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Favourites // May 2016

Favourites // May 2016

It's May Favourites time! I actually feel like this past month was quite a reasonable length - it hasn't whizzed by like all of the others have done so far this year! But, how we're nearly halfway through the year already astounds me - where is 2016 going?!

Anyway, this month was good one - it was a very spendy one though, I treated myself a little more than my bank balance is happy with (lots of new beauty bits had their debut in my routine in the last couple of weeks!). Workwise, it was two years on the first of the month that I had my first post-grad interview and accepted my dream job - I can't quite believe how far I've come career-wise in the past couple of years, I think I love it more and more each day I go to work! And I was allowed to examine my first external quality assurance blood films and try to establish a diagnosis from them - really interesting to realise that I knew enough to manage it! In other news, we went to see The Jungle Book at the cinema and I really wasn't a fan of how scary and dark it was, not one that I'll be getting on DVD! Other notable events: I had my first Lola's cupcake, a burrito place has opened up in town (so now I don't have to wait 'til I go to London to get my burrito fix!) and we went on our annual trip to a local ice cream farm - raspberry ripple and death by chocolate was the perfect combination! Oh, plus I did a spot of DIY and installed some USB plug sockets into my room - life changing!

So, on to my few favourites from May: 

JOULES YELLOW RAINCOAT // I finally added a yellow raincoat to my wardrobe this month (after wanting one for a ridiculously long time!) and I've been loving it - so much so I managed to dedicate a whole post to it! Every slightly drizzly-looking day I've been wearing it and to be honest, it just makes me feel happier, it's so bright and cheery! Plus I've had a few compliments when I was wearing it so that's an added bonus too!

A COURT OF MIST AND FURY BY SARAH J MASS // Oh my goodness, this book was arguably one of the best sequels I've ever read! I adored the first book in this series (A Court of Thorns and Roses) and was a little apprehensive to see how the second instalment would hold up - it turns out it's even better! This book managed to completely turn how I felt about all of the characters on it's head! The love interest I had been rooting for completely altered and switched. The plot really picked up and moved fast. I can't rave about this book enough - it's incredible! It's fantasy/YA but not too fantastical, it's still very real. I am honestly considering re-reading this book again already, simply because of how it made me feel! It's took me on such a roller coaster of who I wanted to be with who, would they get together, will they manage to save their people from the magic that was threatening them. Seriously, I was sobbing at some points - such a good read that I'd highly recommend you give a read!

EASY ACC PORTABLE CHARGER // A portable charge is such a necessity these days - especially seeing as I've started to hop on the snapchat bandwagon a bit more (jeez how fast does that app drain your battery?!). I've worked my way through a couple of portable chargers but this is the best one I've found - it holds a couple of full chargers for my iPhone and is super slim so it doesn't take up too much space in my handbag! If you're on the hunt for a new portable charger definitely give this one a go!

And now onto the beauty bits:

DIOR STAR FOUNDATION // I love this foundation! I've been without it in my collection for about 6 months now and I really found myself missing it! I repurchased it this month and have completely fallen back in love with it! It's medium coverage, a great colour match for my paler than pale skin and has pretty good staying power (I haven't found the need for any touch ups throughout the whole day!). 

SUNDAY RILEY LUNA SLEEPING OIL // I swore that I wasn't going to give into the hype surround these Sunday Riley products - they're just so darn expensive, how much of a miracle worker could they be to warrant that price tag?! But, a deluxe sample of this sleeping oil was part of Anna & Lily's Cult Beauty Box so I thought I might as well give it a go. And, yeah - it's good stuff, it makes my skin feel plump and refreshed when I wake up in a morning so it's a nice addition to my skincare routine. Would I buy it full price? I'm just not sure I could make that much of an investment in just one non-essential step product!

ELIZABETH ARDEN EIGHT HOUR CREAM // I love this cream as lip balm - granted it's a pretty expensive lip balm but it has really fixed my super chapped lips that I've been struggling with after my night shifts this month (I think that the air conditioning at work just sucks all the moisture out of my skin through the night!). It's a luxury but on the plus side, this tube is going to last me forever seeing as I only need the tiniest bit for lip balm!

So that was everything I've been loving in May! If you want to see what I got up to during the month via the medium of instagram pics, then check out this post!

