Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Things I've Been Loving Recently | Favourites


Hello Everyone,

This past month has been one hell of a month for me, it's been a very testing time indeed and I think that when you're having a rather terrible time of it, you just need some things that make you happy which is the inspiration behind this post, I decided to share with you some of the things I've been loving lately because sometimes you really need the little things that cheer you up.

As you can see, there's a good range of bits here but I'm going to start with one of my new favorite books that I recently finished:

I loved this book so much! It was beyond any expectations I had going into this narrative and I have to be honest, I was pretty excited when I received the package containing The Women of the Castle* which is a new release about a widow of the resistance in Nazi Germany, who, after her husbands execution for his role in a failed plot to assassinate Hitler, begins a search for fellow wives and widows of the resistance with the aim of saving them and bringing them under her care at an old castle passed down from her late husband's family.
The story of the unlikely companions is extremely absorbing and I was unable to put this book down, the women all have very different characters and secrets of their own which, when combined with the tales of their past, present and future, delivers such a compelling story that I wished it would never end.
I'm really into history and one period of time I'm particularly interested in is the World War 2 era and I'm especially interested in the lives of the women of that time period but The Women of the Castle also offered up a look at the lives of German women rather than the allied side and that to me is what made this book so unique and I rated The Women of the Castle 5/5 stars on Goodreads.

My next favourite might seem a little peculiar as I'm not sure I've ever blogged about tea before but lately I've been buying this China Rose Tea from Twinings, Twinings has been my favourite tea brand for ages but after discovering this China Rose tea, I've been even more hooked, it's a black tea (I just can't get down with green teas sadly) with a subtle but delicious hint of rose, ah-may-zing! Also, you might also be able to see my favourite cup of the moment from Cath Kidston's new Pet's Party range which you may have seen in my recent Homeware Haul (#PLUG).  

My next favourite is the Modern Renaissance Palette from Anastasia Beverly Hills which isn't a new palette but like many other beauty fans I was really excited by the release of the Subculture palette, that is until I saw the reviews (which were terrible if you missed that) and so I rekindled my love of the Modern Renaissance Palette every time I've had makeup on, I'm sure you know the score but all of these shades are really highly pigmented, blend beautifully and have an interesting colour scheme that is kind of neutral kind of not so you can either create a bold 'Look at Me' look or stick to a more everyday thing (which is what I do because I'm old and boring).

The makeup brush is from my new favourite set from Primark, you may have seen the post where I slated the newish brand Indy Luxe for producing poor quality, ebay style brushes for an offensive mark up, in that post I recommended these Primark brushes instead, they're only £10 for a set, themed and soft. Job done.

As you can see, the shade Golden Ochre is my favourite shade to use but I also love Buon Fresco which is a dusty rose colour and pretty perfect.

The final thing I've been loving is this gorgeous Rainbow Shine Wand*, you all probably know by now how much I love Lee Stafford, I've talked previously about Lee Stafford's 'The Straightener', the Lee Stafford CoCo LoCo Long Tong and the Lee Stafford CoCo LoCo Blow and Go Nuts and with all of these hair tools I have been nothing but 100% satisfied.
The Reason I'm loving this Rainbow Shine Wand is because, unlike the long tong, it doesn't have a clip over the barrel which works better for my fine hair as the clip was prone to leaving a kink.
It is taking a little getting used to using a barrel over my usual straighteners but the overall look is really pretty when I do use this wand instead, I like to brush the curls out for a loose wave and I have had loads of compliments.
I also love the handle, it is really satisfying to hold as it feels slightly rubbery to the touch, I really like the feel of it over the standard plastic finish I've had on wand handles in the past, is that weird?
The selling point for me is definitely the design though, that rainbow barrel just has all of my favourite aesthetics covered! You know by now I'm a bit of a sucker for designs and this, much like the rest of the Lee Stafford range, is absolutely stunning!

They also include a real glove to stop amateurs like myself from burning their hands styling, this has been a life saver because I'm a clumsy oaf when it comes to styling my hair as I'm usually a 'tuck it into a bun' girl, I say real glove by the way because every other 'glove' I've had with a hair tool has been a two finger shield which is no use to me when I'm burning all over the show, the glove with this little beauty is a real, full hand, five finger, actual glove. Thank you Lee Stafford! Oh and one more thing, the glove is pink... just casually throwing that in, not that I like pink or anything... 

So that's my little favourites post if you will, as always, if you've tried an of these do let me know!

Bye for now,

Rosy xx 

* = PR Sample, all thoughts are my own.


Monday, 31 July 2017

A Little Bit Of Self Care


Hello Everyone!

Today we are going to talk a little about self care.

