Saturday, 24 June 2017

What's In My Wash Bag?

When I was packing for my recent holiday to Cornwall and filling my wash bag with as many miniature beauty products as I could cram in, I thought it would be fun to show you guys what I packed in the wash bag for my week away. I hurriedly took a few photos of all the little lotions and potions, and then completely forgot all about them, until yesterday, when I was going through the photos I took on holiday. Apparently I have a memory like a sieve.

The photos aren't the best, as I was in such a rush and didn't have time to create a pretty flatlay, but hey, I'm just a normal girl with a normal life that's freckled with imperfections, so I'm just going to roll with the imperfections today, and blog the photos anyway.

I was excited to pack my wash bag because I finally had a chance to use some of the miniatures in my stash which I had saved for just such an occasion. The only problem was deciding which products to take because I've amassed quite a hoard of mini beauty products over the last few years, mostly built up from beauty Advent calendars and gift sets that I haven't got around to using yet.

In the end, the vast majority of the miniatures I packed were products from L'Occitane and The Body Shop, and of course, I also packed a few full size products I just couldn't live without for the week, including my Aussie Miracle Hair Insurance Conditioning Spray, and Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Cream. Most of the products I packed aren't the products I actually use every day and consider my essentials, especially when it comes to skincare, but I wasn't going to pack a suitcase full of full-sized bottles when I had dozens of travel sized alternatives waiting to be used. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to mix things up, and use some different products for a change. So that is what I did.

Here's a list of everything that made it in to the wash bag:

1. Lush Happy Soap.
2. Macleans White & Shine Toothpaste.
3. The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Cream.
4. The Body Shop Shea Butter Body Butter
5. Sure Motionsense Invisible Aqua Compressed Anti Perspirant.
6. Aussie Miracle Hair Insurance Lightweight Conditioning Spray.
7. Magicool Hot Weather Cooler.
8. The Body Shop Wild Argan Oil Body Lotion.
9. The Body Shop Moringa Shower Gel.
10. The Body Shop Frosted Cranberry Shower Gel.
11. Superdrug Nail Polish Remover Acetone Formula.
12. L'Occitane En Provence Essential Oils Shampoo.
13. L'Occitane En Provence Essential Oils Conditioner.
14. Sainsbury's Basics Cotton Wool Pads.
15. L'Occitane En Provence Cherry Blossom Bath & Shower Gel.
16. L'Occitane En Provence Cherry Blossom Shimmering Lotion.
17. L'Occitane En Provence Cherry Blossom Eau de Toilette.
18. L'Occitane En Provence Shea Dry Skin Foot Cream.
19. L'Occitane En Provence Refreshing Cloth With Organic Verbena Extract.
20. L'Occitane En Provence Essential Water.
21. L'Occitane En Provence Gentle Toner Enriched With Shea.
22. The Body Shop Glazed Apple Hand Cream.

I also packed my toothbrush, a Venus Gillette razor, and some Boots Cucumber Cleansing Wipes, but I couldn't fit them in the washbag, and forgot to grab them for the photos.

I never actually ended up using everything I brought with me on holiday, but I had everything I needed, and enjoyed trying the products I'd never tried before, like the L'Occitane Essential Water, Gentle Toner. and Cherry Blossom Eau de Toilette. I've been obsessed with the cherry blossom range for years, but I'd never sampled the eau de toilette before, and oh my God, it's to die for! If you love cherry blossom scents, you need it in your life! I'm going to need a full-sized bottle of it once I've used the miniature up.

As for the wash bag, my gorgeous heart print case was from Cath Kidston, but I'm afraid it's an old design from a couple of years ago that they no longer stock in that print. If you have your heart set on it, perhaps try your local Cath Kidston outlet shop or eBay; you never know, you could get lucky and find one. They also sell plenty of other lovely designs on their website, which you can find here.

I managed to cram almost everything I needed in to the case, so it served me well, but next time I'll either need to pack a little lighter- which, let's face it, is never going to happen- or buy myself a larger wash bag to cater to my hoarding needs.

What would you pack in your wash bag for a week's holiday? 

Thursday, 22 June 2017

50 Thoughts I Had During The Heatwave

I can't believe how hot it's been this last week! Yesterday it was 35'C here in Oxfordshire, and the four days before it weren't much cooler. This heatwave has been like hell on Earth! I've hated every moment of it.