Insta-Lately // May 2016

Insta-Lately // May 2016

It's time to share my past month through the medium of my instagram feed - if you fancy following along then my insta is @belsmay13 :)

I spent the May Day Bank Holiday in bed - post night shift! Gotta love any excuse for a duvet day!

The abundance of warm and sunny days we had in May meant I could actually spend time in the garden again - catching up on my magazine outside was lovely!

I caved and bought the Cult Beauty Box from Anna & Lily and I loved everything in it!

Of course I blogged about it in this post ANNA & LILY'S CULT BEAUTY BOX

The best surprise present to come home to is a Lola's cupcake - so darn tasty!

I finally found a yellow raincoat that I adored and I am literally obsessed with it! Any opportunity when there has been springtime showers I have whipping this on and loving it!

Plus I managed to dedicate a whole post to my YELLOW RAINCOAT OF DREAMS!

An OOTD shot is rare on my insta - but I really loved this outfit so why not, eh?! Plus I'm actually wearing heels for a change so that had to be documented :P

Could this be anymore of a instagram cliche? Avo on toast with a side of magazines is a recipe for a perfect Saturday morning!

Little Prin has really been enjoying spending more time outdoors too!

Our wisteria under the veranda in our garden has started to flower this month and it looks so stunning, plus it smells gorgeous too! My mum goes crazy for watching all of the flowers in the garden bloom, I don't really go a bundle on it apart from the forget me nots, wisteria and peonies!

Two things I've been loving in the past week or so - having my nails painted with a french manicure (my nails have never been long enough to look nice like this before!) and this book. Oh this book. It was amazing, I've been raving about it all over twitter - it's incredible! Seriously considering sharing a whole post about it!


So that was May! Is it just me or did this past month, no wait this past half a year (!!) go by insanely fast - as if it's going to be June already next week?!

P.S. have you seen the fancy smancy new scrolling inst-feed at the bottom of my blog? I kinda love seeing all my photos lined up next to each other!

5 Little Pick Me Ups

5 Little Pick Me Ups

Everyone has those less than stellar days, those days when you just feel inexplicably 'down' and just a bit 'bleh' about everything and everyone. Or at least I hope that they do because I most definitely do!

When those days come round I like to find little, easy ways to give myself a little pick me up, to cheer me up, to make me smile. Things like these:

BUYING FRESH FLOWERS // I don't make a habit of buying fresh flowers for myself so when I do it's a real treat. The act of actually going out to buy myself fresh flowers is a little luxury and then seeing fresh flowers in my room afterwards just makes me smile.

WRITE IT OUT // whether it be creating a blog post or noting in a bullet journal, writing out your feelings or what's going on in your life really can help you to make sense of how your feeling, to unburden your mind from whatever it is that is causing you to feel a bit rubbish. Afterwards you'll feel much calmer and ready to tackle whatever you've established to be the root cause of your mehhy-ness.

TAKE A BATH // treat yourself to a luxurious bath with all of your favourite products (that lush bath bomb you've been saving because it's to pretty to use, or a dollop of that Laura Mercier honey bath that is so expensive your bank balance cringes everytime you eye it on the side of the bath) and lounge in it guilt-free for as long as it takes until you feel better or until you're all pruney, whichever comes first. Oh, and leave you laptop/phone out of the bathroom - give yourself some time out and allow yourself to focus on yourself.

BUY A NEW BOOK // or a load of new books - I'm definitely of never able to limit myself to buying just one book. I love being able to distract myself from a bit of a rubbish day with a completely different fictional world - I emerge from the book, hours later feeling a bit dazed but definitely less focussed on how rubbish I was feeling before! Plus having a stock pile of new books just makes me feel more at ease - I fear not having a new book to read!

TREAT YOURSELF // whether it be that new pair of shoes that've been sat in your cart on ASOS for ages, a takeaway that you've been fancying all week (mmmm chinese takeout is just the best) or that pint of Ben & Jerrys that's been sat in your freezer calling you! When you feel less than fabulous, you need to give yourself a little treat to make you feel better, no questions asked and no judgement is incurred. 

Currently // 18-4

Currently // 18-4

It's time for this month's currently post! Here we go...

