Thursday, 28 March 2013

Light As A Feather...

These little beauties dropped through the letter box yesterday. I'd ordered them (from Body Jewellery Shop) a couple of weeks ago, but after a slight hiccup with delivery- which they rectified immediately - they finally arrived.

Pretty aren't they? Although you have no idea how difficult it is to take a decent picture of your own ear. It's not something I've had a lot of practice of, I'll be honest, but boy it's tricky. And inelegant. The faces I was pulling!

I usually wear studs, or nothing at all, but I saw these bars and thought they were too lovely to miss out on. The gauge is possibly a bit too big for my ears, as the bar is quite long, other than that they're perfect. Rather fiddly (that might be the tiniest of understatements) to screw the ball on, but I'm sure I'll get the hang of it eventually.

Oh and, aside from the aforementioned issue with delivery (which was delayed due to a shortage of stock), I would thoroughly recommend the website. Their range of jewellery is enormous and at prices that aren't going to break the bank (even Cyprus'). Extra brownie points awarded for their customer service, which was spot on. I have an inkling this isn't going to be my last order with them...

Silver Feather Lobe/Tragus Bar - The Body Jewellery Shop - £2.95.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Wishing and Hoping...

Spring Wish List

Havaianas | Hydraluron Moisture Serum | Miriam Merenfeld Monogramed Pendant | Pandora Double Leather Bracelet | MAC Vegas Volt Lipstick | Viktor & Rolf Flower Bomb | Zara Loose Knit T-shirt | Rag & Bone Skinny Coral Jeans | Bioderma Cleanser.

Technically it might be spring here but you wouldn't know it. Outside it's still very much mid-winter. A bleak one, at that. So, in an effort to cultivate some springtime colour and cheeriness I popped onto Polyvore (ooh alliteration!) and created a little wish list of things I'm lusting after right now. 

The Havaianas are right at the top, I've been after a pair for yonks but for some (unfathomable) reason I've never actually bitten the bullet and just bought them. I really can't spend another spring/summer in Uggs and sandals that are in need of superglue -I'm not even joking- to keep them in active service (they've given a faithful three years, but I think it's time they were honourably discharged). 

The curse of having child feet means I tend to go for branded shoes and boots as I know they're going to be good quality and not liable to fall apart after a few months wear. Most children's shoes, whilst designed for rough and tumble, aren't really designed to be worn for, erm, forever because, guess what? Children grow out of them within a matter of months. At least that's what's supposed to happen. Clearly something went a bit wrong with me (story of my life...) in the foot growth department. 

The other bits and bobs are fripperies I would very- emphasis on the very- much like. I love coral skinnies and have been wanting a pair of my own since last summer but I'm yet to find a pair that fit me right. Maybe this year? 

The only other thing I'm hoping to invest in sooner rather than later is Hydraluron, which was bought to my attention (ditto the Bioderma) by the lovely Kat over at Jemima&Ted. After reading her account of it and doing a bit of background research (i.e. reading the reviews on the Boots website*), I've come to the conclusion that I actually need this. More to the point, my skin needs this. You'll remember that I've written how my skin keeps on getting dehydrated, despite me glugging glasses of water a day. I'm going to put it down to the M.E. (as with most things these days) but my skin just cannot hold moisture anymore. So a product that claims to boost hyaluronic acid levels (thus improving the skin's ability to retain moisture) is a product I'm more than a little interested in.

So folks, there endeth my springtime wishlist.

Do you have one? What's on it? 

*Just to clarify: Boots gets a lot of mentions on here but I'm in no way, shape or form affiliated with the company. I just have a lot of love for them. A lot.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Reading List #5

Afternoon you lovely lot!

Here's another trio of blog-shaped treats for your enjoyment. 

I'm hooked, and really hope you like them too.

 Happy reading...

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Mini Primark Haul...

On a rare trip into the city centre today (seriously, it was like I'd been let out for the day I was that excited) my friend and I popped into Primark.


The following, ahem, just happened to fall into my basket...

 Grey Thin Knit Jumper - £6.
Loose Grey T-Shirt - £3.
Black and cream Skull scarf - £3.

I'm very pleased with my bargains indeed. The jumper will be perfect when the weather gets a little bit warmer and I love, love, love my new scarf. I'll be pairing it with my faux leather jacket and some skinnies I think.

Primark comes up trumps again.

Absolutely pooped now (in fact I'm tucked up in bed as I write this. Complete with a cuppa and a Creme Egg. Decadent.) but that little retail therapy session was just what the Doctor ordered. 