I'm not a fan of the heat at the best of times, but this heatwave has been something else. The heat and humidity have been suffocating. I've been lazing around the house under the fan in as little clothes as possible trying not to move while drinking all the cold drinks, but I've still been melting in to a puddle of goo, and praying for death. I am not built for this heat!

Those of you in hotter climates are probably thinking: 35 degrees?! That's nothing! What are all of you English people complaining about? Well, our Summers aren't usually this hot; a hot Summer's day for us is about ten degrees less, if we're lucky, with maybe a few days over 30'c a year. We're not used to the heat and most of us don't have air conditioning in our homes, so when we get it, our delight usually turns in to despair after five minutes, and we turn in to a nation of over-heated, flustered, sun-burnt whiners. Most of us just do not know how to cope when the mercury rises. We're still figuring these things out.

I'm probably the worst when it comes to complaining about the heat, and I couldn't even guess how many times I've moaned about it over the past few days. I'm sure many of you will be able to relate, so I thought I'd share a list of some of the things I thought and said during the heatwave to give you guys a giggle. How many of them can you relate to?

1. Why is it so damn hot? It's waaay too hot. Did I mention it's too hot??
2. I think I'm just going to go live in the (cold) shower and send out change of address cards.
3. What can I wear that covers my upper arms, and my legs that won't cause me to die of heatstroke?? Answer: nothing. #HeatwaveDilemmasOfASelfConsciousFatGirl
4. I literally just showered; how can I be sweaty again already?
5. I need ice cream. Why is there no ice cream?
6. Okay, I literally have nothing suitable to wear in this weather. Why isn't it acceptable to be naked in public?
7. I wish I lived alone so I could just lounge around the house naked.
8. This house feels like a fucking furnace!
9. If I stay still and don't move a muscle, maybe, just maybe, I'll survive this.
10. Ow, my legs are stuck to the seat. That's okay; I didn't need those six layers of skin, anyway.
11. My clothes are stuck to me. And the bed sheets / pillows / sofa / chair. Gross gross gross!
12. Eighteen ice creams isn't too many ice creams to eat in one day, right?
13. I wonder if the staff at Sainsburys would mind if I crawled in to their freezer and lived there until the end of the Summer?
14. (During the night): There's no air! I feel like I'm suffocating. I'm seriously going to die of suffocation. 
15. *Just drank 75 litres of cold water.* I really need a cold drink.
16. That breeze is aaaamazzzing. Okay, I'm gonna stay here. Oh, it's gone.
17. How many cold showers can I have a day before it starts to get weird??
18. Ice. I need ice. There will never be enough ice.
19. The last half of my drink is too watered down from all the ice. Maybe that was too much ice.
20. Is it obvious how much I'm sweating right now? *Hides in a corner.*
21. I'm sweating so much I'm gonna die of dehydration.
22. Damn you, dehydration headache! Where the fuck is the Paracetamol when you need it?
23. Under-boob and back of the knee sweat is the worst.
24. I hate this. I really fucking hating this.
25. I think my make up has totally slipped off my face. *Checks reflection, looks like The Joker.*
26. No amount of powder is going to fix this shiny, sweaty face.
27. I wish I was on the beach and in the sea right now. Why don't I live near the seaside?
28. I wish we had air conditioning. We need air conditioning. Why don't we have air conditioning in our homes in England? Oh, right; our weather sucks. *Makes mental note to have air conditioning installed in every room of the house for those two weeks of Summer a year, anyway.*
29. Where can I go that has air conditioning that's free?
30. I wish I could go back to childhood and enjoy those carefree Summer days playing in the paddling pool and having water-pistol fights. Why are these not acceptable ways for an adult to spend the Summer?
31. Would it be sad if I bought a paddling pool so I can sit in a deckchair with my feet in the water?
32. Next door's barbecue smells soooo good. Why don't we own a barbecue anymore? I want a barbecue!
33. Ice cream for breakfast is totally acceptable, right?
34. Why am I fanning the dog to cool her down instead of fanning myself? I must be a crazy dog lady!
35. Best go shave my legs again... Why must leg hair grow so fast?
36. Yay, I have silky smooth pins again! 
37. Did I remember to shave my arm pits? No? *Keeps arms down in public.*
38. All the factor 50+ in the world is not enough to stop me from burning under this sun.
39. How is that guy wearing a jumper / coat in this weather? Is he fucking insane??
40. *After thirty seconds outside." Best go back inside or I'm gonna die of heatstroke.
41. Ah, Magicool, you wonderful magical can of relief, you. Praise be to Magicool!
42. How the hell do people in hot climates cope with this heat all the time??
43. All the fans in the world aren't enough right now.
44. I'm never going to be able to sleep in this heat.
45. Why isn't it Winter already? I wish it was Winter.
46. That's it; I'm going to go live in the Arctic.
47. Why is it acceptable for skinny people to walk around in next to nothing, but not us fat people?
48. This mugginess is horrible! We need a good thunderstorm to break it RIGHT NOW.
49. I died and now I'm in the fiery furnace of hell. There's no other explanation. I'm burning in hell for my bad life choices.
50. When will this heatwave end?