Sometimes I get carried away, I can be a bit of a workaholic and find it really difficult to switch off, this can mean that I take on task after task and spend my entire day, morning to night, working on everything and anything that has come my way and then suddenly I realise weeks have gone by without me taking a break, yes weeks.

I start to notice the tell tale signs that I've pushed too far yet again, the tight chest, the pains in my back, the feelings of anxiety or stress... That's usually the point when I remember I started watching a movie two and a half weeks ago, turned it off to catch up on something and I haven't actually stopped since then.
A few years ago this would have been my cue to head to the town, burn off some stress walking miles around the shops and go home with a new lippie or two. Times have changed though and now I live a three hour round trip from the shops and when you factor in traffic near the city, parking and travel time it just isn't as relaxing as it once was, now I like to relax at home.

The first thing I do to de-stress and begin my self care time is turn that phone on airplane mode, this stops me being distracted as message after message pours in and it also stops me going to my emails or apps and updating for a while, once I know I have my phone out of the picture I start on a bit of pampering

At the moment I have been using the T-Zone range that you can pick up at Superdrug, it's all really affordable and I am enjoying using the products.

The cleansing wipes are amazing, like I've said, sometimes the end of the day arrives and I've not stopped for hours and I just can't be doing with a full cleanse, tone and moisturise and so (provided I've not had a full face of makeup on because I always do the full routine then) a quick wipe with these bad lads and I feel refreshed, also, they're black which is so unusual and I love something different. They have a light musky scent and don't leave any residue behind, job done and off to bed.

I have been enjoying the face masks too, I'm trying to get more into face masks as I really want to look like I have the skin of a teenage girl even though my teen years are long gone but that's another story.
These masks self heat and are activated by water so to use one I wet my face and squeeze the sachet into my hand then massage into my face, if I want the mask to be warmer I just add a little more water, as the mask is massaged in it keeps warming and after about a minute I rinse it all off and boom, clearer looking skin.
The mask is designed to open pores and then the charcoal acts as a magnet to draw out dirt and impurities while the bamboo extract is there to control oil. Magic.

My newest favourite tool in younger skin is the Sensse Anti-Ageing Facial Cleansing Brush and Exfoliator, if you know me you'll know that I love me some anti-ageing tools (read about the other device I'm using at the moment - The PMD Microderm) and you might also know if you follow me on twitter (@RosySparkles) that my beloved Magnitone Lucid died on me and therefore I needed a new cleaning brush and this one ticked all the boxes.

Apart from being beautiful to look at, the Sensse brush has three speeds so that you can set your intensity, the first setting is for sensitive skin (moi) and then goes up to a higher level for deep exfoliation and anti-wrinkle treatment.

The bristles are designed to massage the skin to stimulate collagen and elastin production, which as you probably know, are two of the vital components in reducing fine lines and wrinkles, I have high hopes for this one!
Oh and it also has a built in battery that is supposed to last 60 uses, so you don't have to charge it each time, perfect.

I've been using the Sensse with the facial scrub from T-Zone which is designed the same sort of way as the face packs with the Charcoal to draw out imperfections and the bamboo to keep oil at bay or my Liz Earle cleanser because I love me some Liz Earle.
The T-Zone range are mineral oil free and purifying and I can't wait to try more from the range.

After all of this I do like to just settle down with clean skin, hair in a messy bun, a good book and a glass of wine (or a cup of tea if it isn't wine o'clock, you don't have to stage an intervention!) and after a few hours I start to feel human again, then I check all my emails and start again the next day back on the rollercoaster trying to remember to take a breath!

How do you like to relax?

Have you tried any of these products?

Rosy xx

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Say My Name by Alegra


Hello Everyone, 

Welcome to my second post this week! If you missed yesterday's post, it was an unfavourable review of some rather popular makeup brushes so if you missed that then be sure to visit that post here, but today we are here to talk about a recent read of mine:

Say My Name is the story of Eve, a middle aged woman who is slowly drifting into surplus in a miserable marriage with a man more intent on discovering his spirit animal than paying any mind to the needs of his wife.
Eve spends her spare time searching for hidden treasures to help out her friend's antiques business between gardening work and dealing with her surly and self obsessed husband but one day her luck changes when she discovers a beautiful but damaged mystery instrument and meets the young and beautiful son of an old friend, both by chance but both carrying the opportunity for change, self discovery and satisfaction, the question is, will Eve step out of her comfort zone to chase her own inner self?

Say My Name was a fast paced and electrically charged read about the paths we take, the people we meet and the effects of it all on our being, it is about what is left when you've spent your life catering to others as a mother and devoted wife and then find yourself with an empty nest and a selfish spouse but mainly, it is a look into fixing the broken and wearing our scars well.

I gave Say My Name 3/5 stars on goodreads.

I have an extract from Say My Name below so that you can sample the writing style and see if you think this may be a book for you.