Eating // a mini ice cream sandwich from Ben & Jerry's - the perfect sweet treat for after dinner!

Drinking // diet coke with lots of ice - as per!

Watching // I've not really been watching much netflix lately (shocking, I know!) - instead I've been catching up on a lot of YT and actually watching 'real tv'! Real Housewives of Cheshire & 24 Hours in Police Custody are my current faves!

Listening // Ever since Mcfly announced their tour this year (that I didn't manage to get tickets to - gutted!) I've been listening to all of their songs non-stop! Whenever I'm in the car I put them on shuffle and have a sing-a-long!

Reading // A Court of Mist & Fury by Sarah J Maas. Ever since I read the first book in this series when I was on holiday last summer and fell in love with it entirely - the plot, the characters, everything! It was one of the best books I read last year (which is quite the accolade seeing as I'm such a bookworm!). I was eagerly awaiting the sequel and it has finally been released! I can't believe that it's even possible but I think it's even better than the first book! I adore the plot twist, I think I might be in love with Rhysand and just all of the feels! I love the progression of the characters from the first book, I love the action-packed quest running through it and of course I love the smouldering romance too!

Planning // out how I'm going to tackle my Specialist Portfolio for work. It's the next qualification that I want to complete and now that I'm settled into the shift rota I feel like I can concentrate on it a bit more. After focusing more on learning practical skills for the past couple of years since I started working in the lab I am more than ready to get stuck into learning the in-depth theory behind everything!

Obsessing // aside from the above mentioned book (!!) I've been loving the warmer/sunnier weather we've been having lately (well we have up until today, the weather seems to have turned back to Spring showers again!) - being able to leave my jacket at home and being able to spend afternoons sat in the sunshine in the garden just make me so incredibly happy! 

Smelling // Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay that I've borrowed from my mum - I'm not usually one for fruity scents but I like how this is quite tart for a fruity scent!

Wearing // my yellow raincoat of dreams at every available opportunity (I'm secretly a little bit cheerful that it's drizzle-y today so I have an excuse to wear it!)! 

Wanting // a little bit of a work wardrobe update for Spring/Summer - bring on payday! Oh plus this little bag might be the one to tick the 'new bag' box from this post - a super easy one to throw on and not worry about for the Summer!

Feeling // like I want to start practising meditation again. I feel like I want to become more at peace and relaxed. I found meditation to be so helpful during my exams but since graduating from uni I've not felt the need to work on my mental health until now.

My Weekend In Numbers

My Weekend In Numbers

I was shamelessly stalking through  Jaye's amazing blog (I was having a binge-read all the way back to her posts from 2014 - oops!) and I came across her 'In Numbers' series - she condensed both her day and her holiday into just a series of number and I really loved the idea! 

So I'm taking inspiration from her (this is me stating that this idea in its entirety is Jaye's!) and seeing as it's after 5pm on Sunday and I'm yet to write today's post (the thought of missing the chance to sit and read in the sunshine all afternoon to come inside to write this post was too much - sorry, but better late than never right?!) I thought I'd share my Sunday In Numbers!

60 - minutes I was distracted by social media for after waking up but before getting out of bed on Saturday morning
5 - photos I took of a plate of avo and bacon on toast before I got one I was happy with for this insta (plot twist, this wasn't even my breakfast, it was mum's! The whole avo on toast trend is way over my head, it doesn't taste of anything!)
3 - hours I spent doing a bit of DIY in the form of adding a lock to out back gate - I used an electric drill and everything :P
2 - etsy orders I placed for planner stickers
1 - mcflurry as an after dinner treat
13 - minutes spent doing my hair and makeup
02:34 - the time I got back home after going out for drinks (I know, I actually left the house of an evening, take that social anxiety!)
28 - minutes spent in the shower on Sunday morning
5 - YT videos watched/listened to whilst in the shower
4 - nail polishes I used to paint my nails (trying a french manicure for the first time in forever!) 
1 - cute little ginger kitten who has decided to make the sofa in my grandparents garden his sunbathing spot I met
9 - times I used my 8 hour cream as lip balm
12 - minutes spent ironing
3.5 - hours spent lying on a sun-lounger in the garden reading
1 - walk with my puppy around the lakes

All adding up to make:
1 - happy Bel who's ready to take on next week feeling content after a weekend well spent!


