Sunday, 30 November 2014

WEEKENDER: November


It's a little bit weird to think I've been twenty five for a whole month now.
November has brought good and bad. As always. A lot of family time, outside time and a beginning to the festive cheer. The colder air makes my head hurt and my heart sing.

Friday, 28 November 2014

REVIEW: Garnier Ultimate Blends


Considering I have fairly fine hair and this is specifically designed for thick hair, I think it limits itself to one market. My fine hair and I love this stuff.

After using this for over three weeks, I can safely say it's a miracle worker. Usually I have to wash my hair everyday and therefore use heat everyday to style before I go to work. With this, my greasy hair stays super clean for about two days and they style also stays in place. For a 5:20am start, I love it.

The Lad has much thicker hair than I do and he also sings it's praises. Nourishing, smoothing and generally boosting our hairs health, this stuff can do no wrong.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

REVIEW: Our haircare staples


I say 'our' haircare staples because The Lad looks after his hair more than anything else on his body/that he owns so his investments are things that he treasures.

The after-wash product he uses the most is the Trevor Sorbie Salt Texture Spray. He has stereotypical Jewish hair - black, thick and curly - and after washing, unless he uses something like Bumble and Bumble Surf Shampoo, his hair is flyaway. The Salt Spray brings his hair back down to earth and back to defined curls and a gritty texture.

The Pantene Instant Damage Defence Conditioning Spray is an alternative to the Dove Spray. This smells similar to watermelon (although, don't trust my nose) and comes in a two part formula that you shake to combine before spraying onto damp hair. I love this as it's light and doesn't weigh my fine hair down.

The Tresemme Keratin Smooth Heat Protection Shine Spray (a mouthful or what?) is a new addition to my haircare and another instant love. Not too heavy again, but strong enough so my hair feels smooth and silky after straightening or curling, it's an instant winner.

Finally, once I've got my hair silky straight, I need to add some boosting properties into the mix. The L'Oreal Texture Styling Volume Spray applied underneath my layers gives a quick boost that looks lived in without the greasiness. It's a matt finish and works well when trying to give the hair movement when putting up into a ponytail or a bun, or even clipping back. For texture throughout the day, this isn't the best on sleek straight hair, but to keep curls looking beachy, it's awesome.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

LIFE: My First Cervical Screening Test


I never thought I would ever mention my cervix on ohhellojo, but here we are and I'll been mentioning my cervix quite a lot in this post. Weird, but also liberating. Every woman has a cervix and some women end up having cervical cancer too, so it's important. Talking about it shouldn't be weird! (but even after that intro, it's still super weird).

The other day I went for my first smear test. I've been for STI tests before (although intitially not for STI tests, for smear tests, which they consistently refused to give me because of my age, so ended up with STI tests instead. Awesome), so I thought I knew what it'd be like. Sort of. It's also why I went for it right after my twenty fifth birthday.

If you're sqeamish, probably don't read the next few paragraphs, skip to the last one.

So! I didn't get a choice of what size speculum (I didn't know about different sizes until afterwards) so I found it weird and increasingly uncomfortable. It was in there for about a minute. The whole time, I desperately wished it not to be there. Not painful to start with, but not comfortable either, it got to the point where it was really painful I'd have pulled it out myself if she'd taken any longer. I'm not sure what I did during that minute except stare at the light fitting above me and try to breathe through it so as to not clamp my legs together, unfortunately probably around the woman's head, in the way my legs seemingly wanted to.

NOTE: Before getting my invitation, I honestly thought that having a smear was a biopsy and they'd take a small portion of my womb lining for examination. Once I'd read the leaflet and realised they were swabbing my cervix I felt much better because that's essentially what I'd had before and the STI tests weren't all that bad. (so if you think you need an STI test, go!)

Now, the part I was not prepared for, was the pain afterwards. And the bleeding.

Thank goodness I wasn't going to work immediately after, or even at work that whole day. She triumphantly held up the brush (because it's not really a swab, but a quick whip round with a brush that looks very similar to one of those little flossing things) and it was covered in blood. Uh oh. Didn't see that coming. At this point she said "it's very common for women to spot afterwards so don't be worried if you find a little blood in your knickers today."