Did you think or say any of these things during the heatwave?

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Birthday Wish List

In eleven days I'll be turning another year older (don't remind me...), so I thought it was about time I put together my annual birthday wish list in place of my usual Wednesday Wish List post.

This is a list of the things I would loooove to receive or treat myself to for my birthday- y'know, if I was rich and could afford to spoil myself rotten, which sadly, I am not. I won't be showing it to my family and friends, and demanding they buy me things from the list, but I might point them in this direction should they ask for ideas, or buy things from it should I be given any money for my birthday. It's essentially my 'most wanted' list and along with the usual fashion and beauty favourites, it features a few homeware and entertainment things, too. Here it is:

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11 // 12 // 13 // 14
15 // 16 // 17 // 18 // 19 // 20 // 21 // 22 // 23 // 24 // 25 // 26

1. I'm in love with this cheerful yellow Audrey skyline dress from Lindy Bop, and the skyline is even of NYC, one of my favourite places!
2. The Tarte Magic Wands unicorn make up brushes are to die for. I mean, they're colourful and unicorn horns; what's not to love?! (Currently sold out online at Sephora and QVC, but will hopefully come back in to stock soon).
3. I love the look of the Urban Decay After Dark eyeshadow palette. So many pretty shades.
4. I convinced my Mum to get me this gorgeous Cath Kidston sewing box house for my birthday because I've wanted it for months for my sewing things, and it's finally on sale. It's a beauty.
5. The Lindy Bop Audrey light blue waterpark dress is the loveliest Summer dress.
6. I really want one of these Sunjellies retro basket bags for my Summer outfits, but still can't decide which colour I like best.
7. The Lady Vintage banana print Phoebe dress has the cutest tropical print ever. I need a dress with a banana print in my collection.
8. I adore this axolotl brooch from Sugar & Vice; because... do I really need to explain why? It's an axolotl brooch!
9. My little sister recently gave me her old iPhone, so I want this Skinnydip turtle phone case to dress it in.
10. I need this Skinnydip flamingo pool float cross body bag in my life so badly.
11. This pink hedgehog brooch from Whistleburg is all kinds of adorable.
12. Scarlett & Jo's Lollidot heart print dress is a stunner in raspberry.
13. I also love the Lollidot dress in purple.
14. The Spectrum Mermaid Dreams The Glam Clam make up brushes set is a thing of dreams. Mermaid dreams.
15. La Vidriola's wildlife statement necklace is incredible. Now that is what I call a statement necklace!
16. I'm still dying to get my hands on the Too Faced Sweet Peach eyeshadow palette. Who isn't? 
17. I'd love to add this peach cross body bag from Skinny Dip to my novelty bag collection.
18. How cute is this running fox brooch from Layla Amber. It reminds me of The Animals of Farthing Wood.
19. The Vendula London sewing shop bag a so beautiful. I love all of the little details.
20. I love the look of the Barry M Sunset Nail polish set. So many pretty colours.
21. Sunflowers are some of my favourite flowers, and this purple sunflower print Audrey dress from Lindy Bop is bloomin' beautiful.
22. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of Beauty and the Beast on DVD; it was so good!
23. I really want to see La La Land.
24. I'm enjoying the TV series, so I really want to read the book of The Handmaid's Tale, too.
26. I want to add the Real Techniques Core Collection of make up brushes to my collection. I recently bought a set of the eyeshadow brushes and they're amazing.

For more of the fashion, beauty, and homeware pieces on my wish list, check out my wish list boards on Pinterest.

What's on your wish list this week?

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Sunday Favourites #280

It's time for another round of my Sunday Favourites. Let's get started...

How cute is this DIY embroidered sun hat from Club Crafted?! I now want to add rainbow threads to everything!