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Beauty Product Review: Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm...

I actually bought this a couple of weeks ago but wanted to give it a good go before I reviewed it. I'd been on the lookout for a new moisturiser with a high SPF- having turned 30 and with summer (supposedly) around the corner, I was conscious of the fact my ghostly white skin could do with a little extra protection.

I'm not going to lie: the first thing that drew me to this product? The shiny packaging. Yep, I may have mentioned it before, but I'm a bit of a magpie when it comes to shiny things.  It also helped that it was included in the Boots 3 for 2 across all skincare deal. And, as I'd already picked up a facial wash and some wipes, and had very read good things about the Dr. Jart+ range, I thought I might as well investigate further.

With SPF 25 it certainly ticked the extra protection box nicely. I'd tried a BB cream before, and been singularly unimpressed, but decided- on a whim- to give the formula a second chance as this one claimed to 'hydrate and maintain moisture for a dewy, fresh look'. As we all know, I'm a sucker for anything that promises dewy skin. That was it, decision made.

Having tried it out on my hand, and being impressed with how hydrating it felt and how it sank effortlessly in to my skin and covered the redness (as you can see below) I had high hopes.

Unfortunately those hopes were dashed. Whilst it worked superbly on my hand (my face may look parched and craggy but, just look at my flawless hands! Yeah, not all that useful really...), it just didn't do anything for me facially. It still felt hydrating on application but, whereas on my hand it felt light and airy, on my face it just felt heavy and ever so slightly tacky to the touch. I could definitely feel it sitting on my skin, which I hated, and isn't something I expect from a moisturising product.

Colour wise it was a little on the dark side for me and it emphasised the dehydration lines that keep cropping up on my cheeks. If anything, Water Fuse Beauty Balm made my skin look less smooth and uniform than before use. Yeah, not really the effect I was after, unsurprisingly. 

I expected so much more from this product and it failed to deliver on all counts. And at £18 for a 50ml tube, it's not a cheap mistake to make either. 

I personally don't think it's worth the price tag and reckon you could find a better product for half the price. 

So Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm gets a big thumbs down from me I'm afraid, and my search for a moisturiser continues.

Have you tried this out? What did you think of it?

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Dip-Dye Daydreaming...

I've been a bit obsessed recently with the idea of having ombré hair. You know, that graded colour look where the ends are lighter than the mid-sections and roots? I do realise that I am spectacularly late to this trend (which has been going strong since circa 2011. So yeah, like I say, I'm way behind the times on this one...) but it's something I'm a bit fixated on right now as spring is here (although clearly the weather hasn't got the memo yet as it's still bloomin' freezing) and I fancy a bit of a change.

YouTube has a wealth of DIY Ombré videos but L'Orèal Preference have made the task even easier by releasing Wild Ombrés Dip-Dye, the first complete at home Ombré kit.

There's been quite a bit of buzz surrounding them in the blogging community; having read a ton of positive reviews, and seen the results, I'm itching to give shade number two a whirl and jump on the bandwagon try it out for myself.

The only problem? My hair. It needs to grow. A lot.

It's six weeks since I got my pixie cut and although it's grown a little, it's going to be quite a while before it'll be long enough to ombré. We're talking six months minimum.

So. Anyone got any tips on getting your hair to grow really long really quickly?

Fickle, me?

Monday, 18 March 2013

Reading List #4

Morning All!

To combat the Monday blues, here's another handful of lovely lifestyle and fashion blog-shaped gems for you to peruse:

Enjoy x

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Twenty-Five Facts About Me...

I've seen this doing the rounds of the Blogosphere recently and, not wanting to be left out (yeah, I'm working on that...), I thought I'd have a crack at it too. As it were.

So, here goes: twenty-five bite sized factoids about me:

Me. In case you wanted reminding...

  • I'm 5"0 tall.
  • My feet are a size one (European 33).
  • Chinese Dragons terrify me.
  • I've never smoked a cigarette, not even to try one.
  • I have a London Academy of Dramatic Art qualification in Speech and Drama. 
  • I learnt Mandarin Chinese for three months when I was 16.
  • I can't wink. At all.
  • I couldn't tell the time before I was 11.
  • If I could be any nationality other than British, I'd be French.
  • I can't go a day without at least one cup of tea.
It's true. I do.