Maybe I was just too tense? Maybe the nurse masked her brutality with nice chitchat? Maybe the brush was too spikey? Maybe my cervix is just a sensitive soul? Maybe I have a problem? Maybe I should have preplanned for possible blood loss? Well, bleed I did.

However, she didn't offer me any panty liner, pad or tampon to cover up the fact I was bleeding. Not spotting. Bleeding. I'm super glad I was wearing a dress rather than my skinny jeans which I'd originally planned to wear, because my knickers are ruined.

I had to wear a pad for the rest of the day. And the next day. And it felt as though I'd eaten a brick and it had hit my womb after I'd swallowed it. So, the after effects were pretty similar to my initial thought of what a biopsy would be. A good comparison for me to this is: the pain that sometimes comes just before a period (like a dull, constant, sickening stomach ache) and as I mentioned before, the blood loss of my last day. 

Bet you loved thinking about all that then... not. But it's a fact, and a fact that was not mentioned on the leaflet, or actually, anywhere online that's professionally written*.

And to me, it's the lasting effects that were the most poignant of the whole experience.

I thought about not writing this post. I thought about how it might (well, probably will) put some people off. But, and this is a massive but, for two days of weird bleeding, I've found out that I'm okay and my cervix is completely normal. The pro's outweigh the cons so greatly the thought of not having one freaks me out more than having to go back in three years time (although I'll definately ask for a different nurse and a smaller speculum).

It's alright donating or running the Races for Life or cutting your hair off to raise money, but if you don't take advantage of what you raise money and awareness for, what's the point? 

You only get one body and one cervix. Look after it!

*NOTE: there are so many horror stories on the internet about women having horrid experiences and I hope that although I haven't exactly sung praises about it, I've been factual enough to prepare you for what might happen rather than put you off. TANGENT: my chicken started limping once and I Googled what could have been the cause/how to treat it and all articles pointed to a leathal disease and imminent death. Turns out she'd fallen down the ramp to the hut and sprained her ankle. Take the internet with a pinch of salt, everyone is different and I hope you go and find out what it's like for yourself.

Friday, 21 November 2014

REVIEW: Maybelline Colour Drama Intense Velvet Lip Pencil


I chose the colour Light It Up because it's a rich, but not too dark, red. My favourite. Although I can't keep lip colour on to save my life, I like it.

It's a soft consistency that glides on beautifully. The only issue I encoutered here was that the sharp nib grew flat and fat very quickly. Trying to get a sharp line around the edge of my lips was a definate challenge. Once on it felt lovely, looked glossy and made me feel a million dollars.

It lasted about 20 minutes before I ate a biscuit and it started wearing off. First at the edges of my mouth, then along the inner bits of my lips and then, once I looked in the mirror 30 minutes later and only had a fat line around the edges of my lips left, I took it off.

Practise needed.

Second try. I moisturised my lips with Burts Bees. Then applied the pencil. I put a Topshop lipstick over the top in nearly the exact same colour and waited. This time I ate the colour. Not biscuit necessary.

More patience needed.

Third try. I applied a super thin layer of colour all over my lips and patted it out with my finger then I put a bit of Burt Bees lip balm on a different, clean, finger an rubbed that over the top. Success!

Although it didn't last all that long - maybe a couple of hours or so - it lasted way longer than any lip colour I've ever used before and the Burts Bees nourished my lips alongside it. I'm a happy bunny, for now.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

VISIT: Afternoon tea at Cedar Court Grand Hotel in York

Before I go anywhere these days, I read reviews. Whether that's a cottage to stay in, a restaurant to eat in or a museum to visit. I like to know I'll get my moneys worth. Last week I was invited for an afternoon tea at the Cedar Court Hotel. I've walked past it a millions times, but never been in so I was very excited.


I'm sure that the man I hit with the door on the way in should've opened it for me and the women at the desk should've stopped talking for me to find out where I was going, but neither of these things happened.

