What's in my Bag | Everyday Basics

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Hello, you curious people! Who else loves 'what's in my bag' style posts!? I've done a few of these in the past but I thought it was about time I posted an update. I'm carrying a new bag c/o LYDC from the DSUK London range named the 'Giselle Cross Body Bag' in black and sand. It's one of those small-medium sized bags that surprisingly holds a lot of stuff. It's quite a slim design though, different to what I'm used to, so I can't carry bulky items like a dslr camera. I've had bags from LYDC before and I'm always impressed with the quality of the faux leather for the price. This Giselle bag is only £23.50.

On a everyday basis I'll be carrying just the basic items with me. My iPhone and iPad Mini for keeping up to date with Twitter and posting photos to Instagram as well as always having Game of Thrones to hand for a quick read on the train. My purse is from Osprey but via TKMaxx (always the best for a designer bargain) as is my 2014 diary. I've started relying on Google Calendar much more these days but it's always handy to have a paper diary/notebook on your person. Other items that fell out of my bag include my Ray Bans for unexpected sunny weather, a few items of makeup - nearly always lip products, a Chloe roller-ball perfume and a selection of midi rings. I swiftly removed the screwed up receipts and bits of fluff before taking these pictures.

Osprey Pink Purse / iPhone / iPad Mini with DIY Mandala iPad Sleeve / 2014 Diary / Ray-ban Sunglasses
/ Chloe Roller-ball Perfume / Mac Lipstick in 'Coral Bliss' / Carmex Lipbalm / Silver Rings


Feel free to link to me to your 'what's in my bag' blog posts in the comments section below - share the love!

Sisley Black Rose | Do Expensive Creams Actually Work?

Monday, 18 August 2014

This is the Black Rose Cream Face Mask* from the French luxury brand, Sisley. It's fairly well known for being a cult beauty product but it's also very expensive. This 60ml tube costs £95.50 from Urban Retreat - a fantastic site for luxury brands and hard-to-find items. They stock lots of products from the Sisley range and kindly asked if I would like to try out something.

I'm the sort of person who always appreciates a bargain, but I'm prepared to spend a little more when it comes to skincare and cosmetics. It was such a treat to be able to try out this product - something I'd never normally be able to afford. The cream mask is marketed as an 'Instant Youth' product. At 22 I'm not thinking about anti-ageing just yet, but it was the other promises I was interested in, 'smoothing, plumping and brightening'. Because all skin can become dull and bumpy, no matter what your age.

The face mask is a medium thickness formula, that's beautifully smooth and smells just like rose water. The smell is not overpowering, which I prefer in skincare products, it's light and fresh. The instructions state to apply a generous amount all over the face avoiding the eye area, leave for 10-15 minutes and then wipe away and excess. This is not a face mask that dries hard or requires washing off. To me it felt just like a thick moisturiser that sank slowly into the skin. After 15 minutes my skin felt quite tacky so I took a damp cotton ball and removed any extra product that had not soaked into the skin. 

After using this face mask a few times this week I can say that there is small improvement in the way my skin feels. It's softer and seems more hydrated. Using this mask also feels like a real luxury spa-treatment, so I imagine it's the perfect way to start off a relaxing weekend or to use before an important event. But overall I've not been wowed by the Black Rose Cream Mask. It's a luxurious treatment which smells amazing and leaves my skin feeling refreshed - but it hasn't changed the appearance of my skin all that much. I haven't noticed any plumping or brightening. I haven't been convinced to purchase a second tube. 

The Sisley Black Rose Cream Mask gets a 3 out of 5 from me. At a lower price tag a score of 3/5 means I would possibly re-purchase but as this mask is so expensive I can't see it popping up on my shopping list anytime soon.

This may be one of those cult products that works for women (and men) with slightly older skin. And I can see it being a savior for those with dry and flaky skin, but my skin is normal-oily. I'm going to continue to use it now and again (for special occasions) and hopefully reap the benefits with extended use. I'll get back to you on whether I see any vital improvements. Has anyone else tried the Sisley Black Rose Cream? Did it live up to it's reputation and is it really worth the money?

On a side note, Urban Retreat is new to me, their website is simply lovely. They stock all kinds of high-end brands and sell items I've only ever heard people talk about (never actually seen on the shelves) so if you're looking to treat yourself or add items to a birthday wish list, check them out.

5 DIYs for your University Dorm Room

Saturday, 16 August 2014

If you're heading off to University this September you may be moving away from home for the first time and setting up in halls of residence with many other students. You will probably find yourself in a teeny bedroom with plain walls and not much personality. So I've brought together some of my favourite DIYs that will help to liven up your living space.


Cushions can be so expensive, so buying plain cushion covers and decorating them yourself is the way to go. You need fabric paint and your imagination. Add a personal touch with your favourite quote, your name or even your dorm room number. In this tutorial I show you how to make simple stamps which means even those of you who struggle with a paint brush will be able to produce beautiful designs.

