Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Rant: No sleep = Post a blog entry

So I was gonna have an early night yesterday.. and I ended up not sleeping for the night. Climbed into bed and was gonna do a bit of reading before sleeping.. some how it turned into 5 hours and now there's no point trying to get to sleep at all -_- Got a presentation in about 2 hours - gotta stay till about 1pm. I just KNOW I'm going to end up sitting there half falling asleep!

Anyways, if anyone's actually reading this, the book in question was Genesis by Karin Slaughter. I picked it up at my uni's book fair at main campus - it retails for £18.99 but I got it for a pound! :P I haven't been reading in such a long time. I'm a bit of a geek when it comes to reading cos I love it so much.. I just feel like it lets you take a break from your own life. I remember I used to be in the library almost every week in the summer, and I used to be able to finish a book in a day. My reading speed has fallen now though - Genesis took me three days to read. I'm not sure if it's because of the amount of workload I have, but I guess that's still pretty quick? I really recommend it if you like crime or horror stories. I'd never read any of Karin Slaughter's books before, but apparently she's a 'No. 1 Bestselling Author', and I know that I'll be looking for more of her books to pick up.

Talking of books, I actually really like Jodi Picoult's books. I've only read about three so far but my personal favourite is 'Change of Heart'. I really like how her books discuss ethical issues in story format. I'm going to try and get hold of her other books once I have the time. Definitely worth reading.

Sorry if I'm boring you.

I've been stressing lately over coursework deadlines and group presentations, and I only just realised today that after today's presentation, I will only have one piece of coursework to do before I will have handed in my last ever piece of coursework. So strange. On the other hand, my dissertation is not really going any where at the minute. I have a ton of data from my several experiments, but its difficult to try and incorporate it so that it all links. Basically my experiments consisted of growing cells in 12 well plates, and because I set them up at different times, I can't be sure how much cells I started off with in each one, and now I'm having trouble working out how to link it. My supervisor's been really helpful with that and last week we spent an hour discussing how to write it up. I still have a lot of work to do for my introduction and methods, but I'm hoping that I'll stay motivated enough to finish that by this weekend. Or at least the introduction. I think that'll take the longest.

I'm going home this Friday but for some reason I don't really feel excited? Maybe because I know I'll have to work through the whole Easter holiday so I'll hardly see anyone or anything but this laptop screen and past exam papers. I'm slightly worried I won't be able to balance my dissertation write up and revising for exams, but I think I just need to learn to manage my time properly and stop procrastinating. Like that would ever happen.

I haven't started packing yet but I didn't realise how much stuff I have to bring back with me. Just books and notes alone are weighing a ton, and I still have to bring my laptop, clothes, chargers, shoes, etc. I'm being a fob on Friday and taking back a 'Red White Blue' bag - if you're Chinese then you'll probably know what I'm talking about. I hope it doesn't fall apart.

Also, I'm hoping that I'll manage to sort out all my results and everything before I go home. I also need to find a way to eat all my food before I go home! And by that I mean all the perishable stuff that's gonna expire, although I do actually have some canned stuff that's gonna go off soon. That'll probably prove a problem because I've hardly had the time to eat these past two weeks. I've practically been eating a meal a day and snacking on toast. I hate how I seem to have no time nowadays! Even the weekends are ridiculous and I feel like they're just another day of uni!

Okay, so I've probably bored you enough by now. I haven't finished ranting yet LOL but I will let that wait till another time. I'ma go take a shower and get ready for lectures.

Hope you all have a beautiful sunny Spring day!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Review: No 7 Exfoliating Sponge

Remember I went out last weekend and kind of hauled some stuff from Boots? (It feels like it's been much longer than a week -_-) Well I've been trying out the No 7 Exfoliating Sponge that I technically got free with the £5 No 7 voucher..

On the back of the packaging, it says:
'For radiant skin use regularly to help remove dead skin cells and aid circulation. Apply your No7 cleanser to the face. Moisten sponge with warm water and massage gently over the face in a circular motion. Use once or twice a week.'