This DIY two person Chinese checkers game from Lovely Indeed would look great on the coffee table, and would be fun to make if you're looking for something to encourage you or your family to spend more time off the Internet.

This rainbow crochet dream catcher from Inked Hibiscus is so pretty.

Studio DIY's DIY compliment cakes are bloomin' awesome.

Speaking of Studio DIY, their cosmic brownie cake looks so delicious.

I'm in love with Amina Mucciolo's amazing colourful home. (Another article about it here). Can I live there please?

These mini planter placecards from Oh Happy Day are too cute.

This bright and cheerful centre piece from Paper & Stitch is lovely.

I want to make some gumball machine cupcakes like these epic ones from Aww Sam.

I adore this DIY sliced cake wall clock by Dream Green DIY. I need to make one for the wall.

This pretzel balloon backdrop from Oh Happy Day is so cool.

This pretty colour wheel from Design Love Fest.

The latest additions to Taiwan police's K9 unit are the cutest police dogs ever!

Kaylah's photos from the Seven Magic Mountains are so beautiful.

These realistic 3D drawings by Serbian artist Nikola Culjic are incredible.

Lovely Links

For more fun content like this, check out my Pinterest and Tumblr. You can also find all previous Sunday Favourites posts here.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 17 June 2017

My First Holiday With Chronic Pain (To Cornwall)

Hey guys!

I'm back after a fun-filled week away in Cornwall with my family last week, just beginning to piece myself back together, and recover from the pain and exhaustion it caused me. I had a lovely break and had a great time while I was there, so I can at least say it was worth it. I actually think it did me the world of good to get away and have some fun for a change, but it was over waaaaay too quickly.

I spent a week down in Perranporth with my sister and brother-in-law, returning to my favourite place in the country after seven unnaturally long years away. I've been holidaying at Perranporth since I was a baby, so it's a place very dear to my heart, and somewhere I've made a life time of happy memories. I loved being back at my second home for a week, and had so much fun revisiting many of my favourite places, and exploring a couple of new places, too.

We visited St. Ives and took a boat trip to Seal Island, we popped in to Truro, we went to Newquay Zoo, wandered around Perranporth, went out for cream teas and ice creams, spent some time in Padstow, drove around Penzance, had a walk and a paddle on Perranporth beach, went to St. Michael's Mount, gambled pennies in the arcades, and more. We also spent plenty of time lazing around the caravan, watching movies, reading, eating delicious food, cross stitching, and in Marie's case, crocheting, so I managed to get plenty of rest in between adventures, too, so it was the perfect amount of fun experiences and relaxation for me. Any more and I would probably have ran out of spoons by day two, and ground to a halt. 

I coped much better than I thought I would, and somehow kept powering on through the pain all week in determination to enjoy as much as possible. There was no way I was going all the way to Cornwall just to be confined to a caravan all week. I was in agony the whole time, but I managed to get out and about for at least for a couple of hours every day, and I'm really proud of myself for it. I've got no idea how I did it, except I must have been running on adrenaline and my stubborn personality. I'll be blogging about many of those little experiences separately over the next few weeks once I've had a chance to edit my photos, because I can't summarise it all in to one post.

We stayed at Perran Sands holiday park- the same Haven holiday park we've been visiting since we were babies. We always stay at Perran Sands whenever we visit Cornwall, and always in one of those luxury caravans. I wouldn't have it any other way. If it was anywhere else, we'd probably all prefer to stay in a nice hotel, somewhere a little more luxurious, but I couldn't imagine staying anywhere else or in any other type of accommodation in Perranporth. It just wouldn't be the same. A Cornish holiday isn't a holiday unless it's spent in a static caravan for the true English summer holiday experience! Fact. Don't knock it; some of my best holidays have been the ones spent in static caravans, and I'm sure there'll be many more to come!

We rented a privately owned caravan on the site this year, and it turned out to be a really lovely base for the week. It was a two bedroomed van with a big master bedroom and en suite, a bathroom with a great walk-in shower, fully equipped kitchen, sofas, a 3D TV with Sky TV and a DVD player, TVs in the bedrooms, an outdoor seating area with a barbecue on the decking with a ramp for access instead of steps, and everything we needed for a comfortable stay. The area we were in was quiet and peaceful even though most of the vans around us were occupied, so there were no complaints from us. Behind us were grassy dunes complete with rabbits, and a natural pond, with vast scrub land stretching out behind it like the moors. You can often spot all kinds of wild animals like foxes, weasels, and birds of prey on site because it's made up of so much natural countryside, but this year we only spotted the bunnies and garden birds. On our last visit, we stumbled up on a trio of tiny fox cubs, and a pair of baby weasels tumbled across our path, play fighting. We were also very close to the centre of the site where the shops, bars, takeaways, restaurants, pool and arcades were, which I could comfortably walk to and from without much difficulty, so we were in a great location for everything, and couldn't have asked for better than that.