P.S. just as I posted this I was having a read through my Bloglovin' and saw that Jaye had brought back this idea on her blog (great minds, eh?!) and shared her Week In Numbers so go give it a read!

New In // Beauty Bits - Spring 2016

New In // Beauty Bits - Spring 2016

Usually there's only a couple of new beauty bits that I pick up when payday rolls around each month - but for some reason this month I seem to have gone a bit beauty crazy and have managed to acquire quite a few new products! So much so that I thought it worth sharing a post about them!

STILA AQUA GLOW SERUM FOUNDATION // I'm an absolute sucker for a new foundation release - it's the one product that I really hoard! I'd seen a bit of the buzz surrounding Stila's latest base release and I was intrigued - it went on my wishlist straight away. A medium coverage, a light feeling on the skin and a slightly dewy finish? Sign me up! I wasn't in any great rush to go out of my way to buy it but when I saw it in a local beauty outlet store for £16 (that's better than half price!) I had to pick it up! Really looking forward to trying this for when I just want a quick and light makeup base to last for a few hours in the summer.

CLARINS DAILY ENERGIZER CLEANSING GEL // I used this cleanser (along with the rest of the Daily Energizer range from Clarins) a few years ago and I really loved it! I used it up and repurchased it a couple of times and then sort of forgot about it when I fell in love with the FAB cleanser this time last year. For the whole year I used the FAB cleanser every time I washed my face and although I really loved it (and still do, I still use it every night!) I was craving a bit of variety in my skincare regime so I added this to a Boots order I was making. I really love using this cleanser in the morning - it's so refreshing and leaves my skin feeling awake, clean and toned - ready to take on the day!

REVLON COLOURSTAY FOUNDATION // As a self-confessed foundation junkie I can't believe I haven't tried this cult fave sooner! I think it's because I was under the illusion (from past experience after trying out loads of drugstore foundations) that most of the drugstore offerings just weren't pale enough for my pale skin - but this one is! Yay! I was after a foundation I could throw on (as I'm half asleep!) quickly for work each day (I didn't want to 'waste' my higher end, perfect match foundations on everyday wear for work!). I have no complaints with this one - it's a great match for a drugstore foundation, it lasts all day (even on my 14-hour night shifts) and it doesn't need any touch-ups during the day. One I'll be repurchasing for sure!

OSKIA RENAISSANCE CLEANSING GEL // I mentioned in this post about this new addition to my bathroom cabinet and I've been loving trying it out! I think of it as a bit of a fancy version of my beloved FAB cleanser! It does the same job - takes of my makeup and leaves my skin looking soft and clean but just feels a bit more luxurious with the gel to oil texture and lovely rose and chamomile scent.

ELIZABETH ARDEN EIGHT HOUR CREAM // This was a bit of a naughty purchase - it just happened to fall in to my Feel Unique bag before I checked out with a couple of bottles of Bioderma to replenish my stash - oops! My lips have been so dry and cracked with the air conditioning at work that they were getting to that itchy, painful stage! I've tried everything to try and remedy the situation: classic vaseline, Korres lip butter, Nuxe reve de miel, Dr Lipp nipple balm - but nothing was a permanent fix! This cream has completely sorted my lips out - it leaves them so soft and glossy, I'm converted! It's pricey to use just as a lip balm but oh wow I can't get over how magic it is!

VICTORIAS SECRET 'ENDLESS LOVE' LOTION //  Seeing as it's starting to get a bit warmer and spring-like (although I might be speaking too soon because the forecast today is looking like we'll be going back to those Spring Showers we only just got rid of!) I've been trying to up my game when it comes to looking after my skin. In the winter I'm ridiculously lazy when it comes to moisturizing - I'm lucky if I can be bothered to use one of those in-shower moisturizers! But I can envision myself breaking out the summer dresses in the near future (weather permitting - fingers crossed!) which means I'll have to slap on some fake tan to prevent people being blinded by my pale limbs and everyone knows the key to a good fake tanning sesh is no dry patches! I love the lotions from VS - they do the job of adding a layer of moisture to my skin but without leaving me feeling all greasy, plus their range of scents are all delicious! This one is really fresh and fruity but not too overpowering - perfect for me!