Well, I've used it twice this week, and can I just say, it was the most painful form of exfoliation I ever experienced in my life T_T I am so glad that I didn't actually have to fork out four quid for this ridiculous sponge because OH MY GOD I felt like I was using a metal scourer to wash my face.

If you just hold the sponge in your hand, it feels pretty similar to the scourer side of a washing up sponge, only the fibres are probably a little less harsh and less compact.

I wasn't even scrubbing my face with the stupid thing - I just 'massaged' it over my skin. To be honest, I probably barely even let it touch my skin! It was so painful I swear my skin was so red after I'd managed to cover my whole face and wash off my face wash -_-

And what results did I get from this sponge? Next to no exfoliation really. I think next time I'll just stick to my facial scrub. I've also been wanting to try those plastic face exfoliators but this 'experience' has left me wondering if that will be just as painful.

Has anyone else tried something similar to this? Or even tried this same product? Did you find it painful too, or am I just being a wuss?

NOTW: Cyan Blue and Instant Nail Effects (Black)

At first I thought Barry M only had the shatter effect polish in one colour, but it turns out they've started selling them in White Frost (white), Pink Fizz (pink) and Blue Print (blue) as well! I'm definitely keeping an eye out for them the next time I go shopping and I'm hoping that I manage to pick one up in every colour! Really want to try the pink and blue ones :P My cousin reminded me that the white one might look a bit tippex-y >< Regardless, I will try and pick up all three! Keep an eye out for a post on that, because I will definitely post swatches if I manage to get my hands on them!

ANYWAY, this weeks' NOTW is Barry M in 294 Cyan Blue and 311 Nail Effects in Black. 

Forgot to mention in my last post that with the black shatter polish, it's best to use a clear top coat because the matte black effect doesn't really look too good. Plus the black polish can start to flake off if you don't.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Giveaways: Nicol/YUKLUI*STYLE's Giveaway

Hey guys!

Fellow UK beauty blogger Nicol (YUKLUI*STYLE) is doing a giveaway for her 20th birthday! Click on the picture below to go to her giveaway:

She'll be giving away the Urban Decay Black Palette and some mystery goodies :) Go check out her blog!

Daily Life: Blog Direction

I've realised that parts of my blog are hardly what you would expect from a beauty blog.. I post things about my China trip, and about days out that I had with my friends. I guess it was never my intention for this blog to be based solely on make up and reviews. I want to start posting my deeper thoughts and ideas on blogspot.. I hope you guys don't mind.

On a side note, from now on, I'll sign post each new blog in the title to show what the post will be about (e.g. daily life, reviews, hauls, etc) - hopefully it will save you the trouble of clicking to read it and then discovering it's about boring stuff that you wish you'd never read.

Hope you all have a good weekend!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

E.L.F. Free Shipping Code (UK & EU ONLY)

So E.L.F. have reached 125,000 on their UK fan page and are offering free shipping (again). It used to be really rare for them to have an offer but for the last year they're gaining so much awareness that they practically have an offer every week. They've just gained fans so fast! I'm glad though - it means I've stopped buying everything all in one go, I'm starting to stop impulse buying, AND I'm saving money!


As always, this only applies with orders of £10 mininum purchase BEFORE delivery charges would usually have been added.

The code expires Friday 25th March 2011 at 9AM GMT.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Weekend Shopping and Good Offers

Yesterday was probably the most tiring day I've had all week.. and it was supposed to be the weekend -_- I had a good time anyways though - went out to town and ended up spending way too much and rushing back to campus and missed out on bagging a good deal :( I really wanted the stuff as well! Oh well, I'd rather go again some other time to pick it up than have to wait another two hours for a bus -_- This is why I don't like my campus most of the time RAH. Anyways, this is basically going to be kind of like a haul post? I don't really know if I want to start writing haul posts but I did get some good deals so I wanted to share them :P 

I'm just gonna run through my day.. sorry if it bores you..

First place we stopped off at was Wagamama's for lunch:

I think this was called Chicken Donburi? Not too sure..

Chicken Katsu Curry!

Chu Chee Curry
I love Wagamama's for their Chicken Katsu Curry and because I always feel like their service is so fast and the people are so friendly even if they're really busy.. Although I've only ever been to the one in Nottingham so I don't know if it's just the people who work there who are efficient or something..

