Harry Potter in Oxford

Hands up if you're also a Harry Potter nut? Yup, knew it.

We all know I am! Last year my cousin and I finally got to use our Christmas presents from our Grandparents to go on the Harry Potter studio tour. We were both so excited rocking our matching Time Turners, taking selfies in the Mirror of Erised and crying at the end. When my boyfriend offered to take me around Christ Church and see the actual locations and inspiration for a lot of the Hogwarts sets, I nearly exploded with joy. I don't think he has ever seen me that excited.

Excited on 'our way to Hogwarts' faces - #nomakeupselfie

Dude... that's Hogwarts. ACTUAL HOGWARTS!

From the second we arrived in Oxford I was a squealing ball of glee (annoying right?) skipping down the streets to Christ Church. and when we arrived I wasn't sure if I wanted to cry, scream or just go quiet in sheer awe. I've been around Oxford a couple of times and I always love how beautiful it is but Christ Church is just outstanding.

The first stop was OBVIOUSLY the Great Hall... it had to be done. When I went to the studio tour, I was allowed to open the doors to the Great Hall because it had just been my birthday and I remember the sheer exhilaration of being in there whether or not it was real. It didn't matter to me. When we got to the Hall in Christ Church, I was surprised to see how small it was in comparison but when you saw it you really saw Hogwarts. There are vaulted ceilings, portraits hanging from basically every inch (including ones of CS Lewis and Lewis Carrol!), beautiful fireplaces and the rows of tables. The only thing missing were the house flags but the loser I am imagine the gold and crimson Gryffindor colours everywhere.

THE GREAT HALL!!
Me wandering around in awe

Then we saw this and everything felt very 'The third floor is strictly forbidden'/ 'The chamber has been opened. Enemies of the heir beware'

*looks out for Basilisk*
We wandered around the church for a while which was equally as beautiful and I loved how someone was there just practising on the Organ. Then we went outside and through the cloisters.


Uh oh... Umbridge won't be happy with us...

Leaving via the gift shop is always dangerous. I did manage to control myself mainly because Gary is the sensible one and I already have a lot of Harry Potter stuff... However when I saw this shelf of Alice in Wonderland I had to put everything down...


Unfortunately there was no Honeydukes, but we popped over to a 'retro' sweet shop opposite the university that sold a bunch of official Harry Potter sweets and Gary treated me to a sugar mouse and some Cola Cubes.


Needless to say I had a whale of  a time and will have to go back soon to visit the library :-)

Have you had any fun day trips recently?



Freckles - Love them or hate them?

Some of you may have already seen/heard that people have started to spend money on having their freckles permenantly removed. I had a quick discussion about this on Facebook and it's still really bothering me. Obviously it may not be as the Daily Mail claims, a new 'trend' or 'craze' but people are definitely having it done and I genuinely don't understand.

The lady in said article says that she was self conscious about hers after being bullied which is understandable. Maybe I'm lucky in the sense that I was able to deal with being bullied over mine... and my glasses... and my height but I (personally) still don't think it's worth spending that much money to have some flecks removed. Plus, I don't think there should be a reason to no longer embrace who you are, but again, maybe I'm just lucky.

Freckles are one of the things that make me 'Me', if you know what I mean? I've naver made any attempt to hide them and I actually quite like how more and more appear when I'm in the sunshine. One of the reasons I look forward to summer is because I get more!!

My flatmate made the point of 'you wear foundation' but the only reason I wear it is because my skin is in a bad condition and I need to hide spots and pores. Luckily I have found a foundation that means my freckles are still proudly on show! During the summer, especially on holiday, the sun starts to clear my skin so I like to go bareface.

One thing I don't understand about this procedure is how surely you'll still get them back after you've spent a good few days basking in the sun so surely it's a waste of over £100 per session? Plus, after the success of #NoMakeupSelfie, you'd think people would be more confident with themselves following all the compliments received despite flaws? Now we hear about people being offered laser treatments to get rid of something truly beautiful.