  • I've moved eleven times in the past decade. 
  • I'm an atheist pacifist.
  • I can wrap my legs behind the back of my head. As you do.
  • I walked out of one of my final exams at University, after writing just one sentence...
  • ...but (somehow) still managed to graduate with a BA (hons).
  • In fact, graduating is the achievement I'm most proud of.
  • When I grow up I want to be Caitlin Moran

'Nuff said.
  • I'm a hopeless romantic.
  • It's important to me that I return one day to Johannesburg, where I was born.
  • I have no memories before six years old.
  • My all time favourite film is Love Actually.

I love it, actually.

  • I adore Japanese food (but have yet to visit Japan).

  • About 75% of my tops are stripy. It's a bit of a trademark of mine...
  • I've had a fractured wrist, but have never actually broken anything. Yet.
  • I hate cooking and am utterly abysmal at it.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

The Smell Of The Greasepaint...

Being a lover of all things Ballet (although I'd in no way claim to be an expert or conoisseur, I just simply find it utterly mesmerising as a style of choreography.), theatre and cosmetics, I was intrigued to stumble upon this behind the scenes clip of one of the principal dancers with the New York City Ballet.

I found it fascinating getting a glimpse of the seldom seen ritual and artistry of stage makeup application.

A girl after my own heart, she appeared to be quite a MAC fan, if her eyeshadow choices were anything to go by. Actually I must admit I was surprised to note she was employing 'civilian' cosmetic lines (I'm pretty sure I spotted some Rimmel and L'Oreal in there too), I'd assumed they'd rely more on specialist theatrical brands such as Kryolan or Ben Nye.

Watching this reminded me of the hours I used to happily while away in front of the mirror, experimenting with my nascent (and ultra cheap and cheerful) makeup collection, trying painstakingly to recreate the various looks worn by my favourite musical theatre characters.

Yeah, and I wonder why I didn't have a boyfriend...

Anyway, thought I'd share this here - just for something a little bit different.

Backstage Beauty at The New York City Ballet from on Vimeo.

What's The Time, Mr. Kors?

So, I finally got the additional links taken out of my Michael Kors  MK5430 watch. Took me nearly a month to get round to it but better late than never, eh?

Verdict? I love it. Bear in mind there are five year olds that probably have bigger wrists than me, I'm chuffed that it (now) fits so perfectly- and the face doesn't look overbearing or massive in the slightest. Strangely, despite having twigs for wrists, I find that small, delicate watches look awful on me, far too prissy and fussy.

I have a feeling that this beauty is going to be getting a lot of wear indeed...

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Trust Me I'm a Doctor. Sort of...

Remember I said in Friday's post that I attended my first CFS/M.E. clinic appointment last Wednesday? Well, I promised you I would save that story for another day, and guess what? That day's today (well, what's left of it). You lucky lot!

Buckle up, it's a long one...

Although I'd had four months to, I don't know, mentally prepare for this appointment, I still wasn't entirely sure what to expect or what I was realistically going to get out of it.

So I was feeling fairly open minded (and also: rough. Gee, thanks Chest Infection!) when I turned up. Early, naturally.

After a half hour wait, I was called through. It was time.

Mr Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (or Mr. CFS, if you will) introduced himself as a Clinical Psychologist. However, he couldn't have looked less clinical if he'd tried.

Picture a brooding Victorian poet. Or a pirate (on account of the earring he sported). Or Adam Ant circa 1981. Yeah, you're just about there. I wasn't sure whether to be encouraged or disconcerted by his New-Romantic Piraticalness. Certainly it made him a lot less intimidating than he might have been, being a Clinical Psychologist and all.

He was definitely less Freud (yes, yes, I know he was a Psychoanalyst, but work with me here...) more Byron.

I crossed my fingers and decided to go with encouraged.

After asking after my general health (the fact I was struggling to breathe and looked a touch on the grey side, with a streaming nose to boot, was probably a bit of a clue that all was not well. Literally.) and making copious notes on my medical history, Mr. Pirate (as he shall henceforth be known) got down to the matter in hand and enquired as to the onset of my CFS/M.E. symptoms and how I've been affected since becoming ill.

Aha! Now we were getting somewhere...

I diligently provided a full and frank disclosure. Possibly too frank. But hey, he asked. There was a lot of 'hmm-ing', head nodding, and note scribbling. And some drawing. Yes, drawing. 

I leant over to get a closer look and was informed, after point blank asking "what is that?" (because, really, the last thing I was expecting was for him to get all Tony Hart on me mid conversation. I'd have been less surprised if he'd got up and serenaded me with a quick burst of ''Stand and Deliver". Marginally.), that it was a family tree.