The Yellow Raincoat of Dreams

The Yellow Raincoat of Dreams

This week really has been the week for throwing my blog post calendar out of the window and going all spontaneous! Like this post from Wednesday, I had originally planned to write something else today but then this beauty arrived and I just *had* to share it!

Now, a little bit of back story as to why a raincoat of all things gets a whole post dedicated to it! 

I've been desperately wanting a yellow raincoat since they first started to be 'cool' again a few of years ago (not going to lie, I think it was one of those tumblr shots of a mother and child in matching yellow raincoats sat on some townhouse steps in NYC that sparked this whole obsession off!). But, I just couldn't find the 'perfect' one, there never seemed to be an abundance of them on the market and there seemed to be something not quite right in (for me) in all of them - they were too neon, too mustard, to thick, too flimsy - it was a right Goldilocks situation! And then as soon as I'd find the perfect one it'd be sold out! Incredibly annoying! 

So anyway, I sort of gave up on owning a yellow raincoat that I had set my heart on adding to my wardrobe and just vicariously lived through the millions (okay, maybe not millions but I swear every other blogger was sporting a yellow raincoat!) of posts of bloggers merrily enjoying the drizzle in their yellow raincoats!

Phew - now we're all caught up lets fast forward to just last week: to set the scene, I had pretty much given up on the idea of prancing about in the rain in a cheery yellow waterproof. But then my mum (my poor poor mum!) after hearing me drivel on about *needing* a yellow raincoat in my life every time we saw one or every time it rained (which was pretty much on a weekly basis seeing as England = rain!) for the last couple of years stumbled across a listing for one on ebay - cue excitement on my part and a sigh of relief on hers! The jacket was the perfect yellow (not too neon, not too mustard) and was exactly what I had been looking for - thank you Joules! I threw (well clicked very excitedly) it in my basket and checked out before someone else could steal it from me! 

A couple of days later it arrived and oh wow - it's everything I'd ever wanted from a raincoat and more! I realise that I'm waxing lyrical over a raincoat but honestly it has been such a saga that I'm over the moon to finally have my Yellow Raincoat of Dreams in my wardrobe! Everything about this coat is exactly what I'd been so desperately searching for - the colour, the fit, the slight nod to the nautical trend (there's cute little anchors on the poppers!), the navy and white striped lining - I just adore it!

As it turns out this raincoat is actually this seasons (!!) and is available from Joules right this very second - here's the link, if you too want to have a Yellow Raincoat of Dreams in your life - guaranteed to make a rainy day less rubbish (well not guaranteed but highly likely - I know my day would be brightened up if I was wearing this bright beauty!)! 

Which means that not only have I managed to acquire the most sought after piece of clothing I'd been after since the hunt for the perfect pair of boat shoes of 2013, but I've managed to get a little bit of a bargain as well! The coat's RRP is £79.95 but I got mine for just £50 including shipping - it was fate! The fashion gods must have finally taken pity on me and my quest for a damn yellow raincoat!

Now, as much as I'm loving this sudden onslaught of British Summer Time (hello 25 °C and bright sunshine!) I'd really appreciate just the teensiest bit of drizzle so I can take my flashy new raincoat out for a spin! 

Anna & Lily's Cult Beauty Box

Anna & Lily's Cult Beauty Box

Not gonna lie, this post is somewhat impromptu, I hope you'll forgive me! I had planned for a completely different post to go up today, it was written and scheduled and everything BUT I came home this afternoon to find this little beauty on my doorstep (well the postman didn't just leave it on the doorstep but it sounded nice)! So obviously my posting calendar went completely out the window and I had to share my excitement about this delivery!

As soon as I saw that the fabulous beauty aficionados Anna & Lily were bringing out a Cult Beauty Box (thanks snapchat!) - it was bound to be packed to the brim with amazing beauty products that my interest was piqued before I'd even seen the line up of the contents!

So I signed up to the email list (very clever idea Cult Beauty to stop the mad panic of trying not to miss out in a mass sale!) and enjoyed the painless checkout process once my email came through (whilst sat in my car after finishing my early shift at work - priorities!).

After just about managing to not stalk the poor postman my box finally arrived today (such an inconsiderate time to have a Bank Holiday - delaying my box for a day, how rude!) and I literally rushed out into the garden (my mum was sat out there reading, I don't just open all my packages out in the garden for the fun of it!), plonked myself next to my mum and we tore into the box together!