Freckles add true character to your face and I know so many people who wished they had them. Freckles add to your own beauty and think about it, how dull would a leopard be without its spots?

Treasure every single 'fairy kiss' you have and NEVER let people feel like you aren't beautiful because of them. They're probably just jealous.

To celebrate freckles, here's me in all my freckled glory hoping for more to be on their way



What do you think? Do you love your freckles, hate them or whish you had them? 

A Lush Haul

It's reached that time of year again where I have run out of all of my favourite things and need to replace them quickly. There are things that you just can't compromise on afterall, it's those or nothing at all. So, I thought I'd show off some of my favourites from Lush with you that I can't live without and also some of the new stuff that may have accidentally slipped into my basket. Tricksters.



First off is my Tea Tree Water...

Tea Tree Water - £3.95 (100g)
This is one of my favourite things and is a real life saviour in the summer. Being Tea Tree and all that it does wonders for blemish prone skin like mine, which always seems to get worse when it's warm, and it feels amazing to spray a little on your face. Instant refreshment at the end of the day!

Sunnyside - £3.75

Oh Sunnyside, how do I love thee... Let me count the ways...

Sunnyside is one of the Bubble Bars and it's absolutely COVERED in glitter. So being a magpie, I have to buy it everytime. I used to be in love with Ruby Red Slippers that used to come out every Christmas but they no longer make it so this became my subtitute but very quickly turned into a must have.

It's perfect after a stressful day when all you want to do is have a good soak and don't mind your bathtub being stained slightly gold...

The Comforter - £4.50

The Comforter is another Bubble Bar that I normally save for days when I've struggled to sleep as it just makes me feel all cozy and it smells like Vimto. 

Breath of God - £7 (Solid)
Does anyone else remember Never Too Busy to be Beautiful? It was Lush's sister shop and makeup brand before the recession hit. I was devastated when they closed down as it made some of my favourite things disappear off the face of the earth. Breath of God was one of their perfumes and now it's back at Lush and this makes me happy beyond words.

Lifesaver - £25 (100g)
Oh my God. So Lush now do sun lotion. This is awesome because other than a select few, many sun lotions are tested on animals which is completely not for me. At £25 for a sun lotion it's a little out of my price range as I'm bound to use all of it in a short space of time (I burn so easily) but I made sure I got a little tester to try out.


'What the hell is that?' I hear you cry. To be honest, I still have no idea. All I know is it's awesome. When we were at the checkout, my boyfriend simply said 'I want this' and put it next to the till. It's one of those bars that can be used for everything, bubble bar, shampoo, soap - the LOT. Plus, it's all squidgy so you can play with it and make little models. I can't remember what me made... it looks like some kind of bird...


What are your favourite Lush products?


Foodie fun at the Underground Cookery School

As some of you may already know from my Instagram antics, I love cooking. Especially baking! I like to think I'm quite good for an amateur but there's so much more I need to learn and perfect before I can ever think of myself as a Monica or Bree Van de Camp - sadly I WILL be one of these two when I'm older and I really don't mind.

When Anneleise invited me to attend the Underground Cookery School, I jumped at the chance. Who could say no?



Annoyingly I missed the intro and canapes (silly tube) but when I arrived I was immediately greeted with what became a magical glass of Prosecco that was never empty. I also realised that I managed to miss the bit I was dreading, my flatmate shelling broad beans!

Yuck.
We got to experience a lot of things for this from making meringue perfectly (I thought I was already awesome at it but was proven wrong) carving a chicken properly and filleting a sea bass.

The latter were relative new to me, I don't like handling chicken on the bone and usually my flatmate does this part at home and because I'm scared of fish (don't judge me) I had never handled a fish that still has its face before. I usually get freaked out by them 'looking at me' when ever we go pass the fish counter in supermarkets! It was such a big deal for me, you have no idea.