Then we went to Boots and I picked up my Clinique face wash and got my free gift! I checked in the morning before going out to see if there was still a Bonus Time running at John Lewis because I'd forgotten, but I found that it'd finished and Boots were doing one instead.. had to take advantage of that >< Got two face washes because I didn't fancy spending on more make up, and got the following free:

- Liquid Facial Soap Mild 50ml
- Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion 30ml
- Youth Surge SPF 15 Age Decelerating Moisturiser 15ml
- Colour Surge Eyeshadow Quad (see pic for colours)
- Double Ended Eyeshadow Brush and Sponge Applicator
- High Impact Mascara 4g
- Superbalm Moisturising Gloss in 01 Apricot 7ml

My face washes and the free gift!

Reminds me of a cake tin xD
Kind of a shame I'll only use the palette, gloss and mascara.. feel like I miss out!
Colour Surge Eyeshadow Quad: Beach Plum, Strawberry Fudge, Like Mink Duo

I didn't really know if it was worth getting an extra face wash just to get the Bonus Time gift, but then my friend said I might as well seeing as I'd be buying one once I finish the other new bottle anyway.. so I got it.. :/

After I'd paid, the Clinique assistant gave me a £5 voucher for No 7 and Ruby & Millie products which I didn't think much of ("what can I get for £5 from these higher end brands?"), then we set off for the make up shelves to look for Barry M Nail Effects - see my blog post on it here. After I'd paid for my Barry M polishes in 296 Coral and 311 Nail Effects, the lady at the till gave me another £5 voucher.. so then I set off to look at No 7 and Ruby & Millie things that I could get.. At first I thought I could use the vouchers together but it turned out I couldn't -_- I considered getting No 7 nail polishes (£7) and paying £2 for each but I have way too many polishes and the colours weren't that interesting.. so I ended up getting a Ruby & Millie i-Define Brush (£6.64) and a No 7 Exfoliating Sponge (£3.78) instead. The Exfoliating Sponge was free, and I paid £1.64 for the R&M brush which I thought was a pretty good deal! E.L.F. studio brushes are £3.50 and R&M is supposed to be more professional? *shrug* I haven't tried it yet but it looks quite soft and precise..

We picked up some stuff from Wilkinson's after this, then set off to H&M and New Look.. I ended up getting a dress from H&M which I really shouldn't have >< I just couldn't put it down cos I liked it so much!! Really need to have more self control GAHHH but yeah, then I wanted to grab a skirt and some shorts from New Look but the queue was moving way too slowly and I had to abandon them T_T Was going to use the 'spend £30, save £5' offer but I don't lose much by buying it with a student discount instead so it's ALL GOOD.

Can't really think of anything else I got, but I thought the Clinique Bonus Time was an okay offer.. Debenhams seem to have the best free gifts? Not sure why. And you might like to get things from Boots instead of Superdrug if you were thinking of saving money in Superdrug but wanted to get No 7 products. You'd probably save more by buying in Boots and spending vouchers on No 7. Not sure when it ends but they seem to have them all the time anyways :P

Hope you had a good weekend, Xx

NOTW & Review: Coral and Black Shatter Dupe

I'd heard all the raving about OPI's Black Shatter polish, and me being me, I couldn't justify spending £10+ on a nail polish.. so I just had to sit here and be tormented by fellow bloggers >< BUT DO NOT FEAR, I was online one night and came across the Barry M Nail Effects polish and basically it ended up with me crawling all over the internet for a good deal, and finding that Boots was my best bet. So whilst I was in town yesterday, guess what I managed to pick up?! YEAH BOY I got the Barry M Nail Effects <3 I knew that my friend wanted to get the OPI Black Shatter and had found that too expensive as well, so I told her about the Barry M dupe and when we got to Boots, we headed straight for the Barry M shelf and there were about 20 of them just sitting waiting for us! (I was quite surprised because the Boots site said they were all sold out.) They also had a 2 for £5 offer so I obviously had to take advantage of it and get another polish to go with it :P