First off how perfect is the box itself? Marble and gold? All of instagrammable! As expected the products inside look amazing - I can't wait to try them all!

After hearing Lily & Anna rave about the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel it has been on my wishlist for ages, I've just never bit the bullet and splurged on it so I'm so excited to try it out (plus it's full size - yay!). I'm really intrigued with the Pixi Hydrating Milky Mist - I'm thinking it'd be fab to use after giving my face a quick wipe over with Bioderma in the morning (yep, all about those extra few minutes in bed!) for that extra hydration to cope with the air conditioning at work! 

I was very pleased to see a Wet Brush in the box - I use one already but I'm very happy to have another that I can save for travelling! I've found the Wet Brush to be a total game-changer in my hair care routine. Because my hair is insanely curly I only tackle de-tangling my hair when it's wet (if I try brushing it out when it's dry I end up with Hermione circa-The Philosophers Stone hair!) and even then it can be a struggle to brush through all of the knots/tangles - but the Wet Brush makes it so much easier - I don't feel like I'm ripping through my hair (I found the Tangle Teezer absolutely awful for this!) and it gets the job done super fast - love it!

Mum was very excited about this box too she has picked a couple of products out as 'hers' already! She 'borrowed' (read: stole away and used every bit of it up!) the tiny sample of the Sunday Riley Luna Oil that was in the Space.NK Box and adored it - she was so upset when it ran out! So she was super happy to see this massive sample (half the full size!) of the Luna Oil in this box - it's already pride of place on her skincare shelf in the bathroom cabinet! Another thing that she has already put in situ is the Jade Facial Roller - it's already sitting in the fridge ready for her to use tomorrow morning!

The final couple of products are make up bits that I'm not usually into but I'm looking forward to trying! I'm really terrible at liquid eyeliner, I can't even get to grips with the felt tip liners! Maybe the Stila All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner will be the game-changer and enable me to finally achieve that perfect feline flick?! I'll report back. The Becca Backlight Priming Filter is something that both mum & I have our eyes on - mum, more so than me, is all about that glow-y makeup look and I'm slowing getting over my matte stage and am having a dabble in glow-inducing beauty bits!

For all of the products you get I think this box is such a bargain at just £85 - I mean the cleanser and oil alone are worth approximately £70 let alone all of the other products in there too! Plus I really appreciate the fact that all the products in the box are ones that both Anna & Lily have raved about for ages - they're ones that they have recommended way before the box was being curated.

Now I'm off to go slather myself in practically everything in this box - I might even give the Jade roller a go too!

I'm not sure how long the boxes will be available so if you *need* one in your life then here's the link :)

Share The Love // April 2016

Share The Love // April 2016

It's time again (so soon!) to share a round up of all of the fabulous posts I read in April:

  • I relate so so much to this post from Rebecca - an Introvert and a Homebody just describes be perfectly
  • I've bee contemplating the idea of starting a bullet journal so of course I turned blogs for some ideas: these were my favourite - Emma's post, Steph's post and Lisa's post. Plus this starter kit has been bookmarked for when I actually get started!
  • I love Jaye's post on Practising Self Care - it's so important to give yourself a bit of TLC and with our busy lives it's so easy to forget
  • Ally's bedroom is all of the goals - it's so luxe and gorgeous! Plus I really love how Ally has re-branded her blog and is back to blogging, I missed reading her posts! 
  • Hannah's outfit posts this month were amazing - all of the inspiration! Especially these dresses and jumpsuit
  • This video from Amelia really struck a cord with me - I think a positive boost is needed in everyone's life (not just youtubers!) 
  • Robyn's post on shopping online is so darn relatable - I agree with all of them! They describe the whole ordeal of shopping online perfectly!
  • This post that Hannah's boyfriend Chris wrote about being a blogger boyfriend really made me laugh, it's so funny!
  • Rosie's posts recapping her travels in Italy have given me serious wanderlust - I *need* to visit! - one, two, three.
  • This post from Brogan has made me really want to visit Bournemouth! It looks so picturesque and lovely!

What were your favourite posts that you read/wrote this past month? Leave me links in below please!