He then proceeded to enquire about my familial set up. How many of us were there? Whom was I closest too? (all the while joining up the dots on his little diagram, sorry, family tree). Who did I feel was most important to me, and could I list them? Oh and, by the way, did I have any father issues? I made that last one up, but his line of questioning was definitely straying too far into the realms of absurdity for my liking. Sigmund, no doubt, would have been proud. I however? Was perturbed. Greatly.

I'm not entirely sure what purpose the tree or potted genealogy lesson served but, at a guess, I'd say it was to determine whether or not my condition had any emotional basis.

Personally, I highly doubt it, in fact I'd be amazed, but they've got to cover as much ground as possible I suppose. However tenuous or ridiculous the ground may seem.

After a few more probing questions on my medical history this far, it was time for his summation.

He started of reiterating that CFS/M.E. can encompass many many symptoms and that, as it's a disease of exclusion, they have to be certain that my present condition isn't down to my Emphysema.

I should have seen that one coming really...

Not in the mood to be fobbed off and fall at the first hurdle, I stated, in no uncertain terms, that both my GP and Respiratory Consultant (yeah, I was shamelessly name-dropping at this point) believe, unequivocally, that these symptoms have absolutely nothing to do with my Emphysema. Which, as I stated, I'd had, y'know, since birth. So, er, surely I'd have experienced them way before the 18th of August 2012? Just a hunch...

It wasn't his fault, he was just doing his job (and being incredibly through about it, I might add), but there was absolutely no way, after waiting since November for the appointment, I was going to be dismissed that easily. Oh no.

Anywho, to conclude: as Mr. Pirate was unable to decide conclusively, then and there, whether or not I had CFS/M.E., he informed me he'd speak with his colleagues and I'd probably have to come back and be seen by the service's Specialist GP.

True to his word, I'd been back home less than a hour (and thankfully tucked back up in bed), when Mr. Pirate rang to advise he'd discussed my case with his colleagues, and an appointment would be made for me with their GP for mid-late April. Oh, and I'd have to have a blood test to gauge my Creatine Kinase levels. So perhaps I wasn't being fobbed off after all?

The appointment letter (with a copy of the letter sent to my GP) landed on my doormat two days later. Impressive. I may just have to overlook the art attack moment after all...

So now, it's a waiting game.


Sunday, 10 March 2013

Reading List #3

Morning All.

A short but sweet one today: another handful of new reads I've discovered on my travels of the 'ole interweb.


Saturday, 9 March 2013

Mr. Postman...

Look what the Postman delivered today!

I'll confess. I had a mini birthday money splurge on the Past Times website last week. Well, I needed cheering up and these were calling to me. Loudly. Plus I'd had my eye on them forever. So, when I saw they were in the sale (don't you just love it when that happens?), I thought it would have been rude not to quite frankly.

I'm thrilled with them. The quality of the stitching is super and I love the richness of the colours. They actually look a lot more expensive than they were. Always a bonus.

They're the perfect touch for adding some interest and colour to our plain cream sofas.

Keep Calm and Carry On Cushion - £12.60.

Union Jack Tapestry Cushion-£12.80.

Friday, 8 March 2013

I've Got Chills...

Sorry for the lack of updates this week, people. I've mainly being lying here, coughing, coughing and, just for a change, coughing. Oh, and aching, and sweating (lovely), and blowing my nose, and taking umpteen drugs, and....

So, yes, you'll appreciate if blogging has fallen wayyyy down the list of priorities of late.

But, here I am, just about. 

Five days of antibiotics down, two more to go. I'm certainly feeling better in comparison to Monday but I'm still breathless, still coughing, and when I try and walk (to the bathroom, to the kitchen etc...) it's as if I'm trying to move my recalcitrant limbs through quicksand. 

If I'm still feeling this breathless on Tuesday, it'll be back to the Doctors' for me. Seriously, I might as well just set up residence there and be done with it.

Oh, despite it being the last thing I wanted to do, I did manage to go to my first M.E. specialist clinic appointment on Wednesday. But, I'll save that particular story for another day. 

For now, though? It's back to coughing up my lungs...


Monday, 4 March 2013

Blue Monday...

Remember I was saying yesterday how it seemed my M.E. was stepping up it's game? Well, it turns out I might have been a bit hasty in that assumption.