Check out Charlie getting well into it
Carving the chicken properly actually went pretty well considering it's not one of my favourite things, I'm really short and have next to no body strength. I did have to do most of it while standing on my tiptoes!


As you can tell by my face, I was not impressed with this situation!
The sea bass was an entirely different matter. I ended up absolutely obliterating mine and the chef had to do an extra one :-p Oops. There was no point in me even taking a photo of this. It was shameful.

Now I've tasted it, I don't understand what my issue was with eating fish. My flatmate has got me eating things like cod but venturing any further seems strange to me but when we had it as our starter, it was absolutely amazing so I'm honestly considering making it at home... will have to buy fillets though!

All sat down and tucking into our starter.
The sea bass was served with a pea and mint dressing (another thing I hadn't tried before) and I never thought about how well these things would go together



The main course was with broad Beans, Jersey Royals and Salsa Verde. Normally I wouldn't even be able to handle beans being on my plate as they could contaminate the rest of the food but I was a big brave girl and the first thing I did was put all the beans on my flatmate's plate. Once that situation had been dealt with, I dove right in and I'm pretty sure this was my favourite dish on the menu!



And then came dessert of Strawberry Meringue Roulade. I am funny with sweet things. I love making them but very rarely eat them. I have no idea why. This was a completely different matter, considering we did every single step (excluding putting them in the oven) I had to give it a go because it would be rude not to. I ended up polishing the whole thing off a la Simpsons style when all the food is gone in a few seconds.

Charlie getting ready to finish off the dessert!
Look! She did such a good job! *proud*


At the end of the evening I went home with a very full belly and totally ready for a sleepy. I met some wonderful bloggers and had a whale of a time.

If you get a chance to go to the Underground Cookery School, you can book a place over on their website http://undergroundcookeryschool.com/ and if you fancy any of the featured recipes, just give me a shout and I'll send them your way!

Disclaimer: I was invited to attend this event for free but all opinions are mine and truthful



What I wore: New shoes and Tartan

I don't know about you but I fricking love Tartan.

Being half Scottish it's a part of my culture and we have our own colours. They are absolutely beautiful and my dad says he will only buy one kilt in his life and that will be worn to my wedding. Isn't he sweet.

LOOK HOW TALL I AM!
An another sweet note my boyfriend bought me this Tartan dress completely out of the blue and I love it. It's one of my go to work dresses as it's nice and sensible and still screams 'me'.

Today I chose to wear it with my new platform shoes from the office sale which add a good few inches, making me look a normal person height, and some blue accessories including a TARDIS lunchbox as a bag. I'm cool.


I went for blue accessories because I have recently tried a new Barry M nail polish and wanted to make it a part of my outfit. It's an absolutely beautiful shade but the only downside is that it took 4 coats to get a good amount of coverage. It's going to be such a pain to take off but it still looks pretty.

How do you wear Tartan?

Product review: Eucerin DermoPURIFYER

Hands up if you're prone to breakouts? How about eczema? Let's face it, having the two combined is like the seventh circle of hell. You can't really wear foundation or concealer to hide the spots because then the eczema will be even more visible. The ultimate torment.

I'm going to be honest with you, I had never heard of Eucerin before, I'm a creature of habit really and probably wouldn't have tried it off my own back. However, now I've tried it, it will now be my skin care go to. Needless to say, I'm a convert.



As you may have seen from previous posts, I have tried a lot of face products and have decided to type up a review within the first week. With the exclusion of some, I have seen amazing results within the first week or so but then my skin decides to rebel. On the advice of my flatmate, I waited three weeks this time to give my skin enough time to adapt to the new product and I'm glad I did.

I have been using Eucerin Dermo PURIFYER once a day for three weeks and I haven't had a complete breakout for at least two weeks, only the odd spot here and there but they have been few and far between. This has made me a very happy bunny indeed. I still have the odd blemish here and there from past breakouts but it makes me very happy to see these are disappearing, slowly but surely. Hopefully, by this time next week they'll be gone completely!