I HAD to try it as soon as I got home, so this week's NOTW is Barry M's Nail Paint in 296 Coral and 311 Nail Effects:

On first impressions, it does its job well but I've discovered that you have to do it really really quickly and attempt to apply it all in one go, otherwise you risk it not shattering in the middle. You can kind of see my brush strokes if you look at bottom of my nails carefully, but then again no one would do that in real life.. The colour of the Barry M Nail Paint in Coral is toned down by the Nail Effects - it's a lot brighter without the shatter polish on top. It does dry extremely quickly so you have to do everything quick - apply quick, and put the lid back on quick. I've heard from people who already own this that it tends to go quite gloopy after first use? I reckon it has something to do with it drying up in the bottle if you leave the lid off for too long.. I guess I'll just have to see. I currently love this though because it's basically a bargain compared to the OPI Black Shatter and it does exactly the same thing! LOVE.

E.L.F. UK & Facebook Fans

Wow, I only posted the E.L.F. 120,000 code yesterday and they've already reached 122,332! What?! They haven't updated their notes yet saying what the future offers will be, but I'm sure it'll be something good! I'll update you on it tomorrow when I find out!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

E.L.F. Free Shipping Code (UK & EU ONLY)

Woop woop, E.L.F. has finally reached 120,000 'likes' and are now offering free shipping if you spend £10 or more in a single transaction.


OFFER ENDS 19th March 2011 at 12PM MIDDAY (GMT)

Monday, 14 March 2011

NOTW: Silver Shimmer Glitter Gradient

Just decided that seeing as I do my nails different every week, I might as well start posting pics of them if I can be bothered, or if I remember to. SO.. my very first Nail Of The Week.

I took photos under different lighting to try and capture the glitter:

Basically attempted to do a glitter gradient effect.. I don't think you can really tell in these photos but you can see the gradient a lot better in real life.

I used E.L.F.'s Nude, Glitter Glam and Twinkle for this 'look'. 

Review & Swatch: E.L.F. Nail Polish in Teal Blue

 A few posts back, I posted pictures and swatches from my E.L.F. haul that I got when they had their '20% off entire website' promotion for reaching 110,000 fans on Facebook. They're now hovering around 117,000 and once they hit 118,000 they'll be offering 20% off all mineral products. I'll post the link when that happens if you don't already follow them on Facebook.

Anyways, today's post is a review on the E.L.F. nail polish in Teal Blue. They recently released four new shades in the UK (I'm not sure how long they've had them in the US for), but they consist of Purple Dream, Dark Glitter Purple, Copper and Teal Blue. The minute I saw the Teal Blue on the site, I just had to get it.



My camera didn't really manage to capture the intensity of the green. When I saw it on the site, I thought it would come out like these pictures too, but it is definitely more of a deep yet bright green than the turquoise shade that I thought it would be. It actually matches a top that I own:

The photo was taken for a review that I have yet to write, but the colour of the top is pretty much the same as the nail varnish. I don't really know why my camera wouldn't give me true to life colours -_-

As with all the E.L.F. polishes I own, I use the Nude polish as a base coat and then apply two coats of the colour of choice. The Teal Blue made for a great application, and was not streaky at all. I guess it does take a while to dry in between coats, but because the colour is so intense, each coat that I applied didn't have to be too thick. 

I didn't notice any chipping until the fourth day which I reckon was both a work of applying a base coat and the Teal Blue varnish. The smell of the nail varnish is quite strong, but I haven't really tried a nail varnish that doesn't stink the house out.. plus, for £1.50, I'm totally willingly to crack open the window just so I can apply my pretty polish.


- Cheap
- Great colour (intense)
- Not streaky

- Colour not true to the site (as always)
- Takes a while to dry
- Strong smell

If you're not in a rush and you can cope with the smell, I definitely recommend the E.L.F. Teal Blue nail polish. It's cheap and it's such a fun colour! For the price of one drug store polish, I could get about 3 of these E.L.F. ones, so being the cheapo I am, I love it! I can wear it all through Spring and Summer, and I'm sure I'll be able to incorporate it into Autumn and Winter somehow too.

New Look Offer

Wahh, another New Look offer >< This is bad news for my bank balance...