After writing that I was feeling slightly better in comparison to Saturday, once the Paracetamol wore off I steadily got worse again from mid afternoon onwards.

The fever, pains and headache returned and the cough, which had previously been the least of my problems, became painful and hacking. I'll spare you the finer details but let's just say, what was coming up from the recesses of my upper respiratory tract was not pleasant at  all.

During the night my breathing became very shallow and my heart stated racing. Once again, I was tempted to call for an ambulance but didn't want to make too much of a fuss or feel like I was wasting anyone's time.

After the most fitful sleep imaginable (actually, calling it sleep would be generous), I called my Doctors surgery early this morning to request a home visit. I knew my usual GP didn't work on Mondays, but I was feeling so desperate I knew I couldn't wait until he was back in.

Seems they really don't like doing home visits 'though because I was heavily persuaded to go into the surgery. Despite me saying I could barely walk, barely breathe and had no access to a car. I got the impression you'd actually have to be on your deathbed before they'd even consider putting a toe over your threshold.


Anyway, without any other option, and knowing I'd have to get there somehow, I called for a taxi. As I had no money on me I had to get it to stop at a cash point en route. I was in so much discomfort that this extra inconvenience was just the cherry on top of what was already a less than perfect situation.

I finally staggered into the surgery. I must have looked a sight: white as a sheet, dark circles, gasping for breath, with my hair sticking up on end. One for the album, for sure.

So, after a relatively short wait time (thankfully!) and duly coughing up my lungs as if on request, I was diagnosed with a chest infection (my first in three years, which is rather disappointing). And a particularly nasty one at that.

I was sent off with a prescription for Amoxicillin and Doxycycline. Amoxicillin I've had countless times, but the Doxycycline is a new one on me. Apparently it's very strong but can also cause you to feel very nauseous. Hooray.

I was also told to keep up the fluid intake (which I was doing anyway. As a seasoned chest infection sufferer, I know the drill) and dose myself up on Paracetamol.

Prescriptions in hand, I staggered (yep, more staggering) to Boots and then into a taxi back home.

I've spent the day imbibing various drugs, dozing on and off, drinking tea, and generally feeling pretty miserable.


It never rains, but it pours, eh?

Sunday, 3 March 2013

On A Happier Note...


It's March!

Spring is here. And with it the promise of blue skies, sunshine, blossoming flowers and chocolate eggs...

British summer time officially begins on the 31st. I don't know about you, but this winter has felt like it's gone on for far too long.

I can't wait to feel the sun on my face again. 

One Day...

Well. This weekend has been an utter write off. We were planning to hire me some wheels and go shopping; get the links adjusted on my new watch, bank some birthday money, have a spot of lunch.

After a whole week of being cooped up, and recovering from the birthday festivities, I thought it would do me good to get some fresh air, and feel like part of society again. 

Friday I felt very weak and shaky, I didn't even have the energy to lift a pen to fill in my Work Capability Assessment form (more on that later). 

But yesterday, around early afternoon? A whole world of pain was visited upon me. Literally. Everything ached: toes, throat (especially when I coughed. Because of course I had a cough too...), fingers, hips, back, calves. Like I said, everything. I've had aches and pains frequently over the course of this illness, but this, this, truly took it to a whole other level. Every time I tried to find a comfortable position to lie in I'd wince in pain. And that was before the headache kicked in. 

At one point, when I was actually crying with the discomfort, I was seriously beginning to wonder whether I'd had meningitis. The only thing stopping me from dialling 999 was the fact I didn't have any sign of a rash, and my skin seemed blotch free. Aversion to light? Check. Headache? Check. Swollen glands, aching limbs, fever? Check, check and check. Oh yes, and vomiting too. 

Mercifully I managed to finally drift off to sleep, after we'd decamped to the sofa bed in the living room (where it was cooler) in the early hours of the morning. 

I woke up at 9.15(ish), my limbs were still painful but, thankfully, the headache had subsided to a level that was just about manageable. That is: I could lift my head off the pillow without feeling like someone was going at my frontal lobe with a jack-hammer. 

So, not meningitis then. 

A huge relief, obviously, but at the same time it's rather depressing to realise it was clearly the M.E. stepping up its game, reminding me who's boss around here. As if I was likely to have forgotten. 

Most of the time I'm positive I'm going to recover, that I will get better. But then days like that come along and it's so difficult to envisage ever being well again. 

Roll on next Wednesday and my first CFS clinic appointment, is all I can say...