Another reason I like the product ios because it's cruelty free, as promised on their website and various other cruelty free listings. This is very important to me and it's always a struggle to find 'rubbish skin friendly' products that haven't been tested on animals. Well done Eucerin.

The only downside isn't a major thing, rather of a personal moan. I want to have a facewash that smells nice! Obviously it's scent free to make it even kinder to your skin. I shouldn't really moan that my face doesn't smell like peaches when the product actually works I guess!

I thought this would be too expensive for me at £9+ (I try to go for the cheapes thing all the time which is probably bad), but right now it's only £6 on Escentual and it's completely worth it. I'll probably be stocking up myself on payday! Plus, I also got a bunch of extra little samplers that I still need to try!

Hastily taken desk photo...









What I'm listening to - 'Waves' by Bitter Ruin

I was talking to someone a little while ago about how apparently because we now live in a 'download generation', people rarely, if ever, listen to an album from beginning to end anymore. Think about it, when was the last time you did?Even I mainly rely on my Spotify playlists and recommendations based on my 'taste'. (Not always accurate. No Spotify, I will not be listening to My Chemical Romance, thank you very much).

However, every now and again an album is announced that takes me back to being a teenager all over again. The countdown to the release date, preordering my copy so I won't be the only one without it when I go into school on Monday and, of course, listening to it from beginning to end. On repeat.

The most recent album to make me feel this way is the anticipated first official album by Bitter Ruin, funded and backed by their fans through a Kickstarter project.



I have loved Bitter Tuin for a few years now and have seen them so many times I lost count ages ago. They bring a whole new dynamic to music that I thought was lost years ago and 'Waves' is nothing short of mesmerising.

It came out on 12th May and I can safely say I have listened to it pretty much everyday since. On the day of its release my flat mate and I were having a mutual 'this album is making me cry' moment from our different offices. It's moving in so many ways, one track will send shivers down your spine and the next will have you in tears.



If you don't know who they are, you can listen to Waves on Spotify, buy it here and buy tickets for their next show (4th June - 100 Club, London) here.

Enjoy!

What's your favourite album at the moment? 

Afternoon tea and cats - all the awesome

I have been trying to blog about this for weeks so apologies if I'm a bit behind the times!

Tea, cake and cats! Honestly, where's bad in this scenario? I'm so glad my flatmate was experiencing post Australia blues and booked us a table here AGES ago! I have wanted to go to Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium since it opened and now I know it's something that all cat lovers should experience.



You pay a £5 contribution before you go in, I know this might seem strange, but once you're in there you really understand why.

You walk through the door and you're automatically completely in love with it. I definitely was! The tiniest details from the decorations to even the Wi Fi password add the cutest touch and you automatically feel right at home. The mismatched furniture and 'grass' on tables (oh yes) makes it feel as though you've fallen down the rabbit hole - plus there are cats EVERYWHERE.





Little cat tips all around the place!



Before I get too excited about the cats, let's focus on the other important things. First of all the food, there was so much of it. Charlie and I both ordered the Ploughman's and despite how delicious it was, we were both defeated by it. Somehow though, the mythical 'dessert belly' still had room for a banoffee pie that puts mine to shame.

The Brie really didn't last long


With Jazz and blues playing in the background, it really felt as though you were lost somewhere in some forgotten place rather than the centre of London and there are boardgames everywhere just in case you get bored of the cats - obviously never going to happen.

Look at that face!
Having two hours to play with cats and drink tea is my personal idea of heaven and is just too amazing for words. Obviously they were all just attention seeking with everyone clamouring to play with them but we discovered that if you had their favourite toy, the spring, they couldn't get enough of you.

This is Petra, my favourite cat




If you haven't been, book tickets and experience it all for yourself, it really would be silly not to.

Have you ever been to Lady Dinah's?

What I Wore - White and gold

The sun's out! Isn't it exciting?!

I'm heading up to Scotland at the weekend and will have to wave good-bye to the warm weather so I may as well take advantage of it while I can. Knowing my luck it will be all rain and hail when I get back.