My only major problem during the trip was with my bed. On our first night, I could feel every single spring in the mattress, and it felt like I was lying on razor blades. I was in so much pain I was in tears and barely slept- although the news of the London terrorist attacks had just broken which didn't help because I couldn't stop watching the news as it unfolded or stop thinking about the awful things that had happened. I was in agony by the morning, and after that I decided to sleep on the sofa for the rest of the week. It wasn't ideal but it was much more comfortable for me, and I got by. There wasn't actually anything wrong with the mattress; I think it was quite new, but my spine just doesn't get along with sprung mattresses any more; it always feels like I'm lying on jagged rocks. Maybe I'm just a spoiled princess who would feel a pea through a hundred mattresses and isn't satisfied with catching her beauty sleep on anything but cushy memory foam. Either way, I'm so glad to be back in my own comfy bed!

Sadly, the weather wasn't the best while we were there. We had two lovely warm sunny days on the Sunday and Friday, but we also had a full day of rain with gales so strong they were moving the caravan, and it was practically raining sideways. It was windy for most of the week, and most days were overcast with some periods of sunshine, but never really getting warmer than about 20'C or so. We made the best of it, and Monday was the only write-off day, but it would've been nice if we'd had more blue skies and sunshine, and balmy Summer heat like we've got again right now, but that's England for you. You don't holiday here for the weather.

Our holiday was actually my first holiday in six years, and the first holiday I've taken since I developed chronic pain almost six years ago, so it was a big deal for me, and without a doubt a well-deserved, long over due break. I haven't been able to travel since I've had chronic pain and my chronic illnesses set in because my back and spinal pain is so severe it's difficult for me to spend long out of bed without dramatically increasing my pain and suffering, and I guess I'd long since accepted that holidays were part of my past and not my (foreseeable) future.

When my sister and brother-in-law invited me to go on holiday with them a couple of months ago, I actually declined repeatedly because I couldn't see a way I could manage the journey or a whole week away from home without being stuck in bed all week trying to recover from the journey down. I also didn't want to ruin their holiday by playing gooseberry and spoiling their quality time together, but I was basically told I was going even if I was bleeding to death, and that was that. They'd already booked a week in Perranporth in a two-bedroomed caravan, so there was a spare room at no extra cost to them, and their reasoning was that even if I was stuck in bed the whole time, a week in bed in Cornwall was better than spending a week in bed at home, and if I managed one trip out it would be worth it. It was a fair point, and since I really wanted to go and I'd been missing Perranporth like crazy, being my favourite place in the world and all, I eventually gave in and decided to go, determined to give the holiday my best shot and enjoy as much of Cornwall as I could. I'm so glad I did because I ended up having a fantastic time, and totally smashed my expectations of myself.

I conquered a massive hurdle I didn't think I could possibly scale, and managed to see and do more than I've been able to do over the last almost-six-years combined through determination alone. For a week, I was living my life again, and apart from the burning pain in my back, spine, and legs, and the stiffness in my joints, my life almost felt normal again for a little while. The aftermath hasn't been fun, because the pain has been so horrendous. I couldn't move or get out of bed for the first five days after I got home, and have been drifting in and out of naps all week because I've been so exhausted, but it was definitely worth it, and I'm finally beginning to bounce back to my usual state of ill health. 

Now I know I can make it through a week's holiday in the homeland without falling apart, I'm hopeful I'll be able to get away for annual Summer holidays like this one again. There's little hope of me coping with a holiday abroad or a full on action-packaged trip just yet, but I'm more than happy to stay on home turf and return to Perranporth for a repeat of a holiday like this one each Summer! Fingers crossed I'll be strong enough to return again next year!

For now, I've got plenty of happy memories from this year's holiday to tide me over until I can get away again.

Look out for posts about my visits to Perranporth Beach, St. Ives, Padstow, Newquay Zoo, and St. Michael's Mount on the blog over the next couple of weeks for more Cornish tales!

Where are you going on holiday this Summer? If you're not going away, what do you plan to do on your staycation?

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