Spend £30, get £5 off.
Spend £40, get £10 off.

Between the 10th to 21st March 2011, if you spend over £/€30 in store, you get £/€5 off your total, and if you spend £/€40 or more, you get £/€10 off. You cannot use this voucher in conjunction with any other offer such as student discount or on sale or concession items. You also cannot use this voucher online.

Click here for the UK offer, and here for the ROI offer.

Happy shopping! I know what I'm gonna get..

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Pray for Japan

My heart goes out to all those affected by the earthquakes and tsunami in Japan. It's times like these when I wish that I played a larger part in the community and that there was something I could actually do apart from donating money. All the Godzilla jokes and Hurricane Katrina comparisons on twitter last night were ridiculous. No one deserves to have their friends and families taken away from them along with everything that they had ever owned. People like those who decided it would be funny to make a joke out of the disaster in Japan clearly have issues. What is wrong with the world today? And by that I mean both human nature and mother nature. 'The moment we stop fighting for each other, that's the moment we lose our humanity.'  Perhaps both humanity and the world are coming to an end, and we're all just being prepared for it in horrifying doses.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Groupon offer

I've wanted to get the ASOS ARCHIVE Leather Lace Up Ankle Boots for a while, and now that my friend's linked me a Groupon offer, I am reconsidering and might actually just go for it. I can get them for £69 instead of £80 if I use the voucher.. I posted about them before, and I do still kind of want them? I'm just not sure if they'll look as nice as I think they do when they come in the post..

Anyways, Groupon offer:

My friend gets credited every time someone uses the link, but hey you both benefit if you wanted to get something from ASOS anyway! Win-win :)

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Happy Pancake Day!!

So seeing as it's pancake day and I have to wait an hour for my cells to freeze in the lab, I thought I'd post a recipe for pancake making! Quick and simple to make, or if you're too lazy then I guess you could always just grab a bottle of ready made.. but making pancakes is fun!!

Serves: 6

- 125g (4oz) plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 2 large eggs
- 300ml (half pint) skimmed milk
- 4tsp sunflower oil

1) In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and eggs. Gradually add the egg and whisk until well combined. Heat a 20cm (8in) pan until hot. (The secret to perfect crepes/pancakes is having the right, constant temperature. You can get this by using a heavy-based, non-stick pan.)

2) Add a little oil, and swirl around to cover most of the pan. Pour in a ladle of crepe/pancake batter, and quickly swirl around so that it thinly covers the base of the pan. Cook for 30secs-1min, until tiny holes appear on the surface. Slip a thin palette knife under the pancake to check that the underside is a nice golden colour.

3) Flip the pancake once the underside is golden, and cook this other side for 30s-1min. If you are planning to make more than one crepe/pancake, fold the crepe/pancake in half on a plate and cover with a tea towel whilst you make the rest.

TADAA, scrummy pancakes.

For fillings, you could:

a) Spread a mashed banana over the crepe/pancake and fold it over to make a quarter. Drizzle it with 2 tbsp of warmed chocolate spread (I love Nutella), and sprinkle with chopped nuts. (Serves 1)

b) Scoop the juice and seeds of 10 passion fruits. Sieve the juice into a pan with half the seeds, add 100g (4oz) sugar, and heat for 2 mins. Stir in 2tbsp water. Fill your crepe/pancake with ice cream, and drizzle with the passion fruit sauce. (Serves 4)

c) Bring 300ml (10fl oz) smooth orange juice to the boil, and allow to boil rapidly for 5 mins until reduced by half. Add 1tsp cornflour dissolved in 1tbsp water, and simmer for 30secs-1min until thickened. Stir in 1tsp icing sugar, and add the segments of 2 large oranges. Stir well, and add the folded pancakes you made earlier, and spoon over the sauce to coat them. If wanted, sprinkle on 1tbsp mint and remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly and serve. (Serves 6)

d) Fill crepe/pancake with vanilla ice cream and drizzle over melted chocolate. Dust lightly with icing sugar and serve. (Serves 1)