I never wear white as I'm really conscious of spilling things on it and that I'd look too pale. After a last minute Primark shop to find a white shirt for a party, I found this and decided it was so much better than a bog standard white shirt as there are many ways that I can wear it. Today I went for the dress look (with a mini skirt underneath so it's more suitable for work!!)

Shirt - Primark £10

I kept accessories to the minimum as I liked the simple look but chose to wear a birthday present my flatmate bought me MANY years ago. It breaks up the outfit nicely and although it's not as gold as it once was, it's still really cute.


I went for my nude heels by Melissa, they're kind of like jellies with little gold buckles and I think they make my legs look longer. A girl can dream.

Shoes - Melissa £29.99


I got mine a few years ago but you can get the white and black versions in the Melissa sale.

How do you wear white?

Emergency trip to Benefit

(Fist of all, apologies but I stupidly lost all the photos I took...)

A couple of weeks ago, I was extremely upset when I discovered a few recent purchases were part of an umbrella company that tests on animals. I'm normally quite on top of these things and had heard so many great things about this company that I was devastated.

There was only one solution to this problem. Throw everything away and go straight to Benefit!

The essentials for this trip was mostly more POREfessional and a new foundation for pale people which is always more difficult to find than you might think. Obviously, I left with a lot more than just these...

Foundation

Ever since B Never too Busy to be Beautiful sadly disappeared off the face of the planet, I have missed their Baby Doll foundation more than words can express. I've tried lots of other brands but struggled to find one to suit my skin tone but now I've found it!




Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow is my new saviour. The sales assistant asked me lots of questions before we tested a few things to find out what my perfect match would be and we both got quite excited about this one (Ivory - I'm pure 4 sure) because it blended well and you could still see my freckles! I've also noticed that over the course of the day it doesn't reach that icky flaky stage that you'll get with cheaper foundations, its stays put.


Moisturiser

If you have eczema, there's only so long you can put up with using evil, foul, tar smelling products on your face. A lot of creams for skin conditions that I have tried are too thick and tend to lead to the breakout from hell and no one wants that. I explained these skin woes to the lovely sales assistant and she gave me a trial for Total Mositure.



After a couple of weeks I would 100% recommend this for people with dry skin and eczema, it's light so you don't have to use a lot, it's nice to have something that smells good for a change and unlike a previous skin cream I have written about, it's yet to dry out my skin, Needless to say, I'll be buying some more very soon.

Blusher

Blusher frightens me but that's only because I have never been able to use it and I always end up unintenionally looking like Aunt Sally...

For those of you who are too young, this is Aunt Sally...
Because I always have bright eyes, we played with a couple of things to see what would suit my skin tone best and what wouldn't clash too much with my eye makeup and make my face look off balance. Rockateur was the overall winner.


It's just dark enough for me to experiment without looking too Aunt Sally-ish  and I love the pinkness of it which looks more natural for me.

Concealer

We all have those bad skin days and Boi-ing covers everything  so now I can't leave the house without it. You know, just in case.



ARGH Breakout!

Thanks to the delightful smog incident in London, my skin has not been coping well. It isn't exactly attractive but then I found Boo Boo Zap.



I know this post is basically me gushing about the fabulousness of Benefit and to be honest you're probably getting sick of it but Boo Boo Zap actually works. I have tried Witch hazel, tea tree oil and various face masks but after using Boo Boo Zap, my skin clears up after a couple of days and unlike many other treatments, my skin doesn't dry out and peal so I can still apply foundation without looking like I have horrible bumpy skin.

Shopping in Benefit is always a pleasure, I just love sitting down, drinking tea (did you know they have tea???) and having everything tested and even being shown how to do things, I'm still terrified of using bronzer by myself but I have been shown how to use it and that's the most important thing! Now I don't have to feel guilty about any of my make up. WIN!

What are your favourite cruelty-free products?