There, under a table heaped with chinofthsornobody uses anymore, she spots it, almost hidden behind    random objectcarrying price stickers faded by time.
Daylight filters through grimy windowonto worn green velvet, golden wood.
Strangely, the case is open—as if ithoping to be found.
Its bigger than a violin, much smallethan a cello. Its fat, squarer than mosinstruments of its kind, with an  elongateneck, and—this is what draws Eve in—encrusted with vines. The fragilcarvings seem greener. They were once painted, maybe.
Eve moves the piles of junk aside so thashe can crawl under the table. Usually shwears jeans for these expeditions, buits a hoNew Yorsummerso this morninshchose a thin dress, counting on thintricate print to disguise any smudges. Iwill rip easily,   though, so she tucks up thsides into her underwear to keep it off thfloor.
As she crouches down, the bones of heknees crack. Though shes fit and strong,her forty-eight-year-old body is starting tshow age. Her brown hair has almost ngray in it—good genes, her mother would havsaid—but soon shell have to decidwhether to color it. Shes never seen thpoint of lying about her age and, beinmarried, shes less concerned aboulooking young than she might be if shwere single. Still, the ugly milestonlooms. Shes tied her hair in a ponytail  ancovered her head with a scarf to protecagainst cobwebs.
By profession, Eve is a garden designer.Her husband, Larry, makes enough as product development manager for a pill-coating supplier to pharmaceuticacompanies tenable him to treat her littlbusiness as, basically, a hobby. Thiannoys her, but the truth is, she treats ithat way too. Taking it more seriouslwould mean confronting Larry and  claiming ownership of her time anpriorities, which she is not prepared to do.

The status quo feels fragile, although ialso feels as lasting as mortal life allows.  Althats required is that she keep thdelicate political balance, and doesnt rocthe boat or disturb the sleeping dogs. Shegotten into the habit of not pushing  ancommunication past the minimum required for practical matters and the  appearance of enough closeness to assurher that their marriage is sound.
On weekends, guiltless and free, shsearches out treasures for her friend Deborahs antiqushop. Larry doesncomplain; she suspects hes glad to have the house to himself. For her part, sheglad to be away from it. 
The strangobjects she finds ignite her imagination, conjuring up lives more exciting, anmore terrifying, than the low intensity safety of her own. Today shes exploring northerly part of NeYork City that, like a tidal pool left bsuccessive immigrant waves, housepeople from nations that may or may nostill exist: Assyrians, Armenians,Macedonians, Baluchistanis. Thalphabets in which the signs are written change block by block. Neighborhoodlike this are her favorite hunting grounds.

On her hands and knees under the table,she tugs at the instrument in its case. Ishifts with a jerk, leaving a hard outline ooily dust on the floor. Probably it hasnbeen moved in years. She lifts it up onto tin chest, keeping her back to thstorekeeper to disguise her interest.
The vines twine over the bodof thinstrument and up its neck, stretching out into the air. Though the delicacy of thcarving is almost elfin, it has the strength of vines: blindly reaching, defying gravity.The tendrils are dotted with smalflowers:jasmine, so accurately rendered that Eve identifiethem instantly. A flap of velvet in the lid conceals a bow, held in place bribbons. It, too, is twined with curlinvines.
She wiggles her fingers into the gapbetween the instrument and the velvet lining, pryinit loose. A moth flies ouinto her face and disappears in the slantinshafts of light.
Holding it by the neck, she senseanother shape. With spit and the hem oher  dress, she cleans away the dust.Theres a pudgy, babyish face, the vines tightening their weave across its eyes.Cupid, blinded by love.
Eve pinches up dust from the floor tdirty the face again. She has learned not timprove the appearance of things until after the bargaining is done and thmoney has changed hands. Then she turnthe instrument over.
The back is in splinters.
Eve touches her finger to thraggeshards of wood, longing to make this beautiful thinwhole again. The damagmust have been deliberate: an accidenwould have broken off the vines. Whadrove that person over the brink?Musicians frustration? Rage at fate? Heartbreak? She can almost feel remnants othe emotion stuck to the gash, likspecks of  dried blood.
If she had it repaired, the cost woulalmost certainly be more than thinstrument is worth. And even an expermight nobe able to restore it completelyIt could  serve as a decorative item, buonly if the gash stays hidden. Deborah wont want ishe has a rule againsbroken things. Also,  she feels morcomfortable with things thahave names, like bowls and vases  and candlesticks. Passionless things that sit prettily in nice rooms. Thhistory that thiobjecbearon its back would freak her out.
Eve moves to return the instrument to its exile, but she can't bring herself to do it.Now that she has touched it, she cannopush it back into the shadows.

Let me know if you've read Say My Name or if it sounds like something you'd enjoy reading,

Bye for now,

Rosy xx

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