Obviously my personal favourite is d) :P


Friday, 4 March 2011

China: Day 2

Day 2: 27th August 2010

Today we had our very first full day in China. Even though we didn't start trekking today, it was still quite a tiring day, mainly because of our jet lag and the stupidly early start! Waking up to Chu's alarm at 5.30am, we got ready for our first day by packing our day sacks, filling them with everything we thought we'd need today. Food wasn't provided so we made sure we packed most of the snacks and water that we'd bought yesterday. Breakfast was at 6.30am so once we'd done a final sweep of the room to make sure we hadn't left anything, we set off downstairs with our 55/60L bags and day sacks. We dumped our bags in the foyer, and went off to the hotel restaurant, where we were greeted with our first breakfast in China.

The stuff they offered was a strange combination. It consisted of fried gayozas, steamed buns, fried, boiled and salted eggs, noodles, congee, slices of spam or ham, udon, salad. It was like they couldn't decide between an English breakfast or a Chinese one so they just made everything and hoped that they got it right. I don't remember there being cereal either.

By 7am, we'd all hopped onto the bus and were driven to Shanhaiguan. Because it was a 5 hour drive, we stopped at a service station on the way. Seriously it was HUGE for just a mini shop and a toilet stop.

There seemed to be tonnes of people there just hanging out and eating pot noodles, haha. I ended up speaking to Ollie who I'd spoken to yesterday after dinner, and we were so into the conversation that he nearly followed us into the girls' toilets! Hahahahaa. Needless to say, the loos were gross and I nearly died from slipping on the wet floor -_- GROSSSSS.

We eventually got to Shanhaiguan, and had lunch at a restaurant just outside Shanhaiguan City Wall. We realised it here first, but it seemed like our tour guides and bus driver always had a very different meal to us whenever we ate. Last night we all sat at the same table so we all ate the same food, but from this day onwards, the tour guides and bus drivers always sat at another table and had different and perhaps a less interesting selection of food. I figured it was cos we were tourists so they ordered all the typical tourist foods for us. Pictures galore!


So after lunch, we all piled back onto the bus, which drove us to the Great Wall museum.

Shoddily taken from the bus
Outside of Shanghaiguan City Wall

I don't think any of us realised how hot it was outside until we had to get off and walk for about 10 minutes. (Appreciation for technology starts from today.)

Just after we got off the bus, Cheney leads the way
Apparently we weren't going here but I took a photo anyway
Random photo..
Front of the Great Wall Museum

As soon as we entered the museum, the first thing we saw was a curved wall engraved with the Great Wall. It was so detailed and beautiful that everyone stood there taking photos for a good 5 minutes. 

N.B. Some photos look repeated - I was supposed to take 'panoramic' shots for my friend (I promised I would) but they turned out crap so I never took the time to try and put them together.

Perhaps I should also mention that there was a slab of marble (or whatever material) in the middle of the room introducing the museum I guess..

Anyways I took tonnes of pictures inside the museum but there's way too many to post here.. so I've chosen some of my favourites.

There was a story behind why the women were in the tower. Something to do with waiting for the men to return home? Or it might have been that they were look outs.. I have such crap memory, I don't remember..

After this, we walked back to the bus.. on the way back we saw a man (possibly a bus driver) resting/napping in the suitcase compartment of his bus. Pretty good idea!

We were then driven to Shanhaiguan where the Great Wall starts right by the sea.. First we went to see where the soldiers used to stay, and we also say the prison cells..

Reminded me of TVB dramas.. Seriously watch too many..
Prisoners were kept here

Me and Soldier in my grubby glory
LOL I look so stunted, but he loves me :P

Afterwards we made our way towards the sea and the start of the Great Wall. On our way, we saw loads of touristy 'entertainment sellers':

Felt like I should take a pic of this sign..

And then we began our ascent up what I thought were ridiculous steps. These were nothing compared to the Great Wall 'steps'.

Thought it was cute, so snapped a pic
View of the start of the Great Wall  before our ascent to the sea

Gonna be lame and stop again. Seriously didn't realise how long it would take me.. I should probably leave it for when I have more time. Off to do some much needed work, so will post some more maybe tomorrow, or if not then the weekend. Thanks for tolerating me guys :)
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