The decor in this place is fantastic though so I was distracted by staring around me more than put out by the staff at this point. I was totally awed. So awed in fact that I also didn't mind standing at the next desk waiting for the man to finish his phone call for five minutes before addressing me. At this point he took my coat, which was proved this place is posher than anywhere I've ever been before and showed me to our table. It was a reasonably small room (compared to the 50 metres of corridor I'd just walked down to get to it), warm, but not too warm and there was a fair few people in there so the atmosphere was nice.

Once my friends arrived, we were served with table water, prosecco and given the tea menu. The tea came in silver teapots. Lemon came along with milk. After a short while, the sandwiches and cakes arrived. A separate table had to be set up because it was so large.  I was like woah, this place is cray - awed again. The food was divine. The scones were warmed, there was an absolutely beautiful trifle in a pot and everyone was suitably stuffed by the time we finished. 

I could not fault the food, the room or the politeness of the waiting staff, but there was a weird awkwardness about them that I felt should've been coming from little ol' me rather than the staff. The staff felt like they were out of place and that didn't make me feel comfortable at all. Possible excuses aside, there were people sat in that room I wouldn't be surprised to see having afternoon tea behind Binky and Lucy on MIC so I expected a much more assured attitude from the staff.

Despite that, I had a lovely afternoon and I would definately visit again, hopefully on a more uplifting day for the people who work there.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

REVIEW: Rimmel Lasting Finish Colour Blush


I have a weird relationship with blush due to having naturally crazy red cheeks anyway. I spend so much time getting rid of and covering the redness that to put some back on seems ridiculous.

However, after some long YouTube watching sessions I feel confident to start trying to relocate the redness to an area I'd be happy with. 

I had a good hard look at the aisles of Boots and Superdrug in order to make my selection and this colour appealed to me most. I chose the shade: Pink Rose as it's not too bright, or strong and has an earthy kind of tone to it. At home though, I discovered it's also quite shimmery which isn't something I really wanted, but have grown to really like.

The shimmer once on my cheeks looks less tarty and more glowy, which isn't something I expected on my skin - usually I look like a blow up doll whenever I try a product I'm not used to. Alongside my Bare Minerals Powder Foundation, my skin looks better than it has in years!

Prepare for a quite a loose powder straight from the pan, I started swirling and it covered my tabletop instantly. But, if you're a pro at applying already, this wouldn't go amiss by being added to your collection.

Friday, 14 November 2014

READ: #GIRLBOSS

If you're anything like me and you never buy stuff as soon as it comes out, then you might be interested in this. If you've already jumped on the bandwagon with this, then sorry I'm so late. Well, it's more a case of sorrynotsorry.

(Can you tell which book I'm reading next?)

To a degree I loved this book. It was honest and direct and everything I love in a person as well as a book. Sophia is just a girl. A woman. With massive balls. And she just tells things as it is. I love that. I love her. She's an amazing woman.

But to flip side this, I really wanted to finish it. I couldn't wait for it to end. The self glorying was awesome to start, but I was bored and impatient throughout the last chapter (which, granted, isn't that long anyway).  I didn't want to be mean about it. I couldn't put it down for the most part, but I was disappointed as well. I think the hype has put it on a pedestal and I don't think it looks right up there. 

I'd recommend reading it though, to open your eyes to your potential, it's amazing for making you believe you can get your shit sorted and rule the world.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

REVIEW: Garnier Moisture Match Illuminating Light Lotion


I'm squeezing out the dregs of my last primer moisturiser combo product so as I went to get another tube, I spotted this and bashed it in the basket (well, tried to add it to the multitude of things already stretching my hand to full capacity before admitting defeat and getting a basket).

There are three things I really like about this product:

1. It's super light, but not so watery that it smears about too much and absorbs instantly. Like immediately after it's applied it's not sat on the skin. It means that it's got to be applied pretty fast, but for a five minute makeup routine it's awesome.