Display your memories in old jam jars! You can stick your photos on the wall or to a pin board, but popping little prints into jars is such a unique way to show off your photographs. You can even fill the jar up with other bits and bobs such as seashells, glitter or tickets/tokens that you've collected.

A pack of cork coasters are super cheap and they keep mugs and glasses from making rings on furniture that may not belong to you. Often you'll be charged for damages you make to a room whilst renting it, so jazz up a pack of coasters for a table decoration that's practical too. 

My fairy light curtain has been one of my most popular DIYs. I used strong stick on hooks to attach the fairy lights to a wall (these pull off without leaving any marks - so the perfect alternative when nails are not an option.) And the sheer white curtain was just £5 from IKEA. Hang this DIY above your bed or in the corner of the room.

Another ingenious way to re-use old jars. Just using window stickers and tea lights! Once lit the stickers cast pretty shapes around your room. Always be careful with candles and check your University rules about lighting them. These also make lovely gifts for the students you might be flat-sharing with. 

For more room decoration ideas you can find all my DIY tutorials here!

Getting Your First Tattoo

Friday, 15 August 2014

Today's post is for anyone feeling brave and thinking about getting their very first tattoo. I'm in the process of healing my third tattoo so I thought why not include some of my top tips and advice for first timers. I got my first tattoo age 18 and I fully recommend waiting until you are legally old enough. I knew at the age of 15/16 that I wanted to get a tattoo, but I also wanted a drum kit and my lip pierced - so I didn't know very much. Having a few more years to think about what I might want was important.

So I'm going to assume you're 18 or over, with a design in your head that you love and you've thought carefully about for quite some time. Perhaps you've even drawn it on your skin with a biro to see how it looks, or kept a picture of your design attached to your computer screen so you can always see it? And now you're ready to make the appointment and go for it...

Yes. Yes. All tattoos hurt, some more than others. I dived in at the deep end getting my first one on my foot as it's a bony area with not much flesh or fat. To me a tattoo outline feels like a sharp cat scratch. Any shading feels like the scratch being dragged back and forth across your skin repeatedly. It's not the type of pain that makes me cry, but it might make you grit your teeth a bit. All my tattoos are quite small, but the pain still varied depending on which part of the tattoo was being done. Closer to the bone, more pain. But it's worth it, and it's nothing that you can't handle. Thousands of people get tattoos everyday. Some of those people even go back for more!

Your artist will have already discussed your artwork with you when you book an appointment. They will draw something up for you either before you arrive, or whilst you wait (depending on it's size, how complicated it is etc.) A stencil will be made up which is a basic outline of your tattoo and put on to your skin (like a temporary tattoo sticker) so you can see the placement and decide if it looks ok. Do not be afraid to ask for it to be made bigger, smaller, or placed slightly differently. Tattoo artists are used to this and just want you to be happy. They will re-position that thing over and over again if you need them to.
Once you're ready, you'll be able to sit or lie down in a comfortable position and your artist will start with a small line so you can feel what the sensation is like.

The most important rule: eat a proper meal before getting tattooed. I have low blood pressure and get quite dizzy often, so when you're about to put your body through peculiar stress you need a good amount of food in your system. I now only ever book tattoo appointments in the afternoon because I can never eat in the morning and eating is so important so I don't feel queasy or faint. Then there are the obvious ones; don't drink heavily the night before and get a good night's sleep. If the area you are getting tattooed needs shaving (i.e. leg) you should shave the night before, especially if your skin is sensitive to a razor. Or your tattoo artist will shave the area for you.

Comfortable clothing, layers, socks etc. I had my last tattoo done on such a hot day but thankfully the shop had great air conditioning. Take sugary snacks like sweets or chocolate to keep you going or act as a 'pick me up' afterwards. A bit of chocolate also helped me avoid that faint-queasy feeling on the way home. Take a bottle of water too. Take a friend if the studio allows that. Not all tattoo shops do. For your first tattoo you're probably going to want someone else there. It's Josh's job to distract me from thinking about the pain with general chit-chat. He'll show me things on his phone and make me laugh so I don't think about the process at all. Don't take someone who's going to repeatedly ask you if it hurts and if you feel ok.

Follow your tattoo artists advice. But the general rule is remove the wrapping once you get home, wash in luke-warm water with fragrance free soap three times a day and apply a light layer of Bepanthen cream after washing. Keep up this routine for up to 2 weeks, then cut down washing/moisturising to twice a day until your tattoo has fully healed. No baths, hot showers, swimming, sunbeds or time spent in direct sun. You might need to go back to the tattoo shop for touch ups if any ink lifts out. I know it can seem such a huge pain to do this when you've worked so hard to heal the thing in the first place but touch ups are usually included in the price and are so worth it in the end. Enjoy your new piece of artwork - it's yours for life!

Getting your first tattoo is never as scary as you imagine, it's an important event and should be celebrated but try not to make it too much of a huge deal or you'll become stressed out. If you're still not sure, why not try out a fake one first! If you have any questions about getting a tattoo or tips of your own please let me know...