeded those expectations.
I have to say that I think your blog is excellent! What do you think makes an excellent blog?
That’s very kind of you, thank you!  I love blogs that engage me and invite me in for a chat.  The chat might last 20 seconds or for the entire time it takes me to drink my cup of tea!  I’m a really visual person so images are important to me... I love swatches and product shots, the more the better!
I love to learn new tricks and think that everyone, regardless of their perceived skill level has something to share.  Oh and I love seeing hauls... I’m such a nosey cow. 
Your blog has a real range of different posts - reviews, pr exclusives, FOTDs, comparisons, general natter - do you have a specific genre that you prefer to write or do you enjoy it all equally?
Definitely!  I love to ramble about a makeup related subject that gets my goat... rants are good for the soul! 
I also love to write about subjects that I can develop in the long term... like my red lip series for example.  It’s also pretty nifty to have an excuse to buy lipstick Winking smile
FOTDs make me feel a bit insecure and I always question their worth.  I have slightly hooded eyelids which means that you can never really appreciate any of the blending that goes on under there or even see much of the colour at all!
You post really frequently - do you ever get bored of writing? What keeps you motivated and inspired?
No, I never get bored of it... I go through periods where I have to give myself a kick up the bum but that’s not because I’m bored of writing, I’m just plain lazy in general.
My motivation stems from the fact that I have too much to say for myself.  Or so my mother says.  Inspiration comes from simply wanting to share things with everyone who cares to listen, it’s quite a self-centred thing to be honest.  I’m not all sharing and caring, I’m more of a... “I demand you listen to me!” kinda person.
Your blog has peaked over 1,100 followers and you were recently asked to judge the Search for a Simple Star competition - how does it feel to be so loved and respected as a blogger?
The whole Simple Star judging thing was insanely awesome, I felt very official with my clipboard!
If I start thinking about readership numbers or any of that stuff I start to feel self-conscious which is daft really ‘cos I do strive to make my blog more accessible and enjoyed so I can’t have it both ways can I?  It just seems that this floaty bloggy thing that happens in some internet land that isn’t really real so when my real world and blog world collide I get a bit uncomfortable.
I worry that I appear quite unfriendly and withdrawn when I meet people who know me from the blog, quite unfair because I realise that I’m so chatty in cyberspace!  I’m not one of those painfully shy types but I take a bit of warming up and am a terrible over-analyser when it comes to social situations.  Do you do that?  Analyse everything before you verbalise it to the point where you deem all your words completely ludicrous.  I’d genuinely never type a sentence if I did that at the keyboard.
What do you get up to in your free time when you're not blogging?
When I’m not blogging, working or mumm-ing then I like shopping... and stuff.  I don’t really have any bonafide hobbies like scuba diving or filofax collecting.  I guess I quite like Eastenders and eating nice things?
The closest thing to a proper hobby other than shopping (mmm shopping) would be geocaching which I’ve been doing whenever I can be bothered since 2006.  I don’t think it’s considered a cool pastime to have yet (it will be one day) so I won’t elaborate too much other than to say that if you don’t know what it is... it involves a GPS unit, stealth and a pair of gloves!
If you had unlimited funds and a whole day to spare, what would you do?
Ohhh, I do love a bit of London I must admit...
I’d start the day with a quiet brunch with Mr. L (what? I want a lie in!)... eggs benedict and orange juice (yum) somewhere with a great view like atop the National Portrait Gallery.  Followed by shopping (with an army to carry my bags) in Selfridges, Hamleys, Forbidden Planet and the Apple store.  Then I’d gather my friends (all 3 of them) and make them endure the geekiest tourist sights that London has to offer (in a limo of course) before making them like me again by taking them for afternoon tea and ice cream sundaes at Fortnum's.
Hmm... what next?  (I’m getting FAR too into this...)
Oooh... I’d book out a hotel spa so it was completely private... one of them ones with roman-esque baths and Elemis treatments galore and we’d stay there until we’d been pampered within an inch of our lives before heading off for blow dries and cocktails (apple martinis ftw).  Don’t really like clubs but I am partial to a bit of karaoke... we’d sing into the wee small hours before collapsing in giggles and exhaustion on super king size beds with our makeup still on...
What do Lipglossiping readers have to look forward to over the next few months?
More of the same... (sorry, that last question exhausted me!)
Ok time for some quick fire questions:
3 Favourite Items of Make up: lipstick, eyeliner, foundation
3 Favourite Foods: ice cream, sausage rolls (so classy...), curry
3 Desert Island Items: smartphone, lipstick, family (cheat)
3 People who've inspired you: my husband, Jamie Oliver (I’m aware that’s embarrassing) and Janis Joplin
3 Blogs you’d like to recommend:, (don’t make me just pick three!), scrangie
3 Words of advice: normal. is. subjective.

Charlotte, thank you so much for taking part! I've loved reading your blog since I first discovered it and think you do a fantastic job! :) 
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Thursday, 20 January 2011

Swatch Fest - Darling Girl Cosmetics

Hello Lovelies

I just thought I'd share some swatches from my most recent Darling Girl Cosmetics haul - I utterly love this company. Susan is so utterly talented and her eyeshadows are incredible. And just in case you're wondering, yes I have already swatched one of these colours before - I just chose to buy it in a slightly bigger size this time (and a bonus point if you can tell me which it was - this is my last Darling Girl post)

Aren't they pretty?! I primed my hand with Fyrinnae's Pixie Epoxy first :)
Top Row (L-R):
Chococat - my pictures have brought out a lot of the gold in this but it actually has a rich chocolately brown base with a gorgeous greeny gold infused finish
Electra - yellow and gold infused lime green. One of my favourite colours I own.
Dragonwasp (GWP) - teal green with hints of peach and gold

Bottom Row (L-R):
Turtledove - dove grey with a hint of mauve and gold sparkle
Firefly - pinky lilac with a blue duochrome
Landry (Hello Kitty Collection - sample) - utterly wonderful chocolatey plum with a petal pink finish

Side stripe:
Kiss Me Tinted Lip Balm in Sassy (sample)

Bottom stripe:
Liquid Kisses in First Kiss

Just a not on the Liquid Kisses - hurrah! I've finally found an indie lip product I love! This is not quite gloss but not quite lipstick - it's somewhere in between and it's utterly lovely! I'm a complete eyeshadow junkie so I have to really force myself to try lip products but I think I might end up getting myself a few of these because they're truly fab.

Have you tried Darling Girl yet? What do you think? Any colours that you'd recommend me trying next?
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