2. It smells clean. It's not an overly perfumed product, I instantly thought it smelt of cucumbers, but the packaging notified me it's a lemony scent. Go me and my nose for recognising smells. Not. Although I associate lemon smells with toilet cleaning products, this is softer and makes the product feel a lot more high end than it is.

3. It actually does what it says on the box. It's a good moisturiser, first and foremost, and it leaves a nice sheen to the skin making my dark-morning dullness instantly brighter and more alive.

It's also got an SPF of 20 which is more than I usually find beauty moisturisers to have and helps take my mind off little wrinkles now I'm hitting middle age (scoff!). 

Five out of five from me!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

LIFE: Say no


I was recently called an anomaly. A lot nicer than the last term used to describe me at work.

An anomaly because I work harder than I should for my job role. Weird? Well, not really. To get shit done, I've found that doing it myself always works a treat. But, and the big 'but' here, is I know my limits.

There's a very fine line between saying what you think and being plain rude. I find that by saying no and sticking up for your side of the argument (be logical about it though), not only do you find people listen more, but you respect yourself more too. At work I know what the day's priorities are and I know the time frame I have to get them finished. If something crops up that isn't a priority I don't do it if I can't get the first things done properly.

It's just the way I am and my managers know that. 

Taking the no route, doesn't always close doors, it creates new ones. Saying no doesn't lead to dislike, but admiration. You can swing this both ways and say the same about the yes route, but from where I am, it seems a lot of people choose the yes route without thinking it through.

I'm not saying being a 'yes wo/man' has to be a negative thing. I've seen people go real far by being yes people. That route is not for me and I've seen people fall by the wayside from not giving it a go either.

When you say no, always have a reason.

Once I was asked to work a Sunday by a company I hated working for so I said no. When they asked why, I said 'because God didn't work a Sunday' and left the room. They never asked me to work a Sunday again, but I got my contract raised during the week.

Wherever you are, whatever you do, saying no can give you the freedom to pick and choose what you do. That freedom is basically confidence. Confidence in yourself. 

And the best part?

I'm atheist.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

REVIEW: Good Things


On a, not so recent, trip to Boots I stumbled across this brand and I loved the packaging (sucker), so bought a couple of items. I've featured both of these in Battle posts before, but every time I use them it's an unexpected joy so I thought I'd tell you a bit more.

Random, I know.

Firstly, the smell of these products are ay-may-zing. It's unusual now, I think, to find a skincare range that has it's own distinctive smell and one that lasts! The fruity smells aren't ridiculously sweet either - more smoothie like. Almost like I've just washed my face with actual fruit.

Secondly, the quality should be heralded. For the price of this range I'm really impressed. The scrub has just the right size/distribution of particles and the mask is just the right thickness to work the skin as it claims to. 

Thirdly, just look at the packaging. For what is essentially a supermarket range I loooove the look of these products. Just the right amount of detail and just the right amount of clean copy. Basically, no shit. And it looks great because of it.

Considering this range is made by a beauty writer (Alice Hart-Davis, to be exact) this is a superb collection of products and large brands should take note.

Oh, and just to pop the cherry on the cake here, it's completely free from any parabens, SLS or mineral oils so it's even better for your skin and the environment.

Super.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

LIFE: Birthday No. 25


Today I'm twenty five.

It's crazy. Ten years ago I was preparing for my GCSE's. Fifteen years ago I got my first PlayStation. Twenty years ago I remember my first day of school.

It's weird how much has changed in five years even. I've grown so much in these past five years as a person, more than physically (hey, no boobs. still.). I've learnt to say yes as much as I say no. I've learnt that financial security means more to me than food shopping. I've decided that I like cruising through life enjoying the good and working through the bad. 

And, I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up, and I like that too.

I like the small things more than the big things. My happiness rolls along with the iddybiddy moments. The angle of sunlight in my kitchen when I cook tea, the way our cat looks at me just before feeding time, the smell of my car on a frosty morning. All those small things are things I've come to treasure.

I've done nothing spectacular, but I am proud of what I'm doing, who I've found along the way and the moments I've shared.

Today is a good day and I hope the future holds a load more

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